Corzine’s income drops to a measly $4.1 million, poll shows a dead heat in District 2, Monica Yant Kinney interviews Corzine, Tom Moran salutes Bergen County reformers, Commerce Bank founder gets a property tax break.
A MEASLY $4.1 MILLION
“Public service apparently has taken its toll on Gov. Jon Corzine's personal finances.
The multimillionaire made just $4.1 million in his first year as governor, according to copies of Corzine's 2006 federal and state income tax returns filed Monday. The governor's office made copies of the 250-page filing available for review yesterday.
Corzine's income represented a steep drop compared with the $55.9 million he reported earning the previous year. That amount, according to earlier tax returns, included a windfall from the sale of the final 400,000 shares of Goldman Sachs stock he has held since he left as chief executive. It was also substantially less than the $12 million he reported in 2004.
Corzine paid a quarter of his 2006 income in taxes — $719,401 to the federal government and $374,430 to the state — according to the returns that were completed Monday. Corzine filed for, and got, his usual deadline extension in April.
The filing indicated Corzine's income was derived almost entirely from investments……….
The largest single source of income was from JSC Investments, the limited liability company in which Corzine is the sole officer. He reported earning nearly $3.8 million in interest and $1.8 million in dividends and capital gains from the company. Among other income, Corzine also reported $1.1 million from foreign investments and $54,000 from the sale of 12,000 shares of Dreyer's Ice Cream.
Among the investments, the report also showed Corzine still owned shares in a plane, a Mexican restaurant and a biotechnology company in New York. He also held investments in apartment developments in Arizona and Texas, Dutch and German banks and a partnership that operates warehouses in the Dallas and Houston areas. ” (Howlett, Star-Ledger)
MAYBE MCCULOUGH’S SENSE OF HUMOR RESONATES WITH VOTERS
“An internal campaign poll obtained by PoliticsNJ.com shows the second district state Senate race in a statistical dead heat, with Republicans leading in the contest for two Assembly seats.
The poll, which was conducted by McLaughlin & Associates, shows 41.7% of voters either voting for Democrat Jim Whelan or leaning towards him, while 41.3% picked Republican James “Sonny” McCullough.
In the Assembly contest, with respondents picking a combination of their first and second choices, Republican John Amodeo has a commanding lead over the pack, with 36%. The next preference was for Vince Polistana, with 28.7%, followed by Joe Wilkins with 27% and Blondell Spellman with 26.3%.McCullough and Amodeo confirmed that the poll was from their campaign.
“It actually surprised me, because about a month and a half ago they had me ten points down, so that’s a pretty nice game,” said McCullough. “We’ve been doing a grassroots campaign and I think it’s paying off.”
John Amodeo said that he would not let his lead get to his head.
“I’m excited, but it’s no excuse to lay down. We’re just going to continue in the vein where we are right now,” said Amodeo.
Whelan’s campaign, however, doubted the accuracy of the poll. According to Whelan spokesman Raiyan Syed, their own polling tells a different story.
“We’re confident in what our polling is showing — that we’re running strong and running ahead. It’s no wonder the Republicans have such a long track record of losing elections in New Jersey every single year,” said Syed. “It appears another one of their polls is straight out of story-book land.”” (Friedman, PoliticsNJ.com)
THIS IS THE EQUIVALENT OF GOING ON LARRY KING
“The message was urgent: Gov. Corzine wants to chat ASAP.
Why me, and why now? You never know with politicians. My hunch? The guv's had a run of bad press, and he's looking for a little love.
Except if he reads my column, he would know better. Hugs for anyone but my daughter and Granny are not dispensed freely.
Officially, Corzine came to Camden pitching a plan to fight crime with new ideas and no new money.
He says all the right things about the power of summer jobs for inner-city teenagers and programs to keep ex-cons from slipping. But when I ask if he'll require companies with state contracts to do their part, Corzine cringes.
"I don't know about 'squeezing,' " he says, preferring a softer verb: "We like to encourage..”
Is there a weaker word in the English language than encourage?
Two years ago, the self-made gazillionaire who bought himself the most powerful governorship in the nation talked tougher. He actually used his inaugural address to smack the scoundrels who made New Jersey the corruption capital of the U.S.
Now, Gov. "Hold Me Accountable" is suggesting he may have overreached, thinking he could "change the way government does business."
"You're going to say this is flip, but democracy is a messy exercise," Corzine says halfway through a 40-minute interview last week.
That is flip. I'm only saying it because he told me to.” (Yant Kinney, Philadelphia Inquirer)
MORAN ON THE BERGEN CIVIL WAR
“Democrats in Bergen County are fighting a civil war that pits a small band of reformers against one of the richest and most powerful machines in the state.
The surprise is that the reformers, led by Sen. Loretta Weinberg, are winning. They have survived every attempt by the machine to knock them off.
And now they are switching to offense by unmasking the greedy habits of their own party's leadership — an insiders club that is enriching itself with big public contracts.
Weinberg's first exhibit is Joe Ferriero, the county chairman, whose law firm has earned $4.5million over the last five years in contracts with the Passaic Valley Sewerage Authority. Ferriero is also on staff, earning $53,000 and a nice pension……….
This, of course, is driving the machine Democrats insane. Weinberg and her merry band have turned from the barricades to fire backward at their own officers. It is a mutiny, plain and simple.”…….
So far, most Democrats are watching and waiting. Some whisper to Weinberg in the hallways of the Statehouse, encouraging her. But they won't stick out their own necks.
"Too many of them, their goal is to get re-elected," Weinberg says. "But there's got to be the next goal — what do you do when you get there?" (Moran, Star-Ledger)
HILL MUST SHARE AN ACCOUNTANT WITH ELLEN KARCHER
“Vernon W. Hill II, the controversial founder of Commerce Bank, is well-known as an entrepreneur, a fabulously successful businessman and the owner of the biggest residence in New Jersey.
But he has captured less attention in another role — as a farmer.
Because Hill harvests seven cords of wood each year, he is granted "farmland assessment" for the 43 acres that surround his palatial estate. He pays only $295.98 in property taxes per year on the land around his six-bedroom, 10-bath home off East Main Street.
"It doesn't seem fair. He probably has people who can find all the little loopholes that ordinary people can't find," township homeowner Christine Magda, 39, said.
The farmland assessment saves Hill about $60,000 per year, said Dennis DeKlerk, the new tax assessor who has been on the job since July. Hill certainly doesn't get away scot-free. He pays $270,331 in property taxes for the 7.21 acres where his home sits.
But some homeowners say Hill should pay for all the land he owns, without loopholes. The farmland tax break he is getting for his 43 acres at 11 Featherbed Lane is an issue because the town is undergoing a property re-evaluation this year.” (Guenther, Asbury Park Press)
ONLY IN ATLANTIC CITY CAN YOU BECOME THE DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE’S SARGEANT AT ARMS DESPITE CALLING YOURSELF JIHAD AND PULLING A KNIFE ON SOMEONE
“ATLANTIC CITY – The head of Atlantic City's Democratic Party hopes tonight's meeting to pick replacement mayoral candidates goes smoothly, but he is resigned to the fact that chaos and squabbles have plagued the party before.
"We move on, but we move on together. We need to stop that mentality these guys have and to come together and compromise," Atlantic City Democratic Committee Chairman Scott Evans said. "Wishful thinking, but I hope it happens."
The city committee has had problems before.
Disgraced ex-City Council President Craig Callaway's rise to power included the city committee chairmanship.
June 2002 elections stood to dramatically increase the number of Callaway supporters on the committee. But in a meeting shortly afterward two party members and Callaway exchanged words, then harassment charges, when Callaway threatened to "slap the gray" out of then-71-year-old Pierre Hollingsworth's head.
In a separate dispute, witnesses said Callaway's brother Ronald, who is also known as Jihad Q. Abdullah, and city resident Elijah Steele pulled knives on each other. Abdullah now enforces order as one of the committee's two sergeants-at-arms……….
The 52 Atlantic City members of the county Democratic committee, commonly called the city committee, meet at 7 p.m. tonight in the United Auto Workers union hall, 470 N. Albany Ave. They are expected to name three candidates to replace Levy.
City Council, which meets Oct. 24, has until Nov. 9 to approve a pick. The person serves until the November 2008 election is certified…………
f council rejects all the names, the process gets murky. The city party seems to be able to unilaterally choose a city Democrat. If it fails, then council can apparently pick whomever it wishes. If both sides fail to make a selection, then the matter apparently goes to emergency special elections.
Evans said party members would be asked to vote for three separate people. Casting three votes for one person is a not allowed.
"It comes down to this: Do you have the majority or do you not have the majority?" Evans said. "It's going to be fair. Either you have the support or you don't have the support. That's the way it is."” (Harper, Press of Atlantic City)
NO SURPRISE HERE
“With legislative elections just three weeks off, state Democrats are sitting on a pile of campaign cash as they scramble to keep majorities in both houses.
The latest reports filed with the Election Law Enforcement Commission yesterday by the two par ties' statewide fundraising commit tees showed the Democrats with nearly $5.6 million in the bank, more than triple the Republican stash of just $1.5 million.
Another set of reports last week showed individual Democratic candidates for the state Senate and Assembly have a total of $8.3 million available for the campaign's final three weeks, compared with $5.4 million for GOP candidates.
Much of their cash came from the so-called "Big Six" funds run by the two parties and their leaders in the two houses, whose reports were filed yesterday. Of the six, the Senate Democratic Majority reported the biggest horde with $3.7 million; the corresponding Republican committee had $779,231. Senate Democrats are trying to keep or expand a 22-to-18 seat edge in the upper house.
In the lower house, where Democrats are trying to hold or add to a 50-to-30 seat majority, the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee announced it has $1.3 million in its coffers. Its Republican counterpart had about half that much.
During July, August and September, the Democratic commit tees spent $3 million to boost its candidates, while Republicans spent $1.4 million.
Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D- Union), chairman of the Democratic State Committee, said his party is using its windfall to battle for seats in traditionally Republican counties, including Cape May, Atlantic, Monmouth and Burlington. "We're aggressive in dollars. We're aggressive in red counties," he said. "We're focused on growing as a party.” (Donohue, Star-Ledger)
CORZINE’S WARNING SHOT
“With Halloween just around the corner, the governor of New Jersey is sending a shiver through the state.
He may not have been dressed the part, but Gov. Corzine paid a grim-reaper-like visit to members of his cabinet two weeks ago with a foreboding message that went something like this:
The state will be short more than $3 billion next year. Go cut your budgets.
Corzine's forecast – nearly $1 billion steeper than his treasury officials anticipated earlier this year – appears to be part of an emerging trend: New Jersey is one of at least seven states whose bean counters have begun to sense deficits for the coming year.
Rhode Island's Republican governor yesterday announced more than 1,000 layoffs to close a projected $200 million gap.
But the ominous order from the usually tight-lipped Corzine is widely viewed as a political move as much as one potentially caused by a sluggish national economy.
Observers say Corzine's message appears intended to prepare taxpayers and lawmakers for a fierce budget battle that will determine whether the onetime Wall Street heavyweight can, as promised, turn around his chronically troubled state.
"I think if the governor is serious – and I believe he is – this is his chance to make his mark," said Philip Kirschner, president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association and a longtime Trenton lobbyist.
"This is it," Kirschner said. "This is his last shot."” (Panataris, Philadelphia Inquirer)
OBAMA COMES TO NEWARK
“Presidential candidate Barack Obama will be making a campaign stop at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark on Monday, officials said.
Obama, who is trailing New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, is opening an office in West Orange in anticipation of the state's Feb. 5 primary. Officials said they hope to open other offices in the state.
The Illinois senator will be joined on the stage by Newark Mayor Cory Booker. The doors to NJPAC will open at 4:15 p.m.
General admission to the event is $25. Student admission is $15. Passes to the event can be reserved at www.barackobama.com.” (Star-Ledger)
HE’S NOT GOING ANYWHERE
“U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., has $3.6 million for his re-election bid, if he chooses to run in 2008, according to the latest campaign filings.
Lautenberg, who's currently unopposed, raised nearly $909,000 from July 1 to Sept. 30, according to a summary of records he filed with the Federal Election Commission this week.
His campaign also has debts of nearly $2.1 million, carried over from previous quarters and elections cycles. Additionally, his campaign returned $18,000 in donations, the records show.
Steve DeMicco, Lautenberg's campaign director, said the debt doesn't hinder the re-election bid. He added that the refunds were necessary because some donors contributed more than the law allows. ” (AP)
BETWEEN THIS AND THE POOP TOMATOES, THERE’S A FIXATION WITH FECES IN THE HOBOKEN CITY COUNCIL FIGHT
“The firestorm that erupted after a picture was snapped of 4th Ward City Council candidate Dawn Zimmer continued to burn yesterday, with the shutterbug – who is related to a worker for a rival campaign – accusing her of not picking up after her dog, a charge Zimmer vehemently denies.
Matthew Calicchio, 18, filed a simple assault complaint against Zimmer alleging that she grabbed his wrist and tried to grab his camera when he took her photo Friday while she was walking her dog. Hoboken Municipal Prosecutor Michael Mongiello said yesterday he had not yet seen the complaint and did not know if Zimmer will be prosecuted.
The initial police report was filed Friday and the complaint in Municipal Court was filed Monday.
Reached yesterday, Calicchio, who said he likes to take pictures of politicians, said he spotted Zimmer near First and Madison streets at around 5:15 p.m. Friday and decided to take her picture because her dog defecated on the sidewalk and she didn't clean it up.
Zimmer said this is not true and Calicchio could not provide the Journal with any photo that showed Zimmer's dog pooping. ” (Hack, Jersey Journal)
IN DISTRICT 2
“Democratic Assembly candidates Blondell Spellman and Joseph Wilkins tackled questions from The Press of Atlantic City editorial board Tuesday ranging from pensions collected by part-time public officials, their opponents' shortfalls and their plans to chip away at a structural state budget deficit of as much as $3.5 billion.
Spellman, a casino attorney, suggested starting each state agency with a zero budget and "make them explain every dollar they are requesting from the state." The political newcomer also hopes to establish a new way of looking at vacant public jobs to trim salary costs.
"State employees that are retiring or leaving for some reason, those jobs (should) not be automatically filled," she said. "There (needs to) be a long, hard look at whether the position needs to be filled or whether those responsibilities can be assumed within the existing workforce."
Wilkins, a former labor leader, reiterated consolidating public jobs, saying that some agencies in Trenton have started focusing on that, including the Labor Department.
"My position was consolidated with another assistant commissioner's, which is exactly what I would have done," he said.” (Clark, Press of Atlantic City)
POLITICS NJ: SO WHO IS STEPPING UP TO HELP YOU WIN IN SOMERSET THIS YEAR? ELIA PELIOS: WELL, CLEARLY, THE GOP
“Somerset County hasn’t elected a Democratic Freeholder since 1979, but Democrats think that this year they just might be able to capitalize on Republican misfortune and pull it off.
This year, two women from the small town of Green Brook are battling it out to see whether the county’s five-member freeholder board will remain all Republican, or whether it will be joined by a lone Democratic voice for the first time since 1982, after Christie Whitman took the seat from Michael Ceponis. The Democrats have fielded Green Brook Committeewoman Melonie Marano, while Republican’s have tapped the town’s mayor, Patricia Walsh.
emocrats hope that a local parks commission scandal, a national anti-Republican climate and a county that’s changing demographically will combine and propel the candidacy of Marano to the freeholder seat being vacated by Assembly candidate Denise Coyle. But Republicans say they’ve created a legacy of good government, and have even brought in Rudy Giuliani to rally support for local candidates.
The Democrats are not without reason to hope. Last year, Democratic Freeholder candidate Louise Wilson came within 1,716 votes of unseating Republican incumbent Jack Ciaterelli. The other Democrat running, Dennis Sullivan, was another 1,313 votes behind. And in 2004, Somerset was one of two counties in the state where Kerry did better than Gore did in 2000, although he failed to carry it.
And that was all before the scandal over the county’s parks commission erupted.” (Friedman, PoliticsNJ.com)
JOCKEYING IN BAYONNE
“Bayonne city officials say Business Administrator Terrence Malloy may have the numbers behind him to become the city's interim mayor.
City Councilmen Theodore Connolly and John Halecky have both said they back Malloy as an "apolitical" candidate with the financial knowledge to lead the city through a fiscal crisis.
Councilmen Gary LaPelusa and Anthony Chiappone have varying opinions, but Malloy fits neither LaPelusa's nor Chiappone's mayoral criteria.
So that leaves Council President and acting Mayor Vincent Lo Re Jr., who has been tight-lipped about whom he might nominate or support at tonight's City Council meeting. He could not be reached yesterday for comment.
But Lo Re has said he is leaning toward Malloy, according to a city official who spoke with him recently but would only speak on condition of anonymity.
Another city official, who also recently spoke with Lo Re, said the acting mayor's family has asked him not to make another mayoral bid, arguing that there is little reason to want the position given Bayonne's current fiscal condition. ” (Judd, Jersey Journal)
“INTERIM TERM OF HELL”
“Welcome Mayor Terrence Malloy of Bayonne to an interim term of hell. Hope this is not premature, because there were last-minute talks scheduled at yesterday evening's fundraising event for Hudson County Freeholder Doreen DiDomenico and at a breakfast today that includes former Mayor Joseph Doria.
To a minor surprise of a few of us, Malloy is expected to be voted in this evening to fill Doria's shoes. Doria left the sinking city to command a lifeboat as commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.”
Why Malloy? It was the interim choice of the last administration. As of yesterday afternoon, Councilman Ted Connolly did not have the pull or the votes and, surprisingly, the bigger hurdle had been Councilman Vincent Lo Re Jr., who wants to stay beyond the acting mayor designation. Unless Lo Re can engineer a deal with Councilman Anthony Chiappone, he will have to go along with Malloy, since the city business administrator/chief financial officer appears to have the support of Connolly and Councilman John Halecky.
One possible last-minute bump for the Malloy bandwagon could be a deal – that might be made after this column is put to bed – at the DiDomenico function. The effort is for Lo Re to win the majority votes for interim mayor with Chiappone getting the nod for council president. Chances are this isn't going to happen after today's breakfast when Lo Re is made to feel like a kingmaker.
The mayoral drama takes place tonight in City Hall.” (Torres, Jersey Journal)
PRETTY BIG MONEY FOR A CITY COUNCIL RACE
“ATLANTIC CITY – The first round of campaign finance forms shows that this year's City Council candidates may spend tens of thousands of dollars to land a seat on the resort's governing body. While files are incomplete, the candidates raised a cumulative $103,141, while spending $77,578 for the Nov. 6 contest.
Unendorsed Democrat Ytit Chauhan is also running in that race, but he signed forms indicated he planned to spend no more than $3,500.
Layman's file shows he raised $46,935, but already churned through $45,233, leaving him with just $1,702.
Layman is apparently going all out to defeat Mancuso, who heads City Council's influential Revenue and Finance Committee. Mancuso has handily dispatched several challengers while representing the 6th Ward since November 1992.” (Harper, Press of Atlantic City)
“A group trying to become the voice of the state's taxpayers, whose concerns are often overpowered in Trenton by the hired guns of special interests, gave failing tax grades to the vast majority of the Legislature in a report issued Tuesday.
The New Jersey Taxpayers' Association gave only 11 of 81 incumbent legislative candidates a passing grade — 65 out of 100 possible points — using a weighted score of votes on eight pieces of legislation that impacted taxing and spending. Half the points involved the Legislature's increased property tax rebates and the use of an increased sales tax to help pay for them, a plan the group opposes.
"We're looking for reform," Association President Jerry Cantrell said. "Relief is taking a starving person to McDonald's and buying them a Happy Meal. Reform is really putting him on the path to being able to survive on their own. That's what we're looking for, not these games and tricks."
The grades were largely incomplete. The group says it inadvertently omitted 12 Assembly members who are running for the Senate because they are not marked by the state Division of Elections as incumbents. Seven of those — including some in the state's most competitive districts — appeared to have passed the group's standards.
Cantrell said the group will tally scores for these lawmakers and post their report cards online later this week.
Of those officially honored, Democrats outnumbered Republicans eight to three. Among those Assembly members seeking to move to the Senate, five Republicans and two Democrats appeared to qualify.
State Sen. James "Sonny" McCullough, R-Atlantic, scored a zero, but he was only present for one of the eight votes because he was appointed to the Senate this year to replace Sen. William Gormley, who resigned from office early.
Assemblyman Richard Merkt, R-Morris, had the highest score, 75.
"It's nice to be recognized as being a taxpayer's advocate," Merkt said. "But in my view, every legislator should be a taxpayer's advocate."” (Volpe, Gannett)
IN DISTRICT 30
“The candidates for the 30th District state Senate seat agreed Tuesday that the state should not increase tolls as a result of any "monetization" of toll roads to reduce state debt. Beyond that, they agreed on little else.
But both incumbent Republican Sen. Robert W. Singer and Democratic challenger Steven Morlino jabbed each other on the same issue during an appearance before the Asbury Park Press editorial board: Each said the other candidate holds a job that conflicts with a role as a state senator.
Singer, Morlino charged, can't fairly represent voters in the 30th District, as his loyalties are split between his state Senate seat, his elected office as a committeeman in Lakewood, his chairmanship of the Lakewood Municipal Utilities Authority, and his role as vice president of corporate relations for Community and Kimball medical centers.
Morlino, Singer charged, couldn't fairly vote on school funding issues, because he works as head of facilities for the Newark Public Schools system. The district had $910 million in revenue in the 2005-06 school year, of which 72 percent was funded by the state.” (Prado Roberts, Asbury Park Press)
IS M. CLAIRE FRENCH A POLITICIAN?
“Monmouth County Clerk M. Claire French says she is involved in one of the few election races where party labels and partisanship are irrelevant.
"I'm fortunate. A county clerk is a constitutional officer, so I answer directly to the people. Politics don't enter into my life, and I'm not dependent on it," said French, a Republican.
Amod Choudhary, the Democrat opposing French, said he begs to differ. He said French's role in the GOP's controversial screening of prospective candidates earlier this year "is proof that she is part of the entrenched leadership."
The screening committee, which consisted of about two-dozen prominent Republicans, including French, was initially set up to interview candidates who agreed to terms set by party Chairman Adam Puharic. The rules had called for background checks of candidates, a $1,000 investigation fee and a contract restraining candidates who did not get the party line from running off the line in the primary.
"I was asked to be on the committee by my political party and given a voice in choosing the best candidates," French said. "Different chairmen have different ways of screening candidates. This was the chairman's way of screening."
Choudhary said the episode showed French "is a politician."” (Jordan, Asbury Park Press)
CANDIDATES ACTUALLY TALK ABOUT ISSUES… AND IT’S BORING
“GLASSBORO — Those running for state Assembly in the 3rd District this year agreed with each other on most of the questions asked at a debate here Tuesday evening.
The six candidates vying for two seats were grilled on topics including healthcare, rising taxes and development……
Democrat incumbents John Burzichelli and Douglas Fisher, Republicans Phil Donohue and Jeffrey Stepler, and Green Party candidates Margie MacWilliams and Charles Woodrow took questions from a team of panelists and from each other during the 90-minute event. The Democrats touted their records as incumbents and promised to continue working for South Jersey.
The Democrats touted their records as incumbents and promised to continue working for South Jersey.
"You have to have experienced people in government," Fisher said.
The Republicans both residents of Salem County challenged some of their opponents' decisions.
"They talk about these things, but they don't do anything," Donohue said.”
“Frederick J. Huffenus wants to leave his heart in New Jersey and move to South Carolina.
Huffenus, 63, a New Jersey native, is awaiting a heart transplant. When he gets it, the retired Toms River police officer and his wife plan to move south to save money in retirement.
"I love New Jersey," Huffenus said. "New Jersey has everything I want. . . . But I want that (financial) peace of mind. You're penalized for living here all your life, you work hard and save all your life, and then you're taxed."
Huffenus is among the half of state residents who would like to move out of state, a new Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey newspapers poll shows.
The poll comes on the heals of a Rutgers University report last week that confirmed a sharp increase in the number of people leaving the state. That report said the state lost $680 million in tax revenue last year as a result……..
Top destination choices were Florida (15 percent) and North Carolina (14 percent), while 21 percent cited other southern or Mid-Atlantic states.
Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said the results show that many residents have been actively thinking of moving.
"All it takes is a good job offer, a little money set aside, and a lot of people would leave this state," Murray said. "All that holds them is family ties. Those will be strong, but (if) not for that, many people would be voting with their feet."” (Method, Gannett)
“WE’RE GOING TO DELAWARE”
“Many South Jersey residents have begun devising an exit strategy as property taxes and housing costs continue their relentless climb.
"I'm definitely leaving," William Mallory, 59, of Burlington Township, said. "Taxes, car insurance — it's basically the whole cost-of-living situation."…………
But state Sen. John Adler, D-Camden, said he doubts the accuracy of poll results showing half of state residents eager to leave.
"I'm not sure I believe that number," Adler said. "I know many people in many of the towns I represent love the quality of life in New Jersey and appreciate the quality of the public schools."
Acknowledging many residents complain about property taxes, Adler agreed the state must move aggressively to tackle school-funding issues that drive up local levies.
For Kathleen Deal of Glassboro, those moves can't come soon enough.
"When we retire, we're going to leave the state of New Jersey because you can't afford to live here," said Deal, 57, an executive secretary. "We're going to Delaware."” (Greenblatt, Courier-Post)
IN MORRIS COUNTY
“When it comes to money, it's the same old story this year in Morris County politics. Republican candidates have the dough and Democrats have almost none.
Three veteran GOP legislators in safe districts have war chests of more than $100,000. Assemblyman Alex DeCroce leads the pack at $260,000 to $141,270 for Assemblyman Joseph Pennacchio and $122,311 for state Sen. Anthony Bucco, according to recent filings.
Republican legislative candidates in the 26th District of Morris and northern Passaic counties have a combined $417,000 compared with $24,000 for a trio of Democrats. That means they can buy more ads, send out more mailers, put up more signs, buy more billboards and do whatever it takes to make their names and messages known.
It's a pretty big obstacle to overcome, conceded Morris County Democratic Party Chairman Lewis Candura, who rubbed elbows last week with Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D-Union), chairman of the Democratic State Committee, and Gov. Jon Corzine at a Democratic fundraiser in Morristown. But he doesn't expect much of that money will come his way, to a county long dominated by Republicans.
The flush-with-cash Morris Republicans are funneling much of their extra money to GOP campaigns across the state and county. DeCroce, for example, has given to Republicans in Monmouth and Burlington counties. ” (Ragonese, Star-Ledger)
“Niceties have been dispensed with in Kenilworth's mayoral and council election campaigns this time around.
Political campaign signs were relegated to borough gateways in recent years, but now they are positioned throughout town.
The introduction of more signs, which began last year and escalated this fall, has come with charges from both sides of the placards being vandalized or removed.
In the past, Kenilworth's Senior Center hosted a candidates forum. But a debate was deferred this year with Barbara Morison, a senior and the perennial host of the event, now a Democratic council candidate.
Republicans last month challenged Democrats to a debate at the Kenilworth Veterans Center, instead. But Democrats said GOP supporters attacked them at last year's debate, and they do not wish to facilitate a recurrence.
"If they want to say we are running away from a debate, it's their call," Kenilworth Democratic Committee Chairwoman Carmela Colosimo said.” (Jett, Star-Ledger)
“The son of Summit Councilman and GOP mayoral candidate Michael Vernotico is facing charges of driving while intoxicated and assaulting a police officer after being arrested Saturday in New Providence.
Borough police charged Ryan Vernotico, 19, with kicking Cpl. Stephen Drown. He is also facing charges of criminal mischief for kicking a hole in the wall of the booking room, said Capt. Wayne Maurer. The councilman said that while his son has had problems, the family thought the teen had turned the corner.
Vernotico, a former Millburn Township committeeman, is seeking to unseat Mayor Jordan Glatt.” (Gluck, Star-Ledger)
“The Morris County Republican Committee has sued the town of Dover.
The GOP argues that the town's November ballot incorrectly indicates that aldermen would start serving four-year terms as of January, if voters on Nov. 6 approve a referendum for term increases.
As printed, Dover's ballot lists the candidates running for town board of aldermen seats in the four wards and indicates the terms are for "two or four years." The "or" is because a separate public question on the ballot asks voters to decide whether the aldermen's terms should be increased from the current two years to four.
The town believes the longer terms would begin in January; the party group says the four-year terms wouldn't begin until 2009.” (Wright, Daily Record)