Morning News Digest: Sept. 16, 2013
Winner and Losers: Week of the blaze
The state of New Jersey is the biggest loser today as yet another disaster has befallen the shore. The fire that destroyed the Seaside boardwalk took a lot of psyches with it. But as the fire continues to burn, so do state politics, so a list we must compile. (PolitickerNJ)
Lonegan: Booker is Obama’s Hollywood stand-in
CLARK – Steve Lonegan said he looks forward to joining U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in Washington, D.C., to fight for civil liberties, the Constitutional use of war powers and small business owners.
“Cory Booker is the Hollywood stand-in for Barack Obama,” said Lonegan, the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate who’s running against Democrat Booker. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)
Booker camp stresses that Lonegan would have opposed Sandy aid to N.J.
As U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) campaigns in the Garden State for Republican Senate contender Steve Lonegan, Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s campaign hopes to remind voters what Lonegan thinks of Superstorm Sandy aid.
“If Steve Lonegan were a senator, he would have been working against sending money to his own state,” said Little Ferry Mayor Mauro Raguseo, adding, “It doesn’t make any sense.” (Arco/PolitickerNJ)
$15 million in fire relief on its way to Seaside
Good news has been a sparse commodity these days in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park, which last week endured a raging fire that devastated the same stretch of boardwalk that had been ripped apart by Superstorm Sandy.
But there was at least a measure of relief Saturday for the two quintessential Jersey Shore communities and the owners of some 50 businesses there that were destroyed by the fire. (Harris/The Record)
Flooded homeowners in limbo awaiting buyout offers
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – An appraiser sent by the state recently assessed the value of Bob and Pat Smith’s house, nearly a year after floodwaters from Superstorm Sandy reached midway up the living room walls. Like the 75 other homeowners living near the South River who qualify for buyouts, the Smiths are waiting to hear how much the state will offer to tear down their home of 47 years and have them relocate out of harm’s way. (Delli Santi/AP)
No suite for Gov. Christie at Super Bowl 48, despite previous boasts
Not even Gov. Chris Christie is more powerful than the Super Bowl.
Over the past few weeks, the governor boasted about how he would get to hand-pick two dozen VIPS for a sweet reward: the chance to enjoy the biggest sporting event in the country with him in his luxury suite at MetLife Stadium. (Portnoy/Star-Ledger)
N.J. Republican Senate and Assembly candidate began campaign season early
Republicans intent on taking control of the state Senate and Assembly in November’s election began an early advertising blitz this summer, blanketing key legislative districts with mailers to kick off what they promise will be an aggressive campaign.
In a political season dominated by the race for governor and a special election for U.S. Senate, GOP legislative leaders have been laying the groundwork for their own fight, hoping enough of their candidates can hang onto the coattails of Gov. Chris Christie, who holds a big lead over state Sen. Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex). (Friedman/Star-Ledger)
At Little Falls rally, Buono says Christie giving women a bad deal
A few miles from where she grew up the daughter of a union meat cutter, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono told a mostly female crowd gathered at a union hall Sunday that Gov. Chris Chrisitie has been bad for the women of New Jersey.
A state senator from Middlesex County, Buono told more than 400 supporters gathered at Local 464 A of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union in Little Falls that Christie had made life harder for the state’s poor and working women by steadily cutting funding for Planned Parenthood, and failing to support an increase in the minimum wage. (Strunsky/Star-Ledger)
Cory Booker fires up campaign volunteers in New Brunswick ahead of special election
In the basement of an office building near the New Brunswick train station this morning, about 60 volunteers for Cory Booker’s U.S. Senate campaign got a crash course in how to register voters for the Oct. 16 special election before being treated to a 50-minute pep-talk by the candidate.
The ethnically diverse group of volunteers, about two-thirds of them women, learned how to engage with voters on the street — be positive and energetic; don’t wear sunglasses; set up a table if you can — and basic requirements for voter registration, which are almost nil other than having lived in the state for 30 days prior to the election. (Strunsky/Star-Ledger)
Booker faulted for not fixing house he owned
On a block of Court Street in Newark between the Gigi Foushee Towers public-housing project and the abandoned, decaying Krueger-Scott Mansion is a boarded row house with a “NO LOITERING” sign above the door.
Until a few months ago, the building was owned by Newark’s mayor, Cory Booker — now in the homestretch of a run for the U.S. Senate — who paid $175,000 for it in 2009. (Linhorst/The Record)
Menendez: Deal ‘fraught with danger’
Sen. Robert Menendez says he’s looking forward to keeping the threat of credible force on the table with Syria.
While praising the possibility of wiping out the country’s chemical weapons, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee expressed deep concern about the U.S.’s next move should Syrian President Bashar Assad not comply with the U.S.’s agreement. (POLITICO)
Chris Christie gets Miss America beauty contest for N.J.
To the list of Chris Christie supporters, add one more: The Miss America Organization.
The group, which airs its Miss America Competition on ABC Sunday night, is now in its 93rd year and has left Las Vegas, where it’s most recently been held, for Atlantic City. A big reason? Christie. (Gavin/POLITICO)
Search is on for a GOP climate convert
Environmentalists are searching for a Rob Portman to call their own — a high-profile Republican who would emulate the Ohio senator’s flip on gay marriage, only this time by supporting action on climate change.
But the search for that elusive green Republican has so far come up short — and the prospects aren’t looking good in the short term. (POLITICO)
Christie has emotional ties to twice-stricken Seaside
For Gov. Christie, the Jersey Shore towns where the boardwalk fire raged last week are not just another couple of municipalities in his state.
Seaside – Seaside Park, where the fire began, and Seaside Heights, where it ended – is more closely associated with the governor, and more emblematic of his time in office, than perhaps any other place in New Jersey. (Katz/Inquirer)
NY couple sues Revel over slots promotion
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – A New York couple claims in a lawsuit that Revel Casino-Hotel’s slots promotion this summer was misleading and illegal.
Nicholas and Margaret Peragine of Lake Grove, on Long Island, sued in federal court in Newark Thursday. (AP)
Water, Now Fire, and Shore Nightmare Goes On
Nick Dionisio is a third generation Boardwalk guy. Having peeled shrimp as a 7-year-old in his grandfather’s clam bar, he decided to go into banking, but when the markets collapsed came back to what he knew, pulling his father out of retirement to help him start a fried-fish place, and then another a little more upscale.
He was still trying to make up the cost of starting the businesses when Hurricane Sandy hit 10 months ago, flooding them with nine feet of water and ruining expensive equipment. His father died unexpectedly just weeks later. The electricity and gas were restored only five days before Memorial Day, the weekend when Boardwalk places typically make up much of their rent. Summer business was terrible, with so many renters and tourists staying away. Still, Mr. Dionisio kept going, because he loved it. (Zernike/NY Times)
Christie Pledges Support for Fire-Ravaged Towns
Gov. Chris Christie, who garnered national attention one year ago as he raced up and down the Jersey Shore visiting areas ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, reprised that role on Saturday — but this time it was just two communities that were left reeling.
Mr. Christie spoke with dozens of people who lost their businesses in a devastating fire two days ago along a famous stretch of Boardwalk in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park, pledging the full support of the state to help them rebuild yet again. Later on Saturday, Mr. Christie announced an initial aid package of $15 million for businesses damaged in the fire. (Santora/NY Times)
From the Back Room
Dem women rally for Buono
More than 500 women Democrats rallied in Passaic County tonight in support of Democratic Gubernatorial Nominee Barbara Buono.
Chris Christie, America’s most overrated governor: Moran
If you leave New Jersey for a weekend, be ready for people to ask you about Gov. Chris Christie.
He’s the hottest property in American politics and the most compelling personality the state has produced since Tony Soprano. Polls say he is now the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.
But if they ask, be sure to tell them this as well: He is the most overrated governor in America. (Moran/Star-Ledger)
Earned sick days are good for N.J. business and the economy: Opinion
Business lobbyists are lining up with guns blazing against proposals to provide earned sick days to workers in Jersey City, Newark and, ultimately, the entire state. They say these common-sense policies will harm businesses, lead to job loss and stifle a fragile economic recovery.
Too bad none of these claims is true. (Star-Ledger)
Column: More N.J. public officials run afoul of the law
You’d think the day the Legislature gave final approval to Assemblyman Al Coutinho’s legislation to overhaul the way the state awards tax incentives to business, Coutinho would be celebrating passage of the most important bill of his career. But he wasn’t in that kind of mood.
There was no champagne or high-fives. Smiles were nowhere to be seen. On the day he should have been basking in the spotlight for his accomplishment, he was in the public eye for an entirely different reason — pleading guilty to theft and falsifying records. (Ingle/Gannett)
Doblin: Buono is more a Met than a Democrat
POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS are like baseball. When you’re running a candidate for governor, you’re in the majors. The pitches are fast and hard. And as a rule, they are not aimed at your own candidate. Barbara Buono’s campaign is looking more and more like the N.Y. Mets.
It’s amazing. Mets pun intended. A likeable, photogenic Democrat, with years of legislative experience running in a state with more registered Democrats than Republicans, has probably just about as much statewide name recognition in New Jersey as John Liu, the New York City comptroller who just edged out Anthony Weiner for fourth place in Tuesday’s New York City primary for mayor. (Doblin/The Record)