Morning News Digest: May 14, 2010

Gone from City Hall with Torres, Pou digs in to Statehouse role in anticipation of Jones era

Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres’s tumble from power impacts Assemblywoman Nellie Pou (D-Paterson), chair of the Appropriations Committee – and assistant business administrator for Torres. There will be turnover at City Hall, as Mayor-elect Jeffrey Jones takes charge, and Pou’s people anticipate that she will clean her desk out with the rest. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) 

Florio hopes GOP committee taps Gaburo to succeed him 

After serving as chairman of the Somerset GOP Committee for 18 years, Dale Florio told committee members last night in a letter that he intends to retire. Al Gaburo stands in the wings to take charge of the party where Florio helmed an organization that never lost a county race during his nearly two decade tenure. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

 Christie recommends eliminating affordable housing agency, law 

Governor Christie on Thursday recommended eliminating the Council on Affordable Housing and repealing the Fair Housing Act, the agency and law that largely guided housing development across New Jersey for the past 25 years. Describing the changes as a shift from state to local control, the Republican governor endorsed a system in which towns — rather than the state — would determine how much low- and moderate-income housing they need. The plan, which needs legislative approval, would require future projects to either include affordable housing or require developers to pay into a fund to build affordable housing elsewhere. (Fleisher, The Record) 

Senate panel clears 2 of Gov. Christie’s cabinet picks 

Two of Gov. Chris Christie’s cabinet picks cleared a Senate panel Thursday, and their nominations now await confirmation by the full Senate. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-0 to approve the nomination of Lori Grifa as commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. (Ackermann, The Record) 

8 retired NJ Supreme Court justices ask Gov. Chris Christie to reconsider Wallace reappointment

 Eight retired Supreme Court justices have just released a statement asking Gov. Chris Christie to reconsider his decision not to reappoint Supreme Court Justice John Wallace. “There is simply no question about the intent of the framers of our Constitution: reappointment would be denied only when a judge was deemed unfit, a standard that ensured the independence of the State’s judiciary under the Constitution,” the justices wrote. “That standard, embraced and followed for more than sixty years, is imbued with constitutional value.” (Ackermann, The Record) 

Senate panel approves school voucher bill 

Hundreds of private-school students got a real-life lesson in politics and government Thursday when a dispute over seating forced a legislative committee to pass a school voucher bill from the steps of the Statehouse Annex. The state Senate Economic Growth Committee moved its meeting outdoors after members of the state’s largest teachers union, which opposes the bill, packed the committee room and refused to open seats for supporters of the plan. (Method, Gannett) 

Stile: Democrats can blame themselves for Christie 

New Jersey Democrats who aided and abetted candidate Christopher J. Christie last November are now in disarray. And they have nobody to blame but themselves. Guided by self-preservation, party bosses abandoned their flawed incumbent — but not Jon Corzine’s money — and gave Christie a back-channel blessing. (Stile, The Record) 

Ingle: DYFS settles for $4.5 million 

DYFS has agreed to pay $4.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a boy who was sexually abused by foster parents, his attorney says. The Star-Ledger reports the boy was abused when he was 6 and is 17 now. The boy was placed by DYFS in the custody of a Hudson County couple in 1995, and was sexually assaulted between 1996-98, according to a lawsuit. The foster parents were convicted in Hudson county. (Ingle, Gannett) Morning News Digest: May 14, 2010