Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Anybody can steer a ship in calm waters. I want to navigate Republicans through the storm.” – Assemblyman Bergen joining the contest to lead the Assembly GOP caucus next year
The statewide cumulative COVID-19 count stands at 988,710 cases and 24,467 confirmed fatalities (and 148,306 probable cases and 2,773 probable fatalities) as of Tuesday (an increase of 1,822 confirmed cases, 583 probable cases, and 38 lab-confirmed fatalities from the previous day). The viral transmission rate is 1.06. There have been 11,922,226 COVID-19 vaccinations administered (with 5,784,689 people fully vaccinated).
The NJDOL reported it has paid out over $35B in unemployment benefits to 1.6M claimants since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
The Cumberland County Utilities Authority vice chair and solicitor clashed over opinions and texting at a meeting, according to Burlington County Times.
NJ State Troopers who oversee the diversity unit are alleging anti-gay bias in a lawsuit, according to the Asbury Park Press.
Senators Booker and Menendez urged ICE to end the transfer of detainees out of NJ.
Archdiocese of Newark Archbishop Tobin will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with a special Mass.
ICYMI: Murphy signed an executive order requiring masks in child care settings; Watson Colemans’ in-depth interview; protesters rallied Gottheimer’s office; Pascrell on SALT: ‘we’re taking the gloves off, I’m telling you‘; Murphy announced Pre-K commitment;Murphy established the ‘Wealth Disparity Task Force’; Payne confident on infrastructure bill; Murphy thinks post-mortem warranted on Ida; feds sign off on disaster relief; Malinowski says ‘make or break moment‘ for climate; Kim discusses Capitol riot; Biden lands in NJ in hard-hit Manville, as some welcomed him, others rallied against
GOP gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli has touted two polls showing a neck-and-neck race with Governor Murphy.
In LD11, the Democratic ticket released their first TV ad of the campaign season.
With little hopes of winning, third party candidates are aiming high, according to NJ Monitor.
ICYMI: Murphy’s case for re-election to Latinos; NEW JOBS PAC endorsed candidates; Ciattarelli: ‘we’re dying a slow and painful death‘; NJFMBA released endorsements; NJFOP released endorsements; Ciattarelli did an end-zone dance over FOP non-endorsement; NFIB endorsements; Oliver vociferously defended handling of Ida; Dems promote gun safety measures; in CD7, Mehta eager to face Kean in primary; Ciattarelli ‘not the sacrificial lamb‘; Ciattarelli recounted storm experience; Morris and Somerset GOPS planning united front
Assemblyman Bergen says he’s running to lead the Assembly GOP, according to Politico NJ.
Senator Corrado slammed Governor Murphy’s child day care mask mandate as ‘big government at its worst’. Senator Pennacchio slammed it as ‘useless and unworkable’. Senator Testa slammed it as ‘ridiculous’, asking ‘are toddlers going to be carted off to jail for ripping their masks off, which they inevitably will do?’ Senator Doherty called the mandate ‘nothing less than child abuse‘.
Senator O’Scanlon urged the Murphy Administration to implement ‘test and stay’ protocols to avoid excessive quarantines at schools.
ICYMI: Murphy took action on legislation; DeCroce’s proposed constitutional amendments are a timely discussion; Insider NJ’s 2021 Insider 100: Policymakers; Schepisi spoke out on the divide between climate change and land use; Pocino resigned boards; redistricting scenario bar notes
Listen to Politically Direct Episode 148 with host Fernando Uribe and guest Richard Garcia, LD38 GOP Senate candidate.
Download and read Insider NJ’s ‘Let’s Get To Work!’: The State Of New Jersey Labor’ power list and publication.
Will there be a ‘Biden factor‘ for the 2021 election cycle in New Jersey?
President Biden has a political history with New Jersey.
In Chesilhurst, a police officer was indicted on an official misconduct charge.
In Hoboken, Team Bhalla council candidate Joe Quintera released a plan to combat flooding.
In Hamilton (Mercer), the township is using ARP funds to offer families reimbursement for youth recreation league enrollment.
In Camden, police and peer recovery specialists are teaming up on the streets, according to the Courier Post.
In Egg Harbor City, the state comptroller raised concerns over the sale of the water system, according to Politico NJ.
In Englewood Cliffs, the mayor and council are at odds over lawsuits against attorneys, according to the Bergen Record.
In Jersey City, the council is mulling an audit to decide if trash services should be brought in-house, according to the Hudson County View. Councilman Solomon’s campaign touted a poll showing a big lead over challenger Jake Hudnut, according to Hudson County View.
In Madison, the BOE discussed a busing shortage, according to NJ Hills.
In Mount Olive, a police officer’s lawsuit says his firing was unlawful, according to the Daily Record.
In Ocean City, a councilman says a bank project’s temporary sidewalks are too narrow, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
In Peapack-Gladstone, borough hall was briefly shut down, according to NJ Hills.
In Plainfield, a court restored a police officer’s age discrimination lawsuit, according to MyCentralJersey.
In South Amboy, a wind energy project could power up to 1.4M homes, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Washington Township, the school district won a tenure fight against an ‘intolerant’ teacher, according to Burlington County Times
ICYMI: In Newark, city unveiled a statue of history-making former Mayor Kenneth Gibson; in Newark, no clear alternative to Baraka, sources say Amador won’t seek re-election; in Newark, James considers the impact of the extraction of troops; in North Arlington, former Mayor Kaiser passed away; in Paterson, officials toured Ida shelter; in Penns Grove, former councilman charged w/ underreporting income; in Newark, DOJ reached settlement with schools; in Hoboken, workers rallied for benefits; in Chatham, key issue revolves around Nazis and Elie Wiesel.
Insider NJ columnist Carl Golden writes ‘Murphy V. Ciattarelli: A Dramatic Sea Change Unlikely‘
Insider NJ columnist Alan Joel Steinberg writes ‘In Virginia gubernatorial election, Republican Glenn Youngkin may succeed where Jack Ciattarelli is failing in New Jersey‘
Insider NJ columnist and ELEC Executive Director Jeffrey Brindle writes ‘Steps to Strengthen Political Parties Remain Necessary Despite Deep-seated Distrust‘
AROUND THE WEB:
Matt Friedman, Politico
- Ed Forchion, better known as “NJ Weedman,” has proudly flouted cannabis prohibition for years. By his own count, he has between 1,100 and 1,200 days of incarceration to show for it. But now, he may be ready to go legit.
Dana DiFilippo, New Jersey Monitor
- Nearly 8,100 people experienced homelessness on a single January night this year in New Jersey, with nearly a quarter of them living in Essex County, according to a new report on the federally mandated annual enumeration known as the Point in Time Count.
Matt Rooney, Save Jersey
- The usual fall campaign debate goes something like this: Democrats promise more spending, and Republicans promise less and/or lower taxes. And on and on it goes. We’ve heard it all before. This season, Jack Ciattarelli – the GOP nominee taking on Governor Phil Murphy – is hoping to take the conversation in a new direction over the final several weeks of the race. To begin with: what government do we actually need? And for the stuff we do need, is there a better way to get it done?
John Heinis, Hudson County View
- The Hoboken Board of Education renewed Superintendent of Schools Dr. Christine Johnson’s contract through June 30th, 2026, approving a five-year deal that could max out her annual salary at $264,890 if quantitative and qualitative merit goals are met.
David Cruz, NJ Spotlight
- For decades, lawmakers and education advocates have looked at ways to correct school-funding inequities. But even with those attempts, new reports show Black and brown students still aren’t getting the same resources for equal education opportunities as their white peers.
Wayne Parry, Associated Press
- Federal officials on Tuesday warned of a “dire” situation that is likely to get worse as they explained details of a $16 billion plan to lessen back bay flooding, one of the major sources of storm damage at the Jersey Shore.
Dana DiFilippo, New Jersey Monitor
- In a win for advocates of governmental transparency, the New Jersey Supreme Court on Monday sided with a dog-fence vendor who fought for the names and addresses of Jersey City dog owners, declaring such information is public record regardless of who asks and why.
New Jersey Hills
- The K-12 Morris School District Board of Education appointed former District Superintendent Thomas Ficarra as the interim superintendent at its Monday, Sept. 20 public meeting.
Jim Walsh, Cherry Hill Courier-Post
- Afghan refugees aren’t the only ones coming to a military base here. Air National Guard members, reservists and active-duty personnel from across the country have arrived to help evacuees adjust to a new life here. The deployed forces are helping an evacuee population that’s reached 95% capacity at two of three planned communities at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, according to an account released Monday.
Star-Ledger Editorial Board
- Marijuana is legal in New Jersey, but if you get caught with a single plant on a windowsill in your flat, it’s still a third-degree crime that can earn you a 3- to 5-year residency in the crowbar hotel. This makes no sense, of course, since the guy on the other side of your living room wall is probably smoking the same plant.
Dennis Malloy, NJ1015
- Most police officers that we know in New Jersey don’t think Murphy has their backs. That’s putting it mildly. The New Jersey FOP, the second largest police union in the state is not endorsing Murphy. They’re not endorsing his Republican candidate either. Check it out HERE. At least not outwardly.
- Gov. Phil Murphy last week signed into law an eight-bill package designed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of New Jersey veterans and those who care for them during a public health crisis. The laws range from increased communications and transparency to new health care qualifications for key leadership positions at three state-run veterans homes where at least 205 have died from COVID-19 in one of the nation’s worst nursing home death tolls.