Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing: 7/24/2019

Below is the Insider NJ Morning Intelligence Briefing for 7/24/2019:



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: He may be assuming that his supporters will blindly follow him anywhere and down any path that he takes, but that is not the case.” – Trump 2016 State Director Senator Doherty on President Trump using the Lord’s name in vain at his North Carolina rally


TOP STORY: Multiple Employees Let Go by Interim Director at the SDA



Multiple employees were let go from the embattled NJ Schools Development Authority by Interim CEO Da Silva, many of whom were hired by former CEO Lizette Delgado-Polanco. The firings came as the Murphy administration announced the findings of two outside legal reviews (one on the 2018 reorganization and hiring practices, and the other on the investigation into file-tampering allegations) and the SDA Audit Committee review (read them here). Governor Murphy, touting the ‘swift action‘ of his administration, said the reports will ‘help guide SDA leadership in recommitting to the organization’s core mission’ and offered his ‘full and unwavering support to make any management decisions they deem necessary based on the findings of these reports’. Speaker Coughlin reacted to the reports, saying he will be ‘supportive of any restructuring plan that will result in the SDA operating efficiently and cost effectively’.


The NJEDA issued a survey to businesses approved for tax incentives to gain insight into the job creation of the Grow NJ program.


Rutgers University President Barchi formally announced that he will step down in 2020.


Senator Menendez introduced the CLAIM Act to ensure legal marijuana businesses and related businesses have access to insurance.


Rep. Gottheimer and other leaders rallied in support of resolution opposing a global boycott of Israel. Gottheimer’s legislation to sanction financial supporters of Hamas passed the House.


Rep. Pascrell ridiculed reports that President Trump is suing the House Ways and Means Committee and the State of NY to block the release of his tax returns, saying ‘we’re entering Alice in Wonderland territory’.


Liuna VP Pocino released a statement calling for the resignation of Puerto Rican Governor Rossello.


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



Senator Doherty chided President Trump for taking the Lord’s name in vain at his North Carolina rally, calling it ‘unacceptable language and is highly offensive to many of his most ardent supporters’; Doherty served as Trump’s 2016 NJ state director and last said he’d like to take on the role again in 2020.


In LD25, GOP Assemblyman Bucco’s and running mate Bergen’s campaign released a statement blasting Democratic challengers Bhimani and Draeger over a 2017 tweet from Bhimani saying ‘when they go low, we see their weakness and kick em in the balls’; the campaign said ‘Bhimani’s anger and disdain towards the opposing party isn’t healthy for our politics, or the reproductive health of Republicans’.


A Bergen County sheriff’s officer is alleging discrimination and retaliation in a lawsuit, according to the Bergen Record.


ICYMI: Emerge NJ celebrated graduates; activists protest Trump fundraiser; 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 legislation.


Assembly Minority Leader Bramnick released a statement calling on Governor Murphy to sign legislation to provide tax relief for Jersey Shore rentals.


The Black and Latino Legislative Caucuses held a press conference yesterday to denounce recent comments by President Trump regarding Reps. Omar, Pressley, Ocasio-Cortez, and Tlaib, according to NJTV. Assemblywoman Quijano slammed Trump, saying his ‘criticism seems to know no boundaries and is providing a false sense of privilege to many who feel that it’s okay to say anything or attack a person with whom they disagree’. Assemblywoman Carter said ‘we must show that hatred and racism have no place here’. Assemblywoman McKnight said the rhetoric ‘only fuels the agenda of people who do not want to see our country progress’. Assemblywoman Timberlake said she is ‘proud’ of the ‘squad’ of four Congresswomen, saying they are ‘bringing America into the future’. Assemblywoman Speight said Trump ‘may be president, but he’s no leader’.


Assemblyman Space and Wirths sent a letter to AG Grewal requesting he appear before the taxpayers in Sussex County to explain the blocking of a ballot question on the sanctuary state directive.


Assemblymembers Swain and Tully applauded the creation of the Gateway Development Commission.


The Sierra Club joined a coalition to fight the NJ Transit grid project.


ICYMI: Murphy took action on bills; Murphy named Maziarz acting DHS commissioner; 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 tomorrow at 8pm to Politically Direct Episode 66 with host Fernando Uribe and guest Luis de la Hoz, Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President, and listen to Politically Direct Episode 65 with 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 Belleville, Assemblyman Caputo mourned the passing of former Mayor Kimble and praised his legacy, saying ‘no matter the role, he always found a way to help as many people as he could’. Senator Rice praised Kimble as a ‘great person and an even better leader’.


In Trenton, Mayor Gusciora announced city hiring policy changes, with persons with convictions now being eligible for consideration.


In Jersey City, a discussion on Pride Month and homophobic remarks roiled the BOE, according to Hudson County View.


In Hillsborough, Senator Bateman released a statement condemning an anti-Semitic flyer found posted on the municipal building.


In Middletown, the township committee withdrew from affordable housing proceedings and filed an order for dismissal, according to MoreMonmounthMusings.


In Hoboken, Councilman DeFusco says he will advocate for public art space as part of the proposed Monarch agreement.


In Phillipsburg, the harassment case against the mayor drags on, according to Lehigh Valley Live.


In Toms River, CAIR-NJ called for the resignation of a BOE member who shared anti-Muslim social media posts.


In Newark, an ordinance is pending that would abolish the requirement that Mayor Baraka’s executive orders be published in the newspaper, according to TAPinto.


In Bridgewater, the slow budget process has Mayor Hayes calling council members ‘long on criticism’, according to TAPinto.


In Englewood Cliffs, residents have started a petition to recall two Democratic council members, according to the Bergen Record.


In Roxbury, Mayor DeFillippo called on the state to ‘be more precise‘ in determining which parts of Lake Hopatcong should be avoided due to toxic algae, according to TAPinto.


In Sea Isle, the towns blames the state for the forced resignations of its fire officials, according to the Press of Atlantic City.


In Watching Hills, a referendum on schools facilities projects is on the ballot for September 24th, according to TAPinto.


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



Insider NJ columnist Alan Joel Steinberg writes ‘Donald Trump: Stop Using Israel as a Rationale for Your Race War


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?





Trenton man says ‘I’m trying. I can’t get in’ after learning mayor’s policy still excludes violent offenders

Isaac Avilucea, The Trentonian


  • Emanuel Ross thought his day of redemption finally arrived. His sister told him to hurry up and get over to City Hall. The mayor had a big announcement that would affect him and others previously convicted of crimes. He took off from his job as a commercial truck driver to attend Tuesday’s presser.


Sympathize with women exercising their right to choose | Quigley

Joan Quigley, For The Jersey Journal


  • Gloria Steinem says she didn’t say it. But the Internet attributed it to her and whoever did say it isn’t claiming credit. I like the quote regardless of whose words they are.


He’s no Hitler, not even a Caligula: Words won’t be hurting Donald Trump’s chances in 2020 | Mulshine

Paul Mulshine, Star-Ledger


  • Here’s a quiz: What leading figure on the national political scene said the following: “Name-calling has no place in politics – you racist, homophobic, misogynistic, xenophobic bigot.” The answer? No one. I made that quote up to caricature the reaction of my liberal friends to President Trump’s recent pronouncements.


These 13 N.J. judges were suspended or banned from the bench. Here’s why.

Joe Atmonavage, NJ Advance Media for


  • Each year, about 400 misconduct complaints are filed against judges in New Jersey. It is rare, however, for a complaint to result in a judge being publicly disciplined.


Get ready to see your schools get worse and your superintendents wealthier

Jeff Edelstein, The Trentonian


  • Gov. Phil Murphy just fired a teacher or two in your school district. Or he cut transportation. Or special services got sliced. Something happened, that’s for sure. Why? Because late last week Murphy undid one of Gov. Chris Christie’s property tax-saving measures, the salary cap on school superintendents. Before Murphy reversed this law, the cap was a little north of $191,000.


Paterson Art Factory gets 30-day temporary CO to host Sayegh’s mayoral ball

Jayed Rahman, Paterson Times


  • Mayor Andre Sayegh’s controversial One Paterson group began sending invites out to guests for its second annual mayor’s ball fundraiser late last month. Its venue, the Art Factory, at the time, lacked the required certificate of occupancy to host the event.


Want to report a crime tip in Camden? There’s an app for that.

Carly Wanna, Philadelphia Inquirer


  • Several times a week, the Camden County Police Department asks the public for help. Police post on social media requesting tips on a missing person, fugitive, or suspect in a crime. Citizens can report what they know about criminal activity in the city of Camden via a variety of platforms –– the department tipline, a phone call, and, now, texts from a smartphone.


Pallone Offers A Fix For Surprise Medical Expenses

Michael Aron, NJTV


  • Surprise medical billing is an issue whose time has come. New Jersey passed a law last year tightening up on the practice. Now U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, wants to do the same for hospital patients throughout the country.


Atlantic City school board may get huge, hidden piece of Boardwalk Hall

Michelle Brunetti Post, Press of Atlantic City


  • Looking at the stage from inside Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall, you’d never know there are several floors of rooms behind it that overlook Pacific Avenue.Access to the world’s largest pipe organ is off the corridors on those floors. On the other side are rooms where masonry walls and ceilings are dripping with peeling paint.


Lawmakers move to shield commuters from fees to fund Gateway tunnel

Daniel J. Munoz,


  • New Jersey lawmakers want to ensure that New Jersey Transit and Amtrak riders, as well as other commuters, do not bear the brunt of financing the ambitious Gateway program through fare increases and other usage fees. Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, D-37th District, said that the Legislature would not approve any New Jersey picks to the Gateway Development Commission if they do not stick to that position. The corporation’s creation was signed into law on Monday by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.


Pemberton police shooting puts focus on body cams

David Levinsky, Burlington County Times


  • Incidents like Friday night’s fatal police-involved shooting in Pemberton Township’s Sunbury Village are precisely why the cameras have been deployed by departments large and small.
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