Tag Archive: Steve Adubato

What’s Happening Today Wed. 11/20/2013

Uninspiring Newark Leadership: In a transition period between Cory Booker and next year’s elections, we have Luis Quintana appointed a few weeks ago as Mayor and Mildred Crump appointed last night as Council President – two long-time elected officials from whom little can be expected. The power-players now are those vying for the mayor’s job, and they agreed to install “no fuss no muss” folks during the interim. Mrs. Crump’s not so exciting plans: “to make council meetings more inclusive and civil. Council members should not be texting or staring at the ceiling but should be engaged and listen to one another.” Mr. Quintana in his swearing-in ceremony made two dubious statements, “Newark will never be divided under my leadership. We have a new direction.” Not very promising for a city perpetually in crisis.

The NJ League of Municipalities Annual Conference continues today and tomorrow with seminars, speeches, workshops, parties, and networking. Hotshot legislators, mayors, cabinet officials, lobbyists galore, municipal employees, vendors, and political operatives join the fray. There are presentations on Shared Services, Demographics and Technological Change, Affordable Housing and more. There are workshops for municipal staffers. Registration for the event is only $65 for government officials, $5.00 for students (a bargain and eye-opening experience), and $125 for others. The main event is at the Atlantic City Convention Center. The League has budgeted $1.2 million in income from the event and estimates that $12 million will be spent throughout the city. For some it’s an opportunity learn municipal skills, gain friends, influence people, see and be seen, party, and sell products and services. Many revel in it. Others just shun the event.

Our heroines Marsha and Louise ranked # 1 as “leading faces of the marriage equality movement” in yesterday’s PolitickerNJ’s Power List 2013 which ranks New Jersey’s most powerful non-elected officials. The list included many Republicans, but here are a few of the Democrats high on the list: Mo Butler, State Director, U. S. Sen. Cory Booker; John Currie, Democratic State Party Chair; Bill Castner, Attorney; Paul Brubaker, State Director, U. S. Sen. Robert Menendez; Carolyn Booker, Mother, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker; Mike Capelli, Director, Division of Local Government Services; Sean Kennedy, Associate Dir., NJ Senate Democrats; Steve Goldstein, Former Chair, Garden State Equality; Steve Adubato, Sr., Newark North Ward Democratic Leader; Tommy Bertoli, Dem. Party Political Operative & Steve Fulop strategist; Mark Matzen, Political Director, U. S. Sen Cory Booker; and Kevin Hagan, Political Strategist close to Steve Sweeney. One person not included is David Rosen, the influential Legislative Budget and Finance Officer.

NJPIRG releases report on credit agencies in NJ: Experian gets big complaints, and NJ ranks 14th nationally in credit report complaints.

Sen. Richard Codey and his wife, Mary Jo, hold a 10:30 a.m. news conference at the Statehouse’s Room 103 to kick off the Codey Fund for Mental Health public campaign.

ProPublica Report: NJ tops country in prescribing brand name drugs: Overuse of brand-name medications vs. generic counterparts costs Medicare billions annually and is wasteful.  

What’s Happening Today Mon. 10/28/2013

Buono’s “Opportunity Tour”: Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Barbara Buono today kicks off a week-long “Opportunity Tour” to highlight the need to restore the opportunities that made her story possible. The daughter of an immigrant butcher who rose up to become the first woman Majority Leader in state history, the tour will trace sites that enabled Senator Buono and so many others to overcome their circumstances and succeed in New Jersey. The tour begins this afternoon at the deli shop of Senator Buono’s cousin James Buono.

New Jersey’s 2nd disaster-recovery Sandy block grant, expected to amount to over $1 billion, will be announced at 3:00pm by U.S. Housing & Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, and Sens. Robert Menendez and Jeffrey Chiesa, joined by Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. and Little Ferry Mayor Mauro Raguseo at the First Aid Building, Little Ferry. Conspicuously absent: Gov. Christie.

Environmental groups: 4 pm news conference to oppose South Jersey Gas’ sponsorship of the Sustainable Jersey South Jersey Leadership Forum. The company advocaties a new pipeline built partially in the Pinelands, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Galloway.

Board of State Canvassers: meets at 10:00am to certify Cory Booker’s election as our next U. S. Senator in room 7 at the  Statehouse Annex, Trenton.


Buono/Silva Gubernatorial campaign: Barbara Buono: 10:30am, with South Brunswick Mayor Frank Gambatese, Press Conference with the New Jersey Superior Officers Association, South Brunswick Municipal Hall, 540 Ridge Rd., Monmouth Junction;  Barbara Buono: 12:30pm, AFT Retiree Luncheon, Forsgate Country Club, 375 Forsgate Dr., Monroe Township;  Barbara Buono, 2:00pm, with Deli owner James Buono, “Opportunity Tour”: Small Business, Buono’s Prime Meats & Deli, 470 Main St., Little Falls.

Christie/Guadagno gubernatorial campaign:  Chris Christie: 10:00am, unveiling of  a statue of Steve Adubato Sr., North Ward Center, Newark;  Chris Christie: 11:45am, ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Route 206 Hillsborough Bypass.

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. and Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long: 9:45am, tour of Ocean Avenue to view buildings and businesses damaged by Superstorm Sandy, starts at Borough Hall, ends at the firehouse, Sea Bright.

Rep. Bill Pascrell: 11:00am, joined by Moonachie Mayor Dennis Vaccaro and Little Ferry Mayor Mauro Raguseo, news conference marking Sandy’s anniversary, Moonachie Borough Hall.

Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald: 10:30am, joined by Jack Purvis, president of the American Institute of Architects state chapter, and Robert Thiel, president of the New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers, news conference, regarding ‘Good Samaritan’ legislation designed to better prepare New Jersey to respond to the next major storm or natural disaster, Statehouse, Room 109, Trenton.

Open thread: Add an event taking place today of interest to our readers, or email items for this column the evening before to BillOrr563@gmail.com

How’s NJTV Doing?

NJTV, the only state-wide television network, rose out of the ashes of the highly-acclaimed state-funded New Jersey Network (NJN) in mid-2010. As a news junkie and amateur pundit, I’ve been a loyal watcher of NJTV’s 6 PM newscast.

Despite the fact that the level of funding for state-wide news has gone down significantly since the demise of NJN, I’m happy that the quality of the newscasts is getting better, albeit with much more room for improvement. Anchor Mike Schneider is an excellent interviewer and he usually presents a neutral tone on even the most contentious issues in Trenton. The extended interviews with New Jersey’s movers and shakers are something that no other outlet (except Blue Jersey) currently provides across the state. The network has invested in state-of-the-art equipment that enables it to report from remote sites over conventional telephone circuits, giving reporters the opportunity to go where the news happens. The major challenge that NJTV News faces is a small staff of reporters and technical people. With all that’s happening in the state, they can’t cover as much breaking news as they should.

Of course, the nightly newscast has to compete with other news outlets like the New York and Philadelphia commercial stations, the Internet, radio, and dead-tree newspapers. A recent poll conducted by Monmouth University reported that only 25% of the New Jerseyans they questioned had watched NJTV News in 2012, down from a high of 59% who had watched its predecessor, NJN, in 1999. But when Monmouth pollster Patrick Murray asked about the quality of the newscasts, the story was a bit different. “While there has been a significant drop in the visibility and brand identity of New Jersey’s public television outlet since the transfer to NJTV, the net impact on perceived quality has been negligible for most residents”, reported Murray.

The quality and quantity of the news reported on NJTV run rings around that of the commercial stations. Recently, researchers from Seton Hall University spent five weeks watching all of the local newscasts on NJTV and the highest-rated New York and Philadelphia commercial stations, WNBC and WPVI respectively. While NJTV devotes 81% of its 30-minute time slot to straight news, WPVI devotes only 50% and WNBC devotes a mere 42%. Also, 89% of the stories on NJTV were devoted to New Jersey news, while the numbers for WPVI and WNBC were 24% and 17%. The Seton Hall team also noted that the stories on the commercial stations emphasized crime, while NJTV’s coverage was more toward politics and government.

The reports from these two institutions are chock full of more statistics, but the bottom line is that despite Governor Christie’s evisceration of a New Jersey institution 18 months ago, and despite the fact that one of the Governor’s cheerleaders, Steve Adubato, is a principal in the new organization, the news division is improving. And while the ownership of the station is out of the state’s hands, the state still holds the broadcast licenses. So let’s keep NJTV’s feet to the fire – give credit when deserved, and speak out loudly and forcefully when we think it’s falling behind its mission to serve the citizens of New Jersey.

Below the fold: Nostalgia. The sign-off of NJN with Jim Hooker and Michael Aron

NJ Senate Dems statement on Christie’s NJPAC interview

This is what the NJ Senate Dems had to say about Christie’s one-on-one interview with Steve Adubato, aired tonight on NJTV and taped before a live audience at NJPAC:

Christie Contradicts Christie, says Sandy ‘erased the blackboard’ for himself, but not for the President

In a bold stroke of hypocrisy, Governor Christie stated in an interview on Conversations at NJPAC with Steve Adubato that aired tonight that President Obama “executed very well on leadership during the storm.  That doesn’t in any way change my view of his failure to lead in the first three years of his administration on a whole wide variety of issues.”

Just this weekend, the governor was quoted as saying that the storm “erased the blackboard” and that he could not “imagine that there’s anything else that’s relevant…to talk about.”

Apparently, the governor does not feel that 9.6% unemployment, the second highest foreclosure rate in the nation, a shrinking middle class, or an increasing poverty rate are relevant.  Perhaps he should look in the mirror if he wants to attack someone for their “failure to lead in the first three years of his administration on a whole wide variety of issues.”

Newark: An Appeal To Our Better Angels Or At Least A Request To End Politics As Usual

Last night a near-riot broke out at Newark City Council, as Mayor Cory Booker did some political maneuvering and cast a highly unusual mayor’s vote to install a longtime ally of Essex political boss Steve Adubato, Sr. into Don Payne’s old seat. When it became clear what was happening, members of the audience tried to rush the stage to prevent it. There was pepper spray, possibly mace, furniture knocked over. Shouts of “Cory’s gotta go!”. An SEIU leader was charged with assault, resisting arrest, inciting a riot. I reached out to West Ward Councilman Rice for his take. If the mayor, other council members or attendees also want to weigh in, we’d be interested. – Rosi

The city of Newark reverted back to some age old political machine ways last evening and that is not good for our city, our future nor the aspirations of some politicos seeking higher office. I preface this by pointing out what I know some will say about this critique: that these are the “sour grapes” of an elected official that did not get his candidate selected to fill the vacancy on the Newark City Council created by Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr.’s ascension to his father’s seat. But my comments are a forewarning of what this vote could mean short term and long term.

There is no easy way to say it except to say that Mayor Cory Booker was complicit in engineering a power grab for a Newark City Council seat with the express cooperation of the Steve Adubato, Sr. North Ward political machine, hardly the credentials of a progressive reformer that is seeking to create a Big Tent for Governor in 2013 or Senator in 2014. The applicable statute governing municipal council vacancies under our form of government allows the council a 30-day window to select a replacement or a special election will ensue at the next General Election. There is also statutory language that allows a Mayor to vote if there is a 4-4 tie. Mayor Booker decided to vote even though there was no tie (I stayed away from the meeting to deprive the meeting of a tie and thus depriving the Mayor with an opportunity to wade into council waters at least until ALL of my colleagues had chance to even have preliminary discussions regarding an appointment) and based that decision on a general statute that allows him to vote should the council essentially “fail” to do our job. What is so cynical about his move is that he used this general, “catch-all” statute that can be used by him under almost any situation under the “strong Mayor” form of government before the council began any type of deliberation.

Moreover, the Mayor and many of my colleagues used the very levers of government to advance a political agenda. Clearly, the Mayor was “in on it,” but seemingly so was our city’s Corporation Counsel which identified this statute and our City Clerk, both of whom were not transparent to the rest of the council what they were doing procedurally behind our backs. They even provided some of us with one interpretation of the applicable statutes and others of us with another interpretation of the same applicable statute. The precedent of government departments and agencies purposefully providing partial, incomplete and/or incorrect information is, at best, malfeasance and, at worst, a dereliction of official duty or possibly misconduct.

I juxtapose this behavior with how Mayor Booker handled the last appointment/council voting controversy in 2006. In that year, both Councilman Luis Quintana and Councilwoman Mildred Crump sought the Presidency of the Newark Municipal Council. Instead of choosing sides, the Mayor showed candor, a respect for problem solving and mutual cooperation by suggesting the creation of a Vice-Presidency, thereby expanding participation, promoting inclusion and a Big Tent worldview. Last evening, he endorsed politics as usual.

The Hotly Contested CD 10

In CD 10 the  race remains open with four key competing veteran Democrats who have been in office for multiple cycles. In other districts except for CD 9 the outcome is more predictable and there are fewer seasoned politicians in each race. New developments in this tri-county contest include added support for Senator Nia Gill (D-34). Surprisingly, however, she filed to run in the primary for the regular two-year term starting in January 2013, but not for the unexpired term from November to January. The prospects for each candidate vary from place to place and the past votes won by each candidate in recent elections provide perspective.

A spokesperson for Senator Gill’s campaign told Blue Jersey this morning by phone that her failure to to file for the unexpired term was not inadvertent. “She is in it for the long haul and that starts with the regular term. The serious candidate runs for the full term,” he said. She qualifies to run in both primaries and would have gained added votes from Elizabeth and other towns which were part of the old CD10 but not the new one. The other three leading candidates filed for both primaries.

Hudson County (23% of new CD 10 population) has just awarded Line A to Senator Nia Gill (D Montclair) rather than Essex’s Donald Payne, Jr. There is no love lost between the Adubato, DiVincenzo, and Thigpen Essex Democratic Committee and the Mark Smith Hudson Democratic Committee. In 2011, for example, Hudson supported Assemblyman Joe Cryan (D- Union) against Essex County’s Sheila Oliver for the Assembly Speaker position. Also Sen. Sandra Cunningham (D-31) whose legislative district includes all of Hudson’s CD 10 population endorsed Gill.

In Essex County which has a whopping 57 % of the new CD 10 population the Democratic Committee just confirmed it will give Line A to Donald Payne, Jr. Union (20% of CD 10 population) will hold an open primary. Sen. Ray Lesniak a powerful force in Union whose legislative district includes about half of Union’s new CD10 is a strong supporter of Senator Gill.

There are now four key individuals (plus two other Democrats and one Republican) seeking to fill the seat formerly held by Congressman Donald Payne, Sr: Essex Freeholder and Newark Councilman Donald Payne Jr, Montclair Senator Nia Gill, Newark West Ward Councilman Ronald C. Rice, and Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith. Following the recent endorsement of two Newark councilmen for Ron Rice, comes the news of Hudson’s Line A to Nia Gill, plus, her endorsement from Sen. Cunningham. Donald Payne, Jr., with name recognition, Essex machine support and a large vote getter in his own right, remains the person to beat.

For more on the vote getting ability of each candidate and their prospects in different parts of CD 10, follow the fold

The Fog of Battle in the 10th CD

Although on the surface all appears quiet on the CD 10 front, a battle is brewing underneath and soon to come to a head. None of the three leading candidates, County Freeholder President  and Newark Councilman Donald Payne Jr, Montclair Senator Nia Gill and Newark Councilman Ron Rice, are waging a public, news-attracting battle. Only Rice has registered with the Federal Election Commission. Nonetheless, to run in the primary each must submit a petition by April 2.

To stand a chance to win the primary and thus ultimately the election, each seeks Line A support from one or more county Democratic committees. For several weeks it has appeared that Essex County political boss Steve Adubato, County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo and County Committee Chair Philip Thigpen (a Payne cousin) want to crown the legacy candidate Donald Payne, Jr. They view him as one whose name recognition makes him the most electable and one who is in support of their regime. With 57% of CD 10 in Essex this gives them and Donald Payne a substantial advantage. Hudson has 23% and Union has 20%. Senator Gill has support from Union’s political boss Senator Ray Lesniak and is seeking support in Hudson and Essex counties. Councilman Rice has campaigned in Hudson and Essex Counties and seeks support in Union as well. Whether Union and Hudson will make peace with Essex and bow to Essex’s wishes remains unclear.

Councilman Rice has an enviable progressive record and is well-known in Newark and the county. Senator Gill also has a strong progressive record, a history of taking on the Essex machine, and as a female would add an important component to our congressional delegation. Donald Payne, Jr. prior to elected office served in the New Jersey Highway Authority in the tolls division, worked at the Essex County Educational Services Commission as a school bus monitor and eventually supervisor of student transportation. For 20 years he carried out Democratic party tasks in the South Ward. It is hard to discern any distinguished contributions he has made as either Councilman or Freeholder President.

The fog of battle will clear shortly, and both Union and Hudson may bow to the wishes of Essex and provide a unified front. If endorsed by all three counties, Donald Payne, Jr. would be the winning candidate and maintain this seat in Democratic hands. (The seat would also be in the hands of the Essex machine.) The more independent Councilman Ronald C. Rice or Senator Nia Gill would bring a more distinguished record and more progressive values, but they have a tougher battle.  

Quote of the Day: Evolution Edition

Christie is LIVE on Christie on the Line being interviewed on Channel Thirteen’s Steve Adubato.

Taking questions, when “Zoe in Clinton” asked Why didn’t you pass marriage equality? here’s the exchange between Adubato and his guest:

Christie: The fact is I made my position clear when I ran for governor that I believe marriage is between one man and one woman.

Adubato: But positions evolve, Governor.

Christie: Well, mine has not.

How the Democrats and NJTV Can Improve

Watching the NJTV coverage of Governor Christie’s State of the State Address was like watching a train wreck. It’s no surprise that the station, run by Christie’s Adubato clan, made this broadcast just the opening salvo in the governor’s re-election campaign.

Of course, Christie is an excellent orator. That’s part of his appeal to the average voter. But it’s NJTV’s job to inform the average voter, not to provide an unchecked platform for the governor. And the Democrats are just abettors in this process.