Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing for 6/2/2020:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I don’t want to make light of this and I’ll probably get lit up by everybody who owns a nail salon in the state, but it’s one thing to protest what day nail salons are opening and it’s another to come out in peaceful protest overwhelmingly about somebody who was murdered right before our eyes.” – Governor Phil Murphy
The statewide COVID-19 count stands at 160,918 cases and 11,721 fatalities as of Monday. Governor Murphy and state officials held their daily COVID-19 briefing, where the Governor announced that the state will enter ‘Stage 2’ of his reopening roadmap on June 15th. This includes outdoor seating for restaurants, indoor non-essential retail; barber shops and salons can reopen on June 22nd. The relaxation of restrictions still requires social distancing, face coverings, and other safeguarding measures. The Governor addressed the protests surrounding the killing of George Floyd, expressing his support for ‘peaceful protesting’. The Governor made the point that rallying against racism is more important than the protests against his pandemic-related shutdown orders, saying ‘I’ll probably get lit up by everybody who owns a nail salon in the state’.
Several anonymous NJDOH staffers sent a letter to Senate leaders calling the state’s response to COVID-19 in nursing homes an ‘unmitigated disaster’ that led to ‘preventable deaths’, according to NJ.com; they also alleged that the Murphy Administration is ‘making things up as they proceed’ and called for the resignation of Commissioner Persichilli.
Camden County’s VA Medical Center will hold a virtual town hall today.
Shots were fired at or near Sussex County Sheriff Strada’s home, according to NJ Herald.
Monmouth County Freeholder Arnone and Assemblyman Scharfenberger called for immediate and real guidance on reopening businesses.
Rep. Pascrell recognized the beginning of Pride Month.
Kean University professors and students are questioning the elimination of the music conservatory, according to MyCentralJersey.
ICYMI: Murphy allows resuming child care services; short-term rental assistance program; weekly update of enforcement; Murphy: ‘George Floyd should be alive today‘, Callahan made strong case for community policing, Grewal says state ‘would never tolerate the police practices that resulted in Mr. Floyd’s death’; state getting close to the ‘stage 2’ phase; NJDOL processed 1.1M UE certifications in past week; toll increase schedules; Warren, Sussex, Hunterdon want regional re-openings; Murphy defends toll hikes, says he’s ‘rabid believer in face coverings as a game changer‘; outdoor graduations allowed; Murphy proposing significant budget cuts, ‘we are in unprecedented territory‘ said Muoio; Murphy signed an executive order allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 25; Persichilli says ‘this is not a time to blame anyone‘
Follow Insider NJ’s iLine feature, a real-time blog that will give you continuous updates from around the state.
In CD2, Democratic primary candidate Amy Kennedy was endorsed by the South Jersey Progressive Democrats.
In CD3, GOP primary candidate Kate Gibbs slammed rival David Richter in a new TV ad (iLine post).
In CD4, Democratic primary candidate Stephanie Schmid announced a series of virtual town halls.
John Sette sent a letter to NJGOP committee members urging them to support his campaign to supplant Bill Palatucci as national committeeman (iLine post).
GOP Senate primary candidate Hirsh Singh wants Governor Murphy to ‘dominate’ the streets with the National Guard (iLine post).
PBA Local 231 endorsed Cumberland County Freeholder Surrency and his running mates.
In LD25, Democratic Senate candidate Rupande Mehta transitioned her campaign towards community support initiatives during the COVID-19 crisis.
ICYMI: GOP Senate candidates spoke at rally; Gottheimer staffer plead guilty to unauthorized use of cong. seal; Rotondi accusations against Palmieri, who denies, has sparked a hard collision among Dem women; Hedges won’t run for Congress after all; Essex extends Norcross contract (iLine post); in CD8, Oseguera looks to replicate AOC victory; Cornel West endorsed Hamm; LD1 Dem names in game (iLine post)
State offices closed early yesterday (iLine post).
Senator O’Scanlon and Assemblywoman DiMaso expressed distress over the anonymous NJDOH staffers’ letter to legislative leadership alleging COVID-19 mismangement. The two criticized Governor Murphy’s decision to allow restaurants to reopen with outdoor seating on June 15th, days after neighboring states.
Senator Pennacchio introduced a resolution urging federal action to assist small business tenants and landlords.
Assemblywoman Pinkin expressed support for the NJDEP’s strengthening of drinking water standards.
The NJBIA testified in support of the COVID-19 Emergency Bond Act.
1199SEIU called for swift passage of the bond act.
The NJ Health Care Quality Institute released a toolkit aimed at increasing access to reprodutive services.
ICYMI: Colligan supports Bond Act; Murphy took action on legislation; Muoio testified before Asm. Budget; Wimberly mourned death of Floyd, Rice says Chauvin ‘deserves gas chamber‘; Senate GOP sent a letter Murphy calling for more action; Pennacchio defended appearance at rally following Robinson criticism; Gopal applauded removal of Judge Russo; Senate will establish special committee to investigate COVID-19 handling; SJ legislators urge Murphy to issue specific timetable for reopening
Forged in part by the 1967 Newark riots, Larry Hamm has spent a lifetime as a nonviolent activist (iLine post).
The confluence of politics and players could catapult LD1 Senator Testa faster than most thought.
In Trenton, the city adjusted its curfew to 7pm to 6am (iLine post). Police Director Coley says she’s ‘completely outraged‘ as violence erupted in the city following a peaceful protest in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing, according to the Trentonian.
In Camden, police and protesters peacefully marched together in protest of the Floyd killing, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
In Atlantic City, Mayor Small reported that of the 17 arrests of looters on Sunday night, only 6 were from the city (iLine post).
In Jersey City, activists and officials came together to peacefully protest George Floyd’s murder, according to Hudson County View.
In Haddonfield, protesters marched peacefully, according to the Courier Post.
In Newark, Mayor Baraka announced the first phase of reopening the city. The United Way is partnering with Code for America to provide free digital tax filing services for low to moderate income taxpayers.
In Paterson, Alex Mendez unofficially won the Ward 3 recount (iLine post). Mayor Sayegh reported the latest COVID-19 compliance actions. The city is borrowing $25M to address COVID-19 shortfalls, according to Paterson Times.
In Hamilton, Mayor Martin thanked first responders for their efforts to keep the township safe amid the violence that erupted in neighboring Trenton on Sunday.
In Bayonne, a BOE member is facing calls for resignation following social media posts on George Floyd’s murder, according to Hudson County View.
In Montclair, Police Chief Conforti released a statement assuring residents of the police department’s commitment to embracing community-style policing.
In Plainfield, the proposed budget has no tax increase, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Bergenfield, the town is partnering with Table to Table to bring fresh produce to residents financially impacted by COVID-19.
In Flemington, the council approved the 2020 budget, according to TAPinto.
In Clinton Township, the former top cop filed a whistleblower lawsuit alleging deliberate illegal conduct, according to NJ Hills.
ICYMI: In Trenton, Gusciora’s late-night press conference; in Newark, rally in solidarity w/ Minneapolis protests; in Morristown, people peacefully rallied; in Paterson, Sayegh’s political pickle (iLine post); in Belleville, Mattia won’t challenge Ward 1 resuts (iLine post); in AC, Small kicks off campaign (iLine post); in Bellmawr, Atilis Gyms files lawsuit against Murphy (iLine post); in Newark, Baraka issued comprehensive requirements for biz reopening; in AC, Rice backing Small while Tucker endorsed Thomas-Fields; in Paterson, intra-city rivalry of Best and Sayegh
Insider NJ reporter Fred Snowflack writes ‘‘How the Sausage is Made’ Integral to Information Flow in Democracy‘
Insider NJ columnist Bob Hennelly writes ‘‘Let Them Breathe’: Veto of Small Biz Eviction Stay will Hit Communities of Color Hardest‘
Insider NJ columnist Carl Golden writes ‘NJ Budget Winks and Nods Must be Replaced Right Now by Leadership‘
In a guest column on Insider NJ, Assemblywoman Stanfield writes ‘Our Black Community has Withstood Trauma for too Long‘
Insider NJ columnist Mary Gatta writes ‘Managing COVID Anxiety and Stress As We Re-Open: A Q&A with a Psychologist‘
In a guest column on Insider NJ, Senator Nia Gill writes ‘Rape Is Not a Penalty for Any Crime: The Department of Corrections Must Be Held Accountable‘
In a guest column on Insider NJ, Bruce Lowry writes ‘In Paterson, a Lesson in how not to Hold a City Election‘
In a guest column on Insider NJ, NJEA President Marie Blistan writes ‘Borrow? Yes. But We can Borrow Less‘
Insider NJ columnist Jay Lassiter writes ‘NJ’s (Pending) Corporate Cannabis Catastrophe‘
AROUND THE WEB:
Matt Friedman, Politico
- Republicans in a crucial New Jersey swing district have a choice in the July primary: pick a millennial woman with organized labor ties or a middle-aged man with connections to President Donald Trump’s campaign.
John Reitmeyer, NJ Spotlight
- Emergency-borrowing legislation that Gov. Phil Murphy wants lawmakers to enact so the state can deal with revenue losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic is scheduled to get its first committee review in the Assembly on Monday. The emergency-borrowing proposal is also expected to be a topic of debate as Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio appears before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee to discuss her department’s recent moves to rebalance spending in the wake of the pandemic.
Jeffrey Kanige, njbiz.com
- Like most businesses, the practice of law changed dramatically in March as the state largely shut down to slow the spread of COVID-19. Perhaps the most visible manifestation is video oral arguments held by the state Supreme Court. But the legal industry also changed, out of necessity. It’s a business built largely on relationships – and the pandemic forced lawyers to nurture those relationships remotely.
David Levinsky, Burlington County Times
- About a half dozen residents and environmental advocates sounded off on the pipeline project during Wednesday’s freeholder meeting, the first since it was revealed the utility company had received the go-ahead from the county engineer to proceed with construction within the county’s borders.
New Jersey Hills
- Some school districts in Morris County face reductions in proposed state aid ranging from 10.6 percent to 3.4 percent after Gov. Phil Murphy revised the figures in an effort to close a huge gap in the state budget resulting from efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic. In February, he had proposed a total increase of about $336 million in state aid to schools.
Esther Davidowitz, NorthJersey.com
- Tahesha Way has a serious and important job: She is the Garden State’s Secretary of State, whose primary responsibility, she informed, is to oversee elections. That may seem like a long way from and not at all connected to one of her major passions: food. “Yes, my husband and I are foodies,” said Way, whose husband, Charles “Get out of the” Way, is a former New York Giants fullback. “My husband,” she noted, “can eat.”
Erin Vogt, NJ1015
- After two days of peaceful protests, the city’s downtown saw looting and vandalism late Sunday, in a night of escalation in which at least two police cars were set ablaze. After a march in honor of George Floyd wrapped up Sunday evening, bystanders captured some of the violence, largely along State Street. Floyd’s death under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer — since charged with his murder — set of protests nationwide, outraged at the more than eight minutes the unarmed black man remained pinned down despite being handcuffed and saying he couldn’t breathe. In several major cities, including nearby Philadelphia, protests have turned violent and been accompanied by widespread looting and vandalism.
John Heinis, Hudson County View
- Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla has released a lengthy statement weighing in on the murder of George Floyd, indicating that “there will be more George Floyds in the future” unless actions are taken to address racial disparities.
Jayed Rahman, Paterson Times
- Latisha Williams and her two children were screened for the new coronavirus at the School 28 playground more than two weeks ago. She is still waiting for the three test results. Williams is not alone. Other residents have experienced abnormal delays in receiving their test results, according to several City Council members.
Nick Muscavage, Bridgewater Courier News
- A former city firefighter has lost a lawsuit based on claims of child sexual abuse dating back more than 20 years, and has been ordered to pay $4.75 million as a result. In March 2019, Hugo Fleites was sued by an man claiming that he was raped by the former firefighter beginning in 1997.
Alex Biese, Maddy Lauria, Jim Beckerman, Celeste E. Whittaker and Sean Lahman, Asbury Park Press
- There’s no stopping the spirit of Pride. The global coronavirus pandemic has changed every aspect of life, and the resulting cessation of public gatherings means June’s commemoration of Pride Month will be decidedly different. Organizations across the region are getting creative, hosting celebrations, gatherings and shows as the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community perseveres during a trying time, facing an uncertain future.
David Danzis, Press of Atlantic City
- Less than 12 hours after an otherwise peaceful protest turned destructive and resulted in an untold amount of property damage, volunteers and residents took to the streets Monday morning to pick up the pieces and reclaim their city.
Lisa Broadt, Burlington County Times
- Restaurants can open for outdoor dining in two weeks as part of the state’s transition to the second stage of coronavirus reopening, Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Monday.
Briana Vannozzi, NJTV
- The protests seen over the weekend across the nation are about much more than George Floyd’s death. It comes on the heels of two other high-profile killings of black Americans in recent weeks. Many say the United States is in the midst of a reckoning, while others fear the nation will fail to seize this moment on race and police relations. It all comes as we remain gripped by a pandemic that is disproportionately killing, infecting and disrupting the lives of black Americans.
David Matthau, NJ1015
- With COVID-19 hospitalization rates, daily deaths, and the number of patients in intensive care and on ventilators continuing to decline, Gov. Phil Murphy has announced the Garden State will enter Stage Two of his three-stage New Jersey Restart and Recovery plan beginning June 15. That’s when socially distanced outdoor restaurant dining and indoor, non-essential retail shopping can begin. A week later barber shops and salons will be allowed to reopen followed by what is described as the “gradual opening” of personal care shops, gyms and health clubs at reduced capacities.
Matt Fagan, NorthJersey.com
- A retired Clifton deputy fire chief who posted incendiary comments on Facebook regarding George Floyd protests has done damage to the city, officials said. “If you are out at any of these ‘protest’ you are a scum bag and deserve to get shot,” read a post Monday by Norm Tahan, who retired in 2014 but used a photo of himself in uniform as a profile image.
Marsha A. Stoltz, NorthJersey.com
- Mayor Timothy Shanley raised the rainbow flag celebrating the beginning of Pride Month early Monday, but not without controversy. Shanley said he originally intended to raise the flag alone because the 25-person state limit on group gatherings made it difficult to determine whom to invite and how to control the crowd size.
Krystal Knapp, Planet Princeton
- About a dozen Princeton area students and recent graduates stood in front of Princeton University’s FitzRandolph Gate and the corner of Nassau and Witherspoon Street on Monday afternoon to protest racism and police brutality. The students chanted “black lives matter” as cars passed by, and cheered as drivers honked in solidarity.
Jesenia De Moya Correa, Philadelphia Inquirer
- The group of seven young professionals from South Jersey learned about their common interests on Facebook. They were the sons and daughters of migrant workers, most of whom had worked the fields themselves as children. They shared media reports about the “appreciation caravans” that took place across California’s agricultural communities in late April. Then one had a suggestion: Why not start an effort similar to the West Coast?
Suzanne Russell, Bridgewater Courier News
- Superior Court Judge Thomas C. Miller has been named the new assignment judge to lead the Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren Vicinage starting June 6, Chief Justice Stuart Rabner announced Monday in a release. Miller replaces Assignment Judge Yolanda Ciccone, who is retiring after nearly 29 years on the bench and more than 13 years as assignment judge, the release states.
Phaedra Trethan, Cherry Hill Courier-Post
- Barack Obama visited Camden in 2015 and lauded the Camden County Police Department’s commitment to achieving public safety through community-engaged policing. On Monday, while what began as peaceful protests condemning the death of George Floyd at the knee of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin continued to descend into violence, arson, vandalism and looting, the 44th President once again praised the department for its part in keeping the peace in Camden.
David P. Willis, Asbury Park Press
- The small shops that line the Jersey Shore’s downtowns got the information they were waiting for Monday. After being closed for three months, they can once again open their doors to customers on June 15. Two weeks ago, they were able to sell to customers via their websites or telephone with curbside delivery.