Wake-Up Call: Monday, June 23, 2008

With the PolitickerNJ.com Wake-Up Call e-mailed to your inbox, phone, Blackberry or PDA first thing in the morning, you can get a rundown of New Jersey's top political headlines. Sign up to get the Wake-Up Call delivered every morning.

Budget agreement reached

TRENTON – Lawmakers hammered out an agreement on benefits for new government employees late last night, clearing the way for a vote on the state budget in both houses of the Legislature on Monday.

"We've reached an agreement with the Assembly," said Sen. Barbara Buono (D., Middlesex). "It's a victory for the taxpayers." (Adrienne Lu and Jonathan Tamari, Philadelphia Inquirer)


Corzine and Obama have detailed past

CHICAGO — It was January 2004 when Gov. Jon Corzine flew into the Windy City for a private dinner with the chairman of the University of Chicago and a local politician.

The third man at the table that night was Barack Obama, a state senator who wanted to go to the U.S. Senate but was trailing two better-known, better-financed candidates in a seven-way primary. Corzine was in his third year in the U.S. Senate and was running one of the Democrats' key Washington fundraising organizations. (Josh Margolin, The Star-Ledger)


Ex-mayor sentenced

Former Marlboro Mayor Matthew Scannapieco was sentenced to 21 months in federal today, three years after pleading guilty to accepting about $245,000 worth of bribes. (PolitickerNJ)


Pension program has reached critical mass

New Jersey's public employee pension and health benefit system — a program that covers about one in four adult workers — is paying out benefits that critics say the state simply can't afford any more. (The Bergen Record)


Bill survives union pressure

After a decade in which lawmakers repeatedly opened the public purse to boost retirement benefits for the unionized workers who help bankroll many of their campaigns, leaders of the state's major unions found themselves in an unusual position Friday night. (Dunstan McNichol and Joe Donohue, The Star-Ledger)


The push for education funding continues

In Camden, scaffolding surrounds part of a high school to protect visitors from chunks of falling facade. Some elementary-school students head to classes in a building that predates the Civil War.

In Pemberton, 4-year-olds learn in structures officials call "temporary classroom units" but most people would describe as trailers. (Jonathan Tamari, Philadelphia Inquirer)


Joint task force formed to investigate EnCap

Federal and state prosecutors have joined forces in a probe of suspected corruption in the EnCap development project in the Meadowlands, according to a report in the Record. (The Star-Ledger)


Pushing trucks off the roads

LAWRENCE — Township officials are aiming to sweep local roads of large freight trucks by empowering municipal police to en sure that truckers have a reason to travel on them.

A resolution was unanimously approved at Tuesday's council meeting to ask Gov. Jon Corzine and state legislators to let local authorities pull over the large vehicles and verify they have a permissible reason to travel on local roadways such as Route 206. (Paul Szaniawski, Trenton Times)


Democrats optimistic about Ocean County

TOMS RIVER — Ocean County Democrats smell blood in the political water this year, given a poor economy, an unpopular war in Iraq and an ugly Republican primary that exposed a crack in the once-impenetrable armor of the county GOP organization.

After spending the past 15 years in the wilderness, Democrats are abuzz that they could be able to win seats in county government this November, even though they fully expect to be out-financed by a GOP establishment that controls every elected county and legislative office in Ocean County (Erik Larsen, Asbury Park Press)


Closing the gap

A group of religious leaders asked two Burlington County senators to support a bill that would put an end to a loophole in the state's affordable housing laws. (Lavinia DeCastro, The Courier-Post)


Changing of the guard

WAYNE — For the first time in 28 years, someone new represents the 2nd Ward on the Township Council.

The council unanimously appointed Al Sadowski to the seat that Joseph DiDonato, a Republican, held since 1980. (Andrea Alexander, The Bergen Record)


Clean up your mess

Rep. Frank Pallone is demanding that federal and state environmental authorities establish a timetable for cleaning up all New Jersey Superfund sites that have been on the national priorities list for more than 20 years. (Associated Press)


Surely it all goes to legitimate campaign expenses

Joe Ferriero dipped into a private, unregulated campaign stash to pay for automated robo-calls, slick fliers and other expenses in his lopsided June 10 reelection victory as Bergen County Democratic Organization chairman. (Charles Stile, The Bergen Record)


Flushing money down the drain

Bridgewater taxpayers are going through a collective case of sticker shock after the regional sewer authority raised its flow estimates for the township, resulting in significantly higher sewer bills. (Nyier Abdou, The Star-Ledger)


Mayor protects funds from being diverted

BARNEGAT LIGHT – Local mayors gained an ally Friday in their fight against millions of dolars possibly being taken form the Shore Protection fund in this year's budget. (Donna Weaver, Press of Atlantic City)


With the PolitickerNJ.com Wake-Up Call e-mailed to your inbox, phone, Blackberry or PDA first thing in the morning, you can get a rundown of New Jersey's top political headlines. Sign up to get the Wake-Up Call delivered every morning. Wake-Up Call: Monday, June 23, 2008