Morning Digest: Nov. 14, 2012

Latest from State Street Wire and PolitickerNJ

Christie: Storm recovery pushes other issues to back burner

TRENTON  – Hurricane Sandy has not only had a direct impact on the state. It has also altered the timetable of Gov. Chris Christie’s political decisions, particularly on whether or not he will seek re-election in 2013, as he admitted during Tuesday’s press conference regarding storm recovery efforts.

“I can’t imagine that I won’t start giving that some really deep thought soon,” he said in response to a question about a possible re-election campaign. (Hassan, State Street Wire)




Bipartisan show of support as legislative leaders meet with Christie

TRENTON – It was a show of bipartisan strength in the aftermath of super storm Sandy.

Legislative leaders from both sides of the aisle met today with Gov. Chris Christie and, according to the governor, agreed to set aside partisan differences and focus on the overriding issue of rebuilding New Jersey. (Mooney, State Street Wire)



Pascrell: President won election on the ground

The man who weathered the most gut-wrenching New Jersey contest of the year said President Barack Obama’s general election win again proved that the TV studio lounge lizards don’t know what’s going on in the alleyways of American politics.

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9) said the GOP should consider that when examining how to move forward to address the federal budget deficit. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Prosecutors hit play on embattled Bencivengo recordings

TRENTON – Embattled Hamilton Mayor John Bencivengo told a former friend and federal cooperating witness during secretly recorded meetings that he was “just so sick” over his financial situation.

Prosecutors hit play on audio recordings made by a former insurance broker, Maria Ljuba, in which the mayor agonized over being able to pay his bills. The recordings were played Tuesday during the sitting mayor’s criminal trial. (Arco, PolitickerNJ)



Christie still opposes gas tax hike


TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie has not changed his mind on hiking the state’s motor fuels tax to help pay for damaged public transportation infrastructure in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. (Hassan, State Street Wire)





Latest from The Back Room


Codey tries on superhero cape


It’s not the equivalent of running into a burning building in Newark a la that other famously flirtatious 2013 would be gubernatorial contender, but it’s close… (PolitickerNJ)


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Flooded cars coming to dealer near you?


Hundreds of thousands of cars and trucks were flooded, partially or completely, by the monster of a storm known as Sandy that made landfall in New Jersey late last month. Unfortunately, you could be an owner of one of those flood-damaged vehicles someday.

CARFAX, a provider of vehicle history information, issued a warning to used car buyers and sellers – watch out for flooded cars that are cleaned up and resold. (Flammia, 101.5FM)




Seeking safety after the storm

As Hurricane Sandy bore down on New Jersey late last month, data center operators reinforced their facilities with generators and extra staffers, aiming to avoid costly shutdowns and assure clients that their servers were safe.

But once the storm had passed, New York-based Telx was inundated with calls from non-customers who had lost access to their own data storage — and had no backup plan — now looking for a place to set up shop, CEO Eric Shepcaro said. (Burd, NJBiz)



Sandy presents N.J. with pollution problems

WOODBRIDGE – As Hurricane Sandy made its main assault on the coast, a massive tidal surge charged north under bridges and up the Arthur Kill, bisecting New Jersey and Staten Island before raging inland up rivers and creeks.

It was an unstoppable wall of water that kept coming, overtaking homes and businesses, destroying property and threatening lives. (Hutchins, Star-Ledger)



Occupy Wall Street offshoot wants to erase people’s debt

A group of professors, documentary filmmakers, corporate dropouts and others had spent months protesting Americans’ debt burden when a novel idea arose: What if they could just wave a magic wand and make some of it disappear? (Kaminer, N.Y. Times)




Twist in Petraeus scandal puts crimp in Afghanistan transition

WASHINGTON — Congress returned from its election break Tuesday to grapple with the shocking resignation of former CIA Director David Petraeus in a sex scandal that widened to possibly taint the Marine general who commands U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan.

The unexpected turn of events prompted President Obama to put on hold his nomination of Marine Gen. John Allen to be the top NATO commander in Europe, pending the outcome of a Pentagon investigation into “inappropriate” emails that U.S. defense officials said Allen had sent to a central figure in the scandal, which was ignited by Petraeus’ admission to an extramarital affair. (McClatchy Newspapers)




Christie reinstates Bergen County blue laws

Gov. Christie has agreed to reinstate Bergen County’s Blue Laws this week, lifting an order aimed at letting storm-stressed residents get two Sundays worth of shopping done.

“The Governor will reinstate the Blue Laws this week at the County Executive’s request,” Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said Tuesday.

That pledge came shortly after Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan sent the governor a letter asking him to rescind the executive order he had imposed 10 days ago at her request. (Ensslin, Bergen Record)




DOE cheating investigation implicates two more schools

The state Department of Education’s year-long investigation into testing irregularities in a handful of public schools in 2010 and 2011 has leveled serious accusations against two more institutions, including a Newark charter founded by one of the state’s preeminent power brokers.

Late yesterday the department released critical investigative reports of the Robert Treat Academy Charter School in Newark and the John Marshall Elementary School in Elizabeth. (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)




Sweeney sues W. Deptford over oil companies

New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester) is suing officials in West Deptford, his hometown, alleging that they let two oil companies skirt an environmental cleanup law in exchange for money to buy two fire trucks.

The lawsuit, filed in Superior Court in Gloucester County, argues that the mayor and township council “willfully ignored” a law designed to prevent companies from leaving a polluted site without first paying the state for environmental cleanup. (Farrell, Inquirer)





School elections: More democratic

New Jersey’s experiment in moving school elections from April to November seems to have worked well. Early reports from last week’s contests show that the number of voters weighing in on school board elections was way up, in some towns double the usual turnout.

School elections have generally had very low participation rates. Most draw about 10 percent to 15 percent of eligible voters. Some districts record voting percentages in the single digits. (Atlantic City Press)




Time for N.J. showdown on minimum wage

Now that Democrats have finally gotten their act together on the minimum wage, it is a sure bet that a strong bill will reach Gov. Chris Christie’s desk soon.

The governor will then face a tough decision: Will he continue his unrelenting campaign to shortchange the working poor of this state by issuing a veto? (Star-Ledger)



Sandy news just keeps getting worse

Gov. Christie says superstorm Sandy will just keep on giving, bad news. Homeowners may see property tax hikes in towns where extensive rebuilding is required. “They’re probably going to have higher taxes. It’s got to be paid for. This goes back to the old magic money tree. There’s no magic money tree.” (Ingle, Asbury Park Press)





  Morning Digest: Nov. 14, 2012