Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing: 8/22/2019

Below is the Insider NJ Morning Intelligence Briefing for 8/22/2019:



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 was impressed that everyone seems to be concentrated on this. The mayor, governor and county exec are focused and the next days are not time for panic but for more information. Everyone seems to be engaged.

– LD28 Assemblyman Caputo on the Newark water crisis


TOP STORY: Running Against A Rock Star: A Potential CD11 Republican Candidate Sizes Up His Chances Against Sherrill



Governor Murphy huddled up with Newark Mayor Baraka, County Executive DiVincenzo, and other officials yesterday to discuss and develop a battle plan to combat the lead-contaminated lines in the city and surrounding areas. Assemblyman Caputo said that ‘everyone seems to be engaged’, and that he doesn’t agree with fellow Assemblyman Holley’s call for Murphy to declare a state of emergency in and around Newark. Baraka said there’s no need for a state emergency, according to TAPinto, while Murphy said he won’t be declaring one, according to NJTV.


The state Supreme Court has refused to lift the court order blocking the implementation of the ‘Aid in Dying’ law, according to NJ Biz.


The US Small Business Association announced that NJIT is among the winners of a $125k MaTCH Pilot Program grant. The SBA is offering disaster assistance to state businesses and residents affected by recent severe weather and flooding.


The Camden County Police Department revised their use-of-force policy, according to the Courier Post.


Rep. Pascrell and several House colleagues sent a letter to US Trade Representative Lighthizer urging the protection of olive oil from tariffs.


Rep. Norcross held a roundtable with diabetics in South Jersey to discuss the rising cost of insulin.


Rep. Sherrill released a statement on the federal government’s regulation that would end the 20-day maximum detainment of children, saying she’s ‘horrified’.


ICYMI: SCCC requested the removal of Scanlan; Sherrill’s most animated town hall; constituents challenge Pallone to be more ‘bold’; Malinowsi’s ‘fundamental questions



A potential GOP candidate in CD11, Keith Dakin, sizes up his chances against incumbent freshman Democrat Rep. Sherrill, who maintains rock star status among her supporters and the North Jersey political establishment.


Bergen County GOP Chairman Zisa demanded an explanation from Governor Murphy on the state’s ‘convoluted’ vote-by-mail system and new regulations, saying that ‘the law should be changed immediately to an opt-in system rather than an opt-out system’.


32BJ welcomed new political director and coordinator Elena Lavarreda.


Senator Booker was endorsed by Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon in Michigan.


Senator Booker participated in the May 8th boycott of Uber, but his campaign spent over $300 that day on the ridesharing service, according to SaveJersey.


CD5 GOP candidate Frank Pallotta blasted Rep. Gottheimer following reports that $3.8M was spent on financial assistance to undocumented students in the state, saying the incumbent ‘fails to call out and stand up to members of his own party even as they push policies that will lead our country into fiscal ruin and harm our citizens’.


Our Revolution endorsed LD26 Democratic Assembly candidate Christine Clarke and Madison Council candidate Rachel Ehrlich.


The Norcross-linked Super PAC General Majority Fund is paying down its debt incurred during the 2017 legislative elections, according to Politico NJ.


ICYMI: Gaburo called for the firing of Somerset Dems social media director, Dems say they are instituting new controls over social media accounts; Dems forced to consider Booker contingency plan; Schmid poised to enter CD4 Dem primary; LD26 Asm. Webber prepares for re-election; Dem Razzoli will run as Republican in CD12; progressives protested for Gottheimer to call for impeachment inquiry; the gun debate in LD25; Richter entered CD2 race; in Sussex, Rotondi looks to build up Dems; Booker says ‘polling-schmolling‘; Gottheimer jousts with Quick



Choose NJ CEO Jose Lozano and State of Affairs host Steve Adubato discuss ways to enrich innovation in the state (video).


Following the Murphy administration’s offload of Jeffrey Dye from his NJDOL position due to anti-Semitic social media posts, NJGOP Chairman Steinhardt released a statement blasting Murphy’s administration as ‘cultivating a culture of blind indifference’ and that he ‘took no action and made no statement’; Hudson GOP Chairman Arango said Murphy should ‘finally show some leadership skills’. Assemblyman Schaer said he warned the administration about Dye’s history prior to his hiring, according to the Bergen Record.


Several Democratic lawmakers held a press conference in support of Planned Parenthood’s opposition to the federal gag rule and its withdrawal from Title X funding.


CAIR-NJ issued a public letter to the Indian Consulate General condemning India’s action in Kashmir and declining an offer to meet with consulate officials.


ICYMI: Sweeney/Coughlin at odds over angioplasty bill; Mandel stepping down from Eagleton; Weinberg wants state employees released from confidentiality agreements; Bateman swipes at Vitale over home bakes goods bill; Sweeney reiterated call for questions on budgetary freeze items


Vote in the Insider NJ Poll: Who on This List is Most Likely to Succeed Steve Sweeney as Senate Prez?



Take a look at Insider NJ’s congressional sketch pad: a thumbnail guide to the developing contests.


Senator Booker’s immersion in presidential politics creates the sense of political elasticity amid the state’s static condition.


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


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 Atlantic City, the county is looking into easing the burden on property taxes, according to the Press of Atlantic City. Atlantic County Executive Levinson will help craft the Atlantic City tax task force; AC Democratic Chairman Suleiman released as statement saying its ‘like having the fox guard the hen house’. A public meeting on the flood plain management plan will be held on September 4th.


In Newark, the public safety director called for significant changes to the juvenile justice system, according to NJTV.


In Paterson, Mayor Sayegh got a flurry of complaints at his first town hall, according to Paterson Times. The US Attorney’s Office announced that four men were charged with stealing $450k in checks from dozens of mail collection boxes.


In North Bergen, a judge will decide if evidence was improperly obtained in the Parks and Recreation Department no-show jobs case, according to Hudson County View.


In Wall Township, the schools are facing a backlash over damaged and ant-infested portable classrooms, according to the Asbury Park Press.


In Hillsborough, the town adopted participation fees for athletics and other activities, according to MyCentralJersey.


In Watchung, the borough appointed James Damato as its full-time administrator, according to TAPinto.


In Hamilton, the town rejected Robbinsville’s offer to study shared sewer service rates, according to TAPinto. The Board of Health held a marathon meeting that found an insufficient number of inspectors led to the lack of inspection at over half the town’s eateries last year, according to TAPinto.


In Jersey City, the city is moving forward with the construction of a skate park. An appellate court ruled that teachers can’t be paid by the BOE to do full-time union work, according to Hudson County View.


In Trenton, a public auction of city-owned properties will take place on September 16th.


In Sussex, Rep. Gottheimer announced over $1M for water improvement projects at Lake Rutherford.


In Hoboken, GOP Committeeman Joshua Einstein Sotomayer announced that Our Lady of Grace School will host an eminent domain debate; Sotmayer had challenged Mayor Bhalla to the debate, while Hoboken housing Authority Vice Chair Sanfard had previously issued a statement saying he would be open to a debate.


ICYMI: In Paterson, West Side Story captivates the city



Insider NJ columnist and former Senator Kevin O’Toole writes ‘Let’s Go to the Videotape


Insider NJ reporter Fred Snowflack writes ‘Social Media Stupidity: Do or Dye


Insider NJ columnist Alan Joel Steinberg writes ‘Newark and the Politics of Clean Water


Insider NJ columnist Al Sullivan writes ‘Closing the Barn Door on Airbnb?


Insider NJ publisher John FX Graham writes ‘James Meredith, Joe Graham, and the Right Side of History






N.J.’s highest court didn’t protect kids burned by scalding radiators. Now lawmakers must | Moran

Tom Moran, Star-Ledger


  • Nine years ago, an infant boy in Jersey City slipped off the bed where he was sleeping without guardrails and landed with his face and arm pressed against a scalding hot iron radiator that had no cover.


South Jersey theater cancels event about race relations amid threats from anti-fascist protesters

Melanie Burney, Philadelphia Inquirer


  • Following a social media firestorm and threatened protests, the Broadway Theatre in Pitman has canceled a controversial event about race relations that its organizers said was aimed at “combating racism, violence, and authoritarianism.” The one-day conference, sponsored by, a cryptocurrency social networking site, had been scheduled for Aug. 31 at the nearly century-old theater, where Bob Hope and Bing Crosby once played.


CRDA pulls Atlantic City BOE plan, gives $650,000 for youth programs

Michelle Brunetti Post, Press of Atlantic City


  • The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority voted Tuesday to reserve $650,000 a year for after-school programs in Atlantic City, after pulling a vote on a $12.6 million renovation of office space for the school board.


Mullane: Back to school with your name on a ‘hit list’

JD Mullane, Burlington County Times


  • First day back to school is always a good day — except when your kid is listed on some other kid’s online “hit list.” As a kid, one of the best days was the first one back to school. New clothes, sharpened pencils, polished floors, seeing friends again, all fresh.


Madison Democrats Point to Sustainable Investment

David Luber, TAPinto Madison


  • In a joint prepared statement, Madison Mayor Bob Conley, Councilwoman Maureen Byrne and Madison Planning Board member Rachel Ehrlich, point to the borough’s program of sustainable, pay-as-you go capital investments as a major win for Madison residents, delivering needed upgrades in critical infrastructure in a fiscally responsible way. Conley and Byrne are both running for re-election in 2019. Ehrlich is running for her first term on Council.


Jersey City Council likely to vote on $110M Downtown project with 20% affordable housing next month

John Heinis, Hudson County View


  • The Jersey City Council is likely to consider a $110 million, 25-story, Downtown high-rise project with about 20 percent of their units allocated to affordable housing at next month’s meeting.


Rival protests planned after school board member’s anti-Muslim posts

Steve Strunsky, NJ Advance Media for


  • The controversy over a Toms River school board member who said his life would be complete if two Muslim congresswomen died will continue to play out Wednesday night, when supporters and critics of Daniel Leonard are expected to gather at the district’s regularly scheduled board of education meeting.


Mustafa Rabboh, Bergen County’s first Muslim police chief, sworn in

Ricardo Kaulessar, North Jersey Record


  • Mustafa Rabboh is now the new police chief for Bergenfield after being sworn in during Tuesday night’s council meeting. Rabboh, 46, is the second Muslim police chief in the state, with the first being Ahmed Naga of Long Hill Township, who was in attendance at Rabboh’s swearing in. He is also the first Muslim police chief in Bergen County.


Eulogy for a Small-Town Paper

Caren Lissner, Hoboken Reporter


  • In the 1940s, before the newer, bigger container ships of the 1960s required deep ports, small cities like Hoboken were hotspots for freight shipping. As dockworkers loaded goods on and off the waterfront, corruption ran rampant. A reporter named Malcolm Johnson wrote 24 investigative stories for the New York Sun in 1948, exposing the problems. Johnson’s series inspired the 1954 film “On the Waterfront” about a boxer who throws a fight, to satisfy a Hoboken mob boss.


For the 3 percenters, like Booker, a graceful exit will be appreciated

Carl Golden


  • In every election campaign, there comes a point when cruel reality intrudes, forcing candidate and staff to confront the growing likelihood that victory is out of reach and further expenditure of time, money and dedication to a cause is futile.


Politics intrudes on helping Atlantic City taxpayers with higher bills

Michelle Brunetti Post, Press of Atlantic City


  • Politics has complicated attempts to help Atlantic City property owners deal with a big, unexpected tax hike. On Tuesday, the state Division of Community Affairs, which oversees the state takeover of the city, announced “Lt. Gov. (Sheila) Oliver has asked the Atlantic County executive to form a task force to look at how all of the taxing authorities have approached the issue.”


Baron Settling into Role As Public Information Officer in City

Chuck O’Donnell, TAPinto New Brunswick


  • The soothing sounds of Bert Baron’s voice still echo in the ears – and hearts – of longtime listeners of WCTC-AM.”The Voice of Central Jersey,” says he is settling in nicely in his new gig: Public Information Officer for New Brunswick.


Still no planning board decision on 18-story towers proposed for Weehawken-Hoboken border

Marc Bussanich, Hudson County View


  • The Weehawken Planning Board convened last night to discuss Hartz Mountain Industries proposed development for two, 18-story towers along the Weehawken waterfront, but another marathon meeting still did not yield a vote from the board.


Congressmen say asylum seekers being denied justice at Elizabeth detention center

Michael Hill, NJTV


  • Elizabeth Detention Center houses nearly 300 immigration detainees, who hail from Central and South America, Cuba, India, Africa and even the former Soviet bloc. On Wednesday, members of New York and New Jersey’s Congressional delegation toured the center and spoke with over 40 detainees, many of whom said they came seeking political asylum but instead were being treated like criminals.


Big crowd turns out for meeting on algal blooms

Jennifer Jean Miller, New Jersey Herald


  • Close to 300 attendees packed the Lake Mohawk Country Club ballroom on Tuesday night for a special expert panel event on the topic of harmful algal blooms. Panelists discussed what causes the blooms and long-term solutions to prevent them.
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