Morning News Digest: February 15, 2011

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Alliance of the alliance; Latino leader says Dem stranglehold leaves him with no choice

Behind the buzzwords of packing, stacking and bleaching, there are several strategic takeaways from the last two public redistricting hearings in Newark and Jersey City where an urban underground-GOP establishment alliance dominates.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



In police force-depleted Newark, Booker doggedly pursues education agenda

Mayor Cory Booker continued his education improvement drive today at the Ironbound Catholic Academy as he helped open the neighborhood’s first Early Head Start (EHS) Program with U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-Hoboken) and the Ironbound Community Corporation.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Tough-talking Chris Christie plans D.C. rollout

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is bringing his blunt talk about fiscal responsibility to Washington this week in a speech sure to stoke speculation about his national prospects – which have intensified in recent weeks as some Republicans openly fret about the strength of their 2012 field.  (Allen, Politico)



Christie to announce $584M for construction, renovation of 10 N.J. schools

Gov. Chris Christie today will announce approval of $584 million for the construction or renovation of 10 schools through the Schools Development Authority, according to an administration official.  (Gibson, The Star-Ledger)



N.J. Sen. Sweeney to unveil bill requiring state employees to contribute more for medical benefits

Senate President Stephen Sweeney today will unveil a plan that aims to slash the state’s huge medical costs by requiring public employees to kick in significantly more to health benefits, according to three officials familiar with the proposal.  (Renshaw, The Star-Ledger)



New N.J. group cites pitfalls of privatization

A coalition of labor, environmental, and community groups says the weak economy is stoking a rush to privatize operations and services traditionally performed by governments, despite some well-known potential pitfalls.  (The Associated Press)



Dispute clouds medical-marijuana application process in N.J.

Monday’s deadline to apply to grow and sell marijuana legally to patients in New Jersey turned out to be busier with legal maneuvers than with applications.  (Mulvihill for The Associated Press)



DRPA insured privately-owned buildings in Camden

The scandal-plagued Delaware River Port Authority’s board of commissioners have paid $328,000 since 2001 insuring two industrial building it doesn’t own in Camden and Assemblyman Domenick DiCicco sees this as an example of why bi-state reform legislation needs to be quickly passed that would allow the New Jersey and Pennsylvania governments to get a grip on the agency.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



U.S. education secretary criticizes N.J. GOP plan to cut preschool budget in urban areas

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan criticized New Jersey Senate Republicans today, saying a proposal to roll back full-day preschool in urban districts would hurt students.  (DeMarco and Calefati, The Star-Ledger)



N.J. Education Commissioner Cerf to address teacher effectiveness and tenure reform

State Acting Education Commissioner Chris Cerf will make what his office is describing as a major address Wednesday on public school teacher effectiveness and tenure reform.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



School chiefs grilled on aid cut impact

Two schools superintendents on Monday told a judge examining the impact of last year’s state aid cuts that their districts were having serious trouble giving students the quality education they deserved.  (Brody, The Record)



Abbott v. Burke takes up 135-year-old dispute

The notion of a “thorough and efficient” education has been disputed in New Jersey for more than a century, since the state’s voters in 1875 confirmed it as a constitutional guarantee.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



Pallone says Obama’s proposed budget includes million for Port Monmouth beach replenishment

President Obama’s proposed budget would allocate $3 million for beach replenishment efforts in Port Monmouth in Monmouth County, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6th) announced Monday.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



Federal Reserve Bank of New York president: Central Jersey economy showing glimmers of hope

The economic recovery in central New Jersey faltered during the fourth quarter as consumers continued to pay off their debt and state and local governments slashed jobs, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Monday.  (Diamond, Asbury Park Press)



Lawmakers clear bill creating charging stations for electric cars

Automakers are expecting a surge in electric car sales during the next two years, but for many would-be drivers one big question remains: What happens if the battery dies on the road?  (Rizzo, The Star-Ledger)



Second donation to Trenton Mayor Tony Mack’s campaign under limit, but ill-timed

Barely one month before Mayor Tony Mack’s administration proposed selling 36 city lots for one dollar apiece, Mack’s election fund received a $2,500 donation from the Pennsylvania developer who planned to buy the property, the mayor’s campaign finance records show.  (Zdan, The Times of Trenton)



Funding for Atlantic City Tourism District remains unclear

As a new state-run Tourism District in Atlantic City gets off the ground, the mechanism for funding the agency that will run the district remains unclear and undeveloped.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)



Could bankruptcy be a viable solution to Camden’s woes?

With a tax increase all but a certainty, Camden residents have urged city leaders to find creative ways to improve the city’s financial situation while maintaining public safety — without crippling taxpayers.  (Murray, Courier-Post)



Camden library joins county system

Monday marked the Ferry Avenue library branch’s first day under the auspices of the Camden County system.  (Murray, Courier-Post)



From the Back Room



Gardner raises $3,100 at Lassiter’s event

Progressive activist Jay Lassiter netted $3,100 for prospective 35th District state senate challenger Jeff Gardner at a Sunday fundraiser at Lassiter’s home in Cherry Hill.  (Staff, PolitickerNJ)






Court not making it easy for Christie

Governor Christie and his 52 percent approval ratings have bowled over everybody in the political establishment, with one notable exception: the members of the New Jersey Supreme Court.  (Stile, The Record)



If Mitt becomes moot, will Christie be a contender?

After last week, I can see why they want Chris Christie to run for president.

I’m talking about the leaders of the national Republican Party. They’re in a tough spot. Their party is disappearing out from under them.  (Mulshine, The Star-Ledger)



New Jersey considers repeal of ancient laws regarding women

A bill introduced recently by two New Jersey lawmakers would get rid of some laws from the 1800s that are still on the books today. Since laws from the 1800s that are still on the books today tend to be ridiculous, I thought I would take a look at New Jersey’s.  (Underhill, Forbes)



Christie vs. Bolaris vs. Teachers

Gov. Christie lumped meteorologists and teachers together last week, and guess who’s angry? Meteorologists. Or at least one meteorologist.  (Katz, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



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Morning News Digest: February 15, 2011