Chris Christie

Quintana calls for Newark summit with Christie; on a 2015 Primary: 'I see it as very difficult to beat the machine'

Quintana calls for Newark summit with Christie; on a 2015 Primary: 'I see it as very difficult to beat the machine'

NEWARK – He has a new office, been there for two months, up on Mount Prospect Avenue, where he’s settling in as the at-large councilman again after serving as interim mayor.

It was a tough eight months.

But veteran At-Large Councilman Luis Quintana insists on being positive.

He has numerous keepsakes on the walls: the portrait of his mother, the shoe shine box he used as an immigrant child on the streets of his beloved Newark, the bust of Abe Lincoln, the American Flag U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) presented to him when he became mayor, the photo of a girl suffering from cancer, the woman he proudly promoted to police chief, the picture of him with former Mayor Ken Gibson.

The city’s struggling.

He felt it when he was mayor.

“The greatest pain I felt as mayor was being told ‘you can’t,’” he said. “You’re at the mercy of the state.”

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Weinberg on Christie call to "wrap up" state Bridgegate investigative committee: "We have no plans to disband"

Weinberg on Christie call to "wrap up" state Bridgegate investigative committee: "We have no plans to disband"

TRENTON - State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37) sat in the front row of Gov. Chris Christie's news conference on Thursday where he said that the state Select Committee on Investigation examining the Bridgegate scandal should disband. Weinberg's response to the governor was equally upfront.

"[Christie] didn't say anything that he hasn't voiced before. If I were him, I'd want it wrapped up, too," said Weinberg, the co-chair of the committee. 

During his news conference, Christie specifically pointed to the eight months that the committee has investigated the scandal stemming from the September 2013 access lanes closures at the George Washington Bridge, saying that the committee's work has "found absolutely nothing." 

But Weinberg indicated that the volume of information involved, as well as the concurrent federal Bridgegate investigation, has made the process painstaking.

"There are a lot of documents to review, and there are key people that we are not calling because we've been respectful of the U.S. Attorney's Office," Weinberg said. "But have we found out a lot? Yes. We have no plans to disband." 

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Sources: intensified talks around legislative committee examining Bridgegate spark backroom interpretations

Sources: intensified talks around legislative committee examining Bridgegate spark backroom interpretations

TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie’s that’s-a-wrap call today to the Select Committee on Investigation (SCI) examining Bridgegate laid bare those underground arguments in the halls and chambers of the Statehouse about how lawmakers should proceed.

"Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg is the co-chair of the committee and, as I have said in the past, I will rely on her leadership and the work of the committee to determine when the SCI's investigation is over - not on the governor's opinion," said Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) (pictured).

But even as Christie denounced the SCI and urged an end, sources say Sweeney’s very recent inquiries into the committee’s actions have lawmakers and others close to the investigation questioning the senate president’s commitment at this point.

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Former Hoboken mayor caught in anti-corruption sting disbarred

Former Hoboken mayor caught in anti-corruption sting disbarred

HOBOKEN - Peter Cammarano, the former Hoboken mayor caught in a statewide federal anti-corruption sting, was officially disbarred on Wednesday in a unanimous state Supreme Court ruling.

"An elected official who sells his office -- who offers favored treatment to a private developer in exchange for money -- betrays a solemn public trust," wrote Justice Barry Albin in his ruling. "This form of corruption is corrosive to our democracy and undermines public confidence in honest government, and its rippling pernicious effects are incalculable."

Cammarano was arrested as part of a wide-ranging anti-corruption sting, known as Operation Bid Rig, on July 23, 2009, only 22 days after being sworn in as Hoboken's mayor. He resigned his office at the end of that month. Cammarano plead guilty in 2010 to accepting $25,000 in corrupt payments from real-estate developer Solomon Dwek, an FBI informant who was a key figure in the sting. 

The former Mile Square City mayor sat down with Dwek several times at the Malibu Diner in Hoboken in the spring and summer of 2009. Cammarano, then facing off against Dawn Zimmer in a Hoboken mayor's race, agreed to back Dwek’s ostensible real-estate deals in exchange for campaign funds. Zimmer would ultimately succeed Cammarano. 

The anti-corruption effort that netted Cammarano, led by then-U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, boosted Christie's successful 2009 gubernatorial campaign. 

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Christie and Cuomo announce Homeland Security and State Police leaders

Christie and Cuomo announce Homeland Security and State Police leaders

TRENTON - Governor Chris Christie and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that they have directed their state’s respective Homeland Security Advisors and State Police Superintendents to immediately lead a bi-state review of current safety and security procedures. In light of the heightening of terrorist activity and increased tensions between America and terrorist networks, Governors Cuomo and Christie said they are "acting immediately" with steps to ensure that proper, effective, and coordinated protocols are in place and all appropriate law enforcement entities are proactively prepared for potential threats to the New York-New Jersey region.

The states will coordinate with the United States Departments of Homeland Security and Justice, the FBI, the New York Police Department, and  the Port Authority.

The review follows a meeting with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, local, state and federal security and law enforcement officials convened by the governors last week, and will demand and encourage engagement and cooperation with top officials from local, state and federal law enforcement and public safety offices to continue to keep the region’s public safety paramount.

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Fulop: Anti-recidivism effort issue could play statewide in N.J.

Fulop: Anti-recidivism effort issue could play statewide in N.J.

JERSEY CITY - Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop maintained that one of his key policy initiatives could cross over New Jersey's urban and suburban political divide in a statewide race.

"Reentry is a bipartisan issue," Fulop told PolitickerNJ on Monday after a crowd of more than 200 people watched federal and state politicos converge for the opening of Martin’s Place, Jersey City’s new prisoner reentry center, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive in Jersey City. "We had four governors, a U.S. Senator [Bob Menendez (D-NJ)], and [U.S. House of Representatives Minority] Leader Nancy Pelosi (D - CA - 12) here. This highlights the fact that this issue touched on all sides of the political spectrum. This is a good day for prisoner reentry models around the country."

Among the four governors present was current Gov. Chris Christie, who mentioned in his remarks that his administration could provide "cover" for other politicians seeking to promote prisoner reentry programs as an anti-recidivism measure in New Jersey.

When asked by the press about Christie's remarks, Fulop did not feel that Christie, a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, had inferred in his comments that only the GOP could take the lead on the issue.

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Chicago teachers union leader and mayoral hopeful comes to Newark to learn from Mayor Baraka

Chicago teachers union leader and mayoral hopeful comes to Newark to learn from Mayor Baraka

NEWARK - Chicago Teachers Union president and potential mayoral candidate Karen Lewis came to Newark on Friday for a series of meetings and seminars. But as she prepares for a possible run against incumbent Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the most important meeting in the days ahead is with one particular man: Newark Mayor Ras Baraka.

"I want to talk to [Baraka] about his progress - his move from the education sphere into the political sphere, and how he's managed that," said Lewis, a reference to Baraka's former job as principal of Newark's Central High School before he was sworn in as mayor in July. 

There are some considerable parallels between the careers of Lewis and Baraka. 

Lewis was the fiery leader of the Chicago teachers union during the 2012 teachers' strike, and she vocally opposed the closure of about 50 schools in mostly poor, minority neighborhoods of Chicago in 2013. 

Baraka was elected with strong public sector union support and on a wave of discontent emanating from the announcement of the One Newark school reorganization plan in December, six months before the May mayoral election  in Newark. 

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At birthday fundraiser, Christie, Romney present united Republican front

At birthday fundraiser, Christie, Romney present united Republican front

EAST BRUNSWICK - At a birthday bash fundraiser on Wednesday night, Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, verbally embraced New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the man who could be the 2016 presidential nominee.

"What a great job your governor is doing for Republican governors across the country," Romney said about Christie, who turned 52 years old on Sept. 6. "I am proud to be on the stage with a man who knows what to do. This is a guy who cares about the people of this great state. It's not always easy, but this is a guy who fights for what he believes in." 

Romney's praise for Christie came in the context of early presidential politicking. In his capacity as Republican Governors Association chairman, Christie has been barnstorming around America in recent months, raising funds for candidates in competitive gubernatorial races as well as raising his national profile. Recent polls have shown Christie among the leaders or at the top of the anticipated 2016 GOP field, including in the critical state of New Hampshire. 

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Newark NAACP head: One Newark school plan sign of "racist mentality"

Newark NAACP head: One Newark school plan sign of "racist mentality"

NEWARK -  On the sideline of a student protest against the leadership of Newark School Superintendent Cami Anderson on Tuesday, the leader of the Newark chapter of one of America's most prominent civil rights organizations put race on the front line of the debate over the future of Newark's schools.

"Right now in the Newark public schools, we are being bombarded with a racist mentality that says we know what's best for you, and you can't think about what is best for yourself. The idea of self-determination has been eradicated and cloaked in the word 'choice,'" Deborah Smith-Gregory, president of the Newark branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), told PolitickerNJ. "This kind of behavior would not happen in a white, Asian [or] Indian community. It would not. First of all, it wouldn't even be attempted. But if it was attempted, it wouldn't be tolerated."

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Newark students continue protests against Cami Anderson, One Newark plan, call on Christie for city town hall event

Newark students continue protests against Cami Anderson, One Newark plan, call on Christie for city town hall event

NEWARK - More than 150 Newark public high school students left class on Tuesday morning and converged on Military Park in downtown Newark to teach their ongoing theme: School Superintendent Cami Anderson must go, and local control of the city's schools must be restored.

"We've decided to continue to escalate our protests because Cami Anderson continues to ignore us and ignore our demands," said Newark Student Union President Kristin Towkaniuk, 17, a senior at Newark's Science Park High School, standing amongst students from Arts High School, Science Park High School and Central High School. "We still have four demands. Cami Anderson must go. We want to stop the One Newark plan. We want Governor Chris Christie to host a town hall meeting here in Newark. Most importantly, we want to regain local control of our schools. If we had local control, the situation we are in wouldn't have happened." 

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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...

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

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(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

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