By Matthew Arco | November 23rd, 2012 - 7:22am
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Morning News Digest: Monday, November 19, 2012


Booker defends tie-breaking role at council meeting


Newark Mayor Cory Booker issued a release this morning following last night's controversial council meeting.


Booker cast a fifth vote in favor of Shanique Speight to fill an at-large council seat vacated by Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. (D-10), sparking pepper spray bedlam in the chamber. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ)



In Hamilton, succession is in the air


As Hamilton Township prepares to regroup after the stunning fall of Republican Mayor John Bencivengo, convicted Tuesday on corruption charges, the mayoral succession is already in play.


Bencivengo resigned effective today and Council President Kevin Meara will assume the role in the short term.  On Nov. 29, the township Republican Committee will meet to choose three names to pass along to the Republican-controlled council.  The council will choose from among the three. (Isherwood/PolitickerNJ)



Bill would sell vacant Camden prison site to the state


Nearly three years ago, the state prison on North Camden's waterfront was demolished to make room for development that local officials said would improve the neighborhood and boost the city's coffers.


But the land remains vacant, generating no revenue for the impoverished city. (Vargas/Inquirer)



Waywire founder Cory Booker has YouTube in his sights


Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker started dabbling with Twitter in 2009 and liked the instant feedback and cred that came from being a social-media maven.


So when the mayor with easily the most Twitter followers (1.2 million vs. 391,000 for runner-up New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg) was approached to participate in a side project — a new online video network aimed at young people — he was eager. (Graham/USA Today)



N.J. Assembly Democrats aim for stricter oversight of halfway houses


TRENTON — Assembly Democrats introduced a number of measures this week intended to provide stricter oversight of companies that run the state’s strained halfway houses, including several aimed at the largest of them: the 1,200-bed Delaney Hall in Newark.


The measures were introduced five months after the New York Times published a series of articles detailing frequent escapes, violence and lax oversight at the privately operated facilities that supplement the state’s prison system. (Friedman/Star-Ledger)



Monmouth, Ocean vote counting extended due to Sandy


TRENTON — Election officials across New Jersey are getting more time to verify and count ballots because of special arrangements the state made this month for voters displaced by Superstorm Sandy,


The state Division of Elections on Tuesday granted extensions for vote-counting in 14 of the state’s 21 counties. The deadlines statewide had already been extended from Sunday to Wednesday. (AP)



Third-quarter gross operating profits fall 18 percent in Atlantic City casinos


Atlantic City's casinos saw a 17.9 percent decrease in gross operating profit during the third quarter of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, according to industry-wide figures released today by the Division of Gaming Enforcement.


Gross operating profit for the industry, including Revel, was $149.5 million in the third quarter of 2012, compared to the $182.1 million the properties posted in the third quarter of the previous year, when Revel had not yet opened. (Eder/NJBIZ)



An unusual first contract win set up Newark consultancy for neighborhoods projects


After barely nudging its foot in the door of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through a community revitalization program five years ago, Newark-based consulting firm BCT Partners has been flooded with government contracts related to the initiative — including a recent three-year, $3.3 million award to provide technical assistance and supportive services for that original job's expansion program.


"A lot of very experienced companies were bidding on this contract, but our experience providing the same services to the predecessor to this Choice Neighborhoods program put us right in the winner's circle," said Randal D. Pinkett, chairman and CEO of BCT Partners. "Unless you have a name in the business, no one wants to give you work. But now, HUD is our largest customer." (Eder/NJBIZ)



Sandy Seen Boosting U.S. With as Much as $240 Billion Rebuilding


John Cataneo is working his 20 employees overtime and still can’t keep up with demand from customers who need plumbing repaired after superstorm Sandy. He says he’s hired two new workers and may need more.


“We’re just not getting to some people that are asking for help,” said Cataneo, co-owner of Gateway Plumbing & Heating in Manhattan. “But we’re doing the best we can.” (Kearns, Park & Buhayar/Bloomberg)



Food-stamp diet for Booker, tweeter


NEWARK, N.J. - Mayor Cory Booker and a Twitter follower plan to try to live on food stamps for at least a week, the mayor has announced.


The idea stemmed from a back-and-forth conversation between Booker and a woman who goes by the name TwitWit and uses the handle @MWadeNC. They began talking about the idea Sunday night while discussing the role the government should play in funding school breakfast and lunch programs. (Zezima/AP) 




From the back room


Reconstructing Bedlam


The scene out of Newark City Hall shook Mayor Cory Booker’s seven league boots, at least in the eyes of some jittery supporters, who interpreted last night’s bedlam as political weakness.


But two sources close to Newark politics said Booker – noted more for twittering than brass knuckle Brick City politicking – made the right play last night. (Pizarro/PolitickerNJ) 





Stile: So many reasons to offer gratitude


Thanksgiving offers political leaders, celebrities and a few corporate officials caught in the crossfire of the presidential campaign a chance to gratefully reflect on those who sustained their careers during the grueling 2012 campaign and another hectic year in North Jersey politics.


Here are a few notables and whom they should be sending thank you-notes to this season. (Stile/The Record) 



No justification for turning Newark Council's public business into a brawl: Editorial


We’re all for heated debate, but the behavior of Mayor Cory Booker’s opponents at this week’s Newark City Council meeting was truly off the charts. They bellowed like an angry mob as Rahaman Muhammad, president of SEIU Local 617, stormed the stage to disrupt the proceedings.


It was all caught on video: Shanique Davis Speight, a Booker choice being sworn in as a new council member, getting knocked over backward — right in front of her son, who is in grade school. A police officer grappling with Muhammad. A whole bunch of people getting hit with pepper spray. (Star-Ledger) 

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 29th

Belmar mayor's race: a wave of post-Sandy project politics stirs up seaside Monmouth borough BELMAR - When Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty rolled out his re-election campaign in February, he did so still basking in the glow of what many residents of the 6,000-person Monmouth County seaside borough saw...


White House’s Tuition Challenge Being Met in NJ

By MICHAEL W. KLEIN In his weekly radio address on August 16, President Obama challenged colleges “to do their part to bring down costs” and lighten the tuition burden on students.  The state colleges and universities in New Jersey have... Read More >


My Republican Hillary Clinton Experience    There is a veritable plethora of reportage in print, internet, television and radio media speculating as to whether Hillary Clinton will seek the Democratic... more »
(8-27-14) All Americans Should Support Gov. Perry - Political prosecutions have no place in American life. Those who use the justice system as they are using it in Texas... more »
(Asbury Park, NJ) -- There's a word for someone who says one thing and does another: hypocrite.  There's no shortage of 'em in Trenton -- from ... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"Christie’s method for coping with scandal has been more complicated. In January, the seemingly-local issue of lane closings on the George Washington Bridge, which created a massive traffic jam in the Hudson River town of Fort Lee, became one of national interest when it was revealed that one of Christie’s closest staffers had ordered them—for what looked like political retribution against a Democratic mayor. The scandal was quickly dubbed 'Bridgegate,' and unfortunately for Christie, it played into his reputation as a bully. Christie's response was to act unlike himself: humble." - Olivia Nuzzi

- The Daily Beast


Who is a better field general for his party as both try to win governor's races around the country?:


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