Morning News Digest: March 11, 2011

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Poll: Voters favor checks on Governor

New Jerseyans favor a Democrat-controlled legislature as a check to Gov. Chris Christie’s power, a new Rutgers Eagelton poll shows.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Christie trails Romney in presidential poll

A new poll shows Gov. Chris Christie is the second choice for Republican presidential candidate behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney among Republicans and GOP leaning independent voters who have a preferred choice.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Rosenthal will try to get a synthesized map, but if he can’t, will seek one from each side and pick the better map

Tiebreaking member Alan Rosenthal made a statement to begin the public redistricting hearing, setting forth the standards he said would guide him as he attempts to establish a fair map.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



New panel member lays out guidelines

The tie-breaking member of the bipartisan commission that will draw the state’s new legislative districts said Thursday that he wanted to adhere to a series of legal principles in choosing a new map.  (Method, Courier-Post)



Mapping out New Jersey’s minority representation

Legislative redistricting in New Jersey is a three-act play. First, the five Democratic and five Republican commissioners meet, posture and fail to agree on a map. Second, the Supreme Court chief justice appoints a professor to serve as the powerful 11th commissioner, either to broker a compromise or to choose the winning map. Third, the loser and other aggrieved parties go to court, and in redistricting, that’s where the real decision-making takes place.  (Magyar, NJ Spotlight)



N.J. Gov. Christie, public workers union fight over changes in employee health benefits

Gov. Chris Christie and the state’s public employee unions can’t agree on much, even history.

Christie is pushing to bypass the bargaining table and head straight to the Legislature to force state employees to pay 30 percent of their health care costs, arguing that unions took the same routes when seeking increases in the past.  (Gibson, The Star-Ledger)



Christie pulls Michael Patrick Carroll nomination to be a Superior Court judger

Gov. Chris Christie has withdrawn the nomination of Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris) to be a state Superior Court judge, the governor’s office confirmed Thursday.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



Gov. Christie hosting town hall Tuesday in Woodbridge

Gov. Chris Christie is scheduled to appear Tuesday morning in Woodbridge for a town hall meeting, the latest stop in his ongoing state tour touting his reform and budget agenda.  (Bichao, Gannett)



Local N.J. governments could lose aid if they do not accept shared public services

Municipal and county governments that failed to respond to state-recommended shared public services within 14 months would lose state aid in the amount equal to what they would have saved had they shared the service under legislation introduced Thursday by Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



New Jersey education nominee’s OK in doubt

State Sen. Ron Rice is no longer a potential problem on Chris Cerf’s road to becoming New Jersey’s next education commissioner.

He’s now an outright roadblock.  (Calefati, The Star-Ledger)



Lawmakers declare New Jersey a no-fracking zone

New Jersey lawmakers yesterday approved a bill to ban the practice of drilling for natural gas by hydraulic fracturing, a process critics say poses a huge risk of contaminating the drinking water supplies of 15 million people.  (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)



Senate panel OKs bill to cut election posts

A state Senate panel on Thursday approved a bill intended to reduce the number of county election posts, starting with Camden and Essex counties.  (Staff, Courier-Post)



“Tyler Clementi” bill reintroduced in Congress

Two federal lawmakers from New Jersey have reintroduced an anti-harassment and cyberbullying bill that’s named for a Rutgers student who committed suicide in September.  (Williams, The Record)



N.J. Senate panel approves former U.S. Rep. Ferguson’s nomination to N.J. sports authority

A state Senate panel approved the nomination of former U.S. Rep. Michael Ferguson to the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, a year after Gov. Chris Christie first submitted the nomination.  (Rizzo, The Star-Ledger)



N.J. Supreme Court rules against Board of Public Utilities’ plan to raise energy costs

New Jersey’s Supreme Court has told the Board of Public Utilities to go back to square one on a plan that could have raised energy costs by an estimated $50 million.  (The Associated Press)



Move to lease Monmouth Park continues as eight parties submit checks

Morris Bailey’s interest in operating Monmouth Park goes well beyond simply adding another expensive toy to his collection.  (Luicci, The Star-Ledger)



Racetrack gets court OK to kick off season

A federal bankruptcy court judge on Thursday gave New Jersey Motorsports Park the leeway it requested to operate while its Chapter 11 petition goes through the court.  (Smith, The Daily Journal)



School districts adapt to crisis

The shocking and troubling allegations about a Pine Hill art teacher accused of having “conversations of a sexual nature” with 10 students, have other school districts questioning how to proceed in a similar case.  (Rothschild, Courier-Post)



Two troubled charter schools are quietly put on probation

In a state now with 73 operating charter schools, the list of schools that didn’t make it over the last 15 years is about half the length: 35 charter schools that either saw their charters revoked or gave them up. Another five never got off the ground.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



Illinois fires back at Chris Christie

That higher office New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is running for? Turns out it’s governor of Illinois.

But Christie’s salvos against that state’s current Democratic governor, Pat Quinn, have brought return fire from a pro-business group in Chicago.  (Tyrrell, New Jersey Newsroom)



New Jersey county’s Democratic freeholder a private public official

Just over four years since her reinvigorated Democratic Party made its first serious raid on Burlington County government, Mary Anne Reinhart stands alone.  (Hefler, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Sparta woman explains “hot and sexy” remark about Christie at Hopatcong meeting

The Sparta woman whose “hot and sexy” compliment momentarily left Gov. Chris Christie speechless on Wednesday fulfilled his request the next morning — she jotted a laudatory letter to his wife.  (Jennings, Daily Record)|head



N.J. first lady Mary Pat Christie works to help ex-offenders, recovering addicts

The recovering addicts filed into the basement room of a drug rehabilitation center in Newark. They sat on folding chairs under fluorescent lights and, one at a time, stood to share their stories.  (Megerian, The Star-Ledger)



From the Back Room



Redistricting and the Politics of Reform

Veteran Statehouse reporter Mark Magyar and law firm goliath Donald Scarinci authored “Redistricting and the Politics of Reform,” which The Independent Center, Inc. published last year in time for 2011 redistricting.  (Staff, PolitickerNJ)






Professor Rosenthal…breaks the tie

Professor Alan Rosenthal was my mentor at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University in the early 1980s.  Later, when I was pursuing a PhD, it was Dr. Rosenthal who encouraged me many times not to quit.  His advice paid off.   (Adubato, PolitickerNJ)



Let’s not all go to the lobby

Once upon a time, when you went to the movies an ad would pop up on screen saying “Let’s all go to the lobby.” The singing and dancing snacks were coaxing moviegoers to get up and open wallets at the concession stand.  (Doblin, The Record)



Newark’s money-shifting games are just a snow job

Newark Mayor Cory Booker didn’t have much to say about the city budget when he gave his State of the City address this month. 

Newark stared down a 2010 deficit of more than $150 million and came out with a balanced budget, he said.  (Whitlow, The Star-Ledget)



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  Morning News Digest: March 11, 2011