InsiderNJ’s Who’s Up and Who’s Down: The Week NJ Got Whacked



First of all, InsiderNJ would like to extend profound condolences to state Senator Ronald L. Rice (D-28) and his family in their time of bereavement. The veteran senator from Newark this week lost his beloved wife Shirley.

Who’s Up


Mike Testa

Partner in the Vineland-based family law firm, the star Republican state senator from LD1 made a compelling case before the New Jersey Supreme Court in condemning Governor Phil Murphy’s nearly $10 billion borrowing plan for skirting voter approval, “improperly treating borrowed funds as real revenue and not precisely saying how the money would be spent…. “The Murphy administration,” said Testa, “hasn’t even identified what the shortfall in the budget precisely is.”

Mark Sheridan

The GOP crack attorney argued the GOP case for Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli and got into his own verbal exchange with the Supreme Court in going after Murphy’s borrowing plan. One of the constitutional arguments Sheridan made had to do with “anticipated and unanticipated costs.  Under this train of thought, borrowing is permitted for unanticipated costs in an emergency, but not anticipated ones,” according to InsiderNJ columnist Fred Snowflack, who keyed into the Wednesday hearing.

Matthew Conlon

This week from The Trentonian:  The former acting clerk of Longport hired on as the clerk of the City of Trenton. The city council gave Conlon its unanmous approval at a virtual meeting on Thursday. Conlon will replace interim clerk Eric Berry.

John McKeon

The West Orange-based assemblyman has proved one of the most active, aggressive, reasoned and


engaged public advocates during the COVID-19 crisis, taking the lead last week on the floor of the Assembly to argue the merits of Governor Murphy’s borrowing plan and on A-4389, which would require entities authorized to issue health benefits plans to pay annual assessments based on net written premiums, and this week stepping up efforts on behalf of New Jersey to urge congressional delegation action on the imperilled 2020 census.

Black Lives Matter Morristown

The activist group demanded the Attorney General investigate the hanging death of 20-year-old Amani Kildea (ruled a suicide by the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office), and this week, when InsiderNJ columnist Fred Snowflack asked AG Gurbir Grewal about the case, Grewal said, “We’re involved, we’re always involved.”

Who’s Down

House Partiers

To hit head-on a continuing upward climb in COVID-19 cases, Governor Phil Murphy on Monday announced his decision to retighten restrictions on house parties, limiting gatherings to 25% of a room’s capacity with a maximum of 25 people, down from 100. “The actions of a few knuckleheads leave us no other course. until we see the rate of transmission drop appreciably, these restrictions will remain in place,” Murphy said. “We remain in a public health emergency. Everyone needs to get it together, folks, and fast. This is not yet past us.”


Mayors this week criticized the power company for what they say was “poor communication and prolonged waits two days” after Hurricane Isaias ravaged the state. had more on this story here.


Short of legislation passing by Senators Loretta Weinberg and Joe Vitale to make many records created during a health crisis subject to OPRA, New Jersey could remain at a heightened level not only of COVID-19 devastation but obfuscation. From InsiderNJ star Fred Snowflack: “Shortly after the pandemic broke, the Legislature made it harder for taxpayers to get public information from their government. That was accomplished by doing away with the requirement that public bodies respond to requests under the Open Public Records Act, or OPRA, in seven business days or less. Doing away with the seven-day mandate was allegedly necessary because many public employees were not working from their offices.”

Fiodaliso. InsiderNJ.

1.4 million New Jerseyans

That’s the number of people who lost power this week owing to the wrath of Hurricane Isiasis. “New Jersey got literally whacked,” Board of Public Utilities President Joe Fiordaliso said at Governor Phil Murphy’s August 5th COVID-19 press briefing.

NJ National Guard

“President Donald Trump has decided to stop paying the full cost of deploying New Jersey National Guard troops to help fight the coronavirus, a move that could add $3.5 million to the cash-strapped state’s pandemic bill,” according to this report by Jonathan Salant.

Urban Populations Seeking Representation

NJTV’s Brenda Flanagan this week reports that New Jersey Counts Project Director Patricia Williamson “warns the state’s hard-to-count cities, places with high minority and immigrant populations, still lag by 20% or more in completing the 2020 census.

County Party Organizations

County political parties this year have had their smallest six-month fund-raising haul in 20 years, largely due to a sharp drop-off during the second quarter, according to reports filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC).

Jones, right and Currie, two emblems of political parties.
Jones, right and Currie, two recognizable emblems of political party organizations.
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