Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing for 11/23/2020:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It’s impossible to do business this way. We don’t even know if we’ll be open next week. They wouldn’t run a campaign day-to-day. How do they expect us to run a business day-to-day with constant changes?” – Restaurant owner and NJ Restaurant and Hospitality Association Chair Marilyn Schlossbach
The statewide COVID-19 count stands at 306,007 cases and 14,949 fatalities (and 1,812 probable fatalities) as of Sunday; the viral transmission rate is 1.35.
The Governor directed flags to half-staff today in honor of Air Force Senior Airman Richard Asey Samaroo, A North Brunswick native who died on active duty in South Korea.
Governor Murphy signed an executive order extending the public health state of emergency for another 30 days; this is his 9th extension since he first publicly declared an emergency on March 9th. He signed an executive order extending certain election-related deadlines.
The NJDOL reported it has blocked nearly $1.2B in fraudulent unemployment claims since the beginning of the pandemic.
Camden County agreed to a $250k settlement over a class-action lawsuit over a $2 convenience fee charge, according to the Courier Post.
Mercer County will hold a public virtual forum on the Moores station Park Quarry Master Plan.
A Somerset County Sheriff’s Office died while on duty, according to MyCentralJersey.
Rep. Pascrell filed letters with the legal bars in several states seeking the disbarment of Rudy Guiliani and 22 lawyers representing President Trump.
NJDOL distributed $1.3B in FEMA benefits; state’s unemployment rate increased to 8.5% in October; NJEA expressed concern about in-person instruction; Murphy implored residents to keep Thanksgiving small after he limited gathering capacities; Sunday one-day case increase record; workers filed 378 complaints alleging COVID workplace violations; 15% drop in new unemployment claims over past week; COVID briefings now 3x week; Murphy giving power to counties, towns; ‘COVID is not done with us by a longshot‘; Murphy responds to facemask critics (iLine post); Grewal self-quarantining; Murphy announced new restrictions on restaurants, sports, says ‘people have been getting sloppy; New Jerseyans take to streets post-election; Murphy announced appointments to Cannabis Regulatory Commission
The Murphy family was accosted at a restaurant (iLine post).
Responding to a question about the criticism of a lack of diversity on the legislative redistricting commission, Governor Murphy on Friday said the Dems’ inclusion of Saily Avelenda as a staffer is a ‘significant step in the right direction’ (iLine post).
Atlantic County Democratic freeholder candidate Celeste Fernandez requested a recount (iLine post). Thelma Witherspoon declared victory in the District 3 freeholder race.
Gloucester County Republicans are requesting recounts in four towns, according to NJ.com.
Former Governor Christie says President Trump’s legal team is a ‘national embarrassment‘, according to Politico NJ.
ICYMI: Kean conceded the race; Sherrill, Becchi trading barbs long after election’s end, Becchi detailing allegations of ballot mishandlings; Murphy approval 62% (iLine post); brewing battle for MCYR chair averted as Mastrangelo withdrew (iLine post); Dunn declared victory, Bucco declared victory after initially trailing; Sweeney, Testa want Cumberland full review of slow ballot counting, a source of consternation that prompted more questions than answers; Lassiter’s NJ Power Couples list; Elected Officials Power List
Governor Murphy signed ‘Daniel’s Law’ on Friday, protecting the home addresses and telephone numbers of judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement from public disclosure. The Governor signed legislation authorizing funding from the Library Construction Bond Act and signed legislation revising training and duties of Junior Firefighter Auxiliary members.
The Senate will operate remotely for the ‘foreseeable future’.
Senate and Assembly GOP leaders called for a special legislative session ahead of Thanksgiving to approve emergency aid to small businesses and non-profits.
Senator Ruiz introduced legislation to use cannabis revenue for impacted communities and create the NJ Community Learning Program.
Clinton Mayor Janice Kovach was elected the President of the NJ League of Municipalities.
Bill Pascrell III joined Betegy LLC as a supervisory board member.
ICYMI: Committees advanced legislation to legalize recreational marijuana use; Lassiter discusses cannabis legalization with Rudder; NJDSC formally announced their members for redistricting, Sumter slammed lack of an AA woman, Rice says Dems leadership ‘wrassling with Trump mentality‘, LUPE ‘profoundly disappointed‘ by lack of Latinx member
Download and read Insider NJ’s 2020 Insider 100: Power publication.
Insider NJ and Latino Spirit combined forces to interview 3 Latina legislators.
In Morris Township, marchers protested additional lockdown measures, with former GOP gubernatorial candidate Steve Rogers saying ‘American patriots are rising’.
In Newark, Mayor Baraka announced new restrictions to combat COVID-19, including a curfew and , and stricter measures than the state’s. Baraka said ‘Newark’s prescription is not the state’s prescription‘. Noting the high positivity rate – including an alarming 41% in the East Ward – Baraka urged residents to abide by the guidelines. Baraka says rent control registration by landlords is at an all-time high.
In Rochelle Park, the BCRO and council candidate Perrin Mosca filed a petition for a recount.
In North Caldwell, the final vote tally shows Democrats ahead (iLine post).
In Neptune City, council candidates Burr, O’Brien, and Sullivan requested a recount.
In Edison, the local Democrats donated turkeys throughout Middlesex County ahead of Thanksgiving.
In Dunellen, the borough will hold its 11th annual Small Business Saturday this weekend.
In Asbury Park, the city is being sued over the death of Hasani Best, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Fair Lawn, Governor Murphy joined the fight to keep the Nabisco plant open, according to the Bergen Record.
In Scotch Plains, Democrats celebrated their victory, according to TAPinto.
In Stratford, the council rehired the mayor’s son three years after paying a settlement to settle a sexual harassment claim against him, according to NJ.com.
In Howell, police won’t enforce COVID-19 holiday gathering limits, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Union City, top Stack ally Mercado was appointed BOE secretary, according to Hudson County View.
In New Brunswick, the council incumbents were certified as re-elected, according to TAPinto.
In Trenton, the council is refusing docket items signed by the ousted law director, according to the Trentonian.
In Harrison, a proposed raise would put the police chief’s salary above $200k, according to the Jersey Journal.
In Paramus, 5 employees tested positive at the veterans home, according to the Bergen Record.
In Barnegat, the high school is going all-remote, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Lawrence, voters ousted two BOE incumbents, according to the Trentonian.
In Mount Laurel, Wawa is seeking approval for a store, according to the Courier Post.
Insider NJ reporter Fred Snowflack writes ‘Murphy Tries to Thread the COVID-19 Needle‘
Insider NJ columnist George Ball writes ‘Race as Reconciliation‘
Insider NJ columnist Alan Joel Steinberg writes ‘The Power of Television: Can Phil Murphy Campaign 2021 Replicate Tom Kean Campaign 1985?‘
Insider NJ columnist Bob Hennelly writes ‘Urban and Abuse and Neglect: NJ’s Pre-existing COVID Condition‘
AROUND THE WEB:
- New Jersey will likely face new restrictions next week as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations trend toward a “brutal” several weeks ahead, Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday. In a pair of morning cable news appearances, Murphy did not elaborate on what residents should expect but said he is still trying to avoid the widespread lockdown measures he ordered in the spring.
Anthony Zurita, NorthJersey.com
- Those throwback blue license plates may be on their way back to a highway near you if two state legislators get their way. State Sen. Kristin Corrado and Assemblyman Kevin Rooney have introduced bills to authorize the Motor Vehicle Commission to sell the “classic” license plates, which first hit New Jersey streets in 1979.
Rhonda Schaffler, NJ Spotlight
- Bankruptcies, store closings and job losses, all part of the retail industry’s decline, have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, Rhonda Schaffler takes a deep dive into the changing trends in retail, including the shift from in-store to online sales and how this will impact your shopping experience from Main Street to the internet.
JD Fogarty, roi-nj.com
- A day after announcing that he has joined the governors of six regional states to reiterate the importance of allowing in-person instruction to continue in some capacity, Gov. Phil Murphy gave more insights into why. Simply put, Murphy believes schools are some of the safest places to be. As of Friday, there have been 56 outbreaks confirmed to be started in schools, linked to 239 positive cases of COVID-19. Camden County has the highest numbers in these two stats, as it has nine confirmed outbreaks, with 54 linked cases.
Bill Spadea, NJ1015
- Here we are. Day 249 of 15 days to stop the spread. What started as a mission to flatten the curve changed when the curve, well, flattened, in April/May. Then it became a goal of minimizing deaths, which also happened as the virus mutated, weakened and most people who got it didn’t even get sick, let alone need hospitalization. Then the politicians and media, desperate for a crisis to manage, changed the goal again making sure healthy, sorry “asymptotic” people, didn’t cause the dreaded “second wave.”
Kevin Coughlin, Morristown Green
- On a weekend that saw a record number of new COVID-19 cases in New Jersey, activists marched from Morris Township to Morristown to protest lockdowns of businesses and schools and demand that Gov. Murphy reopen the economy. “He needs to open up, open up, open up, for everybody in New Jersey,” declared Boonton restaurant owner Mickey Chopra, an immigrant who said his American dream “is about to shatter.”
Bill Spadea, NJ1015
- Gov. Phil Murphy, who has raised our taxes, wrecked our economy by putting a million people out of work, closed our schools and exploded our debt, is running for re-election. The guy who can’t seem to get it right with transportation, education and law enforcement is asking for you to keep him in the office for another four years. Wow.
Krystal Knapp, Planet Princeton
- Students at Princeton University should not be charged for full tuition and fees for the 2020 spring term because classes were moved online and students didn’t get everything they paid for, according to a proposed class-action lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey in Trenton on Nov. 19.
Jayed Rahman, Paterson Times
- Daily new coronavirus cases have been surging in Paterson over the past month. On Friday, municipal officials reported 278 new cases, highest daily figure since the pandemic began. Previous record was set on April 16 with 262 cases, according to records. 355 residents have died from Covid-19 in Paterson since the pandemic began.
John Heinis, Hudson County View
- The City of Union City reported over 500 new COVID-19 cases in the past seven days yesterday, urging residents to take the “very serious spike” seriously.
Charles Fox, Philadelphia Inquirer
- Members of Refuse Fascism traveled in a car caravan from West Philadelphia to Trump National Golf Club in Pine Hill, NJ on Nov. 21, 2020 to lay out mock body bags in protest of President Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. They renamed the course the Trump National Mass Grave.
Brad Wadlow, Bridgewater Courier News
- Like the space shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986, it was one of those days you remember where you were when you heard the news.