Ex-Whitman official dies at 59

Ex-Whitman official dies at 59
Stephen Sasala died of cancer on Friday. He was 59.

Former Whitman administration official Stephen Sasala passed away on Friday after a battle with cancer.  He was 59.  Sasala served as Deputy Commissioner of Corrections from 1994 to 1996, as Deputy Commissioner of Banking and Insurance from 1996 to 1999, and as Acting Director of Local Government Services for the Department of Community Affairs in 1999.  He served as CEO of Prosperity New Jersey, a private/public partnership Gov. Christine Todd Whitman created by Executive Order.   Sasala held that post from 1999 to 2003, when he moved to Connecticut to run a regional chamber of commerce.

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Five term Burlington Freeholder Bill Haines considering retirement

Five term Burlington Freeholder Bill Haines considering retirement
Bill Haines, Jr. Credit: Source: Burlington County Web site

Burlington County Freeholder Bill Haines, Jr. is considering retiring at the end of his current term, a move that could make the Republicans’ 3-2 majority on the board even more tenuous.  

“I’m still trying to decide what I’m going to do about freeholder,” said Haines, who this year finishes up his fifth term.

Haines, a Republican who’s sometimes known as “Cranberry Bill,” said that the expansion of his cranberry and blueberry farming business is the main reason he’s considering retiring from the political world.  

The fact that control of the freeholder board is up this year, with Republicans holding just a one seat majority over Democrats, complicates matters.  

“I probably would have made the decision a long time ago if Aubrey Fenton and Stacey Jordan had won the last time, but with control up it makes the decision more difficult,” he said.

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Some Dems worry about stimulus mechanics

Some Dems worry about stimulus mechanics
At-Large Councilman Peter Cammarano, left, and Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Princeton)

SOMERSET – The influx of federal stimulus money dominated much of the conversation here Saturday night at the Garden State Equality dinner, with some Democrats privately terrified by the prospect of misspent money ballooning into a crippling headline just in time for the gubernatorial election.

As there are just two gubernatorial contests nationwide this year, New Jersey becomes the de facto frontline for President Barack Obama’s stimulus plan, and what most anticipate will be a Meadowlands charm offense by the president on the eve of the election could boomerang badly for Democrats if they mismanage the historic infusion of cash. 

After meeting a week ago with Obama, who told governors to pay particular attention to ensuring stimulus transparency, Gov. Jon Corzine said New Jersey would receive $17.5 billion from the  federal aid package, or $7.5 billion in tax benefits, and $10 billion for Medicaid, and investments in highways, roads, bridges, mass transit, and healthcare information technology.

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Christie and Lonegan diverge sharply on medical marijuana issue during NJN debate

Christie and Lonegan diverge sharply on medical marijuana issue during NJN debate
Former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie

Republican gubernatorial candidates Chris Christie and Steve Lonegan sparred on the issue of medical marijuana on NJN’s On the Record this weekend, with Lonegan arguing in favor of a bill allowing treatment centers to grow marijuana plants for chronically sick patients, and Christie rejecting the bill in its current form, citing the lack of specific and strict controls.

NJN’s senior political correspondent Michael Aron broached the issue with the candidates on Saturday while taping his show at the Ram’s Head Inn in Galloway Township, which aired on Sunday. 

“It’s a freedom and liberty issue,” said Lonegan, former mayor of Bogota. “If a doctor knows that’s what needs to be prescribed to a suffering patient, I’ve met patients like this, that’s their decision and government should get out of the way.”

Now Christie considered the question. 

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Senate snow day

The State Senate has cancelled all committee meetings because of the weather, including a Judiciary Committee session that was expected to consider the nomination of Jeanne Fox for another term as President of the Board of Public Utilities. 

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Morning News Digest: March 2, 2009

Christie receives more matching funds

Gubernatorial candidate Christopher Christie has received an additional $236,754 in matching funds, bringing the total received from public financing to $996,914.  The state provides $2 for every $1 raised in qualified contributions.


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Times make fundraising hard in 25th District as candidates find ways to make it work

Times make fundraising hard in 25th District as candidates find ways to make it work
Tony Bucco at his pasta dinner event in the Zeris Inn on Thursday evening.

MOUNTAIN LAKES – They’ve seen other candidates in neighboring districts arrive at the brink of running and then back down with the awful idea of a bad economy turning even worse. For if there’s nobility in serving the public, there is also the catastrophic fear of accepting that service to the detriment of the more foundational forces of job and family.

What’s the good of circulating a glossy mailer advertising first-rate business credentials and a great looking family, when in fact the family sits at home with no food on the table because dad is out pouring the contents of their nest egg into his campaign, and a once thriving but now unmanned business simultaneously goes belly up?

Yet as hard as it is to run, to pick up the phone and beg for money in a flat-lined economy, the four 25th District Republican primary candidates in pursuit of two seats – all attorneys who fulfill at least some government contract work, some more than others - are going anyway, lousy economy be damned.

“We’re in the early stages of this campaign, and I’m in whether I raise $10 or $100,000,” said Randolph Councilman Gary Algeier, who intends to rely on writing columns and door-to-door campaigning probably more than fundraising.

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The Back Room

Christie campaigns in New Hampshire

When asked in New Hamsphire today about whether he was considering a presidential run in 2016, Gov. Chris Christie said he wouldn’t discuss his plans until after November.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 17th

U.S. Senate race: Bell defends gold standard stance MONTCLAIR - On the same day he was politically brickbatted by the chief adviser to the last Republican challenger to incumbent U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), GOP Senate candidate Jeff Bell stood by a key plank of policy platform: monetary reform...

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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 >


(9-17-14) Viral Video Prompts Questionable NJ Municipal Ordinance -  Socrates said, “While I might disagree with what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say... more »
The Correct Foreign Policy – Neither Fortress America Nor Pax Americana      Last week marked the 75th anniversary of the beginning of World War 2.  It started with the... 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

“Clearly there’s some resemblance with Theodore Roosevelt. That direct confrontational style of leadership.” - historian Doris Hearns Goodwin, referring to Gov. Chris Christie.

- The Times of Trenton


Who would make the best running mate for Chris Christie if he lands the GOP nomination for president?:


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