Morning News Digest: Feb. 25, 2014

DCA Commissioner Constable appears at Sandy oversight hearing TRENTON – Advocates and legislators continued to address concerns about how Gov.

DCA Commissioner Constable appears at Sandy oversight hearing

TRENTON – Advocates and legislators continued to address concerns about how Gov. Chris Christie’s administration has handled the Hurricane Sandy recovery process on Monday, with a key administration figure appearing before the Senate legislative oversight committee.

“The frustration during the public hearings was palpable. Residents expect a lot of things from the [state-administered recovery grant] program, and they’re tired of waiting,” said Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Richard Constable. “The Christie administration fought hard for federal aid, and unfortunately, partisanship in Washington, D.C. slowed the process down. (Bonamo/PolitickerNJ)



Former Assemblyman Payne endorses Jeffries in Newark mayoral race


NEWARK – Essex County Deputy Chief of Staff and former Assemblyman William Payne endorsed Newark mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries on Monday and has agreed to serve as campaign co-chairperson.


“Shavar Jeffries is a man of extraordinary integrity who is a dedicated and qualified public servant,” said Payne in a prepared statement issued by the Jeffries campaign. “He has a genuine commitment to serve the city of Newark and our people.” (Bonamo/PolitickerNJ)



Greenstein on Watson Coleman comments: ‘Shameful’


TRENTON – State Senator Linda Greenstein (D-14) countered an attack earlier today by her CD 12 Democratic Primary rival, Assembl ywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-15), as she made the case for her own record as a progressive party leader.


“It’s shameful and disappointing that the former Democratic chair is undermining the integrity and values of our party with an out of the gate character assassination,” said Greenstein, who said the 14th has not afforded her the ability to cocoon herself into a comfort zone. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)



Former Assemblywoman Wright backs Eck in CD12


Former State Assemblywoman Barbara Wright  (NJ14), of Plainsboro, today announced her support for Republican candidate Dr. Alieta Eck in New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District.


A nurse and health policy consultant, Wright cited Eck’s background as a practicing physician and founder of the Zarephath Free Health Clinic, calling her “a perfect fit for the district who has the right experience to deal with the healthcare challenges we are facing.” (PolitickerNJ)



Newtown parents return to N.J. Statehouse lobbying for gun reform


TRENTON – Parents of children gunned down inside their school in Newtown Connecticut in 2012 returned to the New Jersey Statehouse Monday to support legislation that would limit the number of rounds in magazine clips.


The emotional news conference brought the Senate’s top lawmaker and minority leader to tears as legislators promised to clear the bill through the Democratic-controlled Legislature. The proposal would reduce the number rounds from 15 to 10 in a firearm magazine. (Arco/PolitickerNJ)



Schaer: Gov’t Salary Hike Bill (Assembly Bill 2739) ‘off the agenda’


TRENTON – Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-36), Passaic, chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, moments ago declared “off the agenda” Assembly Bill 2739, a bill that dropped jaws early on the Committee. (PolitickerNJ)



Monmouth Poll: Christie job approval at 50% after 20-pt. plummet


Public opinion of Chris Christie has further eroded since the Bridgegate emails were released last month.  The Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll found the governor’s job approval rating has dropped 20 points over the past year.  In addition to growing suspicion of his involvement in the toll lane closures, New Jerseyans grade Christie’s handling of Superstorm Sandy recovery much less positively than they did when he was running for re-election. (PolitickerNJ)



Watson Coleman comes out swinging in CD12; calls Greenstein a ‘follower’


TRENTON – Running for Congress in the 12th District, Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-15) gave every indication that her Democratic Primary with state Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-12) will not be a duel of political wall flowers.


Not even close.


PolitickerNJ asked Watson Coleman to note the difference between herself and her Middlesex County opponent, who has a reputation as a fierce campaigner. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)



Former Assemblyman’s bid to dismiss millions in bad check charges denied by judge


A Superior Court judge has rejected former state Assemblyman Robert Schroeder’s bid to dismiss charges that he stole more than $1.8 million from people who loaned him money and wrote more than $3.4 million in bad checks.


But the judge did grant Schroeder a hearing into the admissibility of his statement to police. (Wichert/Star-Ledger)



Bill to study disabled residents displaced from institutions approved by N.J. committee


The state would be required to assess how well disabled people are faring after their transfer from two institutions the Christie administration has begun closing, under a bill the Assembly Human Services Committee approved today.


The Woodbridge Developmental Center and the North Jersey Developmental Center in Totowa are slated to close by 2017, in an effort to reduce New Jersey’s over-reliance on large institutions for people with intellectual disabilities. They are among seven centers operated by the state.  (Livio/Star-Ledger)



Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich met with U.S. Attorney’s Office


The mayor of Fort Lee, Mark Sokolich, who was thrust into the national spotlight after four days of lane closings at the George Washington Bridge in September gridlocked his borough, has met with federal prosecutors, his attorney said today.


“Mayor Sokolich voluntarily met on Friday with members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark to discuss the lane closures at the George Washington Bridge this past September,” the attorney, Tim Donohue, said in a statement. “Since there is an ongoing criminal investigation, neither Mayor Sokolich nor I will comment on the substance of those discussions.” (Baxter/Star-Ledger)



GOP governors stand by absent Chris Christie


Republican governors talked up their accomplishments at the end of an annual gathering in Washington on Monday and said that despite the absence of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, their organization’s chairman, he could continue to be an effective leader going forward. (Titus/POLITICO)



Poll: Chris Christie approval rating drops


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s approval continues to sink in his state amid ongoing questions about his administration’s involvement in bridge closures, a new poll shows, with more than nine in 10 New Jersey residents following the story. (Kopan/POLITICO)



Wall Street Bearish on Chris Christie’s 2016 Chances


Wall Street is piling up the sell orders on Chris Christie futures — popping a bubble the same traders helped create.


The cast of characters is a bit different from the last time I slammed Wall Street’s rotten political judgment. The New Jersey governor’s big fans in the industry aren’t the big-bank CEOs, but folks like legendary financier Ken Langone and his buddy Hank Greenberg (who built AIG into a powerhouse until Eliot Spitzer forced him out for managers who then led the firm to disaster). (Gasparino/NY POST)



From the Back Room



Middlesex Freeholders, Constitutional Officers back Greenstein


Today the entire Middlesex County Freeholder Board and every constitutional officer in the county endorsed Senator Linda Greenstein’s campaign for Congress in the 12th District.



Twitter: Don’t miss an opportunity to correct a potential opponent


TRENTON – Add Twitter to the growing list of venues would-be gubernatorial hopefuls are using to take a swipe at potential challengers.


When Jersey City Mayor, presumably, hit send on a tweet that contained a typo, Senate President Steve Sweeney was there to highlight the mayor’s mistake.






Hurricane Sandy: When it comes to sand dunes, the feds fall flat (Mulshine)


Gov. Chris Christie’s been taking a beating lately because of how he handled Hurricane Sandy relief funds. He certainly deserves it when it comes to those millions of dollars diverted to development in inland areas that weren’t flooded.


Last week, Christie decided to divert attention by going to the town of Port Monmouth and making that speech in which he declared that “FEMA is the new F-word.” Christie pointed out the many ways in which ridiculous regulations have kept aid from reaching displaced homeowners a full 15 months after the flood waters receded. (Mulshine/Star-Ledger)



Stile: Gauging Christie’s words on new terms


It was one of those forceful Chris Christie declarations made on a nationally broadcast news show. It sounded so irrefutable, so real.


Except it wasn’t entirely true. (Stile/The Record)


  Morning News Digest: Feb. 25, 2014