Wake-Up Call: Thursday, June 26, 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.

Can anybody win a virtual debate?

Thetwo major candidates inthe U.S. Senate racewill participate in an online “Virtual Debate” sponsored by the Hall Institute of Public Policy, according toa release. (PolitickerNJ)

http://politickernj.com/max/21100/hall-institute-sponsors-lautenberg-v-zimmer-virtual-debate

Corzine signs debt plan

Gov. Jon Corzine yesterday signed legislation that uses an unexpected tax windfall to pay down $650 million of New Jersey's $33 billion in outstanding debt.

The bill (S2052) sets up a special fund designed to pay off enough debt to cut interest payments on state debt by $130 million during the upcoming budget year and in each of the four following years. (Dunstan McNichol, The Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-10/1214455009124660.xml&coll=1

McCain camp location selected due to being in 'Reagan territory'

WOODBRIDGE TOWNSHIP – Republican leaders inaugurated this state's first Republican presidential campaign headquarters since 1992 Wednesday afternoon, saying the joint New York/New Jersey center showed presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain was serious about winning this state. (Derek Harper, Press of Atlantic City)

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/109/story/191480.html

Revisiting the stem-cell controversy

TRENTON — One state lawmaker thinks he has found a way to fund stem-cell research in New Jersey, avoiding the ethical and financial objections that stopped plans to borrow $450 million for the research last fall. (Gannett State Bureau)

http://www.thedailyjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080626/NEWS01/806260352

Approval rating in the tank

TRENTON – Gov. Corzine's approval rating has slipped again, according to a poll released yesterday.

The Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll found 40 percent approve of the governor's job performance, with 41 percent disapproving. That's down from a 44 percent approval in April and 48 percent in January. The FDU findings are similar to those of other recent polls. (Tom Hester Jr., Associated Press)

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/nj/20080626_Corzine_s_approval_rating_drops_A_poll_shows_the_governor_with_a_40_percent_approval__a_decrease_of_8_points_since_January_.html

Driver not responsible

A state appeals court yesterday ruled that Gov. Jon Corzine's driver should not be ticketed in connection with his near-fatal car crash.

In a two-page ruling, a unanimous New Jersey Appellate Division panel said a private attorney in Atlantic County could not file citizen's complaints charging Corzine's driver, Trooper Robert Rasinski, and another trooper with speeding, careless driving and reckless driving. (Kate Coscarelli, The Star-Ledger)

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-10/1214455032124660.xml&coll=1

Stealing fireman takes leave

ROBBINSVILLE — The township fire chief was charged with shoplifting and will be placed on unpaid administrative leave following an incident at a supermarket last month, officials said.

Fire Chief Kevin Brink was charged June 11 in the West Windsor Municipal Court and is ex pected to appear before a judge July 16. Brink could not be reached for comment, and his Hamilton- based attorney, Nick Travisano, declined to comment yesterday. (Carmen Cusido, The Trenton Times)

http://www.nj.com/news/times/index.ssf?/base/news-4/121445314261620.xml&coll=5

Paying more at the pump?

TRENTON — Gov. Corzine on Wednesday said he continues to be hesitant to increase the state's gasoline tax to pay for transportation work, citing the burden motorists are already facing with higher gas prices. (Associated Press)

http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080626/NEWS03/806260570

Fixing the New Jersey GOP

Long-time Wyckoff volunteer firefighter Bob Yudin loved the rush and challenge of being among the first to bolt into a burning building. (Charles Stile, The Bergen Record)

http://www.northjersey.com/news/bergenpolitics/Stile_Yudin_looks_to_salvage_Bergen_County_GOP.html

Following the money trail to South Jersey

MOUNT HOLLY — A group of New Jersey water companies and municipalities will receive $67 million of a $422 million federal lawsuit settlement involving contaminated groundwater from a gasoline additive. (Carol Comegno and Richard Pearsall, The Courier-Post)

http://www.courierpostonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080626/NEWS01/806260363/1001/NEWS

Keeping schools out of the trash

TRENTON — An environmental alliance asked Gov. Jon S. Corzine for help Wednesday in dealing with what it calls a "toxic-school crisis," where members said schoolhouses have allegedly been built on or are planned for polluted sites. (Gannett State Bureau)

http://www.courierpostonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080626/NEWS01/806260360

Taking too many sick days

VINELAND — The city's highest-paid employee owes more than $5,000 in overused sick time, and his paychecks are being docked to cover the shortfall, according to city documents and officials. (Robert Press, The Daily Journal)

http://www.thedailyjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080626/NEWS01/806260354&referrer=FRONTPAGECAROUSEL

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: Thursday, June 26, 2008