Morning News Digest: July 30, 2010

Follow PolitickerNJ updates on Twitter and on Facebook Task force begins look at prosecutors A task force examining an Essex-backed

Follow PolitickerNJ updates on Twitter and on Facebook

Task force begins look at prosecutors

A task force examining an Essex-backed bill usurping county crime prosecution duties and throwing them to the state kicked off their study today. Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, a Democrat whose longtime friendship with Gov. Chris Christie has made him a cross-aisle favorite in Trenton, is a major proponent of the change and sits on the commission. The group is due to produce a comprehensive report to the governor by Dec. 15, DiVincenzo said. (Carroll, PolitickerNJ) 

Sweeney blocking the sun? 

State Sen. President Stephen Sweeney was slapped with unprecedented oversight yesterday in his role as Gloucester County Freeholder Director. Sweeney’s board of all Democratic freeholders has been saddled with a court-ordered monitor because a judge ruled the board circumvented the Sunshine Law over 50 times in the past few years. (Carroll, PolitickerNJ) 

Ferriero charges dropped

 The Bergen Record reports that all charges against Joseph Ferriero, Bergen County’s former top Dem turned party pariah, have been dropped. “However, the judge on Thursday declined to decide whether Joseph Ferriero should get a new trial,” the site reports. (Carroll, PolitickerNJ) 

Hotline doesn’t rate Adler/Runyan race on top 40 list

 In New Jersey, it’s widely assumed the 3rd Congressional District race will be the most competitive as former Eagles offensive lineman Jon Runyan, a Republican, goes after freshman U.S. Rep. Jon Adler (D-Cherry Hill) in a district long dominated by the GOP. But’s Hotline doesn’t rank the contest on its list of top 40 House seats likely to change parties in November mid-term elections. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

 Judge dismisses charges against former Bergen Democratic Party leader Ferriero

 Joseph A. Ferriero, one of the state’s top Democratic powerbrokers before his indictment on federal corruption charges, walked out of court a free man Thursday after a judge vacated his federal fraud conviction. U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler tossed out Ferriero’s conviction on three mail fraud counts and dismissed the indictment as legally deficient in the wake of a recent Supreme Court ruling. (Sampson, The Record) 

Cast member disputes N.J. Gov. Chris Christie’s statements on ‘Jersey Shore’ 

For a brief moment today, spray tans and fist pumps were the talk of the State House. A cast member of MTV’s hit reality show “Jersey Shore” came to the capitol’s front steps and pushed back against Gov. Chris Christie’s contention that the show promotes a negative image of New Jersey. (Friedman, The Record) 

Edison sub shop still on a roll one day after Obama visit 

 Once it’s framed, a sub sandwich bag signed by President Barack Obama will be on display inside the Tastee Sub Shop. Until then, co-owner Dave Thornton and his staff have plenty to help them remember the president’s visit on this week. Since Obama left around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, the eatery has had the feel of an around-the-clock lunch rush. (Burd, Gannett) 

South Brunswick seeks to trim municipal budget, reduce tax hike

 It’s back to the drawing board for township officials, as they look to reduce the municipal budget’s tax rate by 3 cents. The Township Council on Tuesday unanimously rejected a $46.725 million budget which would have increased the current tax rate, 68 cents per $100 of assessed value, by 8 cents. For the owner of a home assessed at the township average of $194,400, an 8-cent increase would have translated into a $155 increase in municipal taxes, or a total of $1,357 for 2010. (Prato, Gannett)

Plainfield’s push to fill long-vacant financial posts stalls

 A push to hire a pair of administrators responsible for oversight of municipal finances has stalled after resolutions that would have confirmed two candidates went nowhere late Wednesday. The administration of Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs during a special City Council meeting withdrew a resolution to appoint a director of administration and finance, saying its candidate of choice still was weighing an offer, while the council tabled a second resolution to appoint William Scherer of Manalapan as chief financial officer. (Spivey, Gannett)

 Merchantville has a proposal for Cherry Hill 

Some liken it to two people dating. There’s a courting period to get to know each other before anyone pops the question. That may be where officials in Cherry Hill Township and its tiny neighbor, Merchantville Borough, now find themselves. Several hundred borough residents signed a petition over the spring calling on Merchantville officials to study the pros and cons of a merger. (Collimore, Inquirer) 

 Camden mayor warns city to brace for a 24 percent budget cut

Brace for pain. That’s the message Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd began delivering this week in meetings with union leaders, community members, and reporters after determining that the city must immediately cut spending 24 percent. Redd did not reveal details of what she has planned for the city budget, which will be introduced Aug. 10, but she said she had directed every department to reduce costs by nearly a quarter. (Katz, Inquirer)

From the Back Room

You think?

Politico is reporting that the House ethics subcommittee investigating Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) has approved 13 charges, saying there is “substantial reason” to believe Rangel violated both House ethics laws and federal regulations. (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ) 

Seattle Skidoo

 Two years ago, Newark Mayor Cory Booker all but personally threw himself in front of the Broad Street Starbucks to prevent corporate from pulling the plug on the barometer of urban downtown business viability. The mayor’s advocacy worked – until earlier this month, when Starbuck’s finally closed. (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)


Op-Ed: Starting the Dialogue of Shared Services in Passaic County 

Sharing services between local communities is an obvious and pragmatic approach to stabilizing our taxes and maintaining a high level of municipal services our residents have come to expect. As a result of decreasing tax revenues, a new statutory law capping taxes at 2%, and increasing pressure on local governments to provide services they aren’t equipped to deliver, new ideas and reforms need to be discussed and adopted. (Stampone, PolitickerNJ) 

 Stile: Scandal hurts Dems in Bergen exec race 

Bergen County Democrats are eager to recast Republican County Executive candidate Kathleen Donovan as an unimaginative relic who spent one decade too many stamping passports at One Bergen Plaza. But Democrats didn’t count on having a ghost of the machine stepping all over their best-laid plans. Former Bergen County Improvement Authority Chairman Ronald O’Malley, the amiable, longtime operative and donor, is now in the unwanted – but familiar — role of a scandal-tainted wraith hovering over the party. (Stile, The Record) 

Ingle: Wipe that smile off your face 

Newark Mayor Cory Booker said his town is so financially strapped he may be cutting back on toilet paper. That was to make a point but he instead held himself up as a joke nationwide. Two private companies are coming to the rescue while promoting themselves: Marcal Manufacturing in Elmwood Park and of Margate, which makes designer bathroom tissue (Huh?). Marcal said it would donate a few hundred rolls to city employees (Why not the city itself?) Marcal first said it will hand out 50,000 rolls of “recycled toilet paper” to people with city IDs. (Ingle, Gannett)

Morning News Digest: July 30, 2010