Morning News Digest: February 18, 2009

Morristown has its first official candidate for mayor

MORRISTOWN – Former Councilman Tim Dougherty said he will run in the Democratic Primary for mayor. Dougherty, 50, is the first candidate to officially announce he is running. “I look forward to running in the primary,” he said Tuesday afternoon. (Hassan, Daily Record)

Daggett will run for governor as an Independent

Christopher Daggett, who held top environmental posts under Gov. Thomas Kean and President Ronald Reagan, says he will mount an Independent bid for Governor of New Jersey this year. Daggett served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Kean, as regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and in Kean's cabinet as Commissioner of Environmental Protection. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

In the battle for third in Union, Merkt and Levine seek to lower expectations

Anything less than a win at Saturday's Union County Republican Convention and Chris Christie's campaign would hear echoes of Anne Evans Estabrook, whose 2008 U.S. Senate bid began to unravel after State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio beat her in Union County. It would be similarly problematic if conservative Steve Lonegan, who has spent most of the last five years running for Governor, finishes below second place. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Woodbridge plans to develop eco-industry hub

Pennval Road is not known for its eco-friendly atmosphere. The drab, narrow road runs alongside the New Jersey Turnpike in an industrial corner of Woodbridge, past a modular-trailer business and an abandoned, graffiti-covered warehouse before terminating at a trucking company. But when Woodbridge officials look at Pennval Road, they see nothing but green. An ambitious redevelopment plan approved by the township council last month envisions an eco-industry hub on the 107 acres of industrial wasteland between the Turnpike, the NJ Transit North Jersey Coast Line tracks and the Woodbridge River. (Abdou, Star-Ledger)

Morris County bail, deportation case breaks legal ground

A court battle arising out of Morris County over bail for an illegal immigrant facing deportation before his local criminal case is resolved has broken new legal ground between the state and federal governments. (Lockwood, Star-Ledger)

With budget crisis worsening, Corzine calls for 2-day state worker furlough

Faced with a deepening budget crisis, Gov. Jon Corzine today called for a two-day furlough of state workers and warned of more furloughs or layoffs if unions do not accept a wage freeze starting in July. "Wage freezes and furloughs are ways to avoid layoffs," said Corzine. "We need to have cooperation in this area. We intend to have a fair sharing of the costs." (Heininger, Star-Ledger)

Giuliani endorses GOP Christie for N.J. governor

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani crossed the Hudson River today to endorse Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie. Outside the Hoboken apartment complex where Gov. Jon Corzine lives, Giuliani said he has "been a supporter of Chris for quite some time," and Christie's candidacy "is a very good development for all of us: to have a man of this kind of quality wanting to run for public office. This is an exceptional opportunity." (Margolin, Star-Ledger)

Pinelands panel agrees to follow ethics ruling on voting and property

The New Jersey Pinelands Commission said it will abide by an ethics ruling requiring some members who own property in the Pinelands to recuse themselves from votes involving development credits allotted to landowners in the protected region. (Murray, Star-Ledger)

NJ's deficit up another $1.5B; furloughs planned

TRENTON — New Jersey's budget deficit has grown by an additional $1.5 billion in the last month to $3.6 billion this fiscal year, Gov. Jon S. Corzine announced today. In response, state officials are planning two unpaid furlough days for state employees, one each in May and June, saving $35 million. State Treasurer David Rousseau said the furloughs can be done without the consent of public worker unions, which have already objected to a proposed salary freeze. (Symons, Gannett)

Corzine proposes state employee furloughs, cuts NJ budget

TRENTON – Gov. Jon S. Corzine said state workers would have to take two unpaid furlough days between May and June and announced $472.9 million in new state budget cuts on Tuesday, after state revenues fell by more than $526.3 million in January alone. The governor said the furloughs would save $35 million, essentially what he earlier had sought to recoup this year through a proposed wage freeze on state workers. He warned layoffs could occur if the powerful public employee unions fought the furloughs. (Harper, Press of Atlantic City)

Former Hoboken mayor Steve Cappiello announces he will run again

In a surprise announcement today, former Hoboken mayor Steve Cappiello said he's throwing his hat into the ring for the Hoboken mayoral race in May. Cappiello declared the news yesterday at Rudy Giuliani's endorsement of New Jersey governor candidate Chris Christie on the Hoboken waterfront. (Baldwin, Jersey Journal)

Hail to the impersonator

CHERRY HILL TWP. Two Secret Service agents guarded the door in dark sunglasses and pressed lips. Men, women and children chatted in the theater, some fidgeting impatiently. Soon, the strains of "Hail to the Chief" resounded through the auditorium as the door opened, the cameras flashed, and Moorestown's own Randall West stood in the doorway. (Paciolla, Gloucester County Times)

Judge: Voting info cards near polls could open door to special interests

State Supreme Court justices today raised the specter that all manner of special interest groups could crowd polling places to hand out literature if the high court upholds the American Civil Liberties Union's right to distribute voter education cards outside the polls. (Larini, Star-Ledger)

Bayonne's local biz stimulus

Bayonne small businesses are getting their own economic stimulus package, courtesy of the city's Urban Enterprise Zone program. Businesses that have hit a rough patch and might have struck out at a local bank can hit up the city's UEZ program for a "micro-loan," now that the state UEZ board has given its blessing, UEZ director Terrence Malloy said. (Leir, Jersey Journal)

GOP can't revamp its image with Soto

The Passaic County Regular Republican Organization under Chairman Scott Rumana is determined to distance itself from the party's corrupt heritage. That's why I'm scratching my head over last Thursday's "mandatory" meeting of the Passaic City Republican Committee, led by none other than Jonathan "The Sky's The Limit" Soto, the former city councilman whose trial of bribery and extortion charges is to begin today in Trenton. (Stile, Record)

Legislators eye limits on DRPA spending

With the Delaware River Port Authority poised to spend $11 million tomorrow on development projects in Philadelphia and Camden, legislators on both sides of the river are talking about changing the agency's charter to forbid the use of toll money for such economic development. (Nussbaum, Inquirer)

Camden candidate has overcome tragedy

WHEN NEW JERSEY state Sen. Dana L. Redd, D-Camden, recently announced her intention to become mayor of her beleaguered city, she hinted of a tragic childhood that had not kept her from public service. (Nark, Philadelphia Daily News) Morning News Digest: February 18, 2009