Author Archive: Rosi Efthim

News Roundup & Open Thread for Friday, August 7, 2009

NJ keeps its credit rating, due to efforts to balance the budget

  • In time for a new state bond issue next week, Standard & Poor’s is maintaining New Jersey’s credit rating, citing recent efforts to balance the budget during tough times, and the fact the state’s spending is down for the second consecutive fiscal year.

    Corzine signs law limiting the sale of guns in NJ

  • One handgun every 30 days ought to be enough, right? Ceasefire NJ likes.

    Loretta Weinberg calls on Christie to release US Attorney records

  • “So why doesn?t he start with himself? What?s he hiding?” asks the LG candidate. Christie’s campaign website has a lot of rhetoric about transparency. Weinberg suggests a way for Christie to begin living up to that.

    Ex-Assemblyman’s aide to avoid jail time

  • Neil Cohen’s aide, indicted for stealing campaign funds gets to enter a pre-trial intervention program and stay out of jail. Apparently she also gets to keep her other job as chief financial officer for Teterboro, where her salary is $111,043 a year.

    Dueling protesters at Anthony Suarez’s house

  • The Republican-organized march against the Ridgefield mayor, arrested in the July 23 political corruption sweep were met by a group, protesting them

    Is Cory Booker keeping the lid on free speech for Newark Police?

  • How much can police officers say about their department and their city’s leaders?

    Election fraud probe widens

  • Every computer’s hard-drive in Essex County’s Hall of Records is being copied.

    Good news for Plainfield High School

  • The State Department of Education has dropped the “persistently dangerous” tag it applied to the school, in the first instance of eligibility.

    Drug companies don’t like generics

  • Shareholders decide today whether Merck will take over Schering-Plough, a $41 billion dollar deal. Merck votes near its Whitehouse Station HQ. They already market 2 drugs together. Sen. Chuck Schumer: The last time these two companies teamed up, it was to aggressively market a brand-name drug that may not have provided any additional benefits over existing generics.

    A van, ticking from the inside

  • A parked van with Canadian plates, ticking from inside, brought out Atlantic City’s first responders. It turned out to be nothing, but it was scary.

    Former Assemblyman Anthony Impreveduto, dead at 61

  • Impreveduto, longtime Democratic assemblyman from Secaucus, who resigned his seat after admitting misuse of campaign funds, died after a brief illness.  
  • Congratulations, Justice Sotomayor!

    alg_sotomayor

    Just a short while ago, Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed as our newest Supreme Court Justice. The vote was 68-31, with nine Republicans joining the unanimous Democratic caucus, with her champion, Sen. Ted Kennedy, unable to vote because of illness.

    For Sotomayor’s rise from the housing projects in the Bronx to the top of the legal profession, people all over New Jersey are high-fiving today’s vote. She is only the third woman on the US Supreme Court; she is the first Hispanic in the Court’s history. And she overcame a nasty opposition campaign that tried to manipulate public opinion by mocking her for referring to herself as a wise Latina when what she was really doing was trying to inspire a room full of women and Latinos to study hard and think about pursuing a life in the law. Exactly the kind of aiming high we always say we hope Americans do.

    Meanwhile, Chris Christie gave every evidence of lining up behind the right-wing spin on Sotomayor, the same spin that just fell flat in record time in the Senate. “Not my kind of judge,” he said, about her.

    Well, Justice Sotomayor is Jon Corzine’s kind of judge. It took about 15 minutes after the Senate’s vote for the campaign to issue this:

    Today’s vote is a victory for selecting members of the Supreme Court –  who serve lifetime terms –  based on merit, and not allowing propaganda and nonsense to get in the way of getting the best people working for us. It’s a victory. Who can you send this video to, to celebrate it?  

    News Roundup & Open Thread for Thursday, August 6, 2009

    Masters of the Tubes, unite!

  • The huge annual gathering of the netroots, Netroots Nation, is in one week. Headlining are Howard Dean, Valerie Jarrett (Obama’s Karl Rove), and Gov. John Corzine, who keynotes the last day. Blue Jersey will be there – it’s not too late for you to come too.

    Maybe some shovel-ready projects weren’t shovel-ready after all

  • Millions in federal stimulus dollars need better oversight and transparency by local and county agencies, to avoid the kinds of accountability and compliance issues state auditors have found.

    Stealing money from the homeless

  • A Hillside police officer pleads guilty to stealing funds from a program set up to prevent homelessness.

    Courting Jews

  • Leonard Lance is in Israel, part of the largest Republican delegation ever to visit that country. Lance criticized President Obama’s tough love policy towards Israel, and doesn’t think much of us putting pressure on them not to build in the West Bank. He’s certainly entitled to express his opinions. What a relief if Republican fake outrage at criticizing America on foreign soil has come to an end.
  • Chris Christie met with leaders of NJ’s orthodox community, discussing support for tax credits for parents sending their kids to private and parochial schools (Christie’s children attend parochial schools). Gov. Corzine has also been invited.

    Oppo

  • AFL-CIO jumps into the race with an anti-Christie info site.

    Union County

  • Dueling campaign events.

    Go to jail, pay $50 bucks

  • Hunterdon Freeholders approved a plan to require a $50 fee from inmates when they get released from the county jail. It’s a cost-savings idea, copying fees jails in other counties already charge.

    Wheels

  • Assemblywoman Grace Spencer leads more than 100 bicycle riders through a tour of the state Sunday, to spotlight legislation she sponsors calling for a 3-foot buffer when cars pass cyclists.

    Grilled cheese for everybody!

  • A landmark diner in Metuchen, closed due to a sagging economy, just might rise again.

    First Amendment showdown

  • Montville Democrats don’t want to disclose their finances just to be able to have a meeting at the senior center.

    Former NJ Supreme Court Justice dies at 94

  • Sidney Schreiber was 94, and wrote decisions expanding the power of living wills, extending use of public beaches, and made clearer the responsibilities of drug companies to guard against suspected harmful side effects.  
  • News Roundup & Open Thread for Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

    Corruption aftermath

  • Assemblyman Vincent Prieto will lead the Secuacus Democrats following the abrupt arrest and resignation of Mayor Dennis Elwell. First task up: pitch 3 names to the Council to choose a new Mayor.
  • Busy night in Jersey City. Councilman Steve Fulop used the occasion of the National Night Out anti-crime events to organize a rally about a different kind of crime, drawing a couple hundred residents agitating for Council President Mariano Vega to resign.

    Get the popcorn and fire up the remote!

  • Christie says he’s unveiling a specific plan to combat corruption today. Much easier than dealing with his own.

    Invitation only

  • Chris Christie’s roundtable event on higher education was invitation-only to keep the event “intimate.” Participants were hand-picked by the campaign. Maybe if the Republicans had allowed some more knowledgeable people to participate, Christie wouldn’t have tried to get away with this kind of malarkey.

    NJ’s murder rate down by 24% in year’s first half

  • 158 homicides reported from January-June, compared with 209 during the same stretch in 2008. Camden murders cut nearly in half; 17 killings to ’08’s 30.

    Bomb threats to synagogues in Deal & Long Branch

  • Three synagogues were the target of bomb threats last night. In one, Long Branch’s Congregation Brothers Israel, a wedding was in progress, and hundreds of guests & residents were evacuated. Torahs were walked out and a neighbor invited the wedding to continue in his house. There was music, and the happy couple danced in the backyard. That part, the best news of the day. Mazel tov.

    Hal Turner’s hearing postponed

  • The North Bergen blogger who likes to threaten lawmakers, has a few extra days before his CT hearing comes up. No matter. He’s in jail in Illinois for threatening some federal judges.

    Indictments in Sen. Teresa Ruiz’ ’07 Senate campaign

  • Three campaign workers are the latest to be indicted on election fraud charges in the 2007 election.

    NJ colleges, universities get ready for an influx of new vets

  • New programs are launching to help veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan succeed in college. Support Veterans for Education here.
  • News Roundup & Open Thread for Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

    Guns v. teachers

  • How big donors are sidestepping NJ’s contribution limits via the Democratic Governors Association and its GOP counterpart; NEA and NRA pick sides. Big Pharma, predictably, plays both. Citizens Campaign on how it works.

    Monmouth University/Gannett NJ poll

  • Shows Christie up by 14

    “In the state of New Jersey, the environment’s for sale.”

  • So says Jeff Tittel of the Sierra Club, who thinks now’s a good time to revisit pay-to-play, examine the influence developers have over the state DEP, increase DEP transparency. State DEP says: not so much, no.

    Chris Christie’s confuses some basic NJ education info

  • Christie’s so intent on repeating his mantra that Corzine’s made public higher education too expensive that he scrambled some facts at an education event in Westfield. Christie claimed a NJ student attending SUNY Albany or Binghamton pays less than one going to Rutgers. So not true.

    Corrections officer kills baby son, then herself

  • An awful few hours yesterday in Newark’s South Ward.

    Saving millions

  • Parolees who commit technical violations – like missing a meeting or failing a drug test – are no longer automatically cycled back into prison in a NJ Parole Board program getting a national award this week. Cost savings to the state, in the millions.

    Pressure builds on Mayor Suarez

  • Gov. Corzine signed an executive order freezing state approvals for development projects in any municipality where a mayor is charged with public corruption but refuses to resign. The order- very specific to the Ridgefield mayor’s circumstances, but not mentioning him by name – took effect immediately. State takeover of Ridgefield’s finances is still a possibility, and his Council President also wants Suarez out.

    Wall Street says it, so it must be true. Right?

  • Moody’s Investors Service is reporting that New Jersey’s credit outlook is now negative.

    Health care reform

  • With 4 out of 5 congressional committees endorsing bills with some kind of a public plan, focus now shifts to the Senate. And in the Finance Committee, will Sen. Bob Menendez go to the mat for the public option?

    Former Plainfield mayor & activist Rev. Rick Taylor dies

  • He was a 3-term Council President before becoming the city’s second African-American mayor in history, and remained active after his time running the city was over, attending last year’s massive protest against the closure of Muhlenberg Regional Med Center in a wheelchair.

    NJ to receive $10 million in federal swine flu funding

  • Funding’s from a U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services $350 million national grant program to get the nation ready to fight the H1N1 pandemic.

    Pirate ships in the corn

  • How itinerant professional cutters of maize mazes are helping NJ family farmers hold on to their land and keep demanding agri-tourists entertained.
  • Top

    Were you at the Obama & Corzine rally July 16 at PNC Arts Center? It was a big day – about 17,000 attendees.

    There are closeups of a bunch of those 17,000 in Corzine’s newest ad, called Top. Maybe you’ll see yourself. The 30-second spot picks up on the energy driving that day, spotlighting the President’s appreciation of the Gov’s initiatives and foresight here in NJ.

    For me, I’m glad to see a focus – both by the President and in the ad- on New Jersey’s first-in-the-nation economic recovery plan. And I’m frankly amazed all over again how cucumber-cool the two of them looked that day. Jason and I pretty much melted into PNC’s plastic seats, laptops and all.

    What do you think of the ad?

    News Roundup and Open Thread for Monday, August 3rd, 2009

    Want to score great seats for Blink-182 at PNC Arts Center?

  • Call the NJ Turnpike Authority: (732) 750-5300

    Rabbis point the finger at Solomon Dwek

  • Lawyers for some of the rabbis arrested for money-laundering are feeling manipulated by the government witness trying to keep himself out of jail.

    Don’t cringe when you say “Secaucus,” homeslice

  • Some of this Hudson County townsfolk feel scandal-rocked, demoralized, and angry about the reputation their town is getting.

    Getting slammed by the economy? Live in Carteret?

  • If you do, maybe you can pay your taxes on the installment plan, thanks to the Carteret Borough Council.

    Chatham Superfund site

  • What’s holding up the cleanup?

    Newark? Jersey City? Who comes out the biggest in the 2010 Census?

  • More than bragging rights are at stake. The Census will determine how $300 billion a year, give-or-take, will be spent by the federal government every year till the next Census. Plus, yeah, bragging rights.

    It all comes down to New Jersey & Virginia

  • The GOP has exactly two arenas available to turn their moribund party’s future around: New Jersey & Virginia, the only two Governor’s elections in the country this year. And the Democrats – who are still scoring points off George W. Bush – will see if that strategy works well enough to carry into the mid-term elections next year.

    Will there be a VA Hospital in South Jersey?

  • Local veterans advocates say there should be, because vets without a car to get them to the Philadelphia VA Medical Center are struggling. Sen. Jeff Van Drew says a Veterans Administration study showing no acute need was based on faulty data.

    The Vangelakos’ of Weehawken, NJ

  • Lonely in paradise.
  • Exit, Cammarano

    cammarano

    Peter Cammarano will resign tomorrow, less than one month after that Young Turk, whose political future looked limitless, took the oath of office as Mayor of Hoboken.

    Cammarano was stubbornly working at his desk, and swearing to stick it out without resigning the day after he was arrested for taking $25,000 in cash bribes – including $10,000 just days ago – from Solomon Dwek, acting as the government’s cooperating witness.  

    But immediately after last week’s early-morning federal law-enforcement sweep hauled in a motley crew of pols and rabbis on corruption and money laundering charges, the pressure was on to step down. Gov. Corzine called for all of those in public office to step down, the day of the arrests. The locals had their say too, at a protest rally Saturday [VIDEO], and again outside City Hall in the rain Monday night, and in crudely-made signs popping up on local telephone poles.

    But in the end, it looks like a deal brokered by Gov. Corzine – and transacted by attorneys from the Governor’s office coming to terms with Cammarano’s own lawyers – is what sealed the deal.

    Cammarano is a lawyer, too, and was the protegee of Democratic uber-lawyer Angelo Genova, the Democratic Party’s go-to guy on election and campaign finance law. And that makes it all the more repulsive, if the charges against Cammarano are true; he must have known precisely, and in detail, what a vicious twist of justice he was perpetuating.

    At just 32, Cammarano was a rising star of the Golden Boy variety, who managed a fragile alliance of Old Hoboken forces and New Hoboken blood, and rose through a complex and dramatic election, to Mayor of the hottest place to live in the state of New Jersey.

    Done, now.  

    Exit, Cammarano

    cammaranoPeter Cammarano will resign tomorrow, less than one month after that Young Turk, whose political future looked limitless, took the oath of office as Mayor of Hoboken.

    Cammarano was stubbornly working at his desk, and swearing to stick it out without resigning the day after he was arrested for taking $25,000 in cash bribes – including $10,000 just days ago – from Solomon Dwek, the government’s cooperating witness.  

    But immediately after last week’s early-morning federal law-enforcement sweep hauled in a motley crew of pols and rabbis on corruption and money laundering charges, the pressure was on to step down. Gov. Corzine called for all those in public office to step down, the day of the arrests. The locals had their say too, at a protest rally Saturday [VIDEO], and again outside City Hall in the rain Monday night, and in crudely-made signs popping up on local telephone poles.

    But in the end, it looks like a deal brokered by Gov. Corzine – and transacted by attorneys from the Governor’s office coming to terms with Cammarano’s own lawyers – is what sealed the deal.

    Cammarano is a lawyer, too, and was the protegee of Democratic uber-lawyer Angelo Genova, the Democratic Party’s go-to guy on election and campaign finance law. And that makes it all the more repulsive, if the charges against Cammarano are true; he must have known precisely, and in detail, what a vicious twist of justice he was perpetuating.

    At just 32, Cammarano was a rising star of the Golden Boy variety, who managed a fragile alliance of Old Hoboken forces and New Hoboken blood, and rose through a complex and dramatic election and run-off to become Mayor of the hottest place to live in the state of New Jersey.

    Done, now.