Morning Digest: Dec. 5, 2012

S. Jersey Sweeney candidacy would animate N. Jersey political rivalries

The New Jersey Democratic Party universe hinges on Mayor Cory Booker right now but if he decides not to run for governor, insiders delight at the prospect of a rematch between Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) and former Senate President Dick Codey (D-27). Pizarro, PolitickerNJ



Assembly Dems announce plans for jobs package of bills

TRENTON – Assembly Democratic leaders say it’s time to put the focus back on improving the state’s economy following the immediate aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Arco, PolitickerNJ



Healy lands education, labor endorsements

Today, the Jersey City Education Association (JCEA) and AFSCME Local 2262 both endorsed Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy for re-election. Pizarro, PolitickerNJ



Lopez backs Fulop for Jersey City mayor

A group of leaders representing some of Jersey City’s Latino community today endorsed Steven Fulop for Jersey City mayor in the non-partisan May election.  Pizarro, PolitickerNJ


From State Street Wire

O’Toole: BPU should deny JCP&L rate hike request

TRENTON – A northern N.J. senator wants a utility’s rate hike request denied.

Sen. Kevin O’Toole (R-40) urged Board of Public Utilities President Robert Hanna to immediately deny JCP&L’s request to raise rates by nearly $31.5 million per year. State Street Wire


Budget panel to examine proposed Lottery changes

TRENTON – The future of the Lottery is at stake. At least, the sales and marketing aspect of it. Hassan, State Street Wire

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GOP risks civil war with Right over taxes

Republicans are risking a rebellion with conservatives over taxes if party leaders compromise any more in the fiscal cliff talks, especially if they raise tax rates. Raju/Sherman, Politico



FEMA payouts top $272M in N.J.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says to date, 240,000 New Jersey residents have applied for individual disaster assistance and they have distributed $272 million, a majority of that for shore homeowners. Proebstie, 101.5FM



Andrews selected for leadership post in D.C.
WASHINGTON — New Jersey Rep. Rob Andrews was elected Tuesday to the Democratic leadership team in the U.S. House.

Andrews, of Haddon Heights, will co-chair the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. He was nominated by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and elected by a unanimous vote of his colleagues. Herman, Asbury Park Press


Hamilton upholds former rec director’s firing

HAMILTON -Lawsuits could be on the horizon for the township after the council affirmed the firing of its former recreation director.

The township council tonight unanimously upheld the firing of former recreation director Catherine Tramontana, fired on Nov. 20 by acting mayor and business administrator John Ricci after she was named in the federal corruption trial of former mayor John Bencivengo. Davis, Trenton Times


Sandy aid may fall short of requests

The White House is preparing to ask Congress for an extra $60 billion in disaster aid after superstorm Sandy, the Senate’s top leader said Tuesday. Jackson/Hayes, Bergen Record



Report: N.J. loses ground on energy efficiency

Purported raids of the state’s clean energy fund and unclear policy goals have left New Jersey lagging behind neighboring states in energy efficiency, a regional advocacy group contends in a new report. Burd, NJBiz


Belmar OKs $20M bond measure to rebuild boardwalk

The borough of Belmar unanimously approved a $20 million bond measure at Monday’s council meeting that is designed to rebuild the town’s boardwalk, destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, in time for summer. Bonamo, Nj.Com


Vinyl chloride remains at troubling levels in Paulboro

Authorities evacuated about 100 more homes in Paulsboro on Tuesday in response to elevated levels of vinyl chloride in the area surrounding Friday’s train derailment, which already had sent about 400 residents to seek shelter elsewhere. Nussbaum/Seidman, Inquirer


After courtship of Clinton, Bloomberg makes amends

Much of the New York political world reacted with surprise on Tuesday to the revelation that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg had encouraged Hillary Rodham Clinton to consider succeeding him at City Hall. Grynbaum, N.Y. Times


Poll: Is Booker food stamp challenge publicity stunt?

Cory Booker is out to prove a point. Or get elected governor. Or senator.

Take your choice. The Newark mayor has taken a “food stamp challenge” — living off the average government allowance for individuals living in poverty. And he has done so quite publicly. Jersey Journal


Hunterdon County prosecutor wants schools better prepared for mass shootings

Lockout, lockdown, evacuate and shelter.

Those terms may soon be as easily recognized and understood by school children in Hunterdon County as “duck and cover” or “stop, drop and roll” were to their parents and grandparents before them. Bichao, CentralJersey



Expanding Medicaid would help uninsured adults tossed out of N.J. Family Care

Two years ago, Gov. Chris Christie passed austerity measures to plug a $2.2 billion budget gap. Programs helping the working poor took the brunt of cuts. Christie scaled back the earned income tax credit, essentially raising income taxes on working poor families. NJ FamilyCare, the state health insurance program many of them relied on, was frozen. No new adult applicants need apply — and eligibility criteria were tightened. Star-Ledger


How Finland got to be No. 1 in education

Finland is recognized as the top country in education. Forty years ago it went through massive reforms. Some of the elements: Kids don’t start school until they are 7. Usually they don’t have homework or take exams until they are teenagers. Finland spends about 30 percent less per student than the U.S. Elementary school kids get 75 minutes of recess. Read more here.  Ingle, Asbury Park Press


No to Lottery privatization

Gov. Chris Christie’s administration has quietly put out a request for proposals to privatize parts of the state lottery.

We think privatizing the lottery is a monumentally bad idea. A lot of people do. Which is probably why the governor – who puts out a constant stream of press releases and videos trumpeting his every move – hasn’t even bothered to officially announce that he wants to privatize the lottery. He know this isn’t going to go over well – and for good reason. Atlantic City Press



Morning Digest: Dec. 5, 2012