Morning News Digest: June 14, 2010

In Trenton, it seems like Segura and Harmon against Mack, Palmer – and the world

An unidentified man at the corner of Broad and State streets would not endorse Tony Mack for mayor this afternoon when approached by At first he appeared ready to do so, then safely left it at, “I won’t rule out endorsing.” The reason that’s good enough for a newsflash is it seemed like everyone else in the city had thrown in with Mack Friday as the outside man turned overnight local establishment sensation heads toward his Tuesday runoff against At-Large Councilman Manny Segura. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

After Middlesex mail-ins, Little leads by 75 votes

Middlesex County mail-in and federal ballots show Diane Gooch picking up nine votes and Anna Little picking up seven votes in the 6th Congressional Distict. That changes this morning’s totals in the 6th Congressional District race to 6,787 Little; 6,712 Gooch. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Forrest in as executive director of Passaic Valley

The Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission today affirmed Gov. Chris Christie’s choice of former Somerset County Prosecutor Wayne Forrest to run the largest treament plant for the wastewaters of New Jersey. The vote was six commissioners in the affirmative and one abstention, registered by Commissioner Bill Flynn. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) 

Straten wins GOP nod

 In Tuesday’s low-turnout primary election, Montclair resident Roland Straten easily won the GOP nomination in the 8th Congressional District to challenge Democratic incumbent Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. in November. Straten, the Republican-endorsed candidate, garnered 81 percent of the vote against 37-year-old St. John’s University professor Blase Billack of Clifton. (Drobness, The Record) 

At Republican’s home, Leonia Democrats debate the issues before primary

It’s not often Republicans will invite a group of Democratic candidates to their backyard barbecue. But, if it will get the Democrats running in the June 8 primaries talking at the same table about issues impacting residents, Roland Weimer will have accomplished his goal. “I think it’s about time that we get beyond the party labels and talk about real important stuff that’s going to happen,” said Weimer, who is not running for council this year. “Whoever gets elected has a say in it — representing all of us.” (Almenas, The Record) 

Atlantic City casinos oppose sports, Internet betting 

Atlantic City’s 11 casinos have come out against proposals to allow them to offer sports and Internet betting. The Casino Association of New Jersey says the proposals would violate existing federal bans on sports and online betting. The group also says the plans would primarily benefit offshore gambling Web sites, not New Jersey’s casinos. (Parry, AP) 

Rutgers to freeze salaries for all employees 

Rutgers University has announced it will freeze salaries for its 13,000 employees, canceling some pay raises that were to take effect next month. School officials say the move will save $30 million and offset some of the $46.6 million in state funding cut from its budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Without the freeze, Chief Budget Officer Philip Furmanski said in a note to staff Thursday, the university would have to “lay off large numbers.” (Conaboy, Gannett) 

Christie orders planning for government shutdown

 Gov. Christie has ordered cabinet members to begin planning for a government shutdown in case the state budget is not approved by the July 1 deadline. The memo directs department heads to identify essential functions and personnel. The Newark Star-Ledger obtained a copy of the memo, distributed Friday. (AP) 

Christie appoints Verniero to judicial panel 

Gov. Christie on Wednesday named former New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Peter G. Verniero chairman of a panel that screens judicial nominations, apparently sending a message that he will not back down from his decision against renominating Justice John E. Wallace Jr. to the Supreme Court. Christie named replacements for the entire Judicial Advisory Panel, whose seven members abruptly resigned last week. Six of them cited as their reason Christie’s decision not to renominate Wallace. (Lu, Inquirer) 

When the speaker talks, the governor must listen

Democrat Sheila Oliver, the second black Assembly speaker and the first black woman to serve in that capacity, says she supports much of Gov. Chris Christie’s agenda. But as one of the three most powerful politicians in New Jersey, she has the power to stand in his way. Will she on some of his key initiatives? (Gannett) 

What’s the fairest mix of taxes?

No one likes paying taxes, but they’re unavoidable. Having established that, what’s the fairest way to assess them? How much should a state rely on each of the three major taxes — income, sales and property — to finance its operations? (Symons, Gannett) 

N.J. sold BP stock before spill 

BP will be required to fund an escrow account to pay damages resulting from the oil spill, the Obama administration said. Money managers like to brag about their best investment decisions, such as selling General Electric at its peak or Merrill Lynch before the crash. Portfolio managers for New Jersey’s pension system can now talk about selling most of a $465.5 million position in British Petroleum before the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig blew up in the Gulf of Mexico. (Method, Gannett) 

What if Gulf oil spill reached here? New Jersey legislators to discuss plans Monday

 State Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin is to brief 
legislators on contingency planning in case the Gulf of Mexico oil spill extends into the Atlantic, when the state Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee meets Monday. “If the oil spill were to reach the Jersey shoreline, it would place our state and coastal economy in peril,” the committee chairman, Assemblyman John McKeon, 
D-Essex, said in announcing the hearing. “We are deeply concerned about such a 
possibility, however remote.’” (Moore, Gannett) 

Ingle: Education Law Center has its hand out – again 

The Education Law Center, the Newark-based outfit that is the No. 1 fan of the Abbott schools decision — a well-intentioned but misguided ruling which helped make your property taxes the highest in the nation — is at it again. The ELC is asking the state Supreme Court to enforce a May ’09 decision upholding the funding formula that replaced the Abbott guidelines. The Supremes found Gov. Corzine’s new formula constitutional but said there is an expectation that New Jersey will continue to provide for two years at the required levels under the 2008 formula. (Ingle, Gannett) Morning News Digest: June 14, 2010