Morning News Digest: April 7, 2010

Gov on James: time to move on, but Martini ‘blew it’

On the day former Newark Mayor Sharpe James arrives home from a federal prison after serving time for corruption, the man who prosecuted him chastised the judge who refrained from throwing the book at James, and offered his hope that his old nemesis has a happy and productive life. “The jury passed unanimously on the charges against Mayor James,” said Gov. Chris Christie, the former U.S. Attorney. “He has now served his time. He will finish serving his time in a halfway house. He’s paid his debt to society for those things that he was convicted of. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Fulop: McCann may not be able to tell the truth, but he can do the math

Whether it’s Gerry or Jerry, you can expect to find Jersey City Councilman Steve Fulop on the other side of the equation. Usually Mayor Jerry Healy is Fulop’s target, but with School Board elections two weeks away, the councilman has School Board member (and former JC mayor) Gerry McCann in his sights. McCann’s running for re-election along with ally and fellow School Board member Terry DeHere, but his efforts to stir up a populist backlash against teachers strikes Fulop as pure fudge. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) 

Christie to extend state aid deadline for N.J. schools 

Governor Christie said Tuesday he is extending the deadline for school districts to receive additional state aid in exchange for teachers agreeing to a wage freeze.
Christie said 96 of the state’s approximately 600 districts have implemented some form of wage freeze for teachers, administrators, staff or some combination of those employees. Last week, when he announced the proposal, the governor initially gave districts until Monday — when they submitted school budgets to the state — to accomplish a freeze.
(Heininger, The Record) 

NJ public contractors give less in campaign donations since pay-to-play ban 

Political donations by companies with public contracts dropped by almost a third over the last three years, showing laws designed to restrict “pay to play” have had an impact, a report released Tuesday shows. But while it has been curtailed at a state level, loopholes remain that allow “pay-to-play” to continue in county and municipal governments, officials said. (Friedman, The Record) 

Organized labor losing ground in N.J. legislature 

New Jersey’s public employee labor unions, long seen as a potent political force and often depicted as an 800-pound gorilla looming over the Statehouse, are running short of friends in Trenton. Gone is Gov. Jon S. Corzine, who regularly sided with unions. In his place stands Gov. Christie, a Republican who has sharply criticized labor’s influence, leadership, and benefits. (Tamari, Inquirer) 

 Stile: Company man gets nod from Christie 

Lost in Governor Christie’s jousting with Jon S. Corzine over patronage picks for high-profile boards and agencies was this important distinction: Christie never objected to the time-honored tradition of filling plum posts with political supporters and cronies. He simply argued it was his turn to pick his own political supporters and cronies, not Corzine’s. To the victor goes the corporate suite at Giants Stadium; the loser gets a dimly lit lecture hall at Princeton. (Stile, The Record) 

Ingle: We’re backed up to No. 13 

New report says New Jersey is 13th for the most backlogged Social Security Disability Insurance approval process. New York is a little better at 18th, Pennsylvania way better at 36th. Ohio is the most backed up. The report from Allsup, the largest non-attorney SSDI representation company, says in Delaware, the state with the shortest wait, people can be on hold for 10 months before they get a hearing. (Ingle, Gannett) Morning News Digest: April 7, 2010