Today’s news from

Bush’s SCHIP veto stirs political outrage, ticket-gate scandal expands in Jersey City, Gov’s office steps in to help Atlantic City, Pleasantville school board member says he took cash for altruistic reasons.


“Gov. Jon Corzine slammed President Bush yesterday for vetoing a bipartisan bill to re-authorize and expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program, calling it "political and ideological gamesmanship."

The federal S-CHIP program pays about two-thirds of the $480 million annual cost of New Jersey's FamilyCare program, which subsidizes medical insurance for families who earn too much to qualify for Medicare, have no medical coverage through their jobs and cannot afford to buy their own policies.

The bill Bush vetoed would expand the program nationally but its main impact in New Jersey would be to make sure the state can continue offering FamilyCare to children of parents with incomes up to 3 1/2 times the federal poverty level.

The state has been doing so under waivers from the federal government, but the Bush administration last month announced new rules that would make it much harder to include families earning more than 2 1/2 times the poverty level.

New Jersey on Monday filed a federal lawsuit challenging the rule change, saying it would threaten coverage for more than 10,000 children. In all, FamilyCare covers more than 123,000 children, as well as 83,000 adults.

Corzine yesterday joined Democratic congressional leaders in de crying the veto.

"Once again, President Bush has missed an opportunity to display compassionate leadership," Corzine said in a statement issued by his office. "Instead, he has re sorted to political and ideological gamesmanship rather than seek a bipartisan solution that would protect this nation's most vulnerable children.” (Murphy, Star-Ledger)



“Amidst a widening probe into allegations of ticket-fixing in Jersey City, another municipal court judge has left the bench.

Victor Sison delivered a terse letter to Mayor Jerramiah Healy and Hudson County Assignment Judge Maurice Gallipoli yesterday morning announcing he was taking an unpaid leave of absence from his position immediately. His letter does not offer a reason and calls to his New York and New Jersey law offices yesterday afternoon were not returned.

Sison joins colleagues Pauline Sica, Erwin Rosen and Wanda Molina in removing themselves from the bench in the past two weeks. All the cases involve what has been described as the improper handling of parking tickets.

The New Jersey Law Journal reported Monday that Gallipoli questioned Sica about tickets she may have fixed for another judge. Sison is believed to be the other judge, sources told The Jersey Journal.

Sica announced Friday she was taking an unpaid leave. Rosen announced his leave Wednesday after allegations that he improperly dismissed a ticket he had been issued, and Molina resigned Sept. 20 after allegations surfaced that she had improperly disposed of tickets issued to her romantic partner. ” (Judd, Jersey Journal)



It's a chaotic situation, even by Atlantic City standards.

The whereabouts of Mayor Bob Levy are unknown.

City Council members are already jockeying for the opportunity to replace Levy, should he heed calls to resign.

Gov. Jon S. Corzine has decided to step in – or at least ask Atlantic City government to open the door. Corzine's liaison to Atlantic City and the casino industry, Diane Legreide, said Wednesday that the administration has offered to send employees from the state Attorney General's Office, the Department of Community Affairs and any other department that can be of help.

"The offer has been made," Legreide said. "That offer will be made more strongly in the coming weeks. I don't know that there is the authority to send people in, though, unless they're welcomed in."

Her main focus has been overseeing economic development projects, including the potential development of Bader Field. Most of her dealings of late have been with City Council, though Business Administrator Domenic Cappella sits in on meetings with Legreide and other state officials.

Cappella said he had not heard the state wanted to send employees to City Hall, "but if they want to help, they're most welcome."

City Councilman Tim Mancuso said there have been meetings with Corzine's staff about a wealth of Atlantic City topics, including transportation issues, the addition of State Police and the possibility of sending state attorneys to help with litigation issues.

"There's no state takeover or anything like that," Mancuso said. "But are they going to be involved and make decisions? Sure. And if we can expedite things quicker with them, then so much the better. There's nothing permanent."

Among the priorities is letting the casino industry know that Atlantic City's government is stable, Legreide said.” (McAleer, Press of Atlantic City)



PLEASANTVILLE – A former school board member claims he was looking for a place to hold meetings – not personal gain – when he accepted $3,500 that now links him to a statewide corruption case.

James McCormick says he was offered the money to fix his basement to host Real Democratic Club meetings there, keeping it separate from the rest of his home. Instead, on Sept. 6, McCormick was in that still-not-renovated basement getting ready for work when FBI agents came in and arrested him. The money, McCormick says, was still sitting in an account, unused as he tried to determine to whom to return it.

He began to question the ethics of accepting the money, which he believed should be pegged for club operations, not personal use, McCormick said. He maintains he believed the money came from the club, not as payment for a contract with the school board.

McCormick was one of 11 public officials and one city resident arrested in the corruption sting. Five served on the school board, including two current members. Former board member Maurice "Pete" Callaway is a city councilman.

James R. Murphy, who is representing McCormick, says he has been told by the FBI that there are no tapes with McCormick on them. But he has heard a tape of then-board President Jayson Adams boasting to undercover agents that McCormick is with them and would be the swing vote on the nine-member board to pass the contract. McCormick had no knowledge of those discussions and is not on any of the FBI's tapes, Murphy said.” (Cohen, Press of Atlantic City)



“Since winning a no-bid contract in 2002 to collect back property taxes in Camden, a politically connected company has taken in millions more — for the city and itself — than originally predicted.

When the Legislature was debating whether to allow Xspand to operate in New Jersey, former Gov. James J. Florio owned the company. The nonpartisan state Office of Legislative Services originally said the company would likely collect $15 million in back taxes.

Xspand takes in between 12 and 25 cents of every back tax dollar recovered. If it collected $15 million and received its minimum fee, the company would have been paid $1.8 million.

But it has done much better than that. So far, the company reports it has collected $23.68 million in back taxes. For that work it has been paid $4.73 million – or almost 20 percent of what it brought in………..

Xspand was permitted to operate in New Jersey under a bill sponsored in 2001 by Assemblyman Joseph J. Roberts Jr., D-Camden, Florio's longtime protege.

In a 2003 interview, Roberts said he did not know that Florio owned the company when he sponsored the legislation. But the Republicans said they knew about Florio's involvement before the bill was voted on, and wondered how Roberts, now the speaker of the Assembly, could not have known.” (Guenther, Press of Atlantic City)



“When former Middlesex County power broker John A. Lynch Jr. began serving his 39-month prison sentence earlier this year, it marked the end, temporarily, at least, of machine politics in Central Jersey.

At least that's what many say as they struggle to name an heir apparent to the one-time kingmaker for the Democrats.

"People say there will never be another John Lynch. Meanwhile, they are vying to be the next John Lynch," said a former Middlesex County office holder, who named Mayor Daniel J. Reiman of Carteret, and state Sens. Robert Smith and Joseph F. Vitale, both D-Middlesex, as contenders for the head of the party here.

Vitale dismissed the suggestion he will be the next Lynch, using a baseball analogy.

"When (New York Yankees relief pitcher) Mariano Rivera leaves, you're never going to have another Mariano Rivera," he said.

Leaders such as John Lynch cannot be manufactured, Vitale said, because, "Anyone who is a skilled leader has a certain born skill."…….

"Given that scrutiny, there are disincentives to being a party boss," said Professor David P. Rebovich, a native of Perth Amboy and director of the Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University. "So many Middlesex County Democrats, out of necessity, were part of the John Lynch machine. Now they want the Lynch era to pass by completely.” (Malwitz, Gannett)



Have the state's party bosses, an elite group that has controlled the outcome of key elections, had their power clipped by new election laws, a guilty plea and heightened public scrutiny?

State Sen. Loretta Weinberg doesn't think so.

"I haven't seen any evidence of an erosion of power," said Weinberg, D-Bergen, who tangled with Bergen County Democratic Organization Chairman Joseph A. Ferriero in 2005 and again this past spring. "If there has been some erosion, it's because some of us put up some big battles."

Not that there haven't been some changes in the world of New Jersey's political power brokers over the past four years. Some of the biggest bosses are no longer on the scene, and others have seen their power slip a bit as pay-to-play restrictions made it more difficult for county chairs to raise campaign funds. Consider these examples:

Former state Sen. John A. Lynch Jr. Using his political action committee, "New Directions for Responsible Leadership," and the Middlesex County Democratic Organization he controlled, Lynch raised $17.5 million from 1999 through 2006, according to Election Law Enforcement Commission records. Lynch now is serving 39 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to obtaining payment for exerting his influence on a public office.

Burlington County Republican Chairman Glenn Paulsen. The powerful GOP boss resigned unexpectedly in December 2004, after 15 years as the head of his county’s organization, leaving it in turmoil. Records show that from 1999 to 2004, his Burlington County committee raised $12 million. Paulsen is believed to have engineered the resignation of his successor, Mike Warner, who was replaced as chairman in June by Bill Layton, a lobbyist.

The Bergen County Democratic Organization, headed by powerful party chair Ferriero, was strongly criticized in August after the organization’s lawyer, Dennis Oury, said he was considering filing a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a state pay-to-play ban that has greatly reduced the amount of campaign dollars power brokers can raise. Ferriero’s county organization has raised $19.7 million since 1999, records show.” (Mikle, Gannett)



“Don't measure Dale Florio's influence by the lone elective office he's held — a one-term stint as a borough councilman 26 years ago.

Florio's political clout comes from the positions he holds outside of direct voter control — as chairman since 1992 of one of the state's most powerful county Republican organizations, in Somerset County, and as a partner in the highest-earning lobbying firm in Trenton.

Florio himself understands the dynamic could be rife with conflicts, but supporters say he has kept the two roles separate.

Democrats raised questions this year when Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance, R-Hunterdon, voted for a $3.45 million grant to a hospital Florio represented, although Lance had opposed a grant for a different hospital. But GOP lawmakers say they've also disagreed with Florio's lobbying firm on legislation, such as a recent indoor smoking ban opposed by the firm.

But GOP lawmakers say they've also disagreed with Florio's lobbying firm on legislation, such as a recent indoor smoking ban opposed by the firm.” (Bricketto, Asbury Park Press)



“District 12 Democrats asked state Attorney General Anne Milgram to investigate a cell-tower deal their Republican opponent brokered for Fair Haven and four wireless carriers to locate antennas on a proposed borough cell tower.

Assemblyman Michael Panter and candidate Amy Mallet are questioning the compensation package for FSD Enterprises LLC of Red Bank, which is owned by Republican Assembly candidate Declan O'Scanlon and was hired by Fair Haven to negotiate a land lease for the tower and with wireless carriers. O'Scanlon is running with Municipal Attorney Caroline Casagrande.

In a letter Tuesday to Milgram, the Democratic duo questioned whether borough officials were aware that FSD would receive a percentage of the first year's revenue from each carrier in addition to a flat fee of $5,000, which was payable in two installments. Panter said the revenue-sharing portion of the deal could reduce Fair Haven's estimated annual revenue of $81,000 by almost half………….

O'Scanlon said his business is registered with the state as FSD Consulting and does business as FSD Enterprises because that name was taken when he formed the company in 2001. He said the state Web site indicates that FSD Consulting is up to date with its annual reports. That information could not be verified Wednesday night on the state Treasury Department's Web site because of a technical issue.

"As far as I know, everything is filed," O'Scanlon said. "If something slipped through the cracks, we'll fix it."” (Higgs, Asbury Park Press)



“The New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association announced its endorsement Wednesday of state Sen. James "Sonny" McCullough.

The organization has 30,000 members statewide and approximately 1,000 members in the 2nd District, which McCullough, R-Atlantic, represents.

Anthony F. Wiener, PBA President, said McCullough's endorsement is based on the senator's long history of "support for law-enforcement personnel and his continuing sensitivity to and appreciation for the difficult job performed by police officers." (McAleer, Press of Atlantic City)



During the state shutdown of July 2006, Local 54 of UNITE-HERE, the largest of the casino-worker unions, regarded Assemblyman Jim Whelan as public enemy No. 1.

Local 54 President Robert McDevitt likened Whelan's relationship with the union to an old nursery rhyme. "He broke Humpty Dumpty and he can't put Humpty Dumpty back together again," McDevitt said at the time.

Now, 15 months later, Humpty Dumpty has been patched up and replaced by hunky dory. A political action committee of 38 Local 54 members, voting on behalf of the union's 16,000 casino employees, endorsed Whelan for state Senate on Tuesday over state Sen. James "Sonny" McCullough, R-Atlantic.

McDevitt insisted Wednesday that the union has backed a stand-up legislator with the best qualifications to move the region forward. McCullough and his campaign cried foul and said the rank and file would value their union leader's words from two years ago ahead of this week's endorsement.” (McAleer, Press of Atlantic City)



“In an era when wealthy candidates commonly bankroll their own campaigns for statewide office, a little-known Central Jersey Republican is taking that trend to a new level — self-financing his quest for a legislative seat.

Bob Martin of Hopewell Township, seeking to unseat Democratic Sen. Shirley Turner, dipped into his wallet for more than $54,000 before the June primary — 83 percent of the $65,405 he had raised.

Campaign finance reports reflecting his spending since then won't be public until later this month, but over the summer he ran cable television ads throughout the 15th Legislative District in Mercer County. Consultants say the cost could range in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Dave Glass, Martin's campaign manager, refused to divulge how much his boss is prepared to shell out except to say: "'He's willing to spend enough money that this will be a realistic race."

In a classic bit of understatement, he added: "We realize in this district you can't win with just the base." The district has almost twice as many registered Democrats as Republicans, and Turner has defeated her last two challengers by roughly 2-to-1 margins.

While the odds against him are long, Martin's television commercials have caused people "to pay attention," said David Rebovich, a political science professor at Rider University, where Turner also is employed.

"The average resident says, 'Who is this guy? I'm supposed to know him,'" he said. "This is an interesting candidacy that no one anticipated. What Mr. Martin in the least is going to do is cause Democrats to spend more money than they had hoped to."” (Donohue, Star-Ledger)



“Democratic challenger Dana Wefer took aim at Republican Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll yesterday, chiding the six-term legislator from Morris County for posting few bills in the Legislature.

Carroll retorted that weighing the value of legislation by the pound is not smart and said he avoids "junk bills" to concentrate on meaningful issues.

"Some legislators have pages and pages of bills they introduce. Every time someone passes gas in public they try to pass a bill," said Carroll. "But what's the value of that? That doesn't determine the value of what you do."

Wefer, running on the Democratic ticket for Assembly in Morris County's 25th District with former Roxbury Councilman Marshall Gates, charged Carroll is "dead last" among legislators in posting bills. She also questioned his lack of party leadership after a decade in office.

"It's really audacious of Carroll to collect $49,000 a year for doing the bare minimum in the state legislature," Wefer said in a written statement.

Later, she contended Carroll has done little to engage the Democratic majority in Trenton on is sues of importance for his constituents in Republican-controlled Morris County.

"He's one of the smartest people in the Legislature," said Wefer. "I just wish he would work hard to do the things we need for the people of this district." ” (Ragonese, Star-Ledger)



“As a veteran member of an entrenched Republican Party in Monmouth County, County Clerk M. Claire French has winked at cronyism, engaged in political shenanigans and awarded a government contract to a favored vendor, her Democratic opponent charged Wednesday.

Citing French's appointment of a political ally as her aide, and her involvement in a controversial election flier, Democratic challenger Amod Choudhary said French's actions represent "more bad behavior" by a public official in Monmouth County.

"These kinds of actions (by French) take away confidence in our institutions," Choudhary told the editorial board of the Asbury Park Press.

French, 69, who is seeking her third five-year term as clerk, vigorously defended her record, and deflected Choudhary's challenge to her integrity by asserting, "I am an honest and hard-working person. I have proved my worth by what I've done."

She touted her achievements in pioneering electronic data processing, in conducting scores of error-free elections and in managing a bulging workload generated by robust real estate sales.

"I bring in about $20 million a year," she said of fees collected by the clerk's office.

But French also admitted that her appointment of Robert L. Hyer as her confidential aide in 2002 was largely a politically driven decision.

She said Hyer, a Republican, was recommended to her for the job by former Freeholder Edward Stominski, also a Republican, and that she interviewed no other candidates before placing Hyer in the $46,000-per-year post.” (Cullinane, Asbury Park Press)



“As expected, President Bush vetoed a bill Wednesday that would have added $35 billion over five years to the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which subsidizes coverage to families that earn too much for Medicaid but cannot afford their own insurance.

Debate on the bill has included many exaggerations and even some falsehoods. Here's a look at some of the quotes that came out Wednesday and where the truth lies.

Not true: "President Bush has told millions of children who have nowhere else to turn that the greatest country in the world refuses to look out for their health." — Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.

True: "If the program is not reauthorized, these children and their families might lose their coverage or alternatively New Jersey taxpayers will be forced to pick up the tab." — Governor Corzine.

The facts: Unlike those who see only two possible outcomes, federal coverage or no coverage at all, Corzine says coverage could continue with the state paying the full bill. He has even indicated he would take that route rather than cut people off. Currently, the federal government pays 65 percent of the cost of the insurance, known as FamilyCare, and the state 35 percent. Uninsured people who are sick or injured may also receive treatment at hospital emergency rooms. This care is funded by a payroll tax on workers in New Jersey, and by hospitals shifting costs onto those who have insurance.” (Jackson, Bergen Record)



“Concern about the availability of health insurance runs so deep that a majority of New Jerseyans would support a tax increase to guarantee benefits, a new survey revealed yesterday.

Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex), who is preparing legislation to provide universal health care coverage in the state, said he was greatly encouraged by the poll.

A survey of 1,104 adults by the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy found 85 percent of those interviewed said it was "extremely" or "very" important that state leaders address rising health costs and shrinking availability.

Vitale said he's glad the public recognizes the problem, but he needs to delay introduction of his bill until next year. He had been planning to unveil the bill during the two-month lame-duck session after the Nov. 6 election.

Vitale, the chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, said he decided the issue is too important to try to rush, and he is still working out the final details.

"We're going to announce our plan just after the new year," said Vitale. ” (Donohue, Star-Ledger)



“Only 30 percent of foster children last year received a required evaluation of their medical and mental health needs, according to a report released by the Office of the Child Advocate yesterday.

The Child Advocate, an independent state agency responsible for evaluating government and private agencies involved with kids, examined how faithfully the Comprehensive Health Evaluation for Children or CHEC exams took place last year. Child welfare groups and pediatricians recommend the exams be given to a child within 30 days of entering foster care.

Based on a file review of 80 foster children, just under 30 percent were given the exams — waiting about four months for their turn, according to the report.

Caseworkers from the Division of Youth and Family Services are responsible for seeing the exams occur, but the study said they missed 460 appointments, for a 19 percent "no-show rate" last year.

Following the exams, only 11 percent of the foster children got all of the follow-up care they needed to address the medical, dental or psychological problems the exams revealed. More than three-quarters of the children had at least one chronic or acute medical condition and one-third had a behavioral or mental health issue.

"We have a small window of time to ensure a healthy childhood," said Child Advocate E. Susan Hodgson, whose staff conducted the study. ” (Livio, Star-Ledger)



“Late last month, Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew’s State Senate campaign manager downplayed the idea of the Democratic Assemblyman from the first district running for Congress against Frank LoBiondo in 2008.

“I can safely say he’s not running next year, but maybe sometime soon,” campaign manager Allison Murphy told at the time.

But when pressed for comment today, Van Drew’s response was far more cautious.

“What I’ve made clear is there’s only one thing on my mind now, and that is winning the State Senate seat in the first legislative district,” said Van Drew. “I have a lot of my plate and that’s all I’m thinking about. And that’s all I’m going to comment.” (Friedman,



“Authorities in New York City are trying to determine how two New Jersey men, apparently working independently of each other, were able to obtain Mayor Michael Bloomberg's bank account number in separate efforts to swipe more than $400,000 from the multibillionaire.

"We don't know very much about it," said Barbara Thompson, a spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. "We don't know about their connection" to the mayor, "or if they are connected to each other. We are continuing to investigate it.

Charles Nelson, 31, of Newark and Odalis Bostic, 23, of Elizabeth were arrested in August after authorities uncovered the irregularities with Bloomberg's bank account.

Two banks notified authorities in June that Bostic tried to deposit two checks totaling $420,000 drawn on Bloomberg's account at Bank of America, according to Morgenthau's office. Because of the size of checks, issued in the name of the mayor's financial manager, Geller & Co., the banks placed holds on the checks and the forgeries were discovered, authorities said.

Bostic tried to deposit both checks — one for $190,000 at Sovereign Bank and one for $230,000 at PNC Bank — in accounts set up in the name of an Elizabeth company, the Laderman Development Co., authorities said. " (Larini, Star-Ledger)



“With state legislation to reform eminent domain stalled, municipalities are taking action to assure residents their homes are safe from the taking — at least for now.

According to the New Jersey League of Municipalities, at least five municipalities have passed ordinances restricting the use of eminent domain.

Swedesboro, in Gloucester County, moved this week toward joining those towns, introducing an ordinance to prohibit taking occupied homes through eminent domain for private redevelopment……………

The debate over eminent domain, traditionally used to clear the way for constructing public projects, grew in intensity following a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing governments to take property for private use if it served the greater good. Since the landmark ruling, 42 states have increased protections against the use of eminent domain for private projects.

"New Jersey is not one of them, and unfortunately, New Jersey is one of the biggest abusers," said Steven Anderson, director of the Arlington, Va.-based Institute for Justice's Castle Coalition, an advocacy group that opposes eminent domain.” (Graber, Express-Times)



“The state, weighing offers to place a new, commercial name on the Continental Airlines Arena, will not compound its mistake of allowing bidders to pay by barter, as Continental did with free travel, a top official says.

"I am a cash guy," said George Zoffinger, chief executive officer of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which owns and operates the arena where a decision on a corporate marquee is due today.

We'll get cash. We are not going to take stuff in barter," Zoffinger said.

Three bidders are in the hunt for labeling the Meadowlands building in East Rutherford where rockers such as Bruce Springsteen perform and sports teams play.

The now-ending contract with Continental pays $1.3 million annually, though Zoffinger said Tuesday, "We get somewhere in the neighborhood of $300,000 worth of tickets" folded into the total. "We use them for business travel" and for high rollers at the Meadowlands Racetrack, for team travel, with some going to the broker of the Continental deal, he added…………

But is this good for taxpayers? "No," said Zoffinger. "Why would you take barter? I didn't make that deal. That deal was made 10 years ago."” (Baldwin, Gannett)



“The six major party "clean elections" candidates in the 14th District will have to make room at the table for another guest as Libertarian Assembly hopeful Jason Scheurer has qualified for the program.

Scheurer has received the required 400 donations of $10 to qualify for the program and is now eligible to receive $25,000 in public campaign funds. The program was auditioned in three districts this year, including the 14th. To date 16 candidates have qualified, which according to the current legislation, means the program will go statewide in 2009.

"We are now looking forward to running a very active grassroots campaign to insure the voters of the 14th District have a real choice this coming November," said Scheurer campaign manager Lou Jasikoff…………..

But though Scheurer will receive the public money, he will receive far less than his Republican and Democratic opponents, who each have more than $530,000 in campaign funds to spend before November.

Scheurer also will not be eligible to have the title "Clean Elections Candidate" or a 250-word statement appear on the ballot next to his name because he did not qualify for the program by the Aug. 17 deadline. That deadline was the same for all candidates and coincided with the deadline to print the sample ballots. ” (Isherwood, Trenton Times)



“For a large portion of the Cumberland County's population, the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) gives families an affordable way to keep their children healthy.

About 18,000 Cumberland County children are insured through FamilyCare, the conveyer of SCHIP funding in New Jersey, according to N.J. Department of Health and Senior Services statistics.

Community Healthcare, Inc., a non-profit public health organization based in Bridgeton, treated about 3,000 of those children in the first six months of 2007.

Many families signed up for the program through an enrollment campaign the organization sponsored several years ago.

A bill vetoed Wednesday by President Bush would have increased funding for SCHIP by $35 billion.

It would have also increased the program's eligibility limit, adding several thousand more children in Cumberland County to the program, Community Healthcare President and CEO Gil Walter said Wednesday. ” (Dunn, Bridgeton News)



Diane Reaves wishes she was dreaming. At this point she'd opt for the surreal rather than continue down the path of organizing a rally that in the last few months has given her a crash course in reality checks and false hopes.

"PLEASE SOMEONE TELL ME THIS IS A DREAM!!!!!" she wrote in the subject line of a mass e-mail to a reporter and dozens of supporters.

The message Tuesday described what very well may be the final blow to an already crippled pursuit: Yet another venue had rejected a request to host the rally against illegal immigration when Reaves was under the impression the event was on.

Kim Siecinski, the Exalted Ruler of the Old Bridge Elks Lodge, informed the novice organizer in an e-mail that "Our organization is not sectarian and non-political, thus we are unable to be party to your organization."

Siecinski declined to comment when reached by phone.

Three days earlier, Reaves sent out an e-mail, ecstatic because a former exalted ruler, Frank Shallis Sr., had offered her use of the lodge in Old Bridge.

"And to top it off, they REFUSE to charge me a DIME for the hall rental," she wrote. "They have the courage and patriotism that is forbidden in the township of Lakewood. They are not dictated by the "majority rule' of the two major groups in Old Bridge. They believe in our battle and are willing to help out in many ways."” (Patberg, Asbury Park Press)



“Peruvian-American community leaders plan to hold a march Sunday to push for temporary legal status for undocumented immigrants from their homeland.

Peruvian-Americans want U.S. officials to grant the reprieve – known as Temporary Protected Status – as a humanitarian gesture following the major earthquake in Peru in August that killed hundreds and left tens of thousands homeless.

"We're calling this demonstration the March of Hope," said Carlos A. Tello, the Paterson surgeon who organized the march. "We're hoping that the United States government will bestow this status upon Peruvians, who have been hardworking members of this society."

Tello and other supporters of TPS for Peruvians argue that Peru has been too ravaged by the earthquake, which measured nearly magnitude 8, to absorb the roughly 200,000 Peruvians estimated to be living illegally in the United States.” (Llorente, Bergen Record)



Thomas Gilmour, the city's director of commerce, has been working off a 20-day suspension without pay because of a marketing campaign that was under his management but had not received City Council approval before it was launched.

City Manager Terence Reidy said the suspension began Aug. 6.

"We are allowing Tom to take the days over a period of time so that it has the least impact on the city and his ongoing responsibilities for the city," Reidy said.

The last suspension date is Dec. 17. The charges are failure to perform duties, conduct unbecoming an employee and neglect of duty, Reidy said.

Reidy said he could not comment on which project caused the suspension.

But Deputy Mayor James Bruno said it is connected to the city's 110th anniversary marketing campaign by Jewell Marketing, the public relations firm that promotes the city.

"We voted on her contract but didn't vote on her proposals attached to the contract about the 110th anniversary," Bruno said Wednesday.” (Sheilds, Asbury Park Press)



“WASHINGTON TWP. | A township resident upset by out-of-control spending is running for township committee as a write-in candidate.

Charles W. Shields, 48, said he has been displeased by the rising costs and the lack of public involvement in the new township municipal building.

"A much more economical way of providing township residents a quality municipal building could have, and should have, been chosen," he said in a news release declaring his candidacy.

Shields, who runs a 12-acre farm, said his other priorities include protecting open space, farmland and the township's farming industry. He's also interested in attracting small businesses compatible with the township's rural atmosphere. ” (Olanoff, Express-Times)

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