Morning News Digest: April 8, 2011



Morning News Digest: April 8, 2011


By Missy Rebovich

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Key member of Team Christie collecting pension and salary

As talk circulates around Trenton about the state’s troubled pension system and the administration’s attempts to shore it up, state records show at least one senior staffer in the Christie administration collects a pension while also pulling in a six figure public salary.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



Sources: Ryan won’t get the line from Thigpen

Three sources in Essex County say Democratic Party Chairman Phil Thigpen is poised to give the Democratic line to Assemblyman Ralph Caputo over Assemblyman Kevin Ryan in the 28th District.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Christie renews call for tenure reform, merit bonuses in Manhattan speech

Governor Christie continued a high-profile media blitz to push his education agenda on Thursday with a speech in Manhattan, where he renewed his call for tenure reform and merit bonuses as ways to weed out bad teachers and reward good ones.  (Alex, The Record)



Christie’s tenure reform remains a work in progress

Gov. Chris Christie yesterday added some details — and nuance — to his proposal for revamping teacher tenure and evaluation. He also added a few more questions about exactly what his plan will look like when it is finally written into legislation and regulation.  (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



Budget woes cutting school resource posts

School resource officers, deployed to North Jersey schools to mentor students and identify drug, bullying, and gang problems, are facing another battle in many districts – shrinking budgets.  (Hayes and Patberg, The Record)



N.J. lawyers, advocates for poor students gear up for N.J. Supreme Court hearing on school funding

State lawyers call last month’s report on school funding cuts a useless and narrow-minded assessment, but advocates for poor students say it’s an incisive condemnation of New Jersey’s failure to support its neediest kids.  (Megerian, The Star-Ledger)



Views split on charter schools

New Jersey residents are split on the continuing growth of charter schools, with a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released Thursday showing 44 percent of registered voters support the increase while 42 percent oppose adding more charters.  (Jordan, Gannett)|topnews|text|State



Christie’s proposed $1.5M in budget cuts to Commission on the Blind spark partisan battle

Proposed teacher cuts at the state Commission on the Blind sparked a partisan battle Thursday as lawmakers tussled over whether the reductions will hurt students and debated the Legislature’s role as budget watchdogs.  (Renshaw, The Star-Ledger)



Christie responds to Springsteen’s letter

The fallout from Bruce Springsteen’s letter to the Asbury Park Press about funding for programs for the disadvantaged continues.  (Schoonejongen, Gannett)



Poll: Slight majority in N.J. approve of Obama

A new poll indicates most registered voters in New Jersey surveyed approve of President Barack Obama’s job performance.  (The Associated Press)



Daily poll: Is U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez doing a good job?

Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind poll gave some mixed results to Sen. Robert Menendez, the former Union City mayor.

A quick glance shows 28 percent of those polled had a favorable opinion of Menendez, which would be cause for alarm until you see that 19 percent viewed him unfavorably.  (Staff, The Jersey Journal)



NJ congressmen oppose planned cut in NOAA’s research funds

Money the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wants to redirect toward fisheries catch share programs should instead be returned to the agency’s research budget, Shore area congressmen said Thursday in a letter to leadership of the House Appropriations Committee.  (Moore, Gannett)|head



New legislative map changes District 37

When the final lines for New Jersey’s new legislative district map were announced on April 3, the once-every-10-year phenomenon had some predictably unpredictable consequences.  (Bonamo, The Record)



Bergen County Dems back three for 35th District

Bergen County Democratic chairman Lou Stellato says the party will support three Passaic County candidates selected last night to run for seats in the state Assembly and Senate in the newly-shaped 35th District.  (Cowen, The Record)



Assemblyman plans to move to new district

Thanks to a new legislative map that would place him in a competitive election against 29th district incumbents, Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-28th) has decided he’d rather move. He is in the process of securing a property lease in Nutley, he said on Thursday. He told the Times it’d be easier for him to vie for an assembly spot in Nutley’s 28th district.  (Kardis, Belleville Times)



NJDOT report declares 50 percent of state roadways in need of repair

Fifty percent of the 8,402 miles of New Jersey highways maintained by the state Department of Transportation are in poor to fair condition with 438 improvement projects needed statewide at a cost of $811.9 million, according to a DOT report issued Thursday.  (Hester, New Jersey Newsroom)



States accept plan to aid Delaware River

New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware have accepted a plan that seeks to protect the Delaware River and those who live near it.  (Staff, Gannett)



Towns, hospitals and multifamily rentals could benefit from PSE&G energy efficiency program

After customers lined up to participate in a recent energy efficiency program, Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) is seeking approval to roll out a new phase of an economic stimulus project to help towns, hospitals and multifamily housing rental units cut their energy use.  (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)



Proposed closing of center leads to Vineland protest

The Vineland region, already experiencing the state’s second-highest unemployment rate, will lose more than 1,450 additional jobs if a residential facility for women with severe disabilities is shuttered as planned.  (Delli Santi, The Associated Press)



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Human Services identified areas of savings it anticipates for next fiscal year

The Department of Human Services budget for fiscal year 2012 assumes it will receive the Medicaid global waiver, which will save the department some $225 million (the Department of Health and Senior Services would save $75 million).  (Hassan, State Street Wire)



Education Law Center asks Supreme Court to enforce Special Master findings

The Education Law Center, responding to the Special Master ruling last month that the Christie Administration improperly funded schools, asked the N.J. Supreme Court today to adopt those findings, require the state to provide school aid at the levels required by the SFRA formula in the 2011-12 school year and for the two years thereafter, and conduct the required three-year review of the SFRA in 2014.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



Job loss in question as Labor Dept. testifies to Budget committee

The majority of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development funds flow from the federal government, so they’re not going to take as much heat in front of the Assembly Budget Committee today since the state’s dollars aren’t invested – not like this morning’s Department of Human Services hearing. But everybody is interested in jobs, jobs, jobs.  (Carroll, PolitickerNJ)



DEP awarded federal grant to study problems associated with abandoned mines

The Department of Environmental Protection Thursday said it has been awarded a $267,000 grant from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to study problems associated with abandoned mines in the northern part of the State.  (Staff, State Street Wire)



N.J. Education Association rips latest Christie reform plan

The N.J. Education Association, the largest teachers union in the state, fired back Thursday at what it saw as the illogic of some of Gov. Chris Christie’s latest education reform proposals.  (Mooney, State Street Wire)



From the Back Room 



Report: Whelan to run with Cooper and Tyner

The Press of Atlantic City tonight reported that the Atlantic County Democratic Committee nominated Atlantic City lawyer Damon Tyner to run on a legislative ticket with state Sen. Jim Whelan and Freeholder Alisa Cooper.  (Staff, PolitickerNJ)



HCDO Team: full slate

Today, Chairman Mark Smith announced the slate that will be running under the banner of the Hudson County Democratic Organization in the upcoming June 7th Primary Election.  (Staff, PolitickerNJ)






In 2012, Barack Obama will replace Joe Biden with Kay Hagan as his running mate

Prediction:  In early 2012, President Barack Obama will announce that if he is reelected, he will appoint Vice President Joe Biden to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.  (Steinberg, PolitickerNJ)



Christie unveils education reforms

Gov. Christie has made his proposed education reforms public and it’s time for a public airing. Teachers would be evaluated annually by colleagues in their districts. You can read the whole plan elsewhere, but one of the highlights is seniority would not be sole basis for determining pay and security.  (Ingle, Gannett)



When getting ‘tough’ comes too easy

When it comes to getting “tough” on crime, New Jersey politicians have few peers. In the heat of the moment, they will say or do almost anything to push to the front of the line, to become part of the solution of keeping society’s most hardened criminals off the street.  (Lowry, The Record)



Will support and job offers turn some away from crime?

Newark police staged a huge raid a year ago, in March, to break the illegal drug trade at a Newark apartment complex called Garden Spires.  (Whitlow, The Star-Ledger)


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Morning News Digest: April 8, 2011