Senate signs off on six bills in bigger Corzine economic stimulus package

Senate signs off on six bills in bigger Corzine economic stimulus package
Gov. Jon Corzine

TRENTON - Emerging from passing six bills, part of a larger, nine-bill $245 million economic recovery plan championed by Gov. Jon Corzine - senators in both parties agreed that the work today represents only a small part of what’s required. 

Predictably, Democrats and some dissenting Republicans diverged starkly on fundamentals, with key GOP reps doubtful about enabling government to work as a problem solver, and Democrats digging in to take another big crack at the problem with that all-purpose tool: government.

“I think today New Jersey took a step in the right direction,” said state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen), whose EDA Main Street Assistance bill dishes $50 million to help jumpstart small businesses. “We recognize this needs to be solved on the national level. But although a lot of Republicans talked, many of them came with us in the end.”

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Doherty and Karrow look for support in each others' counties

As the battle to replace outgoing state Sen. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton) takes shape, the two declared candidates are beginning to make incursions outside of their home bases.

Assemblyman Mike Doherty (R-Washington Township), a Warren County legislator who began his campaign a day after he learned that Lance was moving up to Congress, feels encouraged by the response he’s received from the Hunterdon County committee men and women he’s met on the campaign trail so far. But some insiders argue that Assemblywoman Marcia Karrow (R-Flemington), a Hunterdon County native who just made her candidacy official last week, should not be counted out among the Warren County committee members, despite local contentions that the county will be in lock-step behind Doherty.

A third candidate, Hunterdon County Freeholder Matthew Holt, appears to be ready to run, and will formally announce his bid either next week or the week after.

The county committee members from Hunterdon and Warren Counties will meet in either January or early February to decide who gets to be Lance’s interim replacement in the state senate. In June, a primary will be held to determine who gets to remain on the ballot for the November general election, when voters will select a candidate to fill the two remaining years of Lance’s term in this safely Republican district.

This race is more complicated than a regional battle between the Hunterdon and Warren County Republican organizations.

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Monmouth GOP sources bemoan mistakes in freeholder race

GOP sources in Monmouth County are complaining about party campaign tactics in the Monmouth County Freeholder race in which Democrat Amy Mallet of Fair Haven narrowly defeated Republican John Curley of Middletown.

One source cited two fundamental problems with the Republican campaign of Freeholder Director Lillian Burry (who won) and her unsuccessful running mate, Curley – neither of which involved the candidates.

Critics believe Curley should have won and could have with a more focused Republican strategy, and highlight real blunders they say undermined his chances.

First, fearful of upping her name ID, Republicans intentionally resisted attacking Mallet, the beneficiary with her running mate of $2 million in face time over the course of last year’s District 12 Assembly race.

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Kramer: diversification of pension funds prevented further losses

Kramer: diversification of pension funds prevented further losses
New Jersey State Investment Council Chairman Orin Kramer

Hedge fund manager Orin Kramer, who heads the New Jersey Investment Council, wants to set the record straight: the state pension fund’s losses would have been worse if he hadn’t begun diversifying its portfolio six years ago.

Kramer disputed a report that appeared on PolitickerNJ.com last week that contended he presided over the loss of $25 billion from New Jersey’s pension fund.  Upon taking the post in 2002, Kramer said that he recognized the need to for the state’s multi-billion dollar fund to diversify its holdings.  New Jersey, he said, stood alone in the proportion of stocks to other assets that its pension fund held.

“The reason that I joined the council is because New Jersey had the most undiversified, equity-heavy portfolio of any major comparable institutional fund in the country,” said Kramer.  “Compared to every major endowment, corporate pension fund and public pension fund, New Jersey was uniquely undiversified and heavily dependent on equities.”

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Lyons to Smith: 'If it's true, go'

Lyons to Smith: 'If it's true, go'
North Ward Councilman David Lyons

IRVINGTON - North Ward Councilman David Lyons, a likely 2010 mayoral candidate, has long been the nemesis of Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith, for whom Keith Reid at his trial today said he accepted a $5,000 bribe.

“Number one, if that’s true,” said Lyons, “Wayne needs to resign. He should do the honorable thing and resign.”

Last year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office indicted Reid and ten other officials throughout New Jersey for accepting bribes from representatives of Coastal Solutions, LLC., an FBI operation posing as an insurance brokerage business offering services to municipalities. The indictment accused Reid of accepting $10,000 bribes from a cooperating witness in exchange for his assurance that he would influence Newark City Council President Mildred Crump and other public officials in Newark and Irvington to help secure insurance brokerage contracts.

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Reid pleads guilty to bribery, names Smith as 'Irvington official number one' in trial

Reid pleads guilty to bribery, names Smith as 'Irvington official number one' in trial
Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith

NEWARK – The last member of Operation Broken Boards in his trial today implicated Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith as someone for whom he took a bribe. 

Keith Reid admitted that he accepted cash bribes totaling $10,000 in exchange for his influence with public officials in Newark, Irvington and elsewhere.

The former chief of staff to Newark Council President Mildred Crump, Reid, 49, of Carteret, agreed during his guilty plea to forfeit a total of $15,500, representing the entire amount of bribes he took as described in the indictment on which he was being tried in federal court, according to a release issued by U.S. Attorney Spokesman Michael Drewniak.

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Bucco officially launches campaign Dec. 9, while Cabana looks to rev up next year

Bucco officially launches campaign Dec. 9, while Cabana looks to rev up next year
Tony Bucco kicks off campaign next month.

The announcement that attorney Tony Bucco means to officially kick-off his District 25 Assembly campaign on Dec. 9th contrasts with his primary opponent and fellow attorney, Morris County Freeholder Douglas Cabana, who’s waiting to make his formal announcement in the new year.  

“It’s time to be spending time with family and friends,” said Cabana. “I know where I have support, and it is unsolicited support.”

Bucco, son of state Sen. Anthony Bucco (R-Morris), declared during the Republican National Convention that he would run for the seat vacated by Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham), who’s retiring to run for governor.

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Arango takes Christie's joke in stride

Hudson County Republican Chairman Jose Arango doesn’t want to see any member of his party indicted, but he did not take offense at U.S. Attorney Chris Christie’s recent joke at the expense of the Hudson County Republicans. 

Shortly after announcing his December resignation, Christie joked in a radio interview  that “a Hudson County Republican would love to be indicted.  It would show they were relevant.”

Maybe a more sensitive Republican county chair would take offense at a joke that calls his or her party irrelevant, but Arango has heard similar jokes before. 

“It doesn’t bother me.  It’s something that’s a reality. It’s a tough deal to be a Republican in Hudson County,” said Arango. 

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The Back Room

Sources: Why Fox?

With the support of Gov. Chris Christie, Jamie Fox is on the fast track to get back to the Department of Transportation (DOT). The question is why?

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 18th

Guv prospects Fulop and Sweeney add voices to Silva, Stack and striking 1199 SEIU workers UNION CITY – They tried out their blue collar tough guy tonsils today in front of a purple-shirted crowd of striking healthcare workers – two of three as-yet-undeclared Democratic candidates for governor: Jersey City...

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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

(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

“We’re going to hold the line until hell freezes over, and when hell freezes over, we’re going to hold the line on ice skates." - Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-31), at yesterday's SEIU 1199 rally.

- PolitickerNJ

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