NJ Politics Digest: Fake News Was Big News This Weekend

It’s the start of a new week in Trenton, and the end of a weekend where fake news became big stories in New Jersey, with hundreds of people filing suit against the city of Camden in hopes of a windfall and the Internet abuzz with humorous tales of Gov. Chris Christie supposedly taking out his frustrations on President-elect Donald Trump.
In real news, columnist Paul Mulshine points out a problem with Christie’s ambitious plans for a $300 million redo of the Statehouse and a recording provided a behind-the-scenes view of the role politics plays in funding some nonprofits.
There’s more bad news about safety at NJ Transit and The Record has a look at what action to expect in Trenton in the coming days.

Quote of the Day: “No one quite believes him. And if these (RNC job) reports are true it’s with good reason,” Seton Hall University political scientist Matthew Hale, on Gov. Chris Christie’s claims he’s committed to serving out his term as New Jersey governor.

Misled by rumor of cash payouts, 1,800 former NJ inmates sue jail
Carmen DeJesus was in downtown Camden last month when she noticed a man near the Walter Rand Transportation Center handing out what appeared to be legal forms, offering them to anyone who had ever spent a night in a crowded Camden County jail cell.
Allison Steele, Inquirer Read more

Internet almost fooled by report of Christie vandalizing ‘totally mean’ Trump’s limo
Over the weekend, Chris Christie watchers were dealt a double-take when a satirical New Yorker article was packaged on search engines and content platforms as if it were a real crime report.
Michael Tannenbaum, Philly Voice Read more

A $300 million Taj Mahal for politicians? That’s your decision, not Chris Christie’s
Last week, Gov. Christie called a snap press conference in the Rotunda of the Statehouse for a surprise announcement.
Paul Mulshine, The Star Ledger Read more

Christie appointees felt pressure to award money to politically connected nonprofit
Members of a panel charged with awarding state grants said they felt pressure from Gov. Chris Christie’s office to give extra money to a nonprofit connected to a Christie ally, despite the fact that the panel had found the nonprofit’s application for the funds weak.
Matt Friedman, Politico Read more

Christie makes surprise visit to Trump Tower amid job talks
Gov. Chris Christie made a surprise appearance at Trump Tower on Friday amid reports that he is talking with President-elect Donald Trump’s team about being named Republican National Committee chairman.
Brent Johnson, NJ.com Read more

A Donald Trump museum? Atlantic City historians consider it
A group of historians in Atlantic City wants to open a museum dedicated to President-elect Donald Trump.
Associated Press Read more

New video shows NJ Transit bus going wrong way on Parkway
New video obtained by New Jersey 101.5 shows an NJ Transit bus heading the wrong way on a Garden State Parkway exit ramp.
Sergio Bichao, NJ101.5 Read more
State Seeks High-Tech Oversight of Spending on Drug Benefits
New Jersey would be first state to use new technology to make real-time decisions about drug purchases, contracts, possibly saving taxpayers $200M a year.
Lilo H. Stainton, NJSpotlight Read more

The 100-Yard Deception
Late in 2006, the CEO and co-founder of FieldTurf — the leading maker of artificial sports fields — urgently emailed a supplier about a new turf being marketed and sold to the public as the best money could buy.
Christopher Baxter and Matthew Stanmyre, Star-Ledger Read more

These were N.J.’s highest-paid private college presidents, survey says
The average pay for private colleges and university presidents jumped up by more than 8 percent in 2014 as the annual compensation packages for some leaders rose into the millions, according to a new survey.
Kelly Heyboer, NJ.com Read more

A conversation with Assemblyman John Wisniewski
Eleven months out, Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) is trying to gain traction as a candidate for governor of New Jersey in a field that includes a wealthy financier who has never seen the inside of a caucus room, and assorted candidates from a Republican party whose leader has made their brand as popular than anthrax.
Dave D’Alessandro, Star-Ledger Read more

Segregation Continues to be NJ’s State of State
New Jersey is one of the most racially and ethnically diverse states in the country — but it is also one of the most segregated. The reasons are complicated: former redlining of communities that haven’t changed their demographics since the middle of the 20th century; pockets of wealthy white families settling in the same tony communities; and a state housing policy that despite judicial intervention has stagnated and done little to address the issue.
Colleen O’Dea, NJSpotlight Read more

House acts to protect N.J.’s McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst from move to close military bases
The U.S. House approved legislation Friday to prevent a new round of military base closings, offering another layer of protection for Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.
Jonathan D. Salant, NJ.com Read more

United Airlines will pay $2.4 million to settle with SEC
The parent company of United Airlines will pay $2.4 million to settle civil charges by securities regulators over flights that were started to help an official who oversaw one of the airline’s hub airports.
Associated Press Read more

Atlantic City residents confront N.J. overseer about state imposed tax hike
Attending his first City Council meeting, the new state overseer heard from angry residents who said the state’s imposed 9 percent tax increase was forcing them to the breaking point.
Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer Read more

BPU Considers Deploying Microgrids To Deliver Resiliency
Power outages related to grid failures can affect millions of residents; microgrids can keep critical facilities up and running in towns and communities
Tom Johnson, NJSpotlight Read more

N.J.’s Lt. Governor starting to cut her own path
Over the past seven years, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno stood at Governor Christie’s side at press conferences, a resolute and silent prop of solidarity.
Charles Stile, The Record Read more

Battle brewing over surprise medical bills, Highlands development
A battle is brewing in the Legislature over how to rein in surprise medical bills for consumers and cap insurance payments to out-of-network hospitals and physicians.
Nicholas Pugliese, The Record Read more

Bipedal bear’s apparent death motivates bear hunt opponents
New Jersey’s long-debated black bear hunts have stoked strong passions, blasted by animal rights activists as inhumane and supported by hunters and wildlife officials who say they help control the population and minimize run-ins with humans.
Associated Press Read more

Trump Carrier deal mimics NJ economic policy
Donald Trump’s agreement with Carrier to keep 1,100 jobs from moving from Indiana to Mexico is prompting fresh debate about New Jersey’s aid packages to ailing companies — help that critics often brand “corporate welfare.”
Asbury Park Press Read more

Judge denies request for special prosecutor in Christie case
A request to appoint a special prosecutor in the official misconduct case against Governor Christie for his alleged role in the Bridgegate scandal was denied Friday by a Superior Court Judge.
Allison Pries, The Record Read more

Is funding system for mental health services broken?
In 2017, New Jersey will shift to a fee-for-service funding model for community mental health services, a change that alarms many providers worried about a loss of funding affecting patient access. We asked two experts in the field to explain the challenges of the transition and what the state can do to ease some of the burden.
Asbury Park Press Read more

‘Sanctuary cities’; NJ mayors face Trump fight
A growing chorus of mayors in New Jersey and beyond are affirming pledges to shield undocumented immigrants in the face of President-elect Donald Trump’s promised crackdown on illegal immigration.
Karen Yi, Asbury Park Press Read more

5 signs Chris Christie has left his Trump door ajar
Gov. Chris Christie is meeting with the press this morning for the second time this week amid fresh speculation that he is an eyeing a new job.
Bob Jordan Asbury Park Press Read more

The Atlantic City lineage of Trump’s White House counsel
Don McGhan, the hotshot D.C. lawyer that Trump picked as his campaign attorney and now his chief White House counsel, grew up in Atlantic City. And more than that, he hails from one of the city’s most famous families.
Star-Ledger Read more

Trump son-in-law Kushner to have key, but undefined, role
Jared Kushner, whose roots are in North Jersey’s Orthodox Jewish community, may have provided a guidepost for the direction of his influence with President-elect Donald Trump, his father-in-law, in an editorial that ran in The New York Observer four years ago.
Abbott Koloff, The Record Read more

New law allows retired officers to take school security post
A bill inspired by the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School — cosponsored by Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco and signed into law this week by Gov. Chris Christie — is expected to offer new options to public school districts that want to increase campus security.
William Westhoven, Daily Record Read more

What’s in Christie’s $300M N.J. Statehouse renovation plan?
So exactly what is planned for the $300 million Statehouse renovation project unveiled by Gov. Chris Christie last week?
Matt Arco, NJ.com Read more

What 2 ex-N.J. governors say about Trump’s spending plans; state gubernatorial race
The following exchange between former New Jersey governors Brendan T. Byrne and Tom Kean took place via telephone last week.
Star-Ledger Read more

Sweeney’s Trenton politics getting hairier
Beards are rarely seen in Trenton politics. Former Gov. Jon Corzine famously sported one, but he was the first whiskered Jersey chief exec in about a century.
Star-Ledger Read more

Bergen prosecutor talks computer crimes, heroin epidemic
Bergen County’s newly confirmed chief law enforcement officer, Gurbir Grewal, sat down with The Record this week to talk about how his background, his career as a federal attorney and chief of the Economic Crimes Unit – where he focused on white collar and computer crimes – helped to shape his vision as Bergen County prosecutor.
Allison Pries and John C Ensslin, The Record Read more

Pump your own gas? Many willing if it means $15 minimum wage
After Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno said that raising the minimum wage to $15 could lead to gas stations going self-serve, New Jersey residents have weighed in on whether they were willing to take to the pump.
After Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno said that raising the minimum wage to $15 could lead to gas stations going self-serve, New Jersey residents have weighed in on whether they were willing to take to the pump.
Lisa Marie Segarra and Andrew Wyrich, The Record Read more

Opinion: 10 reasons Chris Christie shouldn’t be RNC chairman
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is expressing interest in the job of Republican National Committee chairman.
The only idea worse than that would be nominating the Bridgegate-scandalized governor for attorney general. Here is why:
Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post Read more

Opinion: Sweeney just put more muscle behind bail reform. We hope Christie will too
New Jersey is right on the verge of enacting a crucial reform that would base bail decisions on public safety and flight risk, not your ability to post bail.
Star-Ledger Editorial Board Read more

NJ Politics Digest: Fake News Was Big News This Weekend