Morning News Digest: February 25, 2010

Report: Corzine to be a regular on CNBC 

Former Gov. Corzine plans to be a regular on CNBC, according to a Star-Ledger report posted on Corzine will be a commentator and possibly a morning show guest host, according to the report. He also has plans to lecture at Princeton University. Corzine, who was on the cable channel last weekend, was a regular there during the run up to last year’s election. Hosting a television show may seem an odd choice for a governor who was not known as a riveting speaker, but Corzine has said he plans to remain a progressive voice in the public debate. And he was a giant figure in the world of finance – leading Goldman Sachs – before turning to politics. (Tamari, Inquirer)

Hill drops out of House race, clearing the way for Runyan 

Toms River Committeeman Maurice “Mo” Hill has decided not to seek the 3rd District Republican congressional nomination and has thrown his support behind former Philadelphia Eagles tackle Jon Runyan, a sign that the district’s two powerful Republican organizations will unite behind the recently retired millionaire football player to take on freshman U.S. Rep. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill).

”This was an extremely difficult decision to make,” Hill said in a written statement. “But this is a district that traditionally supports Republicans and I believe that Jon Runyan will have the necessary resources to defeat Congressman Adler and take this seat back.”

Hill said that he felt confident he could beat Adler, but deferred to Runyan’s abiliy to self-fund. Moreover, he acknowledged that an expensive primary against Runyan would diminish the GOP candidate’s chances against Adler, who has about $1.4 million in the bank. (Friedman, PolitickerNJ)

Southern New Jersey fishermen join thousands at rally in D.C.

Hundreds of recreational and commercial fishermen from southern New Jersey and thousands from across the country rallied next to the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to protest regulations they say are stifling the industry.  The fishermen chanted, “I fish, I vote,” and carried placards condemning the Obama Administration and the National Marine Fisheries Service, the federal agency that regulates fishing in 3.36 million square miles of ocean.  (Degener, Press of Atlantic City)

O’Brien drops Freeholder bid 

Former Bergen County Freeholder Julie O’Brien has withdrawn her name from consideration to run again for freeholder this year, instead endorsing Northvale Mayor James Hogan to run for an open seat in the November election.

Hogan also has the personal support of Bergen County Democratic Chairman Michael Kasparian. 

”Because of the size of the field, remaining in the process has the potential to jeopardize the incumbents. I have decided in the interest of party unity to give my support to the Chairman’s candidate, John Hogan,” O’Brien wrote in an email that was read to county committee members at last night’s “Candidates Night” at Bergen County Democratic headquarters in Hackensack. “John is a good man and will be a good Freeholder and I plan to nominate him at the convention on Thursday.” (Friedman, PolitickerNJ) 

Chiappone running for mayor of Bayonne 

Assemblyman Tony Chiappone (D-Bayonne) moments ago pulled petitions to run for mayor of Bayonne. “Yes, I am,” Chiappone told when asked if he is running for mayor. Under indictment for allegedly funneling aides’ paychecks into his personal and campaign accounts, Chiappone last year won re-election to the assembly without serious opposition. In the 2008 special mayor’s election, the state lawmaker was a staunch, door-to-door ally of Judge Pat Conaghan, who lost to Mayor Mark Smith. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) 

Union challenges NJ governor’s ban on donations 

New Jersey’s largest state worker union has filed a court challenge to Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s executive order banning it from making political donations. In signing the executive order on his first day in office, Christie made good on a campaign promise to close a loophole that exempted labor unions from rules on pay-to-play — the practice of rewarding political donors with lucrative government contracts. The Communications Workers of America District 1, which filed the challenge in a state appeals court on Wednesday, says the ban is unconstitutional. (AP) 

N.J. Gov. Christie to mayors: Brace for state aid cuts 

Governor Christie told mayors Wednesday to brace for state aid cuts in his upcoming budget, but promised he would also provide help in the form of pension, benefit and arbitration reform. Christie, who last week said school districts should prepare for up to 15 percent cuts, did not say Wednesday how much less aid municipalities should expect when he delivers the budget address March 16. The Republican governor also gave no specifics on his plans for arbitration — an out-of-court process when a third party decides the terms of a contract to resolve an impasse — but said changes would “level the playing field” for towns and school boards. Public employee unions Wednesday said Christie should stop meddling in collective bargaining. But the governor said “there’s something wrong” when raises for public employees exceed the annual 4 percent cap on budget increases at the local level. (Heininger, Star Ledger) 

DEP, DCA nominees speak to mayors 

Gov. Christie’s picks to lead the Departments of Environmental Protection and Community Affairs made brief statements to about 150 mayors gathered in the statehouse Wednesday, offering some hints as to how they plan to lead. Neither Bob Martin, for DEP, nor Lori Grifa, for DCA, has been appeared before the Senate Judiciary committee yet, the next step in the confirmation process. Martin, a former executive with global management firm Accenture who focused mainly on utilities and energy issues, said that he will bring desperately-needed leadership, management and direction to the DEP. He said he would make sure permits are issued more quickly, inspections are done more quickly and efficiency in operations overall is improved. “I will enforce the environmental laws of this state,” Martin said, “but we must change the way DEP operates.” (Lu, Inquirer) 

Jumping over a cliff with Christie 

In a speech to about 150 mayors in the statehouse Wednesday, Gov. Christie said that the state’s dire budget situation reminded him of the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. At one point in the movie, Butch and the Sundance Kid, who are being chased by authorities for robbing banks, reach the edge of a cliff and must decide whether they should get shot from behind or take a chance and jump off the cliff, hoping to survive. The two hold hands and make the leap. “It’s time for us to hold hands and jump off the cliff, to do the things that need to be done,” Christie told the mayors, adding that it was time to end the petty politics of yesterday. (Lu, Inquirer) 

Ingle: While Platt’s away, things get done 

There is a big brouhaha in Cherry Hill because Mayor Bernie Platt was vacationing in Florida during the snow emergency. In fact, he’s still enjoying the nice weather down there. That’s the second snow emergency he’s missed. Cover-up is always worse and when Chief of Staff Dan Keashen was asked about Platt’s whereabouts, Keashen lied, saying Platt was around, even said he went along with snow removal crews. Platt said he took part in city discussions and meetings via speaker phone from Florida. (Ingle, Gannett) 

Stile: Christie lets Yudin know who’s running the show 

Bergen County Republican Organization leader Bob Yudin trekked to Princeton last week to mingle with fellow county chairmen at a governor’s mansion reception. Yudin was also taken out back to Governor Christie’s woodshed. He emerged with a gag – a red velvet, GOP-elephant patterned one, most likely – wrapped around his mouth. Christie said he spoke with his loyal Bergen County lieutenant about an interview Yudin gave last week to In his characteristic bluntness, Yudin said Christie surrogates are working behind the scenes to discourage Todd Caliguire from challenging Kathleen Donovan in the Republican primary for county executive. (Stile, The Record) Morning News Digest: February 25, 2010