Scott Weiner

Surely Eric Scott will have something to say about this

Jon Corzine has this debate stuff all figured out.   Facing a little bit of pressure to participate in more than the two officially sanctioned debates run by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, Corzine has accepted an invitation to debate Republican Christopher Christie and Independent Christopher Daggett on WBGO FM, a Newark-based jazz radio station.  By accepting the Jazz88 debate, Corzine gets to say he's participating in three debates while eschewing two invitations from stations with a substantially larger audience: the ABC network affiliates in New York and Philadelphia (who have offered to pre-empt Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune so the debate could air from 7-8 PM on a weeknight), and NJ 101.5, the state's largest and most politically influential radio station. 

Corzine also enjoys the comfort of knowing that Jazz88 is run by friendly faces.  Among the members of the station's Board of Trustees are Scott Weiner, a former Florio cabinet member who headed the School Construction Corporation under Corzine;  Oliver Quinn, who was one of Corzine's appointees to the University of Medicine and Dentistry Board of Directors (and a public supporter of reality TV star Randal Pinkett for Lt. Governor); former Hillside Mayor Samuel McGhee, the Executive Director of the Joint Meeting of Essex & Union Counties; Diane Hill, the Rutgers-Newark community relations director and a former aide to Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange); Mindy Cohen, who is a co-owner of Evergreen Partners along with Democratic fundraiser Karen Kessler; and Cathedral Health Systems Chief Administrative Officer William Vazquez, who works with the state Department of Health and Senior Services on funding issues.

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ELEC picks ex-GOP operative as Executive Director

The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission has named Jeffrey Brindle, an ELEC staffer since 1985, as the new Executive Director.  He will replace Frederick Herrmann, who is retiring after 25 years in office.  He becomes the fifth ELEC Executive Director, following David Norcross, Lewis Thurston, Scott Weiner and Herrmann.

Brindle was active in Republican politics before taking a post at ELEC.  He worked as a political consultant in the 1970's, served as New Brunswick GOP Municipal Chairman, worked on the legislative staffs of State Sen. John Ewing and Assemblymen Walter Kavanaugh and Elliot Smith, and as Deputy Somerset County Clerk.  He was the Republican candidate for State Assembly in the 17th district in 1977, but lost the general election to Democrats David Schwartz and Joseph Patero.  He joined state government after Thomas Kean's election as Governor and was the Communications Director at the Department of Community Affairs from 1982 to 1985.

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Report: Kolluri to head school construction; Dilts will become DOT Commissioner

There is speculation today that state Transportation Commission Kris Kolluri will become the new head of the embattled New Jersey Schools Development Authority (formerly the embattled New Jersey School Construction Corporation), and that Gov. Jon Corzine will name Stephen Dilts, now the Deputy Comissioner of Transportation, to replace Kolluri. Kolluri, viewed as one of Jon Corzine's favorite cabinet members -- and a possible candidate for Lt. Governor next year -- replaces Scott Weiner, who decided to retire after being asked to leave. 

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Correction: Weiner departure was not his own idea

A report last month that Scott Weiner was retiring as head of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority was incorrect, and with apologies to our readers, this website offers a correction: while Weiner said that he was leaving because he thought it was time for the embattled school construction agency to hire a CEO who would commit to long term service, he was effectively fired.  Gov. Jon Corzine, according to sources familiar with the events, asked Weiner to leave.  The former Commissioner of Environemental Protection was allowed to issue a public statement giving the impression that his departure was on good terms.

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Winners & Losers of the Week

This week's Winners & Losers: Click Here

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Schwaneberg for ELEC E.D.?

The announcement today that Dr. Frederick Herrmann will retire after 23 years as Executive Director of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission prompts speculation on his successor.  While Herrmann had built a reputation as a non-partisan enforcer of campaign finance laws, his three predecessors came from political backgrounds – and while the new Executive Director will be named by the four ELEC Commissioners (two Democrats and two Republicans), it’s more likely that Gov. Jon Corzine will influence the process. 

With some senior Star-Ledger reporters being offered buyouts, one possible candidate for Herrmann’s $125,000-a-year job is Robert Schwaneberg, who spent years covering state government, including the Judiciary and ELEC.  Schwaneberg, the husband of New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Helen Hoens, is well-liked by Corzine and by Democratic and Republican leaders.  One front office insider suggested that several soon-to-be former Star-Ledger reporters will find their way into the administration.

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Governor Jon S. Corzine


TRENTON – The Interagency Working Group on School Construction today presented its third report on the state’s school construction program to Governor Jon S. Corzine. The report includes recommendations for a project prioritization methodology as well as $2.5 billion in new funding for Abbott Districts and $750 million in new funding for Regular Operating Districts.

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Governor Jon S. Corzine


TRENTON - Governor Jon S. Corzine today signed an Executive Order creating a new position of oversight of the School Construction Program and a new working group that will oversee a full review of the program and recommend reforms. Corzine also appointed 6 new members to the Schools Construction Corporation (SCC) Board of Directors, including Barry L. Zubrow, who will serve as Chairman, and named Scott Weiner to the new oversight position of Special Counsel.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 1st

Christie makes his pitch on bail reform TRENTON -In a win-win moment for Gov. Chris Christie as he seeks tough guy points ahead of the 2016 GOP presidential primary, both houses of the legislature packed into the assembly chamber and listened as Christie pleaded for a constitutional amendment on...


The health of New Jersey's women is not Chris Christie's priority

By Linda Stender At his most recent town hall, Gov. Chris Christie accused his predecessors of "monkeying with the math" when it comes to their handling of our state's economy. But as the old saying goes, when the governor points a finger, he... Read More >


(7-30-14) Who Is Best Equipped to Decide the Fate of the Common Core? - The latest Christie controversy surrounds his Executive Order to revamp the state’s academic... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »
The Perry-Paul Debate is Healthy for the GOP – and for America  The foreign policy debate in the media between prospective GOP Presidential candidates Texas Governor Rick Perry and... more »
(Washington DC)-- Two recent votes on Capitol Hill suggest an overdue and radical departure from our nation's Draconian and costly War on Drugs.  It's a long-overdue discussion (and not just... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"Potentially, we can get this done, because it's important. We get it. We understand it. But there are issues. There's the speedy trial component. How are we going to pay for this? How is the risk-assessment piece of it going to be done?" - Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32), on bail reform.

- The Asbury Park Press


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