N.J. LOOKS TO OUTSOURCE WASTE SITE CLEANUP
A state proposal to allow licensed environmental consultants to oversee the cleanup of contaminated sites is drawing heated criticism from environmental advocates and organized labor.
The consultants are part of a broader proposal by the Corzine administration to overhaul New Jersey's overburdened Site Remediation Program. The decades-old program oversees the cleanup of 20,000 contaminated sites across the state, ranging from homeowners' leaky oil tanks to Superfund sites. (Lu, Inquirer)
STIMULUS PLAN AIMS TO POUR BIG MONEY INTO NEW JERSEY
Michael Rothkopf, a West Orange doctor, has been lobbying state and federal officials for years to put more health records online.
So he looks at the economic stimulus package passed by the House and about to be debated in the Senate not as some amorphous blob of money but as a sign that change is coming. Real change. (Chambers, Star-Ledger)
‘09 GOV. RACE HAS ADDED DIMENSION
This year is a gubernatorial election year. That's nothing new, we have one of those every four years. There is a new wrinkle that makes this year's race for Governor different than any New Jersey has ever seen; each party's candidate will also have to select a Lt. Governor running mate.
"The first rule of choosing a running mate, whether it's a Vice President or Lt. Governor is; do no harm," says Fairleigh Dickinson University political science professor Peter Woolley. "Now, that sounds easy, but it's really tougher than you might think." He explains, "You want the Lt. Governor who at the very least is not going to drag you down, who's not going to do any damage to the ticket." (McArdle, NJ 101.5/Millennium Radio)
SCUTARI: SAVE MONEY, GIVE US LONGER TERMS
Sen. Nick Scutari, a Democrat from Linden, has an idea for saving money — give him and his legislative sidekicks longer terms. You can’t make this stuff up. Monday, the Senate State Government Committee will vote on it. Scutari says money will be saved because pols like him won’t have to campaign as often. Under the bill, state senators’ terms would go from four to five years. Assembly members would be elected under a system alternating three and two-year terms. If the committee approves the self-serving legislation, it goes to the full Senate and Assembly and then the people for a vote in the fall. All of this means, of course, politicians would have to answer for their actions less often and it gets them closer to what they really want — a job without accountability. If Scutari and the others who are trying to push off this bit of garbage don’t like campaigns, let them get another job — maybe one of those they passed up to sacrifice themselves for “public service”. (Ingle, Gannett)
GOVERNOR MAKES LIGHT OF HIS PLIGHT
Jon Corzine is an unpopular Democratic governor facing a tough reelection, just as Brendan Byrne was in 1977 and Jim Florio in 1993.
Byrne won reelection, so it was not surprising Corzine chose to quote him and not Florio when Corzine injected a few self-deprecating jokes into his speech at the annual New Jersey Chamber of Commerce dinner in Washington on Thursday.
"He knew things weren't going good, he told me, when a poll came out that said half the voters wouldn't cross the street to spit on him, and the other half would," Corzine said. (Stiles, Record)
MONEY, LAW, TECHNOLOGY VIE IN N.J. VOTING-METHOD BATTLE
Efforts to ensure that all of New Jersey's voting machines produce a paper record of votes generated responses ranging from "too expensive" to "don't fix what ain't broken" last week as the issue played out at polling places, in court, and at the Statehouse.
A year behind a legislative deadline, the state is struggling to find the money and the right technology to back up machine-cast votes with a paper trail voters can see. (Henry, Inquirer)
NEW JERSEY took a rhetorical beating in the House and Senate last week for high spending by state government and generous benefits for the uninsured, but the critics did not prevail.
In the House, Reps. Rodney Frelinghuysen and Scott Garrett cited state spending in their criticism of the massive $825 billion infrastructure/tax cut
/lots-of-other-stuff bill the House passed Wednesday.
New Jersey will get at least $2 billion from an $87 billion increase in Medicaid funding to states over the next two years, and Governor Corzine has said that would allow him to avoid cutting other state programs or raising state taxes. (Jackson, Record)