Morning Digest: Dec. 14, 2012

Christie appears with laborers, has first encounter with Dem gubernatorial candidate

As part of his aggressive push to corral labor heading into his re-election campaign next year, Gov. Chris Christie was the featured guest at labor leader Ray Pocino’s holiday party tonight at the East Brunswick Hilton. Pizarro, PolitickerNJ



Buono hits campaign trail in Passaic County

Passaic County Democratic Committee Chairman John Currie had a small holiday party for his elected officials last night and a visitor arrived.

It was state Sen. Barbara Buono (D-18), who on Tuesday launched her gubernatorial candidacy. Pizarro, PolitickerNJ


Latest from State Street Wire

Judiciary advances one wedding celebrant bill, holds another

TRENTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee dealt with two bills today dealing with who can preside at weddings.

S2155/A2201:  This bill, held at Senate sponsor Loretta Weinberg’s request following lengthy discussion, would add to the list of public officials who can solemnize marriages  any civil celebrant who is trained and certified from an established non-denominational or educational non-profit organization. Mooney, State Street Wire

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Booker decision has frozen gubernatorial field

A leading Democratic mayor in New Jersey who is considering running for governor said Wednesday that Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s (D) decision to wait to announce his own gubernatorial plans has “frozen” the Democratic Party — and could help reelect Gov. Chris Christie (R). Huffington Post


Tuition worries at N.J. county colleges

Four-year universities in New Jersey have become less of an “automatic” for students exiting high school. In fact, testimony before the Senate Higher Education Committee on Thursday included the fact that community college is responsible for educating more than half of the state’s undergraduates. Flammia, 101.5



Costs for Rutgers merger could hit $75M

The new president of Rutgers University told lawmakers on Thursday something they weren’t prepared to hear: Costs estimates to merge the university system have climbed to a range of $60 million to $75 million. Record


New bidder wins management contract in Atlantic City

Amid an ongoing challenge from the firm that has operated Boardwalk Hall and the Atlantic City Convention Center for nearly two decades, the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority voted today to award a competing bidder a new contract to manage the facilities. Eder, NJBiz



Promise vs. reality in Newark on mayor’s watch

NEWARK — When snow blanketed this city two Christmases ago, Mayor Cory A. Booker was celebrated around the nation for personally shoveling out residents who had appealed for help on Twitter. But here, his administration was scorned as streets remained impassable for days because the city had no contract for snow removal. Zernike, N.Y. Times


Rowan Univ. celebrates 20th anniversary of $100M gift

 Rowan University faculty, students and friends gathered Thursday to celebrate the 20th anniversary of a multi-million gift that has forever changed the face of the institution. South Jersey Times



Boehner says Obama budget plan anything but balanced

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner repeated his insistence that President Barack Obama’s budget proposal is “anything but” balanced, and accused the president of being “not serious” about cutting spending. Bloomberg



Christine Quinn to Scalia: Don’t compare me to a murderer because I’m lesbian

While selling his book at Princeton University earlier this week, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia defended moral opposition to gay marriage by asking, “If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder?” According to theAssociated Press, Mr. Scalia said he wasn’t equating murder and homosexuality but rather making a logical argument entitled “reduction to the absurd,” but Council Speaker Christine Quinn, an openly gay candidate for mayor next year, wasn’t remotely satisfied with his explanation. PolitickerNY


Stone Harbor pushes technology, conservation to sustain water supply

Stone Harbor plans to adopt a new water conservation law early next year with a goal of sustainability for the next century.

An ordinance that would require all new construction to use “smart” irrigation systems is one of a number of steps the island community is taking to reduce consumption and prolong its water supply. Atlantic City Press



Rice withdraws for secretary of state


United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice on Thursday withdrew her name from consideration to be appointed secretary of state by President Barack Obama.

“If nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly — to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities,” Rice wrote in a letter to the president. “That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country. … Therefore, I respectfully request that you no longer consider my candidacy at this time.” Politico


Eatontown mayor: Don’t turn former military housing into rentals

EATONTOWN — Mayor Gerald Tarantolo has one message for redevelopers looking to buy the Howard Commons housing complex.

“We’re not looking for any more rentals” in the borough, he said. Asbury Park Press



Private education grant tied to Christie staying in office

What passes for educational reform in New Jersey has relied heavily on private foundation money — millions from the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, among others — and a common complaint of critics is that the public is rarely made aware of the conditions of those grants. One recent grant from a California-based foundation includes this unusual stipulation: Gov. Chris Christie must stay in office in New Jersey. Braun, Star-Ledger


N.J. near top of list for road fatalities

If you suspected that your Jersey commute became more hazardous in 2011 — even more life-threatening than in all the other states that gladly take your toll money — your suspicions were confirmed this week by Washington, D.C., bean counters who keep track of grisly road death counts. Cichowski, Record




  Morning Digest: Dec. 14, 2012