Morning News Digest: November 22, 2010

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Winners and Losers: Atlantic City edition

As we repair to the bowels of the Borgata and wager a final fistful of change on the slots, we look up at the numbing images swimming on a jumbo television and just two words come infuriatingly to mind: “Michael Aron.”  (Staff, PolitickerNJ)



Stack and his allies distribute Thanksgiving turkeys in UC

Thanksgiving volunteer crews under the direction of Mayor Brian P. Stack on Saturday began delivering 15,000 turkeys to residents of Union City and other towns in the 33rd Legislative District, an annual holiday service that Stack and his political allies have fulfilled for 25 years.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)


Menendez praised for holding Senate

Sen. Bob Menendez emerged from the Democrats’ election debacle with more power in Washington because of his work as chairman of a key campaign committee that bucked history and kept his party in power in the Senate.  (Jackson, The Record)



More local towns pushing unions for concessions

Southern New Jersey municipalities, squeezed by tight finances and facing grim forecasts, have slashed budgets, laid off workers, furloughed staff and closed public buildings to avoid raising taxes and keep some fiscal control.  (Barlas, Press of Atlantic City)



Finding money for NJ’s Transportation Fund next challenge

With the debate about building a second Hudson River rail tunnel over, Christie administration officials now face a bigger and more far-reaching issue: how to renew the state’s Transportation Trust Fund, which pays for road, bridge and transit projects and runs out of cash in 2011.  (Higgs, Daily Record)



Atlantic City has a lot riding on today’s Senate bills

State senators will consider about a dozen bills today to reform New Jersey’s casino and horse-racing industries and establish a state-run tourism district within Atlantic City.  (Good, Press of Atlantic City)



Booker struggles with Newark recovery plan as Zuckerberg, Robertson ‘bet big’

Cory Booker says his plan to fire hundreds of municipal workers, including 15 percent of the police force, to help close the latest of a decade of budget deficits is his toughest decision yet in five years as mayor of Newark, New Jersey.  (Dopp, Bloomberg)



On a new train line, sweeping views of New Jersey’s fractured dreams

It wasn’t a pretty view on the 13-minute train ride Sunday from Secaucus to New Meadowlands Stadium — old landfills, mud flats, the garish bulk of the stalled Xanadu project. But it might as well have been paved with money.  (PÉREZ-PEÑA, The New York Times)



Assembly bill proposing changes to EMS meet opposition in Lincoln Park

Legislation from Trenton is meeting some local resistance due to some extensive changes it proposes regarding the way that local emergency services could be handled in the future.  (Johnston, The Record)



Senate bill could leave power customers on the hook for more than $1 Billion

It wasn’t supposed to work like this.

When the state broke up the electric monopolies a decade ago, advocates said more power suppliers would enter the marketplace, driving down high energy bills for residents and businesses alike. It didn’t happen, and few new generators have built significant power plants.  (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)



Fine print: Assembly bill No. 406

Synopsis: Requires school districts to use a “model contract” developed by the Commissioner of Education when hiring a superintendent of schools.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



From the Back Room



Doherty launches anti-screening petition

Determined to curb what he calls invasive security screening by the Transportation Security Administration, Sen. Mike Doherty has launched a petition to collect support for his effort.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)






Better watch out, Christie’s coming to town

You better watch out. You better not cry. But if you want great Christmas gifts, now is the time to buy; Governor Christie may be coming to your town.  (Doblin, The Record)


Home rule works best for those who run it

In theory, local control of education is a great thing, parents in charge via an elected school board or one appointed by elected officials. In reality, Home Rule is a myth perpetuated by politicians who want to keep things as they are — them living high on the hog courtesy of taxpayers.  (Ingle, Daily Record)



Your public servants’ real priorities

A bill sponsored by two Democrats, Jim Whelan and Ray Lesniak, would give Atlantic City casinos a $25 million a year tax break.  (Ingle, Daily Record)



Schundler quiet about recent past

Bret Schundler was introduced at a Tea Party gathering in Whippany last week as the one-time mayor of Jersey City and as a past and perhaps future candidate for governor.  (Snowflack, Daily Record)



In case you missed it



Oliver taps Barnes to succeed Greenstein

Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver has chosen Assemblyman Peter Barnes (D-Edison) to succeed state-Sen. elect Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro) as chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Potentially more political misery for Mack

The troubled tenure of Trenton mayor Tony Mack may get saddled with another weight, according to an email obtained by   (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Assessing N.J. Gov. Christie’s local government toolkit

So exactly what is this “tool kit” Governor Christie and lawmakers have been haggling over the past few months?  (Friedman and Gibson, The Record)



Senate bill would provide tax breaks for casinos

Atlantic City casinos will receive a tax break worth up to $25 million a year — at the expense of the PAAD and other programs — under a bill scheduled for a vote in the state Senate Monday, two analysts said.  (Method, Asbury Park Press)



Drew University dean to help Gov. Christie evaluate teachers

Ross Danis passed the test on the first question.

Former state education commissioner Bret Schundler asked Danis: Do you think it’s possible to have 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation based on student outcomes?  (Bruno, Daily Record)



Public-TV station gasps for air

Reporters and producers at New Jersey’s public television and radio network have found themselves in a peculiar role of late—lobbying the lawmakers they cover.  (Fleisher, The Wall Street Journal)



N.Y. legislators push hard for tunnel’s $3B

Several more New York representatives are urging U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to shift $3 billion that had been set aside for the scuttled NJ Transit rail tunnel to various transportation projects in Manhattan.  (Rouse, The Record)



Democrats, Republicans at odds on campaign spending

The threat of a steep penalty over alleged campaign financing violations gave
New Jersey Republicans opportunity to rehash spats from the last two election
cycles.  (Roh, Courier-Post)



Bridgewater mayor to serve on NJ League’s executive board

The New Jersey League of Municipalities has elected Bridgewater Mayor Patricia Flannery to the organization’s executive board.  (Richardson, Home News Tribune)



N.J. hospitals lag U.S.

New Jersey’s nonprofit hospitals are financially weaker than elsewhere in the country, with increasing competition, a growing number of patients relying on government programs and below-average cash reserves, a recent report said.  (Sataline, The Wall Street Journal)



NJN seeks pledge from New Jersey legislature

Two-thirds into taping his show, On the Record, veteran newsman Michael Aron asked what he called the “most self-serving question” of his career at NJN, the state-run public television station in New Jersey.  (Burton, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Fear pervades league meeting

New Jersey cities and towns are headed for the fiscal equivalent of a stomach stapling, but homeowners won’t see an immediate drop in their property taxes from the new 2 percent cap on local tax increases in 2011.  (Moore, Asbury Park Press)



N.J. lawmakers look to restore funding to family planning services

Once again, state lawmakers are considering legislation that would restore most state funding for family planning services.  (The Associated Press)


  Morning News Digest: November 22, 2010