Morning News Digest: February 14, 2011

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Destination: Jersey City; Latino Leadership Alliance founder calls packing a red herring

All under the guise of manners and civic restraint, members of the redistricting commission occupy their chairs here in a second story meeting room at the culinary institute of Hudson County Community College and begin politiely but forcefully grappling on race representation.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Passaic BA charged with cocaine possession in Hoboken, fired by Mayor Blanco

Hoboken Police last night arrested Passaic Business Administrator Anthony Iacono and charged him with cocaine possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, Possession of prescription legend drugs, tampering with physical evidence, driving while under the influence, and numerous motor vehicle infractions, according to Chief Anthony Falco.   (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



After NJEA, Christie’s next fight is with state workers as contracts come up for renewal

When Gov. Chris Christie went to war with the teachers union last year, leaders of unions representing New Jersey state workers nervously watched in the wings.  (Gibson, The Star-Ledger)



Hostility trumping party loyalty in Atlantic City’s state Senate race

Old rivalries and new political realities in Atlantic City are twisting traditional party allegiances in this year’s Atlantic County state Senate race.  (Fletcher and Clark, Press of Atlantic City)



North Jersey Democrat enlists support

A North Jersey legislative bid that stands to unite progressives up and down Interstate 95 kicked off Sunday on the far end of the Garden State.  (Roh, Courier-Post)



More N.J. mayors agree to share services in effort to reduce costs

Residents of Netcong may be reporting to neighboring Mount Olive for municipal court appearances next year.

In Somerset County, 19 police forces could combine into one regional force by 2013.  (DeMarco, The Star-Ledger)



Keep our legislative districts intact, Hudson County politicians testify to Apportionment Commission

Facing the possible loss of a Hudson County Legislative district because of population changes, local politicians called on the state Apportionment Commission to keep districts intact to preserve representation of the county’s diverse population.  (Hack, The Jersey Journal)



Rail proposal highlights Obama-GOP divide

Tuesday’s announcement of a $53 billion proposal to build a high-speed, intercity rail network has put President Barack Obama and many conservative House Republicans on opposite tracks.  (Chebium, Courier-Post)



Bill may send mobile farmers markets to New Jersey’s urban areas

The state may use mobile farmers markets to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to what are being called urban “food deserts,” essentially cities where residents have little access to healthy produce.  (Barlas, Press of Atlantic City)



Bill would let towns band together to buy wholesale power

In an effort to reduce energy costs, a handful of towns are looking to band together to shop around for cheaper electricity deals.  (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)



Parents defend schools

Camden schools are not alone among South Jersey schools in poor performance, according to New Jersey School Report Card data released last week.  (Rothschild, Courier-Post)



Abbott v. Burke in Suburbia

From the heart of New Jersey suburbia, Montgomery’s public schools would seem an unlikely Exhibit A in the epic Abbott v. Burke school equity case.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



Ex-gov McGreevey helps ex-inmates at Integrity House

The 52nd governor of New Jersey is now trying to help others make their lives a whole lot better.  (Cerbo, The Jersey Journal)



From the Back Room



Christie takes 3rd at CPAC

Gov. Chris Christie tied for third in the annual Conservative Political Action Conference presidential straw poll this weekend, trailing Ron Paul and Mitt Romney as the favorite to represent the GOP in 2012.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)






Politics makes for some unlikely friends

Union City Mayor Brian Stack was on the fence about whether to endorse fellow Hudson County Democrat Jon Corzine, or Corzine opponent Chris Christie. Christie lost that endorsement but went on to win the race — and apparently the war.  (Ingle, Asbury Park Press)



$89,000 for an archivist of sewage treatment?

Think of the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners as a medium-sized business corporation. Now consider what is happening there.  (Kelly, The Record)



Collaboration is cure for ailing health care system

Our country is debating what kind of health system we want and can afford. While opinions vary regarding the merits of the federal health care reform law, there is agreement that we need access to high-quality, seamless and affordable care.  (Popiel, NJBIZ)



In case you missed it



Christie’s next battle is state worker salaries

Unions representing state workers are next in line to go toe-to-toe with Governor Christie.  (Gibson, The Record)



People and Power: Gov. Chris Christie makes a prediction about Revel financing – and after missed deadline, his administration is watching

Politicians who wade into the tricky area of affecting the financial markets usually resist making predictions about the outcome.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)



Ann Coulter: Let’s run Chris, not Mitt

Don’t count Ann Coulter among Mitt Romney’s fans.

When she was asked for her take on the 2012 presidential field, the conservative commentator dissed Romney’s chances.

“If we don’t run Chris Christie, Mitt Romney will be the nominee and we will lose,” she said Saturday at CPAC.  (Summers, Politico)



Essex County executive says his rapport with Christie brings benefits to county

During eight years as Essex County Executive, Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. has overseen increases in county revenues, a boost in bond ratings and a swell in the region’s recreational opportunities.  (Khavkine, The Star-Ledger)



Challenging ad adds to Lance’s woes

Rep. Leonard Lance successfully challenged the accuracy of a radio ad attacking him last week and got it pulled off the air.  (Roh, Courier-Post)



Assemblyman faults Gov. Christie on Transportation Trust Fund

Gov. Chris Christie’s proposal for the state’s depleted Transportation Trust Fund is “completely inadequate,” Assemblyman John Wisniewski said at a meeting Friday with members of the Middlesex County business community.  (Makin, Gannett)



N.J. commission: Keep state’s minimum wage at $7.25

A state panel has recommended that New Jersey keep its minimum wage at $7.25 per hour.  (The Associated Press)



N.J. senators introduce bill to sweep sexism out of antiquated state laws

Say a man and woman want to get married in New Jersey. They’ll have to wait at least 72 hours.  (Friedman, The Star-Ledger)



NJ panel offers county prosecutors cost-cutting tips

Prosecutors’ offices in New Jersey’s 21 counties will cost a budget-squeezing $435 million this year, but county leaders think help may be on the way to contain runaway criminal-justice costs.  (Jordan, Gannett)



Do-It-Yourself tax

Officials in Lambertville, N.J., are considering asking voters to raise their own property taxes to deal with a quintessential municipal issue: trash pickup.  (Fleisher, The Wall Street Journal)



Jersey City is likely to lose one of its legislative districts in reapportionment

State officials tasked with redrawing New Jersey’s legislative districts say they anticipate Jersey City and Newark, the only cities in the state with three districts each, will go to two each when the process is completed at the end of March.  (McDonald, The Jersey Journal)



NJ municipalities privatizing garbage collection

Some New Jersey municipalities that provide garbage collection to residents are exploring privatization or service cutbacks amid rising employee costs and the constraints of a new 2 percent property tax cap.  (Jennings, Daily Record)



In Edison, sparks fly between mayor, council

Edison residents are seeing tensions boiling over between Mayor Antonia “Toni” Ricigliano and the township council.  (Haydon, The Star-Ledger)



Superior Court nominee rose to prominence as key voice of N.J.’s Muslim community

One of Gov. Chris Christie’s nominees for Superior Court judge isn’t the typical judicial hopeful.  (Sebastian, The Star-Ledger)



Republican Pete McDonough named Rutgers’ top lobbyist, adviser to university’s president

Peter J. McDonough Jr., an adviser to New Jersey Republicans and former communications director for GOP Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, has been named Rutgers University’s vice president for public affairs at an annual salary of $230,000.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



Experts: N.J. on front line of climate issues

The ailing economy and government deficits foster a short-term outlook and delay investments needed to ensure the long-term viability of the shore economy and environment, experts said at a Monmouth University conference Friday.  (Moore, New Jersey Press Media)



Charter schools may be an option

Under No Child Left Behind federal legislation that requires every child in public school to pass state standardized tests by 2014, schools that repeatedly fail to meet the benchmarks must provide tutoring and other remedies.  (Rothschild, Courier-Post)



Obama’s proposed budget could leave low-income N.J. families without help paying heating bills

President Obama’s budget will propose cutting in half the program that helps low-income families and senior citizens and disabled pay their heating and air conditioning bills, according to U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who signed a letter Friday urging the president to change his mind.  (Livio, The Star-Ledger)



As funding withers, agricultural museum may close

Today will be the last day the public can go to the New Jersey Museum of Agriculture under a vote Friday by the institution’s board of trustees.  (Serrano, New Jersey Press Media)



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Morning News Digest: February 14, 2011