Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing: 2/25/2020

Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing

Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing for 2/25/2020:


QUOTE OF THE DAY: I’m always encouraged by a spirit of cooperation between the Governor’s office and the Legislature. However, I remain cautious of increasing any broad-based taxes on an already overburdened state.” – Speaker Coughlin on the eve of Governor Murphy’s budget address


TOP STORY: InsiderNJ’s 2020 African American Power List in Honor of Black History Month


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


Ahead of today’s budget address, a new FDU poll shows Governor Murphy treading water at the halfway mark of his governorship, with his approval rating at 42% and disapproval rating at 36%. His predecessor Chris Christie enjoyed a 54-34% rating at this point in his tenure, while Murphy’s approval is closer to former Gov. Jon Corzine’s (though his disapproval was markedly higher than Murphy’s).


The 2020 census is expected to show New Jersey losing population to more affordable states, according to the Bergen Record.


The NJ Chamber of Commerce will hand out cards reminding Walk to Washington train passengers that no hard alcohol is permitted, according to ROI-NJ.


Seton Hall Law School will host a Gaming Law, Compliance and Integrity Bootcamp on March 9th-11th; among the speakers will be Princeton Public Affairs’ Bill Pascrell III.


Edward Flood, the creator of the state’s first regionalized fire department, passed away, according to the Bergen Record.


ICYMI: Insider NJ’s key pieces; Murphy has kidney tumor;Trump deeply unpopular in NJ; Sweeney, Gottheimer, Oroho announced ‘Rural Enterprise Zones’ plan; Murphy conducted prez straw poll at town hall, says ‘let chips fall where they may‘; Weinberg cautioned against ‘rush to endorse‘ Bloomberg


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


In CD2, President Trump tweeted a birthday message to GOP Rep. Van Drew: ‘Jeff Van Drew is a Courageous Leader that left the Do Nothing Democrats to better serve the Great people of New Jersey’. Democratic primary candidate Brigid Harrison was endorsed by Ironworkers Local 351.


In CD3, independent candidate Martin Weber announced his candidacy, with a focus on reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs. Ocean County GOP Vice Chair Lanuto endorsed GOP primary candidate Kate Gibbs. Rep. Kim was endorsed by UNITE HERE!.


In CD5, Rep. Gottheimer announced Reverend Gregory Jackson as vice-chair of his re-election campaign.


In CD11, former CD3 Rep. MacArthur endorsed GOP candidate Rosemary Becchi, calling her a ‘strong, independent force in New Jersey for years’. Insider Elections rated the district ‘solid Democratic’, according to; Becchi said ‘clearly Inside Elections hasn’t been in the 11th District in a while’.


In LD25, Senate candidate Cliff Dawkins was endorsed by civil rights attorney Portia Kyle-Allen.


Senator Menendez blasted Senator Sanders over the presidential candidate’s comments that ‘its unfair to simply say everything is bad’ about Fidel Castro’s Cubam regime, according to Hudson County View.


ICYMI: In CD7, Kean addressed Young Republicans; DeGise supports Menendez open primary call, Currie says idea has merit; in CD2, all eyes on Atlantic County in Dem primary; Christie, Murphy encounter at Rutgers game; Essex’s Luciano’s future uncertain; Malinowski officially kicked off in Morris


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


Speaker Coughlin said he looks forward to the budget address, but that he ‘remains cautious‘ on any broad-based tax increases, referencing the potential of an agreement between Senate President Sweeney and Governor Murphy on a millionaire’s tax in exchange for a pension payment.


Speaker Coughlin held a ceremonial vote to commemorate the anniversary of the state’s ratification of the 19th Amendment.


The NJ State Future of Work Task Force launched a digital public engagement campaign.


NJBIA released their 2020 Business Climate Analysis, finding that the state remains the worst in the region.


ICYMI: Sweeney proposed NJ Transit funding plan; Murphy announced legislation to overhaul the state’s anti-harassment laws; Brennan’s policy reform recommendations; NJ Legislative Black Caucus hosted gala


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


Read Insider NJ’s 2020 African American Power List in honor of Black History Month.


Join Insider NJ at our 2nd ‘Inside The Beltway’ reception in Washington DC this Thursday.


The Philadelphia Inquirer takes a look at Mike Bloomberg’s presidential campaign efforts in New Jersey.


Visit the Insider 100 Publications page, the Events Calendar, the Press Release page, and check out the Insider NJ Video Gallery and Insider NJ Podcast page.


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


In Montclair, mayoral candidate Sean Spiller announced his slate of running mates for council seats. Spiller is vying for the mayoralty to succeed Mayor Jackson, who isn’t seeking re-election; Councilwoman Baskerville is running as well.


In Newark, a former police officer was found guilty of conspiring to defraud the Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation and other charges.


In Paterson, Council President Davila’s measure barring speakers at council meetings from yielding their time passed the council, according to Paterson Times. Council members settled a long-running dispute over the appointments process, according to Paterson Times.


In Hamilton, the town paid $18k for former Mayor Yaede’s legal defense in the failed sewer lawsuit against Robbinsville, according to the Trentonian.


In Atlantic City, the council is considering returning to holding two meetings a month, according to the Press of Atlantic City.


In Rockaway, a judge denied Councilman Tucker’s request for reconsideration in his lawsuit against the council, according to the Daily Record.


In Pleasantville, a state’s attorney argued that Doris Rowell’s BOE election challenge has no basis to proceed, according to the Press of Atlantic City.


In Summit, Susan Hairston and Marjorie Fox launched their council re-election bids, according to TAPinto.


In Flemington, the town won a court appeal in the Courthouse Square redevelopment case, according to MyCentralJersey.


In Mount Olive, a resolution to declare the town a 2nd Amendment sanctuary was defeated, according to NJ Hills.


In Tenafly, a former worker is suing the town, alleging a vendetta, according to the Bergen Record.


In Sussex Borough, former Mayor Little passed away, according to NJ Herald.


In Hackensak, Zisa and Calabrese are locked in a property battle, according to the Bergen Record.


In Holmdel, the text of the election lawsuit was released, according to TAPinto.


ICYMI: In Atlantic City, Callaway sits down with Insider NJ; in JC, Fulop threw down gauntlet over BOE proposal; in Plainfield, Mapp supports Bloomberg; in Westwood, Birkner endorsed Buttigieg; in AC, Dems challenging ballot proposal to change form of government, Mayor Small’s Insider NJ Interview, Thomas-Fields looks to make history


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


In a guest column on Insider NJ, Atlantic County GOP Chairman Keith Davis writes ‘GOP Efforts in Atlantic County Offer a Blueprint for Success


Insider NJ reporter Fred Snowflack writes ‘A Misplaced Sense of NJ Dem Establishment Sanders Agony


Insider NJ columnist Matthew Hale writes ‘A View from The Middle… Media Bias‘ and ‘A View from the Middle: The Mouse and Trade-offs


Insider NJ columnist Bob Hennelly writes ‘Mayor Mike Did Not Disclose His Taxes. I Have The Tape.‘ and ‘Bloomberg Strategy And Primary Calendar Puts African American Voters In The Driver’s Seat


Insider NJ columnist Alan Joel Steinberg writes ‘Get Well, Governor Phil. You’re in the Political Catbird Seat for 2020 – and 2021‘ and ‘The Las Vegas Night of The Glass Jaw of Michael Bloomberg, the Political Floyd Patterson


Insider NJ columnist Jay Lassiter writes ‘Tuesday Political Potpourri: ‘Insulin is too Expensive’ Edition‘ and ‘Weinberg’s Panel is Already Working





Will the third time be the charm for Murphy’s millionaire’s tax?

Michael Aron, NJTV


  • For the past two years, Gov. Phil Murphy has proposed hiking the tax on income over $1 million, and for the past two years Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin have blocked it. Murphy’s already signaled that he’s going to call for it a third time in his upcoming budget address, so this time Sweeney has proposed a way to make a deal.


Democrats want revenge on Jeff Van Drew in New Jersey. First, they have to pick a candidate.

Pranshu Verma, Philadelphia Inquirer


  • Six New Jersey Democrats piled into a Teamsters hall here last week to make the case for why they should be the one to take on their party’s longtime standard bearer turned archenemy. On the surface, there wasn’t much tension among the candidates vying for the Democratic nomination to challenge Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who defected to the Republican Party last year after opposing President Donald Trump’s impeachment.


Here’s what will happen while Gov. Phil Murphy is out for surgery and when he’ll be back

Ashley Balcerzak,


  • Gov. Phil Murphy plans to undergo surgery March 4 to remove what is likely a cancerous tumor from his kidney, and his advisers say he aims to be back in public life in a little over a week after that. Murphy told his staff he will be as “active and as public as possible” until the day before his surgery, chief of staff George Helmy said Monday.


‘The Wire’ Actor Michael K. Williams Puts Star Power Behind Prisoner Reentry Initiative

Mark J. Bonamo, TAPinto Newark


  • When Michael K. Williams played the legendary character of Omar Little on the well-known TV show “The Wire,” Omar had a famous line: “You come at the king, you best not miss.”


Camden striving: Part 1, recounting the city’s redevelopment history

Daniel J. Munoz,


  • Over the last seven years, state and local officials spent a good deal of time and taxpayer dollars on efforts to turn around the City of Camden using the tools provided in the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013. The act was designed to bring private sector resources to bear on the problem of reviving the city. Previous efforts were driven primarily by government. Starting in the 1980s and into the next decade under then-Gov. James Florio, local and state officials set their sights on redeveloping the marina along the Delaware River, with limited success.


Trump drug czar speaks during law enforcement conference in Atlantic City

Molly Bilinski, Press of Atlantic City


  • In the 30 days prior to Sunday morning, New Jersey saw 600 overdoses and 86 drug-related fatalities, James W. Carroll said Monday afternoon to a room full of hundreds of law enforcement officers.


Paul McCartney takes day trip to Metuchen and it’s all right

Cheryl Makin, Courier News and Home News Tribune


  • I read the news today …oh boy. Apparently, a day in the life of Sir Paul McCartney includes taking a stroll through Central Jersey. On Sunday, the former Beatle was spotted just standing there in front of the Buttery Bake Shoppe on Main Street by borough resident John Manzo, who snapped a quick photograph.


Shopping and shooting hoops: Lakewood police want to be closer to the community

Gustavo Martínez Contreras, Asbury Park Press


  • Men and women with their children scurry through the busy aisles of Gourmet Glatt looking to finish some last-minute shopping hours before Shabbos candle-lighting. In the middle of that orchestrated chaos, half a dozen officers from the Lakewood Police Department stand around a table, where they’re handing out candy, flyers, stickers and, however briefly, their handcuffs.


Democrats run everything in Trenton but can’t get anything done | Stile

Charles Stile, NorthJersey


  • Nothing NJ Transit’s president said Friday could lift the scowl from Steve Sweeney, the Senate president, hosting another hearing into the troubled rail and bus service. Kevin Corbett came armed with a predictable and lengthy recitation of his progress in reviving an agency that’s been trundling toward Third World status. But Sweeney was having none of it.


A big pension payment, more money for schools. What to expect from Murphy’s 3rd budget.

Samantha Marcus, NJ Advance Media for


  • Gov. Phil Murphy, so far unsuccessful but undeterred in his persistent campaign to raise taxes on New Jersey’s well-to-do, will unveil his third state budget Tuesday, with renewed hope to make good on his progressive vision.


Camden striving: Kicking off an in-depth look at the city’s past, present & future

Daniel J. Munoz,


  • “This city is on to something.” President Barack Obama said that of Camden nearly five years ago. Speaking in the city, at the time often considered the poorest in the state and one with the highest rates of crime nationwide, Obama called Camden “a symbol of promise for the nation.” His May 2015 address in the city centered on the improvements which he said were apparent on issues like public safety and K-12 education. The city had, after all, disbanded and then completely revamped its policing services just two years earlier.


Sweeney Floats NJT Funding Plan with Constitutional Twist — New Amendments to Protect the Cash

John Mooney, NJ Spotlight


  • New Jersey Transit would get $500 million in dedicated annual revenue from the state to bolster its overburdened operating budget under a plan proposed by Senate President Steve Sweeney. A large share of the funding for Sweeney’s plan would come from top-earning businesses. They’d continue to fork over a surtax initially established by lawmakers and Gov. Phil Murphy two years ago on a temporary basis.


The Mount Laurel Doctrine and Wayne’s Affordable Housing Obligation

Jon “Ferris” Meredith, TAPinto Wayne


  • Understanding Wayne’s affordable housing obligation goes back to a landmark New Jersey Supreme Court (NJSC) decision from 1975 in the case of Southern Burlington County NAACP vs Township of Mount Laurel. The ruling, now called the Mount Laurel Doctrine, declared that municipalities must use their zoning powers in such a way as to provide affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents.


Forest fire roars in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Worthington State Forest

Associated Press


  • Firefighters from federal and New Jersey agencies were battling a forest fire overnight in Hardwick Township that broke out in a popular hiking area near the Pennsylvania border.


After Bridgewater school bus crash, petition launched to lower speed limit on Washington Valley Road

Mike Deak, Courier News and Home News Tribune


  • It was the last straw. On Thursday afternoon, three people were hurt, one seriously, in an accident involving a school bus and two cars at the intersection of Washington Valley Road and Blossom Drive, not far from Hamilton School. There were no children on the bus.
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