Morning News Digest: February 10, 2011

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Redistricting and the politics of race

When Democrats and Republicans tangled over the legislative map 10 years ago, race played the dominant role in those discussions.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Dem public officials pack county building to argue the demerits of packing

Packed in here without a lot of elbow room, local worry furrows the brows of a lot of recognizable faces here on the 14th floor of the downtown county building at this public reapportionment hearing where sharp elbows threaten to fly at the front of the room on the subject of packing.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Christie pension cuts resonate with New Jersey voters, poll says

New Jersey’s voters back firing workers, freezing wages and cutting pensions in a poll released the day after Standard & Poor’s cut the state’s bond rating because of underfunded retiree and health-care liabilities.  (Dopp, Bloomberg)



Bond rating drop ignites pension fight

The fight over New Jersey’s public-worker pension system heated up when a major credit-rating firm downgraded the state and its agencies.  (Fleisher and Neumann, The Wall Street Journal)



New Jersey rating cut shows pension gaps may boost state risks

New Jersey’s rating cut by Standard & Poor’s yesterday shows how rising pension costs for states and local governments that borrow in the $2.86 trillion municipal- bond market are increasing risks to investors.  (Preston and Dopp, Bloomberg)



Legal notices on Web? Bill needs 2.0 revision

More state lawmakers are questioning a bill that would allow municipalities to post legal notices on their websites rather than requiring them to pay newspapers for the service.  (Rosen, Courier-Post)



Gov. Christie takes credit for new tunnel proposal

Governor Chris Christie is taking credit for a new proposal to build a second commuter rail tunnel under the Hudson River after he killed a similar project already under way.  (The Associated Press)



NJ gov knew of transit worker’s Quran burn firing

Gov. Chris Christie and several of his top aides are on a list of those with direct information on the termination of a transit worker who publicly burned pages from the Quran on Sept. 11, it was disclosed Wednesday in a court proceeding.  (The Associated Press)



National profile: Good for Christie?

Despite consistent protestations, pundits just can’t stop talking up Gov. Chris Christie for the White House. In part that’s because none of the 2012 GOP prospects who’ve emerged are setting the party on fire.  (Roh, Courier-Post)



Poll: NJ voters favor labor cuts to balance budget

A new poll finds support among New Jersey voters for state worker layoffs, furloughs and wage freezes to help balance the budget.  (The Associated Press)



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Poll: New Jerseyans appreciate teachers, dislike NJEA

New Jerseyans, by a 62 – 17 percent margin, have a favorable opinion of public school teachers, but their opinion of the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), the statewide teachers’ union is 44 – 27 percent unfavorable, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



Panel rejects state takeover of county prosecutor’s offices

A task force commissioned to study ways to make the state’s county prosecutor’s system more efficient, including placing county prosecutors within the Attorney General’s Office, has recommended some changes but not a state takeover of the 21 offices.  (Mast, Courier-Post)



Codey backers suspect Essex County power brokers intend to redraw his legislative district

Supporters of state Sen. Richard Codey (D-Essex) turned out at tonight’s legislative redistricing commission hearing in Newark. 

The supporters suggested the commission, which has members allied with Codey’s political rivals, may be looking to move the senator’s hometown of Roseland outside of the legislative district.   (Friedman, The Star-Ledger)



Barnegat Bay pollution limits being crafted by DEP

Governor Chris Christie’s administration has rejected for now the Legislature’s call for hard numeric limits on nutrient pollution into Barnegat Bay, but a planned “narrative standard” still will provide measures and milestones for progress on cleaning up the bay, state Environmental Commissioner Bob Martin said Wednesday.  (Moore, Asbury Park Press)



New Jersey Casino Control Commissioner Michael C. Epps resigns

New Jersey Casino Control Commission board member Michael C. Epps resigned Wednesday, creating another vacancy on a regulatory agency that is losing much of its power in an overhaul by Gov. Chris Christie.  (Wittkowski, Press of Atlantic City)



Union City schools: A test case for Christie reforms?

Union City’s public schools have long been held up as the gold standard of New Jersey’s urban districts, with its scores on state tests approaching if not exceeding statewide averages.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



New Jersey’s school boards convention to return to Atlantic City

The New Jersey School Boards Association will return to the Atlantic City Convention Center for its annual conference this year, bringing more than 5,000 visitors and $7 million in estimated spending to the resort in October.  (D’Amico, Press of Atlantic City)



Camden needs balanced budget to pick up $5.1 million grant to hire firefighters

One day after Camden’s proposed budget was rejected by City Council, officials turned their attention to a $5.1 million federal grant aimed at helping cities that have budget-ravaged fire departments.  (Vargas, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



From the Back Room



Norcross named to Courier Post Editorial Board

South Jersey businessman and Democratic power broker George Norcross III has been named to a three month stint on the Courier Posts’s Editorial Board.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



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35th District volatility

Assemblywoman Nellie Pou (D-North Haledon) and Jeff Gardner of Hawthorne occupied two seats against the same wall in close proximity tonight at the reapportionment hearing, but they may end up on separate sides of a Democratic Party war in the 35th District.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)






Governor feeling the love – from a Democrat

Democrat Brian Stack, the Union City mayor who doubles as a state senator, is not going to wait for future historians to render a verdict on Republican Governor Christie.  (Stile, The Record)



TV or not TV? That’s the question for us cheapskates

I make no apologies for being a cheapskate. And like the rest of the tightwads in my town, I like to hang around the recycling center to see who’s throwing away a bicycle or perhaps a TV that’s in decent shape.  (Mulshine, The Star-Ledger)



Castriotta and school board in court

The censure of Roxbury school board member Maureen Castriotta by her board colleagues played out today before an administrative law judge in Newark.  (Snowflack, Morris County Politics)



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Morning News Digest: February 10, 2011