Bencivengo battles local Dems chair over political event

HAMILTON- On the night of a GOP fundraiser for Mayor John John Bencivengo: Politicker file photoJohn Bencivengo: Politicker file photoBencivengo attended by 300 people, Bencivengo expressed incredulity that Hamilton Democratic Party Chair John Kroschwitz wants to file a criminal complaint against him for holding the event on township property.

"This is a deliberate violation of a township ordinance passed back in April of 2000 that prohibits any political fundraising in all township buildings," Kroschwitz complained Thursday night.

Bencivengo said the ordinance was not designed to encompass the Sayen House and Sayen Gardens, which are home to events of all kinds.

"The Friends of Sayen (a not-for-profit 501c3 corporation) run the house, and we paid $400 to have our event there," Bencivengo said of his fundraiser, where the mayor and his allies charged $50 a head.

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West New York official admits taking bribes

West New York’s former construction code official pleaded guilty today to extorting and accepting more than $30,000 in bribes.

Franco Zanardelli, 58, admitted in federal court to accepting cash payments and other forms of compensation in exchange for favors. 

Zanardelli served as the town’s construction code official from around 2002 to June, 2007.  He was also employed as the construction code official for Guttenberg and Secaucus. 

He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

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Mayor Choi gears up to run again in Edison

Mayor Choi gears up to run again in Edison

EDISON - Diners anchor what’s left of the train-track and warehouseEdison Mayor Jun Choi: Politicker file photoEdison Mayor Jun Choi: Politicker file photo girded countryside in this sprawling town, fifth biggest in New Jersey, where Mayor Jun Choi drinks his coffee on a summer morning in one of the more recognizable roadside haunts called the Plaza Diner.

The suit and tie and modest demeanor belie a man restlessly at work, for if Choi was an enigmatic upstart when he hit the scene three years ago, he has built himself into a surging political force, three-fourths of the way into his first term.

"And I’m running again," he says with a smile.

The Edison-raised kid who came from the inner sanctum of Bill Bradley’s machine-bucking 2000 presidential campaign, former state Department of Education wonk, Choi remains the Democratic Party outsider in a party that still does not know quite what to do with him.

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Bateman gets some help from Ohio

So far, Republican Alan Bateman's congressional campaign has had no more of an impact than any of the other long-shot congressional candidates in the state.

Bateman, the Holmdel deputy mayor, is challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-Princeton). As of June 30, he had only raised $7,575, and had $6,487 on hand (and owed $5,325 in debt).

But according to Bateman's campaign, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) sees something promising, and has committed to making a $5,000 donation to Bateman from his PAC.

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Cardinale criticizes Martini

State Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-Demarest) is so upset about what he sees as a lenient sentence for former Newark Mayor and State Senator Sharpe James that he’s fired off a letter to the editor of every daily newspaper in the state.

On Tuesday, James was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison and fined $100,000.

Cardinale’s letter contains some criticism of U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martini, a former Republican Congressman who presided over the trial and sentencing of James. Cardinale said staffers toned down more pointed criticism of the judge.

“It’s struck me that (Martini) has become an enabler, even an apologist for this culture of corruption,” he said in a phone interview.

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Myers calls for Adler to fire parole board member

Republican congressional candidate Chris Myers today demanded that his opponent, State Sen. John Adler, remove a controversial appointee from the state parole board.

Adler is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

State Parole Board member Charles Jones drew scrutiny when he wrote a letter to Judge William J. Martini asking for leniency for Sharpe James, who he used to work for as an aide. Jones was appointed to the board in early 2006, although judiciary committee members at the time questioned whether he was qualified for the position.

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Star-Ledger 'on life support'

The Star-Ledger might be looking for a new owner if 200 employees don’t agree to buyouts by October 1, and if the paper doesn’t reach agreements with labor unions, according to a Star-Ledger report of publisher George Arwady’s comments to employees today. Arwady said the paper was “on life support.”

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The Back Room

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: April 23, 2014

Colorado politicians invite Christie to experience 'Rocky Mountain High'Colorado politicians slapped back at Gov. Chris Christie after he questioned their Rocky Mountain quality of life under the rule of legalized marijuana.“Whether it’s hiking season or snow season, we invite Gov. Christie to experience Colorado’s quality of life anytime,"  Sen....

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Op-Ed

How the City of Paterson became a city in crisis

By HAYTHAM YOUNES As the May 13th election for Paterson officials nears, I've noticed a lot of candidates running using slogans and empty promises as if they weren't around watching Paterson get to where it's at today. I think it's important that... Read More >

Contributors

(4-23-14) Bridgegate Witnesses Not "RATS" if Testimony is Forced -Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson’s decision last week was covered in most newspapers and blogs as an affirmation of the... more »
(Absecon Island, NJ) --With his shocking win in last year's election, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian emerged as one of the most intriguing figures in the New Jersey political... more »
When it comes to profiling Christie, facts are for wussies (4/10/14) - As the national media stories on our Guv pile up, expect more blunders about the Garden State.... more »
This week I begin a series called Dispatches from Somewhere Else. Based on my on-going experiences as an everyman in New Jersey politics, these Dispatches review the hollowness of... more »

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