NEWARK – A short time ago, PolitickerNJ left the TV studio at One Gateway Center and retired to a favorite cafe in the Ironbound to file this column on a week when ongoing political fights defined New Jersey politics.
There’s the fight between UBER and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, as the taxi service alternative tries to resist Newark’s efforts to harden rules for cabs in part to protect those CWA-affiliated taxi drivers. There’s the fight over Atlantic City, of course, with Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop on one side and Governor Chris Christie and Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) on the other.
But one thing appeared to get settled this week.
Just as he did with that gun bill when he overrode the governor to make a point about power, the senate president could strike muscle poses with abandon in the governor’s outer office this week as Christie – his presidential run at an end – scrapped his original ambition to remake the state Supreme Court in his own image and gave Sweeney a win by nominating Democrat Walter Timpone. Of course, in the inimitable words of novelist Jim Thompson, there is one plot – things are not always what they seem, and it’s just quite possible given their longstanding cozy relations, that Timpone is closer to Christie than he is to most Democrats. But that doesn’t change the fact that Christie had wanted Republicans, not having to simply settle for a Christiecrat. Also – in Christie’s favor – the supposed concession on Timpone – we’re guessing – assures that Sweeney and Christie will stay close beside each other come negotiation time with Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) on Atlantic City, if Prieto’s AC takeover bill gets to 41 votes next week.
Running in the CD7 Republican Primary, the otherwise inconsequential Craig Heard withstood a petition challenge from David Larsen to stay in a three-man race. Larsen had challenged Heard’s signatures in hopes of booting him and dragging incumbent Congressman Lance into a two-man brawl. But it didn’t work out that way, as the obfuscating Heard gets to stick around.
The champagne glasses clinked with abandon in Pascrell-world as news circulated that the Passaic County Democratic Committee had banished former Paterson Mayor Jeff Jones from the CD9 Dem Primary. PolitickerNJ had hoped to single-handedly build Pascrell-Jones into the 2016 version of Pascrell-Rothman 2012. But it was not to be, as Pascrell staffers this time find themselves spared another Gladiator-sized battlefield scene.
Valerie Vainireri Huttle
The affable Bergen County Democrat from Englewood held a successful fundraiser this week. Over 200 people showed up as she raised well over $50,0000.
The mayor of Brick City raked in $290,000 at his Birthday fundraiser last week, Over 1,000 people attended the event, themed “We are Newark.”
The New Brunswick-based university announced this week that President Barack Obama – now in his last year of office – will give this year’s commencement speech for the Scarlet Knights.
The Christie-friendly judge from North Jersey can go out and get fitted for supreme court judges’ robes, with Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) happily standing beside Gov. Chris Christie to affirm Christie’s choice – a Democrat – for the state’s highest court. Sweeney is in 2017 mode, and the only time he consents to allow cameras to snap his picture alongside Christie is in the case of a win, which this was, for the senate prez (See above).
Following his statement in Atlantic City that he would work to kill the North Jersey gaming referendum, the Jersey City Mayor received a stern talking to from Bergen County Building Trades bulldog Rick Sabato and an entreaty by Assembly Gaming Committee Chairman Ralph Caputo to rethink his position. Fulopites say the idea of a casino in JC simply lacks hometown support, and the mayor had to jump out in front of it now before he takes too brutal a local butt-kicking. But his having to reverse himself from an earlier statement of support for Jersey City gambling had North Jersey gaming allies in an uproar at week’s end. On the plus side for the Jersey City mayor, though, he appears to be successfully building an underground goodwill tunnel to those local renegades in AC, specifically Council President Marty Small.
Aiming for a gladiatorial showdown with his longtime political tormentor, the former Mayor of Paterson submitted petition signatures that didn’t measure up, requiring him to leave the CD9 Democratic Primary and once again leave behind a trail of Silk City muttering over the incredible political curiosity that is Jeff Jones.
Running in CD7, he tried to get out there as the establishment Democrat affiliated with Hillary Clinton but left the field early after failing to properly present his petition signatures.
The Elmwood Park School Board trustee dug in with an arms folded “absolutely not,” when the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations this week asked her to resign. Gryskiewwicz had said Muslims should “stay in your deserts and follow your religion in your own countries,” comments the council condemned as “bigoted” and “extremely offensive.”
Having failed to secure a contract agreement with 40,000 workers, the mega-telecommunications company this week watched those workers walk off their jobs as part of a huge regional strike action. According to news reports, services issues will likely bleed into other parts of the company’s business, including Verizon Wireless. “Workers already have put hundreds of millions of dollars in healthcare cost savings on the table. We simply cannot compromise on contract changes that would ship more work overseas and have our families separated for months at a time, said a frustrated Ed Mooney, CWA District 2-13 vice president.
Wall Township officials plan to discipline the municipal assessor after allegedly getting stymied by two state agencies they asked to take action. Wall wants “an ethics opinion from the Department of Community Affairs’ Local Finance Board about Tax Assessor William FitzPatrick’s relationship with Realty Appraisal, the firm hired to appraise all property in the township, said Sean Kean, Wall’s attorney,” according to this Asbury Park Press story.
The 7th District Republican challenger lost a bid to toss Craig Heard off the primary ballot, ensuring a three-way race for U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance’s seat, and bracketed with John Kasich in Hunterdon and Somerset, while drawing the third position in Morris and in Siberia in Union with no presidential bracket.