INSIDERNJ’S WHO’S UP AND WHO’S DOWN: Week of the Suez/KKR Debacle

Turner

It was interesting this week to observe the fallout of the League of Conservation Voters’ endorsement of Assemblyman Roy Freiman (D-16) and the league’s decision to not endorse climate change leader Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-16), Freilman’s running mate in a fairly competitive legislative district.

The League, Zwicker said, was angry at him for backing the good government, so-called ‘dark money’ bill, which require 501(c)4’s like the League to disclose their donors and ban elected officials from serving on their boards.

In the name of solidarity with his running mate, Freiman rejected the League’s endorsement.

Backing the incumbent Democrat (a Princeton plasma physicist) NJ Sierra Club Chief Jeff Tittel noted that his group only supported newcomer Freiman in 2017 on the strength of Zwicker’s impeccable environmental record.

The League pushed back.

But Zwicker’s argument was fairly compelling – his record clear and consistent, both on the environment and government – and the fact that his running mate stood with him demonstrated team unity as the pair of incumbents try to head off Republican challengers Mark Caliguire and Christine Madrid of Montgomery.

While Zwicker and Freiman tangled with the League, the Republicans – in a tough environment in this battleground – opened up another attack line on the Democrats.

WHO’S UP

Julia Fahl

In an example of government actually doing something for a change, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) officials, along with State Senator Shirley Turner (D-15) (pictured, above) and Lambertville Mayor Fahl, this week celebrated the completion of a Route 29 safety improvement project. The Fahl Administration fixed in a few months what previous leadership had mulled for 20 years.

Sapana Shah

The former history-making councilwoman (the first South Asian woman ever to serve on the local governing body) will run for mayor of Edison in 2021. It’s still obviously early, but Shah – thrown off the line by the old boys’ club – at this point in time is the only female name contender or soon-to-be contender.

Marshall Spevak

Previously Deputy Executive Director of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority in Atlantic City and Chief of Staff to Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo and Assemblyman John Armato of Atlantic County, Spevak this week joined MWWPR as Vice President, Public Affairs based in the Trenton office.

Amit Jani

The former Director of AAPI Outreach for Phil Murphy’s gubernatorial campaign, Bob Menendez for U.S. Senate, and the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, Jani this week joined the Joe Biden campaign as the National Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Director.

Charlene Walker

A past community leader with Faith in New Jersey, Walker will assume the role of executive director of the statewide interfaith multi-ethnic organizing coalitionShe will officially start in her new role on Monday, September 30, taking over from retired Executive Director Archange Antoine.

WHO’S DOWN

Michael Jackson

The Ward One Paterson councilman made a fool out of himself when he uttered a hateful, prejudiced comment at this week’s council meeting. Speaking out against a developer’s plan to revitalize Hinchliffe Stadium, Jackson said  “Jew us down” in reference to what he indicates are poor past city deals. Ward 6 Councilman Al Abdel-azziz immediately condemned the bigoted remark, and Passaic Freeholder Assad Akhter penned a column, “Antisemitism has no Place in Paterson,” which InsiderNJ posted here.

Phil Murphy

It was bad enough that Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) walks around “pissed” at the governor of New Jersey (what a wonderful state). Now Speaker Craig Coughlin is also “pissed.” It’s a state where two-thirds of the guys running the state are (don’t forget ‘inordinately‘) “pissed” at the other third.

Tom Lankey

Edison residents this week overwhelmingly voted to retain community ownership and maintenance of the city’s drinking water and sewer treatment systems, handing a concussive loss to the mayor, who supported an alternative plan to transfer operations to private companies. The vote was 8,874 in favor of public water ownership and 1,637 against. The vote confirmed the belief of many who did not see the mayor’s negotiations as sufficiently transparent.

Suez and KKR

Voters in Edison not only chopped down Lankey, but dealt a mortal blow to the deal he struck with the two companies that would have assumed ownership and maintenance of Edison’s water supply in what (at the outset) would have been worth almost $1 billion and lasted 40 years. The deal had included a $105 million concession fee, which would be used, in part, to fund a new community recreation center.

Edison still didn’t like it.

At all.

PennEast

The state of New Jersey this week won its appeal in the U.S Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit which challenged FERC’s decision to allow PennEast to use eminent domain on state owner properties.

From Politico:

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that PennEast can’t condemn state-owned land for construction of its 120-mile pipeline, a major blow to a project private homeowners, environmental advocates and the state attorney general’s office have been fighting. The ruling effectively blocks PennEast from building the natural gas line on land owned by the state of New Jersey. 

“This is a giant win for the environment and a victory in a battle to stop the PennEast Pipeline. New Jersey won its appeal against PennEast to sue for eminent domain on state land. The U.S Court of Appeals ruled that PennEast does not have the authority to use eminent domain on state land because the state of New Jersey has sovereign immunity.  This means PennEast cannot do anything on state owned land until the lawsuit is over, said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “The court ruling is a big victory for the preservation of open space and the right of the state of New Jersey to protect those lands. This is a major setback for PennEast and helps us in our battle to delay and finally kill this dangerous and damaging pipeline.”

Kathy McBride

We were going to try to get through the week without hearing another idiotic racist comment from an elected official, but then we got this: “During the discussions, McBride allegedly said an attorney from the city’s law department was “able to wait her out and Jew her down” for a lesser settlement, according to an email obtained by The Trentonian.

That’s the council president talking.

 

 

 

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