Morning News Wakeup Call: August 23, 2010

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Short term double-dipper Sweeney giving up freeholder seat Dec. 31 

After sponsoring a bill this week granting county freeholder boards veto power over authorities – equal to the power county executives have – state Sen. President Stephen Sweeney (D-West Deptford) confirmed he’ll be dropping his dual office on as president of the Gloucester County Freeholder Board at the end of the year. “I’m leaving the freeholder board,” Sweeney told PolitickerNJ today. “This is my last year. …It’s time,” he said. “I’m winding up one career and focusing on where I’m at.” (Carroll,


Governor’s attitude toward N.J. education bewilders, hurts his former teachers 

He was a happy boy, by all accounts. He had friends, did well both on the athletic field and in the classroom, enjoyed the junior prom. His elementary principal says “even the custodians loved him.” So when Gov. Chris Christie made a frontal assault on New Jersey’s public school establishment the opening centerpiece of his administration, few people were more taken aback than his former teachers in Livingston. (O’Brien, The Star-Ledger)


N.J. governors choose short-term gain without thought of long-term consequences

The good news about New Jersey’s improving smoking habits means bad news once again for state finances.  A Wall Street ratings agency recently lowered the investment grade for a series of bonds backed by state cigarette tax revenue, warning investors that New Jersey’s bonds might not be as lucrative as once expected. (Reitmeyer, The Bergen-Record)


NJ Gov. Chris Christie: The Wrecking Ball

NJ Governor Chris Christie is as close as you get to a heroic politician these days regardless of whether you are a Democrat or a Republican. He’s actually applying the tough love that his colleagues all talk about and saving his home state. He came into office with the promise that, even if it meant he’d be a one-term governor, that damn state budget was getting balanced at no additional cost to NJ employers and homeowners, period. (Brown, The Christian Science Monitor)


NJ Governor Chris Christie gets hands dirty to help feed hungry

The governor got his hands dirty Friday in the battle against hunger and gave new meaning to Jersey Fresh. It was a sunny and surreal scene at Peaceful Valley  Orchards Friday morning as Gov. Chris Christie joined American’s Grow-A-Row executive director Chip Paillex, friends, family and volunteers, all in casual clothes, bent over rows of green beans, harvesting fresh food for hungry families while half a dozen imposing state troopers in dark suits stood tall around the perimeter. (O’Brien, Gannett)


Winners and Losers

The State of New Jersey itself is the biggest loser this week, on the record as formally stained by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). We’re the first state in the country to be hit with a fraud case by the SEC for lying (in a period from 2001 to 2007) to bond investors about the stability of state pension funds. In a settlement this week, New Jersey promised not to commit fraud in the future. (Editor,




Girgenti’s hesitancy might have cost him the nod for sheriff  

State Sen. John Girgenti, the veteran Democrat from Hawthorne, denied that his interest in running for Passaic County sheriff diminished because he would not be able to nearly triple his pension if elected to the $151,000-a-year post. “It was never a factor in my decision,” said Girgenti, who has logged in 32 years in the state pension system as a career legislator. But a 2007 reform ended the Trenton tradition that allowed officials to dramatically boost their pensions with late-career promotions, and with it, any chance of Girgenti turning his $28,800 pension as a legislator into an $88,000 payout as a retired sheriff. (Stile, The Bergen Record)


More examples of DRPA stupidity

Use of E-ZPass transponders at the Delaware River Port Authority is being probed by New Jersey, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. That doesn’t surprise me since public outcry forced Chief Public Safety Officer Michael Joyce out after it was disclosed he furnished a transponder to his daughter who was not entitled to one. But what the story said later did surprise me. (Ingle, Gannett)


Wanted: One sheriff, quick draw need not apply

IN THE CLASSIC Western, the good guys wear white hats. The sheriff is stoic, stern and steady. Think Gary Cooper in “High Noon.” In Passaic County, the good guys and the bad guys often look alike. When it comes to Republicans and Democrats, it’s getting harder and harder to distinguish who is who. And as for the sheriff, forget about Gary Cooper. A least when it comes to selecting a new one, think Quick Draw McGraw. (Doblin, The Bergen Record)


Christie’s got a Dutch treat for utility customers 

If so, he might as well go all the way and let New Jerseyans smoke marijuana in coffeehouses. Then perhaps we might come to understand why our electric rates will be rising to subsidize an ill-advised experiment with a technology that shows no sign of ever producing power economically. (Mulshine, The Star-Ledger) Morning News Wakeup Call: August 23, 2010