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Levy admits making false claims to receive more benefits, Giuliani stumps for district 12 Republicans, Jersey City judges plead not

Levy admits making false claims to receive more benefits, Giuliani stumps for district 12 Republicans, Jersey City judges plead not guilty to ticket fixing, Maurice “Pete” Callaway pleads guilty to accepting bribes.


Former Atlantic City Mayor Bob Levy admitted Thursday afternoon that he lied about his military record to government officials in order to receive almost $25,000 in benefits. Levy, the 60-year-old former Beach Patrol chief, could face as many as five years in prison, plus three years' probation and a $250,000 fine, when U.S. District Court Judge Jerome B. Simandle sentences him Feb. 15.

Sentencing guidelines suggest zero to six months in prison, but Levy's attorney Edwin J. Jacobs said probation was more likely.

Levy's plea agreement says he will have to repay the benefits plus a $100 special assessment.

"Bob Levy did an awful lot of right things in his life, but he admitted doing wrong things today," Jacobs said after the court appearance.

"As a Vietnam veteran, Mr. Levy must have recognized the dishonor his fraudulent actions would bring upon himself," U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie said in a prepared release. "It is a sad turn of events for someone who seems to have otherwise honorably served his country and community."

In court, Levy acknowledged in a low voice that he lied about receiving the Combat Infantryman's Badge, or CIB, and the Parachutist Badge, better known as "jump wings."

The CIB is generally awarded to infantrymen or Special Forces soldiers who spend at least a month under fire in combat. Jump wings go to those who either complete paratrooper training or participate in at least one combat parachute jump.” (Harper, Press of Atlantic City)


“The water towers jut against the skyline over the billboards here, part of that sprawl of roadway called Route 9 crammed between the Shore and the Raritan, a battered lifeline to a gas station culture of blimped-up commercial ratables and fading blue collar towns turned service sector central.

In Old Bridge a billboard says "Kyrillos 2007," and farther south of the river there’s "Hornik for Mayor" and car dealership ads – over 76% of the people here drive to work alone each day – and restaurant shacks and "Re-elect Kleinberg," and what appear to be undocumented workers and others stranded on bus stops looking at the drivers in the cars backed bumper-to-bumper, who look back and wait for the colors to change.

Amid the slogans of all sizes Thursday, a low-lying phalanx of lawn signs jumped into view in Manalapan in front of the Excelsior catering hall: Rudy. Rudy. Rudy. Rudy. Rudy. Rudy. Yes, he was here, here to support the district 12 GOP ticket of Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck and her running mates, Declan O’Scanlon and Caroline Casagrande.

Republicans from all corners of the county arrived to greet America’s mayor, the man, in the words of GOP Assembly candidate Caroline Casagrande, who "led this nation in its darkest hour."……….

They need the money, Beck said, in part because, "My opponent’s record does not reflect the interests of the citizens she was supposed to be representing."

Then she summoned Giuliani, a door behind the stage swung open, and the former mayor of New York emerged to applause.

Standing at the podium in front of the crowd and with the district 12 team at his side, he quickly established a government versus people dynamic for breaking down the biggest issues confronting the country. The Democrats like government. The Republicans believe in people.

"There is a consistency to what Republicans can do whether you elect us to state Senate, or the Assembly, or president," Giuliani said to cheers. "We’re the party that understands, you have to lower taxes in order to give people a little more money, because when you do that, that’s how you create more jobs."

On the same day Giuliani raised the roof with Beck and her running mates, Karcher held a low-key press conference outside her Freehold campaign headquarters off Route 79, where she stood with union workers and pledged to pass paid family leave.

"Those who are confronted with family emergencies such as sudden illness or accidents should be allowed to care for their loved ones without putting their job at risk," said Karcher. "No one should be forced to choose between their job and a family member in need of care." ” (Pizarro,



“The four Jersey City Municipal Court judges charged in a ticket-fixing scandal made their first appearances in court yesterday on official misconduct charges, and all pleaded not guilty.

Charged with second-degree official misconduct are former Chief Municipal Court Judge Wanda Molina, 48, and former judges Pauline Sica, 45, and Victor Sison, 64, officials said. The charge carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.

Judge Irwin Rosen, 52, is charged with third-degree official misconduct. That charge carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine, but first-time offenders are not usually sentenced to prison……….

"We are under the firm belief that what is alleged does not rise to the level of criminality," said Rosen's lawyer, Michael Willis, after today's hearing. Willis and his father, Peter Willis, are defending Rosen.

"The charges are a tempest in a teapot, and at the end of the day my client will be vindicated," said Sica's lawyer, John Fahy, yesterday. ” (Conte, Star-Ledger)

Former judge Wanda Molina walked into state Superior Court in Hudson County yesterday as a criminal case defendant accused of illegally fixing parking tickets.

If Molina was bothered by the role reversal, it didn't show.

The former chief judge of Jersey City Municipal Court was quickly greeted by a small but affectionate throng of courthouse workers. They included the court clerk and other court employees who showered the former judge with embraces and words of encouragement.

"Former chief judge Molina was very encouraged by the warm response she got from the courthouse staff and personnel today," said her attorney, Gerald Krovatin. "It wasn't an easy day for her, but she came in with her head held high." (Ben-Ali, Star-Ledger)

“The state Office of Attorney Ethics has opened an investigation into the four Jersey City municipal judges facing criminal charges, an official said yesterday.

"We collect the information as it develops and becomes public, but our investigation is held in abeyance until the criminal matter is concluded," said David E. Johnson Jr., director of the Office of Attorney Ethics, Supreme Court of New Jersey.” (Jersey Journal)



Pleasantville City Councilman Maurice "Pete" Callaway pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to accepting bribes as a member of the Pleasantville Board of Education.

Callaway pleaded guilty to attempted extortion under color of official right, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Under sentencing guidelines, Callaway most likely will receive a sentence of three to four years in federal prison, although Judge Jerome B. Simandle can order less or more prison time when he sentences Callaway on Feb. 15.

Dressed in a dark suit, Callaway spoke in a low, reserved tone as he accepted responsibility for his role in a corruption scandal that rocked the state. He hesitated slightly before answering Simandle's questions regarding his transgressions, which included receiving a $10,000 payment in May 2006 and instructing Pleasantville resident Louis Mister to accept two payments of $1,500 each on his behalf about a month later. Callaway will have to repay the $13,000 to the federal government.

On Sept. 17, Callaway addressed Pleasantville City Council, saying, "Everyone in America is entitled to a fair trial, and as of right now, I am just as innocent (as anyone else)."” (Hardie, Press of Atlantic City)




Over the years, the Callaway family, led by former Atlantic City Council President Craig Callaway, made its mark on politics in southern New Jersey. That mark is fading fast, and with the guilty plea Thursday by Maurice 'Pete' Callaway on corruption charges while he was a member of the Pleasantville Board of Education, it has faded further.

Here's a status report:

Craig Callaway: Former Atlantic City Council president. Serving 40 months in federal prison for accepting $36,000 in bribes. Indicted in August on charges that he set up City Councilman Eugene Robinson with a prostitute in a sex-tape operation designed to force Robinson to resign.

David K. Callaway: Brother of Craig Callaway. Fired as Atlantic City director of Public Works in April; threatening to sue. Indicted in Robinson sex-tape operation.

Ronald Callaway, also known as Jihad Q. Abdullah: Brother of Craig Callaway. Indicted in Robinson sex-tape operation.

James Callaway: Brother of Craig Callaway. Currently serving 15 to 30 years in prison for aggravated manslaughter. Eligible for parole in July.



“Gov. Jon Corzine's office was hit yesterday with thousands of phone calls from angry state workers asking the governor to reconsider making them work the Friday after Thanksgiving.

The office fielded nearly 2,900 phone calls — on top of 1,200 calls the day before — in an effort orchestrated by local leaders of the Communication Workers of America, the largest state workers union, according to Corzine's press office. The governor also received two calls in support of his decision.

Even so, Corzine spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said the governor is resolute in his decision to end the decades-long practice of granting state workers a paid day off in order to extend the Thanksgiving weekend to four days.

"The state will remain open for business the day after Thanksgiving," he said. "As we said previously, workers can make use of a vacation or a leave day."

CWA Local 1033 president Rae Roeder was unapologetic about tying up Statehouse phones. "This is the boss. We have a right to speak to the boss," she said. "People are calling up, giving their name and leaving a message. It's all very polite." ” (Howlett, Star-Ledger)



“Republicans suing to get a consultant's report on Gov. Corzine's plan to leverage state highways for a cash infusion say they need the information to prepare legislation that would restrict the administration's ability to "sell, lease, or monetize tolls," according to legal papers filed Thursday.

The briefs are part of a suit filed by two members of the Assembly Transportation and Public Works Committee, Jennifer Beck and Sean Kean, both R-Monmouth, after their public records request for a consultant's report was denied by the state Department of the Treasury, which deemed the report an incomplete draft.

The lawmakers' "inability to reference the facts, data and information in the final report places them at considerable disadvantage," the brief says. "There is no reason why important data, information and facts that can be used to help articulate or craft policy should remain hidden under lock and key within the offices of the executive branch."

The Office of the Attorney General, which declined comment on Thursday, has argued in previous filings that the report is exempt from the Open Public Records Act because it is still an advisory document and remains in draft form. Publicizing an unfinished document could mislead the public and investors, the state has argued.” (Volpe, Gannett)



“The specter of terrorism has been raised in the 39th district State Senate race.

State Sen. Gerald Cardinale is alleging that the law partner and contributor to his Democratic opponent is a member and former president of a group he says is anti-semitic and sympathetic to terrorist organizations.

But Democrats say there is no tie between Joseph Ariyan and the organization, the New Jersey chapter of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), and accuse Cardinale of taking the campaign to a new low by fear mongering.

At issue is Ariyan law partner Hani Khoury’s connections to the ADC, which is not viewed as particularly controversial by the Anti-Defamation League. Cardinale pointed to the national chapter’s former communications director, Hussein Ibish, as a sign of something darker lurking behind its anti-discriminatory facade.

“I make no argument that the ADC doesn’t concern itself with discrimination against Arab Americans. It does. But there is a second agenda,” said Cardinale……….

ut there is no evidence that Khoury, who could not be reached for comment, ever knew or collaborated with Ibish.

Cardinale repeatedly described Khoury, who has donated a few thousand dollars to Ariyan’s campaign, as a “principal advisor” to Ariyan, but Ariyan spokeswoman Julie Roginsky said that he does have any role in the campaign.

“If I played six degrees of Kevin Bacon I’d have an easier time finding a correlation between Joe Ariyan and that (Ibish),” said Roginsky. “What that means to me is that Gerry Cardinale does not understand anti-Semitism if he treats it so lightly. He should apologize to Joe Ariyan, he should apologize to the Jewish community and he should apologize to his constituents for exploiting the issue of anti-Semitism.” (Friedman,



“In the waning days of New Jersey’s election season, some candidates for local and state office are reaching beyond the usual campaign accusations of corruption and overspending. They are charging their opponents with being soft on terrorism — or rather, with knowing someone who is.

In one case, opponents of Tracy Riley, a Democrat running for the State Assembly in the Eighth District, mailed campaign materials accusing her of having terrorist sympathies because her husband is a court-appointed defense lawyer for one of the suspects charged with plotting to kill soldiers at Fort Dix. In another example, State Senator Gerald Cardinale, a Republican, asserted that a widely known civil rights group to which his Democratic opponent’s law partner belongs was sympathetic to terrorist organizations.”

And in Toms River, Thomas F. Kelaher, the Republican candidate for mayor, sent out a press release noting that his Democratic opponent, Richard T. Strada, a political science professor, had once organized a forum attended by a legal assistant to Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman. Mr. Abdel Rahman was convicted in 1995 of conspiring to carry out a terrorist campaign intended to destroy New York landmarks.”

Terror talk is routine in national campaigns. But in towns like Toms River, Tabernacle and Ho-Ho-Kus, the splash of terrorism-related campaigning might seem odd, considering that local legislators rarely have to confront issues of national security.

“I’m completely puzzled by it,” said Peter J. Woolley, a professor of comparative politics at Fairleigh Dickinson University.”

But Ingrid W. Reed, of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, noted that even local races take place “in the real world and in the shadow of 9/11.”

Some candidates’ attempts to portray their opponents as allied with terrorists might appear far-fetched. But Dr. Reed said, “You can rile people up if you paint them as sympathetic to the enemy, with a very simplistic raising of fears.” (Fahim, New York Times)



“Assemblyman Nelson Albano said he's accomplished more than he expected to in his first term in the state Assembly.

Albano, who is running for re-election this year on a Democratic slate with newcomer Matt Milam, of Vineland, has served as vice chairman of both the state agricultural committee and the state law and public safety committee. In an interview with the News, Albano said he's fallen in love with the job.

"Every day, you get to make a difference in many people's lives," he remarked, but added, "It's also a lot more difficult than I thought, because you see the amount of problems that are not on the state level, but on the local level. People need a lot of help."

Albano said one project he's committed himself to is the Garden State Preservation Trust.

Voters are being asked in this year's election to vote to borrow $200 million from the state to keep the trust functioning for the next year.

The Garden State Preservation Trust, in part, funds farmland preservation.

"People are saying, is it necessary? I believe it is. We are losing farmland by the thousand of acres every year. We need development, but we need farmland. If we lose (farmland), it's gone forever. If it's developed, we'll never be able to get that farmland back," he said. ” (Dunn, Bridgeton News)



“With the election just days away, Mercer County executive candidate Janice Mitchell Mintz criticized political contributions to County Executive Brian M. Hughes, accusing him of violating the spirit of the county pay-to-play law.

Mintz, the Republican challenger, is making the allegations about contributions from the company that prints county ballots and from the wife of the company's owner. Hughes, a Democrat, rejects the criticism, saying the contributions violated neither the letter nor spirit of the pay-to-play law.

The allegations stem from payments to Royal Printing Services of West New York, which has printed the ballots for two years, receiving $218,707 for 2006 and $240,597 this year.

On May 15, 2006, Lucia Passante, wife of Royal Printing owner Ralph Passante Sr., gave $2,500 to the Mercer County Democratic Committee. The following month, the all-Democratic county freeholder board hired the company to print the ballots.

On May 1, 2007, Royal Printing contributed $2,500 to the political action committee New Frontier Committee of Medford. Six days later, the New Frontier Committee gave $2,500 to Hughes' campaign. On May 10, the freeholders approved Royal Printing to print the ballots this year.

In both cases, Mintz and other county Republican leaders allege that Hughes violated the spirit of the pay-to-play law that was enacted after he became county executive.

"I believe that pay-to-play in Mercer County — through the county executive — is alive and well," Mintz said yesterday.

Hughes responded that neither contribution violated the law be cause the county clerk, who oversees the selection of the ballot printer, solicited price quotes in 2006 and competitive bids this year. He also said there was no way for him to know that the New Frontier Committee had received a contribution from Royal Printing.

"The Democratic Party was the party that instituted (the law against) pay-to-play," Hughes said, adding that nothing could be more open and transparent than the competitive bidding process used this year. ” (Kitchenman, Trenton Times)



“The after-effects of over-development still plague Marlboro, which became a feeding trough for numerous corrupt officials and in the process ballooned its population by double over 20 years.

Now with what little space is left, this town of 43,000 is trying to find the right place to satisfy its state COAH (Council on Affordable Housing) obligation – something the town’s so-called public servants in the past avoided. The biggest policy difference between Republican Mayor Robert Kleinberg and his Democratic challenger Jonathan Hornik is over where to build that glut of units.

Kleinberg sees an old farm at the intersection of Route 520 and 79 as an opportunity to build 187 units. Arguing that such a plan would still leave the township 281 units short, Hornik prefers saving the farm and instead developing affordable housing units on one of the town’s 11 junkyards.

While their larger-than-life faces adorn billboards on Route 9, Hornik has run the more aggressive campaign, hitting Kleinberg from all sides mostly with the argument that the rough-hewn Kleinberg simply isn’t suited to be mayor. A 37-year old attorney and family man, Hornik has received a lot of support from the Democratic State Committee, and has enjoyed the fund-raising backing of state Chairman Joseph Cryan.

There’s no love lost here, that was clear from the outset. They looked like men in separate holding cells at the start of their debate in front of a standing-room-only crowd in Greenbriar on Halloween night, the strain of an attack mail barrage writ large on Kleinberg’s brow.” (Pizarro,



“HAMILTON — It was supposed to be a dogfight that would quickly become the most expensive race in township history, but the township's mayoral race has yet to approach the fundraising heights reached four years ago.

Democratic Mayor Glen D. Gilmore still leads in fundraising, but GOP challenger John Bencivengo is closer than opponents in past years, according to the most recent reports filed with the Election Law Enforcement Commission.

Together, the two candidates have raised about $360,000, nearly $140,000 less than the total of the two mayoral candidates at this point in the 2003 election.

Gilmore, a prolific fundraiser in years past, had raised $248,000 as of Monday, nearly $200,000 less than at this point in 2003.

Bencivengo, with $111,000, has nearly doubled the intake of Gilmore's 2003 challenger, Republican Jack Lacy. He enters the final election weekend with a little less than half of Gilmore's total.

Both candidates are continuing to raise money and it is likely that each will receive an influx of last- minute cash, but it remains to be seen if the total will approach the $550,000 raised by Gilmore and Lacy in 2003. ” (Isherwood, Trenton Times)



“Democratic county freeholder candidate Tom Bader questioned the Burlington County Bridge Commission's recent decision to award an additional $950,000 to its engineering firm.

Bader said the timing of the contract to Pennoni Associates is questionable because the Philadelphia-based firm has donated to Republican candidates.

Pennoni is a major Republican donor and now they have received two huge additional payments the same year they are making huge donations to the party," Bader said in written statement released last week.

New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission records show Pennoni contributed $10,450 to political campaigns this year — $3,750 to Democrats and $6,700 to Republicans.

Of those contributions, $5,450 went to Burlington County candidates — $250 to Democratic Assemblyman Jack Conners and $2,600 each for Republican opponents Brian Propp and Nancy Griffin.

ELEC records show no contributions made to freeholder candidates. County freeholders appoint bridge commission members…………

"The timing of Mr. Bader's statement is suspect at best and appears to be political grandstanding," bridge commission chairman John B. Comegno II said” (DeCastro, Courier-Post)



“In southern Bergen County, Republicans are focusing much of their energy on one town: Rutherford.

Democratic Mayor Bernadette P. McPherson, who is also a Bergen County Freeholder, is up for re-election along on a slate with Democratic Councilmen Ray Frazier and Richard Reyes. Currently, the balance of power on the council is 5-1 Democratic. The Republicans have fielded attorney John Hipp for mayor, along with Rose Inguanti and John Sasso in an attempt to tie council.

But more is at stake that just the leadership of this town of 18,000. The election is one of the first offensive moves by new Bergen County Republican Chairman Robert Ortiz, who’s trying to slowly claw the Republicans back to power town by town. And it just so happens that this was one of the first towns that Bergen County Chairman Joseph Ferriero turned over to Democrats, with McPherson’s election in 1999 and winning a council majority the year before that.

“We think it’s vitally important to win back control of Rutherford,” said Ortiz. “We plan on making it easy for Bernadette McPherson to drop one of her two publicly funded positions, and we’ll discuss freeholder next year.” ” (Friedman,



“Burlington County Prosecutor Robert D. Bernardi said today that Richard Dennison was misleading the public about his office’s actions.

“While my office does not generally comment on ongoing investigations, in this case I feel compelled to publicly respond to certain statements that Mr. Dennison falsely attributes to my office,” Bernardi wrote in a statement……………

Bernardi said that his office never concluded that the charges against volunteer in question were false. Moreover, Bernardi added, the volunteer 18 years old, and that he got his name not from the Allen campaign but from Dennison’s father. Bernardi had contacted the father in an attempt to reach Richard Dennison because a witness to the alleged vandalism had reported a license plate number belonging to a car leased by the candidate himself.………..

Dennison admitted that investigators never told him that the allegations were “baseless,” but it up to a mistake in a hastily written email.

“I should have flushed out what I was saying….. Nobody from the prosecutor’s office said to me that this is entirely baseless – that was my conclusion based on their handling of it,” said Dennison. “They told him you’re not in any trouble, you don’t need an attorney present….. By virtue of them cutting him loose I found it to be baseless.” (Friedman,



“HOBOKEN – Dawn Zimmer has raised more campaign cash, and spent more, than opponent Christopher Campos in the 4th Ward City Council race, but a large portion of it has come out of her own pocket.

Campos's campaign, meanwhile, has been bankrolled largely by political allies like Union City Mayor and Assemblyman Brian Stack and his Democrats for Hudson County group, according to financial reports the candidates filed with the state.

With Round 3 of the 4th Ward race Tuesday, Election Law Enforcement Commission reports show Zimmer and Campos have waged a long and costly battle – collecting a total of $281,317 and spending $254,715 of it for the May election, June runoff and Tuesday's special do-over election that was agreed to by both candidates in court.

Zimmer has spent about $8,000 more than Campos, $131,366 to $123,349. The contribution and spending totals are as of Oct. 26, the latest figures filed with ELEC.

Zimmer reported collecting $147,047 for her campaign, nearly one-third of it coming out of her own pocket in the form of a $7,400 contribution and a $40,000 loan.

Campos's ELEC reports show he raised $134,270. ………

More than half – at least $68,000 – of Campos's funds have come from politicians and their campaign committees. He received large contributions from the Democrats for Hudson County – a group led by Stack that has broken with the Hudson County Democratic Organization……….

Zimmer's records show she has received far less from Hudson County political organizations. Some politicians associated with the HCDO have supported Zimmer. Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise contributed $4,000 and Jersey City Mayor and HCDO chairman Jerramiah Healy gave her $2,000.” (Hack, Jersey Journal)



“New Jersey's 8-month-old civil union law has failed to live up to its promise of giving same-sex couples all the protections of marriage by another name, the state's top official for enforcing civil rights said yesterday.

Civil Rights Director Frank Vespa-Papaleo, who chairs a commission that recently concluded three hearings on how the new law is working, said, "To me as a commissioner, the testimony revealed overwhelmingly that the civil union law has been a failure.

"It is not working as effectively as if the word 'marriage' were used," Vespa-Papaleo said. "That could be controversial. I could lose my job for saying that."

Vespa-Papaleo, who serves at the pleasure of the governor, was appointed to his job in 2002 by then-Gov. James E. McGreevey and was kept on by Govs. Richard Codey and Jon Corzine.

It is well known that Corzine is open to discussing gay marriage in 2009 but does not want to confront the issue during the presidential campaign, when it could be "hijacked by the right wing," in the words of his press secretary, Lilo Stainton." (Schwaneberg, Star-Ledger)



“It has been 17 years since New Jersey voters defeated a statewide ballot question, and recent polls suggest the winning trend isn't about to end this year.

But that doesn't mean supporters of this year's initiatives are resting easy. There are a lot of forces working against them.

Voters are being asked to approve $650 million in new borrowing – for open-space preservation and stem-cell research – in a year in which taxpayer frustration and concern about state finances are soaring.

A group advocating smaller government and fiscal conservatism has launched a "Vote No" campaign against both bond issues and a third ballot initiative to dedicate more sales-tax revenue to property-tax reform.

And antiabortion groups are separately – and very vocally – fighting the stem-cell initiative, saying the science it would fund is morally repugnant.

"We're a little nervous," acknowledged Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club.” (Moroz, Philadelphia Inquirer)



“New Jersey voters appear ready to support borrowing $450 million for stem cell research, but a poll released Thursday found the outcome could depend on who shows up to vote Tuesday.

The Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll found 47 percent of likely voters saying they will approve the ballot question asking whether the state should borrow the money to pay for stem cell research in the state for 10 years. It found 38 percent opposing the question. But the poll found support varying widely among different groups.

But the poll found support varying widely among different groups.

It found 43 percent of men support the question, with 45 percent opposed. Fifty-one percent of women support it, with 31 percent opposed.

The poll found liberals supporting the question 68 percent to 16 percent,, but conservatives opposing it, 57 percent to 32 percent. It found moderates favoring it by 47 percent to 37 percent.

Democrats favor the question by a 2-1 ratio, but Republicans oppose it by a 5-3 ratio.” (AP)



“FRANKLIN TWP. Gov. Jon Corzine used a 200-acre orchard here as the backdrop to stump for the public question that will decide whether to spend $200 million on land preservation.

Corzine visited Schober Orchards on Buck Road Thursday morning to ceremonially sign legislation that will appropriate $137 million from the dwindling Garden State Preservation Trust Fund.

"It is absolutely essential that we save our remaining farms," Corzine said. "To do that, we need to refresh our Garden State Preservation Trust."

After Thursday's bill signing, the Farmland Preservation Program's balance was down to zero. There is still some money for other preservation.

Corzine's efforts come days before residents will be asked to vote on whether to spend $200 million. The money doled out through Public Question No. 3 will go to preserve farmland, open space, flood-prone properties and historic sites. ” (McCarthy, Gloucester County Times)




“New Jersey voters next week will have the power to strike two hurtful words — "idiot" and "insane" — from the state constitution.

Activists say the language, in place since 1844 to define individuals barred from voting, is a vestige of an age that shunned people with disabilities. Antiquated as the words may be, they say, their presence still causes pain.

"It's just so amazing that these things are still with us," said Tom Bengaff, 52, of River Vale, who has quadriplegia. "You would think New Jersey would be a little more forward-looking."” (Young, Bergen Record)



“While state funding has dried up for new school projects in the 31 needy communities where the Supreme Court ordered decrepit school buildings rebuilt, wealthy suburbs are enjoying a state-subsidized school building boom, according to a report issued yesterday by the lawyers for the needy communities.

"It is a cruel irony that the state school construction program, enacted to address long-standing facilities needs in poorer districts, now only funds projects in more affluent and middle income school districts," David Sciarra, attorney for the needy communities covered by the state Supreme Court's Abbott vs. Burke school construction order, said in a statement accompanying the analysis.

The so-called Abbott districts covered by the 1998 court order have received the largest amount of state construction aid under a program set up after the Supreme Court's construction mandate. Lawmakers authorized $8.6 billion in borrowing to pay for school construction statewide; $6 billion to cover the full cost of schools in the so-called "Abbott" districts, and $2.6 billion in partial grants for suburban and vocational schools.

Money for the suburban schools ran out two years ago. But since then, suburban communities that win voter approval to borrow for new school projects have been eligible for a separate program in which the state covers at least 40 percent of each year's repayment costs for school construction bonds.

Payments under the program have jumped from $36 million two years ago to almost $50 million this year, Sciarra's analysis shows. ” (McNichol, Star-Ledger)



“The debate lasted two hours and covered topics ranging from the state budget to governance of age-restricted communities, but some attending a forum Thursday night for candidates in the 9th Legislative District left feeling uncertain about the pending election.

For Tamar Sherer of Long Beach Township, the event swayed too far toward partisan sniping for any tangible positions to be discerned.

Sherer voiced concerns about the partisan nature of candidates' responses during a question-and-answer period, and said she worries the nature of any campaign complicates an elected official's job once they get to Trenton.

"It's such a shame they are alleging that this kind of partisanship is for the benefit of the public, but when they are at work, it all falls aside," said Sherer. "I don't think they leave their philosophies and partisanship at the door."

Also attending last night was Lois Visotcky, whose late husband, Richard, served in the state Assembly representing part of Bergen County from 1974-1986. Like Sherer, she said she has concerns about what she said was a lack of substance shown by the candidates when given a chance to lay out clear paths to improving the state of the state.

"The problems are very real, but what are they going to do about it?" Visotcky said. "Nobody had a real answer."

The state Senate candidates who participated were Democrat Russell K. Corby, 64, of Pine Beach and Republican Assemblyman Christopher J. Connors, 51, of Lacey, who are vying for the seat now held by Leonard T. Connors Jr., the assemblyman's father who is not seeking re-election.” (Paid, Asbury Park Press)



Shirley Turner, D-Lawrence, has been a state senator for 10 years and has the advantage of her incumbency in the 15th District Senate race, but that isn't stopping Republican newcomer Bob Martin, who expects to spend $150,000 of his own money.

Both candidates say that cutting property taxes is the top priority if they win the election. They call for efforts to reduce government spending, one of which they agree would be to convene a constitutional convention to look for ways to cut down the outflow of dollars. Both want to help fight the spread of gang crime and violence.

Turner said the state must find a fairer way than the property tax to fund education and pay for government services. She supports consolidation of school districts, municipalities and elections, as well as sharing of municipal services.

Martin, a senior partner at Accenture, a business and technology consulting firm, said he would also promote a "zero-based" state budget under which all expenditures would be scrutinized. Items that cannot be justified would be eliminated or funding would be reduced, he said.

The candidates said they would not support layoffs as a way to meet Gov. Jon Corzine's call for a $3 billion cut in the state budget. ” (Loayza, Trenton Times)



“For more than a decade, the Democratic Party has held all seven seats on the Camden County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Republican challengers pop up every election season. Each time, the well-funded Democratic Party has knocked them down and sent them packing. There hasn't been a successful GOP candidate for freeholder since 1993.

Camden County freeholders control a $300 million budget and about 1,800 county employees. Each freeholder is paid $23,000 a year during three-year terms.

Alice Wood, 60, is one of two Republicans running against incumbents Carmen Rodriguez and Ed McDonnell. A retired business teacher at Camden County Vo-Tech School, she'd prefer not to be thought of as the GOP sacrificial lamb. But Wood understands she's running on hope and not much more.

Gene Mignona, Wood's Republican running mate, did not respond to requests for an interview.” (Wood, Philadelphia Inquirer)



“Downtown redevelopment, taxes and slowing traffic are key is sues in this year's race for Somerville mayor and borough council.

Heading the Republican slate is Mayor Brian Gallagher, who's looking for another four-year term. His council running mates are Patrick Lott and Patricia McCormick, who have not held elective public office in town, but have been involved in party politics.” (Bugman, Star-Ledger)



“South Bound Brook has been on the upswing, with a massive housing development ushering in a much-needed revitalization, and which may soon deliver $1 million in new tax revenue to the small Somerset County borough.

Eight candidates running in this year's general election want to continue that progress. Some are focused on reducing municipal expenses to provide tax relief. Others want to further along commercial development plans that have not yet been realized at the 152-unit development, known as Canal Crossing.” (Ortega, Star-Ledger)



“Party control hangs in the balance in the traditionally Democratic borough of Manville, where longtime Democratic Mayor Angelo Corradino is seeking his fifth term and two borough council seats are up for grabs on Tuesday.

With the council split 3-3 between Democrats and Republicans, one win by the GOP would tip the scales.” (Abdou, Star-Ledger)



“Voters in the town of Clinton will have to decide on Election Day between the mayor they have and the mayor they had.

Democrat Christine Schaum burg is being challenged by Republican Robert Smith, who served as mayor between 1971 and 1981.

For council, Republican incumbents Todd Pender and John Harrison are running against Democrats Michelle Harrison and Joelle Garber for two three-year terms

Smith said he was compelled to jump into the race because of what he described as "fiscal irresponsibility" on the part of the current administration. ” (Holl, Star-Ledger)



“Campaigns for city council in Westfield are rarely reduced to mudslinging affairs, but this election season can at least be called scrappy.

The Democrats running say the majority Republican council has given developers a free pass to build more McMansions over the last five years and has raised taxes, while awarding the town attorney a pay raise and contracting those services without first putting them out to bid.” (Friedman, Star-Ledger)



“The vacancy in the Roselle business administrator's office has rankled some residents since winter, when Mayor Garrett Smith fired the former administrator and assumed his duties.

By last month, agitation over the issue pushed a citizens group to mount what its chairwoman called a "poor people's campaign" for a write-in candidate against Smith in Tuesday's election, in which he is running unopposed.” (Rothman, Star-Ledger)



“With three seats open on the Summit Common Council, Democrats are hoping to capture two of them in their bid to return to the governing body.

In this predominantly Republican city, Democratic Mayor Jordan Glatt's victory four years ago initially held out hope for Democrats to make some inroads on the governing body. But that hasn't happened and Democrats find themselves again needing to oust incumbents if they want to take a seat at the table.” (Gluck, Star-Ledger)



“Kenilworth Republicans called for changes in government in responding to a questionnaire in advance of Tuesday's mayor-council election, while Democrats said they will do their best to keep down taxes but not neglect urgent needs.

Four years of Democratic control at borough hall is at stake this election, which could tilt the balance of power back to Republicans who were in control for much of the 1990s.” (Jett, Star-Ledger)



SOMERS POINT – A political ad comparing two City Council candidates has drawn charges of sexism from two Democratic running mates.

Republican Sean McGuigan's ad has his name on one side and says, "My Opponent" on the other. Listed under McGuigan is the fact he has three children and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. It also lists his job and his service in various volunteer organizations. For his 1st Ward opponent, Genevieve DeVito – who is not listed by name – it lists "mother of twins" and "nice person."

"This ad by Mr. McGuigan belittles motherhood and the years I spent caring for my children and participating in their activities," DeVito said at a press conference with her running mate, Councilman John DiMaria, the party's mayoral candidate.

"Parenting is the backbone of a community and for Mr. McGuigan to negatively compare my commitment to my children insults every mother and caregiver."” (Cohen, Press of Atlantic City)




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