Wake-Up Call: Tuesday, June 24, 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.

McCain sets eyes on New Jersey

The McCain Campaignon Wednesday will open its NJ/NY Regional Headquarters in Woodbridge.

"For the first time in 16 years, a GOP presidential candidate has set up a headquarters in the state,"according to regional volunteer coordinator Scott Fitzgerald. (PolitickerNJ)


Dramatic housing reform clears Senate

The state Senate yesterday gave final passage to legislation aimed at launching the biggest overhaul of New Jersey's housing policies in two decades.

The bill was hailed as a big step forward for a state struggling to find housing for low- and moderate-income residents, but local officials warned it could come at the cost of higher property taxes. (Tom Hester, The Star-Ledger)


Budget passes with slight cuts

TRENTON — Lawmakers approved a $32.9 billion state budget for the coming year Monday, following party lines in voting on a plan to trim state spending nearly 2 percent in part by reducing funding for colleges, hospitals and municipal aid. (Michael Symons, Gannett)


GOP: Spending is out of control

TRENTON – The general election race to succeed U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton (R-3) has opened up in earnest now, with GOP Medford Mayor Chris Myers charging his Democratic opponent, state Sen. John Adler (D-Camden) with being part of the Trenton spending beast, and Adler arguing that Myers has been hapless at the local level. (PolitickerNJ.com)


Senators tout necessity of port security

With towering cargo booms and piled shipping containers looming in the background, legislation to toughen security requirements for all cargo entering the nation's 361 ports was touted yesterday by U.S. Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez at a shipping terminal in Port Newark. (Rudy Larini, The Star-Ledger)


School loan approved without voters

TRENTON — Lawmakers approved plans to borrow $3.9 billion to build new schools without voter approval, then hedged a bit late Monday before agreeing to ask voters in November whether all future borrowing should be approved by public referendum. (Gregory J. Volpe, Gannett)


Giving back to the city

ATLANTIC CITY – City Councilman William Marsh and Lorenzo Langford, the city's once and likely future mayor, were put on the installment plan yesterday by a state Superior Court judge enforcing an order that the pair repay the city $850,000. (Wayne Parry, Associated Press)


How low can you go?

Bergen County Democratic Organization leader Joe Ferriero’s tactics often leave his critics red with fury.

But his latest loophole-dodge plunges the debate over “pay-to-play” reform into a legal gray area. (Charles Stile, The Bergen Record)


Republicans hang tough in Bergen

The 1988 political landscape in Bergen County bears little resemblance to today's.

Former President George H.W. Bush carried the county against Michael Dukakis. Bill McDowell, a Republican, was the county executive, having been elected to the newly created office of two years earlier. Republicans controlled the freeholder board 7-0, and Republican Assemblywoman Kathleen Donovan had just been elected to her first five-year term as county clerk. (PolitickerNJ.com)


Katz's outburst costs her CWA VP slot

Carla Katz, in the middle of a nasty feud with the leaders of her union, lost her bid for a national vice presidency of the Communications Workers of America last night.

After an afternoon of voting at the CWA's annual gathering in Las Vegas, Katz, president of the CWA local representing New Jersey state workers, wound up with 17 percent of the votes cast, losing by a wide margin to incumbent District 1 vice president Chris Shelton. (Josh Margolin, The Star-Ledger)


Steamed over water prices

TOMS RIVER — A stream of angry United Water Toms River customers expressed their frustrations Monday on the historically troubled water purveyor's request for a more than 90 percent rate increase. (Lauren O. Kidd, Asbury Park Press)


Town shocked at return of liquor license

PENNS GROVE Mayor John Washington's announcement at a recent borough council meeting that he is backing restoration of a liquor license for the Driftwood shocked everyone in attendance.

"This liquor license is going to happen," said Washington. "The Driftwood is going to get fixed." (Heather Simione, The Sunbeam)


Defrauder to reap what he sowed

CAMDEN — A Haddon Heights man, accused of defrauding investors of at least $20 million, agreed to pay restitution Monday as part of a plea agreement, authorities said. (Jim Walsh, The Courier-Post)


Smothering smoking

New Jersey fire officials hope a new state law requiring vendors to sell only self-extinguishing cigarettes will reduce deaths and damage from careless smoking. (Bob Groves, The Bergen Record)


Cop awarded damages after whistleblowing

A Passaic County jury ruled today in favor of a Clifton police officer who says he was punished after blowing the whistle on some of his colleagues. The jury awarded Patrolman Joseph Napoleone nearly $1 million in damages for back pay and emotional distress. (Richard Cowen, The Herald News)


Splitting the responsibility

Three years after East Hanover merged its planning and zoning boards to increase efficiency, township officials are considering reverting to two separate boards.

According to Mayor Joseph Pannullo, returning to two boards would mean doubling membership from nine to 18 members, which would lead to incorporating more voices into the township's planning decisions. Currently, the township's land-use planning board meets separately to deal with planning and zoning issues, but with the same nine members — an arrange ment Pannullo called "ludicrous." (Leslie Kwoh, The Star-Ledger)


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: Tuesday, June 24, 2008