Morning News Digest: October 16, 2009

Poll finds little faith in Jersey candidates

In New Jersey, one of only two states with governor’s races this year, voters are gloomy about the future, upset about their own circumstances and deeply unsettled by the economy. Still, they remain broadly supportive of President Obama, even as they are skeptical of some of his programs and have yet to feel the impact of the federal stimulus. These findings, in the latest New York Times poll, could bolster the Democratic incumbent, Jon S. Corzine, who has latched onto Mr. Obama and persuaded many voters that his Republican opponent, Christopher J. Christie, favors policies that would help the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class. (Halbfinger/Thee-Brenan, New York Times)

Clinton, national Democratic leaders to campaign for Corzine in coming days

Democratic State Chairman Joe Cryan today amplified news about next Wednesday's rally with President Barack Obama and a Monday appearance in Middlesex by Vice President Joe Biden by announcing an incoming procession of party leaders for Gov. Jon Corzine, including former President William J. Clinton, United States Congressional members Michael Honda (D-CA) and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, and Caroline Kennedy. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Daggett: ‘I can win’

At the beginning of the 2009 New Jersey gubernatorial campaign, only a select group of Garden State policy wonks had ever heard of Christopher J. Daggett. But Daggett, 59, a private environmental consultant who lives in Basking Ridge, entered the race anyway. He touts his record as deputy chief of staff and Department of Environmental Protection commissioner under former Republican Gov. Thomas H. Kean, his appointment by former President Reagan as regional administrator of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, and his chairmanship of an environmental permitting panel formed by Gov. Jon Corzine. (Bonamo, Gannett)

Christie’s weight an issue in NJ

Some of the television ads in the New Jersey governor's race may look familiar to viewers with long memories.In the 1988 Pennsylvania treasurer's race between Democrat Catherine Baker Knoll and former U.S. Rep. Phil English, Knoll's campaign deliberately portrayed English as overweight. "We were doing focus groups showing negative headlines about Phil," said Neil Oxman, who worked on Knoll's campaign. One woman saw a photo of English and said, "Is that him? Oooooh." Oxman hired a still photographer and told him: "I want you to take the fattest pictures of this guy you can." (Burton, Inquirer)

Donnelly: mayoral aide one week, councilman the next

A week and a half ago, David Donnelly, then an aide to Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, did not know there was going to be a vacancy on the Jersey City council. Last night, he was sworn in to fill it. “I certainly didn’t want to come to it this way,” said Donnelly.Donnelly, 39, was recommended by Mayor Jerramiah Healy for the city’s Ward B council seat and approved by the council with seven yes votes and one abstention (Ward F Councilwoman Viola Richardson last night said she abstained because she felt the process was rushed). (Friedman, PolitickerNJ)

Reverends support Corzine for reelection

Three influential African American ministers, Rev. Reginald Jackson, Rev. Dr. David Jefferson Sr. and Rev. Dr. Calvin McKinney, today endorsed Gov. Jon Corzine for re-election."I have not in the past and am not today making this endorsement lightly. This endorsement is made after much wrestling and soul searching. But it is an endorsement that I strongly make," Jackson said. " It's hard to be popular in tough economic times, but to his credit Jon Corzine has made the tough calls. (Editor, PolitickerNJ)

Hillside mayor stops checks for council members

Hillside’s mayor ordered the township’s chief financial officer to withhold the paychecks of township council members, and himself, in a one sentence memo this week. It’s the latest pull in a political tug-of-war between Mayor Joseph Menza and members of the governing body. Menza said he didn’t know if he had the legal authority to deny pay to council members, who are paid $7,000 a year, but felt compelled to do so by a lack of cooperation by council president Edward Brewer. (O’Neill, Star Ledger)

Would it be a Corzine court?

In this gubernatorial campaign that has focused mostly on trivial, around the edge stuff, nobody is talking about the state Supreme Court. The next governor will have the opportunity to re-nominate or name four members. If Corzine is re-elected, by the end of his second term, he will have had a hand in putting all seven members of the court where they are. (Ingle, Gannett)

NJ gubernatorial candidates release tax returns

Among the three major candidates for governor, independent Chris Daggett is the closest thing to an average New Jersey taxpayer. But his income is by no means average. Tax returns released by Daggett today show he and his wife pulled down $287,240 last year. While he earns the least of the three major candidates, Daggett’s household income far surpasses the state’s $66,509 household median. (Margolin, Star Ledger)

County to switch signs

City officials will revisit an ordinance regulating political signs after Republican leaders and candidates recently complained about signs promoting Democratic political candidates were in violation of the law. Vineland zoning officers served notices of violation last month to owners of several properties, including county Freeholder Director and Democratic freeholder candidate Lou Magazzu, after complaints were made by Republican freeholder candidate Rick Tonetta and county Republican party chairman Bob Greco. (Dunn, Newhouse)

Burlco boasts over $500,000 in savings

The Burlington County government has saved more than a half million dollars in insurance costs this year and has reduced further the size of its vehicle fleet for more tax dollar savings next year, officials said Wednesday. The insurance saving represents a decrease in premium payments as a result of market competition as well as fewer workers' compensation claims, county insurance risk claims manager Stephen A. Paolucci told the county board of freeholders in a presentation. (Comegno, Gannett)–500-000-in-savings

Candidates seek Camden autonomy

The two Democrats hoping to represent Camden in the state Assembly said the time for municipal autonomy is almost near — fingers crossed."Hopefully, very shortly, we won't have to deal with the idea of whether we have a COO, because it's been difficult at best for the COO and the mayor to operate," said Donald Norcross, who is running for the 5th District Assembly seat vacated by speaker Joe Roberts. (Roh, Gannett)

Democratic hopefuls propose ways to save

Democratic hopefuls propose ways to save Burlington County government should hire an inspector general and also look at terminating or reducing salaries of supervisory staff in order to further curb spending and save tax dollars, Democratic candidates for county freeholder said Thursday. Kimberly Kersey, a Mount Holly councilwoman, and Jim Bernard, of Cinnaminson, addressed property taxes, spending and other issues in an interview by the Courier-Post Editorial Board. (Comegno, Gannett)

Accusations fly in Hamilton council race

Candidates in the increasingly tumultuous race for township council continue to trade barbs as Election Day draws near, with the Republican councilmen questioning Fred Dumont's record on the zoning board and the Democrats accusing the councilmen of acting as rubber stamps. Having accused council candidate Vinnie Capodanno of hypocrisy only days ago, Republican council incumbents Tom Goodwin, Dave Kenny and Dennis Pone have now zeroed in on Dumont. (Duffy, Newhouse) Morning News Digest: October 16, 2009