Tag Archive: philadelphia inquirer

An apology

This morning in the Roundup I wrote something that was not nice. Not my finest hour, as a friend more gracefully described it. He was right. Republicans describe Blue Jersey as “that Democratic blog.” But Democrats know there’s far more nuance;…
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Poverty in a Wealthy State

Andrew Seidman’s article in this morning’s Philadelphia Inquirer reveals that in this wealthy state, one-third of all residents are living in poverty. Given Governor Christie’s disdain for the plight of average citizens, this should not come as a surprise. But…
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Lost Opportunity

promoted by Rosi

There are 565 different municipalities in New Jersey, with an even larger number of school districts. Each one of these has its own administrative overhead, so smart consolidation and sharing of services is a reasonable path to cutting costs. Princeton Township and Princeton Boro are now reaping a $3 million annual savings after they combined their formerly separate municipal governments.

But with the “home rule” mentality in the Garden State that makes no logical sense from a fiscal viewpoint, the Princetons are the exception. A more likely path to success would be the consolidation of government services to reduce overlaps in cost and to take advantage of economies of scale. Done right, this can save money while providing better service. With poor planning, however, problems will only escalate.

There’s an old aphorism, “Nothing is ever a total loss. It can always be used as a bad example.” And the Republican-controlled Burlington County Board of Freeholders proves that point once again.

Where are the Moderate Republicans?

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, immediately after the election, a prominent Republican U.S. Senator “denounced the ‘radical right’ for kidnapping the Republican Party and assailed the ‘kooks, zanies, nuts, and hecklers, the absolute lunatic fringe.”

It’s hard to believe that a Republican would tell the truth about his party, but it did happen. The article appeared in the Inquirer on November 8, 1964 and the senator was Pennsylvania’s Hugh Scott. The election was the trouncing of Barry Goldwater.

Such candor from the party today is virtually non-existent. Message discipline is executed to a tee, and any so-called “moderate Republican” is ostracized and purged.

The press portrays Chris Christie as a “moderate.” Probably because he occasionally does things that tweak the rank-and-file like work out a deal with Senator Sweeney to retain the state’s chief justice. But as the Chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association and as an all-but-declared presidential candidate, Christie has embraced the radical right-wing agenda and puts himself and his wealthy cronies ahead of the needs of the people he has sworn to serve.

Given the outcome of this week’s election, perhaps that’s a wise move for him. Or maybe not. With the Republican takeover of the Senate, look for a backslide in the economy, more income inequality, and an institutionalization of right-wing extremism. With a few more years to go as New Jersey’s governor, look for Christie’ economic right-wing policies to cause further problems for him and for us.

Hugh Scott is dead. So is moderate Republicanism. It’s up to the Democrats to effectively call out the GOP for what it is.

CD2: Bill Hughes Jr. zooms up within 6 points of Frank LoBiondo

If you’re an upstart Democrat running against an entrenched Republican, this lede is the stuff of your dreams. Philadelphia Inquirer:

WASHINGTON – Is an upset brewing in South Jersey?

They’re talking about the Stockton College poll – out late yesterday, and the momentum it shows for Bill Hughes Jr.. LoBo’s lead is down to just 6 points over Bill Hughes Jr. with 18% of respondents coming up undecided or not expressing a choice. Eighteen? That’s a lot of room for movement now that voters are starting to pay attention.

Hughes’ CM Keith Rosendahl calls last night’s Stockton numbers “the most encouraging poll numbers for a Democratic challenger to Congressman LoBiondo in over twenty years.” LoBiondo’s changed in his couple decades in Congress, Rosendahl argues, “walking in lockstep with partisan leaders in a broken and irresponsible Congress for too long.”

The question will be the degree to which voters will lump backbencher LoBiondo into the catch-all of their disgust with Republicans vs. the pull of incumbency to mindlessly return him for another 4 undistinguished years. Team Hughes has to feel good that Americans’ disapproval of congressional Republicans is at a dismal 72%.  

Inky Co-Owner Killed in Plane Crash

News reports are coming out saying that the co-owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Lewis Katz, along with six others, died in a crash of a private plane near Boston. Katz and his business partner Gerry Lenfest just won the bidding for control of this newspaper, which is an important news source for South Jersey. Our sympathies to the Katz family, the Inquirer staff, and the families of the others who were lost.

NBC Philadelphia coverage

Quote of the Day: a “fight for the soul of news gathering”

This morning, as the drama went down in Philadelphia – which made national news – we were both tracking the blow-by-blow via reporter tweets, and emailing/texting with friends of Blue Jersey’s in the Inky newsroom, where distrust of the Norcross ownership went deep among journalists and created a challenge to editorial independence and the ability of their newsroom to function well. I pointed out that Norcross made a killing on the papers, which I bet stung the flailing Star-Ledger and challenges the idea of Norcross as the “loser” today. This is how one of our friends at the Inky responded:

Yes Norcross won $27 million but we’re rid of him. This was a fight for the soul of news gathering in this region. Our editorial talked today talked about how we could not endorse in one of the NJ House races because of our conflict of interest with Norcross’s brother being a candidate. The Inquirer is the largest circulating paper in South Jersey and we couldn’t weigh in on an important House race involving the brother of a boss who was given the seat as if we are no longer living in a democracy. I am ashamed of that. Ignoring the news is just as bad as slanting it. So if $27 million bought these over-worked, highly-committed people here their freedom, it was worth it.

                         – one of our sources in the Inky newsroom, today

This was the editorial today our friend meant, in which the paper failed to take a public position in CD1, where South Jersey Dems under big bro George rushed to endorse little bro Don even as Rob Andrews was speaking the words of his resignation from Congress. But the paper had to ignore that that happened, at least up front. Because that’s the way it goes down there, and the same guy running the politics and owning the means of communication was always a potential problem. The paper’s problems aren’t over, but we’ve got some journalist friends celebrating tonight. Here’s to them.

Photo: New owners Katz & Lenfest talk to staff just after the sale, by Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Angelo Fichera via Twitter.

Norcross loses the Inky



Though, to reports that the Norcross group bought the company that owns the Philadelphia Inquirer for $61 million and sold it for $88 million two years later make us question the whole concept of his “losing.” Norcross sold at a profit. Would the Star-Ledger, bleeding staff and with its editorial direction making uncomfortable news, love to be in those shoes?

And, you know, Norcross’ ownership did get a job for his 25-year-old daughter Lexie, who got the job as head of philly.com with a resume that doesn’t suggest she’d be qualified except for her name. Does she get to keep her job?

Norcross’ statement to staff, on the jump.