Morning News Digest: April 14, 2011



Morning News Digest: April 14, 2011


By Missy Rebovich

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Headline grabbing D challenger? Republicans say they’ve been there, done that

It was four years ago and Bush was tanking badly and Democrats loved it, using voter angst to hungrily seek new territory, including Burlington County, where the Norcross machine had visions of post-election photo ops reminiscent of Neil Armstrong on the moon.   (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Filed – but not yet in stone – Malone says if he runs it won’t be a ‘claymation death match’

Veteran Assemblyman Joe Malone (R-30) filed to run for re-election, but he hasn’t yet decided whether he’s going to run.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Christie proposes 7-bill package to change tenure to demand accountability and reward good teachers

Gov. Christie Wednesday sent to the Legislature a package of seven bills that he maintains would get at the root of problems in New Jersey’s public schools by changing the teacher tenure system to reward the best and brightest educators.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



NJEA President Keshishian: Christie’s teacher tenure proposals ‘have no basis in reality’

Barbara Keshishian, president of the New Jersey Education Association, the statewide teachers’ early Wednesday evening issue a statement in response to Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed seven-bill package to alter the tenure standards for public school educators, provide merit pay for good teachers and allow school districts to opt out of Civil Service System protections for employees.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



Christie to expand interdistrict school program

The Christie administration on Thursday will announce a major expansion of its program allowing children to attend schools outside their home districts with the approval of 56 new districts – including 16 in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester Counties, according to the state Department of Education.  (Katz, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Gov. Christie considers rescheduling N.J. primary to boost influence in presidential race

The conventional wisdom has always been the earliest presidential primaries have the biggest impact. That’s why New Jersey moved its contest to February for the 2008 race.  (Megerian, The Star-Ledger)



New Jersey governor criticizes state senator for taking salary, pension

Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday lashed out at a state senator who is a frequent critic for collecting a pension and salary at the same time.  (DeFalco, The Associated Press)



New Jersey voters cool to Christie’s presidential bid, poll says

While New Jersey Governor Chris Christie may be a rising star in the Republican Party, just one- fifth of the state’s voters say they’d support any bid for the White House in 2012, according to Rutgers-Eagleton poll.  (Dopp, Bloomberg)



N.J. officials tout Christie’s five-year, $8B transportation plan

Follically challenged state Transportation Commissioner Jim Simpson got a laugh from the audience by saying he said he had a full head of hair when he took the job 15 months ago.  (Frassinelli, The Star-Ledger)



N.J. gave $2.3M in clothing allowance to workers who don’t wear uniforms, report shows

The state last year paid out $2.3 million for clothing allowances to “white collar” workers who do not wear special clothes or uniforms to work, a report released Wednesday by the state comptroller concludes.  (Gibson, The Star-Ledger)



Thousands of N.J. seniors may be falsely claiming to be eligible for tax freeze program, audit finds

Thousands of New Jersey seniors may be trying to cheat the government by claiming they are eligible for the “senior freeze” program, a reimbursement meant to protect the elderly and disabled from rising property taxes, according to a state audit.  (DeMarco, The Star-Ledger)



Christie doubts racetrack deal will go through

Governor Christie expressed some skepticism on Wednesday that New York State horseman Jeff Gural would be able to meet Friday’s deadline to complete a deal to take over the Meadowlands Racetrack. Such a deal appears to be the only way for the 35-year-old track to keep running a live card beyond a handful of dates this summer.  (Brennan and Reitmeyer, The Record)



U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell warns federal spending cuts could have dire consequences for N.J. communities

A House member from New Jersey today said the budget deal could have dire consequences for some cities and towns hoping for federal grants for firehouses, senior centers and youth programs.  (Strunsky, The Star-Ledger)



Addiego campaign: Lewis gesture an old tactic

First-time Democratic candidate Carl Lewis Wednesday extended an olive branch to incumbent Sen. Dawn Marie Addiego in hopes of laying ground rules for a civil campaign.  (Roh, Gannett)



Vineland Development Center supporters won’t give up fight against state closing

Vineland Developmental Center proponents said they will continue to fight to stop the facility’s proposed closing, despite Gov. Chris Christie indicating on Tuesday that closure is nearly a sure thing.  (Barlas, Press of Atlantic City)



NJSIAA official: Future still uncertain

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association continues to face an uncertain future.  (McGarry, Press of Atlantic City)



Plans to revitalize A.C. unveiled

Government agencies and private businesses are looking to revitalize Atlantic City’s downtown as another way to help the struggling gambling resort thrive.  (Parry, The Associated Press)



Atlantic City Council votes to retain control over Tourism District planning and zoning procedures – and Gov. Christie is not pleased

The majority of City Council supported a measure to allow the city – not state officials – to retain control over planning and zoning procedures in the Tourism District, a vote that sparked criticism from Gov. Chris Christie.  (Previti, Press of Atlantic City)



Friends, colleagues mourn Rose McConnell, former Somerset County, North Plainfield GOP leader

Rose McConnell’s parting words to the Courier News, voiced during a September 2009 interview that followed her decision to leave her native Central Jersey and move to Massachusetts to live with relatives, still evoke smiles in those who knew her.  (Spivey and Reed, Gannett)



Turnpike Authority must now deal with erosion from Garden State Parkway tree-clearing project in southern New Jersey

The Garden State Parkway tree-clearing project has left stumps, bare earth and mud along the roadway, as well as what may be immediate erosion issues.  (Harper, Press of Atlantic City)



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Ruiz touts continued work on tenure reform

Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz, (D-29) Essex, chair of the Senate Education Committee, responded to Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed package of educational reform measures Wednesday by saying she has been working for some time tor reform the tenure laws.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



Lance calls on Obama to work with Congress toward deficit reduction

N.J. Congressman Leonard Lance, in the wake of President Obama’s speech on the nation’s economy, called on the president Wednesday to work with Congress on a long-term deficit-reduction plan without raising taxes.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



Prisons and parole examined by State Budget Committee

The Department of Corrections and State Parole Board officials testified before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Wednesday, with early inmate release issues at hand.  (Carroll, State Street Wire)



Labor Dept. touts crackdown on unemployment insurance fraud

The state Labor Department Wednesday highlighted the growing economy, as evidenced by more jobs being created, and assured the state Chamber of Commerce at a breakfast meeting that it is cracking down on unemployment insurance fraud.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



From the Back Room 



Addiego turns down Lewis

Showing a willingness to scrap early, the campaign of state Sen. Dawn Marie Addiego (R-8) poked Olympian Carl Lewis in the eye in response to his email blast lunch invite to the incumbent…  (Staff, PolitickerNJ)






Attempt to question Donovan doesn’t pay

Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan stayed behind closed doors when I paid an impromptu visit to her office Tuesday.  (Stile, The Record)



George Norcross: ‘I’m definitely not a far-left liberal Democrat’

Political powerbroker George E. Norcross III rarely gives lengthy on-the-record interviews. That hasn’t stopped journalists (including yours truly) from devoting miles of ink to him.  (Roh, Gannett)



Tea-partiers need to wake up and smell the coffee

So much for the theory that there’s some sort of evil genius behind the tea party movement. 

The events of this week should permanently disprove that notion. The filing deadline for the June 7 primary was Monday. It passed without the tea parties mounting a meaningful challenge to the many mainstream Republican legislators they spend so much time criticizing for their big-borrowing and big-spending habits.  (Mulshine, The Star-Ledger)



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Morning News Digest: April 14, 2011