Gilmore: ‘I agree with the mayor on one thing: he went against Pascrell’
PATERSON – It’s possible that only incumbent Mayor Jeff Jones and his circle of supporters don’t find Dave Gilmore entertaining – and this is not the lead guitarist for Pink Floyd – in this city that gave birth to Uncle Floyd.
A former IBM manager and department head for the City of Waterford, Connecticut, Gilmore is running arguably the most candid, shoot-from-the-hip campaign.
Friendly detractors point out that’s because he knows he can’t win, and doesn’t hold elected office, moreover, which means he doesn’t have to worry about being rude.
Laughs turn to groans too when his attacks on Jones become heavy-handed.
“Paterson’s very conservative, very genteel,” Gilmore says unapologetically. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)
Goow hesitates to lionize Hurricane Carter; calls Patersonian’s life story more complex
PATERSON – As the city mourns and mulls a native son from the bruised second half of the 20th Century, one candidate in the race for mayor is reluctant to pound the drums of hero worship and instead insists on seeing a more nuanced life story in the case of the late Rubin “Hurricane” Carter.
“That will be determined by him and God on judgment day,” said law and order candidate Goow, pointing heavenward, when asked on the heels of a city candlelight vigil for the late Patersonian what he thought about the famous murder trial, conviction and court turnover.
At that Wednesday evening ceremony, incumbent Mayor Jeff Jones praised Paterson professional boxer Carter as a civil rights icon for beating a triple murder rap after a 20-year struggle from prison. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)
Torres again at the center of attention in ongoing debate over Paterson’s future
PATERSON – This much is clear.
If former Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres is not the frontrunner in the race for mayor, he’s close.
The attacks against him prove it.
In the last three debates, he has engaged in the most mano-a-manos of any candidate: with At-Large Councilman Rigo Rodriguez over the council’s role in payroll decisions; with sitting Mayor Jeff Jones over the financial state of the city when Torres left office in 2010; and tonight, at the NAACP debate, with Council President Andre Sayegh over the former mayor’s $74,000 severance package.
Sayegh brought up the issue, telling a crowd of Paterson voters that it was inappropriate and wrong for Torres to take the hefty package on his way out of city government four years ago.
Torres promptly rose and strafed Sayegh, objecting to the councilman’s votes on city council matters where donors of Sayegh’s had a stake.
“There you go again, Joey. Manipulating my record. Just like you manipulated $7400,0 out of the taxpayers,” Sayegh shot back. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)
Christie: Sandy recovery efforts down to ‘really hard problems’
New Jersey’s governor and one of its U.S. senators visited the same Ocean County town Thursday to offer victims of Superstorm Sandy help in different ways.
Governor Christie brought members of his cabinet and staff to a school gymnasium for a town hall style event where attendees could meet with representatives from various state departments running assistance programs.
-U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-North Bergen, and representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency hosted a work shop for municipal officials from across the state, telling them the steps they could take to lower flood insurance premiums for their residents.
Christie announced that 18,200 of the 18,500 storm victims who applied for $10,000 resettlement grants have received them and that $250 million of $710 million earmarked for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation or RREM has already been sent to residents who are rebuilding and raising their homes.
“Now what’s, left 18 months after the storm, are the really hard problems,” Christie said. “What we’re trying to do is get people back as close as we can to a new normal in their lives.” (Hayes/The Record)
Christie says he would have stopped GWB lane closures
It was the very last question during a nearly 90-minute event primarily focused on Superstorm Sandy: What does Governor Christie tell the critics who think he created a culture that permitted the George Washington Bridge scandal?
The question came from Len Ludovico, a Point Pleasant Beach resident, who brought a photograph he hoped Christie would sign to a Brick school gymnasium packed with more than 400 residents.
Christie began to list what he said were the many things Republicans and Democrats have accomplished working together: a 2 percent property tax cap, pension and benefits reforms and a cap on interest arbitration awards – though he’s currently arguing with Assembly Democrats on renewing that.
“If in fact I created a culture where people were going after each other then how did we do all these things together with Republicans and Democrats,” Christie asked.
Christie hasn’t taken questions from the media on the bridge controversy since he held a State House news conference last month after the lawyers he hired to do an internal investigation cleared him of any involvement in the lane closures.
Protestors have tried to raise this issue and others at some of his recent town hall-style events but the governor ignored their shouting as police escorted them out. He hasn’t been to Fort Lee since Jan. 9 when he went to personally apologize to the mayor and despite holding several town hall-style event since then, he hasn’t been to Bergen County.
The governor told Ludovico that he really only addresses the issue when he’s asked about it, like he was Thursday. (Hayes/The Record)
Transportation Crisis puts Christie, Democrats on Collision Course
New Jerseyans pay more for unnecessary repairs caused by driving on poor or mediocre roads than residents of any other state. One out of every three bridges is decrepit or obsolete. Trains into Manhattan are jammed to capacity, with construction of a new rail tunnel at least a decade away.
Meanwhile, the Christie administration has borrowed so heavily that the Transportation Trust Fund that pays for highways, bridges, and mass-transit projects is going to run out of money a year early. And Gov. Chris Christie has called for the breakup of the Port Authority, the bistate agency set up to fund large-scale projects in the busiest transportation hub in the world.
“We certainly cannot renew the Transportation Trust Fund without a revenue source,” said Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). “But I’m not sure that the public is prepared for the sticker shock of what it’s going to cost to fix our transportation system.”
While Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) has introduced legislation raising New Jersey’s gas tax, which is the second-lowest in the nation, by nine cents a gallon over three years, New Jersey Policy Perspective yesterday slapped a realistic sticker price on New Jersey’s transportation crisis: The liberal think tank suggested a plan to raise $1.25 billion a year by hiking the tax on a gallon of gas from 14.5 cents to 39 cents a gallon — which would still be lower than New York, Pennsylvania, and six other large urban states. (Magyar/NJSpotlight)
Lakewood School District May be in Line for Fiscal State Monitor
Lakewood has long been one of New Jersey’s most intriguing — and sometimes most troubled — school districts, and the spotlight is about to get brighter.
State and local officials are set to meet in Trenton today to discuss plans for the state to step up its role in the Ocean County district, including the appointment of a fiscal monitor, according to an official close to the decision who asked to remain anonymous.
It would be the seventh district in New Jersey to be assigned a fiscal monitor, a step below the state taking over the district altogether. The state currently has fuller control of at least some operations in four other districts.
The impetus in Lakewood is a growing fiscal crisis in which officials have said the district of 5,700 students could run out of money in May, spending down its $143.4 million budget. The board voted last month to seek a $5 million loan to make it through the year.
But what has put the squeeze on the Lakewood budget is not simply serving the district’s public’s schools. It also is picking up at least part of the tab for 20,000 additional children who typically attend private schools, including hundreds of yeshiva for the community’s large Orthodox Jewish community.
Lakewood spends close to $20 million a year to provide transportation for those students to attend their schools, as required by state law. In addition, the high special education costs are also borne by the district, again as required by the state.
“This situation cannot go forward,” said state Sen. Robert Singer (R-Ocean), who is expected to attend the meeting today in the offices of acting Education Commissioner David Hespe. (Mooney/NJSpotlight)
Chris Christie plays starring role in new Newark mayor’s race ad
Gov. Chris Christie has not endorsed a candidate in Newark’s
heated mayoral race, but he’s playing a role nevertheless.
Christie stars in the latest television ad to hit the airwaves, this one bashing law professor Shavar Jeffries as a candidate who will not stand up to the governor.
The ad, paid for by the Working Families Organization, a super-PAC supporting candidate Ras Baraka, begins with a clip of Christie telling an audience during an appearance in Beach Haven, “I don’t care about the community criticism, we run the school district in Newark, not them.”
The statement was made in answer to a question about the reappointment of Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson.
“Chris Christie doesn’t listen to us, and neither will Shavar Jeffries,” the ad intones.
The ad then connects Jeffries to Christie again, saying both raise their money from Wall Street donors. Campaign finance reports filed with the state show that a PAC backing Jeffries is bankrolled in part by a hedge fund group. From there, the spot leaps to the conclusion that Jeffries won’t stand up to Christie when it comes to the Newark public school system. (Isherwood/NJ.com)
Christie tells Sandy victims in Brick that aid disbursement has improved
BRICK — After months of complaints that his administration has distributed Hurricane Sandy recovery funds at too slow a pace, Gov. Chris Christie told an audience filled with storm victims today that the process has picked up.
The Republican governor announced during a town hall at Lake Riviera Middle School in Brick that 18,200 of the 18,500 residents who applied for $10,000 resettlement grants have received them. The grants are given to Sandy victims who agree to remain where they lived for at least three years.
“Now that we’re about 18 months since the storm, the problems that are left to solve are the toughest ones,” Christie said. “All the easy and medium problems have been fixed. What we’re trying to do is get people back as close as we can to a new normal in their lives.”
The 2012 storm caused $37 billion in damage to the state. A Rutgers-Eagleton poll released Wednesday showed two-thirds of New Jersey residents think the state is not back to normal after Sandy and it could take up to five years before that happens
From the Back Room
National progressive group backs Watson Coleman in CD12
The Progressive Democrats of America Co-Founder and National Director Tim Carpenter and State Chair Mary Ellen Marino today endorsed Bonnie Watson Coleman for the Democratic nomination in the 12thCongressional District.
Baskerville-Richardson, Seelinger, Jackson triumph in Newark school advisory board election
NEWARK – Two Newark school advisory board incumbents and one neophyte candidate triumphed in Wednesday’s election.
Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson and Philip Seelinger, Jr., incumbents who ran as members of Newark mayoral candidate Ras Baraka’s Newark Children First Team, were the top two vote-getters with 2,710 votes and 2,873 votes respectively, according to unofficial results updated this morning by the Essex County Clerk’s office.
Donald Jackson, Jr., a sophmore at Essex County Community College, narrowly defeated the third member of Baraka’s Children First Team, Reginald Bledsoe. Jackson received 2,403 votes, while Bledsoe garnered 2,330 votes, according to unofficial results.
The nine-member board serves in a mostly advisory capacity since the state took over the Newark public school district in 1995.
Baraka’s rival in the Newark mayoral election, Shavar Jeffries, once served as president of the Newark school advisory board. Jeffries did not put forward a team of allied candiates to take on Baraka’s Children First Team.
The May 13 Newark municipal election is just 19 days away.
Christie pens complimentary piece about Wisconsin’s Scott Walker for Time
Gov. Chris Christie brandished a pen in this case to do more than sign a bill into law.
He wrote an essay for Time Magazine due out Friday that praises fellow public enemy of the public sector unions and possible 2016 presidential rival Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin.
The Washington Post has a preview.