Morning News Digest: January 2, 2013
By Matthew Arco
Former Assemblywoman Betty Cox has died
Former state Assemblywoman Elizabeth "Betty" Cox has died at the age of 85.
Cox, a founding member of the Women's Political Caucus, served in the Assembly from November 1971 to December 1972 after winning a special election to fill the unexpired term of Herbert Heilmann who resigned to become Assistant Commissioner of Labor in the cabinet of Governor William Cahill. She served 13 years as the chairwoman of the Summit Republican Party. (Isherwood/PolitickerNJ)
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono today announced that her campaign has exceeded their fundraising goals for the shortened quarter, approaching nearly a quarter of a million dollars, most of which was raised in the last ten days, and released the following statement detailing next steps for the campaign. (PolitickerNJ)
House Republicans abruptly pulled the plug Tuesday night on their promise to take up this week an emergency supplemental disaster aid bill for Northeast states damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
The decision is a stunning reversal since just hours before New Jersey lawmakers were preparing for floor debate Wednesday as outlined under a strategy promoted by no less than Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). (Rogers/Politico)
House Republicans rolled out their scaled-back $27 billion Hurricane Sandy disaster aid bill Tuesday setting up a floor debate in which Northeast lawmakers have been promised a crack this week at adding $33 billion more to meet the Senate-passed spending level.
New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, a close ally of that state’s Gov. Chris Christie, is charged with managing the amendment, and the whole rapid-fire scenario is one that reflects the strong influence of Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). (Rogers/Politico)
Republicans and Democrats from New Jersey and New York railed against House Speaker John Boehner late Tuesday for not bringing a bill for superstorm Sandy relief funding to the floor.
Members said they felt betrayed because they believed the vote would come after the House approved a measure to prevent fiscal cliff tax increases and spending cuts, which happened around 11 p.m. (Jackson/The Record)
Two months and $454 million later, the federal government’s role in post-Sandy New Jersey has progressed, at least in official terms, from “response” to “recovery.”
But for many in Moon¬achie, that progress is illusory. As costs mount and bank accounts dwindle, these families confront a difficult truth: FEMA is unlikely to close the gap between what insurance will cover and the cost of repairing their homes. In that space between expectations and reality, rumors and resentments are mounting. (O’Brien/The Record)
TRENTON — The start date for Mayor Tony Mack’s trial on corruption charges has been pushed back to at least this summer with a continuance order issued by a federal judge.
Initially scheduled to begin Feb. 19, the trial date was moved back to no earlier than June 17, according to the order signed by U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp, who will preside over the case. Mack has said he has no intention of resigning and so would likely remain in office through that time and into the trial itself, which Shipp estimated would take four to five weeks. (Zdan/The Times)
TRENTON — State Sen. Richard Codey said today that he needs more time to decide whether he will run for governor.
Last month, Codey (D-Essex) said he planned to make a decision by Jan. 1, but he now says that artificial deadline is “unrealistic.” (Renshaw/Sar-Ledger)
TRENTON — The jailhouse treatment program where former Gov. Jim McGreevey counsels inmates has earned a spot at the Sundance Film Festival and accolades from the U.S. Justice Department.
McGreevey is spiritual counselor to as many as 40 women who are taking part in a pilot program at Hudson County Correctional Center to reduce recidivism — and therefore lessen crime. The program aims to address the problems that keep them returning to jail: drug dependence, difficulty finding jobs, lack of decent housing, inadequate education and absence of counseling. (AP)
TRENTON - The City Council is making another attempt to cut the salary of the city's embattled mayor.
Council President Phyllis Holly-Ward is submitting a measure that would reduce Tony Mack's salary from $126,460 to $65,000. In December, Mack was indicted on corruption charges. (AP)
Last January, the governor of New Jersey told me he would improve the way he communicates with the public, acknowledging that his "spontaneity" sometimes gets him trouble.
Well, a year later, judge for yourself whether that spontaneity has been curbed -- and whether it has hurt or helped the free-talking gov. Here are Christie's seven most shocking comments of 2012. (And there were plenty more, by the way). (Katz/Inquirer)
New Jersey lawmakers expect to hear more uncomfortable talk about the state's finances as they gather in the new year.
The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee is to meet Thursday to discuss lagging revenues and the possibility of midyear budget cuts. (It was the only panel on the post-holiday legislative schedule as of Monday.) (Farrell/Inquirer)
For some, a boardwalk conjures up memories of summer afternoons running from beach to arcade and back again; for others, it brings to mind the chaotic nightlife chronicled in the reality show Jersey Shore.
But for the summer towns that dot New Jersey's coast, boardwalks are an economic lifeline that they are rushing to rebuild before the summer season starts in just under six months. (Osborne/Inquirer)
And then there were 565. Municipalities in New Jersey, that is. One fewer than on December 31.
As of January 1, 2013, Princeton borough and township became one Princeton, using the borough form of government. The new mayor and council were sworn in as part of a celebration that included a “Consoli-Cake” and tours of the former township municipal building, which now houses most government offices for the combined Princeton. (O’Dea/NJSpotlight)
Will the state push its much-touted offshore wind projects forward? Can New Jersey’s once flourishing solar sector avert a crash? Is there a coherent policy to promote vehicles fueled by alternatives to gasoline?
Those questions likely will dominate the debate among state policymakers in the new year, a time when the state’s aggressive goals to promote renewable energy will come under increasing scrutiny. (Johnson/NJSpotlight)
New Jersey voters are not the only ones tuning into the 2013 political contests this year. This time, the nation will be watching.
The governor’s race — already the super bowl of New Jersey politics — has an added dimension of hype this year. Governor Christie, who has never shied from the national spotlight, will find himself under the microscope from voters, journalists and political operatives around the country, who will be watching whether the conservative Republican will maintain his star power or whether he will fade under a grueling reelection contest in a Democratic-leaning state. (Stile/The Record)
The agreement taking shape on the fiscal cliff is nothing to celebrate. The pact to raise $600 billion in new revenue over the next decade is a grudging tactical retreat by Republicans that will cover only a fraction of the roughly $3 trillion needed to stabilize the national debt. And because it defers tougher measures, it ensures that Congress will remain locked in this pointless stalemate for months to come.
Yes, even a puny agreement is better than none at all. Without a cease-fire of some sort, huge spending cuts and tax hikes would kick in automatically, risking a new recession over the next few months that would cost millions of jobs. (Star-Ledger)
Mocked by Bridget Ann Kelly and David Wildstein last year in a text message exchange, Democratic Party/Latino activist Cid Wilson is now the butt of a joke on the Conan Show.Read More >
Days Since Last Christie Press Conference (Jan. 9)
Bridget Anne Kelly’s attorney says lawmakers rushed to judgement An attorney for former top Gov. Chris Christie administration official Bridget Anne Kelly filed paperwork arguing his client shouldn’t have to comply with a legislative subpoena. The documents, filed by Kelly attorney Michael Critchley, argues lawmakers rushed to judgment...
By Suzanne M. Walters When unions representing local police and firefighters cannot agree to new contract terms with local governments, State law mandates that the parties submit to binding arbitration. A third-party referee, then, sets the... Read More >
“The facts are there was a poll run in Cumberland County two nights ago asking, 'If the clerk’s election were tomorrow who would you vote for?’” Cumberland County GOP Chairman Bob Greco- PolitickerNJ.com
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