Morning News Digest: April 29, 2009

Chris Christie leads Jon Corzine, 39 percent to 35 percent in N.J. Gov race, poll says

A poll found Republican Chris Christie slightly ahead of Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine in the New Jersey governor's race. (AP)

Air Force One photo op over N.Y. Harbor came without warning, Corzine says

Calling Monday's choreographed flight of a presidential aircraft around the Statue of Liberty "really bad judgment," Gov. Jon Corzine said he and other New Jersey officials were not informed ahead of time about the low-flying planes past the New York skyline that set off a panic on both sides of New York Harbor on Monday. (Heininger, Star-Ledger)

Greenwich BOE caught in a quandary

GREENWICH TWP. The local board of education will make a second attempt to reorganize on Thursday, having failed to do so Monday when they could not meet a quorum to conduct business. (Counihan, Gloucester County Times)

School funding back in court

TRENTON New Jersey officials have spent decades defending legal challenges to the way the state distributes funding to public schools. On Tuesday, they went back to court in an effort to settle the long-running Abbott v. Burke case, which has required the state to flood the 31 poorest school districts with extra funding to bring them in line with the wealthiest ones. (Graber, Gloucester County Times)

Xanadu project lands on 'Troubled Assets Radar' list

The Meadowlands Xanadu project has landed on a list any developer would surely prefer to avoid — the “Troubled Assets Radar” of Real Capital Analytics, a real estate research firm that analyzes the nation’s major markets. (Brennan and Tangel, Record)

Raising gas taxes not the answer, official says

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said today he does not support raising gas taxes to support transportation in the future, even though he conceded at a Senate hearing that the current highway trust fund is effectively bankrupt. (Jackson, Record)

Teaneck firefighters protest potential layoffs

More than 200 residents and firefighters packed the Township Council meeting tonight to protest potential layoffs in the town’s Fire Department, even as both sides expressed cautious optimism that a solution could be negotiated. (Ax, Record)

Christie's tax attacks don't go unanswered

Republican gubernatorial candidate Christopher J. Christie said yesterday that his primary opponent, Steve Lonegan, and Democratic Gov. Corzine don't understand how their tax policies would hurt New Jersey residents. (Burton, Inquirer)

Official advocates school-funding system New Jersey

Attorney General Anne Milgram yesterday urged the state Supreme Court to validate Gov. Corzine's revised school-funding system, effectively ending the decades-long lawsuit that has led to enhanced, court-mandated aid for some poor, urban districts. (Tamari, Inquirer)

Assembly panel looks at vehicle fees

A proposal to increase dozens of motor-vehicle-related fees drew some questions but surprisingly little heat at an Assembly budget committee hearing yesterday. (Lu, Inquirer)

Christie holds slim lead over Corzine

GOP gubernatorial candidate Christopher J. Christie holds a 4 percentage-point lead over Democratic Gov. Jon S. Corzine, according to a Monmouth The margin of 39 to 35 percent is slimmer than what other recent polls have shown for Christie, a former U.S. attorney for New Jersey. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. (Bates, APP)

Cumberland in no hurry to add open space plan

For $50,000, perhaps you too can leverage $4 million to expand a national wildlife refuge. That’s what some open space advocates are pointing out to Cumberland County — New Jersey’s only county without an open space plan or open space tax. (Walsh, Press of Atlantic City)

Progress reported in N.J. child welfare

New Jersey's child welfare system has made steady progress since July 2006. That's the conclusion of a monitor who has been evaluating the Children and Families Department to satisfy a federal consent decree. (Courier-Post)

Christie vows spending cuts, targets DEP

TRENTON — The Republican front-runner in the campaign for New Jersey governor says he wants to trim government spending, and that his first target would be the state Department of Environmental Protection. (AP)

With GOP race tightening, some note difference between Lonegan and Schundler

The release of an internal campaign poll by Steven Lonegan that shows him running dead even with his Republican gubernatorial opponent, Christopher Christie, is meant to create the impression of a surging grassroots campaign, not unlike the one run by former Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler in 2001. (Friedman, PolitickerNJ)

Fellow GOP renegades Lonegan and Doherty meet on the Courthouse steps in Hunterdon

FLEMINGTON – Stung by his unsuccessful bid for the vacant 23rd District State Senate seat at a joint Warren-Hunterdon County Convention earlier this year, Assemblyman Mike Doherty (R-Washington Twp.) now mobilizes a counter-attack to the same GOP establishment that bucked him in moves not dissimilar from those of fellow movement conservative, former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, who stood with Doherty today in a show of solidarity. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) Morning News Digest: April 29, 2009