Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing: 5/20/2019

Below is the Insider NJ Morning Intelligence Briefing for 5/20/2019:


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QUOTE OF THE DAY: Bring it on.” – NJ Tax Incentive Task Force counsel Jim Walden on potential lawsuits against the task force by Norcross entities


TOP STORYGolden: A Strategic Error



Camden leaders say Governor Murphy is not welcome in Camden ‘until he stops attacking our city and its progress’. Mayor Moran, Council President Jenkins, and Senator Cruz-Perez released a statement on Friday accusing the Governor of using ‘Trenton attack dogs to try to destroy’ Camden businesses and investment. Their statement follows a Thursday press conference touting Camden’s economic progress. The Governor’s Office brushed aside the statement, saying the task force has ‘never been about one geography or one company or one person’, according to In an interview with the Star-Ledger’s Tom Moran, George Norcross said he’ll ‘go to my grave knowing we did nothing wrong. All we wanted to do is be part of the renaissance of Camden’.


Following the legal fire exchanged last week by Murphy and Norcross attorneys, task force legal counsel Jim Walden said ‘this is a well-worn path and everyone must understand that. If they’re going to file a lawsuit, bring it on. We’re going to defend the governor’s right to appoint a task force and I’m going to be in court vigorously arguing it’, according to


Insider NJ columnist Alan Joel Steinberg appeared on NJTV’s On The Record with Michael Aron over the weekend (watch here).


Garden State Equality applauded the House passage of the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act to include non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; the legislation has also passed the Senate. Rep. Sherrill lauded the bill as a ‘reflection of American values’. Rep. Norcross said the bill is a ‘clear necessity‘. Rep. Kim called the vote a ‘historic step forward in ensuring equality’.


Rep. Kim introduced the Gold Star Families National Monument Extension Act of 2019.


Rep. Sherrill introduced legislation to reauthorize the Family-To-Family Health Information Centers program.


Rep. Pascrell introduced the Protecting America’s First Responders Act.


Rep. Gottheimer gave a floor speech in support of the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program reauthorization.



Insider NJ’s Rewind of the Week: LG Oliver says tax incentives helped Camden compete.


Hunterdon County Democratic Chair and Decotiis Law partner Arlene Quinones Perez was appointed to chair the NJ State Bar Association’s Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee.


LUPE Fund and Latinas In STEM announced a partnership to expand their efforts on Latina education and skills development.



Here’s what’s on tap under the Gold Dome today and here’s what happened in Trenton on Thursday.


Speaker Coughlin released a statement on the US News and World ranking NJ the 12th best state to live in, seven slots above last year’s ranking, saying ‘as we move forward into budget season, I am confident we will build upon our economic successes’.


Alison Accettola was announced as the Senate Democratic Majority’s new counsel, succeeding Fruqan Mouzan; Accettola previously served as associate counsel.


Senator Singleton will partner with Riverview Estates for a monthly community service project.


Assemblywoman Quijano was honored by the NJ State Bar Association’s Diversity Committee with the Mer Narol Award.


Environmental leaders applauded the Governors of NJ, NY, PA, and DE for their commitment to protecting the Delaware River Watershed.


The Sierra Club blasted Governor Murphy’s proposed American Dream monorail, saying his ‘monorail to the mall is off the rails’


The National Association of Social Workers-NJ released a statement in opposition to Alabama’s abortion law.



Diving under the war hood of the Norcross-Murphy feud and the concatenations of 2020 and 2021.


Jon Corzine, the club, and New Jersey’s painful search for its political self amid the Norcross-Murphy badlands.


Take Insider NJ’s Senate and Assembly rules quiz and take the budget quiz on the FY2020 proposal.


Listen to Politically Direct Episode #58 with host Fernando Uribe and guest Anthony Colandro, the NRA’s 79th Director.



More than 130 municipal leaders and experts attended a well-run Municipal Innovation Summit last Saturday, hosted by FDU’s Rothman Institute and Government Strategy Group.


The Somerset County Democratic LGBT Caucus applauded 10 municipalities for honoring Pride Month in June.


In Mount Laurel, Assemblywoman Murphy spoke out against the proposed switch to non-partisan municipal elections, according to the Burlington County Times.


In Newark, Speaker Coughlin, Mayor Baraka, and legislators will hold a roundtable on hunger, gun violence, and homelessness this morning. Over the weekend, environmental groups and unions held a Green Town Hall event.


In Pleasantville, the AC NAACP and several other groups are sponsoring an event tomorrow evening with civil rights icon Sarah Collins Rudolph.


In Elizabeth, Senate Presidents Sweeney and Assemblyman Holley toured the Fedway distribution warehouse.


In North Bergen, Senator Sacco penned a letter in Hudson County View on his re-election, saying he’s ‘humbled and honored’.


In West New York, defeated Mayor Roque filed an order to show cause to request a recount, according to Hudson County View; having said on E-Day that he expected to win 3-1, Roque finished in 6th place.


In Verona, a close council race is separated by just two votes, with a recount likely, according to TAPinto.


In Maplewood, Deputy Mayor McGehee says he’s running again for township committee, according to TAPinto.


In Atlantic Highland, Councilman Fligor hasn’t ruled out running for mayor as an independent, according to MoreMonmouthMusings.


In Paterson, a DPW truck crashed into former Mayor Torres’ car, according to Paterson Press.


In Atlantic City, the council reversed course on a proposal to limit the sale of mini-bottles of wine and liqour, according to the Press of Atlantic City.


In Holmdel, Deputy Mayor Nikolas and several committeemen pushed a vote to suspend the township administrator and human resources director over allegations regarding hiring practices, according to TAPinto.


In Vernon, the BOE will study later start times for the high school, according to NJ Herald.


In Lyndhurst, the town will raise the LGBT pride flag on May 31st.



Insider NJ columnist Carl Golden writes ‘A Strategic Error


In a guest column on Insider NJ, Ed Henderson and William Osborne write ‘‘Path to Progress’ Runs Right Over New Jersey’s Teachers


Insider NJ columnist Jay Lassiter writes ‘Medical Cannabis Legislation to Advance. What’s in the Bill?‘ and ‘Corporate Welfare Melodrama NOT Limited To South Jersey





With his “reeferendum,” Senate President Steve Sweeney leaves Gov. Murphy in the weeds | Mulshine

Paul Mulshine, Star-Ledger


  • It’s comforting to know that the guy who’s running this state knows how to get things done. Phil Murphy? He’s only the governor. Steve Sweeney is the guy who really runs things in Trenton. And as of last week the Senate President was well on his way to solving two heretofore intractable problems in New Jersey.


Norcross subsidy for Cooper Hospital has a bad stink on it | Moran

Tom Moran, Star-Ledger


  • George Norcross, the silver-haired political boss of South Jersey, prefers to operate behind the scenes, using his power through surrogates in the Legislature, a faction that is the largest and most powerful by far. But now, he’s been dragged to the stage under the public spotlight for the first time, as a task force appointed by Gov. Phil Murphy methodically accumulates evidence that two firms he controls may have misused the state’s tax incentive programs to win tax breaks of $126 million.


Pension fights. No legal weed. Twisted Sister? Here’s your primer to crazy time N.J. politics.

Brent Johnson, NJ Advance Media for


  • Rowdy town halls with hair-metal pranks. Arguments over taxes, pensions, and tax breaks. The governor often at odds with the state Senate president. The death of a legal marijuana bill. And yes, a possible state government shutdown. Soon it might be cats and dogs living together.


John Cosgrove Begins His Tenure at Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission

Rebecca Greene, TAPinto Fair Lawn/Glen Rock


  • John Cosgrove, Deputy Mayor of Community Affairs in Fair Lawn, is now a commissioner of the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission. “I want to thank the Governor and Senator Joe Lagana for my nomination. I also would like to thank the Senate Judiciary committee for my confirmation,” Cosgrove said on his Facebook page after being sworn-in on May 16. “I’m looking forward to working with the employees at PVSC along with all the other commissioners to continue to protect the public health and our environment.”


Students rally against controversial Meadowlands power plant project

Tom Nobile, North Jersey Record


  • A marching protest to “Save Our Lungs” by blocking a controversial power plant proposal in the Meadowlands drew hundreds of protesters to Ridgefield High School on Saturday, who sought to press Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration into rescinding permits granted to the project.


Dump foes brace for DEP chief’s Monday visit

Eric Obernauer, New Jersey Herald


  • With the state Department of Environmental Protection’s top official coming here to meet the public Monday evening, a citizens’ group formed to fight illegal dumping is sure to have plenty of questions for her after convening a community forum on the issue Thursday night.


James Garfield DeMarco, colorful Republican boss and cranberry magnate, died Monday

Colt Shaw, Press of Atlantic City


  • James Garfield DeMarco was a giant — in business, in South Jersey politics, and in his personal life. The longtime Burlington County Republican Party boss and cranberry magnate died May 13. He was 80. His family remembers him as a generous man with a huge laugh. Peers recall a man so respected for his political acumen and reach that some called him “God” in his time.


Sweeney v. the mob: The union’s Trumpy playbook | Editorial

Star-Ledger Editorial Board


  • Free speech just got tarred and feathered again at a town hall at Rutgers University. This time, it was by tribalists on the left. And it was just as bad as when we see it on the right, at Trump rallies. Don’t blame the college kids – these were adult public worker union members, shutting down speakers.


Infighting between Murphy and South Jersey Dems intensifies

David Cruz, NJTV


  • It’s an intraparty fight that is just now beginning to attract the public’s attention. But the implications — for the state’s budget, its economy and its business climate, not to mention its politics — are serious. The first-term governor is taking on a long-established south Jersey power broker. That’s the battle at the top. Their proxies are already fully engaged.


Opponents slam Hamilton GOP gadfly over racist, Islamophobic posts

Isaac Avilucea and Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman, The Trentonian


  • People know of him as the township gadfly. But others believe there is a more sinister side of GOP challenger David Henderson that bleeds through his social media posts. One of his opponents has called him David “Duke” Henderson, comparing him to the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. There’s little doubt: Henderson’s Facebook posts contain crude, racist, “Islamophobic,” and “misogynistic” content.


Camden incentives squabbles overshadow RFQ for Riverfront State Prison site

Tom Bergeron,


  • The city of Camden has been bouncing back, but could a new RFQ from the Economic Development Authority fall victim to the battle over incentives for businesses coming to the city?


Atlantic City Council candidates vie for credit at NAACP forum

Michelle Brunetti Post, Press of Atlantic City


  • The NAACP held a primary election forum Thursday night, and even though it was only for candidates in the 1st to 4th wards, 9 candidates participated. All told, 22 people are running for six seats on council. The majority are Democrats challenging Democrat incumbents in the June 4 primary.


Bridgewater grassroots groups team to oppose overdevelopment

Mike Deak, Bridgewater Courier News


  • Five community groups have come together in a coalition tentatively called The Coalition to oppose what they believe is overdevelopment in Bridgewater. Representatives of the community groups – Foothill Civic Association, Preserve Bridgewater, No 18 Homes, Charlotte Drive Defenders and Bridgewater Residents – told the township council on Thursday that they were joining together in an effort to halt, what a statement from No 18 Homes, called “chaotic urbanization of our community, neighborhood by neighborhood.”


N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy: ‘Fairly troubling’ evidence has emerged from tax incentive probe

Andrew Seidman,


  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday said there was “no question” that Camden is on the rise, but questioned whether tax incentives awarded to companies that moved there under his predecessor had benefited the broad community or just “a select few.”


Politicians Could Punt To Voters On How To Put NJ’s Fiscal House In Order

John Reitmeyer, NJ Spotlight


  • New Jersey voters could soon be dragged into an ongoing and increasingly bitter dispute over how best to address the biggest fiscal challenges that continue to dominate the latest state budget discussions in Trenton.


State tries again to redevelop Riverfront State Prison site in North Camden

Jim Walsh, Cherry Hill Courier-Post


  • State officials are trying again to find a new use for a former prison site here. The Economic Development Authority on Friday invited proposals for the purchase and development of a tract that once held Riverfront State Prison in North Camden. The site, which covers almost nine acres near the Delaware River waterfront, was cleared in 2010.


Whistleblower says NJ violated civil rights of psychiatric patients with disabilities

Kim Mulford, Cherry Hill Courier-Post


  • A whistleblower lawsuit claims New Jerseyans with intellectual or developmental disabilities were inappropriately diagnosed with mental illnesses, given psychotropic drugs and forced to stay in state psychiatric hospitals long after they were deemed stable enough to return to the community.


Sweeney, jeered off stage by union members, doesn’t back down: ‘I’m ready for a fight’

Anjalee Khemlani,


  • State Senate President Steve Sweeney, who always proudly introduces himself as an ironworker and union man, lasted approximately 20 minutes on stage at a panel event Thursday night at Rutgers University. The reason: An angry crowd of union workers, who jeered at him and his fellow panelists. Sweeney (D-West Deptford) said he didn’t mind — and that he’s ready for a fight.


Second woman accuses ex-Paterson charter school director Danny Necimo of sexual harassment

Jayed Rahman, Paterson Times


  • A second woman is alleging former Paterson Arts and Science Charter School director Danny Necimo repeatedly sexually harassed her at work, according to a complaint filed in New Jersey Superior Court. The woman, identified in the case as B.B., a former science teacher, accuses Necimo of sexually harassing her on numerous occasions at the Paterson Arts and Science Charter School on Grand Street.


Awaiting DCA review, Hoboken City Council votes down new budget amendment

John Heinis, Hudson County View


  • As the City of Hoboken’s municipal budget remains under review by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, the city council voted down a new budget amendment after marginal discussion Wednesday evening.


Illness fears thwart NJ oyster colonies that would aid water

Wayne Parry, Associated Press


  • The fear of poachers stealing oysters from polluted waters and making consumers sick has long thwarted efforts to grow them in New Jersey and use their natural ability to filter and improve water quality.


Lakewood SCHI founder’s 60-day sentence challenged by prosecutors

Stacey Barchenger, Asbury Park Press


  • Prosecutors who won convictions against the founder of a Lakewood special education school are appealing his sentence of probation and 60 days in jail. The sentence fell far short of the 12-year prison term prosecutors argued Rabbi Osher Eisemann, of the School for Children with Hidden Intelligence, deserved. It also deviated from state statute, which says Eisemann faced a presumptive sentence of five  to 10 years in prison for each of two second-degree convictions for money laundering and misconduct by a corporate official.

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