Morning News Digest: October 13, 2009

Corzine confident in staying the course

One major theme emerged Monday as I listened to Jon Corzine narrate the highlight reel of his rocky term — he's the greatest governor nobody has ever heard of.nWho else persuaded the Legislature — and the Supreme Court — to approve a historic overhaul of public school funding? What other governor boosted the retirement age of public employees? Who else trimmed 8,400 workers from the public payroll? And who ended the practice of double-dipping for elected office-holders? (Stile, The Record)

Christie blasts city schools

Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie on Monday night blasted the city's school system as "obscene" and said its failed classrooms are to blame for Camden's dangerous streets. In a speech here, Christie aimed much of his criticism at his Democratic opponent, saying the administration of Gov. Jon S. Corzine has taken "deep bows" for "half measures" in the impoverished city. (Walsh, Gannett)

Corzine signs EnCap bill into law

Governor Corzine signed the heavily amended EnCap bill into law Monday, setting up new oversight for public-private projects that rely on government financial support. Governor Corzine signed the EnCap Reform bill at the North Arlington Public Library. The new law, which requires developers of major projects to kick in a minimum of their own money before getting state loans and tax breaks, comes more than a year after the $1 billion EnCap Golf project went bankrupt. (Pillets, The Record)

For Christie, three’s a crowd

In the end, it comes down to two. That's the belief of Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie, who today downplayed the emergence of independent Chris Daggett as a factor in his bid to unseat Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine. (Heininger, Star Ledger)

Hamilton eyes Trenton mayor race

Even as the gubernatorial battle absorbs attention now and for the duration, next year's Trenton mayoral election looms as one of the more interesting contests of 2010. In the shuffle of people intent on succeeding 20-year retiring Mayor Douglas Palmer, stands Mercer County Freeholder Keith V. Hamilton, who's built name identification as a 14-year member of the board. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

GOP Assembly candidate sells sex toys for women

This year's Most Interesting Job for an Assembly Candidate Award goes to District 5 Republican Stepfanie Velez-Gentry, who runs a business specializing in… well, what amounts to naughty Tupper Ware parties. Velez-Gentry, 29, who's running against South Jersey power broker George Norcross's brother, Donald Norcross, runs Nookie Parties LLC, which organizes "adult romance parties for women & couples." (Edge, PolitickerNJ)

Judge defends hearing conduct

Superior Court Judge Gerald Council knew he was related to a defendant who appeared before him at a bail hearing in December. He just didn't realize they were so closely related as to violate the Canons of Judicial Conduct. (Stein, Newhouse)

GOP incumbents rip Capodanno’s record

The Republican council slate came out swinging yesterday against Democratic council candidate Vinnie Capodanno, whom they accused of running on a platform of hypocrisy. In a press release, Tom Goodwin, Dave Kenny and Dennis Pone attacked Capodanno, a former councilman, over everything from his criticism of the current administration's hiring practice to what they called his "abysmal attendance record" while previously on council. (Duffy, Newhouse)

Blasting LG debate format, Weinberg stays on the attack against Christie

Likening last week's Monmouth University lieutenant governor's debate to the Jerry Springer Show, state Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) stumped for Hamilton Council candidate Wendy Sturgeon at Padrino's this evening, unapologetically reiterating that if people think she's being partisan by bashing former President George W. Bush, they're not honestly assessing the reach of the damage his policies wrought. Or the natural Christie connection. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Mail-in ballots proving popular

With three weeks before New Jersey elects a governor, 82 state legislators and hundreds of local officials, completed ballots are starting to roll into county election offices. Early voting is getting a surge because of the state's new "vote by mail" law. The program is a big jump in increasing the ease of voting for a state where just five years ago voters had to give a reason for voting by absentee ballots. (Mulvihill, AP)

Corzine would consider gas tax hike for transportation projects

Governor Corzine said Monday he’ll consider raising the state’s gas tax during a second term or diverting money from other programs to keep the fund that pays for transportation projects afloat. Corzine, a former Wall Street executive, said he sees signs that indicate the economy is already rebounding. The second option, however, would force the state find the money for road and mass transit projects that cost billions of dollars all while it tries to deal with a budget that could be as much as $8 billion short next year, Corzine said. (Davis/Reitmeyer, The Record)

Officials promote open space

Two legislators from the Third District used one of neighboring Gloucester County's most active and well-known farms as the backdrop Monday morning for a campaign to support funding the state's open space preservation program. (Landolfi, Newhouse) 3rd

District Democrats float property tax alternatives

Two Democratic 3rd District Assembly candidates said Monday that the state must find alternative ways to fund goverment other than property taxes and offered up their own ways to provide relief. Incumbents Celeste M. Riley and John J. Burzichelli Monday touted tighter spending, streamlined government and consolidating services as the best solutions for reducing New Jersey's reliance on property taxes to funding government. (Shamlin, Gannett) Morning News Digest: October 13, 2009