Morning News Digest: July 23, 2010

Despite not being told about AC plan, Langford eager to work with Christie Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford first heard

Despite not being told about AC plan, Langford eager to work with Christie

Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford first heard about a state overhaul of his town in the newspaper, but at this point refuses to nurse bitterness over the perceived slight from Gov. Chris Christie, who also slammed local leadership of the city in his remarks to reporters up in the Meadowlands yesterday. “I’m not mad at the governor, as much as people want me to be mad,” said Langford. “I didn’t hear his remarks in person. But a lot of what the governor said happens to be the truth. There has been inefficiency and corruption here. That is an historic fact. I don’t take it personally. I didn’t hear him say anything about me. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) /

Christie’s Bergen gamble energizes Dems

Fearful of a death spiral in the aftermath of Joe Ferriero’s fall last year, Bergen County Democrats embraced Gov. Chris Christie’s Meadowlands announcement yesterday as an easy line on an 8 by 11 glossy they can drop in the mailboxes of tormented voters. “The administration is abandoning the Meadowlands and transferring wealth to Atlantic City to bail out the casino interests, to companies that contributed to the problem by investing in other states,” said state Sen. Bob Gordon (D-Fairlawn). (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) 

Council shake-up compounds crisis for Booker

 He doesn’t hear it. He doesn’t have to hear it. A searing, disapproving whistle blows on Broad Street in his direction, and inside City Hall, Mayor Cory Booker grins at a prospective headline: “Booker Implosion,” but refuses to abide any storyline that puts him in less than fighting shape in a crisis. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) 

Christie Proposal Would Allow BOE to Impose Contract Terms on Teachers 

A proposal from Gov. Chris Christie to overhaul teacher contract negotiations has gained support from management while further angering the state teachers union.

As part of his proposed toolkit to reduce property taxes statewide, Christie is calling for the move back to allowing “last offer/best offer” in negotiations. The system would allow Boards of Education to unilaterally impose a contract on a local union in the event negotiations broke down. The system was allowed in New Jersey until banned by law in 2003. 
(Celock, Westfield Patch)

 School Boards, Teacher Groups Oppose Christie Contract Review

 Proposal Associations representing state teachers and school boards have expressed opposition to a proposal in Gov. Chris Christie’s property tax toolkit to increase state oversight to contracts negotiated between school districts and local unions.

The proposal would set a four point criteria for county executive superintendents of schools to review local contracts, with the governor’s goal to keep property taxes below the two percent cap Christie signed into law earlier this month. (Celock, Westfield Patch) 

N.J. Rep. Pascrell: Changes likely for ‘far from perfect’ health care reform law 

Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. said Thursday that Congress will likely have to change the sweeping health insurance overhaul enacted in March “because we didn’t get it right,” even as he slammed the insurance industry for trying to undermine some provisions. “There’ll be changes to this health care reform, some because we didn’t get it right,” Pascrell, D-Paterson, told a friendly group of small business and health reform advocates at a news conference in a Senate hearing room. (Jackson, The Record) 

Public unions taking a tight-money tack

 The state’s public worker unions are at war with Governor Christie, but they have not ramped up their political spending. The New Jersey Education Association’s political action committee spent $234,788 in the first half of this year, according to reports released Thursday by the state Election Law Enforcement Commission. At this point last year, when there were far more state-level political races, the union had spent $426,200. This year, the NJEA has raised $797,841 and has $1.2 million on hand. (Friedman, The Record) NJ Gov. 

Christie disputes $10.5 billion budget deficit projection 

Gov. Chris Christie has sharply criticized predictions that the state will face a $10.5 billion deficit for next year’s budget. The deficit projection — roughly the same size hole Christie plugged in the just-completed budget — was included in a memo issued this week by the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services, which is the legislature’s research arm. Christie said Wednesday that the projection was invalid because the OLS counted all mandatory increases in state funding and mistakenly assumed all programs now in the budget would be included next year. (AP)

 Experts question need to reform Atlantic City’s “model” casino regulatory system 

Once held up as a national model, New Jersey’s casino regulations are now being compared to an “antique car” by the man who wants to overhaul them. Regulatory reform is a key piece of Gov. Chris Christie’s plan, unveiled Wednesday, to reinvigorate an industry mired in a four-year revenue slump and hammered by competition from casinos in surrounding states. (Wittkowski, Press of Atlantic City)

 Gaming industry welcomes Atlantic City plan, but others skeptical that NJ can do it better

 Gov. Chris Christie’s plan for state oversight of the casino district should boost the gaming industry, but it could take much longer to reverse Atlantic City’s national reputation as a dirty and crime-plagued gambling haven, observers say. Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., president and chief executive officer of the American Gaming Association, the national lobbying group for the casino industry, pledged his support in helping Christie to push the proposal through the state Legislature. (Wittkowski, Press of Atlantic City) 

As Christie pitches the A.C. plan, critics speak out 

Gov. Christie on Wednesday called for dramatic changes in government oversight of Atlantic City’s troubled gaming and tourism industries to remake the resort into “Las Vegas East.” “Atlantic City is dying,” the governor said. Stressing that the problems would not fix themselves, Christie said he was willing to take the political risks necessary and put the power of his office behind an effort to help the city become a true destination. (Rao/Parmley, Inquirer)

 Gov. Christie’s Atlantic City action right on cue

 Who needs HBO? As the cable giant gets ready to broadcast its series Boardwalk Empire, the epic saga of Atlantic City politicians, vice, and dames, the real-life Atlantic City – as if on cue – had one of its regularly occurring convulsions Wednesday when Gov. Christie delivered a jolt to the sagging resort. Wearing a bright magenta tie as he stood across from Boardwalk Hall, before hundreds gathered as if for a parade, Christie left no doubt who was boss. (Rosenberg, Inquirer) 

 From the Back Room… 

Office Politics 

One of the perks of being Newark Council President is the bearer of the title traditionally gets the biggest City Hall office space among the council people. For four years, Council President Mildred Crump kept the tradition alive, comfortably streching her legs in the largest of legislative spaces. (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ) 

Does DCCC Consider Adler Safe or Expendable?

 The National Journal’s Hotline is reporting that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has bought ad time in more than a dozen House districts nationwide where the party believes its incumbent could be vulnerable. Adler’s district, the NJ 3rd, is not on the list, which could mean the party is not worried about his seat. (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ) 

Booker a Hockey Fan? 

Cory Booker has likely not approached the NHL to plead left winger Ilya Kovalchuk’s case, but if he hasn’t yet, he should. Kovalchuk of course is the Devils’ free agent who was signed back by the team earlier this week for a whopping $102 million over 17 years. The league has rejected the contract and the Devil’s – and Booker – are waiting for a final judgment. Outside of the obvious benefit to Booker if the Devils have a successful season, Kovalchuk’s massive contract would also provide cold cash to the city. (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ) 


Stile: Political power flies south this summer

 Governor Christie stood on the 50-yard line at Giants Stadium on Wednesday but made it clear that Bergen County is no longer the center of New Jersey’s political universe. As he introduced and blessed the findings of a 39-page report to overhaul and rescue New Jersey’s gaming industry, Christie effectively acknowledged that the political power has flown south to Atlantic City and its casinos, a duchy firmly in control of the South Jersey Democratic Party machine that dominates the Legislature and holds a virtual veto over Christie’s ambitions. (Stile, The Record) 

Ingle: Another lapse in DRPA leadership 

Drivers who fork over $4 every time they cross the Delaware should know that the chief public safety officer of the DRPA, the outfit with its hand out every time you cross the river, supplied his daughter access to a publicly funded E-ZPass transponder for 18 months. Little Princess presumably now has to pay tolls like the low class people without connections. But officer daddy, Michael Joyce, who makes $180,000 a year plus bennies, got a free ride, almost. He lost three day’s pay, about $2,000, and has to pay $600 which is what they figure would be the maximum daughter could have racked up. (Ingle, Gannett) 

Method: Who works in Atlantic City?

 Curious readers may be wondering — where do all these casino workers in Atlantic City live? Are they just in Atlantic City/County, or are these my neighbors in Toms River, Cherry Hill, etc. Here at Capitol Quickies, we aim to please. This is a searchable database that provides numbers of workers, by their classification, by the county, town and zip code where they live. (Method, Gannett)

Morning News Digest: July 23, 2010