Today’s news from

Corzine makes a speech, Moran on Corzine’s monetization plan, Max Pizarro writes about Hillary and Obama camps, Aubrey Fenton considers congressional run.


Calling for "transformational change" in the state's finances, Gov. Jon Corzine said yesterday his plan to raise tolls and pay down state debt will include new limits on future borrowing so New Jersey does not repeat "the mistakes of the past."

While offering a few more hints about what his "financial restructuring" proposal will contain, the governor said it would be another two months before he can reveal it in its entirety.

Corzine told a gathering of the New Jersey League of Municipalities in Atlantic City that any plan he advocates must reduce the state's debt by half and replenish the trust fund that pays for transportation projects such as widening the New Jersey Turnpike.

The "most important structural reform" he will propose, Corzine said, will "create greater public control over future debt as a means of protecting taxpayers from the mistakes of the past."

He gave no details but spoke colorfully of the need to make debt reduction permanent: "I don't want to clean the manure out of the barn only to have someone else fill it back."” (Howlett, Star-Ledger)

Corzine wants to create a nonprofit entity to manage the toll roads, which could bond against future toll revenue for an upfront payment to help pay down some of the state's $32 billion debt.

While he said tolls would increase, Corzine stopped short of detailing an amount Thursday. He said a plan would be released by Jan. 8, when the new Legislature reconvenes.

"It's time for we elected officials to stop being afraid and cautious and do something bold to right this ship," he said. "Make no mistake I am willing to risk losing my job if that's necessary to set our fiscal house in order."

But following the event, Republicans fired back saying there was nothing bold about this move.

"The essence of his plan remains unchanged — reducing debt by taking on more debt," said Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance, R-Warren/Hunterdon. "In exchange for roughly $16 billion dollars, the state will take on the biggest debt obligation in its history. Residents will be forced to pay this debt by the tripling of tolls on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway."” (Graber, Express-Times)

“He also said he was reluctant to take on new proposals, like universal health care, because it would “be hard to justify new programs” with a debt that he described as “strangling.”

“I think we’ve moved away from the view of anything other than pay down debt,” he said.

Regardless of when Mr. Corzine, a Democrat, came to that realization, the state’s voters delivered their message last Tuesday, when they rejected a ballot proposal to borrow $450 million for stem cell research.

Mr. Corzine mentioned the word “debt” 13 times in his 21-minute speech, and dozens of times in a 27-minute question-and-answer session with reporters afterward.

The governor, who is now approaching the midpoint of his term, seemed to be underscoring the point that reducing debt would be his top priority.”



“In poker, they call it a tell. It's that little tick that tells the other players you are bluffing, and that you don't really believe in the big bet you just threw down.

Our governor has a tell. When he's playing a game of political spin, he stumbles over his words. It can get so bad that you almost feel sorry for him.

But yesterday in Atlantic City, the governor was on his game, relaxed and articulate. He's finally made the big decisions on how to fix the state's finances, and he seemed to be at peace. When he said he is willing to fight to the death to get it done, he sounded like he meant it.

"Make no mistake, I am willing to lose my job if that's necessary," he told a packed ballroom at the League of Municipalities convention.

It may come to that. But let's at least hear the man out. Because his idea, despite the goofy name of "asset monetization," has a lot of merit, and could get us at least halfway towards fixing the state's structural deficit.”

First, the bad part. This is going to require a huge toll hike on the state's two big highways. In unguarded moments, the governor's senior aides have said tolls could double, or even triple, over time.

Yesterday, Corzine acknowledged that the toll hike could be a monster. He refused to be specific now, he said, because "It might undermine the credibility of the program." So brace yourself. This is where a lot of people bail out on this plan, on Step 1. Nearly every candidate in a tight race this year ran from the idea.

But the truth is that toll hikes are better than tax hikes. For one, only about half the tolls on the Turnpike are paid by New Jersey motorists. And our tolls are lower than almost everyone else's. We're giving our neighbors a nice bargain, while they are squeezing all they can out of us.

Think of this as a chance for revenge. Delaware, in particular, has been robbing us blind with their gigantic tolls. If we can force them to help pay off our debt, that's simple justice. ” (Moran, Star-Ledger)



“I walked into Pal's Cabin, that West Orange watering hole where the Irishmen who run the state go when they want to tie one on.

On this particular summer night, John F. X. Graham was at the front of a room full of heavyweight Hillary Clinton supporters, some of whom, however weighed down with gold bars, were evidently still in the throes of John Kerry fatigue.

"Hillary's a winner," Graham assured the group. "She's a centrist, and the Democratic Party wins with centrists."

It isn't any ideology that Clinton offers ultimately. It is political instinct coupled with machinery. Graham and Democratic Party operative Tom Barrett remained steamed over Kerry's anemic ground game in Ohio in 2004. The last Irish sentinel to try to make a stand in Newark with Tommy Giblin before retreating and
re-entrenching in the suburban hinterlands, Barrett is a warpaint-ravaged veteran of primary season dust-ups with Steve Adubato and Joe DiVincenzo, and any number of wars that stretch back to his father's era and then to the old country before that.

A nuts and bolts campaign operator, Barrett on this night two and a half years after the fact still couldn't believe that Kerry didn't have more manpower in Ohio to combat the army Karl Rove had fielded a year earlier in what everyone knew was going to be a battleground state.

That won't happen with Clinton, whose husband, Barrett said, helped turn New Jersey into a blue state…………

Around that same time on a different evening, I surfaced at a Hoboken bar for an Obama meet-up, the only other game in town, at least outside of Rudy Giuliani. As I flagged down the barkeep and he slammed a beer down in front of me, I noticed the guy standing next to me was Newark Councilman Ron Rice, Jr.

We got to talking, mostly about Newark politics because what's the country after all but an addendum to New Jersey and what's Jersey but Newark's ethnic finery sprawled north, south, east and west. I didn't tell Rice this but I found his and Cory Booker's crusade more interesting and important than Obama's. They would undoubtedly argue that they are fighting the same battle. But having watched all three political careers, one could say that as they labored in the unglamorous netherworld of municipal politics, Rice and Booker had given more to the struggle. It wasn't yet a year into Rice's first term in office, but he was already alert to the coming insurgency. He was part of the Booker team that rolled to power in 2006, and the incumbents they beat weren't all allies then but they were after they found themselves out of jobs and on the backside of history. They were already stirring dissent.” (Pizarro,


“Rev. Aubrey Fenton was as shocked as any other Republican to hear that 12-term Rep. Jim Saxton's would not seek re-election. But after getting the news on Friday, Fenton shut himself off from the political world as he typically does on weekends, taking sanctuary in his church to focus on his Sunday sermon.

So it wasn't until Monday that the 37-year-old Burlington County Freeholder saw published reports that Burlington County GOP leader Glenn Paulsen, who's feuding with potential congressional candidate state Sen. Diane Allen — the early favorite for the Republican nomination – was talking up a potential Fenton run.

Paulsen later told that Republicans ought to look into supporting the candidacy of Fenton, an African-American, as an opportunity for the national party to reach out to minority voters. Plus, he said, Fenton is more socially conservative than Allen, meshing with the national party's stance on issues like abortion and gay marriage more than the moderate Allen.

"Aubrey Fenton is someone who's young, energetic and a tremendously respected reverend in this area," said Paulsen. "He would be someone who the national party, which does not have a good reputation with people of color, should seriously consider."

By the time Fenton checked his cell phone's voice mail on Monday, he had more messages than he could count.

"I must have had 100 messages about this one particular issue," said Fenton. "I'm still trying to digest it, to be honest with you."

Fenton, like all the potential Republican Saxton successors, hasn't said whether or not he will run. But unlike other potential candidates from Burlington — County Clerk and State Senator-elect Phil Haines, Sheriff Jean Stanfield, or fellow Freeholder Bill Haines — he hasn't removed his name from consideration. Some political insiders think that Paulsen brought up Fenton more to put a damper on the buzz surrounding Allen than as a serious challenge to her. Paulsen denies it.

(Another possible candidate from Burlington, former GOP State Chairman David Norcross, has refused to rule out a bid for Saxton's seat.)

Fenton, for his part, appears to be mulling the prospect of a congressional run seriously. ” (Friedman,



“The former head of the Camden Education Association was charged yesterday with stealing thousands of dollars from the teachers union and spending it on gambling.


A two-count indictment alleges that Claraliene Gordon used her union-issued credit card in Atlantic City casinos at least 26 times during the six years she was union president, state Attorney General Anne Milgram said. She racked up $14,974 in personal expenses on the card between September 2000 and August 2006, Milgram said.


"Anybody who paid a penny in union dues should be upset," said union member Karen Borrelli, a physical education teacher at Dr. Charles Brimm Medical Arts High. "Our money didn't go where it was supposed to go."

The indictment is the second stemming from a sweeping state criminal probe launched in 2006 into alleged test-rigging and spending practices in the Camden school system.

In March, four former Camden school employees were charged with stealing $40,000 from the district and from parents.

They have pleaded not guilty and await trial.

Gordon, 66, who now lives in Fayetteville, N.C., was charged with theft by unlawful taking and misapplication of entrusted property. If convicted, she faces up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine on each charge.

"I don't have anything to say," Gordon said yesterday. Her attorney, Rocco Cipparone, could not be reached.” (Bruney, Philadelphia Inquirer)



“Allegations that Orange officials were reimbursed for phony receipts — the subject of a fraud complaint letter sent to law enforcement authorities — are being challenged by the targets of those charges.

Councilman-at-large Coram Rimes, North Ward Councilwoman Tency Eason and former East Ward Councilwoman Barbara Peters have labeled as lies fraud accusations leveled against them by Laverne M. Ballard, embattled Mayor Mims Hackett Jr.'s former executive secretary.

"I can't believe that people fabricate news," Eason said of Ballard, a fired Orange employee who, on Sept. 13, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Hackett. "It's a shame when people just drag your name through the mud, with no factual information."

Ballard, a former Orange resident who now lives in the Atlanta area with her husband-attorney, Ronald Washington, this week said she stands by the criminal accusations she outlined in a March 5, 2007, complaint letter she sent to Essex County Prosecutor Paula Dow.

The accusations, outlined in that correspondence and mirroring parts of her sexual harassment lawsuit against Hackett, are true, Bal lard said in a phone interview.

"I stand by the letter that I wrote to the authorities, and if they want to sue me, they can sue me for slander," Ballard said. "But the truth will be sorted out by the proper authorities. The matter is still under investigation. I've turned over all financial records that were in question to the prosecutor's office." ” (Dilworth, Star-Ledger)



“When he was pulled over by Roxbury police for suspected drunken driving, Municipal Court Judge George Korpita handed the officer a blue judicial identification card and nonchalantly told the officer,

"I'm a judge." "I'm OK, bro. I'm OK," Korpita told the officer, according to an ar rest report released yesterday. "I'm a judge, bro."

Police found the 47-year-old judge for Dover, Rockaway, and Victory Gardens behind the wheel of his black Chrysler sedan at 2 a.m. on Nov. 6 at an intersection in the Ledgewood section of Roxbury. Another motorist called police after the car failed to move when the traffic light changed.

After police arrived, Korpita told the officers he had just left a Route 46 go-go bar, and that he was "fine."

But then, Korpita proceeded to fail at least five back-to-back sobriety tests, even when given several chances to pass them.

He couldn't recite the alphabet. According to the report, "Numerous letters were stated in the incor rect sequence and numerous letters were omitted." ” (Swayze, Star-Ledger)



“The estranged wife of former Gov. James E. McGreevey wants him to pay most of the costs for their daughter's psychotherapy and their sessions with a court-appointed mediator.

In her latest filing to Family Court Judge Karen Cassidy, Dina Matos McGreevey implores the Superior Court judge in Elizabeth to reverse her decision from two months ago that they equally split the bills.

Matos McGreevey suggested that McGreevey pay up to two-thirds of the bills, while she would pay the remainder.

Matos McGreevey's position is that the expenses should be divided based on their incomes, her attorney John Post wrote in the latest court filings released yesterday.

McGreevey earns $130,662 and Matos McGreevey earns $82,000. Matos McGreevey is also getting $2,500 in temporary support from McGreevey.

Post further suggested that the McGreeveys' incomes are inflated because of proceeds from their books. McGreevey earned $250,000 from his book, "The Confession." Matos McGreevey earned $275,000 from "Silent Partner."

But McGreevey's attorney said there could be additional assets.

"Mr. Post seems to have forgotten that the court determined that the defendant (Matos McGreevey) could not account for a large portion of her income," Matthew Piermatti II wrote. ” (Lucas, Star-Ledger)



“Lawmakers who blur the line between using state resources to communicate with constituents as a public servant and campaigning to voters as an incumbent seeking re-election were put on notice to be more careful next election season.

The Joint Legislative Committee on Ethical Standards dismissed seven such complaints Thursday with little or no discussion of the facts but warned that in the future, it will more aggressively enforce rules about using legislative offices for political purposes.

"I don't think it's fair to apply a strict rule that hasn't been enforced before this point," said Herbert Friend, acting chairman of the committee. "But I think we have to send a message. We are going to enforce this strict rule in the future: Don't mix campaign organizations with legislative district offices."

The committee, whose meeting had the feel of a post-election clearinghouse of complaints filed during legislative campaigns, dismissed eight complaints, including volleys exchanged by Sen. Ellen Karcher, D-Monmouth, and Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck, R-Monmouth, who won the Senate seat last week, accusing each other of campaigning with their district offices.” (Volpe, Gannett)

“A legislative panel on Thursday dismissed an ethics complaint filed against Republican Sen. Gerald Cardinale, ruling that it was filed too late.

The complaint, filed by Roger L. Berkley of Woodcliff Lake, alleged that Cardinale "took significant steps to deregulate the banking industry in New Jersey while at the same time was lavished with trips for he and his wife paid for by the very same banking industry."

The bills and trips in question took place in 2000; the Joint Legislative Committee on Ethical Standards requires that most complaints be filed within two years of the alleged misconduct.

Cardinale, a dentist from Demarest, said the complaint would have been dismissed even if the time requirement had been met.

"It would have been dismissed on substance because the rules are clear," Cardinale said in an interview after the committee's meeting. "Every legislator at the time that that occurred was permitted to attend such functions. Many did. I'm not an exception."

The complaint was filed in October, just as Cardinale's opponent in this fall's campaign, Joseph Ariyan of Saddle River, began criticizing the trips in television ads and debate appearances. Ariyan said the $27,000 in airfare and lodgings paid for by banking industry lobbyists over the last decade had skewed Cardinale's priorities and was evidence that he had been serving in Trenton too long.” (Lu, Bergen Record)



An incoming assemblyman from Morris Plains may have to forfeit his job at a large law firm unless the Legislature's ethics committee reverses how it has interpreted a clause in the ethics code aimed at preventing lawyers who are legislators from profiting from the firm's appearances before state agencies.

Historically, the Joint Legislative Committee on Ethical Standards has interpreted the clause reading "no member of the Legislature nor any partnership or
firm of which he is a member or any corporation in which he owns or controls an interest" to include all employees. But James K. "Jay" Webber Jr., a Republican who was elected in the 26th District Assembly race last week, contends it is meant for partners or owners, not a lower-level associate like himself. "I leave it to the committee to decide what's right and wrong," Webber said.” (Volpe, Gannett)



“The troubled EnCap project will be the subject of Senate hearings in Trenton "as soon as possible," state Senate President Richard Codey declared Thursday.

Codey, D-Essex, said that the Meadowlands golf and housing project will be reviewed before the end of the year — probably in early December — by the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee led by state Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Wood-Ridge. The committee also includes Sens. Nia Gill, D-Montclair, and Gerald Cardinale, R-Demarest.

While Codey said he would prefer that the pending EnCap report by Inspector General Mary Jane Cooper be released before — or in conjunction with — the hearings, he added, "I'm not going to wait for it, either."

Cooper was assigned by Governor Corzine in February to look into questions about the state's outlay of at least $300 million in taxpayer money toward remediation of the landfills at the EnCap site. That investigation continues.

Sarlo — who this year has tempered his earlier support for the project — has said he supports Codey's call for hearings, which were sought by Assemblyman Kevin O'Toole, R-Cedar Grove, on Wednesday. O'Toole, who was seeking to bring the matter before the Senate and Assembly Budget committees, said he wants to call witnesses and find out "who is responsible for this debacle."” (Brennan, Bergen Record)

“Fed up with delays in closing four landfills, the Meadowlands Commission wants to start dipping into the $149 million collateral put up by EnCap three years ago to get the cleanup going again.

If the commission can start using the funds, a new team of workers could be brought in to clean up and close the landfills, according to Chris Gale, a commission spokesman. EnCap's remediation efforts stopped early this year, he said.

"We are hopeful that the work can resume quickly," Gale said yesterday.

The collateral is held by American Home Assurance Co., and the commission will meet with the company to discuss how the funds will be used, Gale said.

EnCap's $1 billion plan to turn nearly 800 polluted acres into a luxurious development of homes and golf courses has been plagued with delays, environmental problems and mounting costs nearly since its start in 2000.

The deadline for EnCap to fix some of those problems looms on Tuesday. EnCap could get kicked off the project if it misses the deadline, which was set by the commission two months ago, Gale said.” (McDermott, Star-Ledger)



State Athletic Control Board Commissioner Larry Hazzard Sr., who has overseen New Jersey boxing for 22 years and orchestrated the rebirth of mixed martial arts, has been fired by Attorney General Anne Milgram.

"It was time for a change," the attorney general's spokesman, David Wald, said in explaining Wednesday's action. "It's a few months into her own administration and she's been examining division directors and she wanted to make a change."

Hazzard, a former three-time Golden Gloves champ never known to shy from a fight, called the move "retaliation" for his writing to Gov. Jon Corzine about a dispute with Milgram's office over employees Hazzard believed were jeopardizing the health of fighters.

Milgram's office landed another shot, Hazzard said, by firing him on the eve of his nephew's funeral, which they knew was yesterday.

"It's in retaliation for the letter and that some people took exception for what's in the letter," Hazzard said during an interview following the funeral. "'I always challenge that stuff — that's the way I am. … But in New Jersey state government, at least in the Department of Law and Public Safety, this time it wasn't appreciated."

In a letter sent to the governor on Oct. 23, a copy of which was obtained by The Star-Ledger, Hazzard's attorney, James J. Binns, claimed his client was told "not to document the malfeasance and misfeasance" of a board employee even though it "jeopardized the welfare of contestants." Among the concerns, Binns wrote, were the employee's decisions to sanction mismatches in mixed martial arts contests, to okay a fighter who failed to test negative for HIV and to allow promoters to "shop" for medical approvals for their fighters……….

The letter said the Attorney General's Office responded to the complaints by initiating an internal investigation into Hazzard's involvement with the Newark charitable group COMBATT, which promotes education, physical development and recreation activities for youth.

"I complained to the people I should complain to about major improprieties in the agency," said Hazzard, who earned $115,789 per year. "I think it's a bit unfair … when I've taken an oath to protect the health and safety of the youngest who participate in these very dangerous combative sports."

Wald denied Milgram's decision to fire Hazzard was related in any way to his complaints about board employees or the letter to Corzine. He declined to comment further, citing confidentiality rules concerning personnel decisions. ” (McNeil and Hepp, Star-Ledger)


America needs to lay down the sword and adopt a policy of "militant moderation" if it is to regain its position as an "indispensable nation."

This was the message from former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at a talk at Drew University on Thursday night. About 1,000 people packed the hall at the university to hear Albright, whose appearance was the second in this year's series of Drew Forum talks.

About 1,000 people packed the hall at the university to hear Albright, whose
appearance was the second in this year's series of Drew Forum talks.

Joe Fonte, 28, of Roselle Park, came because he admires Albright, he said before the talk began. Unlike others in her position in the government who "toe the party line," she was "more independent," he said.

Albright, who covered American foreign policy and the job facing the next president, delivered a stump speech for Sen. Hillary Clinton and a plug for Albright's forthcoming book, "Memo to the President-Elect: How We Can Restore America's Reputation and Leadership."” (Padmanabhan, Daily Record)



“The defense attorney for John J. Hamilton Jr., the former Asbury Park city councilman on trial on federal corruption charges, came out swinging Thursday morning as he repeatedly asked the government's star witness if he ever lied. Time after time, Robert "Duke" Steffer answered "yes."

"Have you ever lied to a bank to get a mortgage?" Hamilton's attorney, Michael Baldassare, asked.

"Yes," Steffer answered.

Baldassare then asked if Steffer lied to get a credit card, lied to his insurance company and lied on loan applications to get at least four autos. Steffer answered yes to all those questions.

"Did you ever lie to the U.S. Attorney's Office?" Baldassare asked.

"No," Steffer sternly replied.

Baldassare pointed out that revelations about the mortgage on Steffer's home, the cars and the credit cards were all things learned by federal authorities in recent days.

Later in his testimony, Steffer testified that he had worked in some capacity or other for the criminal division of the Internal Revenue Service, Drug Enforcement Agency and even did undercover work with the CIA 30 years ago.” (Webster, Asbury Park Press)



“Mayors from cities throughout the state unveiled a seven-point legislative strategy for their communities Thursday at the 92nd annual meeting of New Jersey State League of Municipalities.

"As urban mayors, we have to advance the interest of urban centers. New Jersey's future depends on the revitalization and resurgence of New Jersey cities," said Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith, president of the New Jersey Urban Mayors Association.

The seven points are:

1. Crime and Public Safety

The mayors support the governor's three-part plan to combat crime and create safer cities and neighborhoods. In addition to advocating for funds to implement the governor's Crime Prevention Strategy, the mayors are calling for New Jersey to fund, implement and evaluate initiatives such as Cease Fire……” (Sokolic, Courier-Post)



“New Jersey Health Commissioner Fred Jacobs will leave office by Dec. 31. Tom Slater, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Senior Services, confirmed yesterday that Jacobs, 71, would be retiring.

Slater did not know what Jacobs' plans were or when his successor would be named.

It had been known for some time that Jacobs, a physician and former St. Barnabas Health Care executive, was planning to step down. Slater said Jacobs was leaving for personal reasons. He was named to the post three years ago by then-Gov. Richard J. Codey.” (AP)



An attorney for the state Democratic Committee and a city Democratic committeeman are expected in court this morning to ask a judge to delay while they file an appeal of her decision requiring City Council pick a mayor by Wednesday.

Committeeman John Devlin said the 9 a.m. hearing in front of Superior Court Judge Valerie H. Armstrong comes after city party representatives would not agree to a stay at a 10:15 a.m. Thursday meeting in Armstrong's chambers.

Armstrong upheld the city party's Oct. 17 nominations of Business Administrator Domenic Cappella, firefighter Scott Evans and former Councilwoman Barbara Hudgins to replace former Mayor Bob Levy, who resigned Oct. 10. Armstrong ordered council to pick one of the three by Nov. 28. City Council President William Marsh is serving as acting mayor.” (Harper, Press of Atlantic City)



“Responding to a growing scandal that yesterday included the emergence of photos of Hoboken police officers posing with Hooters waitresses holding their guns during a Hurricane Katrina relief mission, Mayor David Roberts announced the creation of a civilian position to oversee the police and fire departments.

Retired Deputy Fire Chief Bill Bergin was named to the $27,000-a-year post of public safety director, and his first job will be to investigate the officers in the photos, which were taken in Alabama on the way home from a trip to Kenner, La., in 2006.

The photos released to the media show the Hooters staff posing with SWAT team weapons during the trip, which was led by Lt. Angelo Andriani, who is shown posing with handcuffed women, wearing a Confederate flag hat and apparently touching a woman's breast.

Roberts described the images as "disgusting" and "embarrassing" for Hoboken.

"What occurred was some repugnant behavior," Roberts said, "and conduct not becoming of a police officer of Hoboken.”

Roberts said Police Chief Carmen LaBruno and Fire Chief John Cassesa are onboard with the decision to create the public safety position, though neither attended yesterday's news conference announcing it and neither could be reached for comment afterward. The appointment o
f Bergin must be approved by the city council.

Andriani is the target of a federal lawsuit filed by five Latino police officers, who accuse him of being an "unabashed white supremacist." The photos of the Hooters excursion were released by the plaintiffs' attorney, Louis Zayas, who previously had released photos of Andriani — on the same or a similar trip to the South — putting a napkin over his head to make it look like a Ku Klux Klan hood. ” (Hack, Jersey Journal)



“A container of Pepsi, Poland Spring or Pabst beer could cost a dime more in New Jersey if a Bergen County legislator gets her way.

To boost recycling, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, D-Englewood, wants to add a 10-cent deposit to most beverage containers.

Eleven other states have "bottle bills." Huttle says its time has come in New Jersey, given concerns over dwindling recycling rates and the rise of the bottled-water industry.

"New Jersey has a growing litter problem, probably half of which is recyclable," said Huttle, who introduced the Smart Container Act in the Legislature last week. "You go to the beach at the Jersey Shore and it's appalling. There are bottles all over."

The bill would require consumers to pay a 10-cent deposit on most plastic, metal and glass containers under 24 ounces in size and 20 cents on containers between 24 ounces and a gallon.” (Nussbaum, Bergen Record)



“Vowing to continue to aid the fight against street gangs, Sen. Shirley K. Turner has introduced two new bills aimed at helping police better solve and prevent gun crimes.

One of the bills would require all newly made handguns sold in New Jersey to have their firing pins laser-etched with a "microstamp" that would transfer specific characters onto the casing of any bullet fired from the weapon. Those de tails would allow officers who find discarded bullet casings to quickly identify the make, model and serial number of the gun used.

The other bill would require the owner of a firearm that has been lost or stolen to immediately report the loss or theft to their local police department or the state police.

"We need to be constantly vigilant in our fight to curb the threat of street gangs," said Turner, D- Lawrence. ” (Trenton Times)



“A Superior Court judge on Thursday set a Jan. 7 trial date to hear Parsippany Councilwoman Rosemarie Agostini's claims that voting improprieties cost her the November 2005 mayoral election.

By an order last week from the state Supreme Court, Superior Court Assignment Judge B. Theodore Bozonelis in Morristown must hold a hearing on Agostini's challenge to the legality of 129 votes, including 74 absentee ballots and 41 votes she contends were illegally allowed. Mayor Michael Luther was declared winner of the race.

Final tallies from the 2005 mayoral election — Agostini's fifth try for the township's $108,000 post — showed Luther won by 39 votes.

Agostini's challenge was dismissed by Bozonelis in early 2006, but the Republican won a trial on appeal. Luther, a Democrat, further appealed to the state Supreme Court, which upheld the appellate division and ruled last week that Agostini presented more than sufficient evidence to warrant a trial.

Bozonelis on Thursday held a scheduling conference, which turned testy at times as lawyers for Agostini and Luther quarreled over what discovery might be needed before the trial.

Luther's lawyer, Angelo Genova, said he was ready to start immediately.

"The community is entitled to finality," Genova said. "We want them to have finality, however the outcome."” (Wright, Daily Record)




“Republican Paul Buccellato, who lost the mayoral race by one vote, is calling for a recount. Buccellato was defeated by Democrat Mary Aufseeser in the Nov. 6 general election. He received a total of 946 votes, and Aufseeser 947.

"The best thing to do, since it is a single vote, is to do a recount," said Buccellato, 53, who has served as a councilman since 2001. "It's in the best interest of everyone."” (Thompson, Asbury Park Press)



“Democrat Joseph Shuler, whose bid to unseat Republican incumbent Anne Marie Mitchell fell short by one vote in last week's council election, said Tuesday he will ask a judge to order a recount.

"I want to rest good at night and know that either I won or I lost," he said. "I'm one vote away from being tied, and I'm optimistic that I'll be able to get two votes to win. I'm very close."” (Ax, Bergen Record)



“"Miss Ann," as she was known to the young people who live in the Marine Terrace, Ocean Terrace and Seaview Avenue area where residents are fighting the city's attempts to take their homes by eminent domain, was a role model and mentor for many.

Anna DeFaria, 82, died Wednesday in her beloved cottage by the sea. She had been sick about eight weeks, friends and neighbors said.” (Williams, Asbury Park Press)



“Mayor Sue Ann Metzner apparently squeaked out a win in the mayoral election by 55 votes out of 7,266 cast in the three-way race on Nov. 6, according to tallies recorded at the Camden County Board of Elections.

The margin of victory was gained Thursday through absentee ballots and at least one challenger has indicated he will seek a recount. Metzner received 2,686 votes to 2,631 for Russell Bates and 1,949 for Albert Cooper, according to totals released Thursday.” (Duhart, Courier-Pots)



“Phillipsburg High School Principal Mary Jane Deutsch said she was only trying to share information with parents by copying an excerpt of a Texas therapist's writing in a newsletter, not take credit for his work.

Deutsch, who did not cite the author in her column, apologized Thursday for the mistake she said was completely inadvertent.” (Eilenberger, Express-Times)

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