Morning News Digest: February 17, 2009

Dems select Fisher fill-in

Less than a week after Assemblyman Doug Fisher received the governor’s nod to become the state’s next agriculture secretary, South Jersey Democrats are endorsing a Bridgeton woman to be his successor – Bridgeton City Council President Celeste Riley. The unanimous endorsement came from the other two 3rd District legislators, Senate Majority Leader Stephen Sweeney and Assemblyman John Burzichelli, as well the chairmen of the Democratic parties in Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties. (Beym, Sunbeam)

‘Soprano State’: Newspaper political writers detail N.J. corruption in new book

TRENTON —”It’s not a joke. New Jersey leads the country in corruption.” Those words stand out in bright red letters at the top of the dust jacket of a new book scheduled to hit bookshelves Tuesday written by two veteran Statehouse reporters. (Webster, Gannett)

Hoyer and Adler talk with Labor

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Congressman John Adler attended the Southern New Jersey AFL-CIO Central Labor Council Meeting tonight at the Boathouse in Pennsauken. (Springer, Blue Jersey)

Lonegan strategist sees Christie/Giuliani parallel

The campaign of Republican candidate for Governor Steve Lonegan delights at what they see as the irony of former New York City Mayor (and unsuccessful 2008 presidential candidate) Rudy Giuliani endorsing GOP frontrunner Chris Christie. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Former NYC mayor Giuliani set to endorse Chris Christie for N.J. governor

Former New York City mayor and Republican presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani is expected to endorse Christopher Christie for governor of New Jersey on Tuesday, two campaign sources said this afternoon. Giuliani is the second high-profile endorsement Christie, the former U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, has received in the past week. Former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, one of the most popular political figures in the state, declared his support for Christie on Wednesday. Kean will serve as honorary chairman and policy adviser for Christie’s campaign. (Livio, Star-Ledger)

On the line if he doesn’t win Saturday, DiMaio runs as the blue collar veteran

HACKETTSTOWN – Pro-life and pro-gun, Warren County Freeholder John DiMaio calls himself the most conservative candidate in the race for the vacant District 23 Assembly seat even though he started his political career in the opposing party. The president of A. DiMaio & Son, Inc., a general contracting company he co-founded in 1977, he came up the hard way, working in a family business that taught him early the value of a dollar and that honed his instincts for survival and self-sufficiency. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Resorts casino fights foreclosure bid by lender

Admitting it hasn’t made loan payments since October, Resorts Atlantic City is trying to fight off foreclosure by arguing that its lenders don’t have a casino license and therefore can’t own or operate the place. Resorts also plans to set aside $15 million to cover payouts to winning gamblers, payroll and taxes while the two sides battle for control of New Jersey’s first casino. (AP)

Political Insider: Healy opposition seeks to capitalize on crime-fighting past

There’s a new sheriff in town. Well, actually it’s a former sheriff on the ballot, and he’s talking tough about fighting crime as he and his running mates duke it out with Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy’s campaign, according to today’s Jersey Journal Political Insider column.

Mayor Healy to give “State of the City” address Wednesday

Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy will give his third “State of the City” address Wednesday. The public, as well as state, county and local elected officials are invited to attend. The address will take place at 6 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall, 280 Grove Street. (Jersey Journal)

Friends of N.J. man held hostage in Pakistan encouraged by reprieve

Friends of a United Nations official from New Jersey being held hostage in Pakistan said they are encouraged by news today that his kidnappers extended their deadline to negotiate for his release after appeals from international organizations. John Solecki, 49, of Demarest, Bergen County, was abducted on Feb. 2 by the little-known Baluch United Liberation Front in Quetta, a major city in the Baluchistan province of southwest Pakistan, near the Afghan border. (Lockwood, Star-Ledger)

WASHINGTON — The economic stimulus bill President Barack Obama is scheduled to sign into law Tuesday contains more than $6 billion for New Jersey, according to a comprehensive yet preliminary analysis of the $787 billion measure. About a third of that money would come from a temporary bump in the federal share of funding for the Medicaid health insurance program for poor and disabled New Jerseyans. (Chebium, Gannett)

Democrats nominate Bridgeton City Council President to fill 3rd-District Assembly seat

BRIDGETON— City Council President Celeste Riley was nominated this weekend to fill the vacant Assembly seat left by outgoing Assemblyman Douglas Fisher, D-3rd District, who Gov. Jon S. Corzine nominated last week to serve as the Garden State’s next Secretary of Agriculture. Riley, 49, of Bridgeton, said Monday she was flattered her fellow Democrats are considering her for the post. (Martins, Press of Atlantic City)

Tax relief, mass transit money, included for New Jersey in stimulus cash, Menendez says

Hoboken resident U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez was in Hackensack this morning to discuss the stimulus bill President Barack Obama is scheduled to sign into law tomorrow. Menendez said the bill’s blend of funding for infrastructure and energy efficient projects as well as tax cuts will help jolt the nation’s economy onto the right track. (Jersey Journal)

No exit strategy in Tommy Wilson’s war

A LOYAL READER sends me e-mails regularly about my columns, editorials and The Record’s position on just about everything. He particularly enjoys noting a day in which the word Ferriero does not appear on the opinion pages. By now, he has spit out his coffee and is furiously e-mailing me on his computer and BlackBerry. He can send e-mails from two different addresses simultaneously. I believe that makes him ambi-text-rous. I agree that I have often written about Bergen County’s “little big man,” the former chairman of the once powerful Bergen County Democratic Organization, but it is not the word Ferriero that drives me insane, but Katz. (Doblin, Record)

Bill would limit college credit-card offers

Credit-card companies would be required to tell potential customers about the dangers of debt before issuing credit cards on college campuses under a bill moving through the New Jersey Legislature. Sponsored by State Sen. Barbara Buono (D., Middlesex), the bill also would put an end to the use of incentives to entice students to sign up for cards. (Queally, Inquirer)

Two on Perth Amboy school board turn down shot at another term

PERTH AMBOY —Only one incumbent Board of Education member will be seeking re-election this year and he’s looking for two new running mates to join him. Board of Education member Joel Pabon, who has served on the board for nine years, will be seeking another three-year term in the April 21 election. (Courier News)

Morning News Digest: February 17, 2009