Morning Digest: July 2nd


Breaking: Speziale returning to Paterson to serve as Mayor Torres’ police director

PATERSON – They say it’s tough to get a decent slice of pizza in the south. “There’s no pasta, that’s for sure,” cracked Jerry Speziale. No offense to Prichard, Alabama, but Speziale wants to come home. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)



At inaugural ball, Newark Mayor Baraka calls outsiders home as the city gets “ready to experience a renaissance”

NEWARK – Standing before a crowd of 1,000 revelers at the Robert Treat Hotel at his inaugural ball, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka told his frenzied supporters to keep on partying down, but also to be prepared for the hard road ahead. (Bonamo/PolitickerNJ)



Newark mayor’s new chief of staff Amiri Baraka, Jr.: “I’ve got my brother’s back”

NEWARK – On the day that his brother was sworn in as Newark’s 40th mayor, Amiri “Middy” Baraka, Jr., now chief of staff to Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, spoke out about how while politicos make important alliances, it is ultimately family ties that bind. (Bonamo/PolitickerNJ)



Bayonne: At swearing in ceremony, Davis compares Menendez to ‘Lady Liberty’

BAYONNE – Flanked by friends and family here in the auditorium at Bayonne High School, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) swore in mayor-elect James “Jimmy” Davis today in front of an audience of elated onlookers. (Brush/PolitickerNJ)



Perez on LD31 run: ‘If they ask me, I’ll be there’

BAYONNE – Bayonne’s municipal council was awash with firsts today as it inaugurated newly-minted Mayor Jimmy Davis. One of those firsts was the nomination of now former council member-at-large Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski to the seat of council president. Nadrowski, a Bayonne native and current member and past vice president of the city’s Irish American League, is the first female in Bayonne history to be elected to the position. (Brush/PolitickerNJ)



In Trenton, Jackson takes the oath of office to lead embattled capital city

TRENTON — Days after the last elected mayor reported to a federal prison, Eric E. Jackson took the oath of office as the 55th mayor of New Jersey’s impoverished capital city on Tuesday. (Morris/PolitickerNJ)



Sources: Sweeney and Sarlo dine with Stellato; Bergen Dems chair won’t engage in guv talk

The strapping South Jerseyan was an unmistakable public presence alongside Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato and state Senator Paul Sarlo (D-36) in recent days, crammed at a table with the two north state Democratic Party politicians. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)



In Newark, Campos comes full circle; topping list of key Baraka Admin personnel

Anthony Campos, the former police chief of the City of Newark who ran afoul of former Mayor Cory Booker, will be the city’s new police chief in the Ras Baraka era, according to a source. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)



Torres appears with Pascrell as ceremony begins and new round of boos rain

PATERSON – Moments before a motorcycle detail escorting Gov. Chris Christie appeared and another round of protest chants – “Christie’s gotta go! Christie’s gotta go! Christie’s gotta go!” kicked in, Mayor-elect Jose “Joey” Torres appeared with his wife Sonia and U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9) on a march to the swearing-in tent sent up in front of City Hall. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)



Monmouth Poll: Booker leads Bell 43-23%; 51% of NJ voters disapprove of Obama

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) has the early advantage in his bid for reelection, but his lead is tempered by an unsettled electorate.  The Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll also found that President Barack Obama’s ratings have slipped in the Garden State, with residents holding negative views on his handling of Iraq and his signature health care policy. (Murray/PolitickerNJ)



Governor Christie pushing for pension and benefit reforms on budget tour

Governor Christie began his post-budget tour Tuesday promising to sell the public on the need for pension and health benefit reforms – a pitch that so far doesn’t include details – with interviews in national media outlets and a town-hall-style event, but ran into a series of protests from angry union members. (Hayes/The Bergen Record)



Some emerged winners, others losers in N.J. budget

Governor Christie lived up to his promise to veto tax hike proposals that he said would hurt New Jersey businesses and high-income earners. He also spared funds for cancer research in the $32.5 billion budget he signed on Monday. (Reitmeyer/The Bergen Record)


N.J. Legislature’s insurance bill could benefit George E. Norcross

TRENTON — For the second time in recent weeks, New Jersey lawmakers are poised to approve fast-track legislation that could prove a boon to powerful South Jersey political leader George E. Norcross. The measure, which won unanimous approval in the state Assembly on Monday and appears headed for approval in the Senate next week, could bring big changes in how hundreds of small and midsize companies furnish health-insurance coverage for their employees. (Pilletts/The Bergen Record)



Christie Defends Budget Vetoes at Caldwell Town Hall

Gov. Chris Christie told his town hall audience about yesterday’s budget he signed and the tax increase he vetoed. “For the fourth time in the last five years, they tried to raise income taxes on the people of New Jersey. And for the fourth time I’ve vetoed them and told them no, we’re not raising income taxes on the people of New Jersey, not on my watch,” said Christie. (Aron/NJTV)



EPA could allow Ringwood to build recycling center on top of contamination

More than 100,000 tons of contaminated soil dumped by Ford Motor Co. will probably be left in place at a Superfund site in Upper Ringwood, under a federal plan issued Tuesday that will greatly reduce the cleanup costs for the auto giant and the borough. (Falcon/The Bergen Record)



N.J. Rating Bested by California as Christie Cuts Budget

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie won a battle with lawmakers over taxes and spending. The bigger war may be winning over municipal-bond investors, who for the first time since 1977 view the state as riskier than California. (Dopp, Chappatta/Bloomberg News)



Chris Christie on Hobby Lobby: What Difference Does It Make?

Republicans were figuratively tripping over each other to praise Monday’s Supreme Court decision that ruled Hobby Lobby, a privately held company, shouldn’t be forced to provide certain contraception to their employees if it’s against their religious beliefs. (Catanese/US News and World Report)



Obama birth control coverage advocates looking past U.S. Supreme Court case

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS) — US senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) is suggesting there may be a way to continue to guarantee women access to birth control, despite yesterday’s US Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case (see related story). (Loeb/CBS)



Fulop for governor? Other Jersey City mayors have tried and failed

It’s no secret that Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop has his eyes on higher office. Fulop, 37, has been swatting away rumors of his gubernatorial ambitions since the moment he was elected mayor last year. He says he’s focused on Jersey City and rumors to the contrary are just gossip among political reporters. (MacDonald/The Jersey Journal)–_and_failed.html#incart_river



Fulop: it’s good story; we’ve still got work to do

When he was sworn in on this date last year, Steve Fulop attracted political heavyweights including, at that time, one of the nation’s biggest. But it was only a couple of weeks later — after he decided not to endorse the governor’s reelection bid — that Fulop says Christie administration officials cancelled scheduled meetings in political retaliation. (Cruz/NJTV)



NJ unemployment fraud scheme linked to trucking firm nets $180k

Stephen Pirrone’s former trucking company made him a lot of money, but not for moving freight. The 53-year-old Paramus man — just released from federal prison in a $200,000 tax fraud that used the name of the firm to generate fake wage statements — was charged today with three others in a $180,000 unemployment scam in the name of the same now-defunct transport company. (Sherman/The Star-Ledger)



Christie blames Democrats on judge deal gone bad; Weinberg calls him petulant

Gov. Chris Christie today blamed state Senate Democrats for his decision to nix eight judicial nominations in Essex County’s undermanned courts, saying they went back on a deal. (Friedman/The Star-Ledger)



Garfield names its first woman mayor amid continuing council battles

GARFIELD ­— Tana Raymond is the city’s first woman to serve as mayor, but the coalition that made her the city’s chief official fell apart Tuesday on the selection of her deputy amid deep divisions among the five-member council. (McGrath/The Bergen Record)



Teaneck selects its first female African American mayor, faces continuing fiscal troubles

TEANECK — Township officials made history as they reorganized the municipal government Tuesday night, selecting Lizette Parker as Teaneck’s first-ever African American female mayor. (Morrison/The Bergen Record)



After Cory Booker Departs, a Radical Poet’s Son Rises as Mayor of Newark

The election-night victory party for Ras Baraka, the new mayor of Newark, New Jersey, took place on May 13, at a hotel in the city’s gradually reviving downtown. Jubilant union volunteers in blue T-shirts from the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) flooded the ballroom. High-schoolers from the Newark Students Union, who are at war with an unpopular, state-appointed school superintendent, clustered at tables with their organizer-chaperones. (Mitter/The Nation)



Controversial ocean-floor study off N.J. gets final federal go-ahead

A Rutgers study that would aim sound blasts deep into the ocean floor off the New Jersey coast to study sea-level changes from as long as 50 million years ago has passed its final regulatory hurdle. (Bauers/The Philadelphia Inquirer)





Freed named partner at Newark-based Genova Burns

Democratic Task Force member and board counsel for the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey Rebecca Moll Freed is now partner at the law firm Genova Burns Giantomasi Webster, according to an announcement by the Newark-based firm today. (Brush/PolitickerNJ) Morning Digest: July 2nd