Morning News Digest: January 13, 2011

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During ‘unity week,’ factionalism grips Passaic County

A national unity prayer meeting Monday in Paterson covered over yet another local political conflagration.

By midweek, a renegade Republican admitted to, “I’m not running personally this year, but I will support a slate of GOP Strong candidates in the Republican Primary for freeholder.”  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Sweeney to Rivera-Soto: leave, not later – but now

Given an object with Supreme Court Justice Roberto Rivera Soto’s decision to weigh in on cases after all, state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) reiterated his call for the embattled justice to get it over with and resign.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



N.J. Gov. Chris Christie will be featured speaker at Chamber of Commerce ‘Walk to Washington’

Gov. Chris Christie will address the attendees of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce’s “Walk to Washington” late this month. 

Christie, who did not attend the annual event last year, will speak on Jan. 27 at the dinner in Washington D.C., the Chamber announced today. Christie will not participate in the train ride to the nation’s capital.

 (Gibson, The Star-Ledger)



Gov. Christie to appear on ‘Good Morning American,’ ‘Imus in the Morning’

Gov. Chris Christie will help Americans wake up again Thursday, continuing his round of national television morning programs.
Christie will appear on two morning talk shows after giving interviews on three this morning, addressing topics ranging from the snowstorm to the national presidential race.  (Gibson, The Star-Ledger)



Gov. Christie to lay out plans at Paramus town hall meeting

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is hitting the road again to pitch his education and pension reform agenda to voters.

He’ll do it at a town hall meeting at the Elks Lodge on Route 17 in Paramus this morning.  (The Associated Press)



Chris Christie eyeing ending teacher tenure

Thanks to tenure, many believe that teachers’ jobs are basically guaranteed, no matter how students do.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wants to change that: He is seeking to end tenure and on Wednesday said he would support switching to a system that gives individual teachers five-year contracts, which districts could renew based on merit. He said he believes that if the worst 5% of teachers were churned, there would be a “quantum effect” on performance.  (Fleisher, The Wall Street Journal)



Governor thrusts New Jersey to fore of an education fight

Gov. Chris Christie’s tough-on-schools approach in a state that has zealously protected its public schools — and its teachers — has already put him at loggerheads with legislative leaders, unions and some parents in New Jersey.  (Hu, The New York Times)



Star school reformer’s quick NJ stop leaves people talking

Was Michelle Rhee’s high-profile visit to Trenton this week a powerful statement that puts New Jersey in the national forefront of school change? Or was it a political prop for the governor to distract his critics, as one Democratic leader claimed?  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



NJEA plans to fight Christie on eliminating teacher tenure

The New Jersey Education Association, while admitting changes are needed, stands ready to fight for teacher tenure, the core job protection it says has helped make New Jersey’s schools among the best in the nation.  (D’Amico, Press of Atlantic City)



Christie says Giuliani was ‘wrong’ for criticizing him for taking vacation during Dec. blizzard

The day after delivering his first State of the State, Governor Christie took to the morning talk airwaves Wednesday to speak about last month’s snowstorm and his plans for moving New Jersey beyond the perception of reality television shows.  (Gibson and Livio, The Record)



Christie says Palin needs to go unscripted to contend for 2012

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey says it’s way too early to handicap the field of his fellow Republicans who might run for president in 2012, but on Wednesday he voiced a few sharp words about the most famous one.  (Pérez-Peña, The Wall Street Journal)



Rivera-Soto changes minds about case participation

Associate Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto has changed his mind about not participating in any Supreme Court cases in which a temporarily assigned appellate judge takes part, though he says he still might not cast votes in cases where that judge casts a vote that affects the outcome of the case.   (Symons, Courier-Post)



N.J. judge under fire for wavering stance

New Jersey Supreme Court Associate Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto shocked the state’s political and legal worlds Wednesday – by voting on a case.

Such an action would hardly be surprising coming from any other justice. But only last month Rivera-Soto had pledged to abstain from all cases in protest over the presence of a temporary justice on the court.  (Megerian, The Star-Ledger)



Dems: N.J. pension payment is crucial for true reform

Gov. Chris Christie in his State of the State speech Tuesday called the public employee pension system “antiquated and unsustainable,” but Democratic lawmakers said an overhaul won’t do any good unless the Republican governor restarts funding to the program.  (Jordan, Courier-Post)



State lawmakers seek to ease restrictions on medical marijuana

A state senator said he’s taking the next step toward voiding Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed strict medical marijuana regulations after the Christie administration missed a Wednesday deadline to submit a new version.  (Mulvihill, Press of Atlantic City)



Veto urged for N.J. power-plant bill

A coalition of electrical-power interests is encouraging New Jersey Gov. Christie to veto a controversial bill that would subsidize development of a Gloucester County power plant that they say would unsettle the region’s energy markets.  (Maykuth)



New roll of the dice for Atlantic City

Atlantic City is hoping a new tourism district will boost downtown investment and development. Some in real estate say they see business interest generated by the district but it’s too soon to place bets on the effort.  (Miller, The Wall Street Journal)



N.J. local taxes jump an average of 7 percent in the past year

Had the state’s new 2-percent limit on property tax increases been in effect last year, most New Jersey towns wouldn’t have been in compliance.

In fact, most would not even have been close.  (de Vries, The Star-Ledger)



From the Back Room



America’s Mayor my #%$

Gov. Chris Christie responded to yet more criticism of his absence from the state during a snow storm late last month that dumped more than two feet of snow on portions of New Jersey.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)






Christie and the 2011 legislative races

Governor Chris Christie has begun 2011, from a political standpoint, most auspiciously.  Given the boldness of his 2010 agenda and the Democratic leanings of the New Jersey body politic, he fared remarkably well this week in the two reported polls of his job performance, namely 1) Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind and 2) Public Policy Polling.  (Steinberg, PolitickerNJ)



Taking celebrity to the Supreme

New Jersey Supreme Court justices grill lawyers in hearings, write decisions, and debate their colleagues in private.

At the end of the day, they hang up their robes and go home. The public spotlight is shunned.  (Stile, The Record)



Highway fight could take a toll on Christie

Last week, it looked like the Christie administration had pulled a fast one on the Democrats by introducing a plan to bail out the Transportation Trust Fund with revenues that would have gone to the canceled ARC tunnel project.

This week: Not so fast.

That’s what John Wisniewski is saying. And he’s getting backing from Steve Lonegan.  (Mulshine, The Star-Ledger)



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: January 13, 2011