Morning News Digest: February 24, 2009

Faison backs Redd for mayor of Camden

Faison backs Redd for mayor of Camden
Camden Mayor Gwendolyn Faison

South Jersey sources report that Camden Mayor Gwendolyn Faison tonight announced she would not run for reelection in June, and endorsed the mayoral candidacy of state Sen. Dana Redd.

Appointed mayor after the scandalous collapse of her predecessor, elected in 2001 and then reelected in 2005, the 82-year old Faison made her announcement at a state management forum in the Malandra Hall Community Center.

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In Edison, Massaro backs Ricigliano's mayoral bid

In Edison, Massaro backs Ricigliano's mayoral bid
Councilman Tony Massaro

EDISON – Beaten by Jun Choi in 2005, two long-warring factions in town– old school Democrats and the People’s Choice Party – decided to get together to take down the incumbent mayor this year. 

First they wanted to determine which of two candidates - Councilman Tony Massaro, an establishment Democrat, or Councilwoman Toni Ricigliano of the People’s Choice – would be the stronger candidate.

Apparently surprising Massaro, Ricigliano jumped out and declared her candidacy last month.

Now the councilman plans to endorse her at an Edison Democratic Party meeting tomorrow evening at the Pines, officially aligning onetime antagonists whom Choi’s shoe leather reform school organizing has driven into the same camp.

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Daggett unconvinced Christie, Lonegan can 'marshal resources' to solve budget crisis

Daggett unconvinced Christie, Lonegan can 'marshal resources' to solve budget crisis
Christopher J. Daggett

The early centerpiece of Christopher J. Daggett’s independent gubernatorial campaign appears to be his record as a facts-based consensus builder who can get tough if the situation requires, evidenced by his work as regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President Ronald Reagan, and his chairmanship of the 24-member DEP Efficiency Review Task Force under Gov. Jon Corzine.

“I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I have the experience of working effectively with different, often opposing groups,” the underdog Daggett told

In 1984, Reagan appointed Daggett to run the EPA here in the midst of a squabble over a Manhattan development project ranging along the West Side Highway, a 250-acre fill-job that would have buried enormous amounts of striped bass spawning grounds.

Despite pressure from unions that wanted the jobs, New York politicians like U.S. Sen. Al D’Amato, editorial boards, and even President Reagan, who made a grip-and-grin appearance as he handed over a mock check for the development, Daggett denied the project based on scientific evidence that it would crush the area’s striped bass population.

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Seeking first win since '77, Democrats refuse to give up on 39th

Republicans have not yet settled on who they're going to run for assembly in the 39th  legislative district, but two Democrats are eager to take on whoever is on the Republican ticket. 

John Shahdanian, a labor attorney and Democratic municipal chairman from Old Tappan, and Michael McCarthy, the political director of a stage hands' union, have both filed to run for the party line in the District 39 convention. 

The district, a Republican stronghold where Democrats haven't won since 1977 despite their dominance in the rest of the county, saw a well-funded but unsuccessful challenge two years ago by Democrats, who spent millions on the state senate campaign of attorney Joseph Ariyan and the assembly campaigns of River Edge Councilwoman Esther Fletcher and Dumont Councilman Carl Manna.  Despite the effort, state Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-Demarest) and assembly incumbents John Rooney (R-Northvale) and Charlotte Vandervalk (R-Montvale) all won by comfortable margins.

"They got the wheels in motion. I think the tide is turning, and we can do really well," said Shahdanian. 

One Bergen County Democratic insider who worked on the 2007 campaign called it "our Vietnam" and doubted that the local party, let alone the state party, would again pour significant resources into the district - especially when it is still reeling by the indictment of its former chairman, Joe Ferriero.  And it's not yet officially known if Rooney, who last time around was considered the most vulnerable incumbent, will run again.  Republican sources say he won't.

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Corzine not interested in commerce secretary position

Corzine not interested in commerce secretary position

Although he helped sell the stimulus package by appearing on national television on behalf of President Obama, Governor Corzine said today has not been approached about the open Commerce Secretary position in the Obama Administration, and today nipped in the bud any speculation that he might be interested in it. 

“No one has spoken to me about it, and I’m going to say the same thing I said when we had the flurry of conversation about the Treasury,” said Corzine, who was vetted for Secretary of Treasury by then-President Elect Obama’s transition team.  “I like what I’m doing.  We have enormous challenges in New Jersey and I’m working on trying to serve the people of New Jersey as best as I can as we go through these economic times. We need consistent on focus o that, and I have no interest in the commerce secretary position."

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Corzine: Obama insists on transparency in state distribution of federal stimulus dollars

Corzine: Obama insists on transparency in state distribution of federal stimulus dollars

President Barack Obama wants transparency of how money from the federal stimulus package is distributed to the public, Gov. Jon Corzine told reporters this afternoon after meeting with the president and other governors in Washington, D.C. earlier today.

“The president was very clear that his expectations are for us to be particularly attendant to doing things in a transparent way, that the American people know we are doing everything we can to stabilize the economy,” said Corzine, who noted that Vice President Joe Biden will be in charge of implementing the economic recovery program.

As part of the national stimulus package, Medicaid is slated for a $15 billion infusion on Wednesday. Ninety-five percent of Americans will receive tax cuts on April 1, said the governor.

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Tom Russo to retire from Atlantic County freeholder board

Tom Russo to retire from Atlantic County freeholder board
Atlantic County Freeholder Tom Russo says he won't seek re-election in 2009.
Atlantic County Freeholder Tom Russo announced today that he will not seek reelection to a seventh term.  

Russo, a Republican and former president of the Atlantic City Council, has been on the freeholder board since 1991.  

“I am proud to have been a part of the finest run county government in the State of New Jersey,” said  Russo in a statement.  “Now is the time for new leadership to join the Freeholder Board to meet the challenges which lie ahead.” Read More >

The Back Room

Asbury Park Press corrects Williams error in Christie report

The Asbury Park Press last night mopped up after NBC anchor Brian Williams overreached when he said the feds had cleared Gov. Chris Christie of wrongdoing in a federal investigation, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 19th

NBC News: Federal charges ruled out for Christie in Bridgegate scandal NBC News tonight is reporting that federal investigators say after nine months of investigating Bridgegate there is 'no evidence" that Gov. Chris Christie had advance knowledge about any politically motivated scheme around the bridge lane closures at the...

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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

“The fact is that they’ve been digging around for eight months now and have found absolutely nothing. Wrap up your work. Do your job." - Gov. Chris Christie

- PolitickerNJ


Should the Joint Legisaltive Committee investigating Bridgegate 'wrap it up?':


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