Today’s news from PolitickerNJ.com

O Boya! A new challenger to Lautenberg?
Several Republican sources are saying that millionaire businessman Andrew Unanue, the former Chief Operating Officer of Goya Foods, is giving consideration to a bid for the GOP U.S. Senate nomination against Frank Lautenberg. (PolitickerNJ.com)

Pile on!
Nearly a month after Gov. Jon Corzine delivered a proposed $33 billion budget he called “cold turkey therapy for our troubled spending addiction,” dozens of advocacy groups, lobbyists and community leaders offered a glimpse yesterday into the painful financial withdrawal they said those cuts would bring.

Hospitals and some charter schools may close. Poor and disabled people, saddled with co-payments for using Medicaid, would skip their medications or delay getting care. Property taxes would soar. (Susan K. Livio, Star-Ledger)

Get off our backs, businesses tell state
Heavy regulation and high taxes are sapping New Jersey’s economy, business leaders told state lawmakers on Thursday.

“We’ve been hit left and right,” Michael Egenton, a state Chamber of Commerce vice president, told the Assembly Budget Committee.

Thursday’s wide-ranging discussion between businesses and lawmakers came amid increased state unemployment, worries about the national economy and with many businesses painting the state business climate as unfriendly. (Tom Hester, Associated Press)

Ruling makes Barse a punching bag
A Superior Court judge’s decision today to invalidate Vineland’s master plan because the city violated the open public meetings law propelled mayoral challenger Robert Romano into attack mode against Mayor Perry Barse. (Max Pizarro, PolitickerNJ.com)

Mims the word. Hackett’s not running
Orange Mayor Mims Hackett did not file petitions today to run for another term as mayor, according to the city clerk’s office.

Awaiting trial on federal corruption charges brought against him last year, Hackett gave up his 27th district Assembly seat. But he said that he would run for mayor again. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ.com)

Pennacchio dream candidate for Dems

“Jersey Joe” Pennacchio, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, is quick to compare himself to Abraham Lincoln, John McCain … and Goldilocks.

“There are some in the Republican leadership who think Joe Pennacchio’s porridge is too hot,” said Pennacchio, a dentist and state legislator from Morris County “Then you have [GOP rival] Murray Sabrin, who says Joe Pennacchio is definitely not conservative enough — that’s just too cold. (Charles Stile, The Record)

Paterson candidates ready for tough fight
Paterson political watchers think this year’s City Council races, with 16 candidates running for six ward seats, will make for the most competitive election year in recent history, one where incumbents are not all guaranteed a spot.

Candidates seeking a seat on the council had to file their petitions by 4 p.m. Thursday, with all but one of the five incumbents — 1st Ward Councilman Anthony E. Davis — facing challengers in the May 13 election.

The other seasoned political veterans face a crowded field of mostly first-time challengers. All wards, except for Davis’, will have three candidates battling it out. (Alexander MacInnes, The Herald)

Musical chairs in Montclair
Kathryn Weller, a candidate for an at-large seat on Montclair’s governing body, was collecting signatures at midday outside Montclair’s main post office. It was fast approaching zero hour — the 4 p.m. deadline to reach the magic number of signatures to get on the ballot.

Some 204 signatures had already been certified, she said, and she had about 40 in hand, enough to put her over the top for the 239 she needed. “If they’re all good,” she said. “Got to get a nice cushion in there before 4 o’clock.” (Philip Read, Star-Ledger)

Cape May voters can choose from experience

Voters who decide the new mayor May 13 will not have to worry about inexperience in office.

That’s because all three candidates for mayor have held the position. Mayor Jerry Inderwies filed to seek another term. He will be challenged by former mayors Ed Mahaney and Jerry Gaffney.

The real surprise Thursday, the filing deadline to run, is that Gaffney in seeking the mayor’s seat. A City Council seat is also up for grabs and many thought he would file for that seat and let Inderwies and Mahaney battle it out for mayor. Inderwies and Mahaney had already turned in their petitions when Gaffney strolled into City Hall on Thursday. (Richard Degner, The Press)

Myers at home with vets
Chris Myers has an easy smile and quick handshake at the VFW post in Mount Holly. He’s comfortable being among fellow veterans as they pick up tuna and Italian hoagies at the post fund-raiser.

Myers, 42, of Medford, is a candidate in the Republican primary on June 3 to replace retiring Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton in the Third District seat. (Cynthia Burton, Inquirer)

Nutley mayor wants third commissioner term
Mayor of the town of Nutley and Commissioner of Public Affairs, 49-year old Joanne Cocchiola-Oliver is seeking her third term on the Board of Commissioners. Four years ago, she was the top vote getter. That’s why she&#8217
;s mayor, and the first woman to hold the office in Nutley’s 106-year history.

“All night on Election Night I was neck and neck with (Commissioner) Mauro Tucci,” Cocchiola-Oliver recalled. “I thought he was going to be the mayor. When I won, my father came up to me and said, ‘You did what I could never do.’” (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ.com)

For more coverage from Nutley, go to PolitickerNJ.com


Store owners tell Council they’re not a blight

A group of store owners in and around the area targeted for redevelopment by Pinnacle Atlantic City stormed into City Hall on Thursday with petitions in hopes of halting talks of eminent domain.

“You don’t have to get rid of little businesses; we’re what makes this city complete,” said Audrey Anderson, owner of Ms. Audrey’s Human Connection, a tailoring and thrift store on Atlantic Avenue. “People that have that income and have a car say get rid of them, because they can drive to the mainland. But what about the people that like walking around their town and using the local businesses?” (Michael Clark, The Press)

No new school taxes in Kearny
The local Board of Education has a gift for taxpayers: A new budget with no tax increase.

Thanks to an anticipated 20 percent hike in state school aid, the $76.5 million budget for the upcoming school year won’t cost taxpayers anything extra, school officials announced at a hearing on the budget last week.

“The governor did treat us well,” said Superintendent of Schools Robert Mooney, referring to an increase in school spending included in the state budget proposed by Gov. Jon Corzine. “There’s a considerable raise in our total aid. The impact on taxes will be zero percent. This is the first time in a long time, if ever, that we’ve had that situation.” (Rose Duger, Jersey Journal)

Gibbsboro battles Superfund stigma
Officials in Gibbsboro are protesting the designation of a federal Superfund environmental site.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the designation for 60 acres that center on a former Sherwin-Williams paint plant.

The designation allows the EPA to clean up the badly contaminated site and to compel those responsible to either pay for the work or do it themselves.

But Mayor Edward Campbell says it carries a stigma for the community. He also says the area is too large and Sherwin-Williams has been cleaning up the mess. (Associated Press)

Riley got housing help
Tamika Riley collected more than $27,000 in low-income housing subsidies at the same time she owned hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of real estate, drove a $50,000 Mercedes, and put a down payment on a Hummer SUV, a state housing official testified yesterday.

The official was one of several witnesses federal prosecutors put on the stand as they tried to show a pattern of deception in everything from official documents to public speeches by Riley and her co-defendant, former Newark mayor Sharpe James. (Jeff Whelan and Maryann Soto, Star-Ledger)

Marriage may have been fraud, wasn’t cruel
A judge yesterday kept alive Dina Matos McGreevey‘s contention of fraud against former governor James E. McGreevey, who she claims hid his homosexuality from her.

But Superior Court Judge Karen Cassidy struck down another of Matos McGreevey’s charges, that the marriage amounted to extreme cruelty. (Judith Lucas, Star-Ledger)

Choffo knocks self off ballot
A nominating petition signature from a resident who turned out to be not registered to vote has knocked school board member Andrew Choffo off the April 15 election ballot.

Choffo, who alerted school officials to the problem, said Thursday that he would seek to retain his seat through a write-in campaign. (Rob Jennings, Daily Record)

Today’s news from PolitickerNJ.com