Morning News Digest: May 12, 2010

Jones upsets Torres in Paterson; Parisi elected mayor of West Orange; Schneider wins in Long Branch; Booker re-elected in Newark; Mack secures runoff spot in close Trenton race

In a major upset, two-term Paterson Mayor Joey Torres was defeated by Councilman Jeffrey Jones. Jones won by around 600 votes, with Councilman Andre Sayegh finishing third.

In Trenton, with 98% of the vote counted, former Mercer County Freeholder Tony Mack has earned a spot in the June runoff, but a recount is expected to determine his opponent. Public Works Director Eric Jackson leads Councilman Manny Segura by three votes, with one district in the North Ward still uncounted. Mack has 23%, Jackson has 17.09%, and Segura has 17.06%.
(Editor, PolitickerNJ)

Payne: If Booker wins the South it would help heal Newark

Stationed in the South Ward family headquarters on Bergen Street, on a block they have controlled politically for 25 years, U.S. Rep. Donald Payne (D-Newark) can’t predict the South Ward outcome of today’s mayoral race. But if Mayor Cory Booker – whose team is fighting hard down here against challenger Clifford Minor and South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka – can pull off a victory in what is generally assumed to be his weakest ward, he would make a significant citywide statement, in Payne’s opinion. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

 Ex-NJ lawmaker testifies in his trial 

Former New Jersey Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt has taken the stand in his federal corruption trial. Van Pelt was the first witness called as the defense began presenting its case Tuesday. Van Pelt is accused of accepting $10,000 cash in exchange for helping a crooked developer secure permits for a real estate development. (AP) 

Calcagni, who prosecuted Coniglio, named director of consumer affairs 

Thomas R. Calcagni, who successfully prosecuted federal fraud cases against former Sen. Joseph Coniglio of Paramus and former Bergen County Democratic party boss Joseph Ferriero of Dumont, was nominated by Governor Christie Tuesday as Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. He replaces David Szuchman, who stepped down in January when Christie took office. Since then the division has been run by Sharon Joyce, as acting director. (Demarrias/Sampson, The Record) 

Dueling tax proposals unveiled in Trenton

As New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday unveiled a package of 33-bills to cap state spending in order to reduce property taxes, Democratic lawmakers laid out their proposal to raise income taxes on millionaires for one year to give relief to seniors. The dueling tax plans come just 51 days before lawmakers are constitutionally required to pass a balanced budget. (AP) 

Unions likely to oppose Christie’s proposed spending, labor restrictions 

New Jersey’s public employees unions are likely to push back hard against a package of proposed laws to reduce government spending that Gov. Chris Christie is unveiling Monday. Christie’s proposed reforms include putting a permanent 2.5 percent limit on annual raises for public workers and forbidding property tax increases of more than 2.5 percent without voter approval. (AP) 

Cory Booker holds big lead in Newark mayoral race 

Cory Booker has a commanding lead in the race for his second term as mayor of Newark. The city’s election website has the 41-year-old Booker with 59 percent of the vote with 74 percent of precincts reported. Former county prosecutor Clifford Minor is running second with 35 percent. (AP)

 Ingle: All the state’s a stage if you’re a politician 

Whoever said politics is theater for the ugly must have watched a lot of it from the Legislature’s balcony. Although it seldom reaches Orson Welles production values, it is so many times an act for constituents, rather than efforts to make the state a better place. There is drama for sure. The week started with a noon news conference by Gov. Christie. The Democrats moved to upstage him with their own gathering at 11:30. The big announcement was the Ds heard the cries from the NJEA and other unions calling for an encore of the “millionaires’ tax.” (Ingle, Gannett) 

Stile: Christie urged to heed the ‘framers’ 

Retired state Supreme Court Associate Justice Gary S. Stein brought prepared remarks to the Bergen County Bar Association’s 111st annual dinner — and his own witness list. It was a short list of distinguished ghosts, the long-forgotten “framers” of the modern New Jersey Constitution. Stein plucked their voices from the past to sound his own alarm over Governor Christie’s unprecedented decision not to renominate Supreme Court Associate Justice John Wallace Jr. (Stile, The Record) Morning News Digest: May 12, 2010