LONG BEACH ISLAND – Gov. Chris Christie squeezed LBI between trips to IowaNew HampshireConnecticut and – tomorrow – Colorado – just long enough to puncture his favorite Trenton-based targets in front of a friendly, sun-dazed crowd in this GOP stronghold.
“I’m the adult in the room,” Christie declared, a reference to the Statehouse, moments after his entourage of black SUVs tore up the gravel drive and deposited the head of the Republican Governors Association (and Governor of New Jersey) at the end of a ramp amid local, salt-tinged cheers.
“There’s Trenton speak, and then there’s regular language,” the governor said.Read More >
After perusing integrity monitor reports on Hurricane Sandy, state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) this afternoon unleashed a tornado of criticism on the Christie administration.
“My intention when I sponsored this legislation was to have these reports done as quickly as possible so that we could both prevent problems and find ways to correct them,” said Sweeney. “Unfortunately, these are months overdue and they are underwhelming to say the least. I was hoping for more detail, especially regarding what was just recently determined to be the second most expensive storm in the last half century. I am certainly disappointed in what was provided to us. It does not resemble what my intention was when I proposed this legislation.”Read More >
SAYREVILLE - In his office here, Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-19) sits comfortably at the head of a solid oak conference table, sipping coffee from a glass mug. Donning a blue tie to match a set of piercing blue eyes, he’s cool and collected, a shining example of how a New Jersey assemblyman might spend his time during these dog days, when the sun is shining and the statehouse is empty. But it would be misleading to call Wisniewski your typical assemblyman -- this one is in the middle of one of the most controversial and potentially corrupt scandals of recent memory.
Wisniewski is chairman of the Select Committee on Investigations, the bicameral bipartisan, board put together last year in the wake of the George Washington Bridge lane closures. It’s been seven months since the Middlesex County Democrat began probing the depths of what might have been a politically motivated, possibly illegal political stunt, and he still hasn’t hit bedrock. He’s been hounded by reporters -- this one included -- who call him weekly asking for fresh details on the investigation’s progress. He’s issued subpoenas and sat through dozens of grueling hours of testimony by some of the highest rankings officials in Gov. Chris Christie’s cabinet. More recently, he’s been blasted by Republicans on the committee who’ve likened its dogged pursuit of the case’s smoking gun to “a witch hunt”. They all want answers.
Anyone else in his position might at this point be feeling the heat. But not John “Wiz” Wisniewski. He’s been playing this game for too many years -- 19, by his count -- for that.Read More >
Two political tigers prowled America's 2016 presidential campaign field this week, separated by about 1,100 miles: Republican Chris Christie and Democrat Hillary Clinton.Read More >
WOODBRIDGE - The president of the New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association (PBA) decried the choice of locale for the start of Gov. Chris Christie's "No Pain, No Gain" pension reform tour as "callous," citing Christie's recent moves regarding public workers' pensions as something even more painful.
In a written statement, State PBA President Patrick Colligan specifically referred to the Christie administration taking out a $2.6 billion short-term loan with financial firm J.P. Morgan on July 1 to bolster the new $32.5 billion state budget and pay for the bills that will come due. Colligan's criticisms came in context of Christie's upcoming appearance next Tuesday, July 22, at the Bay View Park Gazebo in Long Beach Township to discuss his ideas on pension reform and to take questions.
"His callous choice of venue is not lost on the policemen, firefighters and teachers who recently built a playground there as part of the Sandy Ground Project. That park was built in memory of Lauren Rousseau, one of the brave teachers who lost her life protecting her children at the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy. It was built with the sweat of dedicated policemen, firemen and teachers who volunteered their time to honor this incredibly brave teacher who should have never expected to lose her life in her chosen profession. It is a personal affront to every volunteer that participated in the building of that playground and every public worker that continues to make their pension contributions and healthcare co-pays and don’t share the ability of saying “I can’t afford it” like the Governor can," Colligan said in the statement issued Friday. "Long Beach Island is approximately 18 miles long. There are many appropriate and convenient venues throughout the island that the Governor can roll out his disgraceful attempt to once again vilify the hard-working public workers who have made the hard sacrifices with his last round of reforms."Read More >
RIDGEWOOD - Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saved her words for those who came to Bookends bookstore in Ridgewood on Thursday to have a copy of her latest book, "Hard Choices," signed in person, not the press.
But after the smiles, salutations and shaking of hands was over, several of those who got their books signed by Clinton commented on the sense of anticipation that hung as heavy in the basement signing room as the summer humidity.
"I'm hoping that [a presidential campaign] would go in her favor, but I think it would be tight," said Danielle Reiffe, 37, a school social worker from Fair Lawn, as she assessed the potential Democratic candidate's chances in the upcoming 2016 election. "We hope to get the Democrats out in support of her, not only the women and the men in this state, but all those over 18 to vote for Hillary if she does go for it."Read More >
TEANECK - On the day that former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to arrive at a Bergen County bookstore to sign copies of her latest book, State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37) made it unequivocally clear as to what her position is if fellow Democrat Clinton ultimately decides to run for President in 2016.
"Yes, I support Hillary Clinton," said Weinberg, of Teaneck, in an interview with PolitickerNJ.com. "She has eight more years of experience, and so have I."
Weinberg's reference to eight years ago hearkens back to when she backed Barack Obama, not Clinton, for president during the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries. During the epic duel between the two rivals, Weinberg called out Clinton for "acting like one of the boys" when what she felt the country needed was a bold and decisive alternative. Weinberg was also displeased with Clinton's support of the Iraq war resolution in 2002 when Clinton was a U.S. Senator representing New York state.
But on Thursday, hours before Clinton comes to Ridgewood to the Bookends bookstore to promote her book "Hard Choices," all was apparently forgiven by Weinberg.Read More >
RAMSEY - One of the most distinctive features of this approximately 15,000-person northern Bergen County borough is the long, rolling lawn in front of the local high school. This November, Ramsey voters will roll into their voting booths with more choices on the ballot than usual.
First and foremost, Ramsey residents will decide who will fill the seat left vacant by Republican incumbent Mayor Christopher Botta, who did not choose to seek reelection. Seeking a four-year term are Independent Richard Muti and Democrat Julie O'Brien and Republican Deirdre Dillon. At the same time, Ramsey voters will choose between Republican incumbent Kathleen Donovan and her Democratic challenger, Bergen County Freeholder Jim Tedesco, in the Bergen County Executive's race; six-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-5) and Democratic challenger Roy Cho in the Fifth Congressional District contest; and Bergen County native U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) in his reelection bid against GOP challenger Jeff Bell.Read More >
TRENTON - In 2011, standing side-by-side beneath the bare bones girders and iron scaffolding of a half-built Revel Casino, Gov. Chris Christie and Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) doubled-down on a bet placed 30 years earlier: that Atlantic City, once imagined a Las Vegas-style getaway for the Northeast region but since fallen on hard times, could survive as New Jersey’s sole gambling mecca.
It was a double-down bet because the state had gambled on the prospect once before, in the 1970s, when it first legalized gambling and passed its original casino laws. But not since then had New Jersey updated its stance on the subject, and both Gov. Christie and Sweeney thought it time to reinforce the state’s commitment to the troubled city. This time around, the vision was to reinvigorate the debilitated resort town -- to “return Atlantic City to the ranks of the best destinations in the world,” the governor said -- by drafting an ambitious legislative package geared toward supporting its gaming industry.
Part of the package, signed that day amidst union leaders and Atlantic County lawmakers, called for the creation of a state-controlled gaming district in the heart of the city’s downtown (S-12). Another part overhauled the state’s regulatory structure for casinos, something that hadn’t been done since the laws were first written (S-11). Still another part included the very shell of the building the latter two bills were signed in that day -- resumed construction on the Revel, Atlantic City’s 53-story, 6.3 million square foot behemoth seaside attraction, made possible by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority's approval of $260 million in tax-increment financing to support infrastructure improvements.Read More >
TRENTON - The Senate Judiciary Committee in the coming weeks will consider Kevin O’Dowd for the position of state attorney general.
While he may endure a few pointed where, how, what, when questions and some theatrical play to make the drama look like a cliffhanger, O’Dowd is expected to have the votes in place in the end to get released out of committee without too much hysteria.
The next question is, who will replace him as chief of staff to Gov. Chris Christie?
PolitickerNJ kicked around some names with insiders in both parties and came up with the following short list of probables…Read More >
TRENTON - John Currie, the New Jersey Democratic State Committee (NJDSC) Chairman, announced on Wednesday that the Democratic coordinated campaign for the November elections will begin this month and that Jennifer Holdsworth, the party's political director, has been tapped to lead the 2014 coordinated campaign effort.Read More >
Between RGA gigs, Christie doesn't skip a beat bashing Trenton Dems at seaside LGI town hall LONG BEACH ISLAND – Gov. Chris Christie squeezed LBI between trips to IowaNew HampshireConnecticut and – tomorrow – Colorado – just long enough to puncture his favorite Trenton-based targets in front of a...
By JEFF BRINDLE Much has been written about the magnitude of campaign spending by independent special interest groups. But until now, there has been little discussion about the impact. During the 2012 Presidential and Congressional contests,... Read More >
“We lived up to our end of the bargain. He didn’t live up to his end of the deal.” - Ed Connolly, president of the New Jersey Firemen’s Benevolent Association.- The Bergen Record
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