FDU: Menendez approval rating 31%; Obama up to 51%
Thirty-one percent of voters have a favorable opinion of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-Hoboken) and 25% have an unfavorable opinion, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll released this morning. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)
Scalera out of assembly as of today; Essex wants Ryan to succeed him, sources say
Democratic sources in Essex County confirm that talks are underway for Essex County Undersheriff Kevin Ryan to succeed Assemblyman Fred Scalera (D-Nutley), who has accepted a private sector job that will take him out of the legislature. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)
Edison likely to pick up freeholder seat with Tomaro
Edison Council President Charles Tomaro is the organizational favorite to succeed Freeholder Mildred Scott when the Middlesex County Democratic Organization addresses the coming vacancy at a special convention on Jan. 4th, 2011 at the Pines. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)
U.S. seeks tunnel refund from N.J.
The federal government said New Jersey has less than a month to pay back more than $271 million from a canceled Hudson River tunnel project. The U.S. threatened to charge interest, report the state to credit and ratings agencies, and send the debt to the Department of Justice for collection. (Fleisher and Grossman, The Wall Street Journal)
Pa., N.J. legislators blast loss of charter aid
New Jersey and Pennsylvania legislators criticized the Christie and Rendell administrations on Monday for their states’ failures to win federal aid for charter school start-ups. (Giordano, The Philadelphia Inquirer)
NJ not helping itself with Charter Schools
As the Christie administration pushes for more than 100 charter schools by 2014, it is finding New Jersey’s own policies and practices may be the state’s own worst enemy. (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)
Assemblyman Peter J. Barnes to chair New Jersey Assembly Judiciary Committee
Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex) Monday announced she would appoint Assemblyman Peter J. Barnes (D-Middlesex) as chairman of the lower house’s Judiciary Committee. (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)
N.J. Senator calls for hearing on problems with state’s weatherization program
Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono said Monday she will hold a hearing on the problems with the state’s weatherization program, which has received an infusion of federal stimulus dollars but has not met goals for upgrading homes. (Megerian, The Record)
Newark will dismiss 167 police officers to narrow budget gap, Booker says
Newark Mayor Cory Booker said New Jersey’s biggest city will fire 167 police officers to help close a budget deficit caused by a drop in state aid and revenue declines stemming from the recession. (Dopp, Bloomberg)
Think tank challenges idea that N.J. has abnormally high taxes
Using Governor Christie’s 2009 income tax filings as an illustration, the liberal think tank New Jersey Policy Perspectives is countering the claims that the state has abnormally high levy rates. While the more than 10 percent tax rate for top earners seems high, the graduated system creates a lower actual tax burden, the report found. (Gibson, The Record)
Cash-strapped Camden trash authority aided in bond payment, avoids bond default
Camden County’s trash authority will avoid defaulting on a final $25 million bond payment due Wednesday after reaching an agreement with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection on Monday. (Rao, The Philadelphia Inquirer)
Moody’s says Atlantic City casino reforms will not work
Boutique casinos, Internet gambling and sports betting will be of little help to Atlantic City’s troubled casino industry and possibly could harm the existing gaming halls, a financial services company warned Monday in a new report. (Wittkowski, Press of Atlantic City)
Obama proposes freeze on federal-worker pay
President Barack Obama on Monday proposed a two-year salary freeze for all federal civilian employees, signaling an apparent willingness to reach toward Republicans ahead of negotiations on deficit-cutting that are likely to dominate Washington next year. (Weisman and Paletta, The Wall Street Journal)
From the Back Room
Dwek’s day done?
ny smidge of credibility government informant Solomon Dwek may have had going into the trial of Ridgefield Mayor Anthony Suarez now seems to be gone. (Staff, PolitickerNJ)
AP Report: New Jersey has 30 days to pay up
The Associated Press is reporting that New Jersey has been given 30 days to pay the federal government more than $271 million for the scuttled ARC tunnel. (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)
Educational community won’t budge on cap
It’s not easy getting to Blairstown. As I was driving there tonight on a dark road with woods on each side and no street lights, I wondered if this still was New Jersey.
It was. (Snowflack, Daily Record)
How did we lose another education grant?
The state has failed to win a federal grant for start-up charter schools. It sought $14 million and said in its application it wanted to add 30 new charters within three years. (Ingle, Asbury Park Press)
Gun advocates ask if Christie is a straight shooter
A lot of pundits in the past have made comments on our governor’s size. Let me be the first to compare Chris Christie to a continent. (Mulshine, The Star-Ledger)
Will Christie wage battle to defeat Menendez in 2012?
Since the midterms, commentators have been abuzz on the GOP’s newest rock star, Governor Christie, whose meteoric rise has made him a presidential contender. (Greenbaum, The Record)