Morning News Digest: July 27, 2010

No budge in Crump on Booker’s MUA No one ever expected opposition councilmen Darrin Sharif and Ras Baraka to come

No budge in Crump on Booker’s MUA

No one ever expected opposition councilmen Darrin Sharif and Ras Baraka to come into office with a lip lock on Mayor Cory Booker’s policies, but the defection of former Council President Mildred Crump sent a shock wave through the city’s political system this month. There’s a back story gnawing at the mayor’s troubled efforts to advance a municipal utilities authority (MUA). Crump said she hoped Mayor Cory Booker would have helped her hold onto the top chair on the governing body, but, in Crump’s words, the mayor “actually lobbied against me.” (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) 

 Supreme Court Punts on Gay Marriage 

The Supreme Court has denied a petition from a group of same sex couples pushing for the state to allow them to marry. The court ruled that since no trial existed at the Superior Court level, it could not rule on the merits of the case. “This matter cannot be decided without the development of an appropriate trial-like record,” the court ruled. (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)

 N.Y. governor jabs back over ‘Jersey Shore’ TV show 

New York Gov. David Paterson is poking back at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for his criticism of MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” the reality show about hard-partying 20-somethings at a shore house. Christie blasted the show on Sunday as a bunch of New Yorkers dropped into his state, creating a false image of New Jersey with crude Italian-American stereotypes. Paterson — who says he’s never tuned in to “Jersey Shore” — joked Monday that maybe the cast is better behaved when they’re in New York. (AP)

 N.J.’s highest court declines to hear case on gay marriage

 In a split decision, the state Supreme Court has declined to hear a case from six same-sex couples seeking the right to marry, saying the case needs to wind its way through the lower courts first. “This matter cannot be decided without the development of an appropriate trial-like record,” wrote the three justices who voted to deny the couples’ motion, adding “we reach no conclusion on the merits of the plaintiffs’ allegations regarding the constitutionality of the Civil Union Act.” (Friedman, The Record) 

Help could come too late for some casinos

 A top investment ratings agency said Monday that Gov. Chris Christie’s plan to revitalize Atlantic City would be too late to help save some of the casinos there. Moody’s Investors Service said Christie’s effort to turn Atlantic City back into a top tourist destination would not improve the outlook for corporate bonds issued by casino operators. Analyst Margaret Holloway in an interview did not project which casinos could fail, but her report last week said Harrah’s — which owns four of the 11 casinos in Atlantic City — is carrying too much debt to be able to grow. (Method, Gannett) 

NJ may nix free roadside assistance program 

Motorists who break down in New Jersey might have to pay for help. The state is considering replacing its free roadside assistance program with a private company that would charge to change a tire, jump a battery or provide a gallon of gas. The Emergency Service Patrol has been operating since 1994. It was created to keep lanes clear, reduce congestion and increase safety. Last year it provided aid to 114,000 motorists. (AP) 

Ex-Jersey City official asks for prison term delay 

A judge is considering whether to allow the former deputy mayor of Jersey City to remain free on bail while she appeals her conviction on corruption charges. Leona Beldini is due to report to federal prison Aug. 2 to serve a three-year term. Her lawyer argued Monday in a Newark federal court that the jury was not properly instructed on some of the charges. Beldini, a Democrat, was among 44 people arrested last July in New Jersey’s largest federal corruption sting. (AP) 

Pelosi, McConnell give different views on stimulus 

 Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday urged state lawmakers to lobby for House-passed initiatives endangered in the Senate, while Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell complained congressional Democrats were out of touch with voters. The two leaders gave starkly different assessments of the country’s current course in partisan-tinged speeches at the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Their comments to the bipartisan gathering previewed potential election-year attacks by both parties in their struggle for control of Congress. (AP) 

New Jersey State Supreme Court tells gay marriage advocates to start over

 A divided state Supreme Court Monday declined to jump back into the same-sex marriage issue, instead encouraging gay activists and their supporters to start over and file a new lawsuit if they want to pursue the matter. Advocates for gay marriage had asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its 2006 ruling on the issue, in which the court said the state needed to extend gay couples the same rights as straight couples but stopped short of legalizing gay marriage. (Symons, Gannett) 

Gloucester County freeholders await ruling on whether their new advisor is enough 

Under fire for conducting public business behind closed doors, the Gloucester County freeholders recently appointed a retired judge to advise them how to be transparent. On Tuesday, a state Superior Court judge is expected to tell them whether hiring an adviser is enough. Last summer, an appeals panel found that the county government violated the state’s Open Public Meetings Act by creating positions and approving settlements in closed sessions. A few months ago, another panel found that freeholders breached the Open Public Records Act by refusing to produce copies of some legal settlements, another transparency issue. (Hefler, Inquirer) 

Feds clear two in probe of N.J. corruption case 

 Federal investigators say New Jersey’s former top federal prosecutor and the former special agent in charge of the FBI’s Newark office did not commit any wrongdoing in their handling of a major statewide corruption case last year. The Justice Department conducted the internal ethics probe to determine whether public comments made by Ralph Marra Jr. – who was acting U.S. attorney at the time – or Weysan Dun were improper. (Rao, Inquirer) 

 Proposed N.J. legislation would change charter school guidelines

 A proposed bill would allow charter schools to be authorized more quickly, with more diversity, and in greater numbers in New Jersey. If passed, the bill would grant Rutgers University the power to approve charters and would limit review time for charter applications to five months. Applicants could submit charters on a rolling basis, and charter schools could include single-sex, online, and special-needs schools. (Wulf, Inquirer) 

 Atlantic City takeover another example of Christie’s governing style

 Gov. Christie issued a stern message to Atlantic City in January after a state comptroller’s audit uncovered $23 million in municipal government waste: Get your act together, or I’ll do it for you. Two days after his six-month anniversary of taking office, the governor delivered on his ultimatum, endorsing state oversight of the resort’s casino district to counter ineptitude at City Hall. (Rao, Inquirer) 

 From the Back Room… 

 New staff for PolitickerNJ 

PolitickerNJ is pleased to announce the hiring of Timothy Carroll as our new staff reporter. Tim is an award winning journalist who comes to PolitickerNJ from the Hoboken Reporter, where he covered government and politics. He’ll be spending a lot of time at the statehouse as we boost our coverage there. Please join us in welcoming Tim to the Politicker ranks. (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ) 

Casting Call 

With the news that the documentary version of The Soprano State by Bob Ingle and Sandy McClure is due out in the fall, we here at PolitickerNJ couldn’t help taking a crack at casting the much-hoped-for fictionalized version of the book. Some were easy – Dennis Franz as Bob Torricelli for instance – while others took more thought. For those of you without the needed sense of humor to appreciate our work, please keep in mind this is all in fun. (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ) 


Ingle: Why is this woman being fired?

 New Jersey paid a social worker at Ancora Psychiatric Hospital $70,000 to settle a suit in which she claimed she was harassed by a psychiatrist there who asked her to demonstrate a sexual aid called “Love Seat” he sold through the Internet. The woman is Frances Vadas, 50, of Tuckerton. She received a partial payment from the doctor, Peter Quintieri, who denied the accusations in court papers. Quintieri’s wife said the settlement came because they couldn’t afford defense attorneys. (Ingle, Gannett) 

Carroll: O’Donnell vote: Love fest for Hudson Dems

 The Hudson County Democratic Organization signaled itd countywide unity last night with a unanimous vote to fill Assemblyman Anthony Chiappone’s vacated 31st District seat. Blessed by HCDO chair and Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith, Jason O’Donnell, 39, the Bayonne Democratic Committee Chairman, swept the county headcount and will assume the office relinquished by Chiappone, who pleaded guilty last month to doctoring campaign finance reports. (Carroll)

Morning News Digest: July 27, 2010