Corzine signs open space bonding bill – without the stage presence of Tittel and Pringle

Chillyrelations between the Sierra Club, Environment N.J., and N.J. Environmental Federation; and Gov. Jon Corzinevirtually frosted over today in Newark where the governor signedlegislation creating an open space bond question on the November ballotwithout the attendant onstage presence of reps from those environmental activists.

"Unlike other similar signings, like in 2007, 2005, 1999, 1996, when members of the environmental community spoke, this signing looked more like a pep rally for Corzine," said Sierra Club spokeswoman Kara Seymour."This year, only one environmentalist spoke. Last time he had environmentalist in the photos, this time he had school kids from Newark."

Perhaps the diss has something to do with the fact thatthe Sierra Club yesterday endorsed independent ChrisDaggett forgovernor.But Jeff Tittel, executive director of the Sierra Club; and Dave Pringle, who heads the NJ Environmental Federation, both vociferously testified against the open space bond question, arguing that it was bad timing in an economic downturn.

The pairwatched the bill signing from the crowd, where Newark Mayor Cory Booker provided the amped-up energy alongside the governor.

The bill Corzine signed todayallows a ballot measure that would authorize the issuance of $400 million in state general obligation bonds for the acquiring and developing of lands for recreation and conservation purposes, according to the governor's office.

"Protection of our invaluable natural resources is an ongoing challenge, and demands the input of our citizens on how best to achieve our preservation goals," Corzine said. "New Jerseyans have a long and distinguished history as good stewards of the environment, and this gives our citizens the opportunity to preserve our open spaces, safeguard our water supply, and curb the proliferation of urban sprawl."

Tittel, catching hold of Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, told him, "We would have endorsed you had you been the gubernatorial candidate, Joe – you and Loretta (Weinberg, Corzine's choice for lieutenant governor)."

Corzine signs open space bonding bill – without the stage presence of Tittel and Pringle