Morning News Digest: February 25, 2011

Follow PolitickerNJ on Twitter and Facebook. Text “PNJ” to 89800 to receive alerts



Rice dug in against Cerf unless acting education commish goes before his committee

Unless Acting Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf appears before his committee, state Sen. Ronald L. Rice (D-Newark) intends to invoke senatorial courtesy to hold up Cerf’s nomination, a situation intensified by news this week that Cerf’s former consulting company received a grant to fulfill a Newark charter school study.   (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Christie on budget ‘deal’ with Democrats: The clock’s ticking, again

Gov. Chris Christie set his first town hall meeting after his budget speech in West Deptford, home to state Sen. President Steve Sweeney (D-3), the governor’s Statehouse foil.  (Carroll, PolitickerNJ)



Governor pitches budget, says state to look at W. Deptford debt

In bringing his reform message to this river town on Thursday, Gov. Chris Christie inadvertently stepped into a gaping wound.  (Roh, Courier-Post)



Gov. Christie says N.J. pensions system could go broke by 2020

Governor Christie says that if changes aren’t made to the state pension system it will go broke by 2020.  (The Associated Press)



Gov to phase out urban zone with lower sakes tax

Gov. Chris Christie’s administration plans to wind down the Urban Enterprise Zone Program, a nearly three-decade-old economic initiative, because officials and a consultant’s report released Thursday say it is inefficient.  (Method, Asbury Park Press)



Christie study terms N.J. tax break dud

A New Jersey program designed to lure shoppers to urban centers with tax breaks has done little to prop up local economies and should be dismantled, a study released by the Christie administration Thursday said.  (Fleisher, MarketWatch)



Budget address a mixed message

New Jersey’s Democratic lawmakers may consider fleeing the state, like the 14 left-leaning legislators who hightailed it to Chicago to avoid a controversial anti-union vote in Wisconsin.  (Rosen, Courier-Post)



Menendez gears up for 2012 senate race, with Christie looming as factor

Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey spent the past two years as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, trying to help Senate colleagues around the country retain their seats.  (Hernandez, The New York Times)



Capital clash for Martin O’Malley, Chris Christie

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are on a collision course.

Both are forceful partisans who rank at the top of the next generation of prospective presidential candidates. In 2016, O’Malley will have finished his second term and Christie, if he seeks and wins reelection, would be nearing the end of his.  (Burns, Politico)



Unions to hold rally in Trenton

Union workers rallying at the State House on Friday will have company from a conservative group and Tea Party activists holding their own counter-protest.  (Jordan, New Jersey Press Media)



Despite Christie’s big promises, charters still face challenges

The pronouncement in Gov. Chris Christie’s budget address on Tuesday drew some of the biggest applause of the day.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



Affordable housing reform: The controversy continues

The quest for affordable housing reform in New Jersey should begin anew next week with the introduction of yet another bill aimed at reforming the current system of requiring New Jersey municipalities to set aside development that is deemed “affordable” for the state’s low- and moderate-income families. Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), who recently saw his latest effort to overhaul the system conditionally vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie, plans to restart the discussion by introducing an entirely new bill from the one that’s been haggled over for the past year.  (O’Dea, NJ Spotlight)



Redd forms team to promote business in Camden

Camden is open for business, Mayor Dana Redd declared Thursday, announcing the formation of a team to focus on economic policy and expedited development approvals to make the city more business-friendly.  (Vargas, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Court decision clouds future of wineries in N.J.

The winter pruning began this week at Four JG’s Orchards & Vineyards in Colts Neck, where the grapes growing on 40,000 vines eventually will turn into bottles of cayuga and chambourcin wine.  (Diamond, Gannett)



Fourth attempt to rescind Parsippany superintendent’s contract fails

A fourth attempt to rescind Superintendent Lee Seitz’s disputed contract extension failed Thursday night after the board president refused to allow a vote and cast the deciding vote against a motion to overrule his decision.  (Jennings, Daily Record)|head






Christie’s goal is to shred state unions

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker wants to weaken unions’ power to bargain on behalf of government workers.  (Stile, The Record)



Governors are discovering they have a voice

IT IS NOT just “The King’s Speech” that is garnering attention this week. It is the governors’. Note the plural: From New Jersey to Wisconsin, governors are discovering they have a voice.  (Doblin, The Record)



A warm welcome for Christie in Sweeney’s town

Gov. Christie pitched his budget plan at a gymnasium in the hometown of his political foe, State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester), and heard warm applause for his calls to cut pension and health benefits for public workers.  (Katz, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Official secrets won’t help Newark schools

Last week, Newark’s Public School Advisory Board held a meeting at
Science Park High School to ask parents and members of the community
what kind of school superintendent they wanted to run Newark’s schools.
I arrived to find only 50 or 60 people.  (Whitlow, The Star-Ledger)



In 2000, PolitickerNJ emerged on the political stage, changing how New Jersey’s power elite receive their daily political fix. Starting on March 1, 2011, we’re shaking up Trenton once again. Stay tuned for State Street Wire.




Morning News Digest: February 25, 2011