Weekly Roundup: July 8

TRENTON – In another case of a change in endorsement from the last time, Bishop Reginald Jackson, who endorsed then-Gov. Jon Corzine for re-election in 2009, endorsed Gov. Chris Christie this time because of his education reform policies.

Jackson slammed Democratic legislative leaders this past week for not putting up for vote the $2 million pilot for the Opportunity Scholarship Act. Jackson said the OSA could serve as an escape route for children trying to “escape” chronically failing schools.

Christie said he was told from the get-go by the Democrats that OSA was a non-starter. Such inflexibility, he suggested, should warrant a revolution at the polls so inner-city voters can make it known the Democrats cannot take their votes for granted.

Dunes and views

The state Supreme Court ruled that a new trial must take place involving the Harvey Cedars couple that sued and won a $375,000 windfall after they claimed a 22-foot dune built by the town diminished their ocean view and lowered the value of their oceanfront property.

The court ruled that while the trial judge allowed the homeowners to present evidence of how their property value was diminished, the court did not allow Harvey Cedars to present evidence of how the dune project would improve the value of their property.

Christie said the ruling should prompt other Shore property owners who held out from signing easements to take note and realize that a large cash windfall is not in the cards.

Christie has criticized such property owners from holding up an Army Corps of Engineers project that would construct dunes up and down the state’s nearly 130-mile coastline. At a Middlesex town hall meeting a few months ago, Christie said he has “no sympathy for your view” and threatened to publicly call out the holdouts in each respective municipality.

COAH

The state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Gov. Chris Christie lacked the authority to abolish the Council on Affordable Housing, since it is an agency created by the Legislature.

Christie quickly blasted the decision, saying the activist, liberal court continues to support a failed social experiment in housing policy.

The praise or criticism of the decision fell along familiar party lines, with Democrats praising it as proof that Christie’s approach isn’t constitutional and Republicans saying it continues to keep a burdensome agency in place.

The highest court didn’t opine on whether COAH should be scrapped or preserved. It just said Christie was going about it the wrong way.

Newark schools administration

Citing what it called “fluctuating scores,’’ The Superior Court Appellate Division ruled in favor of the state Department of Education in its continued intervention and supervision of the Newark public schools.

 “Based on these fluctuating scores alone, Commissioner Chris Cerf could reasonably refuse to recommend withdrawal of State intervention in the areas of personnel and governance. The Commissioner could rationally find that the district had not achieved sufficient progress in satisfying the relevant quality performance indicators,” the court ruled.

SCI report

So-called “pill mills” are being run by both criminals and doctors alike, according to a report.

The State Commission of Investigation released a report earlier this week saying that the trend has led to big increase in heroin use.

The investigation found one incident in Newark involving homeless Medicaid recipients being regularly taken to a so-called strip mall “medical center” in the city’s downtown where they were given fake prescriptions for powerful painkillers.

SCI recommends in its report stronger oversight in the medical community regarding prescription standards, as well as tougher penalties for prescription drug diversion.

 

Weekly Roundup: July 8