Trenton is seeing a power struggle between Mayor Reed Gusciora and Council President Kathy McBride.

Gusciora Slams Morelli Ouster: ‘This Council Should Be Ashamed’

Mayor Gusciora slammed the City Council’s firing of Law Director John Morelli, saying the council ‘should be ashamed’ by ‘this hateful, unwarranted, and excessive use of power’:

“We intend to keep John Morelli in place as Law Director until the N.J. Department of Community Affairs makes a decision about his status pursuant to Trenton’s Memorandum of Understanding with the State of New Jersey. John has been an exemplary civil servant and true champion for the City of Trenton. To have his storied career and tireless efforts blemished by this hateful, unwarranted, and excessive use of power is a total disgrace. This is not how people who fight for Trenton should be treated. This Council should be ashamed.

From the Trentonian: ‘Council voted 5-2 to fire John Morelli for cause Thursday night over several alleged failures as city law director, including allegedly “disseminating” executive session information from the Sept. 3 closed-door session.’

The council also overrode Gusciora’s veto of the election date change ordinance, which have moved the nonpartisan elections from May to November, according to the Trentonian.


Murphy and Oliver Running Again

Governor Phil Murphy and Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver are running again in 2021.

This from a letter by First Lady Tammy Murphy to his supporters:

“I am reaching out to let you know that Phil is declaring today his intention to run again in next year’s gubernatorial election.  I do not want you to hear this from anyone other than Phil or me.

“Please know that Phil will continue to focus almost exclusively on the government and ensuring New Jersey is as strong and fair as possible moving forward.  I will serve as Finance Chair of the campaign and will raise the requisite monies as quickly as I can, in order that we both can maintain our focus on the work at hand.  I will reach out personally to you in the coming days by phone but wanted to be sure you heard about this directly from us.”

Murphy and Oliver

Murphy, Oliver In Gear For Re-Election In 2021

Governor Phil Murphy today announced that he will file the necessary paperwork with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission to open a candidate committee account for his 2021 re-election campaign. Filing with ELEC will allow Governor Murphy and Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver to begin fundraising for next year’s election.

“Filing with ELEC is a procedural step that will allow our campaign to legally begin raising money for the 2021 Primary Election,” said Murphy campaign spokesperson Caitlin Mota. “Governor Murphy remains focused on leading New Jersey through the COVID-19 pandemic and building a stronger and fairer economy for every family.”

“At this point, the campaign will consist primarily of a fundraising operation. As we near the most important election of our lifetimes, the Governor is committed to helping elect Joe Biden, elect and reelect our Democratic congressional delegation, and help lead Democrats up and down the ballot to victory on November 3rd.”

The New Jersey Statehouse and Capitol Building In Trenton

Cannabis Advisory Group to balance Commercial Concerns when NJ legalizes Pot

New Jersey voters are poised to legalize recreational cannabis on Election Day Nov 3.

The Cannabis Advisory Group is a new, non-profit organization designed to bridge “the knowledge gap between government and business in regulated cannabis markets.”

Legalized cannabis is probably coming to New Jersey, a state with plenty of cannabis trade associations already in full swing.

Jackie Cornell co-founded the Cannabis Advisory Group. She’s NJ’s former deputy Health Commissioner.

“The intention of CAG is to serve as a cannabis movement ‘think tank,'” Ms Cornell told InsiderNJ. “We aim to be a valuable resource for policy and public awareness through research and education with an expressly regional bent.”

According to a statement, CAG’s first initiatives will be a survey of New Jersey mayors “to gather data and questions on local implementation of cannabis. The findings will help CAG prioritize creation of resources and inform surveys to deploy in additional states.”

Mayor Janice Kovach of Clinton, NJ is incoming president of the New Jersey League of Municipalities.

“Education and engagement at the local level is a critical piece of a robust cannabis market – in New Jersey and in any state,” Ms Kovacs said. “I’m pleased that the Cannabis Advisory Group is partnering with the NJ League of Municipalities to bridge this existing gap and support local officials with the tools we need to make the best decision for our communities.”

New Jersey votes Nov 3. Mail in ballots area already arriving at addresses around NJ. 


Garden State Equality’s Local Endorsements

Today Garden State Equality released their slate of local endorsements. With Election Day 2020 right around the corner, the following state- and local endorsements complement GSE’s Federal endorsements list, released last week.

(See Garden State Equality’s Federal endorsements here.)

Topping today’s slate is Rupande Mehta who’s running for State Senate in District 25 in Morris/Somerset Counties. Ms Mehta’s opponent, incumbent Senator Anthony Bucco, Jr, voted against marriage equality, against conversion therapy ban, and against recent transgender-friendly birth certificate legislation.

Danielle (Danni) Newbury for reelection as 5th Ward City Council member in Rahway, Union County. Danielle is the Chair of the Union County LGBTQ Democratic Caucus, helped led the development of the first county government LGBTQ office and has been recognized by USA Today and The Advocate for her work to advance equality in New Jersey’s LGBTQ.
Amy QuinnYvonne Clayton, and Eileen Chapman for reelection as Asbury Park City (Monmouth) Council members.
Eddie Freeman for Township Council in Marlton, Burlington County
Ed Zipprich for Council in Red Bank, Monmouth County.
Pamela Renee for City Council in Neptune City, Monmouth County,
Biden and Trump

Presidential Debate Commission Exploring ‘Additional Structure’ Measures After Tuesday’s Debate

The Presidential Debate Commission released a statement saying last night’s debates ‘made clear’ that additional structure should be added to debate formats going forward.

“The Commission on Presidential Debates sponsors televised debates for the benefit of the American electorate. Last night’s debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues. The CPD will be carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly. The Commission is grateful to Chris Wallace for the professionalism and skill he brought to last night’s debate and intends to ensure that additional tools to maintain order are in place for the remaining debates.”

The debate was widely panned , with some commentators calling it a ‘train wreck’, ‘shit-show’, and ‘a disgrace’.

The New Jersey Statehouse and Capitol Building In Trenton

State Commission Of Investigation Report: Murphy’s Office Had ‘Close Contact’ On SDA Hiring Spree

From a report by Dustin Racioppi: ‘Gov. Phil Murphy’s office was “in close contact” with the former head of the Schools Development Authority and knew much more about the hiring spree there than was previously known, according to an investigation by a state watchdog agency.’  Read the article here.

Read the Commission’s report below:

Cumberland and Van Drew

Daily Journal: Feds Subpoena Records from Cumberland Improvement Authority

This in this morning from The Daily Journal:

Federal investigators are collecting five years worth of documents from the Cumberland County Improvement Authority and the school district that operates the technical education center.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in early August served grand jury subpoenas on both the Cumberland County Improvement Authority and the Cumberland County Board of Vocational Education.

Sherrill receives her environmental award.

‘Offensive’: Sherrill Goes off on Trump After Tax Story

This certainly amounts to “low hanging fruit” for Democrats – that being the NYT revelation that the president’s annual tax bill of late has been about $750 a year.
Some of the state’s Democratic elected officials were asked about the reports at an unrelated event today in Newark.
Mikie Sherrill, who represents the 11th District in the House, said Trump’s meager tax bill is “offensive to every tax-paying citizen of New Jersey.”
Sherrill saw a contrast, noting that the Trump administration implemented a 2017 tax reform package that capped the deduction for state and local taxes at $10,000. This was a big issue with the Democrats winning four congressional seats from Republicans in 2018, although one of those winners, Jeff Van Drew, has become a Republican.
The Democratic-House passed legislation last year eliminating the cap, but it has stalled in the Senate.
Sen. Cory Booker, mindful that business losses reportedly helped reduce the president’s tax bill, observed, “I guess he’s not such a smart businessman after all.”

Ocean County Driving New COVD-19 Cases

Governor Phil Murphy reported 561 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 204,107.

“The numbers over the weekend were quite high,” Murphy told reporters today at the War Memorial. “The statewide number is being driven by significant cases [242 of the 561, or or 40%] from Ocean County.

Fity-four new cases were in Middlesex and 35 or fewer in the state’s other counties.

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