Morning News Digest: March 12, 2010

Weinberg: ‘history is going to defend Jon Corzine’s legacy’

Former Gov. Jon Corzine has not gone quietly, not that current Gov. Christopher Christie has let the public forget him.

Virtually every time Christie announces a new budget fix in response to a problem that he pins squarely on the previous administration, Corzine aide Josh Zeitz has a response ready to go. 

Two Democratic senators, one a former acting governor and one former Corzine running mate for lieutenant governor, agree that Christie ought to stop criticizing Corzine. But they differ whether Zeitz needs to be so zealous in defending his legacy. 

”History is going to defend Jon Corzine’s legacy,” said state Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck), who counted Corzine as a friend in her battles with a Bergen County Democratic party boss and, in the aftermath of July’s massive corruption sweep, became his candidate for lieutenant governor. (Friedman, PolitickerNJ) N.J. Senate confirms 

Glenn is likely GOP Essex exec candidate 

State Sen. Kevin O’Toole (R-Cedar Grove) says that Republicans will give Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo a “run for his money” this year.

”We have two candidates in mind. They haven’t been ratified yet. But we have petitions out there,” said O’Toole, who doubles as GOP chairman in traditionally Democratic Essex County. 

O’Toole wouldn’t name the candidate, only saying that he or she would be part of a “diverse ticket.” But it is expected that Republicans will pick Herbert Glenn, a Newark resident with a history of running long shot candidacies. He ran for state senate against Ronald Rice (D-Newark) in 2007 and assembly against Cleopatra Tucker (D-Newark) and Ralph Caputo (D-Belleville) in 2009, in what is one of the most Democratic legislative districts in the state. (Friedman, PolitickerNJ) 

If he wanted it, Quigley would like to see Sacco as HCDO chair

Decimated last year by a corruption bust, the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) would be best served by state Sen. Nicholas Sacco (D-North Bergen) as chairman, according to Sacco district mate Assemblywoman Joan Quigley (D-Jersey City). Quigley said she’s convinced the current chairman, Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, doesn’t want the post when when his term comes to an end in June. “I think Sacco is the most organized,” said the veteran lawmaker. “If the rest of the county could get organized the way North Bergn is, we’d be much better off. The enthusiasm isn’t there right now, the way it used to be. We used to have meetings much more frequently than we do now.” (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) 

Schundler as education commissioner, Simpson to head transportation

The state Senate confirmed Bret Schundler, a champion of school choice, as education commissioner Thursday. Before the 35-2 vote, supportive senators praised his passion for children and sense of fair play while critics questioned his qualifications. (Brody, The Record) 

N.J. Gov. Christie creates task force to study privatizing some state jobs 

Governor Christie Thursday created a task force to identify savings from privatizing parts of the state workforce amid a budget crisis.
Christie declined to say which jobs or agencies could be run by the private sector, but ruled out privatizing New Jersey’s toll roads or its state police.  (Heininger, The Record) 

GOP vows tools to cut expenses, tighter tax caps 

As Gov. Christie prepares for a budget debate likely to focus heavily on property taxes, he and fellow Republicans are devising steps to control the local levies with a combination of help and force. (Tamari/Giordano, Inquirer) 

NJ senators ask President Obama to OK ‘snow aid’ 

New Jersey’s two U.S. senators are asking President Obama to approve the state’s request to have the eight southern counties hit hardest by the Feb. 5-6 snow storm declared federal disaster areas. (AP)

Morning News Digest: March 12, 2010