Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing: 7/22/2019

Below is the Insider NJ Morning Intelligence Briefing for 7/22/2019:



New Jersey’s public schools consistently rank among the top in the nation, yet the educators who help our students achieve their dreams have watched their pay checks go down for the past eight years. The unintended consequences of P.L. 2011, Ch. 78 have devastated the morale and the pocketbooks of public school employees for too long. It’s time for Trenton to #FixTheUnfairness and return respect to our public school employees. Learn more.


QUOTE OF THE DAY: I thought our country was beyond that. This reality is this is a guy who is worse than a racist. He’s actually using racist tropes and racial language for political gain. He’s trying to use this as a weapon to divide our nation against itself.” – Senator Cory Booker on President Trump


TOP STORY: Lassiter: A Tribute to Salena Carroll Lesniak



Governor Murphy directed the lowering of flags tomorrow in honor of the late Justice John Paul Stevens.


Rutgers University President Barchi is preparing to step down next year, according to Politico NJ.


A memorial is planned for the late Hector Figueroa, 32BJ president, on Wednesday.


Senator Menendez toured the southern border, according to


Rep. Smith was one of three GOP House members to vote in favor of increasing the federal minimum wage, according to


Rep. Norcross, Gov. Murphy, and members of the state’s congressional delegation toured the state’s military installations on Friday.


SUEZ announced that recent water tests found that North Jersey drinking water meets the federal standards for lead.


ICYMI: Pascrell calls for Trump impeachment inquiry; Norcross speaks in support of Raise The Wage Act; Gottheimer applauds SALT suit; Murphy signed gun control bill package; Murphy will lead six-day economic mission trip to India; Booker drops to 1.2% in NH



Protesters assembled outside of Trump National Gold Course in Bedminster on Friday, where the President was holding a re-election fundraiser.


In LD21, GOP Assemblyman Bucco pushed back against Democratic challengers Bhimani and Draeger’s call for full school funding, calling it a ‘phony call’ and saying they ‘love their platitudes and vanilla talking points, but when push comes to shove, voters need to know whether or not they support Murphy and the disastrous Democratic school funding formula’.


The NJLGBT Democratic Caucus held a drag queen bingo event, selling 180 tickets and raising $4,500.


The Andrew Goodman Foundation received a $350k grant to support youth civic engagement work.


ICYMI: CD7 candidate Becchi says opponent Kean’s family name could backfire; BCDO formally elected Juliano; in LD38, Hugin headlined GOP fundraiser; Diaz endorses Sanders; Fatima Heyward elected NJYD prez



Governor Murphy took action on over two dozen pieces of legislation on Friday.


Governor Murphy named Marcela Opsina Maziarz as the Acting Commissioner of the NJDHS; Murphy has nominated Judith Persichilli for the permanent post.


Senate President Sweeney and Senator Singer released a statement on their bill to prohibit anti-Semitism in public schools, clarifying its intent and saying that ‘we welcome a constructive dialogue about preserving the rights of free expression as we oppose acts and expressions of hatred and bias’.


Members of the Legislative Black and Latino Caucuses will hold a press conference tomorrow regarding President Trump’s recent comments about Reps. Omar, Pressley, Ocasio-Cortez, and Ilhan.


The NJBIA pointed to Pew Research data that finds NJ is the 49th in the nation for public employee pension fund fiscal health, and called for reducing the overall cost of the system.


ICYMI: Unemployment rate fell to 3.5%; Pennacchio blasted SALT lawsuit; judiciary removed Troiano, announced enhanced training for judges; academics outline key recommendations for redistricting



Read and download Insider NJ’s 2019 Insider 100: Policymakers publication.


Listen to Politically Direct Episode 65 with host Fernando Uribe and guest Old Bridge Councilman Mark Razzoli.


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.



In Spotswood, former Mayor Nick Poliseno passed away at age 41, according to TAPinto.


In Teaneck, a judge dismissed the town’s appeal in the OPRA case, according to the Bergen Record.


In Evesham, the local Democrats released a statement congratulating the mayor and council for introducing their first budget.


In Old Bridge, Democratic Councilman Razzoli said that officials who are tweeting advice on evading ICE are ‘obstructing justice‘, according to SaveJersey.


In Camden, leaders celebrated the 30-year low of the city’s unemployment rate.


In Sea Isle, questions linger regarding the resignations of fire officials, according to the Press of Atlantic City.


In Hoboken, the mayor and council appear to be moving away from a non-binding referendum on e-scooters, according to Hudson County View.


In Jersey City, a laid-off JCETP employee sent a letter to the US Attorney requesting an investigation into financial decisions made by former Acting Director Thomas, according to Hudson County View.


In Trenton, Mayor Gusciora will hold a press conference tomorrow to announce changes to the city’s hiring policy.


ICYMI: In Roxbury and Mount Arlington, the ongoing consolidation effort looks to overcome several obstacles.



Insider NJ columnist Jay Lassiter writes ‘A Tribute to Salena Carroll Lesniak


In a guest column on Insider NJ, Bergen County GOP Chairman Jack Zisa writes ‘Mr. Juliano, Congrats on Taking over an Organization of Treachery and Deceit


In a guest column on Insider NJ, Sean Keagan Foley writes ‘Can Our Democracy Survive Technology?


Insider NJ columnist and ELEC ED Jeffrey Brindle writes ‘Stronger, Healthier Political Parties Could Mean Less Angst For Voters


Insider NJ columnist Robert Hennelly writes ‘Old Norcross Tape Makes New Headlines: In the Age of Trump Even Softball Questions can Come Back to Haunt You





On immigration, Booker is making me nervous | Moran

Tom Moran, Star-Ledger


  • Here’s what Sen. Cory Booker wants to do about immigration: Empty the detention centers, decriminalize border crossings, and offer free health care to the 11 million immigrants living here illegally.


Former Gov. Christie Whitman on Trump and hateful language: ‘How have we fallen this far’

Christine Todd Whitman


  • Last week, our president used his Twitter account to tell four Democratic congresswomen of color to accept the way things are or leave the country. He equated advocating change with hating America, a far cry from the roots of the Republican Party that once fought to end slavery and segregation.


Blaming Trump for U.S. race and religious problems excuses bias, bigotry of millions

LA Parker, The Trentonian


  • An assessment of U.S. race relations and anti-Semitism blames President Donald Trump for deterioration. Trump certainly earned notoriety as racial rabble-rouser although his personal hate-speak for Mexicans, undocumented residents and African Americans, combined with misogynistic mind games hardly makes the president responsible for millions who support his prejudice pitch.


Booker misfires on Vulcan salute as he geeks out at Comic-Con

Jonathan D. Salant, NJ Advance Media for


  • Cory Booker took a break from shaking hands of voters in Iowa and New Hampshire. Instead, the presidential candidate and New Jersey Senator reached out to Vulcans, Klingons and superheroes.


Women athletes, the pay gap, and morons in the Senate

Jeff Edelstein, The Trentonian


  • We all know politicians are morons, but when you actually *know* it – meaning, when it’s not just an opinion, but a rock-solid fact – then it’s time to bang your head into the wall a few times and wonder if a benign dictatorship might not be a better way to go.


Morris County senator asks if the state’s reasons for closing Lake Hopatcong are a little fishy | Mulshine

Paul Mulshine, Star-Ledger


  • We’re in the middle of one of the hottest summer weekends in recent memory yet Lake Hopatcong remains closed to swimmers. What can be done about that?


Campaigning from behind: Lower-tier 2020ers seek comeback

Associated Press


  • As her campaign bus trundled along Interstate 80 toward the Michigan-Ohio border, Kirsten Gillibrand was offering wedding planning advice to one of her presidential campaign staffers who recently got engaged.


Superintendent pay caps now a thing of the past in New Jersey; local reaction mixed

Eric Obernauer, New Jersey Herald


  • School boards from Sussex County to Cape May could soon begin rewriting contracts to accommodate their superintendents’ demands for more money following Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s signing of a bill Friday repealing the superintendent salary caps that have been in place the last eight years.


Murphy’s freeze on state aid ‘credit negative’ for Atlantic City

David Danzis, Press of Atlantic City


  • An executive order suspending transitional aid to the financially distressed resort is a credit negative, according to one ratings agency. Moody’s Investors Service said Gov. Phil Murphy’s July 3 executive order that placed nearly $235 million in reserve, including Atlantic City’s $3.3 million in transitional aid for the current budget year, created uncertainty for nine impacted municipalities in New Jersey.


Moorestown Council to hold presentation on affordable housing

George Woolston, Burlington County Times


  • The potential developer, Barnegat-based Walters Group, will be on hand to present conceptual plans of the project and answer any questions residents might have.


Venue moved for meeting on massive warehouse plan due to expectation of big crowd

John Best,


  • After a meeting was shut down due to a large crowd that wanted to speak out against a proposed warehouse and industrial center, the White Township Planning Commission has found a bigger room.


Ex-administrator sues Paterson charter school for alleged breach of contract

Jayed Rahman, Paterson Times


  • A former Community Charter School of Paterson administrator has filed a lawsuit alleging his ex-employer is in breach of his employment contract. Richard J. Kilpatrick, former chief operating officer and assistant business administrator, alleges the school owes him compensation for 24 accrued unused vacation, sick, and personal time, according to the lawsuit.


Task force focuses on black youth suicide and mental health care access

Michael Aron, NJTV


  • The Congressional Black Caucus recently created a task force on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health, and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman is the chair. She spoke with Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron about the work of the emergency task force and why it’s needed.


One of N.J.’s biggest firms just bought naming rights to Rutgers’ stadium … but do you know its name?

Emily Bader,


  • Stadium is no more, as Rutgers University’s football stadium has a new name and, with it, a new partner. And that partner may be one of the biggest companies in the state you’ve never heard of. Rutgers announced Friday its new multiyear naming-rights partnership with SHI International Corp., a Somerset-based information technology solutions firm that has some 4,000 employees around the globe and upwards of $10 billion in revenue.


One-time foes of Jersey City redevelopment project change their tune

Linda Lindner,


  • Owners of properties near a proposed a 9-acre redevelopment project along Bates Street in southern Jersey City who once opposed the plan now support it and say they believe it is exactly what the area needs. The owners made their views known to the city in letters that were obtained by NJBIZ.


Middlesex County sheriff’s officer settles lawsuit over hostile work environment

Nick Muscavage, Bridgewater Courier News


  • A Middlesex County sheriff’s officer has agreed to settle a lawsuit in which he alleged a hostile work environment. Luis Fajardo filed the suit in November 2017 alleging he was retaliated against for requesting a safe environment to train sheriff’s officers.


Evesham says goodbye to 2 longtime employees

George Woolston, Burlington County Times


  • Township Manager Michael Barth and Director of Finance Tom Shanahan were showered with praise and adoration by the Township Council, township professionals and the public for their service to Evesham at the July 16 council meeting. Tuesday night would be their last council meeting.


New Jersey Reentry signs memorandum of understanding with Care Plus NJ

Anthony Vecchione,


  • The New Jersey Reentry Corp. (NJRC) announced at a news conference on Thursday it will join forces with Care Plus NJ Inc., a provider of integrated primary and behavioral health services for adults and children, in a partnership to give NJRC clients access to addiction treatment services. The memorandum of understanding signed at Care Plus’s facility in Paramus will allow the NJRC to refer clients immediately and directly to CarePlus’ program.


Is Newark good (and inexpensive) place to put company HQ? This study says, ‘Yes’

ROI-NJ Staff


  • How does Newark rate for companies seeking a new headquarters? Pretty high. At least that was the take of The Boyd Co., a Princeton-based site selection firm. When it comes to annual operating costs of $22.1 million, Newark was fourth-lowest among the 25 cities ranked — and the lowest of the 12 U.S. companies ranked.


New York Tops NJ with Plans for Offshore Wind

Tom Johnson, NJ Spotlight


  • New York yesterday awarded the nation’s largest ever contracts to build two offshore-wind farms, topping the record set by New Jersey in April and setting up a competition between the two states to become the hub of a rapidly growing sector.


Sheriff says he’ll hold immigrant inmates for ICE

Bruce A. Scruton, New Jersey Herald


  • Striking a defiant tone, Sussex County Sheriff Michael Strada said he will notify immigration authorities and hold “any immigration inmates” until federal officials pick them up. The skirmish of words has been building since July 12 when Sussex County Clerk Jeff Parrott sent a letter to the state attorney general saying he would not post a county freeholder board-approved referendum on the November ballot.


Trenton Water Works gets 2 violations related to minor equipment failure

Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman, The Trentonian


  • The city’s public water system continues to get cited for noncompliance. Trenton Water Works earlier this month received official notice that it had accrued two fresh violations stemming from equipment failures.
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