Morning News Digest: April 11, 2011



Morning News Digest: April 11, 2011


By Missy Rebovich

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Lewis: ‘My political decision…’

Nine time Olympic Gold medalist Carl Lewis of Medford appears ready to run for state senate as a Democrat in the 8th Legislative District.  (Staff, PolitickerNJ)



Gardner not going quietly

Hawthorne Democrat Jeff Gardner is shooting for consideration in Sunday’s Bergen County convention despite the announcement by party leaders that they plan to support another candidate for the vacant Assembly seat.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Christie: Vote to approve school budgets shouldn’t be automatic, despite state aid increases

Just because school districts received increases to their state aid does not mean residents should automatically vote to approve those budgets, Gov. Chris Christie said Friday at a meeting with the New Jersey Press Media editorial board.  (Manochio, Gannett)|head



Poll: Majority of New Jerseyans support sharing services to cut costs

A majority of New Jerseyans on both sides of the aisle say sharing services is a good idea, according to a poll released today.  (DeMarco, The Star-Ledger)



Poll inconclusive on fate of NJ school budgets

A year after school budgets were defeated in record numbers, there are no strong clues on what New Jersey voters will do when the elections are held April 27, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released Thursday.  (Jordan, Gannett)



Cape May County residents prepare questions for Gov. Chris Christie’s visit Tuesday

Villas resident Joe Winters speaks out at nearly every Township Council meeting about high property taxes. On Tuesday afternoon, the retired carpenter is hoping for a bigger stage.

Winters is one of the local residents planning to attend Gov. Chris Christie’s town hall meeting at the Cape May Airport. After the governor speaks for about half an hour, beginning at 3 p.m., he is then expected to field about one hour of questions from the public.  (Degener, Gannett)



Court ruling could mean NJ budget scramble

Gov. Chris Christie is warning that if the state Supreme Court rules the way it usually does on a long-running school funding case, it could doom other state services.  (Delli Santi, The Associated Press)



Abbott preschools continue to be bright spot

For all the debate over Abbott v. Burke and how much New Jersey’s urban schools should receive in funding, one topic is seeing less argument these days: the value of the state’s court-ordered preschool.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



Assemblyman John Burzichelli defends methods described in NJSIAA report

Assemblyman John Burzichelli lashed out at the state’s governing body for high school athletics Sunday after examining a report compiled by the organization that criticized the Gloucester Democrat for plotting a state takeover behind the scenes.  (Friedman and Stanmyre, The Star-Ledger)



Bill that would promote car-sharing in New Jersey advances in Assembly

Legislation that would promote car-sharing initiatives in New Jersey has cleared a hurdle in the state Assembly.  (The Associated Press)



Legislators want to tighten rules for vehicles bought by NJ Transit

The commuter bus at your stop may have the name of a private carrier in big letters on the side, but in most cases, it was purchased by NJ Transit and leased to that carrier.  (Higgs, Gannett)



N.J. Democrats get energized

New Jersey Democratic activists are getting an injection of tiger blood this year.

A dozen or so Democrats in the largely uncompetitive tri-county region on Sunday welcomed Marie Corfield, the Flemington teacher who’s parlayed a YouTube moment with Gov. Chris Christie into a grass-roots-fueled Assembly candidacy.  (Roh, Gannett)



GOP readies its slates along new battle lines

Gloucester County Republicans’ loss is Cumberland’s gain, the GOP chairman there said.

“I’m excited there’s an incumbent assemblyman running in the 3rd Legislative District,” said Cumberland County Regular Republican Organization Chairman Bob Greco on Sunday.  (Roh, Gannett)



Democrats pick slates for county posts, Legislature

Jubilant after the “best” convention in a decade, Bergen County Democrats nominated their county and state candidates at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ hall on Sunday.  (Bautista, The Record)



Newark school woes transcend money

Six months after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg appeared on Oprah to give $100 million to improve Newark’s strapped and struggling schools, $99 million is still sitting in the bank.  (Moore, USA Today)



Medicaid debate pulls Cuomo, Christie apart

The common ground between governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie has found its limit.

The national debate over Medicaid has exposed the first major policy rift between the Democrat of New York and the Republican of New Jersey, both rising st ars in their respective parties.  (Gershman, The Wall Street Journal)



Developer’s bid seen as front-runner seeks lease to run Monmouth Park

New York developer Morris Bailey pulled off a complicated deal 20 years ago to acquire a Manhattan merchant center that had been owned by Ferdinand E. Marcos, the former Philippine president and strongman accused of looting his government’s treasury and defrauding banks to buy it and other parcels.  (Jordan, Gannett)



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Ski helmets for kids and propane for plumbers: Christie signs seven bills into law

Gov. Chris Christie signed some bills into law today, including a few with obscure applications.  (Carroll, State Street Wire)



Now law, Vitale bill improves data on hospital infections

A new law will allow the state to collect more detailed information regarding infection data at hospitals and other health care facilities.  (Hassan, State Street Wire)



Bipartisan red-tape reduction via agency rule extensions

The lifespan of rules in New Jersey just got a little bit longer. Gov. Chris Christie saigned an amendment to the “Administrative Procedure Act” that extends the expiration date of state agency rules from five years to seven, among other changes.  (Carroll, State Street Wire)



Restraining order bill signed into law

Legislation that would enable police and prosecutors to apply for a restraining order against a person charged with a crime but released without being detained was signed into law Friday.  (Hassan, State Street Wire)



From the Back Room 



Singleton in the 7th

Troy Singleton, who was Chief of Staff to former Democratic Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts, has been tapped to run for assembly in the 7th Legislative District.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Monmouth Dems convention results

Official Monmouth Democrats Slate nominated today.  (Staff, PolitickerNJ)






Pension and salary? It’s up to Legislature to end double dipping

Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo Jr. is a political friend of Gov. Chris Christie’s, and it’s truly one of those relationships about which it can be said, “With friends like him, who needs enemies?”  (Ingle, Gannett)



Meadowlands Racetrack needs much more than a new owner

On the TV screen above a row of betting windows, a horse named Phat Boy gallops in the mud of a faraway racetrack. Across the room, a man in a gray sweat shirt that proclaims “Elmwood Park Football” exhorts another horse on another TV screen in another part of America to “come on … come on … come on … aw … come … on.”  (Kelly, The Record)



Doughnut hole municipalities: Can they help set the tone for wholesale town mergers?

As the volume of New Jersey’s consolidation chorus continues to grow louder — encouraged by Gov. Chris Christie and others who say reducing government is the surest path to reducing property taxes — the state’s nearly two dozen “doughnut hole” towns find themselves easy targets.  (Namiotka, Gannett)|head



In case you missed it 



Favorability ratings for Obama and Christie drop slightly among New Jerseyans

President Obama’s and Gov. Chris Christie’s popularity with New Jersey voters has dropped 2 percentage points for each of them in the past two months, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton poll released Friday.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



Gov. Christie slams school aid: ‘A failed theory’

Gov. Chris Christie assailed the state Supreme Court again Friday, a day after his administration filed its defense against a lawsuit that calls for the state to ramp up funding for local public schools.  (Method, Gannett)



Christie believes New Jersey teachers should be judged with test scores

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is in the midst of a media push for his controversial plan to judge public school teachers based half on classroom evaluations and half on student scores on standardized tests.  (Tyrrell, New Jersey Newsroom)



Which children should get New Jersey’s funding?

New Jersey has long been under court order to provide extra funding for schools in low-income districts, and for the past 12 years, that has included full-day preschool. But now, facing dire budget cuts, some legislators are questioning whether the state’s education system can afford to boost the school readiness of 3- and 4-year-olds and would rather see the money spent on middle- and upper-income schools.  (Soloman, NPR)



N.J. Democrats say bill offering vouchers for students in failing public schools is too costly

When an Assembly committee recently advanced a bill offering scholarships for students in failing public schools to attend private schools of their choice, proponents said the legislation had enough votes to land on Gov. Chris Christie’s desk within weeks.  (Calefati, The Star-Ledger)



Barnegat Bay needs help, Christie says

Gov. Chris Christie hasn’t made up his mind on whether to sign legislation that would enable local governments in Ocean County to develop stormwater management plans and charge new development application fees in order to lessen pollution in the Barnegat Bay, but he has made up his mind about the health of the watershed.  (Schoonejongen, Gannett)



N.J. lawmaker says Rutgers students shouldn’t be forces to fund events like Snooki’s Q&A sessions

The average Rutgers University undergraduate pays more than $2,600 in mandatory student fees each year on top of their tuition to help pay for computer labs, the school paper and hundreds of lectures, concerts and other campus events.  (Heyboer, The Star-Ledger)



Polled N.J. voters back Obama’s decision to establish no-fly zone in Libya

New Jersey voters back the decision by President Barack Obama to establish a no-fly zone in Libya, according to a poll released today.  (Gibson, The Star-Ledger)



Democratic panels arrange candidates

The official Democratic organizations of Monmouth and Ocean counties held mini-conventions Saturday to endorse candidates for state legislative and countywide offices in the June 7 primary.  (Larsen, Gannett)



Latino Democrats endorse lawyer

A Bergen County-based Latino Democratic group is endorsing Marlene Caride of Ridgefield for a state Assembly seat in the recently redrawn 36th Legislative District.  (Gartland, The Record)



People and Power: Reforms by Republicans – state and federal – target Medicaid’s future

Streamlining Medicaid may be one of the big-ticket items in this year’s state budget.

But New Jersey is pursuing controversial reforms to the health plan that provides coverage for low-income residents, and its budget battle ties into a national fight over the future of the program.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)



Government workers in and around New Jersey pay much less for health care than those in other states

Unionized government workers in the Mid-Atlantic region contribute a much smaller portion toward the cost of their health care than do private workers and pay less even than any other public employees in the country, analysis of federal data shows.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)



Cape May County GOP chooses Wildwood attorney David DeWeese to run against state Senator Jeff Van Drew in 1st District race

Wildwood attorney David DeWeese has been chosen by the 1st District Republican Party to run against incumbent state Sen. Jeff Van Drew in November.  (Degener, Press of Atlantic City)



Shutdown accord eliminates $271 million NJ tunnel money

A late-night measure that prevented a federal government shutdown also ended any chance for New Jersey to use $271 million that Gov. Chris Christie rejected for the Trans-Hudson rail tunnel on some other transportation project in the Garden State.  (Chebium, Gannett)|head



N.J. gets $11M federal grant for low-performing schools

The federal Education Department is giving New Jersey an $11 million grant to pay for big changes at some of its lowest-performing schools.  (The Associated Press)



New Jersey’s poor feel worsening sting of budget cuts

At a Camden elementary school, a dozen girls squeal in protest as their instructor halts their onstage dance to Willow Smith’s hit song “Whip My Hair.”  (Rao, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



All in the family: Nepotism rears head yet again in N.J. politics

While New Jersey officials push for greater consolidation of government, what is mentioned less often is that doing so could mean laying off loved ones.  (Roh and Rosen, Gannett)|head



Layoffs costly for N.J. cities

Last year, cities and towns across New Jersey were forced to lay off thousands of employees to cope with budget woes, while momentum for benefit reform in Trenton pushed a record number of public workers into retirement.  (Renshaw, The Record)



Bridge gets $38.5M in funding

NJ Transit will get $38.5 million in federal stimulus dollars toward work on the 100-year-old Portal Bridge that crosses the Hackensack River between Kearny and Secaucus, Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez announced Friday.  (Rouse, The Record)



Cutting off UEZ funds short-sighted, says Asbury mayor

Jay Harman’s upscale windows and doors business in Asbury Park is a showcase for the state’s Urban Enterprise Zone program.  (Shields, Gannett)



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Morning News Digest: April 11, 2011