NJ Politics Digest: Bridgegate Testimony Ensnares More

It’s Tuesday, and with all the talk of last night’s presidential debate, it’s easy to forget that there is big news happening in New Jersey politics.
There’s the Bridgegate trial, where star witness David Wildstein has implicated more people in the plot and detailed how it was designed to punish school kids as well as Fort Lee’s mayor. There are endorsements, political attacks and, maybe, some news about the governor’s race.
For all this and more, read on.

Quote of the Day: “He smiled and said, ‘fantastic,’” – Bridgegate witness David Wildstein, recounting defendant Bill Baroni’s reaction to timing the traffic jams to coincide with the first day of school in Fort Lee.

Poll: Who won the presidential debate (9/26/16)? How did Clinton, Trump do in the first debate?Who won the first presidential debate Monday night between Democratic presidential nominee and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Republican nominee, businessman Donald Trump, at Hofstra University?
Susan K. Livio, NJ.com Read more

Bridgegate trial: Wildstein testifies former Bergen County executive was told of plan before lane closures
A commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was informed of the plan to create gridlock in Fort Lee by closing access lanes to the George Washington Bridge weeks before the plot was set in action, according to the government’s star witness in a federal trial.
Paul Berger, The Record Read more

Bridgegate plotter says Christie campaign manager, now a Trump aide, approved
Gov. Chris Christie’s former campaign manager — now a top aide to Donald Trump — was aware of the George Washington Bridge lane closures before they occurred and knew their intended purpose, according to the admitted mastermind of the political revenge scheme.
Ryan Hutchins, Politico Read more

Bridgegate witness David Wildstein claims ‘traffic problems’ email was not a joke
The punishment meted out to Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for refusing to endorse Gov. Chris Christie was not limited to gridlock, the accused architect of the Bridgegate scandal testified Monday.
Stephen Rex Brown, New York Daily News Read more

Wildstein testimony draws more people into Bridgegate web
The day David Wildstein unleashed a traffic nightmare of epic proportions on Fort Lee to punish Mayor Mark Sokolich for his refusal to endorse Gov. Chris Christie, he claimed the governor’s own campaign manager was already aware of the plan.
Ted Sherman and Matt Arco, NJ.com Read more

Former top Christie aide Stepien accused of knowing about lane closure plan
Bill Stepien, a former deputy chief of staff to Governor Christie who is now working on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, knew much more about the criminal plot to realign lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge than he has acknowledged, according to the government’s star witness in the trial.
Dustin Racioppi, The Record Read more

Senate’s top Democrat: ‘Donald Trump is a racist’
In his latest attack against Donald Trump, U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid on Monday called the Republican presidential nominee a “racist” and cited a $200,000 fine for forcing black employees to leave the floor of his Atlantic City casino in the 1980s.
Brent Johnson and Jonathan D. Salant, NJ.com Read more

Paterson towing company has made over $100K in political contributions
The company whose lucrative city towing contract was renewed last week has given more than $100,000 in campaign contributions to Passaic County political figures over the past 20 years, state records show.
Joe Malinconico, The Record Read more

Former NATO commander endorses Gottheimer over Garrett to tackle veterans issues
A retired four-star general and former supreme commander of NATO said Monday he thinks Josh Gottheimer, the Democratic candidate hoping to unseat Rep. Scott Garrett (R), will be the best advocate for veterans in Washington.
Sara Jerde, NJ.com Read more

City Hall scuffle breaks out between Newark employees
A fight broke out inside an office at Newark City Hall Monday morning between two employees, NJ Advance Media has learned
Michael Anthony Adams, NJ.com Read more

Rutgers to assist with master plan for Bergen County parks
Bergen County Executive James Tedesco is scheduled to announce a partnership with Rutgers University at Overpeck County Park on Monday morning that will help the county develop a long-term master plan for the its parks system.
Todd South, The Record Read more

ACLU takes up accused N.J. bomber Ahmad Khan Rahami’s case
The New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has stepped in to represent the man facing charges in the string of bombing attacks in New Jersey and New York, newly filed court records show.
S.P. Sullivan, NJ.com Read more

Meet the N.J. native who’s running Donald Trump’s campaign
If Donald Trump ends up winning the White House, he might want to send a thank-you note to New Jersey’s blueberry country.
Brent Johnson, NJ.com Read more

Judge: DRPA contract policies need reform
– A federal judge has blasted the Delaware River Port Authority, saying its process for awarding contracts is ‘deeply and dramatically flawed’ and ‘in need of substantial reform.’
Jim Walsh, Courier-Post Read more

Federal grants help Evesham, Camden with body cameras
Police in two South Jersey jurisdictions, as well as New Jersey State Police, have received federal grants to purchase body cameras and to develop policies for their use.
Phaedra Trethan, Courier-Post Read more

Urgency to Define Rules for Telemedicine in NJ
Despite several years of discussion, New Jersey remains among the last states in the nation without regulations that specifically address telemedicine. But that could finally change in the months to come.
Lilo H. Stainton, NJSpotlight Read more

Lesniak to announce 2017 plans in ‘next few weeks’
State Sen. Raymond Lesniak is planning to announce in October whether he’s running for governor next year.
Matt Friedman, Politico Read more

Jackson: 5th District candidates Garrett, Gottheimer sound off on Zadroga Act
A new ad shows that Rep. Scott Garrett is on the defensive about the law that provides health care for 9/11 first responders who were sickened by toxic substances from the smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center.
Herb Jackson, The Record Read more

Monmouth Park closes for season amid steep declines across board
The numbers from Monmouth Park’s recent meet, which ended on Sunday, show just how difficult it will be for the Oceanport racetrack to survive amid the rising tide of competition from neighboring states, with steep declines across the board for 57 days of racing.
Stephen Edelson, Asbury Park Press Read more

Double-dipping an issue in Burlington County races
There are three seats up for grabs in Burlington County government in November and one race features a rematch between two candidates who faced off in 2013 amid mudslinging over the issues of “double-dipping” and the lack of law enforcement experience.
Jan Hefler, Inquirer Read more

Opinion:Boot bigoted college trustee
Joseph M. DiBella, vice chairman of the Brookdale Community College Board of Trustees, says hackers were responsible for Twitter ‘likes” of racist and other offensive posts on his Twitter account. And he contended at a board meeting last week that the alleged hacks likely were triggered by contentious contract negotiations with the faculty union.
Asbury Park Press Read more

Ocean County dune project should go to bid soon
Beach replenishment is coming to northern Ocean County, at long last.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to advertise for bids later this month for the massive dune-building project from Manasquan to Barnegat inlets, according to Steve Rochette, a spokesman for the corps’ Philadelphia district.
Jean Mikle, Asbury Park Press Read more

Long arm of law grabs one Sandy contractor
The official name of the charge is ‘Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition.’
Mark Di Ionno, The Star-Ledger Read more
Mayor files police report accusing assemblyman of harassment, intimidation
The mayor of Roselle is accusing a state assemblyman of harassing her and attempting to intimidate her for the past 18 months.
Tom Haydon, NJ.com Read more

Water rescue? A.C.’s municipal authority may buy Bader Field for $100m
Like asking a rich uncle for help with a down payment, Atlantic City has persuaded its Municipal Utility Authority to pay more than $100 million to buy the broke city’s former 140-acre municipal airstrip, Bader Field.
Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer Read more

NJ Politics Digest: Bridgegate Testimony Ensnares More