Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing for 8/10/2020:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We need to consider how well and how often students would follow safety guidelines and how realistic it would be for different schools to actually implement social distancing in crowded buildings.” – Assembly Health Committee Chairman Herb Conaway, MD
The statewide COVID-19 count stands at 184,773 cases and 14,021 fatalities (and 1,853 probable fatalities) as of Sunday. Governor Murphy and state officials held their COVID-19 briefing, during which the Governor and LG Oliver announced the creation of the Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program to provide emergency assistance to small property landlords due to COVID-19 related rent collection decreases. The program will be funded through CARES Act funding.
Pressure is increasing on Governor Murphy to start schools with only virtual learning and no in-person instruction, according to NJ.com.
Over 43,000 New Jerseyans are still without power as of Sunday following Tropical Storm Isaias, according to the Bergen Record.
The NJDOH launched an online dashboard to track COVID-19 contact tracing efforts around the state.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a spending hike in Bergen County, according to the Bergen Record.
Burlington County’s Health Department urged residents to cooperate with COVID-19 contact tracers.
Camden County’s One-Stop Center is offering virtual services.
Essex County freeholders passed a resolution opposing for-profit prisons in New Jersey. Freeholder President Gill sent a letter to Governor Murphy and federal officials requesting assistance for DeCamp Bus Lines and similar private carrier groups.
Middlesex County Clerk will hold a livestream ballot drawing today for the general election.
Morris County Freeholder Selen blasted JCP&L over their storm response, according to NJ Hills.
Rep. Pascrell introduced the ‘Disaster Savings and Resilient Construction Act’.
Rep. Smith’s amendment to provide funding for Lyme disease research was passed by the House.
Members of the state’s congressional delegation pressed the Postmaster General on delivery delay issues.
The NJ Foundation For Aging will hold their 22nd annual conference online on August 13th-14th.
Princeton University is shifting to all-remote learning in the fall, according to Planet Princeton.
All NJ Transit lines are back up and running, according to the Bergen Record.
ICYMI: New UE claims dropped 41%; the storm within the storm; state ‘got whacked’, as 1.4M were without power; NJ’s travel quarantine advisory updated; Murphy cracked down on house parties, acknowledges ‘mad as hell’ atmosphere; face masks req’d for students; Murphy extends public health state of emergency; Murphy sounds alarm bell, gets tough again; Murphy lambasted McConnell; Murphy laments rise in cases from indoor parties, says this is not time to be ‘inducted into the knucklehead hall of fame‘; Grewal holds ‘use of force’ policy revisions conference; Murphy on COVID numbers: ‘mixed bag‘; Murphy defended schools re-opening plan
Read Insider NJ’s Who’s Up and Who’s Down: The Week NJ Got Whacked to see where the players in Jersey politics stand over the past week.
NJGOP Chairman Steinhardt requested that the Presidential Commission on Debates hold a presidential debate in New Jersey, citing VBM voting slated to begin in the state 10 days before the first debate.
Former GOP Senate primary candidate Hirsh Singh slammed the AG’s Office over his recount effort and efforts to stop county recounts, saying the office is ‘completely and utterly compromised‘ and ‘doing everything they can to hide what a complete failure the July 7th primary election has been’. Last month, Singh filed for recounts in all counties, with three having been authorized so far, according to Singh.
Former Governor Christie slammed Governor Murphy for making ‘monumental’ mistakes regarding the state’s handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes, according to NJ.com.
In CD2, Democratic candidate Amy Kennedy criticized Rep. Van Drew over the congressional failture to act on extending unemployment benefits.
In CD7, the NGOP slammed Rep. Malinowski over a report that he lobbied against the creation of the sex offender registry when he worked for Human Rights Watch.
NJ Right To Life slammed Planned Parenthood’s $100k donation to the DGA following $20M being allocated to the group in the state budget.
ICYMI: County fundraising has lowest six-month haul in twenty years; NJEA endorsements; Suleiman called for resignation of BOE commissioner; Insider NJ’s Who’s Up And Who’s Down; Murphy will virtually attend DNC convention (iLine post); Cape May Dems reaffirmed Sciarra; Singh filed for recount; Building Trades endorsements; Mirinov prevailed in re-election bid
Speaker Coughlin and Assemblymembers McKnight and DeAngelo announced a joint committee hearing on utility companies’ response to Hurricane Isaias.
The NJ Economic Advisory Council released its final report and recommendations for the state’s COVID-19 reopening and recovery. Coughlin said he looks forward to reviewing the recommendations and expects them to guide the Assembly in drafting legislation. NJ Citizen Action released a statement in support of some recommendations while opposing others.
The Senate GOP caucus sent a letter to BPU President Fiordaliso calling for the strengthening of the resiliency of the state’s power grid following widespread power outages last week.
Assemblyman McKeon urged the state’s congressional delegation to push for a delay in the Census report deadline following the shortening of the timespan for the count.
The Latino Caucus endorsed the Healthy Terminals Act.
NJ Chamber of Commerce President Bracken applauded Chamber Board Chair Linda Bowden’s impending induction into the NJ Hall of Fame.
The Fair Share Housing Center applauded the creation of the Small Landlord Emergency Assistance Program. The NJ Apartment Association said they are encouraged by the program’s establishment, and called for the Administration to take additional measures.
ICYMI: Senate panel hearing with gym and health club owners; viewing and funeral detail for Shirley Rice, who passed away earlier this week; Murphy conditionally vetoed PLA bill; protesters rallied outside Statehouse; Senate, Assembly passed legislative redistricting bill; McKeon jousted with GOP over A4389; Bergen lone no vote on statues resolution; Timberlake gives impassioned floor speech on S2340; Wirths explains opposition to Juneteenth holiday resolution (iLine post); SJU affirmed Juliano for Horizon (iLine post); Rice, Cryan clashed over recruitment bill; SBA passed police, fire residency bill; Addiego voted with GOP on S2676 (iLine post)
Listen to Politically Direct Episode 106 with host Fernando Uribe and NJGOP Chairman Steinhardt.
Insider NJ’s Max Pizarro, Fred Snowflack, and Jay Lassiter each won NJ Press Association Awards.
Be part of Insider NJ’s 2020 publications with an all-inclusive ad package that includes everything from now until the end of the year.
In Newark, Mayor Baraka doesn’t want schools to reopen in-person in the fall, and is advising families to keep their children home amid COVID-19 spread.
In Long Branch, Trump supporters and protesters squared off ahead of the President’s fundraiser this weekend, according to NJ.com.
In Jersey City, the schools superintendent says students won’t return to classrooms in September, with only virtual learning, according to the Jersey Journal. The city’s $658M amended budget won’t include a municipal tax increase, according to Hudson County View.
In Linden, Senator Scutari filed a lawsuit against Mayor Armstead alleging defamation.
In Howell, police broke up a 300-person party, according to More Monmouth Musings.
In Trenton, the city is deploying additional law enforcement throughout the city following a double homicide on Sunday morning.
In Paramus, Governor Murphy wants a ‘full accounting‘ of the Veterans’ Home, according to the Bergen Record.
In Perth Amboy, the city appointed Patricia Perkins as the new business administrator, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Ventnor, the AG’s Office is investigating a fatal police-involved shooting.
In Garfield, parents have the option of full-remote learning, according to the Bergen Record.
In Piscataway, schools will reopen with rotating days of in-person instruction, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Middletown, the school district pushed back the deadline by a week for parents to choose all-remote learning, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Hoboken, the city will offer free COVID-19 testing for at lesat 4 days in August, according to Hudson County View.
In Bernardsville, Mayor Canose formed a Diversity Advisory Council, according to TAPinto.
In Margate, commissioners approved the boardwalk ballot question for the November election, according to Downbeach.
In Somerville, Rep. Malinowski visited several locations to film a campaign commercial, according to TAPinto.
In Delran, police are investigating a bias incident, according to the Burlington County Times.
In Sparta, an officer was charged with shoving a woman at a VFW bar, according to NJ Herald.
In Holmdel, a judge approved a 50-unit housing project, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Fair Haven, 82% of residents are still without power following Tropical Storm Isaias, according to the Asbury Park Press.
Insider NJ columnist Alan Joel Steinberg writes ‘The 11th Hour Speculation Regarding Gretchen Whitmer as Biden’s Running Mate‘
Insider NJ columnist Bob Hennelly writes ‘Trenton 1936 Washington, D.C. 2020 Deja Vu: Greed Wins as Labor Loses Leverage‘
Insider NJ columnist Jay Lassiter writes ‘Managing COVID (+ Getting the Feds out of your Bong!)‘
Insider NJ reporter Fred Snowflack writes ‘Emergencies are not the Time for OPRA Darkness‘
In a guest column on Insider NJ, Charles McKenna writes ‘Punitive Damages for All (not just a select few)‘
Insider NJ columnist Carl Golden writes ‘Can Basement-bound Biden Ride His Trump-Fueled Sugar High?‘
AROUND THE WEB:
Michael Symons, NJ1015
- New Jersey would lose one of its seats in the House of Representatives if estimated numbers of immigrants not legally in the United States are subtracted from the tally used for apportionment, according to a University of Virginia analysis. The prospect underlies the stakes of a federal lawsuit filed in New York by 20 states, including New Jersey, that seeks to strike down the exclusion from the formula as unconstitutional. The Fourteenth Amendment says apportionment is based on the “whole number of persons” living in each state.
USA TODAY Network Atlantic Editorial Board
- “Immediate jeopardy.” Conditions at the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home in Paramus were so bad at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in April that federal investigators said residents and staff alike were in “immediate jeopardy,” according to an explosive investigation delivered this week by NorthJersey.com and USA TODAY Network staff writers Lindy Washburn and Scott Fallon.
John Heinis, Hudson County View
- In a letter to the editor, recent Democratic congressional challenger Hector Oseguera says that he’d be interested in debating NJ GOP State Committeeman Joshua Sotomayor Einstein in light of his challenge to Democratic county party chair Amy DeGise.
Eric Obernauer, NJ Herald
- For the second time in just over a year, the Board of Education appears set to grant Superintendent Timothy Capone a contract extension and pay hike. Further details regarding the proposal, which will be the subject of a public hearing and vote by the the board Monday night, have not been released.
Claire Lowe, Press of Atlantic City
- A new workforce readiness program is helping young Atlantic County residents who’ve been arrested find new footing. “These types of programs are important because often times, the young people in the community feel like, ‘I got in trouble, and I just ruined my life,’” said LaToyra Smith, director of the Opportunity YOUth Academy that began last month with with six people between the ages of 16 and 24.
Mike Davis, Asbury Park Press
- The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office has dismissed cyber harassment charges filed against five people who tweeted and retweeted a photo of a Nutley police officer at a Black Lives Matter protest last month. “After reviewing the cases, we concluded there was insufficient evidence to sustain our burden of proof,” said Katherine Carter, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office. “Consequently, we moved today (Friday) to dismiss all charges.”
Tom Moran, Star-Ledger
- When this pandemic crushed New Jersey’s economy, it seemed obvious that the state would need to borrow money to survive it, and reasonable to spread the pain across at least the next few years as we pay it back. If I lost my job, I might do the same.
Paul Mulshine, Star-Ledger
- On Thursday, I was driving around the section of Monmouth County that was hardest hit by that tropical storm. I came upon a major through street that was blocked off with tape that read “Danger – Keep Out – Electrical Hazard.”
Lilo H. Stainton, NJ Spotlight
- New Jersey has committed to spend some $23.5 million over three months to beef up the state’s contact-tracing capacity under a deal signed last week with a Boston-based consulting group doing similar work in New York state. But it is not clear how the work of the company, Public Consulting Group — as outlined in a purchase order provided to NJ Spotlight under the state’s open records law — will align with efforts already underway at Rutgers University’s School of Public Health to hire, train and deploy up to 1,000 graduate students as contact tracers.
Vincent Jackson, Press of Atlantic City
- Some South Jersey municipalities want it known that they oppose having only vote by mail for the general election in November. The Hamilton Township Committee — by a 4-1 vote — approved a resolution stating that it wants both in-person and vote-by-mail options open to its residents for the November election.
Lois C. Hochman, NJ1015
- Gov. Phil Murphy has been resolute over the last few weeks: While parents should have the option to keep their kids home, he says, school buildings should reopen despite the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. “Every education expert we’ve spoken to over the past few months has confirmed that in-person education is critical and that remote learning is only an acceptable substitute when absolutely necessary,” the governor said July 27. “If done safely, I believe we must try to include at least some aspect of in-person education for our children this fall.”
Mike Kelly, NorthJersey.com
- This time, the warning came in a series of gunshots at the front door of the home of a federal judge here in New Jersey. Then came the eloquent warning and plea. Then came the silence — inevitable, expected and disappointing.
Erik Larsen, Asbury Park Press
- The owner of The Butcher’s Block restaurant and market has posted a video of himself telling a customer to her masked face “to stay the f— home,” after she allegedly complained that someone at his trendy bistro was observed not wearing one. The video — posted on the business’s Instagram page — has since gone viral, with thousands of “likes” and almost 900 comments as of early Sunday morning, most of them overwhelmingly supportive of the restaurant.
Michael Aron, NJTV
- As candidates ramp up campaigning for the November election, some New Jersey politicians already are looking past 2020 to the gubernatorial race in 2021. Gov. Phil Murphy will seek his second term, and he already has a potential Republican challenger in former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli. It’s his second run for the governor’s seat.
- One of the state’s largest districts expects 74% of students will be all-remote.
Jonathan D. Salant, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
- President Donald Trump will end his weekend visit to New Jersey Sunday by raising campaign cash in Long Branch at the home of a late real estate developer who was one of his biggest supporters.
Dinah Voyles Pulver, USA TODAY NETWORK
- Temperatures soared higher than normal across much of the nation in June and through the first six months of 2020, putting the country on track for what could be another one of its warmest years on record.
Big Joe Henry, NJ1015
- New Jersey malls were a necessary destination for every family member. It was a place to go to get everything you need for you personally and for birthdays, holidays and special shopping. And the coolest part was that it was all located under one roof. You could eat, get a haircut, see Santa, have your teeth cleaned, shop for Aunt Betty and pick up something nice for yourself. It was a place where you dropped off the teenage kids to beat the blazing heat of the summer or the cold snowy days of winter.
PC Robinson, New Jersey Hills
- Mayor Sam Morris was not a happy camper Friday afternoon.
Alex Napoliello, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
- The spiral-bound directory remains nearly unblemished, marked only with slight bends in the corners that come with 30 years of liberal handling. It’s moved with Yolanda Ciccone from vicinage to vicinage, from chamber to chamber, since she became a judge in 1991.
Ahmad Austin, Press of Atlantic City
- The Taxpayers Association of Cape May on Saturday announced a campaign to “inform and educate the property tax payers of Cape May.” The campaign follows a 125% increase in membership, the group said in a news release.
- Brace yourself for what’s expected to be the first U.S. presidential election conducted mostly by mail. It could be messy. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, voting by mail in a contactless and socially distant way seems like a no-brainer. States have made the option widely available — only 10 now require voters to provide an excuse beyond fear of COVID-19 when requesting a ballot by mail — and some three in four Americans are expected to embrace the option for the Nov. 3 presidential election, up from one in four in the 2018 contest.
Leah Mishkin, NJTV
- From overwhelmed to optimistic, Holy Name Medical Center was the epicenter of virus hospitalizations at the peak of the pandemic. “By the end of the first day we had five or six patients, and by the end of the first weekend we had over a dozen patients. And then we were adding 10 to 20 patients a day, and we peaked out at about 251 patients,” said Dr. Adam Jarrett, Holy Name’s chief medical officer.
John Heinis, Hudson County View
- The “Together We Can” Bayonne Board of Education slate has a retired educator in the district joining the board president and vice president to round the ticket.
Vernon Ogrodnek For The Press
- Water gushes through the bars of a 10-foot square steel box near Brighton Avenue on the north end of the island, spewing muddy sand that was pumped from a dredge moored off the beach in the Great Egg Harbor Inlet. Sea gulls hover and dive for the sea life mixed in with the sand.