Morning News Digest: March 9, 2011

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In Spicuzzo aftermath, fight for Middlesex control pits McCormac against Smith

Living with the chasm that opened up yesterday and suctioned Middlesex County Chairman Joe Spicuzzo out of power, Middlesex Democrats worry about a party organization at odds with itself, feeding itself into submission by slow degrees.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Christie to Spicuzzo: Time to go

Gov. Chris Christie Tuesday called on former Middlesex County Sheriff Joe Spicuzzo to step down from his post at the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Carteret mayor to seek county Democratic Party chairman’s seat

When Middlesex County Democrats elect a new chairman in June, Carteret Mayor Daniel Reiman is hoping his name will be the one selected.  (Russell, Gannett)



Bergen County Democrats elect new chairman

Louis Stellato, a former Lyndhurst mayor, won an uncontested election Tuesday night to become the new head of the Bergen County Democratic Organization.  (Gartland, The Record)



NJ seeks rail money Florida rejected

New Jersey wants the $2.4 billion in high speed rail money that Florida Gov. Rick Scott has rejected.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., asked Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood at a hearing today if that money could redirected to the Northeast Corridor.  (Chebium, Asbury Park Press)



Gov. Christie announces Superior Court judge nomination before bar association finishes review

Before he announced he would nominate Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll to be a Superior Court judge last week, Gov. Chris Christie took the usual step of asking the New Jersey State Bar Association to vet his candidate.  (Rizzo, The Star-Ledger)



Sweeney plan removes state aid

State Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney is expected to announce today a proposal to give a state commission power to take away state aid from towns, school districts and other government bodies that refuse to enter a shared services arrangement.  (Method, Courier-Post)|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s



N.J. League of Municipalities president urges legislators to provide more aid

Buena Vista Mayor Chuck Chiarello, president of the League of Municipalities, told the Assembly Budget Committee Tuesday giving property taxpayers as much financial relief as possible in the proposed $29.4 billion 2011-12 state budget should be part of Gov. Chris Christie’s “New Normal” government spending program.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



N.J. budget proposal would slash jobs of teachers of the blind

Teresa Cerutti has taught the blind for more than 25 years. She has helped hundreds learn Braille. She works with toddlers and adults, teaching them to shave when they can’t see their face and navigate their neighborhood when they can’t read street signs.  (Goldberg, The Star-Ledger)



Dow nabbing public officials in corruption busts

State Attorney General Paula T. Dow is racking up a high head count in corruption busts of public officials in her first year on the job.  (Jordan, Gannett)



Sports betting ban still stands as suit is rejected

Backers of sports betting at New Jersey casinos and racetracks suffered a setback Tuesday when a federal district judge threw out a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a 1992 law banning most states from offering sports betting.  (Brennan, The Record)



Dems block plan to use $13M for fort company

A proposal to use $13 million in state government bond proceeds for the startup of a technology company at Fort Monmouth and other projects was blocked Tuesday when Democrats complained they didn’t have enough information about the plans.  (Jordan, Asbury Park Press)



Advocates: Cuts would hurt the most vulnerable

Social services advocates said the state’s effort to cut costs would hurt substance abuse and mental health patients, families who lack of health insurance and nursing home residents.  (Method, Asbury Park Press)



Funding cuts hurt Central Jersey women’s clinics

With state funding to family planning agencies eliminated, area women’s health centers are feeling the pinch, and officials fear the situation might worsen.  (Loyer, Gannett)



Redistricting could cause shuffle in Cumberland County, First District election

The coming redrawing of New Jersey’s 40 legislative districts could result in some Cumberland County municipalities making the switch from the state’s Third District to the First District, according to officials.  (Laday, News of Cumberland County)



Bill would OK free beach badges for military

Legislation that would allow New Jersey towns to give free beach badges to active military personnel and their immediate families is a step closer to a vote in the state Assembly.  (Larsen, Asbury Park Press)



Day laborers’ center planned in Plainfield

A state assemblyman and a local property owner are collaborating on a plan to take some of the city’s many day laborers off the streets and into a safer work environment.  (Spivey, Gannett)



Safety unions plead for rehiring

Less than 24 hours after emergency responders rescued six people from the roof of a burning building in North Camden, representatives from unions for the city’s police officers and firefighters went before city council in an appeal to make long-talked-about rehires happen.  (Murray, Courier-Post)



Fight to keep funds turns personal

A second wave of New Jerseyans told lawmakers Tuesday to preserve funding for people with disabilities, including those with visual impairments and residents of psychiatric hospitals.  (Young, The Record)



Newark’s interim super, calming the waters during a troubled time

Deborah Terrell, a veteran Newark teacher, principal and administrator, stepped into a job that wasn’t for the faint of heart. And her first month as interim superintendent of Newark Public Schools made the word “transition” an understatement.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



Wildwood mayor indicted on misconduct charges

A Cape May County grand jury Tuesday indicted Wildwood Mayor Gary DeMarzo on criminal misconduct charges. He is accused of using public funds to pay for his defense after he was sued by political rivals for holding public office at the same time he was a local police officer.  (Urgo, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Councilman quits over sex charges

A borough councilman accused of urging young boys to engage in sexual activity has resigned.

Charles “Chuck” Reilly, who allegedly abused his position as a local teacher, submitted a resignation letter Tuesday, said Pine Hill Mayor Fred Costantino.  (Walsh, Courier-Post)|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE



From the Back Room



Stellato in as BCDO chair

Former Lyndhurst Mayor Lou Stellato became the new chairman of the Bergen County Democratic Organization (BCDO) tonight.  (Staff, PolitickerNJ)



Gonzalez steps down as Essex freeholder

As part of a pretrial agreement in state superior court struck last week for his role as an organizer who submitted faulty camaign ballots in 2007, Sammy Gonzalez today gave up his Freeholder seat and his public job in the office of Newark North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos.  (Staff, PolitickerNJ)






The Democratic Party crack-up

Last week’s public demonstration by police and fire unions protesting common-sense reforms to employee compensation confirmed a Democratic Party uninterested in solving the problem of high property taxes for middle-class taxpayers, and bodes ill for that party’s claim to ever represent the “center” of NJ’s electorate for years to come.  (Michaels, PolitickerNJ)



Christie as a role model for governors

Chris Christie is a bit of a braggart, so it came as no surprise last month when he devoted several minutes of his budget speech to congratulating himself on his fiscal stewardship.  (Ahearn, The Record)



Even with reform, state pensions may deteriorate

Lawmakers with two brain cells to rub together know public employee pension reform is necessary to save the system, even though many would rather it be Reform Light. The bad news is the system may continue to deteriorate even with meaningful reform.  (Ingle, Asbury Park Press)



The New Jersey budget: Taking the long view

Public hearings on the state budget began Monday in Paramus and continued Tuesday in Trenton. These hearings offer everyone the chance to have his or her say on next year’s state spending priorities as they were laid out by Governor Christie in his budget address two weeks ago.  (Forsberg, New Jersey Newsroom)



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  Morning News Digest: March 9, 2011