Morning News Digest: December 28, 2011
By Missy Rebovich
Winners and Losers: Congressional redistricting edition
Congressional redistricting may have lacked the drama of the legislative map drawing process that wrapped up in April, but as always, there are winners and losers born out of the process. Republicans were the obvious winners they stand to keep all six districts they currently represent, while the Democrats are likely to lose a representative, so we’ll let those speak for themselves and explore the more in depth victors and vanquished. (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)
Pascrell responds to Rothman challenge
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8) today released the following statement regarding a 2012 primary election in New Jersey’s new 9th Congressional District.
“I am proud that I have fought hard for every constituent from the day I took office in Congress back in 1996. Too many in Washington seem to lose touch, but I never have because for me, job one has been to fight for my constituents, every day. Regardless of today’s news, I am already out there working for the people of the new 9th Congressional District. I have received a tremendous response from the people of Passaic, Bergen and Hudson Counties,” said Pascrell, who sits on the House Ways and Means Committee and House Budget Committee….(Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)
Gov. Christie to campaign for Romney in Iowa
Gov. Chris Christie will interrupt his plans to be a homebody through the holidays with a trip to Iowa Friday to drum up votes for Gov. Mitt Romney.
The trip marks the second time Christie has stumped for Romney in the state hosting the nation’s first Republican contest. He’ll start off in Des Moines, said sources familiar with his plans.
Christie said last week he planned to stay close to home: “I’ll be in the area. I’m taking time off, but I’m not taking time off out of the state.” (Portnoy, The Star-Ledger)
In Christie’s fight against public workers cashing in sick days: Are the numbers right?
To the tax-weary audiences at Gov. Christie’s town halls, it is a gasp-inducing concept: public workers cashing in unused sick days for lump-sum payments so large that towns must take out bonds to cover them.
The Republican governor has made ending the practice his key goal in recent months, repeatedly railing against the perk at public forums. He has garnered the support of 234 mayors from both parties and won over crowds with tales of workers who allegedly traded in their accrued time to buy boats.
But the issue is not as black-and-white as Christie makes it sound, and the dollar figures he drops to make his case are based on estimates, worst-case scenarios, and old data. (Katz, The Philadelphia Inquirer)
New map roils N.J. district
Two born-and-bred New Jersey social liberals who have voted together on numerous pieces of legislation are now headed toward a primary face-off that could be ugly and ill-timed for their national party.
Congressional redistricting has turned the onetime friends—Democratic Reps. Bill Pascrell and Steve Rothman—into foes.
Following the approval of the state’s new congressional map on Friday, Mr. Rothman officially announced on Tuesday that he will switch districts and run against Mr. Pascrell. (Haddon, The Wall Street Journal)
Rothman formally announces 9th District bid in race against Pascrell
In a high-stakes game of musical chairs, Democratic Reps. Steve Rothman and Bill Pascrell Jr. both found themselves racing for a single seat Tuesday in the redrawn 9th Congressional District.
Political observers expect a tough and expensive primary campaign in the new district, which now covers parts of Bergen, Passaic and Hudson counties.
“This is going to be a political dogfight,” said Patrick Murray, director of the nonpartisan Monmouth University Polling Institute. (Ensslin, The Record)
Unionized N.J. office cleaners reach tentative pact
A union representing 7,000 office cleaners in New Jersey has announced a tentative four-year contract agreement that would increase wages.
Kevin Brown, state director of Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union, says in a news release that the agreement is “a win for the state’s working families, businesses, and taxpayers.”
Under the tentative contract, hourly pay is to increase over the next four years. Cleaners are to continue receiving health care and other benefits. (Associated Press)
NJ wine issue forced by federal court
A year ago, a federal appeals court effectively ruled that New Jersey wineries may not sell from their own retail outlets and tasting rooms because out-of-state wine producers could not do the same in the Garden State.
Thus ignited the latest chapter in the dispute over direct shipping of wines.
In response to the court decision, state Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney, D-Gloucester, drafted legislation (S3172) to allow in-state and out-of-state wineries to ship directly to consumers, and to operate retail outlets in New Jersey . His goals are to give Garden State wineries that do not produce enough wine to attract wholesalers another avenue for sales, as well as to boost agriculture and support so-called agri-tourism. (Clurfeld, Gannett)
Moody’s downgrades Clementon’s bond rating
Calling Clementon’s financial position “narrow, but adequate” and its debt burden “moderate,” Moody’s Investment Service has downgraded the borough’s bond rating a notch from A2 to A1.
The action still leaves the town of under 5,000 residents in a coveted, low-risk category.
“We’re fine. This is just a sign of the times,” said Lorraine Boyer, the borough’s chief financial officer. “There was some concern when the Irish Pub on the White Horse Pike filed for bankruptcy, but that was last year. It’s behind us now and the bank is paying the taxes anyway.” (Stilwell, Gannett)
Camden City Council urges officials to advance plan for county police force
At a special meeting Tuesday, Camden City Council demanded that city officials move forward with a plan that would diminish the city police force and create a county police department.
A resolution “supporting the immediate implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding in furtherance of the establishment of the Camden County Police Department” was approved, 6-1, Tuesday, after several three-minute opposition speeches from residents and union officials. (Vargas, The Philadelphia Inquirer)
In N.J., contract talks for office building cleaners in final days
The union representing 7,000 office building cleaners in New Jersey said this morning it will prepare for a possible strike on Dec. 31 if today’s last-scheduled bargaining session proves unsuccessful.
New Jersey State Director of 32BJ Kevin Brown is scheduled to provide a public update on talks at approximately 3 p.m. today at the Hilton at Gateway Center in Newark during a break in talks. (Staff, State Street Wire)
From the Back Room
John Adler’s wife was on short list in CD-3
With the adoption of a map that removes Cherry Hill from the 3rd Congressional District, the candidate Democrats had hoped would challenge for the seat is no longer in the district.
A source told PolitickerNJ that attorney Shelley Adler, the widow of former U.S. Rep. John Adler had been on the short list to take on Runyan, the former Philadelphia Eagles star who defeated John Adler in 2010. Adler died earlier this year. (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)