WolfBlock disbands

WolfBlock LLP, a large Philadelphia law firm with a major presence in New Jersey, is dissolving, according to a report in the Philadelphia Business Journal.

PolitickerNJ.com named Wolf Block the 12th most powerful law firm in New Jersey in its 2008 list of the state’s politically connected firms last year.

Among the prominent New Jerseyans who are members of the firm is Hersh Kozlov, a Republican fundraiser.  

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For Mason and Zimmer, transparency remains the core budget issue in Hoboken

For Mason and Zimmer, transparency remains the core budget issue in Hoboken
Councilwoman Dawn Zimmer, second from left, with Dave Mello, Carol Marsh, and Ravi Bhalla.

HOBOKEN – To the most hardened street operatives, “reformer” is just another word for someone who wasn’t born within reach of a Hoboken fire escape. 

But if adamant old-timers here pride themselves on being connected to the waterfront birthplace of the Chairman of the Board, 4th Ward Councilwoman Dawn Zimmer’s slate this year has less to do with trying to duplicate the Rat Pack look as trying to convey the opposite: that her candidates don’t have a devil-may-care attitude about a 47% Hoboken tax hike.

“I feel this crushing tax burden strikes everybody in Hoboken, and we need to move very strongly beyond this mentality of us-versus-them to what is for the benefit of everyone in Hoboken,” said Zimmer, a photographer, who heads up a “new Dawn” ticket consisting of former Councilwoman Carol Marsh, school teacher Dave Mello and attorney Ravi Bhalla.

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On the gubernatorial front, things get testy between Cardinale and Shaftan

On the gubernatorial front, things get testy between Cardinale and Shaftan

It was a tough crowd for state Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-Demarest).

Speaking as a surrogate for gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie to a group of conservatives who mostly supported rival candidate Steve Lonegan at the Conservative Leadership Breakfast at a diner in North Brunswick, Cardinale was interrupted by Lonegan's chief strategist, Rick Shaftan, while he was making the case for Christie's conservative ideals. 

"This guy was just out there spewing cold lies out so I just corrected the record a bit," said Shaftan.

That led to a testy exchange between Cardinale and Shaftan that would soon reverberate in the conservative blogosphere and add another layer of drama to an already tense primary campaign.

While Lonegan has taken a confrontational tone with Christie since he entered the race, the Christie camp has, at least until recently, purposefully refused to engage Lonegan.  Last week, Christie gave a rare acknowledgement of Lonegan, albeit without mentioning his name, by criticizing his decision not to compete for party support at Republican county conventions.  But it largely has fallen to Christie's supporters, like Cardinale, to debate with the Lonegan loyalists.

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Merkt, Lonegan pledge to dump Rivera-Soto; Christie won't evaluate until '11

Although prominent members of the Republican Party will likely try to score political points over the upcoming reappointment of State Supreme Court Justice Barry Albin this year, Assemblyman and gubernatorial candidate Rick Merkt (R-Mendham) would rather focus on the appointments he would actually have control over if he becomes governor.

"I would fire them all," said Merkt

Governor Jon Corzine will still be in office in September, when Albin, after serving seven years, will need to be reconfirmed to become tenured until mandatory retirement at age 70.  But Justices John Wallace, Roberto Rivera-Soto and Helen Hoens will all come up for reappointment during either Corzine's second term or the first term of his Republican opponent.   

Rivera-Soto is the most controversial of the three, having been censured for allegedly invoking his position to get an adversary of his son's in trouble, and having just recently accused of violating a court order relating to the Jayson Williams case.

Merkt said that he would not reappoint Rivera-Soto, a Republican, but not because of any controversy.

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Newcomer enters race for open Warren County freeholder seat

A political neophyte is seeking Assemblyman John DiMaio’s (R-Hackettstown) former seat on the three-member Warren County freeholder board.

Jason Sarnoski, an electrical engineer from Lopatcong who has never run for elected office, announced his candidacy today.

“I have chosen to join the race for freeholder because I understand the issues that are close at heart to the people of Warren County,” Sarnoski said in a statement.

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Former Perth Amboy official pleads guilty to stealing public funds, implicates Vas

A former Perth Amboy official today pleaded guilty to helping former mayor and current assemblyman Joseph Vas (D-Perth Amboy) steal funds from that city, according to Attorney General Anne Milgram.

Jeffrey D. Gumbs Sr., who lives in Wilmington, Del., admitted to submitting fraudulent invoices to the city to pay for personal expenses for both himself and Vas.  

Gumbs was the city’s director of human services and superintendent of recreation under Vas.  

“This guilty plea is a significant step in our investigation and prosecution of this case,” said Milgram in a press release. “Mr. Gumbs admitted that he helped the mayor to steal taxpayer funds. We charge that Joseph Vas used the city like his own piggybank.”

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Vas tells Spicuzzo he intends to serve out his term as local party chair in Perth

Vas tells Spicuzzo he intends to serve out his term as local party chair in Perth
MCDO Chairman Joe Spicuzzo

In his first conversation with embattled Assemblyman Joe Vas (D-Perth Amboy) since Vas absorbed corruption charges from the state Attorney General’s office nearly two weeks ago, Middlesex County Democratic Organization Chairman Joe Spicuzzo urged the former Perth Amboy mayor to resign his seat as chair of the local Democratic organization.

“I told him it would be better for all concerned if he did resign,” said Spicuzzo, who spoke with Vas this morning. “He told me he’s done nothing wrong and does not intend to give up his chairmanship. So we’ll let the process play out. His term is up in early June. 

“He also defended the party over there in Perth Amboy and challenged recent quotes in the paper that his organization is floundering,” Spicuzzo added.

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Allen does not want Judiciary Committee seat

State Sen. Diane Allen (R-Burlington) said today that she is probably not interested in a seat on the soon-to-be-expanded Senate Judiciary Committee.

“When you change committees you have to give up one, and while I think Judiciary would be an excellent committee, I would be hard pressed to give up one of the two I have,” said Allen, who is the ranking Republican on the Education Committee and the second ranking minority party member of the Health Committee.  

Under a rules change proposed by Senate President Richard Codey (D-Roseland) and agreed to by Republicans, the Judiciary Committee will add two new senators, one Republican and one Democrat, to expand its membership from 11 to 13.

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The Back Room

Report: Christie in Wisconsin with Walker

In his role as chairman of the Republican Governors Association (RGA), Gov. Chris Christie campaigned in Wisconsin today with fellow Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 29th

Winners and Losers: Week of September 22nd WINNERS Tom MacArthur In arguably the most competitive contest of the season, the CD3 Republican candidate forced Comcast to take down an inaccurate Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) television advertisement – the second of three forced off the air. "Our attorney was...

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Op-Ed

Legislation needed for publicly financed gubernatorial elections

By JEFF BRINDLE It is critical that the Legislature soon enact a pending bill that would ensure the state’s Gubernatorial Public Financing Program is available in the event of a special election for governor.  Not only is there no current legal... Read More >

Contributors

In tribute to John Sheridan, a good and great man     I first learned late last night from television news that John P. Sheridan, Jr. and his wife, Joyce had... more »
(9-24-14) The Founding Fathers and the Militarization of the Police - No matter what the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri decides, the debate over the militarization of... more »
(Trenton, NJ) --  On September 23, 2015 I shall dig this up and eat whatever crow I've got coming, but in the meantime only a listicle... 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

"After not responding to messages all week seeking an interview about the campaign, Garrett’s spokeswoman said on Friday afternoon that she would try to set one up, but did not respond further. Garrett has not released any announcements of where he would be campaigning, though he has posted pictures on social media on Sept. 8 from the Greenwood Lake Air Show in West Milford and on Sept. 14 from the Hackettstown Street Fair. Garrett has not agreed to any debates so far." - columnist Herb Jackson

- The Bergen Record

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