Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing for 6/3/2020:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The notion of using tear gas or smoke devices or rubber bullets on peaceful protesters in exchange for a photo op is disgraceful.” – Governor Phil Murphy
The statewide COVID-19 count stands at 161,545 cases and 11,770 fatalities as of Tuesday. Governor Murphy and state officials held their daily COVID-19 briefing, during which the Governor defended his Adminstration’s handling of the COVID-19 situation in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, pushing back against critics. He refused to address the anonymous letter from NJDOH staffers that criticized the Administration’s response, saying ‘we don’t spend time in response to anything anonymous’. The Governor responded to the use of rubber bullets directed at protestors near the White House while President Trump staged a photo op, calling it ‘disgraceful’.
Governor Murphy and AG Grewal announced the continuation of progress as well as new measures towards strengthening community-police trust in the wake of the George Floyd killing and subsequent protests.
A Monmouth University poll finds that a majority of Americans feel that the anger about black deaths at the hands of police is fully jusitifed, even if they don’t feel the same about the actual actions.
Mercer County topped over 1M PPE items distributed.
Middlesex County is introducing a Small Business Grant program.
Senator Booker delivered a floor speech on the need for comprehensive police reform.
‘A Game Above’ named PPAG’s Bill Pascrell III, a gaming expert, as its president.
The NJ Foundation on Aging released their June episode of Aging Insights focusing on the risks of senior gambling.
ICYMI: state will enter ‘Stage 2’ of reopening, Murphy expressed support for protests; 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.
A one-time robust ally of Chris Christie went down in a primary defeat last night (iLine post).
Following the Sunday night destruction in Trenton, former Senator Torricelli and Watson Coleman COS James Gee jousted on Facebook (iLine post).
In CD2, Democratic primary candidate Amy Kennedy released her LGBTQ policy and was endorsed by Equality PAC. Candidate Brigid Harrision was endorsed by CD8 Rep. Sires and gave a speech at the NAACP Gloucester County’s candlelight vigil on Monday night.
In CD5, Democratic primary candidate Arati Kreibich called for debates with incumbent Rep. Gottheimer and issued an internal polling memo showing a competitive primary race.
Cumberland County Freeholder Surrency and his runningmates were endorsed by the South Jersey Progressive Democrats.
GOP Senate primary candidate Rik Mehta was endorsed by the Hunterdon County GOP.
The Somerset County Democratic LGBT Caucus encouraged towns to celebrate Pride Month.
The Black Conservative Federation launched the bipartisan Millennial Alliance.
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)
The NJFMBA came out in support of the COVID-19 Emergency Bond Act, with President Donnelly saying the borrowing plan is better than public safety cuts.
Senate Republicans urged Senate President Sweeney to issue preservation letters to the NJDOH for materials to be reviewed by the Senate Review and Recovery Committee.
Senator Pennacchio urged the federal government to take control of the state’s long-term care facilities.
Senators O’Scanlon and Testa introduced legislation to appropriate $100M in federal grant money for small business assistance.
Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle and Assemblyman Benson and Verrelli introduced legislation to address the needs of seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
The ACLU-NJ released a statement saying that curfews threaten rights and encourage discriminatory enforcement.
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
The roots of the Palatucci-Sette rivalry amid the battle for the GOP national committeeman seat.
The confluence of politics and players could catapult LD1 Senator Testa faster than most thought.
In Paterson, activists peacefully rallied yesterday seeking justice not only George Floyd, but Jameek Lowery, who died in Paterson police custody last year (iLine post).
In Burlington City, people protested peacefully against the George Floyd murder, according to Burlington County Times.
In Hawthorne, youth rallied to protest the killing of George Floyd, according to TAPinto.
In Asbury Park, a protest drew thousands, according to NJ101.5.
In Berlin, several groups will hold a Black Lives Matter march on Friday.
In Paterson, the city is seeing its worst shooting spike in five years, according to Paterson Press. The city is facing $11M in retirement pay for cops and firefighters, according to the Paterson Press.
In Bloomfield, the Family Service League announced its office relocation.
In Bridgewater, the Center for Excellence awaits final approval on Friday, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Elizabeth, Zen Leaf’s medical marijuana dispensary opened this past weekend.
In Watchung, a thrift store was ordered to close after reopening, according to NJ Hills.
In Bernards, the township approved a shared municipal court, according to NJ Hills.
In Nutley, Mayor Tucci wants to establish two new committees, according to TAPinto.
In Holmdel, the budgets will lead to an average $170 tax increase, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Bernards Township, systems are returning after a hack, according to NJ Hills.
In South Orange, the Board of Trustees moved forward with the civil service layoff process, according to TAPinto.
In Ogdensberg, the BOE is set to approve a new schools chief contract, according to NJ Herald.
In Trenton, violence erupted following protest; in Newark, first phase of reopening; in Paterson, Mendez unofficially won recount (iLine post); 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/Sayegh
Insider NJ Editor Max Pizarro writes ‘President Trump, I Neither Beseech Nor Implore‘
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‘
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, Bruce Lowry writes ‘In Paterson, a Lesson in how not to Hold a City Election‘
AROUND THE WEB:
Stephanie Noda, NorthJersey.com
- The Police Department and school board are investigating “racially and sexually offensive” social media posts that were circulated online by Paramus students. “The messages in these social media postings were clearly hurtful,” Superintendent Michelle Robinson said in a statement on the school district’s website. “As educators, we must use this incident as an opportunity to help our students grow and better understand their responsibility to respect the dignity and the rights of all individuals.”
Briana Vannozzi, NJTV
- The city of Newark is all too familiar with civil unrest. Roughly 50 years after deadly riots over race and police brutality broke out the issue still haunts the community. But as protestors took to the streets this week, many were met with a show of police solidarity, and demonstrators expressing emotion and frustration without destruction.
Marc Bussanich, Hudson County View
- The Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition Movement got a huge turnout, easily over a 1,000 people, at a rally against police brutality hosted at City Hall this afternoon.
Corey McDonald, Hudson County View
- The Bayonne Board of Education passed a resolution condemning, as well as distancing the other trustees, from Trustee Michael Alonso’s comments about George Floyd protests this weekend – with some calling for his immediate resignation.
Molly Bilinski, Press of Atlantic City
- State officials are launching a program in Atlantic City, Millville, Trenton and Paterson to study the feasibility of a statewide crisis intervention program, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Tuesday.
Jean Mikle, Asbury Park Press
- Township police joined with about 200 protesters here this morning to demand justice for the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. About 200 people marched from the parking lot of the Toms River Shopping Center, heading south on Main Street and then east on Washington Street, where they gathered in front of the Ocean County courthouse. They were joined by Freeholder Jack Kelly.
Bob Makin, Bridgewater Courier News
- More than half of about 500 participants in a peaceful Black Lives Matter march Tuesday afternoon at Crossroads North Middle School in the Monmouth Junction of the township were white, co-organizer Tormel Pittman said.
Suzanne Russell, Bridgewater Courier News
- A township police dispatcher has resigned following his alleged posting of controversial comments under a protest photo on social media. An investigation determined Marc Repace, a civilian dispatcher with the Woodbridge Police Department, had made a controversial post on Facebook and he was immediately suspended on Sunday, John Hagerty, Woodbridge public information officer said.
From Staff Reports
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and New Jersey Division of Law announced a proposed settlement with the Somerset Raritan Valley Sewerage Authority (SRVSA), which would resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act and state permitting requirements associated with sewage sludge incineration at SRVSA’s wastewater facility in the township.
John Van Vliet, TAPinto Hawthorne
- Marvin Gaye was playing as a small gathering of young people waved signs in support of Black Lives Matter at the corner of Central Avenue and Lafayette Avenue. Kevin W. Bergen, 21, of Hawthorne, said he had arrived at about 9:30 a.m. Others who joined him were Jessica Sanford, 20, Skyler Russo-Wilson, 20, and Kayla Gurriell, 19, all from Hawthorne. “The message I’m trying to get out is calling out your own communities,” Bergen said.
Jessie Gomez, Morristown Daily Record
- The death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has sparked protests and revitalized a national conversation about relations between police and the communities they serve.
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.
Sergio Bichao, NJ1015
- The FBI has charged a South Plainfield man with trying to set a Trenton police vehicle on fire during unrest that unfolded Sunday evening after a demonstration against police violence. Justin Spry, 21, is facing two federal charges of attempting to damage the police vehicle by fire, facing five to 20 years in prison if found guilty.
George Woolston, Burlington County Times
- A Willingboro High School senior organized hundreds to march through the streets of the township Tuesday in a peaceful protest of the death of George Floyd.
David Levinsky, Burlington County Times
- “The president in this case was a freaking idiot. Complete disregard for what the American people are watching and what they’re feeling. It was wrong on any level,” Rep. Donald Norcross, D-1 of Camden, said Tuesday during a Facebook Live town hall meeting.
Teri West, The Jersey Journal
- Hoboken sidewalks and streets could look a lot more like Paris in a couple weeks with diners enjoying their meals in new outdoor dining areas.
Colleen O’Dea, NJ Spotlight
- While residents may want reassurances they’ll be safe as state reopens, health officials say reporting how many individuals have recovered from the disease is difficult.
Tom Moran, Star-Ledger
- Martin Luther King Jr. once said that the arc of the “moral universe” bends slowly, but that it bends towards justice. No doubt he’s right when one steps back to look at race in America over the last century. But get up close, focus on recent years, and it’s tough to see much progress.
Paul Mulshine, Star-Ledger
- One of life’s great mysteries is the question of why it is so much easier to acquire and consume beer in the Southern states than here in New Jersey.
Jerry Carino, Asbury Park Press
- At 9:40 p.m. Monday, Asbury Park Press reporter Gustavo Martínez Contreras filmed an extraordinary moment as police and protestors took a knee together during a rally for George Floyd in Asbury Park. Thirty minutes later, Martinez Contreras was being loaded into a police van, detained for doing his job (see the above video). This is happening all over the country and it’s bad for democracy. Real bad.
Dustin Racioppi, Trenton Bureau
- New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli’s “failures” to heed the advice of public health experts led to “preventable deaths” at nursing homes and Gov. Phil Murphy is “making things up” with no transparency about reopening in the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of health officials said in a letter to lawmakers Monday.
Daniel J. Munoz, NJBIZ.com
- While unemployment remains at a record high, New Jersey just recorded its lowest number of new jobless claims since mid-March, as the COVID-19 pandemic tapers off and restrictions on businesses are slowly lifted. Data from the U.S. Department of Labor show that 33,290 New Jerseyans filed for unemployment in the week ending May 23. Nearly 1.2 million state residents have been laid off or furloughed since mid-March when a host of restrictions were put in place on which businesses could stay open, in order to curb the spread of the virus.
Vincent Jackson, Press of Atlantic City
- Several government agencies are scrutinizing their contracts with a South Jersey attorney and his law firm after he pleaded guilty to federal tax evasion charges. Douglas M. Long, of Upper Deerfield Township, pleaded guilty April 21 to evading more than $250,000 in taxes. His sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 11.
Joe Malinconico, Paterson Press
- The city’s assistant economic development director, Osner Charles, said on his resume that he worked for Prestige Development Partners from 2016 to 2020, but state business records show the company wasn’t formed until 2018.
Erin Vogt, NJ1015
- A Monday late afternoon protest drew a large crowd to Asbury Park, where chants of “Enough is enough,” “George Floyd” and “No Justice, no peace,” punctuated the hours-long event. Update: Hours after the organized demonstration ended, several people, including an Asbury Park Press reporter were arrested. One grassroots organization, Our Revolution Monmouth County NJ, gave an estimate that about 4,000 people turned out for the protest to demand justice for George Floyd and an end to police brutality.
Louis C. Hochman, NJ1015
- Police arrested an Asbury Park Press reporter covering protests in the city Monday night. The newspaper identified the reporter as Gustavo Martínez Contreras. He’d been live-streaming the aftermath of a rally Monday night via Twitter. In the video, police are seen ordering crowds to go home after the city entered an 8 p.m. curfew. Several protesters are seen being arrested before the video ends as well. Martínez Contreras tweeted that protesters had been told twice to go home since 9:30, but “some say they’re going nowhere.” The city’s curfew order specifically exempts credentialed members of the media.
Shore News Network
- Organized rallies have been scheduled for Toms River on Tuesday, June 2nd and Lakewood on June 6th. The event is being hosted by Black Lives Matter.“We have received information about possible protests and/or gatherings in Toms River on Tuesday June 2nd. We are preparing for potential gatherings and to handle any situation that may arise. It is our priority to maintain the safety of our entire community while allowing a peaceful demonstration,” the Toms River Police Department wrote. “Over the years we have built an amazing relationship with our community. We stand with you together.”
John Heinis, Hudson County View
- Bayonne resident Peter Franco is condemning Board of Education Trustee Michael Alonso following his “insensitive and incendiary” remarks about George Floyd protests, also stating that he’s cutting ties from recent projects.