News Roundup & Open Thread for Tuesday, March 24, 2015

TODAY 2pm: Gov. Chris Christie “town hall,” Hanover Township Community Center in Whippany (doors open 12:30pm).

Menendez tries to turn tables, assails ‘illegal leaks’

  • Responding to a report saying criminal charges against him could come this week, Menendez again said he’s acted “appropriately and legally” and discusses apparent leaks from the U.S. Justice Dept..
  • The deciding vote on whether the Senate will confirm Loretta Lynch as the nation’s top law enforcement official could come down to Menendez, and it could happen while he is under indictment by the Justice Department for alleged corruption.

    All things Christie

  • Questionable ethics on the part of Chris Christie and 101.5’s Eric Scott, after Scott complained on his regular show with Christie, Ask the Governor, complained jokingly that he wasn’t paid enough. Christie then gave an on-air shout out to the Lester Glenn Auto Group, whose president is a maxed-out Christie donor, to give him a car – a Corvette. The dealership says the car is just on month-long loan. But it still constitutes a gift to a news director, Scott, at the behest of an interview subject, and the most powerful one in the state.
  • Lesniak calls Christie 2016 “a sideshow”.
  • Gov to push his 2016 decision to late spring or summer. Zzzzzzzz …
  • Christie weighs in on Hillary Clinton’s email situation.
  • Christie claims to be unaffected by Ted Cruz’ announcement, though he will head to Cruz’ Texas territory on Thursday.  Christie, still ignoring his back-in-the-pack numbers still says he can beat Hillary Clinton.

    Jerseynomics

  • Reitmeyer: Taking the guesswork – and the politics – our of forecasting NJ’s annual tax revenue.
  • Rutgers-Camden’s Community Journalism class looks into logjam of tearing down the city’s abandoned buildings, and the impact the delay has on university quality of life and recruitment.
  • State to Archdiocese of NewarkGet out of the headstone business.
  • In Camden, developer who didn’t repay loans gets New Jersey tax credits.
  • AC emergency managers propose further layoffs.

    Trentonia

  • Richard Constable, the DCA commissioner who ran two problematic areas for the Christie administration – Sandy recovery and affordable housing – is stepping down.
  • Christie today rejects a bill that would fundamentally change the way NJ  punishes drunken drivers, dealing a major setback to a long effort by the state Legislature.
  • RFK Jr. comes to Trenton and gives credence to anti-vaxxers using religion to opt out from vaccination.
  • Jim Keady whose confrontation with Christie over Sandy recovery was a marker in Christie’s downward slide in national 2016 polls is running for Assembly LD30.
  • Christie signs microbead ban.
  • NJ lawmakers push budget reforms year after surprise shortfall prompted Christie to slash pensions.

    Big Gay Brunch

  • LGBT advocates gather to strategize how to benefit from a visit to the region by the occasionally surprisingly progressive Pope Francis.

    Education

  • Is the Christie administration shifting to charter school expansions vs. new openings?

    Star Ledger, long in the tank for Christie, is also long in the tank in demonizing teachers and their union

  • Equates polling showing discomfort with how public education is being changed to accommodate high-stakes testing with believing in ghosts.
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