Republicans slug it out in Burlington County, first Bid Rig convicts sentenced, two Pleasantville school board members plead guilty accepting bribes, unions circumvent contribution limits in giving to Van Drew, Lyndhurst party defections, Delle Donna remains mayor of Guttenberg, Norcross talks to The Times.
LORETTA WEINBERG OF THE SOUTH
“State Sen. Diane Allen fired off an angry letter to the Burlington County Republican municipal chairs on Sunday, criticizing former GOP Chairman Glen Paulsen for meddling with her campaign in what appears to be a rift in the county organization.
In the letter, which Allen did not publicize, she wrote that Paulsen had, unbeknownst to her and her running mates, gone behind her back to her treasurer and essentially taken control of her campaign funds…..
Upon learning about it, Allen said she asked for a full audit of the accounts, which her then–treasurer, Charles Lambiase, refused to do without Paulsen’s permission. Allen said that she then tried to change treasurers and move her campaign funds to a new bank account, only to meet with resistance from Paulsen. She hired a lawyer and, after a month of legal wrangling, won control of her campaign’s $150,000.
Allen was particularly upset that Paulsen had given the impression at a meeting of municipal chairs that the party had transferred $150,000 to her campaign, making some potential donors think that the money they gave to the party had made its way to her……..
“Glenn Paulsen is not working in the best interests of the organization,” wrote Allen. “His actions have divided the county and alienated many, including contributors, who once used to be actively involved in the BCRC.”……..
Paulsen, who holds no official title with the organization but has taken an active role in it, said that Allen’s letter is not indicative of a split in the party.
“I don’t see that as a party split. What I see is that she doesn’t understand the workings of the party,” said Paulsen, who argued that the county organization helped Allen raise money.
Paulsen said that he has known Allen since high school, and recruited her for her 1993 Assembly campaign. He said that Allen was angry over not getting financial support that he said was promised to her by Mike Warner, the former Chairman. Paulsen said that the party’s first priorities were its freeholder and sheriff races, and that any other money would go to the more competitive contest in district eight – not hers, where internal polling indicates a 58 percent lead over her Democratic opponent, Rich Dennison.” (Friedman, PoliticsNJ.com)
Paulsen, a lawyer and a former Burlington County GOP chairman, said Allen was leading in her 7th District race and he wanted to shift money to other candidates, such as the 8th District where Republican-turned-Democrat Francis Bodine is fighting Republican Philip Haines for a state Senate seat.
Bauer said Allen and her running mates “only sought funds raised by them for their own campaign.” Paulsen countered that the money was raised in conjunction with the county party and could be used for all candidates.
“If Diane Allen thinks I’m such a bad person,” Paulsen said, “why doesn’t she return the check for $7,800 I wrote to her in the primary election?”” (Guenther, Gannett)
MODELS OF CORRUPTION
“As far as corrupt public officials go, Anthony Palughi was a model of cooperation, federal prosecutors said.
When FBI agents confronted him in 2004, he immediately flipped and began wearing a wire to help nab others in an undercover sting operation that spread across Monmouth County.
The stress from it almost cost him his life. He attempted suicide midway through a trial in which he testified against another official.
So when the silver-haired 71-year-old showed up in federal court yesterday, he was hoping that praise from prosecutors would spare him any jail time. But a federal judge sentenced the former county bridges superintendent to eight months behind bars.
“A term of incarceration is warranted even at his age, so that others understand there is no such thing as a walk, even if you cooperate extensively, even if you make a suicide attempt,” said U.S. District Judge William Martini, sitting in Newark.
Still, Palughi was given substantial credit for his cooperation; he had been facing between 24 and 30 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines. ” (Whelan, Star-Ledger)
Paul Zambrano, 51, the former mayor of West Long Branch who was swept up in the FBI’s anti-corruption Bid Rig investigation, was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison today.
Zambrano was the second Bid Rid defendant sentenced today. Anthony Palughi, 71, the former head of the Monmouth County bridge department, was sentenced to eight months in prison this morning.
Zambrano faced 30 to 36 months in prison, but received a reduced sentence from U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martini because the mayor cooperated with federal authorities in the Bid Rig probe. (Cullinane, Asbury Park Press)
Former Keyport Mayor John J. Merla, 45, was sentenced to 22 months in prison
today for extorting bribes from an FBI witness.
Prior to sentence, Merla apologized to the people of Keyport and his family for his crime.
Merla received the stiffest sentence of the three Bid Rig defendants sentenced today. He was also fined $20,000 by U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martini.
Merla had faced 24 to 30 months in prison.” (Cullinane, Asbury Park Press)
DROPPING LIKE FLIES
“Two more of the New Jersey public officials snared last month in a massive FBI political-corruption sting pleaded guilty yesterday to charges of attempted extortion.
Jayson Adams, a former president of the Pleasantville school board, and Rafael Velez, a member of the board, entered their pleas in federal court in Camden.
They joined former Assemblyman Alfred E. Steele of Paterson, who pleaded guilty to the charge last week. Twelve people were arrested in the sting, including 11 public officials, all but one of them Democrats.
Five sat on the problem-plagued Pleasantville school board, in Atlantic County.
Adams, 27, admitted accepting $62,200 in bribes in 2006, and said he had arranged payments to Velez and three other board members in exchange for steering roofing and insurance-brokerage contracts.
The other three members – Maurice Callaway, James Pressley and James McCormick – have pleaded not guilty.” (Graham, Philadelphia Inquirer)
MAYBE THEY MEANT TO GIVE THE MONEY TO HIS CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGN
“Union groups and the Camden County Democratic Committee effectively circumvented campaign contribution limits in the 2007 and 2005 elections by funneling money through the Cape May County Democratic Organization to Assemblymen Jeff Van Drew and his running mates, state campaign finance reports show.
The Cape May County committee passed $74,000 in two union contributions to state Senate candidate Van Drew, Assemblyman Nelson Albano and Assembly candidate Matthew Milam, according to reports filed as recently as Monday with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.
The unions also sent $59,400 directly to the candidates, bringing the total funding to date to $133,400. State law caps direct contributions from the two unions to the legislative tickets at $98,400 for the primary and general elections combined.
All but $3,000 of the Cape May County committee’s contributions during the most recent six-month reporting period came from the two unions. Only one local candidate – a council candidate in Avalon – received money from the county committee during that period, a $250 contribution.
The transactions revealed in the recent finance reports prompted The Press of Atlantic City to review earlier contributions to the Cape May County Democratic Organization. Those documents showed that Van Drew and Albano also benefited from $400,000 in loans given by the Camden County Democratic Committee to the Cape May County organization in the final week of the 2005 state Assembly election. The loans went immediately to a media consultant in Philadelphia to fund a last-minute television ad blitz for the Van Drew and Albano campaign.
Had the Camden County Democrats loaned the money directly to the candidates, the amount would have been capped at $32,800, according to state law.
Van Drew and Cape May County Democratic Party Chairman Jim Pickering said no laws were broken and denied the donations to the county party were meant to circumvent contribution limits.
“I’m sure it doesn’t violate the law,” Van Drew said. “That’s why everything is reported and done in an open way. Nothing is hidden or kept from public scrutiny. … Whether the law is insufficient or not, that’s another issue.”” (Froonjian, Press of Atlantic City)
FERRIERO TAKES LYNDHURST
“Lyndhurst’s entire governing body switched from Republican to Democrat on Tuesday, a rare move that had one party crying good riddance and the other flexing its political muscles.
The realignment was another step by Democratic power brokers to bolster their pull in southern Bergen County, where many in the party have been criticized for supporting the foundering EnCap project.
The switch had been planned for months by Mayor Richard DiLascio, but the news conference announcing it came just two weeks before state Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Wood-Ridge, is up for reelection. Sarlo has faced criticism from many, including Republican challenger Michael Guarino of Lyndhurst, for his early support of EnCap, the 2,500-unit housing.
Sarlo said the announcement had nothing to do with his campaign. “This is a validation of all the work the Democrats have done in Lyndhurst and Bergen County,” he said. Sarlo has recently criticized EnCap for financial mismanagement and failing to come through on promises.
But DiLascio said the announcement had clear implications for Sarlo.
“It’s certainly a message to influence the electorate and show support to Senator Sarlo” as well as to his running mates, Assemblymen Gary Schaer and Fred Scalera, DiLascio said.
Township Commissioners Robert Giangeruso, Brian Haggerty, Thomas DiMaggio and Joseph Abruscato joined DiLascio in the switch. Also, more than half the Lyndhurst Republican committee pledged to turn Democrat.
The move is especially unusual since Lyndhurst is a non-partisan town where there is no primary election and candidates for municipal government are not designated by a party on the ballot. Municipal elections are held in the spring…………
Seventeen town governments from Alpine to Rutherford have flipped from a Republican majority to Democratic control since 1998, when Ferriero took the helm of the party.
Democrats, once the minority party in most Bergen town halls, now control 56 percent of partisan towns, and Republicans 43 percent.
“It’s a deafening blow to the Republican Party,” Ferriero said of the Lyndhurst switch.” (Fallon, Bergen Record)
NO DEAL AT ALL, I SWEAR
“Lyndhurst mayor and newly minted Democrat Richard DiLascio wants to clear the air.
He didn’t leave the Republican Party because Democratic Chairman Joseph Ferriero cut a deal with him, he said. He didn’t leave because he wanted to join the winning team. To hear DiLascio tell it, the county’s Republican party left him.
“I’ve been the chairman of this party in Lyndhurst for 20 years, a member for 30 years and in all that time there was always an opportunity to have discussions about different things facing the organization,” said DiLascio. “But lately the organization lost its focus- there’s nothing there but this totally irrelevant agenda that doesn’t meet its constituency’s needs.”
DiLascio reminisced about the moderate leaders who he said were alienated by the party: Congresswoman Marge Roukema; former County Clerk William “Pat” Schuber; former Freeholder Lisa Randall and County Clerk Kathleen Donovan.
“All of a sudden they were being called RINOS. They were out of step. Out of step is what the party is now,” said DiLascio.” (Friedman, PoliticsNJ.com)
MAYBE HE GAVE THEM ALL EXPENSIVE PET SUPPLIES
“GUTTENBERG – Mayor David Delle Donna defiantly told a divided audience Monday night that he will not step down in the wake of his indictment last month on corruption charges.
At the first Town Council meeting since his indictment last month, Delle Donna entered the room to cheers by roughly half of the standing-room-only crowd of about 100 people.
The embattled mayor confidently told the audience that the Constitution is on his side.
“If the presumption of innocence means anything, it means that I should continue to serve in my official position pending the outcome of the trial,” Delle Donna said, reading from a statement. “To do anything less would be inconsistent with our Constitution.”
Mario Falato, a Guttenberg Democratic committeeman, asked for the council’s support in demanding the mayor’s resignation.
“We cannot understand why this council has not requested that Mayor Delle Donna resign,” Falato said.
Council members approached after the meeting refused to comment on allegations in the indictment that Delle Donna and his wife, Anna, who has been serving on the town Planning Board since 2002, diverted campaign contributions meant for council members, as well as his own.” (Hack, Jersey Journal)
“When voters in Cape May and Atlantic City select two state senators next month, in all likelihood they will base their decisions on whether they personally like the candidates. Property taxes and tourism may also figure into their decisions.
On the surface, there is a simple mathematical explanation for such speculation. If a Democratic challenger can defeat at least one Republican incumbent in this election, in which every seat is up for grabs, then Mr. Codey and his party can afford to lose one of two other hotly contested races and retain control of the Senate, which now has 22 Democrats and 18 Republicans.
Mr. Codey is not very concerned about the Republicans, however. He is more wary, some party members say, of his fellow Democrats in South Jersey. They are allies of a longtime rival of his: George E. Norcross III, the leader of the Camden County political machine and widely acknowledged to be the most influential power broker in New Jersey.
So in the absence of any statewide race to capture the public’s attention this election season, the vacuum has been filled with speculation about to whom the South Jersey Democrats — who have a significant financial advantage — would be loyal.
Mr. Norcross dismissed that talk as idle speculation.
“I fully expect all of the Democratic senators in South Jersey to support Dick Codey and will encourage them to continue his leadership as Senate president,” he said in a telephone interview on Friday.” (Chen, New York Times)
Then, referring to Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr., who is an ally and business associate of his, Mr. Norcross added, “Joe Roberts and Dick Codey have worked well together for the state and for South Jersey.”
Still, if the candidates loyal to Mr. Norcross were to prevail, they would be in position to channel more state money, for everything from transportation to education, to the southern half of the state, which is far more suburban and less ethnically diverse than northern New Jersey. In addition, they would have more influence over appointments and over redistricting after the 2010 census………….
Mr. Norcross, eager to make inroads in the Republican strongholds of Atlantic City and Cape May, is backing two popular assemblymen who are hoping to move up to the Senate. And with internal polls suggesting the races are close, voters in those areas can expect a barrage of television commercials and campaign fliers between now and Election Day, Nov. 6.” (Chen, New York Times)
GOTTA START THINKING OF MORE SEX OFFENDER JOKES NOW
“Sandra Bolden Cunningham received the nod last night from Democratic Party faithful to serve out the unexpired term of Joseph V. Doria Jr. as state senator from the 31st District.
Bolden Cunningham, 57, steps into a seat once occupied by her late husband, former Jersey City Mayor Glenn D. Cunningham.
The position opened up earlier this month when Gov. Jon Corzine tapped Doria, Bayonne’s former mayor and state senator, to head the state’s Department of Community Affairs.
In a seven-minute meeting held at School 40 in Jersey City, more than 100 Democratic committee members in the 31st District selected Bolden Cunningham to serve out Doria’s term, which ends Dec. 31, without opposition.
“You won’t be sorry,” Bolden Cunningham told the crowd after the vote. “There’s a new day in Trenton. A lot of women are going, and I am going to be there first.” ” (Thorbourne, Jersey Journal)
“The only Jersey City municipal judge charged with fixing tickets not already replaced has been benched by the New Jersey Supreme Court.
On Monday, the state Supreme Court ordered Judge Irwin Rosen “suspended from the performance of his judicial duties.” Rosen took an unpaid leave of absence on Sept. 25.
The other four judges charged with unlawfully disposing of parking tickets on Monday by Attorney General Anne Milgram, including former Chief Judge Wanda Molina, have all been replaced by Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy.
The court’s action eliminates all possibility that Rosen, who is accused of improperly dismissing his own parking ticket, could revoke his requested leave of absence without pay and return to the bench before the matter is adjudicated, a court official said.
Rosen’s attorney, Peter Willis, said his client is accused of dismissing a ticket he was issued for parking in front of a temple on a day the no-parking rule was suspended for a Jewish holiday.
Rosen, 52, faces a charge of third-degree official misconduct, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine. ” (Jersey Journal)
“Barack Obama is starting to look like Hillary Clinton’s next meal.
She holds a huge lead in the polls. She has the establishment support. She has tons of money. And that famous husband of hers, the smartest strategist of this era, is whispering in her ear every night.
Yet, when Obama came to Newark on Monday, the crowd was screaming, students were snapping pictures with cell phones, and even seniors were jumping to their feet and promising to volunteer.
“A lot of people are very excited about him,” said Tamara Taylor, a student at Seton Hall University. “He’s different. And he’s new.”
So despite the long odds, don’t count this man out just yet. Remember that in the early stages of the 2004 race, most experts predicted Howard Dean would win the nomination. Politics is full of surprises………..
In the end, Obama’s appeal is a romantic one. He takes almost all the same policy positions as Clinton, and he promises to get it done without a nasty fight. He wants us to believe he can work political magic.
Clinton is the opposite in many ways. She is not as likable as Obama, and her speeches sound flat and rehearsed compared to his. She has baggage on ethics.
But she is a political pro. She is tested in battle. She knows she’s not going to win over conservative Republicans, but you can be sure she will beat them into submission whenever she can.
If he is the beloved relative who tells a great story at dinner, she is the matriarch who decides what’s on the menu and assigns everyone a seat.
Yes, we all love the storyteller. But after the Bush years, most Democrats are in no mood to search for consensus. They want victory, not compromise.
And so far, at least, Clinton is the one they want to follow into battle.” (Moran, Star-Ledger)
THAT’S AWFULLY BIG OF HIM
“Former Atlantic County Prosecutor Jeffrey S. Blitz recently made a $2,000 contribution to Democratic Assemblyman James Whelan for his state Senate campaign, despite their opposing party affiliation and Whelan’s role in getting Blitz replaced.
“I think he would be a more effective senator than (state Sen. James “Sonny” McCullough),” said Blitz, a Republican, who plans to vote for Whelan on Nov. 6. “I don’t represent anybody, I don’t represent any interest groups. I’m just Jeff Blitz: private citizen.”
“Obviously, throughout this campaign ethics have become an issue, and to have someone with the stature of Jeffrey Blitz and what he brings with his reputation of integrity as a county prosecutor is an honor,” Whelan said.
Whelan chided former state Sen. Bill Gormley in 2006 for making a public recommendation to the governor that Blitz be reappointed to the position. The outcry appeared to be the first public sign that Blitz could be on his way out.
“He opposed me,” Blitz said from his home Tuesday. “For all I know Sonny opposed me. This isn’t personal. It’s about what’s best for the county.” (Clark, Press of Atlantic City)
ONE DAY AFTER ROBERT MCDEVITT’S BROTHER, A FREEHOLDER CANDIDATE, COMPLAINS ABOUT ABSENTEE BALLOTSS
“ATLANTIC CITY – UNITE-HERE Local 54 has embarked on a campaign to encourage some of its Latino and Indian-American members to vote in upcoming state and county elections using absentee ballots, a method widely used and criticized in previous city elections but one that the casino union says will have residents voting who would not otherwise do so.
A team of a dozen union members is knocking on hundreds of doors in Galloway, Absecon and Atlantic City, targeting members whose linguistic and cultural barriers have made them less likely to vote. Union members are speaking with them in Gujarati – the prevailing language in the west Indian state where most of Local 54’s Indian immigrants are from – and Spanish about candidates Local 54 is endorsing and the general voting process.
It is the approximately 15,000-member union’s first full-fledged effort at seeking political influence through the use of absentee ballots, which President Robert McDevitt described as useful in reaching certain immigrant members unfamiliar with voting.
“If the winner gets 50,000 votes and you’re able to convince 500 people to vote for that person, the other person has to get 1,000 votes to turn that around,” McDevitt said. “That’s 1 percent, which in a tight race means everything.”” (Rao, Press of Atlantic City)
“For a candidate who’s running for state Senate against a powerful, entrenched incumbent in a heavily Democratic district, Bob Martin has put a lot at stake.
The 50-year-old Hopewell Township resident, a partner at the consulting firm Accenture, has pumped nearly $100,000 of his own money into his race against Shirley Turner, who’s running for her fourth term in the Senate. But the district’s numbers alone – a 3-1 Democratic registration advantage, –look almost insurmountable.
“There’s no doubt that by registration there are more Democrats than Republicans here,” said Martin. “But the 53,000 unaffiliated voters out there have a big say in this election, and we’ve reached out to them.
What Martin hopes is that voters see the same malaise in Trenton that he does. Constituents, he said, are fed up with Democrats like Turner, the Senate President Pro Tempore, who he likens to Gov. Jon Corzine. Neither, he said, have done much to take on important issues like property tax reform or gang violence, and he hangs the asset monetization issue over Turner’s head.
And so Martin took a leave of absence from Accenture to devote himself full-time to his long-shot campaign, knocking on 6,000 doors so far, running cable television ads and putting up campaign signs all over the district………….
But Turner said that, while she always takes challenges seriously, Martin is putting up no more of a fight than any of her previous challengers. In 2003, she got more than twice as many votes as her Republican opponent, Calvin Iszard, and in 2001 beat Republican Norbert Donelly by an even larger margin.
And Turner doesn’t appear to be in any danger of being out-funded by her wealthy Republican challenger. As of the last ELEC report, she’s sitting on $467,391.
According to Turner, Martin is the one ducking the debates. She said that she refused to participate in one at Rider University because he would not attend one in Trenton.
“I’m wondering who is ducking who here. Who’s trying to get out of debating,” said Turner.” (Friedman, PoliticsNJ.com)
CHRISTIE SURE MAKES A LOT OF SPEECHES
“Federal authorities have been tracing guns seized from gangs in New Jersey, helping prosecutors bring broader cases of more significant impact, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie said Tuesday.
In one case, investigators tracked guns and ammo to an Ohio gun shop, where gang members collected scores of firearms, taking advantage of lax gun laws to recruit college students as straw buyers.
“They were trafficking those guns back to New Jersey and killing our children on the streets of East Orange,” Christie told students and faculty at Seton Hall University………….
Speaking at the school where he got his law degree 20 years ago, New Jersey’s top federal lawman reflected on his nearly six years in office and his record as one of the nation’s top corruption-busting prosecutors — one who has brought charges against more than 120 public officials and employees from virtually every level of government without losing a single case.
Invited to the Stillman School of Business to talk on the subject of integrity and professionalism, Christie said he has learned a lot about integrity by watching those who don’t have it.
Yet while the “culture of corruption” in New Jersey has been alarming, Christie said the threat posed by violent street gangs like “the Bloods, Crips, the Latin Kings, MS-13 and all of the subgroups that they spawn” is equally troubling.” (Sampson, Bergen Record)
POSTAL WORKS: LEAVE US OUT OF IT
“HAMILTON — A cadre of township postal workers this week demanded that Mayor Glen Gilmore leave them out of his bid for re-election, saying they will not be pawns in the campaign.
In a petition signed by 105 members of the local postal union, carriers took Gilmore to task over a recent advertisement critical of GOP mayoral candidate John Bencivengo for the Republican’s attempts to sell a skin cream he said would protect against exposure to anthrax.
“At no time did we know that a cream to protect against anthrax existed and at no time was this cream sold to us,” the petition said.
The postal carriers also criticized former National Association of Letter Carriers President Mark Van Wagner for a campaign piece sent recently to township voters quoting him attacking Bencivengo.
“Mr. Van Wagner does not speak for us and we are tired of being associated with lies made by someone who claims to speak for the letter carriers,” it said. ” (Isherwood, Trenton Times)
ASK CORZINE WHAT THE RULES ARE
“In this electronic age, a public document can be destroyed with just one click.
Like a copy of the e-mail Walter Cullen of the Washington Township Committee recently tried sending to Morris County Freeholder Director Margaret Nordstrom, the town’s former mayor.
The e-mail bounced back because the address was incorrect. But had it been delivered, Cullen would have accidentally violated the state’s record-keeping policy soon afterward.
“I would have deleted that e- mail, not knowing I was supposed to keep it,” he said. Hundreds of other New Jersey municipal officials are also struggling with state regulations on e- mails that discuss official business — rules adopted five years ago.
After all that time, many pub lic officials still don’t know e-mail guidelines even exist.
The regulations were approved by the State Records Committee in 2002 in an attempt to hold public officials accountable for electronic communica tions, as they are for letters and faxes.
Unless the e-mail is personal, the guidelines say, officials are re quired to keep copies of sent and received messages.
After the regulations were approved, the state Division of Archives and Records Management sent letters to towns explaining the policy, said division Director Karl Niederer. The rules also were posted on the division’s Web site.
But confusion continues. ” (O’Connor, Star-Ledger)
NONPROFIT REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
“Nonprofit agencies must disclose any government contracts they have as well as political contributions made by their officers and trustees by Nov. 30, the state Election Law Enforcement Commission ruled yesterday.
In so ruling, ELEC rejected pleas by nonprofit organizations that the new reporting requirements are burdensome, as well as an opinion by the state Attorney General’s Office that the 2006 law requiring disclosure could be read “to exclude nonprofit entities.”
ELEC’s chairwoman, Jerry Fitzgerald English, said as an independent agency, “We do not get our legal advice from the attorney general.” She said ELEC relies on its own interpretation of the law and advice from its outside lawyer, James Wyse.
Vice Chairman Peter Tober said if the Legislature had meant to exempt nonprofit organizations from the new disclosure require ments, it could have said they apply only to “for-profit” corporations, a phrase it has used nearly 400 times in other laws.
“It did not,” Tober said.
But Commissioner Albert Burstein said there is enough confusion about what lawmakers in tended that they should “go back to the drawing board” and “clarify” the law.
“The issue is important enough they should revisit it,” Burstein said. ” (Schwaneberg, Star-Ledger)
STEM CELLS WILL NOT MAKE YOU SUPERMAN
“New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, joined by relatives of Christopher Reeve, the late “Superman” actor, broke ground yesterday at the site of what is hoped will be a trailblazing center for stem cell science.
The Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey — Christopher Reeve Pavilion, a $150 million research institute, will occupy five floors of a 16-story University Research Tower in downtown New Brunswick.
“This may be one of the most exciting moments since I’ve been governor,” said Corzine, a staunch supporter of embryonic stem cell research. “This is about humanity writ large.” Reeve, a Princeton native who became one of the country’s most visible stem cell activists after being paralyzed in an accident, was “truly a Superman,” he said.
Barbara Johnson, Reeve’s mother, and Tricia Riccio, whose son, Carl, was paralyzed during a wrestling match, shared the dais with Corzine.
Benjamin Reeve, the younger brother of the late star who bears a striking likeness to him, provided the emotional high point.
Addressing an audience that included state legislators, scientists, activists and university leaders, Reeve, an attorney living in Massachusetts, spoke of his brother’s struggle with his disability. A continuing wish, he said, is that he could switch places with opponents of stem cell research, if only for a moment, so they could see things from his perspective. ” (MacPherson, Star-Ledger)
“Candidates for the 4th Legislative District met for a live-broadcast debate at Rowan University Tuesday fielding questions about affordable healthcare, government corruption, property taxes and other key issues for the state.
“Governor Corzine has said we have a doomsday budget ahead of us, but the Democrats have already done a lot to make higher education more affordable” said incumbent Assemblyman Paul Moriarty when asked how he would handle potential cuts in education funds.
“With the STARS and the STARS II program as well as the recently established guarantee for credit transfers, we’ll continue to work for that affordability.”
“Higher education is extremely important and we should do everything we can to maintain its funding,” added Agnes Gardiner, a Republican candidate from Washington Township.
On the issue of affordable healthcare, the candidates held differing views.
“We need to look at the funding as it stands,” said Patricia Fratticcioli, a Republican candidate from Monroe Township.
“There is also a very big situation with abuse of healthcare. We need to look at where it is being allocated. I’m not in favor of universal healthcare, but there may be a way to disperse it differently.”
“As many as 25 percent of people in New Jersey don’t” (Driscoll, Gloucester County Times)
WELCOME TO THE 1930S
“Moorestown wants liquor to go upscale, Stratford wants it to keep from slipping further down, Pitman wants to get with the times and West Cape May wants autonomy.
These four South Jersey municipalities — 10 percent of the state’s 39 dry towns — are among a growing number of towns and counties across the nation falling off the wagon.
Even Bible Belt communities from Texas to North Carolina are revisiting the alcohol issue, according to industry reports. Between 2003 and 2007 in Texas, state officials said, 214 municipalities voted on alcohol questions and 81 percent of those measures passed.
“Abstinence may be historically interesting, but it makes no sense in New Jersey where every dry town is surrounded by bars paying taxes to (their) towns,” Stratford Mayor Thomas Angelucci said. “Finance beats morals every time.”
Not exactly every time. Three of the four municipalities that planned to put the question of selling liquor licenses on the November ballot have tried in the past and failed.
Actually, only Moorestown, Stratford and Pitman residents will decide the issue this time. West Cape May intended to put the matter to voters, but was forced to postpone because of a filing error, Mayor Pamela Kaithern said.
“We think alcohol sales may make the difference in West Cape May’s independence,” Kaithern said, referring to Gov. Jon Corzine’s push for municipal consolidation. “We’re so little, barely 1,000 people, that if we can’t grow, we’ll end up as part of (neighboring) Lower Township.” ” (Peet, Star-Ledger)
HUDSON COUNTY SHERIFF
“Democratic nominee Juan Perez says he would like a smooth transition as he prepares to take over as county sheriff, but that the outgoing sheriff is making it difficult.
The historically understaffed Sheriff’s Office, responsible for protecting the county’s courtrooms and transporting its prisoners, is short 40 officers and Perez and county officials would like to fix that as soon as possible.
Sheriff Joseph Cassidy, who was defeated by Perez in the June primary, has apparently put a dent in that deficit by putting 23 prospective officers in the Jersey City Police Academy, but Perez’s spokesman, Robert Knapp, says he could have done more.
Perez is expected to easily defeat Republican Gregory Rivera in next month’s election. ” (Steiner, Jersey Journal)
IN THAT COUNTY NEAR DELAWARE
“SALEM — After serving the county for seven years, Freeholder Director Lee Ware isn’t ready to quit.
He feels he has helped accomplish many things, such as the opening of the Gateway Business Park in Oldmans Township and the stabilization of the county tax rate.
Seven cents has been cut off the county tax rate in the last two years, he said.
“Unfortunately, that is not enough,” Ware said. “So we’re attacking spending now.” Ware and the freeholder board recently introduced a new zero-based budgeting process, which is currently under way.” (Moore, Today’s Sunbeam)
GUM BALLS: DELICIOUS BUT DEADLY
“DOVER — The mayor and board of aldermen convened Tuesday night for their first meeting since a trio of aldermen created a controversy by publicly commenting that terrorists could try to harm children by injecting gumball machines with poison.
The controversy over the comments that were made to a Newark-based newspaper nearly two weeks ago was not raised by the mayor, the aldermen or the 15 members of the public who were in attendance during Tuesday night’s 48-minute meeting in the municipal building.
But, in a post-meeting interview, Alderman Frank Poolas stood by what he had earlier told the Daily Record when he said the likelihood of a terrorist poisoning gumball machines was only “a worst-case scenario” and that his real concern was putting a licensing system in place that would require gumball machine operators to get licenses from the town.
“I had never intended it to go in that direction and it got blown out of proportion,” said Poolas.
Although large vending machines that sell packaged foods and drinks are currently licensed by the town, small machines that sell gum, unpackaged candies and small toys are not currently required to be licensed.” (Scholl, Daily Record)
“VINELAND — City Council candidate Adam Goldstein won’t accept his opponent’s challenge to debate the issues, saying he doesn’t want to open himself up to personal attacks in a public forum.
“He’s grasping at straws to try and win,” Goldstein said of incumbent Anthony J. Gioielli during a press conference Tuesday evening at Goldstein’s North Delsea Drive business, Nirvana Kitchens and Baths.
“I’m not going to let him goad me into a fight. I’m not going to get my head up on a chopping block. I don’t feel I have to answer to Mr. Gioielli.”” (Zatzariny, Daily Journal)
“Mayor Harry Wyant knew his roughly 6-feet-high-by-25-feet-wide banners would get people talking. He wanted the pair of banners to bring attention to his re-election bid but didn’t expect this reaction.
“It’s causing a lot of stir; I may take it down,” Wyant said.
The banners, featuring a picture of him seated in front of an American flag, went up Saturday in spots where motorists can’t help but notice. The signs’ placement came under fire from resident Reggie Regrut, who says they are closer to 8 feet long by 30 feet wide.
“My purpose is not to embarrass (Wyant). It’s just to try to remind us of the aesthetics within the town and how important they are,” Regrut said Tuesday.” (Eilenberger, Express-Times)
“With no one to debate, Union Mayor Brenda Restivo and Deputy Mayor Clifton People Jr. used the annual League of Women Voters candidates forum on Monday to articulate positions on major issues in advance of the Nov. 6 township committee election.
The Democratic incumbents are ensured fourth and second terms, respectively, as the Republican Party for the second time in three years failed to mount a challenge and no independent entered the race.” (Jett, Star-Ledger)