Morning News Digest: February 17, 2011

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Ex Burlco Dem: party organization was ‘falling apart structurally’

The website for the Burlington County Democratic Committee contains the smiling faces of would-be Democratic Party allies Tim Tyler and George Kotch, respectively the county clerk and surrogate who today scratched the D’s off their public plaftforms and affixed R’s as they announced that they would be joining the GOP.   (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Union: The time to negotiate is now

New Jersey AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech called on the administration to begin contract negotiations with public workers now, rather than later in the year as is the governor’s plan.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Christie, in Washington, chides everyone on debt

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey arrived here Wednesday, opened with a few jokes to an audience not far from the White House and Capitol Hill and then delivered a bipartisan scolding to President Obama and Republicans in Congress, bluntly suggesting they lack courage to confront the nation’s rapidly growing debt burden.  (Zeleny, The New York Times)



The Christie speech: We must fix America

Chris Christie took Washington by storm on Wednesday with his first national address – a blunt call for the country’s leaders to follow in his fiscal footsteps by making real cuts in unsustainable levels of spending if they want to pull America back from the “edge of disaster.”  (Haberman)



Christie criticizes GOP, Dems for ducking issues in speech at conservative think tank

Governor Christie mixed trademark bravado and self-professed humility in a speech to a conservative think tank Wednesday that further burnished his rising-star status in national politics.  (Jackson, The Record)



Gov. Christie says U.S. should raise Social Security retirement age

Delving into national policy issues and calling on politicians from both parties to make tough decisions, Gov. Chris Christie today addressed a packed room at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.  (Gibson, The Star-Ledger)



Christie preaches straight talk, says he won’t run for White House

Governor Chris Christie advised congressional lawmakers on Wednesday to level with the public about looming fiscal problems affecting federal entitlement programs.  (Chebium, Asbury Park Press)



Experts: His 2012 moment is now

With just one impressive speech, Chris Christie put three full days of CPAC speakers to shame.  (Marr, Politico)



Gov. Christie gets a mention for president

Gov. Christie had not even entered the room for what the political blogosphere billed as a major national address, and already his nonexistent presidential candidacy had come up.  (Katz, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



N.J. Gov. Christie gains more national attention after Washington speech

It sounded like a speech a presidential candidate would make, full of patriotism and challenges to the nation.  (Gibson, The Star-Ledger)



Christie proposes ending tenure for poor teachers

One month after Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey used his annual state address to call for an end to tenure for teachers, his administration unveiled a plan on Wednesday that would take away tenure from ineffective teachers but stopped short of eliminating it.  (Hu, The New York Times)



N.J. education chief pushes tougher deals for teachers

In a speech that endorsed many aspects of Gov. Christie’s education agenda, New Jersey’s top education official called Wednesday for making tenure harder to get and keep, holding teachers accountable for student performance, and creating financial incentives for educators.  (Giordano and Rao, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Reinventing tenure

In a presentation befitting an academic symposium, acting state Education Commissioner Chris Cerf yesterday rolled out the first details in Gov. Chris Christie’s plans for overhauling teacher tenure.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



Facing down the unions

Over the past year, New Jersey governor Chris Christie has become a folk hero by striking back at greedy union demands, lambasting union leaders, and standing up for taxpayers. But this year, Christie is facing some competition, particularly from new governors Scott Walker (R., Wisc.) and John Kasich (R., Ohio).  (Trinko, National Review)



NJ Dems move to oust rogue Supreme Court Justice

Some members of the New Jersey Senate want a rogue state Supreme Court justice removed from the bench.  (The Associated Press)



NJ Senate to vote on toll increase rollback

The New Jersey Senate is ready to vote on a bill to roll back a highway toll increase.  (The Associated Press)



Mayors talk about shared services

Mayors didn’t learn much about their municipalities’ fate during the upcoming state budget in their annual lobbying day at the State House on Wednesday — but they didn’t seem to mind, given that any surprise is likely to be a negative one.  (Symons, New Jersey Press Media)



Mayors press N.J. lawmakers for ‘tool kit’ reforms to help manage tight budgets

It’s a familiar tune: the call for health benefit, pension and civil service reforms. 

But Wednesday, the cry for change didn’t come from the governor or state legislators — instead, 200 New Jersey mayors descended on the capital to lobby state officials.  (DeMarco, The Star-Ledger)



N.J.’s poorest residents fear Christie budget will cut Medicaid funds

Advocates for New Jersey’s poorest residents are bracing for a tough battle starting next week when Gov. Chris Christie unveils a state budget they fear will include painful cuts in Medicaid funding.  (Renshaw, The Star-Ledger)



Election Law Enforcement Commission files complaint against former Atlantic City Freeholder Sue Schilling, her campaign treasurer

The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission has filed a complaint against former Atlantic County Freeholder Sue Schilling and her campaign treasurer John Murray for lateness in reporting large contributions and expenditures in the 2007 freeholder race – a race that Schilling eventually decided not to run anyway.  (Lemongello, Press of Atlantic City)



Sports authority may run tracks for another year

Deals to privatize horse racing at Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands Racetrack could lead to a role for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority in helping operate the tracks during a transition period.  (Jordan, Gannett)



Airports eye boost in fees for projects

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is looking toward higher passenger fees—permitted in an Obama administration proposal—to pay for airport projects.  (Grossman, The Wall Street Journal)



From the Back Room



GOP sources confirm public 2nd District Polistina/Amodeo/Brown ticket

Sources close to the Atlantic County GOP confirm Harry Hurley’s radio report that Chris Brown of Ventnor has the support required to be the second party nominee for the Assembly in the 2nd District now that Freeholder Frank Formica has ended his own feel-out phase and backs Brown.  (Staff, PoliticierNJ)






Round 2 of Hawthorne political fight coming up

Jeffrey Gardner’s shoebox-size law office in Hawthorne’s downtown suits his budget. After all, he opened his practice only a month ago.  (Stile, The Record)



A funny thing happened on the way to the forum

Students of politics often term the New Jersey governor “an American Caesar” because of the immense powers granted to the head of the executive branch in our 1947 constitution.

Yet the governor in question never seems to get up the nerve to cross the Rubicon.  (Mulshine, The Star-Ledger)



And while we’re on the subject of bad education writing…

… I didn’t have to get any further than the headline of this NJEA article: “An unproven step in the wrong direction.”  (Mulshine, The Star-Ledger)



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Morning News Digest: February 17, 2011