Morning News Digest: May 19, 2010

Goodwin combats Republican footsoldier designation by going after decal law

Every issue goes into the arena here in a special election in the 14th District, and the one that state Sen. Tom Goodwin (R-Hamilton) grabbed hold of enabled him today to surround himself with worried parents and children. Intent on repealing a law requiring red decals on the cars of underage drivers, Goodwin stood in the rain of his hometown with supporters and focused populist outrage at the same Statehouse that gave birth to the law. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

 Judge dismisses four counts of extortion against Manzo

A federal district court judge today dismissed four counts of extortion against Lou and Ronald Manzo on grounds that they were not public officials at the time they allegedly accepted campaign cash from disgraced developer Solomon Dwek. “The danger – if he (the judge) let this stand – was all across this country you could have a candidate for office qualify as a public official,” Manzo, a former Assemblyman from Jersey City, told “I’m very happy.” (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Stackfest tonight draws Christie and Buono to UC

There won’t be a special section of chairs at Union City Mayor Brian Stack’s swearing -in ceremony tonight designated “future Democratic candidates for governor,” according to Stack spokesman Mark Albiez. But Gov. Chris Christie himself has planned an informal meeting with the once and future Democratic Party mayor who demolished his opposition last week in another display of smoothly executed, bankable machine politics. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

 ‘Race to Top’ application gains backers

 The state Legislature is signing on to New Jersey’s application for up to $400 million in federal education funding — but without endorsing its most controversial elements, including a plan to base teacher pay on student achievement. In a shift from what Education Commissioner Bret Schundler initially requested, lawmakers of both parties are expected to pass a resolution Thursday saying they support the state’s entry in the Race to the Top competition. The application deadline is June 1. (Heininger, The Record) 

Justice Wallace wraps up term on bench 

John E. Wallace Jr. said his goodbyes during his final appearance on the bench as a Supreme Court justice Monday morning. Wallace, whose seven-year term ends Thursday, appeared Monday for a rules committee hearing, a routine hearing regarding the rules that govern the day-to-day operations of the court. (Lu, Inquirer) 

Candidates spar over Wall Street overhaul 

This week, freshman U.S. Rep. John Adler (D., N.J.) plans to hold a fund-raiser with lobbyists and executives from the financial industry. Last week, he held a news conference trying to pressure the Senate to pass the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which would regulate banking and derivatives as well as create a consumer-protection agency. (Burton, Inquirer)

Deliberations to resume in NJ corruption trial

A jury is scheduled to resume deliberations in the second case to reach trial in New Jersey’s largest corruption probe. Former Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt, who faces bribery and extortion charges, is accused of accepting $10,000 from an FBI informant. (AP) 

Stile: Laborers seeking Christie’s favor

 The New Jersey Laborers Union is sending its members to support Republican county executive candidate Kathleen Donovan this fall. In pledging to do so, the influential 20,000-member union is also sending the Democratic Party a message: We want a piece of real estate in the New World Order of Governor Christie. (Stile, The Record) 

Ingle: How do you spell hypocrisy with four letters? 

Did someone declare it Hypocrisy Week in Trenton? Observers got a double dose of watching what the insiders do as opposed to what they say, a real-time display of the two-faced deceit inherent in Jersey politics. The NJEA, the teachers union, falls back on “it’s for the children” whenever it can’t otherwise justify its push to bankrupt the taxpayers (Ingle, Gannett) Morning News Digest: May 19, 2010