Morning News Digest: February 16, 2011

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State’s Congressional delegation backs Christie over U.S. DOT

Every member of the state’s congressional delegation Tuesday signed a letter opposing federal efforts to collect $271 million from the state for repayment of funds for the Access to the Regions Core tunnel, halted by the governor last year.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Rumana ethics complaint marches on

A state ethics board Tuesday agreed that it had jurisdiction to hear a complaint against Assemblyman Scott Rumana over an alleged conflict of interest stemming from his plan for an energy cogeneration plant in his hometown of Wayne.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Acting N.J. education chief to announce plans for sweeping legislative reform of teacher tenure

The state’s top education official today will unveil sweeping legislation that would change the way teachers in New Jersey are evaluated, compensated, and given tenure, said a person familiar with the proposal.  (Calefati and Rundquist, The Star-Ledger)



GOP holds up NJ governor’s record as a model

Forget Springsteen, the Sopranos and Snooki. The hottest thing outta New Jersey is Gov. Chris Christie — at least politically.  (The Associated Press)



Christie again calls for veto power over authorities

Governor Christie challenged lawmakers again Tuesday to “stop the politics” and post a bill that would give him the power to reject wasteful spending at independent authorities such as the embattled Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission.  (Reitmeyer, The Record)



Gov. Christie signs off on 10 school construction projects, leaving remaining schools in limbo

Touting a new selection process he says is devoid of politics and driven by need and the bottom line, Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday signed off on 10 school construction projects in the state’s poorest districts.  (Gibson, The Star-Ledger)



Christie shows he’s listening at town hall meeting in Lincoln Park

Gov. Chris Christie’s iconic “YouTube” moments at town hall meetings thrive on confrontation, but Tuesday’s most noteworthy exchange was a polite dialogue between the governor and a member of the teachers’ union he so often criticizes.  (Jennings, Daily Record)



Christie, union leaders clash over N.J. Sen. Sweeney’s public health benefit plan

Gov. Chris Christie Tuesday called a public employee health benefit reform plan unveiled by Senate President Stephen Sweeney a “good start” while union leaders said it interferes with the collective bargaining process and balances the budget on the backs of middle-class workers.  (Renshaw, The Star-Ledger)



New ad targets NJ congressman’s health benefits

Less than a week after an ad deemed misleading was pulled from the air, a progressive coalition will be back on New Jersey radio tomorrow with a new attack on Rep. Leonard Lance.  (Roh, Courier-Post)



Speaker: Revise voucher proposal

Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver said Tuesday that supporters of a plan to give students in low-performing city schools tuition money they can use to enroll in private or parochial schools ought to scale back their proposal.  (Symons, Gannett)



In annual address, Essex County executive says N.J. reforms will help county weather tough economy

The state of Essex County rests in large part on what comes next, particularly in Trenton, County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr., said during his annual address tonight.  (Khavkine, The Star-Ledger)



Poll: Keep town police

Even under threat of massive layoffs and service cuts, home rule still rules in New Jersey.

More than half of the people surveyed in a Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Press Media poll say they would revolt if their municipal police department were replaced by a countywide service.  (Roh, Courier-Post)



NJ residents feel safe despite police cuts, poll shows

Layoffs and attrition have reduced the number of police officers in New Jersey by about 10 percent, but most state residents do not believe the cuts have compromised public safety, according to a Monmouth University/New Jersey Press Media poll.  (Mikle and Remaly, Gannett)|head



Report: Agencies’ websites lacking

Nearly 600 local authorities around New Jersey spend as much as $5 billion a year and have racked up just as much debt — but good luck finding out the details online, says the Office of the State Comptroller.  (Symons, New Jersey Press Media)



Poll finds majority of New Jerseyans oppose state-supervised Atlantic City casino and hotel district

Forty-three percent of New Jerseyans disapprove of the state’s takeover of Atlantic City’s casino and hotel district in an effort to prevent crime and bring gamblers and tourists back to the city, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll made public Wednesday.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



N.J. to fight dredging approval

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection filed a notice of appeal Tuesday with the 3rd Circuit Court in Philadelphia to reverse a prior ruling that allows the deepening of the Delaware River shipping channel from 40 to 45 feet.  (Stilwell, Courier-Post)



A Christie-Cuomo Jersey Shore fight

Chris Christie has something to ask Andrew Cuomo: Take back the Jersey Shore — and Snooki!

That was the plea from the New Jersey governor to his cross-river counterpart today at a press conference, at which Christie emphasized his opinion that Snooki and the crew from “Jersey Shore” are bad branding for the Garden State — especially when two of them are from New York.  (Haberman, Politico)



Christie implies Obama stole his ‘big things’ phrase

Is President Obama stealing lines – and ideas – from New Jersey Gov. Christie?

Or do all politicians – and their message minders – just dream up the same rhetorical flourishes?  (Katz, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



In Connecticut, Governor Malloy tries to manage costs his way

There is Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey: blustery and bellicose, hectoring the unions, enthralling fellow Republicans with his tax caps and spending cuts, already generating presidential murmurings after barely a year in office.  (Halbfinger, The New York Times)



GPS disabling bill proposed for domestic violence victims

Victims of domestic violence would be allowed to easily control their cell phone GPS monitoring capability to evade stalkers under a proposed state law. But telecom association leaders say that could obstruct emergency workers from locating the phone users in a 911 emergency.  (Jordan, New Jersey Press Media)



Shore economic, environmental conference encourages investment

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, Asbury Park Press)



DRPA awaits shakeup among its Pa. commissioners

The Delaware River Port Authority has canceled its scheduled Wednesday meeting amid reports Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett was replacing most of its eight commissioners representing the Commonwealth.  (Barna, The Gloucester County Times)



Former Passaic County sheriff’s officer claims workplace harassment

A former Passaic County sheriff’s officer has filed a federal discrimination suit against Passaic County officials, claiming he was harassed and subjected to a hostile work environment.  (Petrick, The Record)



From the Back Room



Christie administration to appeal channel deepening ruling

The Christie Administration today filed notices with the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia informing the court it will appeal rulings that will allow the deepening of the Delaware River’s shipping channel to proceed despite the lack of updated environmental studies.  (Staff, PolitickerNJ)






The Latino dilemma – The premise

Recent hearings held by the New Jersey Legislative Apportionment Commission in Newark and Jersey City were dominated by concerns of the Latino community.  However, the community did not speak with one voice – or at least that voice was somewhat muddled.  (Murray, PolitickerNJ)



We love free enterprise ‘til competition comes to our door

People profess to believe in the good ol’ American free enterprise system until it brings competition to their doorstep. Nowhere is that more true than a business involving the sale of alcohol.  (Ingle, Asbury Park Press)



Give urban students in New Jersey a better option

Across New Jersey, tens of thousands of children are being denied the education they deserve: an education that offers the tools to pursue their hopes and dreams. For them, the path from classroom to job opportunity and career success is blocked.  (George E. Norcross III for The Star-Ledger)



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  Morning News Digest: February 16, 2011