Morning News Digest: April 20, 2011



Morning News Digest: April 20, 2011


By Missy Rebovich

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Poll: Obama would win head to head match up over Christie

President Obama scored a hat trick over Gov. Chris Christie today as a poll released this morning shows the president besting the governor in job approval, likeability and in a head to head match up for president.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Breaking: New Jersey Attorney General seeking guidance on Medical marijuana law

New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow has requested guidance from the U.S. Attorney General on whether the state’s medical marijuana law presents legal issues for the licensed growers and dispensers of the drug or to state employees who monitor the law.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Lewis on the stand in Hamilton

He has not yet rendered his decision, but Administrative Law Judge John Schuster III this afternoon is weighing arguments by Republicans that legendary Olympian Carl Lewis should not be allowed to run for office in the 8th Legislative District based on residency.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



N.J. voters split on Gov. Christie’s performance, poll says

New Jersey voters are split on whether they approve of the job Gov. Chris Christie is doing, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released this morning.  (Friedman, The Star-Ledger)



In town hall meeting, Christie blasts Legislature’s pace

A jam-packed crowd of senior citizens laughed and gasped Tuesday as Gov. Christie delivered a 40-minute, point-by-point condemnation of the Democratic-controlled “do-nothing Legislature” that may have served as a preview of election season.  (Katz, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Businessman may challenge Menendez

John Crowley, a wealthy New Jersey businessman whose battle to save his children from a rare disease was made into the movie “Extraordinary Measures,” likely will run for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez next year, Crowley’s political adviser said Tuesday.  (Chebium, Gannett)|topnews|text|State



N.J. Republicans raise more than $1M in three months, while Democrats raise $657K

The last time the three major Republican committees had more money than the Democrats, Christie Whitman was governor, Lou Bega’s “Mambo No. 5” was burning up the charts, and some people were worried about the Y2K bug.  (Friedman, The Star-Ledger)



Glouco GOP leadership moves made to strengthen fundraising

Gloucester County’s GOP has announced two moves in its party leadership team Monday with the promotion of one official and the addition of another.  (Staff, Gannett)



New Jersey’s high court set to hear demands for spending for poor schools

The New Jersey Supreme Court is being asked to order that aid to the poorest school districts be restored to a level that complies with the state constitution, regardless of the budget crisis.  (Deprez and Voreacos, Bloomberg)



N.J. Senate President Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Oliver meet with unions to talk health care

Democratic leaders met with union officials this morning, and sources say the topic was overhauling health benefits.  (Gibson, The Star-Ledger)



Move on New Jersey health plan may cost towns but help power broker

In the last three years, hundreds of cities, towns and school districts in New Jersey have saved tens of millions of dollars on health insurance by dumping their private carriers and switching to a little-known benefits program run by the state.  (Halbfinger, The New York Times)



NJ Dem takes Medicare fight to the people

The meeting in a Fair Lawn diner Monday was billed as a way for Rep. Steve Rothman to hear what North Jersey residents thought about the Medicare-changing 2012 budget plan that House Republicans passed last week.  (Jackson, The Record)



Department of Community Affairs flunks state audit – again

A new audit of the state’s troubled weatherization program yesterday found widespread problems once again in the department overseeing the effort, allowing the agency delegated to disburse the funds to improperly spend federal grant money.  (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)



Legal bill to fight federal tunnel costs nearing $1 million

The legal cost of fighting the federal government’s $271 million bill for an unfinished Hudson River rail tunnel project has surpassed $800,000, invoices filed with the state show.  (Rouse, The Record)



With cap adjustments, 69 school budgets going over 2 percent

One in 10 districts will be asking voters next week to approve school budgets with permitted increases above the 2 percent recommended in the new tax levy cap, thanks to the few exemptions remaining in the law.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



Asbury Park school audit digs into NJ’s big spender

The Monmouth County school district is Gov. Chris Christie’s favorite target — well, maybe second favorite target — when it comes to criticizing New Jersey’s education establishment.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



Assemblyman urges Little Falls residents to lobby for flood relief

Since the state released its action plan for resolving Passaic River flooding, crowds of people who say they are tired of inaction have grown larger and louder at several public events.  (Lawrence, The Record)



Tannous ending candidacy for Assembly seat in 25th District

A Roxbury Republican seeking a state Assembly nomination in the 25th Legislative District said Tuesday he is ending his candidacy after one of the district’s two Republican incumbents challenged the validity of his nominating petitions.  (Jennings, Gannett)



N.J. arts council director resigns after months-long standoff with Lt. Gov. Guadagno

After a nine-month standoff during which Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno repeatedly asked him to resign, the executive director of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts has given in.  (McGlone, The Star-Ledger)



Medford, N.J. manager says layoff request is moral issue

Citing morality, Medford’s acting Manager requested Tuesday that council members lay him off in light of recent cuts to the city’s police force. Stephen Addezio described his decision as a “difficult choice,” but said he wanted to be the first to go.  (Cruz, New Jersey Newsroom)



N.J. panel gets control of some A.C. areas

A plan to clean up and police the city boardwalk and redevelop the surrounding area was accelerated Tuesday when a state authority established the Atlantic City Tourism District, touted as a way to boost the ailing casinos and related businesses.  (Jordan, Gannett)



Ex-Bergen official sues over firing

Matthew McHale, the former executive director of Bergen County’s primary bonding agency, is suing County Executive Kathleen Donovan and the Bergen County Improvement Authority for firing him in January.  (Gartland, The Record)



$200M goes to saving space in New Jersey

The gridlock that had kept county preservation programs in limbo the past few months appears to have finally eased.  (Scott, Gloucester County Times)



Revel, unions sign labor agreement for $2.4 billion casino; about 1,800 workers already on site

They depleted their savings accounts, struggled to pay their bills and performed odd jobs just to scratch out a living during a lengthy layoff from the $2.4 billion Revel casino project.  (Wittkowski, Press of Atlantic City)



State Police commander says law enforcement in Tourism District to help entire city

The focus Tuesday may have been on the boundaries of the city’s new Tourism District, but for the man tasked with overseeing public safety in the zone, it’s all about erasing lines.  (Cohen, Press of Atlantic City)



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A peculiar pairing, Sarlo and Lonegan want cap-and-trade repeal; enviros wince

The right-wing organization Americans for Prosperity is teaming with left-of-center state Sen. Paul Sarlo, (D-36), of Wood-Ridge, to ask the state to withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) Cap & Trade Program.  (Carroll, PolitickerNJ)



N.J. issues formal request for firms interested in wind farms leases off coast

The Christie Administration is issuing a formal request for firms interested in acquiring leases through the federal government for the construction of wind farms off the coast of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced Tuesday.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



Lautenberg seeks meeting with new security chief at Newark airport

U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) said Tuesday he wanted to meet with the new security leadership at Newark Liberty International Airport.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



Labeled a ‘do-nothing’ bunch, Dems strike back

Made public enemy number one on the governor’s reform tour the Democratic majority – without the captive audience in tow – responded Tuesday to Chris Christie’s charge at his Jackson town hall meeting that they’re doing nothing.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



Christie will not raise taxes if required to find additional school funding

Continuing to believe the Abbott v. Burke Supreme Court decision on state funding for the poorest school districts is a “failed legal theory,” Gov. Chris Christie reiterated Tuesday he will not raise taxes if the Supreme Court decides to require the state to provide an additional $1.6 billion.  (Hassan, State Street Wire)



From the Back Room



Mercer Democrats successful in signature challenge

Mercer County Democrats have successfully challenged at least 23 signatures on the petition filed by 15th District Democratic Assembly candidate Dan Toto.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Cino yanked from GOP primary

A petition challenge by Michael Cino, same-party opposition to state Sen. Gerry Cardinale (R-39) was tossed today, but Cardinale’s challenge of Cino’s signatures was upheld, a source confirmed.  (Carroll, PolitickerNJ)






After a tragic death, new rules on bullying

What the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights does not include is any money to pay for all its provisions; its application to off-campus activity faces a possible challenge.  (Ahearn, The Record)



Hard to survive presidential race with image intact

Time to consider whether that guy so associated with New Jersey is really interested in running for president. No, not Gov. Christie — Donald Trump, whose activities of late have pushed Christie off the White House speculation list.  (Ingle, Gannett)



Menendez tells Democrats to quit humping Christie’s leg

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez has noticed top Democrats playing footsie with Gov. Chris Christie. And he doesn’t like it one bit.  (Roh, Gannett)





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Morning News Digest: April 20, 2011