Morning Digest: Oct. 28, 2013

Singleton wants Currie to serve a full, two-year term as Democratic State Party Chairman Sign Up For Our Daily Newsletter

Singleton wants Currie to serve a full, two-year term as Democratic State Party Chairman

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Moorsetown – Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-7), Palmyra, wants John Currie as Democratic State Party chairman for a full-two year term.

The party chairman from Passaic County, Currie is now serving a six-month term as state party chairman. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)




Booker boosts Bergen Dems during statewide swing

FAIR LAWN – The crowd of over 100 Democratic loyalists stood and cheered at the Land and Sea Diner when Newark Mayor and U.S. Senator-elect Cory Booker parachuted into his home county on a sunny Saturday. His mission: to counter the effect of Gov. Chris Christie’s coattails in local races. (Bonamo/PolitickerNJ)





New Jersey’s Laws and Fiscal Safeguards Make Municipal Bankruptcy Unlikely

Financial oversight and structure of revenue sources among factors helping to prevent Detroit-like crisis

Recent developments in Detroit have renewed interest in municipal bankruptcy proceedings and the reasons that brought that city to its present financial situation. (Reevey/NJSpotlight) 



One year after Sandy, ‘normal’ remains elusive for New Jerseyans hit hardest

If Superstorm Sandy showed the profound vulnerability of New Jersey’s coastal communities — homes smashed, beaches washed away, neighborhoods underwater — the year that followed has exposed other issues: the frailty of the state’s emergency planning and infrastructure, layers of conflicting and confusing bureaucracy and the challenges of quickly but responsibly disbursing billions of dollars in federal aid.

Sandy’s enduring legacy will be one of great destruction, a moment of reckoning for the entire metropolitan area: The storm’s crippling impact will set the regional agenda for years to come as the area rebuilds and confronts the challenges of adapting to climate change. (O’Brien and Sudol/The Record) 






Prosecutors in N.J. welcome app to track down child predators

With more than half of all Americans now using smartphones to stay in touch, federal authorities are venturing into new territory in a bid to enlist the public’s help to track down child predators. (Sampson/The Record) 





New Jersey Republicans are wary of the political ramifications of the federal government shutdown

WASHINGTON — All but one of New Jersey’s House Republicans voted to end the massively unpopular 16-day government shutdown, but that hasn’t helped at least two members of the delegation who now face potential re-election threats.

New Jersey Reps. Frank LoBiondo and Jon Runyan, whose seats had been considered safe, now are listed among Republicans whom Democrats want to oust in 2014.

The Cook Political Report, a Washington-based political race watcher, recently changed its assessment of 14 seats, including those held by LoBiondo and Runyan. The report moved the two seats from the “solidly Republican” category to “likely Republican,” meaning Democrats are perceived as having a change to reclaim them.

One reason for the change is polling that shows the public mostly blames Republicans for the shutdown. (Herman/Asbury Park Press) 




Chris Christie’s doctor: Gov has ‘adopted a healthy lifestyle’

TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie’s doctor says the Republican governor has shed weight since undergoing lap-band surgery in February and is exercising four times per week but he won’t say how much.

Christie visited Dr. Rachana Kulkarni, chief of the Somerset Medical Center cardiology unit, for an exam last week. A report was made public Friday, as promised by Christie during a recent gubernatorial debate.

Christie, 51, “has taken a very proactive role in his health,’’ Kulkarni wrote. “He is aware of being overweight and has taken several measure to address this issue. He has adopted a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy diet and regular cardiovascular regimen.’’ (Jordan/Asbury Park Press) 






Hilary Clinton’s Early Moves Give Fodder to 2016 Foes

Hillary Clinton’s re-emergence on the national scene to address major policy issues and campaign for political allies is casting a shadow over her party’s still-unformed 2016 presidential field — and risking her own prime spot at its pinnacle. (Davis/Bloomberg) 




Jersey Shore Dunes Top Christie’s To-Do List After Sandy

Governor Chris Christie, saying Hurricane Sandy has framed his political future, said New Jersey won’t be ready to withstand another such beating until after storm-surge barriers are built along its Atlantic coastline.

Marking Sandy’s anniversary, Christie said in an interview that the Oct. 29 storm has defined his first term and shaped his bid for re-election. Christie also said he hopes to see the Jersey Shore, the largest piece of a $40 billion-a-year tourism industry, return to pre-storm levels by next summer. (Dopp/Bloomberg) 




Shaq endorses Chris Christie, calls gov a ‘great man’

TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie received a big endorsement this week.

Newark-native and basketball superstar Shaquille O’Neal has thrown his support to Christie, calling the governor “a great man.” (Goldberg/Star-Ledger) 




Buono delivers passionate Christie critique at Trenton rally

TRENTON — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono delivered one of her most fiery attacks on Gov. Chris Christie today, telling hundreds of Trenton residents rallying at the Statehouse that troubled cities like theirs deserve a better governor.

“He’s likeable, some say. He goes on late-night TV and he cracks jokes,” Buono told the audience. “But no amount of YouTube clips or late-night cracks on ‘Letterman’ can erase the fact that New Jersey is suffering. Tell people not to confuse being likeable with being on your side.”

The speech drew raucous applause. (Johnson/Star-Ledger) 





HMO termination creates crisis for South Jersey Medicaid patients

Michelle Franz doesn’t know what to do.

Her 11-year-old son has seen the same pediatrician since he was born 10 weeks premature. But he hasn’t been back since United Healthcare Community Plan terminated its contract with Advocare, a Marlton-based network with about 400 doctors in New Jersey.

Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, the boy doesn’t adjust well to change, his mother said.

“I’m not going to take him to another doctor yet,” said Franz, who lives in Mount Ephraim. “He’s going to completely freak out.”

That might not be the biggest quandary Franz faces.

At least 25,000 patients in New Jersey have been told they could no longer see Advocare doctors as of Oct. 1, because the managed care organization administering its Medicaid or NJ FamilyCare cut ties with the provider group. (Mulford/Courier-Post  




Christie blames feds for aid delays

Gov. Chris Christie says he understands victims’ frustrations a year after Superstorm Sandy but maintains that his administration isn’t to blame for delays in aid reaching victims.

In an interview with The Associated Press as the anniversary of the Oct. 29 megastorm approached, the New Jersey Republican blamed Congress, which took three months to approve a $50.7 billion relief package for the region, and a thicket of red tape put in place to prevent the type of fraud that occurred after Hurricane Katrina.

“We’ve done everything we possibly can, and I think in the immediate aftermath did a very good job,” Christie told the AP. “Since then, we’ve kind of been hostage to two situations, the delay in the aid itself and then what I call the `Katrina factor,’ which is the much more detailed and difficult rules surrounding the distribution of the aid.” (Politico)




Obamacare’s tech no easy fix for Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley always knew it couldn’t fix Washington and its bureaucratic messes. Now it has even more proof.

The debacle has reinforced the divide between the global capital of innovation and an establishment culture known for clunky methods, stilted processes and government entanglements. Even if they want to help, the country’s tech gurus face obstacles with the complex nature of federal IT contracts, the high cost of additional hands, the potential for unfair competitive advantage and the lack of familiarity with the project’s nuances. (Meyers/Politico)




 From the Back Room

Monmouth U. Sandy Tracking Poll: Displaced Residents Dissatisfied 

The Monmouth University Polling Institute today released the results from a tracking panel of New Jersey residents displaced by Superstorm Sandy for at least one month.  Few of these families feel like they are close to full recovery and most feel that the state’s rebuilding efforts have overlooked them, the poll reports.

Few of those who were hit hardest by Sandy feel they have returned to their pre-storm living conditions.  Only 10% of those surveyed say they have fully recovered – including just 18% who are back in their homes and 3% who remain displaced from their pre-Sandy home.  [Note: some of those who are still “displaced” have decided to permanently relocate.]  By contrast, a statewide poll conducted by Monmouth University in September found that the vast majority of all New Jersey residents (76%) said their families have fully recovered from the storm. (PolitickerNJ Staff/PolitickerNJ) 





Latino Leadership Alliance-PAC issues endorsements

Eight months after endorsing the reelection of Chris Christie for Governor, the Political Action Committee of The Latino Leadership Alliance announced today its final list of endorsements for Tuesday, November 5th, 2013 General Election. (PolitickerNJ Staff/PolitickerNJ)








Teachers are our first line of defense

THE Sandy Hook elementary school slaughter 10 months ago horrified the nation because 20 children were killed, along with six adults.

A week ago, a 12-year-old student at the Sparks Middle School in Nevada shot two students, killed a teacher and then himself.

On Wednesday, a 14-year-old boy in Massachusetts allegedly slashed the throat of a young high school teacher with a box cutter, put her body into a recycling bin and dragged it into nearby woods.

America’s teachers are under attack. Each of the above tragedies is different and the motivations for the attacks are different, but the one common element is teachers. (Doblin/The Record) 




Post-storm publicity boosted Christie’s national profile

From the moment Governor Christie welcomed President Obama to a storm-battered New Jersey last Nov. 1, pundits marveled at Christie’s public relations savvy while some Republicans labeled him a traitor who had ruined Mitt Romney’s chances of winning the White House.

But it’s also not hard to see Christie as anything but a worried crisis commander in triage mode with no time to weigh the political risks and rewards.  

“The storm was on a Monday, [Obama] came on a Wednesday, I started getting calls from angry Republicans on Friday,” he said in an interview with The Record last week. “It wasn’t like I sat here and made some conscious decision, like, ‘OK, well this is the way I’m going to play this.’Ÿ”  


Morning Digest: Oct. 28, 2013