A while agoI wrote an article posing this question: Can Rep. Tom Malinowski, already written off by New Jersey Democrats, find hope in the backlash to the Supreme Court’s then-pending decision to overturn Roe v. Wade?
A lot of pundits, including Democrats, didn’t think so. But this week Kansas provided the first real world, non-polling data point. An attempt to remove abortion rights from that state’s Constitution failed, with 59 percent voting against it. Kansas.
I’m not sure to what extent you can read into New Jersey results from Kansas. But in this case it motivated voters more than expected, and in a state far more red than New Jersey. A key difference is that the question was on abortion itself, not a choice of candidates who support abortion rights or don’t, or support unfettered access versus more restricted access.
But there’s no question that abortion is now a more potent issue, and New Jersey Democrats — buffeted by inflation and an unpopular president — are jumping on it.
DAYS SINCE MURPHY REFUSED TO SAY WHETHER HIS WIFE’S NON-PROFIT SHOULD DISCLOSE DONORS: 170
WHERE’S MURPHY? No public schedule
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I have no idea what happened. But it certainly is not being presented the way it happened. I mean, I was there. I was in the capital Jan. 6, I was at the rally.” — Sherry Nardolillo, a 2020 election conspiracy theorist who’s been selected by Morris Township Republicans to run for an open council seat in the swing town.
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY — NJ Sustainable Business Council’s Richard Lawton, Sussex County Surrogate Gary Chiusano, NJ Advance Media’s Amy Kuperinsky, OAG’s Stephanie Doherty
DEEP SHBP —Unions: Freeze contributions, use Covid relief funds to offset proposed hikes in public workers’ health care premiums, by POLITICO’s Daniel Han: Some of the state’s top union leaders are requesting that public employees’ health care contributions be frozen at current levels and that federal Covid relief funds be used to help offset proposed rate increases for those workers’ health insurance. In a letter to Gov. Phil Murphy obtained by POLITICO, the leaders of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO, Communications Workers of America, New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association and other public employee unions say the steep proposed rate increases to the State Health Benefits Program would “cause a financial crisis for New Jersey workers, the public and State and local governments.” The union leaders also criticized top officials from the the Department of Treasury, which oversees the public employee health insurance program, and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, which administers the health insurance plans.
PRISONS — “NJ’s high court backs compassionate release law,” by NJ Spotlight News’ Colleen O’Dea: “The New Jersey Supreme Court weighed in Wednesday for the first time on the 18-month-old “compassionate release” law, declining to parole a seriously ill inmate convicted of three murders in an opinion that could eventually make it a little easier for terminally ill and significantly disabled prisoners to win early release. In the case involving a 73-year-old inmate, identified as F.E.D. because the law enacted in 2020 requires confidentiality, the justices unanimously agreed that his condition does not rise to the level of permanent incapacity required for release. The decision sets criteria that are less stringent than an earlier appellate panel did. “We do not concur with the appellate court that the Compassionate Release Statute requires that an inmate prove that he is unable to perform any activity of basic daily living in order to establish a ‘permanent physical incapacity,’” Associate Justice Anne Patterson wrote in the decision.’ … The opinion could help inmates deemed terminally ill or who have a higher level of disability than F.E.D. be released if they can prove they do not pose a public threat.”
CANADIAN NIGHTMARE — “Murphy gives American Dream mall a vote of confidence: ‘I don’t see it failing’,” by The Record’s Daniel Munoz: “Despite a cascade of woeful financial news about the American Dream megamall and entertainment complex, Gov. Phil Murphy predicted Tuesday that the Meadowlands site’s best days are still ahead of it. ‘I don’t see it failing,’ Murphy told reporters during an appearance in East Rutherford, two days after news broke that the complex, built with more than $1 billion in state subsidies, had missed an Aug. 1 deadline for a loan payment. ‘We have to root for its success,’ Murphy said when asked about American Dream. ‘Clearly the combination of the pandemic, the e-commerce reality in the world, were both working against the prospects of that place.’”
PBCS KNOWN TO CAUSE LATOURETTE SYNDROME — “N.J. sues Monsanto over ‘reckless’ PCB contamination, including along Delaware River,” by The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Frank Kummer: “The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection filed suit Thursday against Monsanto for ‘extensive damage’ caused by PCB contamination, citing ‘reckless long-term discharge of’ polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) statewide and noting pollution from a company facility in Gloucester County on the Delaware River. State officials allege that Monsanto ‘knew decades ago that exposure to PCBs was potentially harmful to human and animal health.’ The civil suit filed in Superior Court in Woodbury, Gloucester County, seeks unspecified damages. It alleges that PCBs made by Monsanto ‘have caused significant, long-term damage to New Jersey’s surface waters, groundwater, soil and air, as well as fish, birds, and other wildlife.’ … The lawsuit says 6,000 miles of river, 14,000 acres of lakes, and 400 square miles of bays and estuaries in New Jersey have been damaged by PCB contamination.”
TEACHER SHORTAGE— “Amid teacher shortage, N.J. looks for ways to make it easier to become an educator,” by NJ Advance Media’s Tina Kelley: “In a marathon 4.5 hour public meeting, the New Jersey Board of Education Wednesday reviewed a host of rule changes regarding standards required to enter the teaching force. The discussion, ranged from creating alternatives to passing the basic skills exam for teaching candidates, improving mentoring for new teachers, allowing teachers to choose their own professional development courses, and helping existing teachers qualify to teach hard-to-fill math and science classes. The discussion occurred against a backdrop of teacher shortages in New Jersey and around the nation. Even though the New Jersey legislature passed a bill in January to address pandemic-related staff shortages, allowing retired teachers to return to the classroom, staffing remains tight.”
WHY CHANGE PERFECTION? — Port Authority pushes ahead on massive overhaul of bus terminal, by POLITICO’s Danielle Muoio Dunn: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has selected two architecture firms to realize its vision for a brand new bus terminal, moving forward on a multibillion dollar construction initiative that will dramatically change Manhattan’s west side. The bistate agency has selected the firms Foster + Partners and Epstein and Sons International to handle the development that’s expected to span eight years and cost up to $10 billion
—Golden: “Murphy’s deliberate, slow supreme court walk”
CAMDEN — Activists surprised Camden officials now support their proposed residency ordinance, by POLITICO’s Matt Friedman: A group of activists, surprised that Camden officials now plan to consider their proposed ordinance that would require major employers to disclose where their workers live, say they want to carefully review amendments put forth by the city before signing off. The activists filed a lawsuit last month after the city clerk rejected their proposal, partly on the grounds the city didn’t have the authority to enact such a law. But the clerk reversed course, and now the City Council plans to vote on an amended version of it on Tuesday, with Mayor Vic Carstarphen and Council President Angel Fuentes issuing statements of support. “My reaction was shock,” said Ronsha Dickerson, a member of the Camden We Choose coalition and a frequent critic of the local Democratic machine that runs the city’s government. “Have I read over all of the proposed new ordinance? I have not. And I want to take a moment to look at it with a really fine eye with people who are sharper and wiser than me. I don’t want to say yes just because it feels like an easy victory.”
CURETISM — “Bergen sheriff hired his nephew. Then he issued a nepotism policy 6 months later,” by The Record’s Steve Janoski: “In February, Bergen County Sheriff Anthony Cureton hired his nephew as a sheriff’s investigator, a patronage post that let his nephew become a cop without going through the state’s rigid civil service process. Just six months later — and now that his nephew, Justin Cureton, is already on the force — the sheriff has issued a new anti-nepotism policy that would likely block this kind of hire in the future. The policy … took effect July 21 and prohibits Sheriff’s Office staff from appointing, promoting or supervising family members — including uncles and nephews . Cureton, a Democrat in his second term, did not respond to inquiries about why he created the rule after he hired his nephew, if he plans to recuse himself from any future employment issues concerning his nephew (as the policy states he must) or if the policy would have barred him from hiring Justin Cureton if it had been in place earlier this year. Cureton’s directive comes in the wake of a law signed in January by Gov. Phil Murphy that allows some entry-level officers to skip the civil service exam. But it requires sheriff’s offices to adopt nepotism and conflict-of-interest policies before they participate.”
AMY DEGISE DOESN’T RESPECT OUR VETS — “Hit-and-run Councilwoman DeGise left $3K animal hospital bill unpaid — until court garnished her pay,” by The Jersey Journal’s Joshua Rosario: “The Jersey City councilwoman under fire for a hit-and-run crash has been ordered by a Hudson County court to pay a nearly $3,000 veterinarian bill. Court records show that Oradell Animal Hospital in Paramus won a default judgment against embattled Councilwoman-at-Large Amy DeGise earlier this year after the councilwoman failed to pay $2,865 for services rendered. The revelation of the judgment continues a disturbing pattern for DeGise, the daughter of Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise … Spokesman Phil Swibinski said DeGise never received any correspondence from the court and pointed out that her address on the court documents is incorrect. While she lives at 132 Audubon Ave., the court papers went to 140 Audubon Ave. — her boyfriend’s apartment in the same College Towers complex.”
TARARISM — “Paramus’ Tara Setmayer is at the top of her game. She’s also a target,” by The Record’s Jim Beckerman: “Tara Setmayer, political commentator, former CNN regular, frequent guest and recent frontrunner for co-host on The View — she just lost the spot to Alyssa Farah Griffin and Ana Navarro — has been that kind of conservative ever since she decorated her bicycle red white and blue for the annual Paramus 4th of July parade. Her particular roots are Jersey — from the topsoil down. ‘My great-grandparents settled in Paramus when it was still celery fields,’ she said … Her values: Family, law and order, personal responsibility rather than welfare. Classically, impeccably conservative. And now there are conservatives who want to see her dead. ‘The threats are so extensive that the FBI was involved at one point, and also the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department,’ she said.”
THE RODENTS’ REPUBLIC OF MONTCLAIR — “Montclair is battling a booming rat population. Here’s what we know,” by The Record’s Julia Martin: “Jason Gleason, executive director of the Montclair Business Improvement District, estimates that the rat population downtown has doubled in the past year, thanks largely to the construction of the new parking deck on Glenridge Avenue, which caused a stretch of Bloomfield Avenue businesses to lose access to dumpsters in back of their stores. Instead, some businesses started to leave their refuse on the street for pickup, sometimes in plastic garbage bags, sans cans. Others, seeing the bags, started doing the same. While the situation has improved this year, it allowed rats, which can reproduce at a prodigious rate, to get a bigger stronghold in town. “We had some rodent activity before, like any downtown,” Gleason said. “But now the rat problem is on the agenda of most of our meetings. We joke that we should put saddles on them and make them an attraction.”
BIAS ATTACK — “‘We lock the door’: Paterson mosque-goers fearful after second bias attack,” by The Record’s Hannan Adely: “Worshippers at the Islamic Congregation of North Jersey in Paterson were pelted with rocks while praying Monday evening in the second alleged bias attack in eight months, according to mosque leaders and authorities. At around 8:25 p.m., three young men came in through the front door while around 100 people were gathered for sunset prayer, said Burhan Uddin, a board member at the mosque, which is also known as Masjid Abu Bakr. One held the door while the others threw rocks, he said. Two people were struck on the leg, but no one was injured, Uddin added. Surveillance video and photos from mosque cameras show three men fleeing the scene, with worshippers chasing them. No arrests have been made.”
MONKEYPOX — “Demand for monkeypox vaccine exceeds supply in NJ as cases spread,” by The Record’s Lindy Washburn: “New Jersey’s limited supply of monkeypox vaccine, released from the nation’s Strategic National Stockpile, has not kept up with demand. Even with strict eligibility criteria, appointments are filled within minutes of their announcement. All 100 appointments for monkeypox vaccinations were full Thursday as patients arrived at Bergen New Bridge Medical Center from Old Bridge, Hillside, South and East Brunswick, and Teaneck for the shots. At other centers, appointments were mostly full and callers were turned away. The governor’s request last week for an increase in the state’s vaccine allocation from the Biden administration remains unanswered, a Health Department spokeswoman said. The state has received about 5,500 doses so far, with 14,520 more expected in the coming weeks. A ‘majority of doses’ have been administered or committed to appointments. the spokeswoman said.”
—Lassiter: “Whistling past monkeypox”
SOUL FOOD — “Hobby’s delicatessen reopens in Newark as a beloved city landmark returns,” by TAPIntoNewark’s Mark J. Bonamo: “In a moment that for many is both a miracle and a mitzvah, Hobby’s Delicatessen reopened in downtown Newark, fixing a hole in some hungry hearts and stomachs. ‘It took a love of the business and a love of family to make it back,’ said Marc Brummer, sitting next to his brother and co-owner Michael amidst the happy cacophony of a busy deli back to work after more than two years of a COVID created shutdown. ‘Our customers never stopped reaching out to us. This is very emotional.’”
CORRECTION — Yesterday I included the wrong byline on this Jersey Journal article about Amy DeGise’s restricted-income apartment. It was by The Jersey Journal’s Jake Maher.