Morning Digest: July 8th

Christie to Baraka on Newark’s fiscal crisis: Trenton will assist, but mayor will have to “deal with it”

KEANSBURG – Expressing little sympathy for newly-elected mayor Ras Baraka and his tender-footed administration at a press conference earlier today, Gov. Chris Christie said he’s “not making any commitment” to providing additional aid — specifically in monetary form — to a debt-ridden Newark. (Chase Brush/PolitickerNJ)



Christie on investigations: ‘I don’t comment on every baseless rumor’ on ‘some trashy website’

KEANSBURG – On a small stage set against the backdrop of a house propped-up on newly-laid cement pilings, Gov. Chris Christie took a moment from talking about the state’s post-Hurricane Sandy home elevation program at an event here earlier today to address more pressing political issues. (Brush/PolitickerNJ)



Community “decarceration” activists call on State Sen. Rice to introduce legislation supporting large-scale New Jersey prison release

NEWARK – An advocacy group that believes New Jersey needs a major large-scale prison release, or “decarceration,” is calling on state Sen. Ron L. Rice (D-28) to introduce a bill in the Legislature meant to achieve that goal. (Bonamo/PolitickerNJ)



Newark Baptist ministers join protest against United Airlines for failure to raise hourly wages for airport workers

NEWARK – A group of more than 25 Baptist ministers from Newark and around New Jersey gathered at a church not far from Newark Airport to ask why United Airlines has yet to raise airport workers’ wages in compliance with recently announced Port Authority of New York and New Jersey changes and stated that they are joining protests designed to convince the major airline to comply. (Bonamo/PolitickerNJ)



Bergen County Exec’s race: Tedesco unveils economic development plan

PARAMUS – Bergen County Freeholder Jim Tedesco, Paramus’ mayor from 2003 to 2010, remembers when he made what he called “a handshake deal” to renovate and expand the 35 Plaza shopping complex on Route 4. Now running as the Democratic candidate for Bergen County Executive, Tedesco returned to 35 Plaza on Monday and unveiled his economic development program, hoping to shake up Bergen’s economy in the face of stiff regional competition. (Bonamo/PolitickerNJ)



Sen. Robert Menendez seeks probe of alleged Cuban plot to smear him

Sen. Robert Menendez is asking the Justice Department to pursue evidence obtained by U.S. investigators that the Cuban government concocted an elaborate plot to smear him with allegations that he cavorted with underage prostitutes, according to people familiar with the discussions. (Leonnig, Roig-Franzia/The Washington Post)



Christie answers questions from the press

Gov. Chris Christie hasn’t held an open press conference for weeks, so when he did today, it was a chance to ask whether, coming out of the George Washington Bridge scandal, he is still a viable presidential candidate. (Aron/NJTV)



14th Street viaduct opens for traffic

Painting traffic lanes and preparing traffic signals, construction crews put the finishing touches on a $54 million project. The 14th Street Viaduct will open for traffic at rush hour tonight, replacing the 100-year-old span that stood before it — connecting Union City and the Heights of Jersey City to Hoboken, Weehawken and the Lincoln Tunnel down below. (Duffy/NJTV)



Port Authority was pressed by Christie administration to hire governor’s former law firm, sources say

The Port Authority fast-tracked the hiring of a law firm with strong ties to Governor Christie and gave it millions of dollars in legal work after the Christie administration pressed officials to hire the firm in 2010, according to internal agency documents and two sources familiar with the firm’s selection. (Boburg/The Bergen Record)



Christie defends veto of ammo bill

Governor Christie said his rejection of a measure to limit firearm ammunition capacity had nothing to do with his possible presidential ambitions and he dismissed critics who said he was pandering to conservatives. (Hayes/The Bergen Record)



Once fabled Atlantic City hits free fall

ATLANTIC CITY — This summer, even Pinky is blue. That’s Pinky Kravitz — the Voice of Atlantic City, Chairman of the Boardwalk, the New Jersey city’s biggest and oldest booster, a man who is relentlessly, famously, sometimes improbably positive. (Hampson/USA Today)



Poll: Most still align with Dems or GOP

WASHINGTON (AP) — Whether it’s the Republicans or the Democrats, America’s political parties are far from beloved. Yet most people continue to align with one or the other. (The Associated Press)



Christie still wants chief of staff O’Dowd for attorney general

KEANSBURG  — Gov. Chris Christie still wants his chief of staff to become the state’s next attorney general. Christie said he planned to sit down with his top aide, Kevin O’Dowd, on Monday afternoon to discuss whether he is still interested in the position. (The Associated Press)



Cory Booker, Rand Paul team up for justice

Meet the Senate’s newest odd couple: Sens. Cory Booker and Rand Paul. The duo of high-profile, first-term senators — one a New Jersey Democrat who came to Capitol Hill on Twitter-fueled national fame, the other a Kentucky Republican mulling a presidential bid in 2016 — will roll out legislation that comprehensively overhauls the U.S. criminal justice system. (Kim/Politico)



Christie spending time out of the Garden State this week

Gov. Chris Christie has some ambitious travel plans over the next couple weeks that will not only boost his frequent flier miles but burnish his bona fides as an A-list Republican. (Arco/NJ Advance Media)



Sweeney backs Clinton for president, thinks Clinton has ‘a shot’

State Senate President Stephen Sweeney hasn’t had to think hard about who he will support for president in 2016. (Friedman/The Star-Ledger)



Assemblyman Paul Moriarty awaiting fate of police car camera bill based on his DWI dismissal

Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-4 of Washington Township) is awaiting news of the fate of his bill requiring local police patrol units be equipped with cameras, after it received final legislative approval last week and now sits on Gov. Chris Christie’s desk. (Caffrey/The South Jersey Times)





Rabner appoints Thornton to lead Monmouth Vicinage

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner today announced that Superior Court Judge Lisa P. Thornton will lead the Monmouth Vicinage as assignment judge, effective Sept. 1. She will succeed Assignment Judge Lawrence M. Lawson, who is retiring after serving on the bench since 1987 and as assignment judge since May 1993. (Politicker Staff)






Dow Jones booms, but for whom: Moran

The boom that pushed the Dow over 17,000 last week is welcome news. But let’s not go overboard and plan a party. (Moran/The Star-Ledger) Morning Digest: July 8th