Morning News Digest: December 16, 2010

Follow PolitickerNJ on Twitter and Facebook. Text “PNJ” to 89800 to receive alerts.



DeCroce meant “no offense” to unemployed, goes on the attack to deflect furor

While some Republican insiders are privately denouncing Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce’s (R-Parsipanny) comments on unemployment benefits yesterday, DeCroce issued a public statement today claiming he meant no offense when he called the recipients “those people” and said they are happy to collect their government checks.  (Carroll, PolitickerNJ)



Webber and Wisniewski begin redistricting talks

The quarterbacks of the two redistricting teams got in front of each other Monday at the Statehouse, Democratic State Party Chairman John Wisniewski and Republican State Party Chairman Jay Webber.   (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Christie crows about state job growth

Gov. Chris Christie credited his policies during his first year in office for New Jersey’s increase of 9,300 private-sector jobs in November, saying in an interview Wednesday that Democrats working on job-creating bills should watch what he is already doing.  (Fleisher, The Wall Street Journal)



Chris Christie supports Senate tax-cut bill

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he supported the bill to extend tax cuts passed Wednesday by the U.S. Senate, despite criticism from other Republican leaders that the legislation will increase spending and add to the federal deficit.  (Fleisher, The Wall Street Journal)



Menendez, Lautenberg split vote on tax cut bill as expected

Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, both New Jersey Democrats, had a rare voting disparity this afternoon on a tax-cut bill that the Senate ended up passing by an overwhelming margin.  (Chebium, Home News Tribune)



N.J. tunnel-money credit possible

New Jersey will be credited nearly half the $271 million it owes for a scrapped rail tunnel to New York City, but only if it repays the entire debt, the federal government said.   (The Associated Press)



Turnpike looks to privatize toll collection

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority will seek proposals from private companies to take over toll collection duties on the turnpike and Garden State Parkway after the new year, agency officials confirmed Wednesday.  (Rouse, The Record)



NJ Turnpike Authority toll collectors fear job loss in privatization plan

More than 200 union members and leaders packed the New Jersey Turnpike Authority’s meeting Wednesday to oppose a plan to outsource toll collectors’ jobs on the Garden State Parkway and Turnpike to private contractors next spring.  (Higgs, Asbury Park Press)



Investor in talks with NJ Gov. Christie to privatize Meadowlands Racetrack

A harness racing enthusiast who restored one racetrack and built another track is eyeing the Meadowlands Racetrack, with a lease of the state-owned facility under consideration.  (Jordan, Daily Record)



Sweeney area target of ‘tool kit’ mailings

Allies of Gov. Chris Christie continue to needle Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney — this time by delivering messages to the Gloucester County Democrat’s mailbox.  (Roh, Courier-Post)



No-fund campaign runs afoul of rules

Allan Ashinoff and Joe Golgaci say they didn’t spend a dime as candidates in an uncontested primary race here last year.  (Roh, Courier-Post)



Middlesex, Union County candidates fined for not filing paperwork on time

The state Election Law Enforcement Commission has fined several people who ran for public office in Middlesex and Union counties for filing late election forms.  (Serrano, Home News Tribune)



Parsippany, Mine Hill candidates fined for late reports

Two Morris County candidates were among those cited Wednesday for failing to file campaign finance reports for the June 2009 primary.  (Staff, Daily Record)–Mine-Hill-candidates-fined-for-late-reports



NJ senate committee advances historic property restoration bill

A state Senate committee advanced a bill on Wednesday that could make it more worthwhile for an owner of an historic home or other structure to fix up the property.  (Jordan, Asbury Park Press)



N.J. Legislature likely to advance internet gambling, horse breeder bills

Bills to allow Internet gambling and help subsidize race horse breeders are expected to advance in the New Jersey Legislature.  (The Associated Press)



Ethics Commission chastises charter school trustees

The School Ethics Commission’s annual review of local school board members to see if they’ve met their required training usually doesn’t draw much notice. Typically, it’s just a handful of reprimands for the tardy or recalcitrant.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



Authority seeks shutdown of 2 betting facilities

Two of the state’s three off-track horse racing betting facilities should be denied license renewals, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority has told the state’s racing commission.  (Brennan, The Record)



Former state Sens. Steve P. Perski and James Hurley backed the original Casino Control Act.  They say a plan to change the rules is being rushed.

Two lawmakers who had a hand in passing the original Casino Control Act 35 years ago remember deliberating for months to create that historic piece of regulation. A current effort to repeal that system, they say, has fallen short of that standard.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)



Bill’s impact on local arbitration unclear

After a promise of a veto by Gov. Chris Christie on an arbitration reform bill proposed by Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, the governor and Legislative leaders announced a compromise last week, which will include a 2 percent cap on salaries awarded by arbitrators on police and fire contracts.  (Grant, Nutley Sun)



Bergen freeholders still filling vacancies

The Bergen County Freeholder Board approved 36 appointments to county positions Wednesday night, bringing the number of county appointments to at least 58 during the last two months, despite Republican requests to cease such action until five newly elected county Republicans take office next year.  (Gartland, The Record)



City officials, unions talk in quest to resolve layoffs

City officials and unions representing police, fire and other nonuniformed Camden employees met Wednesday but failed to resolve issues that might prevent the layoff of nearly 400 workers.  (Murray, Courier-Post)



Vice President Joe Biden to present AtlantiCare with Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award Thursday

Vice President Joe Biden will present AtlantiCare with the esteemed 2009 Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award Thursday at a gala event in Washington.  (Miller, Press of Atlantic City)



Mack names department heads, but council puts off confirmation

Mayor Tony Mack’s nominees to head city departments include a Mercer County Improvement Authority engineer, a lawyer who formerly worked for the Public Advocate’s office in the Corzine administration and a retired federal housing attorney.  (Rinde, The Times)



From the Back Room



36th intrigue continues

Days before the critical vote on the vacant 36th District Assembly seat, sources say embattled Bergen County Democratic Chairman Michael Kasparian is on vacation.  (Staff, PolitickerNJ)






Re-drawing our political future

In reaction to the process of re-districting, Denver Post columnist Diane Carman said, “Taking the partisanship out of politics is like trying to take the sex out of porn.”  (Christopher J. Durkin for PolitickerNJ)



Holding dual offices alive, well in the 36th District

Just when it seemed that the tradition was dying out, double-dipping is poised for a stunning comeback in the Meadowlands.  (Stile, The Record)



The governor should be running for precedent

Chris Christie’s got a tough choice here:Is he going to sit back and watch the Democrats self-immolate trying to impeach the sole Latin-American member of the state Supreme Court?

Or is he going to let them off the hook by making a recess appointment?  (Mulshine, The Star-Ledger)



Let’s see who has the courage to do it

Assembly Republican leader Alex DeCroce opened his mouth and inserted his boot big time. In discussing his desire to lower unemployment insurance, DeCroce said unemployment benefits are “too good for these people.”  (Ingle, Asbury Park Press)




In 2000, (now entered the political stage, changing how New Jersey’s power elite received its daily political fix. Starting in January 2011, we’re shaking up Trenton once again. Stay tuned for State Street Wire.

  Morning News Digest: December 16, 2010