Morning News Digest: September 2, 2010

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Schundler releases chronology of his firing

In yet another entry in the sordid ledger of his firing, ousted education chief Bret Schundler Wednesday released what he says will be his final word on his termination. In his cover letter to reporters, Schundler said Gov. Chris Christie’s accusation that he lied forced the former cabinet member to defend himself. (Isherwood,


Schundler release backs up his version

Former Education Commissioner Bret Schundler’s release of emails between his department and a governor’s spokeswoman shows that three days before he was fired, Schundler told at least one administration official that he had not provided federal officials with correct budget information during the Race to the Top application interview. (Isherwood,


Protest, pawning, and politics in post-MUA Newark

NEWARK – The Newark City Council announced some nominal budget cuts to plug an $83 million deficit, and announced initial approvals of big ticket items that could plug $50 million in that hole. The city is selling off buildings and leasing the facilities back through the Essex County Improvement Authority, a quasi-governmental financing agency, in essence pawning city assets that will one day need to be bought back. In the meantime, the city will pay millions in debt service to make the deal happen. (Carroll,


Adler receives VFW endorsement

MOORESTOWN – U.S Rep. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill) received the Veterans of Foreign Wars PAC endorsement this afternoon in his 3rd District race against Republican challenger Jon Runyan. Excoriated by progessive Democrats for voting against healthcare reform, the freshman congressman burished the vets’ endorsement as a hard fought victory for districtwide respect in the battleground 3rd, home to 66,000 veterans and Joint Base McGuire-Dix. (Pizarro,


Redistricting: a chill in the air?

When Gov. Chris Christie announced he would not renew Justice John Wallace’s tenure on the state Supreme Court, the first time a governor had taken that action since the constitution was reworked in 1947, opponents worried that Christie was treading in dangerous waters. (Isherwood,


Adler goes after Runyan’s donkey in new cable ad

MOORSETOWN – The Adler campaign launched a cable television ad today against Republican challenger Jon Runyan that attempts to depict the former Philadelphia Eagles star as self-serving 3rd Congressional District landed gentry. (Pizarro,


Pallone on Beck rally: ‘They’re outside the mainstream’

BELMAR – Running for re-election against anti-establishment Highlands Mayor Anna Little, U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch) initially refused to take a swipe at Glen Beck and his Tea Party followers who gathered on the National Mall this past weekend. “That was all religious. It’s nice to have religion and prayer,” said Pallone, standing at the entrance to the marina here, moments from U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s (D-Cliffside Park) arrival and build-up of the veteran congressman as a cornerstone figure in the fight to save New Jersey’s environment. (Pizarro,


N.J. Board of Education vows to continue reform after Race to the Top loss

TRENTON – The state Board of Education began its first meeting after the firing of former commissioner Bret Schundler by acknowledging feelings of “uncertainty” in N.J.’s education world after the “eventful” past few days – but vowing to continue moving forward to reform and improve the state’s schools. (Rundquist, The Star-Ledger)


Passaic Democrats call for probe of sheriff’s abrupt resignation

Passaic County Democrats on Wednesday called for an investigation into the abrupt resignation last month of Sheriff Jerry Speziale, alleging that county Republican officials got him a high-paying public job so he would abandon his reelection bid. Speziale, a Democrat, had been the county sheriff since 2001 when he resigned on Aug. 10 to take a job as a deputy superintendent and director of public safety for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department. (Lamb, The Bergen Record)


Feds want $1.3 million from Paterson in violations

PATERSON — City officials are fighting off a finding by the federal government that the city’s Department of Community Development mismanaged $5.5 million under former Mayor Joey Torres’ administration. Of that $5.5 million, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development directed the city to pay back nearly $1.3 million immediately — from the city’s own pocket. That bill could be difficult to pay for a city preparing for a significant decrease in state aid, according to a city official. (MacInnes, The Bergen-Record)


Gloucester County freeholder monitor starts his job

For the first time in New Jersey history, a court-appointed monitor sat in on a public board meeting Wednesday to ensure officials’ compliance with the Sunshine Law.  Judge John A. Sweeney was officially named the Gloucester County freeholder board’s overseeing monitor last month after Superior Court Judge Francis J. Orlando Jr. found the board had violated the Sunshine Law. (Paciolla, The Gloucester County Times)


Newark schools chief out

Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday launched an effort to turn around one of the country’s worst-performing school systems, informing Newark’s schools superintendent that his three-year contract would not be renewed when it expires next year. No successor was named to fill the job held by Clifford B. Janey, who was chosen by Mr. Christie’s predecessor, Jon Corzine, at a salary that tops $280,000 a year. (Martinez, The Wall Street Journal) 


NJ Gov. Christie and Lt. Gov. Guadagno meet and recognize Team NJ

Governor Chris Christie and Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno invited the Team New Jersey athletes to the outer office, yesterday, to be recognized for their achievements at the 2010 National Games held in Nebraska last month. They shook their hands and congratulated the 30 athletes that were there.  (


Schools chief departs from Deptford post

In one of his final acts here, outgoing Superintendent Joe Canataro took down a print that had hung in his office for 23 years and moved it to the school board room. (Desai, Courier Post)


Adler captures backing of VFW arm

MOORSETOWN – U.S. Rep. John Adler on Wednesday received a key veterans group endorsement. The political action committee of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, or VFW PAC, gave the freshman Democrat the nod this year after not endorsing in the 3rd Congressional District two years ago. Support from veterans is key here, because the district includes Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. (Roh, Courier Post)


Hunterdon parks director ascends to state position

John Trontis will leave his position as director of the Hunterdon County Department of Parks and Recreation next week after 10 years to become assistant director for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Parks and Forestry. (O’Brien, Gannett)


From The Back Room

According to a release from the White House Office of Legislative Affairs, State Democratic Committee Executive Director Rob Asaro-Angelo is headed to the Department of Labor. (Editor,



The Manhattan mosque: it’s not the terrorism, stupid

George W. Bush did a lot of stupid things after 9/11, but perhaps the stupidest was his insistence that the enemy of the United States was “terrorism.” Nonsense. Terrorism is just one of many tactics that a group holding certain political views can employ to achieve its goals. When Bush declared the enemy to be terrorism, he handed liberal Americans a weapon with which they have been attacking us conservatives ever since. (Mulshine, The Star-Ledger)


Schundler’s not going quietly

Not in the least — Fired education commissioner Bret Schundler today released his version of events. Here it is, courtesy of PolitickerNJ. Last Wednesday, while criticizing the Obama Administration during a press conference, the Governor made a statement in support of an argument he was trying to drive home. Unfortunately, the statement was untrue. I had stressed this point to him when he told me what he planned to say, right before the press conference began. I had also discussed the matter at length with his Chief of Staff and his Director of Communications the day before, so they knew the facts of the matter. (Snowflack, The Daily Record)


Trentonian Editorial: Christie and Schundler were destined for a blowup

We harbored hopes that Bret Schundler’s tenure as New Jersey’s commissioner of education would be a national beacon leading the way to reform of America’s overpriced, under-performing public schools. In the back of our minds, though, we had fears that the relationship between the former Jersey City mayor and the governor who installed him at the top of the state Department of Education would soon crash and burn. (The Trentonian)


Try thinking outside the box

The New Jersey Interscholastic Association apparently just noticed the budget is tight. “In my 34 years of athletic administration, I’ve never seen it be this serious,” Steven Timko, director of the group, told the Press of Atlantic City. He was talking about cuts to sports programs. (Ingle, Gannett) Morning News Digest: September 2, 2010