NJ Politics Digest: Gloating Begins After Christie’s Book Deal, Newspaper Bills Fail

It’s Tuesday, and another day in what has been a very bad year for Gov. Chris Christie, as the legislature failed to move on measures he wanted that would have altered state ethics laws to allow him to privately profit from a book deal, would have granted raises to top political appointees and would have removed legal notice regulations that profit the newspaper industry. Christie foes in the media were gloating Monday, even though it appears the legal notice measure will return again next year.
New Jersey electors were equally disappointed, casting their Electoral College votes for Hillary Clinton as Donald Trump officially won the U.S. presidency – an event that Christie once hoped would land him a top cabinet post.
In Atlantic City, the Rev. Al Sharpton is speaking out against a state takeover of the resort, and lawmakers are moving ahead with plans to punish the owner of the Trump Taj Mahal, who closed the casino following a labor dispute.

Quote of the Day: “Unfettered open debate among my caucus has been a priority for me as Assembly Speaker. Today’s discussions were another great example of this caucus’ willingness to hear and consider all opinions,” – Assembly Speaker Vincent Pietro, putting the best face on his inability to get Democrats to support his plan to allow Gov. Chris Christie to privately profit from a book deal, increase salaries of political appointees and change regulations that benefit the newspaper industry.

Christie book deal bill dies, newspaper ‘revenge bill’ vote postponed
New Jersey lawmakers were scheduled to vote Monday on a pair of controversial bills linked to Gov. Chris Christie — but a vote never happened, and at least one of the measures has died.
Brent Johnson, NJ.com Read more

No book deal for Christie (ever?), no killing newspaper legal ads (today)
Lawmakers weren’t able to muster the votes Monday needed to pass two pieces of controversial legislation – one granting raises to nearly 700 public officials and letting Gov. Chris Christie sign a book deal, the other allowing governments to stop printing public notices in newspapers.
Michael Symons, NJ101.5 Read more

No votes called on Christie’s book deal, newspaper ad bill
In a defeat for Gov. Chris Christie, the state Legislature will not vote this year on controversial bill that would have allowed the governor to cash in on a book deal while in office, according to the top Republican in the Assembly. Also pulled from the voting session was the so-called “newspaper revenge” bill that would have ended a requirement for legal ads to be published in local newspapers.
Salvador Rizzo and Dustin Racioppi, The Record Read more

Christie & Dem bosses get public spanking they deserve
In the end, no damage was done, except to the reputations of the politicians who tried to pull off this dirty stunt.
Tom Moran, Star-Ledger Read more

Does Christie Newspaper Measure Punish The Press Financially?
Critics argue Christie wants payback for Bridgegate coverage; administration says move could save local governments, businesses $80 million — though estimate remains unverified
John Reitmeyer, NJSpotlight Read more

Christie’s dirty deal hits big snag
Could it be, finally, that Gov. Chris Christie and his Democratic allies have hit a brick wall with this latest sleazy back room deal?
Tom Moran, Star-Ledger Read more

Opinion: No min. wage hike for workers, but Christie gets a book deal?
Ha! Ha! Ha!
That’s not Santa. It’s the sound of Gov. Chris Christie and his cabinet laughing all the way to the bank if the governor manages to pull off a dirty deal that would allow him to cash in on writing and selling a book while still in office and also gift wrap 24 percent raises for his administration’s top political appointees.
Dan Fatton and Louis Di Paolo, Star-Ledger Read more

Deal possible on Christie’s controversial newspaper ‘revenge bill’
The sponsor of legislation pushed by Gov. Chris Christie that threatens a key source of advertising revenue for New Jersey’s newspapers said he spent much of Sunday in negotiations to work on a compromise.
Susan K. Livio, NJ.com Read more

Lawmakers ignoring $7.4B boom in ‘corporate welfare,’ experts say
At a time when New Jersey lawmakers are rushing a bill to end what they call “corporate welfare” for the news media, Gov. Chris Christie’s administration this month surpassed $7.4 billion in tax subsidies awarded to hand-picked businesses and nonprofits.
Salvador Rizzo, The Record Read more

NJ’s presidential electors allot votes to Clinton
New Jersey’s 14 electors formally selected Democrat Hillary Clinton for president on Monday.
Associated Press Read more

Democratic lawmaker spoke more in the House than any other N.J. rep
Which New Jersey lawmaker yapped the most in the just-concluded two-year session in Congress?
NJ.com Read more

Robert White, library consortium leader, dies at 70
Robert White, who guided Bergen County’s pioneering library consortium for 30 years – during which its membership nearly quadrupled and computers revolutionized the borrowing of books – died Friday at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck. He was 70 and a resident of Cliffside Park.
Jay Levin, The Record Read more

Development of 14-acre site splits North Jersey town
To an outsider, the piece of land squared off by Main Street, River Road and Milford Avenue might seem unremarkable.
Myles Ma, NJ.com Read more
NJ Transit revenue drop fueled by cheaper gas prices, agency says
prices, agency says
While cheap gas prices have been a bonus for drivers, they’ve reduced ridership on NJ Transit, which has left the agency with a $12 million budget hole, officials said.
Larry Higgs, NJ.com Read more

Obama grants clemency to 2 from N.J.
Two New Jersey residents were among the 231 individuals granted clemency Monday by President Barack Obama, who is using the final weeks of his presidency to reduce the criminal penalties imposed on nonviolent offenders.
Jonathan D. Salant, NJ.com Read more

Will NJ’s Undocumented Students Be Punished For Following The Rules?
Idrissa Kaba, 23, emigrated from Guinea in West Africa in 2000, when he was seven years old. He grew up in the United States, and graduated from high school in Newark. He has attempted to attend Essex County College, but repeatedly ran into financial issues that interrupted his studies.
Hank Kalet, NJSpotlight Read more

Gay organization gets temporary reprieve from eviction
A community center providing services for gays and lesbians at the Jersey Shore doesn’t have to leave its home by the end of the month under a deal worked out in a dispute over its pending eviction.
MaryAnn Spoto, NJ.com Read more

Officials break ground on $56M ship-to-rail facility in Bayonne
Officials broke ground on a $56 million ship-to-rail facility Monday morning, which they say will take nearly 400,000 trucks off crowded roadways each year.
Caitlin Mota, The Jersey Journal Read more

Lawmakers OK bill that would punish owners who close casinos
State lawmakers gave final approval on Monday to a bill that would punish billionaire investor Carl Icahn for closing Atlantic City’s Trump Taj Mahal casino.
Associated Press Read more

Al Sharpton urges Atlantic City residents to march
The Rev. Al Sharpton wants Atlantic City residents to join a march on Washington he’s planning for next month to protest Republican President-elect Donald Trump.
Associated Press Read more

Barnes & Noble and Rutgers to Open Bookstore in Downtown Newark
Downtown Newark’s revitalization could get a boost next year with a new bookstore from a national brand.
Keiko Morris, Wall Street Journal Read more

Actor gets probation term over prop pellet gun used in film
An actor who played a bit part in an independent gangster film and used a prop pellet gun without a New Jersey gun permit likely won’t have to serve a prison term.
Associated Press Read more

Cherry Hill shopping district wants a facelift
Say the words “Cherry Hill” and “shopping” and many people will picture grand malls with big-name stores, landscaped parking lots, and enough overhead lighting to outshine Broadway.
David O’Reilly, Inquirer Read more

Lavallette’s $387,000 mold problem
A mold infestation inside the borough’s new, $387,000 lifeguard headquarters has forced municipal officials to close the building just a few months after it was completed, said Mayor Walter G, LaCicero.
Erik Larsen, Asbury Park Press Read more

Editorial: N.J. Transit is learning the consequences of truth
In a moment of bracing candor, a Bergen County attorney named Bruce Meisel – upon announcing his departure after four years as vice-chair on the board of NJ Transit – admitted Wednesday that the third-largest commuter rail system in the U.S. is built on stupid and unsustainable economics.
Star-Ledger Read more

Westminster Choir College fights to protect ‘culture and identity’ amid talk of campus consolidation
Unexpected comments from Rider University’s president about the future of its renowned Westminster Choir College in Princeton shocked the music school’s students, faculty, and alumni, and a dearth of information since has fueled fear for the future.
Jonathan Lai, Inquirer Read more NJ Politics Digest: Gloating Begins After Christie’s Book Deal, Newspaper Bills Fail