Morning News Digest: Monday, November 19, 2012
Booker defends tie-breaking role at council meeting
Newark Mayor Cory Booker issued a release this morning following last night’s controversial council meeting.
Booker cast a fifth vote in favor of Shanique Speight to fill an at-large council seat vacated by Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. (D-10), sparking pepper spray bedlam in the chamber. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)
In Hamilton, succession is in the air
As Hamilton Township prepares to regroup after the stunning fall of Republican Mayor John Bencivengo, convicted Tuesday on corruption charges, the mayoral succession is already in play.
Bencivengo resigned effective today and Council President Kevin Meara will assume the role in the short term. On Nov. 29, the township Republican Committee will meet to choose three names to pass along to the Republican-controlled council. The council will choose from among the three. (Isherwood/PolitickerNJ)
Bill would sell vacant Camden prison site to the state
Nearly three years ago, the state prison on North Camden’s waterfront was demolished to make room for development that local officials said would improve the neighborhood and boost the city’s coffers.
But the land remains vacant, generating no revenue for the impoverished city. (Vargas/Inquirer)
Waywire founder Cory Booker has YouTube in his sights
Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker started dabbling with Twitter in 2009 and liked the instant feedback and cred that came from being a social-media maven.
So when the mayor with easily the most Twitter followers (1.2 million vs. 391,000 for runner-up New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg) was approached to participate in a side project — a new online video network aimed at young people — he was eager. (Graham/USA Today)
N.J. Assembly Democrats aim for stricter oversight of halfway houses
TRENTON — Assembly Democrats introduced a number of measures this week intended to provide stricter oversight of companies that run the state’s strained halfway houses, including several aimed at the largest of them: the 1,200-bed Delaney Hall in Newark.
The measures were introduced five months after the New York Times published a series of articles detailing frequent escapes, violence and lax oversight at the privately operated facilities that supplement the state’s prison system. (Friedman/Star-Ledger)
Monmouth, Ocean vote counting extended due to Sandy
TRENTON — Election officials across New Jersey are getting more time to verify and count ballots because of special arrangements the state made this month for voters displaced by Superstorm Sandy,
The state Division of Elections on Tuesday granted extensions for vote-counting in 14 of the state’s 21 counties. The deadlines statewide had already been extended from Sunday to Wednesday. (AP)
Third-quarter gross operating profits fall 18 percent in Atlantic City casinos
Atlantic City’s casinos saw a 17.9 percent decrease in gross operating profit during the third quarter of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, according to industry-wide figures released today by the Division of Gaming Enforcement.
Gross operating profit for the industry, including Revel, was $149.5 million in the third quarter of 2012, compared to the $182.1 million the properties posted in the third quarter of the previous year, when Revel had not yet opened. (Eder/NJBIZ)
An unusual first contract win set up Newark consultancy for neighborhoods projects
After barely nudging its foot in the door of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through a community revitalization program five years ago, Newark-based consulting firm BCT Partners has been flooded with government contracts related to the initiative — including a recent three-year, $3.3 million award to provide technical assistance and supportive services for that original job’s expansion program.
“A lot of very experienced companies were bidding on this contract, but our experience providing the same services to the predecessor to this Choice Neighborhoods program put us right in the winner’s circle,” said Randal D. Pinkett, chairman and CEO of BCT Partners. “Unless you have a name in the business, no one wants to give you work. But now, HUD is our largest customer.” (Eder/NJBIZ)
Sandy Seen Boosting U.S. With as Much as $240 Billion Rebuilding
John Cataneo is working his 20 employees overtime and still can’t keep up with demand from customers who need plumbing repaired after superstorm Sandy. He says he’s hired two new workers and may need more.
“We’re just not getting to some people that are asking for help,” said Cataneo, co-owner of Gateway Plumbing & Heating in Manhattan. “But we’re doing the best we can.” (Kearns, Park & Buhayar/Bloomberg)
Food-stamp diet for Booker, tweeter
NEWARK, N.J. – Mayor Cory Booker and a Twitter follower plan to try to live on food stamps for at least a week, the mayor has announced.
The idea stemmed from a back-and-forth conversation between Booker and a woman who goes by the name TwitWit and uses the handle @MWadeNC. They began talking about the idea Sunday night while discussing the role the government should play in funding school breakfast and lunch programs. (Zezima/AP)
From the back room
The scene out of Newark City Hall shook Mayor Cory Booker’s seven league boots, at least in the eyes of some jittery supporters, who interpreted last night’s bedlam as political weakness.
But two sources close to Newark politics said Booker – noted more for twittering than brass knuckle Brick City politicking – made the right play last night. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)
Stile: So many reasons to offer gratitude
Thanksgiving offers political leaders, celebrities and a few corporate officials caught in the crossfire of the presidential campaign a chance to gratefully reflect on those who sustained their careers during the grueling 2012 campaign and another hectic year in North Jersey politics.
Here are a few notables and whom they should be sending thank you-notes to this season. (Stile/The Record)
No justification for turning Newark Council’s public business into a brawl: Editorial
We’re all for heated debate, but the behavior of Mayor Cory Booker’s opponents at this week’s Newark City Council meeting was truly off the charts. They bellowed like an angry mob as Rahaman Muhammad, president of SEIU Local 617, stormed the stage to disrupt the proceedings.
It was all caught on video: Shanique Davis Speight, a Booker choice being sworn in as a new council member, getting knocked over backward — right in front of her son, who is in grade school. A police officer grappling with Muhammad. A whole bunch of people getting hit with pepper spray. (Star-Ledger)