Morning News Digest: Monday, November 19, 2012
By Matthew Arco
Winners and Losers: ‘NJ is Awesome,’ Part 2
The guy’s post Sandy polling numbers were off the charts on the week he announced his intentions to run for a second term of one of the worst run states (see below) in the country. Democrats are in two camps: those in disarray and dismay; and those with connective tissue to the governor happy to have him well positioned for 2013.
The downtown Jersey City Councilman successfully prevailed on Hudson County Democratic Organization protégé Assemblyman Sean Connors (D-33) to walk back his endorsement of incumbent Mayor Jerry Healy. (PolitickerNJ)
Yaede new Hamilton Mayor
Republican Hamilton Councilwoman Kelly Yaede has been named the new mayor of Hamilton Township.
Yaede will replace Councilman Kevin Meara, who took over the job after the resignation of Republican John Bencivcengo, found guilty last week on corruption charges. (Isherwood/PolitickerNJ)
Assembly panel to hold hearing on proposed lottery privatization
TRENTON – Assembly lawmakers say they want to hear firsthand from state officials about the administration’s plans to privatize the New Jersey State Lottery.
Assemblyman Vincent Prieto, (D-32), chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, says his committee will meet Wednesday to take testimony and discuss plans by the administration over the proposed privatization of the lottery. The hearing, which was originally slated to be held the day Superstorm Sandy slammed into New Jersey’s coast, comes after the state put out for bids on proposal for a private company to take the reins of the lotto. (Arco/State Street Wire)
Economy, Sandy may squelch election-year perks for voters
When the entire State House is up for election, from the governor’s office to all 120 legislative seats, vote sweeteners like tax cuts and tax rebates typically permeate the political discussion.
But thanks to the state’s continued crawl out of a recession, and what could be a costly recovery from superstorm Sandy, 2013 may bring a much different scenario as Governor Christie and key lawmakers seek to hold onto their jobs. (Reitmeyer/The Record)
Video contradicts N.J. assemblyman’s claim that trooper ‘disrespected’ him during stop
Six days after a trooper ticketed him for speeding in February and refused to cut him a break, Assemblyman Nelson Albano wrote a scathing letter to the head of the State Police.
The lawmaker claimed the trooper, Randy Pangborn, targeted him on his way to the Statehouse, refused to accept his temporary vehicle registration, requested backup, and had other troopers box in his car. He said he was “humiliated, embarrassed and disrespected as a legislator.” (Baxter/Star-Ledger)
N.J. voters support doctor-assisted suicide, poll shows
TRENTON — New Jersey voters support physician-assisted suicide in New Jersey, according to a a new poll released this morning.
The Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll of 433 voters found that 46 percent support Assemblyman John Burzichelli’s (D-Gloucester)”Death with Dignity Act,” while 38 percent oppose it. (Friedman/Star-Ledger)
PolitiFact N.J.: Democratic leader compares Chris Christie’s re-election chances to George H.W. Bush
Gov. Chris Christie may be riding high in public opinion polls as he prepares to seek re-election, but New Jersey Democratic Party Chairman John Wisniewski recently offered a history lesson to show the Republican governor could still be knocked out of office next year.
Comparing Christie to President George H.W. Bush, Wisniewski, a state assemblyman from Middlesex County, claimed last week in a TV interview that in January 1992, the 41st president “probably had a 90 percent or even higher approval rating after the first Gulf War, and in late November of 1992, we were calling Bill Clinton president-elect.” (Wichert/Star-Ledger)
JCP&L Rate Hike Request Doesn’t Cover Costs Pilled On by Hurricane Sandy
When Jersey Central Power & Light filed a late Friday, it was modest by utility standards. It seeks only a $31.5 million increase, a proposal that would boost monthly bills for most residents by 1.4 percent.
It is only the beginning, however, of rate hikes sought by the utility, one widely criticized for its failure to restore power during widespread outages affecting more than over the past two years. (Johnson/NJSpotlight)
New Jersey Employers Reflect National Move to Self-Insurance
New Jersey employers outpace the national average when it comes to self-insurance, even though that average has been climbing steadily, according to a recently released report.
The National Employee Benefit Research Institute found that 59.9 percent of New Jersey employees who have employer-provided insurance are enrolled in self-insured plans, compared with 58.5 percent nationally. (Kitchenman/NJSpotlight)
Hoping for a Strong Comeback, Governor’s Schools Prep for 2013
Six years after tough budget cuts sent its summer programs reeling and ultimately shuttered, a slimmed-down Governor’s School is preparing to continue its comeback next summer, with hopes it can regain at least some of its former glory in the years ahead.
Nomination forms went out last week to New Jersey high schools for the two Governor’s Schools that will be back next summer: the School of Engineering and Technology at Rutgers-New Brunswick and the School in the Sciences at Drew University. (Mooney/NJSpotlight)
Cory Booker for Senate?
WASHINGTON — As Newark mayor and political celebrity Cory Booker mulls a run against Gov. Christie, two polls might make his decision a lot easier. Essentially, they say this: forget Trenton, aim for DC.
Surveys released Thursday and Friday by Democratic-firm Public Policy Polling show that Christie has incredible popularity and a huge lead over Booker in a potential governor’s race next year, but that Booker has a strong lead among possible 2014 Senate candidates, even holding an advantage over the incumbent Democrat, Sen. Frank Lautenberg. (Tamari/Inquirer)
NJ AG visits mosque listed in secret NYPD report
NEWARK, N.J. – New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa quietly visited a Newark mosque Friday that had been listed in a secret report by the New York Police Department, and he reassured worshippers that New Jersey officials do not believe certain groups of citizens have lesser rights than others.
Chiesa attended prayer services at Masjid Ibrahim, a modest, single-story mosque set up inside a ramshackle former commercial space in Newark. The mosque was among several in the report by the NYPD, which conducted surveillance of Muslims in New Jersey and elsewhere. (Henry/AP)
Sweeney: Revel casino’s finances ‘dire’
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – New Jersey’s state senate president says the new Revel casino’s finances are “dire,” and that he fears Atlantic City’s newest resort could fail.
Stephen Sweeney says Revel owes $12 million in unpaid taxes to Atlantic City, which had planned a tax sale to recoup the money. He’s also concerned about contractors and vendors who still haven’t been paid eight months after the casino opened. (Parry/AP)
Shore towns near showdown with dune-building foes
LONG BEACH TOWNSHIP, N.J. – Armando Rienzi may be the most unpopular person on Long Beach Island.
For years he has fought authorities’ attempts to rebuild the dunes in front of his $1.7 million oceanfront home to act as a buffer to Atlantic storms. (Osborne/Inquirer)
From the back room
Corfield done in LD 16
LD 16 Democrat Marie Corfield called Assemblywoman Donna Simon Friday afternoon and conceded after provisional ballot counting put her roughly 1,000 votes behind the Republican. (PolitickerNJ)
Buono in the field
A new telephone poll in the field pits state Sen. Barbara Buono against Newark Mayor Cory Booker in a head to head gubernatorial match-up.
A source who received the call said the poll asked several questions about issues affecting the state and asked respondents to rate potential gubernatorial candidates. The poll then matches Buono and Booker with no additional information on either. According to the source, respondents were then given a short bio of Buono before being asked to choose between Booker and Buono again. (Isherwood/PolitickerNJ)
Stile: Christie has lots of possibilities if he decides to replace Guadagno
Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno said Friday that she would have nothing more to say about her future plans, which became the subject of intense State House interest after Governor Christie told reporters that he had not yet spoken to her about running with him for a second term.
But that didn’t stop State House observers from talking about the issue. That’s because in between the lines of Christie’s warm praise for the loyal and low-key Guadagno was the possibility that he may soon be considering a replacement. “We’ve made plans in the next week or so to talk about how the next year, the next five years are going to be for the both of us,” Christie said. (Stile/The Record)
Christie deserves praise for Sandy
TRENTON — Indications were there, it’s not shocking that Gov. Chris Christie would seek another term; the only real surprise was how early the announcement came. It gets back to that old adage that timing is everything.
No New Jersey governor ever had such good timing on his side. Quinnipiac University, which has one of the most respected polls in the country, said New Jersey voters think Christie deserves another term by a margin of 67-25 percent. The only group opposed to a second term is Democrats and they are opposed by a slim 46-41 percent. Quinnipiac said Christie’s 72 percent approval rating is higher than that achieved by any other Garden State governor. (Ingle/APP)