Morning News Digest: April 18, 2011



Morning News Digest: April 18, 2011


By Missy Rebovich

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Winners and Losers: Week of April 11th

With all of the safe districts left intact for the general “election,” the most compelling decision of the season could very well prove to be whether the YouTube heads of New Jersey think Carl Lewis’s now-infamous bludgeoning of the National Anthem is actually worse than Cuba Gooding, Sr.’s.

But then again, there’s always LD 2 and LD 38 – at the very least.  (Staff, PolitickerNJ)



Republicans challenge Lewis residency

Burlington County Republicans Friday presented a challenge to Olympic track star Carl Lewis’ Senate candidacy, saying Lewis has not lived in New Jersey for the required four years.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



In LD 16, Coyle exits the race, plans to retire from Assembly at end of term

After vowing to hit redistricting head on with a move to Princeton that would keep her in the 16th District, Assemblywoman Denise Coyle, (R-16), of Bernards Township today announced that she is withdrawing her candidacy for re-election.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Christie takes conservatism beyond fiscal issues

In the throes of New Jersey’s financial crisis, Gov. Chris Christie vaulted into office as a strict fiscal conservative. In his first year in the job, he won national attention as a tough-talking manager whose budget-slashing, union-bashing ways seemed to be all about the money.  (Pérez-Peña, The New York Times)



Guadagno blasts Council on the Arts for awarding $300K in no-bid contracts

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno took another slap at the New Jersey State Council on the Arts last week, telling lawmakers that the council needed better oversight after a routine audit discovered it awarded more than $300,000 in no-bid contracts.  (McGlone, The Star-Ledger)



Menendez to Dems: Stay away from Christie

Enough, already!

New Jersey’s leading Democrat is fed up with top party members’ cozying up to Republican Gov. Chris Christie — and he’s imploring them to remember that Christie isn’t their friend.  (Margolin, New York Post)



Budget impact unclear

The budget deal is done, but the real impact on New Jersey from the largest spending cut in United States history will not be clear for a while.  (Jackson, The Record)



Evaluating New Jersey’s teachers: A mosaic of practices and processes

At one school in Bergen County, the teacher evaluation is left entirely to the principal, using a hybrid system for grading his 35 staffers, a steady stream of classroom observations and a lot of weekends reading lesson plans.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



Pension talks fly under the radar

Two months ago, Wall Street downgraded New Jersey’s credit rating largely over concerns about the state’s grossly underfunded pension system. Lawmakers have yet to take up several bills that sponsors say would reform the system.  (Reitmeyer, The Record)



Ex-congressman becomes sports authority chairman

As a former four-term congressman who also was a co-chairman of Chris Christie’s 2009 gubernatorial campaign, Mike Ferguson had earned his pick of any job or appointment within the Christie administration.  (Jordan, Gannett)



Poll: 53 pct. In NJ favor legalized sports betting

Though a public vote is still seven months away and the National Football League is in a deep labor freeze, a new poll finds that 53 percent of New Jersey voters support allowing legal sports betting at Atlantic City’s casinos and at the state’s horse tracks.  (Parry, The Associated Press)



Bills call for more Web info from N.J.

Dozens of New Jersey’s government-related authorities, commissions, and agencies do not have an online presence, and critics say most of those that do fail to post basic information about their work and finances.  (Shipkowski, The Associated Press)



New Jersey seeks to limit number of fracking sites

New Jersey wants to limit the number of natural gas wells drilled in the Delaware River Basin when a moratorium is lifted on hydraulic fracturing, a drilling technique that involves injecting huge volumes of water to extract the fuel from shale.  (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)



NJ lawmakers look to ease liquor rules

It is among the many idiosyncrasies of life in New Jersey, like $8 beach badges and full-service-only gas stations. 

Unlike in some other states, diners at many New Jersey restaurants can’t order a glass of wine with dinner, nor can shoppers pick up a six-pack of beer at most supermarkets.  (Mullen, Gannett)



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Weekly Roundup: Week of April 11


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Dressel: With cap in place, main street waiting on State Street for ‘promised’ reforms

As the likelihood of toolkit legislation wanes, League of Municipalities Executive Director Bill Dressel is wondering how the policy can move so quickly to the political, i.e. how have money-saving methods already been reduced to campaign fodder.  (Carroll, State Street Wire)



Treasury Dept. says state revenue collections slightly higher than forecast

Revenue collections through the end of March are meeting the Treasury Department’s revised forecasts as the state enters the critical fourth quarter of fiscal 2011, Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff said in a release late Friday.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



Conaway meets with president over Medicare, Medicaid

Doctor and Assemblyman Herb Conaway, (D-7), Burlington, met with President Obama on Friday at the White House to discuss plans to reform and strengthen Medicare and Medicaid by reducing waste and improving quality of care.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



Christie says union inaction threatens jobs, racing at Meadowlands

Gov. Chris Christie today called Thursday’s inaction by the union representing the mutuel clerks at Meadowlands Racetrack on a proposal from prospective track operator Jeff Gural a potentially fatal obstacle to continuing racing operations at the East Rutherford facility.  (Staff, State Street Wire)






Infrastructure helps lure top events to Garden State

New Jersey’s license plate says we are the Garden State. Our berries and tomatoes are second to none, but tourism is where we really bring new money into the state. Even as the economy struggled last year, our tourism take was up a tick. This shows how enticing it is to visit New Jersey.  (Sanzari, NJBIZ)



Governor homes his best tales

Chris Christie stalked the roped-off area in the middle of his audience like a professional wrestler, microphone in hand, mugging for the masses and delivering the kind of verbal body blows people have come to expect from New Jersey’s combative governor.  (Schoonejongen, Gannett)



In case you missed it 



Christie estimates changes in employee benefits will save $870M a year

Gov. Chris Christie estimates his plan to overhaul the state’s public employee health benefits system will save more than $870 million a year by 2014 by shifting significant percentage of the costs to employees and future retirees, according to the Treasury Department.  (Renshaw, The Star-Ledger)



Christie aides say water supply commission was hostile to oversight

New Jersey’s largest water-supply commission was publicly shamed last month as Governor Christie forced the resignation of four leading officials of the Wanaque-based agency.  (Pillets, The Record)



Christie threatens to close Meadowlands Racetrack in 3 weeks if union doesn’t vote on paycuts

Saying a key union has thrown up a “potentially fatal obstacle” to live harness racing in New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie said today that he will shutter the Meadowlands Racetrack in three weeks if the group does not vote on a proposal to keep the financially troubled facility open.  (Spoto, The Star-Ledger)



Mary Pat Christie, ‘simpatico’ in political and family affairs

Mary Pat Christie arrives at a back door to the YMCA in Mount Laurel, ducks into a locker room to put herself together (not much makeup, sensible black boots paired with a knit plaid skirt), and emerges in the hallway.  (Rosenberg, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Lawmakers’ letter says Christie comment advocates violence toward women

Two Democratic lawmakers sent letters Friday to all 120 New Jersey legislators, urging them to condemn Gov. Chris Christie’s suggestion that the media “take the bat out” on a 76-year-old state senator who criticized him.  (Delli Santi, The Associated Press)|topnews|text|State



State spend $16.4 million to fuel fleet of 9,082 cars in fiscal 2010, Treasury says

When Lower Township teacher Eileen Oleksiak-Hall was given a chance to ask a question of Gov. Chris Christie last week during a public forum in Cape May County, she put him on the spot about state vehicles.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)



N.J. Republicans report fund-raising success

Happy days, it seems, are here again for the New Jersey Republican Party.

In a news release Friday, the party said it raised $941,000 between Jan. 1 and March 31, heralding the figure as “the most raised by the party since Gov. Christie was elected.”  (Burton, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez comes to Weehawken to push 11-point plan to lower prices at gas pump; oil industry spokesman says it’s not that simple, due to costs that can’t be controlled

New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez appeared in Weehawken yesterday to outline an 11-point plan he said will control the “skyrocketing price of gas at the pump.”  (McDonald, The Jersey Journal)



Carl Lewis Exclusive Interview: Ex-Olympian seeks to combat mediocrity

Carl Lewis, Olympic track icon, stands on the football field at his alma mater here and watches young men run track.  (Whittaker, Gannett)



GOP challenges Carl Lewis’ eligibility

Burlington County Republicans are challenging former Olympian Carl Lewis’s eligibility to run as a Democratic candidate for state Senate.  (Roh, Gannett)



Legal Services of N.J. fighting to help the poor overcome a growing barrier to justice

It’s a cliché line from countless big-screen courtroom dramas: “I hope you have a good lawyer.”
For poor people in New Jersey, that’s often too much to ask.  (Megerian, The Star-Ledger)



N.J. hotline helps those who fought in war

A crisis hotline that helped the New Jersey National Guard evade an epidemic of suicide in the armed forces is expanding to serve the Army’s largest stateside community at Fort Hood in Texas. Military officials and veterans service agencies are discussing how they can best use the system to reach out to troubled soldiers and veterans anywhere.  (Moore, Gannett)|head



County lockups discuss merger

The Bergen and Passaic county administrations are discussing whether to merge their respective jail operations, as well as some bulk purchases of goods for their agencies, Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan said Friday.  (Gartland, The Record)



About four of 10 new teachers in New Jersey do not attain tenure after their first three years, says NJEA

About four of every 10 new teachers do not attain tenure after their first three years, data compiled by the New Jersey Education Association show.  (D’Amico, Press of Atlantic City)



Federal ruling threatens N.J. subsidy for new power plants

A program by the state offering subsidies for the construction of several new power plants has been short-circuited by new federal regulations that may well kill all three projects.  (Caroom, The Star-Ledger)



Corzine: Global outlook still vital

Fresh off a democracy-promoting trip to Nigeria, former New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine said it was a mistake for America to use fiscal woes as an excuse to withdraw from the world.  (Roh, Gannett)



School boards confront great uncertainty

Last year at this time — in the weeks leading up to school elections — rhetoric about public schools had reached a crescendo.  (Rothschild, Gannett)



Tea Party members from across N.J. gather in East Windsor

Coming together to discuss strategies to win control of the Statehouse, tea party members from across the state kicked off their “citizens convention” this morning.  (Gibson, The Star-Ledger)



Christie says widening of Garden State Parkway between Manakawkin and Somers Point will move forward

The state is moving forward with plans to add a third lane to the Garden State Parkway between milepost 30 in Somers Point and milepost 63 in Stafford Township.  (Landau, Press of Atlantic City)



Decision in Bonds perjury trial could be overturned, Gov. Christie says

Gov. Chris Christie, a former U.S. attorney, said the decision in the Barry Bonds perjury trial could be overturned because of the oddity of the decision.  (Gibson, The Star-Ledger)



People and Power: State Sen. Jeff Van Drew loves his hearings

State budget hearings may focus at times on the big picture: the size of the state’s deficit or the scale of planned cuts.  (Fletcher, Press of Atlantic City)


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Morning News Digest: April 18, 2011