Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing: 7/13/2020

Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing

Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing for 7/13/2020:


QUOTE OF THE DAY: I didn’t anticipate the level of anxiety that’s built up over three months of closure. ” – NJMVC Commissioner Sue Fulton


TOP STORY: Pallotta Tries to Shore up Sussex County


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


Follow Insider NJ’s COVID-19 Information Update Center and Insider NJ’s County COVID-19 Data Center.


The statewide COVID-19 count stands at 175,298 cases and 13,594 fatalities as of Sunday.


The NJDOL expanded virtual services for its One-Step Career Centers.


The NJSIAA announced the official start of fall high school sports will be pushed back by one month.


New Jersey colleges face a difficult balancing act with fall reopening plans, according to Politico NJ.


All five NJ Catholic dioceses applied for COVID-19 loans, according to


Camden County distributed free fans to senior citizens.


An Essex County detective was charged with allegedly lying to internal affairs regarding an investigation into his installation of a GPS device on a suspect’s car without otaining a warrant.


Monmouth County Freeholder Arnone slammed the proposal to change the title of ‘freeholder’ as ‘mind-blowing’, saying during the pandemic its ‘not the time for grandstanding’. The county was awarded a $125k LEAP Challenge grant.


Ocean County released data on the impact of COVID-19 on residents. County non-profits can apply for COVID-19 grants until July 17th.


Somerset County Freeholder Robinson said the ‘freeholder’ title change proposal is ‘long overdue‘. The county’s drive-through COVID-19 test location will be open on Thursday.


Rep. Norcross introduced a resolution to designate July 10th as Journeyman Linemen Recognition Day.


Rep. Pascrell announced $7k in COVID-19 emergency funding to fire departments in Rutherford and Leonia.


The Problem Solvers Caucus, co-chaired by Rep. Gottheimer, endorsed the ‘Great American Outdoors Act’.


Centenary University announced three new members of its Board of Trustees.


ICYMI: Murphy fired back at critics: ‘lets cut that crap out’; MVC announced furlough exemption and other measures; UE claims jumped 70%; outdoor face coverings mandatory; certain dining allowed to reopen; Murphy says primary ‘worked very well‘; Murphy sounded alarm bell transmission rate rise; front office/DOH drama; Murphy on Meet The Press: there should be a national mask requirement; Murphy extended SOE, increased outdoor capacity; Murphy pressed on dining postponement; Murphy: ‘knucklehead behavior here at home compels us to hit pause’; schools will resume for in-person learning


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


Rik Mehta has won the GOP Senate primary to take on Senator Booker in the fall general election, according to AP. Rival Hirsh Singh won’t concede yet, tweeting over the weekend that ‘we don’t know how many voted’ and ‘must wait until July 23rd’.


In CD3, Senator Singleton endorsed Rep. Kim. The Professional Firefighters of NJ endorsed Kim.


In CD5, GOP nominee Frank Pallotta unofficially won Sussex County by 4,300 votes in the primary, while losing home-county Bergen by 1,200.


Warren County freeholder candidate Lori Ciesla has a strong lead in the GOP primary, according to Lehigh Valley Live.


Warren County Committeeman Victor Sordillo was tapped to advise a PAC supporting President Trump’s re-election, according to NJ Hills.


In Atlantic County, 1200 VBMs were misread by a scanner, according to the Press of Atlantic City.


Ocean County freeholders reached a decision on a re-appointment after a rare public dispute, according to the Asbury Park Press.


ICYMI: Cumberland seesaws again (iLine post); in CD11, Sherrill v. Becchi; GOP Senate primary, Mehta leading the other candidates, Mehta addressed supporters; in CD2, Sweeney congratulates Kennedy on primary victory; Murphy offered warning to Van Drew; in CD3, Richter touted win in acrimonious primary battle in which he defeated Gibbs; in CD4, Murphy mourned Applefield; in CD5, Pallotta declared victory (iLine post); voters, poll workers wore masks; Hamm’s campaign self-assessment; in CD4, Schmid momentum carries her to victory; in CD8, Sires fended off Oseguera (iLine post) amid late-game intrigue; in CD11, Becchi secured GOP nomination; Morris’ Baranski conceded to Amaro; Levinsky leaving BCT (iLine post); Moench supports Howes’ candidacy; Aron ‘semi-retiring’


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


Governor Murphy, Senate President Sweeney, and Speaker Coughlin announced an agreement on the proposal to allow the state to borrow up to nearly $10B to address the financial crisis caused by COVID-19. Senate GOP Budget Committee members slammed the agreement, with Senator Oroho calling it ‘wacko on steroids’. Senator O’Scanlon ripped the agreement as unconstitutional. The NJGOP announced that they will file a lawsuit to halt the proposal from going forward. The NJBIA expressed concern with the proposal, saying it ‘stops short of necessary limits’. The ‘For The Many’ coalition applauded the agreement.


The Senate Law and Public Safety Committee will hold a hearing on police reform on Wednesday.


Senator Weinberg says that fixing NJ Transit requires changes at the top, according to the Asbury Park Press.


Senator Singer called for indoor dining to be allowed over the past weekend in light of Tropical Storm Faye.


Assemblymen Bergen and Johnson introduced legislation to improve police training.


Assemblyman Scharfenberger criticized the proposal to change the title of ‘freeholder’.


NJ Policy Perspective added three new members to its Board of Trustees.


ICYMI: Task Force third and final report; leaders voiced support for ‘freeholder’ title change; Sadovy appointed BPU COS, succeeding Power; court dismissed Norcross appeal; Singleton’s new gig (iLine post); Persichilli offered to resign; Rice wants inclusive use of parks; Murphy took action on bills; Murphy signed Chapter 78 overhaul legislation; Murphy announced Repollet departure; Weinberg group held hearing on sexual abuse in prisons; Murphy signed budget extension; Murphy vetoed bills; Leg. approved Chapter 78 relief


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


Follow Insider NJ’s iLine feature, a real-time blog that will give you continuous updates from around the state.


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Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


In Ocean Grove, the town is asking Governor Murphy to waive the worship restrictions, saying they aren’t like the ‘wilder beach towns’, according to the Asbury Park Press.


In Fanwood, audio recordings allegedly capture the police chief making racists remarks about AG Grewal, according to MyCentralJersey.


In Holmdel, Flynn and Buontempo battle for second place in the GOP committee primary, according to TAPinto.


In Perth Amboy, the city was awarded $945k in port security grants.


In Manasquan, COVID-19 cases have led to the suspension of recreation programs, according to the Asbury Park Press.


In Edgewater, the body of an unidentified woman was found along the Hudson River shoreline, according to the Bergen Record.


In Teaneck, an agreement with Holy Name Hospital calls for an addition and a payment to the town, according to the Bergen Record.


In Hoboken, Police Chief Ferrante says the council’s changes to his contract are ‘politically motivated’, according to the Jersey Journal.


In Evesham, the wife of a police officer is suing the town over an alleged illegal license plate check, according to the Burlington County Times.


In Englewood Cliffs, the mayor is suing the council, according to the Bergen Record.


In Toms River, the town ordered a curfew for minors in beach areas, according to the Asbury Park Press.


In Bedminster, the shared court with Bernards Township is delayed, according to NJ Hills.


In Barnegat, Mayor Novak defended the new design for town hall, according to TAPinto.


In Hamilton, Liam Gonzalez was appointed to the BOE, according to the Trentonian.


In East Brunswick, GOP mayoral candidate Jesal Amin called for an increased role of the township emergency director.


In Belmar, Councilman Brennan will face GOP candidate Kinney and independent Bussafucco in the fall general election, according to TAPinto.


In Paterson, Mayor Sayegh will swear-in police officers at a ceremony today.


In Toms River, the town cancelled its Halloween parade, according to the Asbury Park Press.


In Sparta, former Mayor Hertzberg is running for council, according to TAPinto.


In Montclair, the town will close two downtown streets for businesses, according to


In Park Ridge, the town wants the special master removed from the affordable housing case, according to the Bergen Record.


In North Brunswick, the town extended the due date for skyrocketing water bills, according to MyCentralJersey.


In Cherry Hill, the zoning board reached a split decision over a parking lot controversy, according to the Courier Post.


ICYMI: In Perth Amboy, Joe Vas Jr. formally announced mayoral candidacy; in Highland Park, family and friends laid to rest the late Councilwoman Welkovits; in Lambertville, two Fahl allies fall (iLine post); in Trenton, Columbus statute will be taken down; in Paterson, tense swearing-in; in East Hanover, Italian-Americans rallied in support of Columbus statue


Insider NJ's Morning Intelligence Briefing


Insider NJ columnist Bob Hennelly writes ‘Dropping the Freeholder Title Even as We Continue to Codify Pay Discrimination for Farmworkers


Insider NJ columnist Jay Lassiter writes ‘NJ Primary Election Day (More) Winners and Losers!


Insider NJ columnist Alan Joel Steinberg writes ‘Amy Kennedy Vanquishes Norcross/Harrison – And Next Will Rout Trump/Van Drew


Insider NJ columnist Carl Golden writes ‘The Twelve 2021 Labors of Doug Steinhardt




What’s in a name? A lively political fight featuring a Kennedy and a Democrat-turned Republican | Mulshine

Paul Mulshine, Star-Ledger


  • A couple days after Jeff Van Drew’s primary victory last week, I left a message on his Voicemail: “Have you considered changing your name to Kennedy?”


To protect our elections from Census fiasco, amend the state Constitution | Moran

Tom Moran, Star-Ledger


  • Democrats control everything in Trenton, and one reason is that the political map is tilted in their favor. In the 2013 election for Assembly, a particularly lopsided year, Republicans won 54 percent of the vote, but got only 40 percent of the seats.


Primary over, here are the big story lines for N.J. elections this fall. Yes, Trump. And weed.

Jonathan D. Salant and Brent Johnson, NJ Advance Media for


  • With the coronavirus pandemic still roiling the state, New Jersey’s delayed, mostly mail-in primary is over — and it set the stage for what promises to be one lively fall election season.


A behind the scenes look at vote counting in New Jersey

Michael Hill, NJTV


  • The vote tabulators are running overtime at the Union County Board of Elections days after New Jerseyans carried out the governor’s executive order for the July 7 primary election and voted mostly by mail because of the pandemic. NJTV News got a behind-the-scenes look at election commissioners making decisions on questionable ballots.


‘It feels like the only place you can be normal:’ COVID-19 changed everything, but the beach remains the same

CJ Fairfield, Press of Atlantic City


  • Kids dug into the wet sand searching for sand crabs, while a few others went over to Joe, the ice cream man, to get a sweet treat to cool down. A woman sat in her chair by the water reading a book. A small group of teenagers spread its towels out and checked its phones. It looked like any other day at the beach. It was as if COVID-19 didn’t exist.


Ditching Freeholder Title Gesture Certainly Not Reform

Charles Stile,


  • The ‘freeholder’ nameplates in county office buildings will soon be dumped in the dustbin of history — but the move is just a gesture.


Lesson from NJ’s first mostly vote-by-mail primary election: There’s work to do

Michelle Brunetti Post, Press of Atlantic City


  • The state’s first mostly vote-by-mail primary election is over, but the counting continues, and officials and politicos are warning the state has a lot of work to do before it can handle a vote-by-mail presidential election.


60 years ago, these South Jersey Black leaders fought for change. They see the same fight taking place now.

Zac Spencer, For The Press


  • George Floyd’s death in police custody May 25 set off protests across the country and state. Three senior voices in South Jersey’s Black community spoke to The Press of Atlantic City about what progress, if any, has been made in the past 60 years regarding equality and where the Black Lives Matter protests fit into the legacy of local advocacy.


Police officers ‘choked’ Jameek Lowery in ambulance, alleges family’s wrongful death lawsuit

Jayed Rahman, Paterson Times


  • Jameek Lowery, the man who died after begging for help at the Paterson police headquarters last year, was allegedly “choked” by police officers inside an ambulance en route to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, according to a lawsuit. Shaquana D. Duncan, mother of Lowery’s young child, filed the lawsuit on Wednesday. Her suit says police officers dragged Lowery out of the Frank X. Graves Public Safety Complex, handcuffed his both arms to the stretcher and strapped his waist and legs down to get him inside the ambulance.


Being Black in America is a never-ending protest. This was how I experienced racism in school

Shaylah Brown,


  • “No justice, no peace! No justice, no peace! No justice, no peace!” The chant rang out along Genesee Avenue and Lafayette Place in Englewood as hundreds rallied for social change. Just days after George Floyd was killed, I found myself covering Englewood’s protest of systemic racial inequality. I felt a myriad of emotions: anger, sadness, and a sense of pride. Hours, days, and nights after I finished reporting the words, the repetitive beat still echoed in my head.


Organization Backed Democrats Vanquish Challengers

Al Sullivan,


  • Although the results of the Democratic Primary election will not be fully known for another two weeks, incumbents backed by the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) in Hudson County appear to be well on their way to facing their GOP opponents in November.


We asked NJ MVC 11 burning questions about reopening. Here’s what they said

Katie Sobko,


  • After nearly four months of shuttered agencies, Motor Vehicle Commission offices reopened this week to customers camping out and lines being capped before noon. The frustration felt by residents trying to complete their transactions was posted on social media and shared by state officials.


Health experts weigh in on Murphy’s outdoor mask crackdown. Is it really effective?

Jeremy Schneider, NJ Advance Media For


  • Gov. Phil Murphy has been adamant about the importance of wearing masks during the coronavirus pandemic, to the point of mandating Wednesday they be worn outdoors nearly at all times.


Morristown officials refer questions about Amani Kildea to Morris prosecutor

Morristown Green


  • Joint statement from Mayor Tim Dougherty, the Town Council, and the administration of the Town of Morristown, regarding the death of Amani Kildea.


Liberty State Farce? Jersey City residents outraged after community Zoom call has only 3 voices

John Heinis, Hudson County View


  • While over 200 Jersey City residents dialed into a Zoom call yesterday to have a conversation about the future of Liberty State Park, several are expressing outrage after only three voices were heard on the call – which started late and ended early.


Sires talks primary election, why he won’t host a town hall, & importance of the HEROES Act

John Heinis, Hudson County View


  • U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) discussed his thoughts on Tuesday’s primary election, why he won’t host a town hall, and the importance of the HEROES Act during an interview with HCV.


DOT stopped Water Gap scenic byway process

Bruce A. Scruton, NJ Herald


  • The state Department of Transportation pulled its support for the Delaware Water Gap Scenic Byway project in Sussex and Warren counties just days after the final supporting resolution was to be passed.


Hanover gets new mayor, new redevelopment plan for Pine Plaza

William Westhoven, Morristown Daily Record


  • The Hanover Township Committee overcame a variety of challenges Thursday to complete a busy agenda that began with selecting its first new mayor in a decade. Minutes after the committee appointed Deputy Mayor John Ferramosca to replace Ron Francioli, it passed a landmark resolution adopting a long-awaited redevelopment plan for Pine Plaza shopping center on Route 10.


‘Why don’t you go back to Africa’: Milltown mom faces racism fight

Suzanne Russell, Bridgewater Courier News


  • Katty Velez looks forward to the day when there will be zero tolerance for racism in the community where she and her family have lived for the last 15 years. That’s why Velez, a local businesswoman, will be participating in Saturday’s “We Are One March on Main Street – Giving Voice to the Voiceless, Demanding Justice for the Oppressed,” which starts at 11 a.m. at the David B. Crabiel Park in North Brunswick. Velez said the march, which will include a moment of silence, is a Milltown event, even though it starts in North Brunswick.


Lawsuit: Company fired construction supervisor from Hamburg over emotional-support dog

Richard Cowen,


  • The project superintendent who oversaw early stage construction of the $40 million library expansion at Ramapo College has sued his former employer, claiming he has a mental illness but was not allowed to bring his emotional support dog to the job site.


Kean pushing Murphy to release more CARES Act money to small businesses

Tom Bergeron,


  • For months, Gov. Phil Murphy has been asking the Legislature to pass a bill allowing him to borrow at least $5 billion to provide more money for the state’s expenses. On Thursday, two Republican party leaders made a counterproposal: Free more of the money the state received in the CARES Act for small businesses. Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield) said Murphy is holding too much of the money to potentially fill budget gaps, rather than give more of it to small business.


“Freeholder” controversy is an expensive much ado about nothing | Cericola

Katie Cericola


  • When I ran for Bergen County Freeholder last year. There were many obstacles in running: raising money, building name recognition, and convincing people a 25 year old could be entrusted to represent nearly a million people with a half a billion dollar budget. However, the greatest obstacle was explaining to people just exactly what a Freeholder is. This conversation was one that I had many times on the campaign trail. In all those conversations, never did anyone suggest, imply or state that somehow that the term “Freeholder” was racist or sexist.


Chinese app emerges as popular–and controversial–tool for U.S. protesters

Emily Sebiri, Morristown Green


  • One of the newest and most popular tools used by activists is coming under increasing scrutiny by government agencies and watchdog groups, who cite concerns about privacy and national security because of its ties to China. The United States is considering banning TikTok, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News this week. People should only download the app “if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party,” Pompeo said.


Does Murphy’s order to wear a mask make any difference or sense?

Dennis Malloy, NJ1015


  • Wednesday, Gov. Phil Murphy announced that wearing masks in public will be mandatory if you can’t maintain social distance. Where would that apply exactly? At the beach or on the boardwalk? He said it won’t apply if you’re alone or with family. How will they know that you’re not all family or roommates living together? So you’re with friends and walking down the street or boardwalk, and a cop is going to stop you and issue you a warning or a summons? I don’t think so. People are doing 95 mph routinely on the highways and not getting pulled over.


New COVID-19 Concern for NJ Schools: Will Teachers Return to Classrooms?

John Mooney, NJ Spotlight


  • A great deal has been said about reopening New Jersey schools in the fall while ensuring that children remain healthy and safe. But worries are also surfacing about what going back will mean for teachers — and even whether enough of them will be willing to return to the classroom.
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  • Sha H

    Murphy celebrates “a full week of declining numbers” then says “status quo of lockdown will remain until new cases and fatalities decrease.” So, which of Murphy’s statements is accurate? He said 2 opposite things in a single paragraph of speaking.

  • Sha H

    That is what happens in practicality when they are “suspending their disbelief” (HR Clinton) in real numbers and going on predictive models to make decisions. And then after doing that, they vote with “feelings.”

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