Morning News Summary: September 10, 2010

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Focused on federal races, Menendez maintains Jersey presence

TEANECK – A top-of-the-food-chain player in his party, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-Hoboken) ascended into the stratosphere of national politics as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and successor to Jon Corzine, a governor voters sent back to Wall Street after one term and who left a trail of jangled Democrats hurtling now toward another election Nov. 2nd. (Pizarro,


Paramus mayor’s race up for grabs

In Bergen, it’s the swingtown, the ultimate political bellwether. Paramus – in Lenape “land of the wild turkey” – is fertile ground for civic concours this year. “It’s the center of Bergen County, if not the universe,” Councilman Richard LaBarbiera said. He isn’t a cartographer or cosmologist; he’s an engineer and the Democratic candidate for mayor. His Paramus pride is undeniable. (Carroll,


N.J. barely meets deadline to apply for education grant

 TRENTON — New Jersey narrowly beat the deadline to apply for federal education funds and is all but guaranteed to receive $268 million in grants that could save 3,900 teachers’ jobs — all after millions of public school students started the new year. Gov. Chris Christie’s administration beat the Thursday deadline by a day to apply for the money Congress appropriated to states last month, but not before taking a beating from the state’s largest teachers union for not applying sooner. The jobs grants became available on Aug. 13. (Delli Santi, The Associated Press)


Five points on the $268M federal education funds

New Jersey school districts will get $268 million in federal stimulus aid aimed at saving teachers’ jobs within two weeks, but how it’s still unclear how much each district will get. Gov. Chris Christie applied late Wednesday evening for the “Education Jobs” money, part of a national stimulus designed to ease the pain of budget cuts, including $820 million slashed this year in New Jersey. The governor’s office today said it will not release a breakdown of funds until, at earliest, the three-page application is approved. (Fleisher/Calefati, The Star-Ledger)


In 3rd District, Adler and Runyan firing away already

First came the brochure mailed to Third District voters by the New Jersey Democratic State Committee. The heads of Jon Runyan and his donkeys – the former Eagles lineman gets a tax break for raising them on his Mount Laurel estate – were superimposed on a photo of the Republican’s gated mansion. The unspoken message: Runyan – who hopes to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. John Adler in November – is a wealthy tax-dodger, unfit to hold public office. (Burton, The Philadelphia Inquirer)


Gaming summit to focus on horse racing, Xanadu

 In New Jersey’s North vs. South fight for control of the gaming industry, the upstate faction gets the home-field advantage Friday when the second meeting of a legislative summit is held at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford. An earlier round of the summit run by Democratic lawmakers took place in Atlantic City, 124 miles to the south, with much of the focus placed on that city’s casino industry and the South Jersey economy. (Jordan, Asbury Park Press)


Ex-judge: authority’s use of $14M in no-bid construction at Bergen’s Overpeck Park did not violate laws

A retired judge hired the Bergen County Improvement Authority has placed his legal blessing on the agency’s controversial use of no-bid construction work at Overpeck Park. Judge James T. Murphy… found that $14 million in such payments were “reasonable and proper” and did not violate laws that require public bidding on all construction contracts over $7,500. (Pillets, The Bergen Record)


ACLU petitions for oversight of Newark Police Department

NEWARK – The American Civil Liberties Union said yesterday that the police department of the state’s largest city has so many serious problems – rampant misconduct, lax internal oversight and too many cases of officers using excessive force during arrests – that the federal government needs to intervene. The ACLU’s New Jersey chapter filed a petition yesterday asking the U.S. Department of Justice to provide an independent monitor for the 1,300-officer Newark Police Department. (Giambusso, The Star-Ledger)


Advocacy group rips New Jersey over food safety

TEANECK — New Jersey has experienced more than 60 food-contamination incidents during the past 13 months, according to a stern report released Thursday by the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group. (Gavin, The Bergen Record)


Paterson averts housing fund loss and secures new money

PATERSON — The city averted losing $1.1 million in federal housing money because of a successful City Council vote on Tuesday — a last-ditch move in the face of a Thursday deadline at which the federal government threatened to take back the money. “We don’t have any problems now,” said Irma Gorham, director of the Paterson Housing Authority, which will oversee how the city allocates a total $2.3 million Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant. (MacInnes, The Herald News)


Hamilton gets piece of World Trade Center for memorial

HAMILTON — The twisted metal is a reminder — and a gift to the generation too young to remember Sept. 11, 2001 — of the day terrorists changed American life forever. County Executive Brian Hughes said the rusted hunk of steel was for his 11-year-old son. And Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, whose son was 3 weeks old at the time, offered it to him and all the young children sitting patiently outside the Colonial Volunteer Fire Co. on a breezy September morning. (Duffy, The Trenton Times) 


Edison passes budget, freezes municipal tax rate

EDISON – The Township’s governing body has approved a 2010 spending plan that calls for no change in the municipal tax rate. The $121.7 million budget will keep that rate at $1.09 per $100 of assessed property value, said Mark Acker, Edison’s chief financial officer. That mean residents with a home assessed at the township average of $176,400 will pay about $1,926 in municipal taxes this year, Acker said, and about $7,476 in total taxes. (Rommel, Gannett)


Judge gives win to Paulsboro port project

PAULSBORO A judge ruled last week the Gloucester County Improvement Authority did, in fact, engage in good faith negotiations with Gallenthin Realty Development (GRD) to acquire land from them, and was awarded the three acres requested for the borough’s port project. Superior Court Judge Michael J. Hogan, of Burlington County, granted the improvement authority’s request and denied Gallenthin’s motion for dismissal, saying GRD “failed to raise any genuine issues of material fact.” (Paciolla, The Gloucester County Times)


Democrat pulls out of Hillsborough Township Committee election

Democrat Paul Drake has withdrawn from the November race for a three-year term on the Township Committee, citing “increasing work and personal commitments.” In Drake’s place, the Hillsborough Democratic Organization has named Metuchen-based attorney Maureen E. Vella as the party’s candidate. Vella, a township resident for the past 13 years and a mother of three, will challenge Republican Frank DelCore, who is serving as mayor. (Sroka-Holzman, Gannett)


N.J. blasts Army Corps over dredging

New Jersey’s top environmental regulator is threatening to take the Army Corps of Engineers back to court for dumping sediments from a Delaware River dredging in the Garden State, sparking a new round in the contentious fight over the deepening of a shipping channel. Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin charged Thursday that the Corps violated a court order when it dumped sediments at a riverside disposal facility in New Jersey last month. A dike at the site later failed, and sediments were discharged into wetlands. (Delli Santi, Associated Press)



Ending public jobs for public officials is a good idea, except it has to get by public officials

A reader sent me a note on Gov. Christie’s plan to force all elected officials to restrict themselves to one public salary. He points out that the first step has to be the repeal of the two statutes listed below. Anyone want to bet what the chances are of getting this past Joe Cryan? (Mulshine, The Star-Ledger)


Christie’s Iowa trip raises eyebrows

‘No one comes to Iowa unless they want to be president.” So says Steffen Schmidt, a political science professor at Iowa State University. That’s a pretty snide observation about the Hawkeye State. There are reasons to visit the nation’s heartland in general and Iowa in particular, no? Schmidt was reacting to the fact Gov. Chris Christie is scheduled to visit Iowa next month to help raise money for Republican gubernatorial candidate Terry Branstad. Iowa, of course, is the location of the nation’s first presidential caucus in January, 2012. (The Daily Record)


Losing my religion

There were a coupla things Christie said outside the DRPA last week that deserve further amplification. the first is that these guys “need to get religion.” Without the authority to fire the top management at the DRPA, he is basically putting them on notice that they need to completely disavow the old ways, and embrace the new. Otherwise it’ll be death by a thousand vetoes, essentially rendering the DRPA useless. But asking these guys to not only recognize the problems of the past but also completely disassociate themselves from their complicity with that past might be a tall order. They may indeed find religion, but isn’t it a little too little, a little too late? It’s like how Daryl Strawberry used to hit most of his homeruns – in like, the 8th inning when the Mets were already up by seven. (Fink, NJN)


Christie in the movies

Well, sort of. The Republican Governors Association put online today its documentary-style film A New Jersey, which tells the story of Governor Chris Christie’s election and first 8 months in office. The film can be watched in full by visiting (Snowflack, The Daily Record)

Morning News Summary: September 10, 2010