N.Y. continues to make N.J. politics look tame
Good Wednesday morning!
Political gravity finally caught up with the governor across the Hudson, who announced his resignation Tuesday amid a huge sexual harassment scandal rather than face impeachment. This came after the president and our own governor called on him to resign, along with pretty much everyone else in the Democratic Party.
I don’t know how acquainted Gov. Phil Murphy is with New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, but I’m sure they’ll get to know each other pretty well now.
Since this isn’t New York, the political implications here are fairly limited. But it’s probably preferable for Murphy not to have the Cuomo scandal in the headlines every day post-Labor Day, which would have made it easy for Jack Ciattarelli’s campaign to bring up the Murphy administration’s scandals when it comes to alleged sexual assault, harassment and discrimination.
But the real, practical effect will be in the ways our states are governmentally intertwined. Will relations at the Port Authority change? Will Hochul be more or less amenable than Cuomo in coming to an agreement on Gateway funding?
Fun fact: According to Ballotpedia, New Jersey has had more governors resign since 1776 than any other state, with a total of 12. Yet somehow only one was scandal-related.
WHERE’S MURPHY? Italy. Acting Gov. Sheila Oliver is in Trenton for an 11 a.m. bill signing to create a “Restorative and Transformative Justice for Youths and Communities Pilot Program,” to be known by the acronym RATJFYACPP
HAPPY BIRTHDAY — Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin, Hamilton Deputy COS Kate Bradley, Local 54’s Ben Albert, Sires spox Erica Daughtery, Menendez staffer Aileen McCandless, former congressional candidate Antony Ghee
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “And I met Jack, who’s running for governor in New Jersey, and he is a great candidate. I don’t know if he can win. I hope he does.” — Virginia GOP gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin, as captured by the Democratic super PAC American Bridge
Americans are sick of paying the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs — more than three times what people in other countries pay for the same medicine. The President, members of Congress in both parties, and the people agree: we must cut drug prices.
By giving Medicare the power to negotiate, we can save hundreds of billions of dollars. Tell Congress: Cut prescription drug prices now.
NOW HOW ARE THOSE OFFICERS SUPPOSED TO GET JOBS AT OTHER DEPARTMENTS? — “N.J. police name officers found guilty of misconduct, reversing years of secrecy,” by NJ Advance Media’s Blake Nelson, S.P. Sullivan and Joe Atmonavage: “A Sparta officer allegedly shoved and injured a woman while off-duty. One Bernards Township officer drove drunk. A state trooper is accused of knowingly writing a false report. For the first time, law enforcement agencies throughout New Jersey publicly identified those and other officers who were recently found guilty of misconduct. At least 35 people who were fired, demoted or suspended for more than five days last year were named Monday, the deadline issued by the state attorney general after a heated court battle. The details provided about each incident vary widely, with some departments offering only a single sentence to describe the misconduct. Police had long hidden which officers broke the rules until former state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal ordered departments to reverse course last year, shortly after a Minneapolis police officer murdered George Floyd and spurred deeper scrutiny of law enforcement nationwide. Police unions sued over the directive, arguing that disclosures would embarrass or endanger officers who may have only made minor mistakes. The state Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favor of the plan.”
— @CJGriffinEsq: “Remember my tweet about anonymous cops who were disciplined in JC? JCPD has released a new version w/ the names. Surprise (not), they provide FAR fewer details now. We need to pass #S2656 so we can see the actual files, not this spin”
EDNA MAHAN — New Jersey, DOJ reach agreement on reforms for Edna Mahan prison, by POLITICO’s Daniel Han: A The U.S. Department of Justice and the state of New Jersey have reached an agreement that would boost protections for inmates at the beleaguered Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women, where inmates have faced sexual assault and abuse by prison staffers for years. The proposed federal consent decree would implement safeguards to combat sexual abuse and violence at the Hunterdon County facility, which is the state’s only women’s prison. It would also provide methods for reporting sexual abuse, increase accountability for staff misconduct, provide transparency with prison stakeholders, including former inmates, and appoint an independent monitor to make sure the state is compliant with the reforms. The decree was filed alongside a federal complaint and still must be approved by a judge … “Edna Mahan staff has failed to implement reasonable reforms necessary to put in place changes that will protect women from sexual abuse,” Kristen Clarke, the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s civil rights division, said in a call with reporters.
OH YEAH, CAMPAIGNS GO ON. EVEN WHEN THE CHANCE OF WINNING IS GONE — “The ‘Jack and Diane’ show is headed deep into Trumpland as NJ GOP departs reality,” by The Record’s Charles Stile: “Allen, a career moderate, more in the mold of liberal Republican former Gov. Christie Whitman and embraced by liberal Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy, quickly morphed into a culture war conservative … ‘I mean right now, look at all these people with COVID who are coming across the border, and it scares me. They’re put on buses. I’d expect some of them are coming up to New Jersey — not a good idea,’’ she said on the New Jersey Globe Power Hour radio show on Saturday … Allen served up some other red meat for the GOP base … Allen’s sudden conversion from a moderate to a Fox News fear-mongerer is stunning. Selecting Allen seemed a shrewd move on Ciattarelli’s part. He enlisted a moderate to give him some needed cover. Allen was an exemplar of bipartisan governance, the fierce fighter for pay equity whose name was used for the law Murphy signed in 2018 — a signing ceremony in which the governor was surrounded and cheered on by a cross-section of prominent female legislators … It’s also hard to see where the campaign is going with this. Several strategies may be at play here”
— Lassiter: “Diane Allen goes full MAGA”
— “Latino groups, politicians condemn Allen immigration comments”
HOW LOW CAN YOU GO? — Sweeney keeping Chris Brown’s replacement in legislative limbo, by POLITICO’s Matt Friedman: What’s in a title? For residents of Atlantic County, it could be a lot. At least that’s what Republican state Sen.-select Vince Polistina, who wants his title changed to “state senator,” says. Last Wednesday, the Atlantic County Republican Committee selected Polistina, an engineer and former assemblymember, to temporarily fill the Senate seat in the 2nd Legislative District after the GOP incumbent, Chris Brown, resigned to take a position in the Murphy administration as an adviser on Atlantic City issues. Polistina wants to take the oath of office and become a full-fledged state senator. But in late June, Senate President Steve Sweeney, who traditionally administers the oath, gaveled the chamber out of session with no plans to return until after the November election. The fact that Polistina is in a competitive race with Assemblymember Vince Mazzeo (D-Atlantic) for a full Senate term doesn’t give Sweeney much motivation to call his members back into session, swear Polistina in and allow a Republican to run as an incumbent against someone whose win would add a member to Sweeney’s majority in the upper house, which stands at 25-14.
— “Police can’t secretly record phone calls, N.J.’s top court rules in win for privacy advocates,” by The New Jersey Monitor’s Dana DiFilippo: “Law enforcement in New Jersey cannot secretly record telephone calls made in police stations or use any information they hear in such calls because surreptitious recordings violate constitutionally protected privacy rights, the New Jersey Supreme Court decreed in a ruling issued Tuesday. In writing the unanimous decision, Justice Barry T. Albin said a police station ‘is not a constitution-free zone.’ ‘The warrantless and surreptitious monitoring or recording of calls of an arrestee who is presumed innocent does not comport with the values of privacy that are prized in our free society,’ the ruling reads.
— Wildstein: “Before you start drawing maps, here are some things you need to know about redistricting”
— “How Loretta Weinberg, other N.J. politicians reacted to Andrew Cuomo resignation”
— Gopal and Lagana: “NJ veterans home residents deserve protection after COVID-19. Here’s how”
— “Some North Jersey educators ‘relieved’ mask mandate reinstated, out of their hands”
— Dismal Swamp renamed ‘Peter J. Barnes III Wildlife Preserve’
INFRASTRUCTURE MONTHS — Senate passes bipartisan infrastructure bill — but what comes next won’t be easy, by POLITICO Pro Transportation’s Tanya Snyder: The Senate passed its bipartisan infrastructure plan Tuesday after months of fractious negotiations among lawmakers and the White House — but the path ahead may be just as torturous. Now Democrats must keep their own party in line as they attempt to move the infrastructure bill forward in the House, where it will eventually be paired with a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package loaded with their party’s climate, health and social priorities. Because of the way reconciliation works, Democrats won’t need any Republican votes for that huge bill — but they will need every Democratic senator’s support. At the moment, though, backers of the bipartisan deal are in a mood to celebrate … The House poses its own set of questions. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly said she won’t bring the infrastructure bill to a floor vote until the Senate also passes the reconciliation bill, a process that could take months. That bill would include other Democratic priorities such as climate change, child care, elder care and housing but is unlikely to significantly boost other transportation priorities already included in the bipartisan deal, despite some progressives’ wishes to the contrary.
—“FBI to review 9/11 documents related to Saudi Arabia for possible public release”
NYT LEARNING HOW TO WRITE ONLINE HEADLINES FROM NJ ADVANCE MEDIA — “As overdoses soar, this state’s largest needle exchange is being evicted,” by The New York Times’ Tracey Tulley: “Atlantic City’s syringe-access program, born in the wake of the AIDS crisis, has been ordered to close amid two new health emergencies: a record-setting spike in opioid overdoses nationwide and a pandemic that has exposed profound flaws in the health care safety net, particularly among the poor and in communities of color. ‘It comes at the worst possible time,’ said Gregg Gonsalves, an AIDS activist and associate professor at the Yale School of Public Health. ‘In the middle of one gigantic new pandemic, do we really have to revive old ones?’”
FENCES NOT MENDEZED — “‘You are unwelcome.’ Paterson rivals McKoy and Mendez get into altercation at Eastside Park,” by The Paterson Times: “Former councilman William McKoy held the annual Jamaica Day Festival at Eastside Park over the weekend. He was displeased to see his political rival, councilman Alex Mendez, who defeated him to win the 3rd Ward council seat, at the event on Sunday evening. McKoy is seen in a brief video confronting Mendez. ‘You are unwelcome here!’ McKoy, a former five-term councilman, tells Mendez. McKoy is seen flailing his hands and getting ever closer to Mendez’s face. Mendez largely remains calm. He is heard saying, ‘Put your hands down.’ Others are seen intervening and pulling McKoy away. ‘You’re not Jamaican. Go away from here,’ another man, standing next to McKoy, tells Mendez. It’s not clear what triggered the hostilities at Eastside Park between the two men. Both men have built up considerable bad blood over the past year and half by fighting for the same 3rd Ward City Council seat … … ‘He was about to punch me,’said Mendez, speaking of McKoy, on Monday morning. ‘He looked like he was drunk.’”
‘ANTIQUES ROADSHOW,’ PATERSON EDITION — “Paterson-area residents dust off vintage firearms for gun buyback program,” by The Paterson Press’ Ed Rumley: “One man brought a rifle that needed gunpowder poured into its muzzle before it could be fired. Another had two BB guns. A third was holding a shotgun made in the 1940s … Mayor Andre Sayegh said 281 guns were collected during Saturday’s buyback. But authorities have not released a detailed breakdown of the types of weapons turned in at the no-questions-asked event, one that law enforcement officials said was designed to address the spike in shootings in Paterson and other New Jersey cities. The vast majority of people bringing guns to the collection sites were middle-aged or senior citizens. Most suspected shooters arrested in Paterson are in their teens, 20s and 30s.”
‘REFLECTION.’ IS THAT WHAT WE’RE CALLING IT THESE DAYS? — “Edison Mayor Thomas Lankey drops bid for reelection,” by MyCentralersey’s Suzanne Russell: “Democratic Mayor Thomas Lankey has dropped his bid for reelection to a third term as an independent candidate in November’s election. Lankey’s township council running mates, … also have dropped out of the race … Council Vice President Samip ‘Sam’ Joshi won the June Democratic primary for mayor … ‘After much reflection, I believe that now is the time for me to unify the Democratic Party and endorse Sam Joshi to lead our town as its next mayor.’ Lankey said … The move to drop out of the race was not totally unexpected. Lankey had attended Joshi’s primary victory celebration.”
DAVID SAMSON DID WARN AGAINST PLAYING IN TRAFFIC — “We gathered 10 years of data on pedestrian fatalities in North Jersey. Here’s what we found,” by The Record’s Jessie Gomez: “NorthJersey.com filed public records requests to the 171 police departments across North Jersey and requested fatal motor vehicle accidents reports involving pedestrians between 2010 and 2020. Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Morris and Sussex counties reported 296 such deaths on highways and streets. As safety experts project an increase in fatalities nationwide, New Jersey trends are also on the rise. A combination of high speeds, lack of infrastructure for pedestrians and arterial roadways accounted for the increase, experts said. Year-to-date statewide police data shows over 340 motor vehicle fatalities were reported so far in 2021, which includes pedestrians and bicyclists. That is a more than a 7% increase from the fatalities reported in 2020, according to state police data. In North Jersey, the trend is on a slight decline.”
CONNER, I MEAN CAMDEN STRONG — “I went to a COVID vaccine parade in N.J. Here’s what I saw,” by NJ Advance Media’s Steve Rodas: “Arriving at the Branches at Centerville apartment complex on South 9th Street, I first spotted Camden police department’s polaris slingshot — a bat-mobile-like vehicle that was revving up for the march up toward Whitman Park. Also on hand for the procession: A Mister Softee ice cream truck, a fire truck and a Cooper hospital mobile services vehicle. “We’ve gone through dark times since last year and we’re facing an uphill battle but we’re going to get there by any means necessary,” Mayor Vic Carstarphen said upon arrival. Carstarphen, holding a bullhorn in hand, then headed inside to give the cheerleaders a pep talk prior to the parade kick-off … Camden health officials said in the last four weeks the hard-hit city — which has nearly 1/5 of the county’s more than 50,000 cases — has seen a 5% increase in the number of residents 18 and older who have gotten their shot. However, that figure still stands at 59%. The goal is a minimum of 70%.”
THE BRUCK STARTS HERE — “Sea Isle City takes on crowds of summer youth,” by The Press of Atlantic City’s Bill Barlow: “Increased police presence, new rules for beach access and a call for new restrictions imposed by businesses are part of a late-summer response to youthful crowds put forward by Mayor Leonard Desiderio on Tuesday … Some blame Trenton. ‘The state is directly responsible for unlawful conduct which compromises public safety,” Avalon Mayor Martin Pagliughi said earlier in the summer. He’s not alone. Several local officials say juvenile justice reform measures aimed at keeping young people out of the justice system have handcuffed local officers. In Sea Isle, Desiderio appeared to take a different tack. Along with other city officials, he said, he had a lengthy phone conversation Monday with Andrew Bruck, New Jersey’s acting attorney general. ‘I’ve been working with the Governor’s Office over the past couple weeks to arrange this, and yesterday we were able to go over our situation directly with New Jersey’s top law enforcement official,’ Desiderio said. ‘The attorney general understands the difficulties shore communities are having this year, and was receptive to our concerns.’”
— “Camden’s mayor aims at 70% vaccination rate”
— “Newton Council returns to in-person meetings; passes marijuana local tax”
— “Big developments coming to Orange Loop in Atlantic City”
— “’I can’t even live in my own home’: Neptune City residents fight Nylabone dog treat stench”
— “Jersey City Councilmen Solomon, Lavarro call for refund and repeal of MUA’s waste disposal fees”
NJSP — “He was NJ’s first Black state trooper. He faced hostility from the public — and coworkers,” by The Record’s Steve Janoski: “This October marks six decades since [Paul] McLemore, then a tall, broad-shouldered veteran of the United States Marine Corps, broke the New Jersey State Police color barrier by being sworn in as its first Black trooper on Oct. 2, 1961 — four years after Jackie Robinson retired from baseball. McLemore has some good memories of his 15 years with the agency, such as meeting Paul Newman while providing security for the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City or joking around with Muhammad Ali when the champ spoke at Princeton University in the late 1960s. But the State Police and the public treated McLemore savagely during his career. Stories of the racism he endured — from long patrols with white partners who wouldn’t speak to him, to the Tennessee trucker who once asked, ‘How many of you n***** boys they got out here?’ — garnered an apology from Col. Patrick Callahan, the State Police’s current superintendent, during a filmed conversation with McLemore in February … McLemore said his feelings about the State Police are complicated. He can’t forget his troubled relationship with earlier administrations, especially those who brought him up on misconduct charges after a race-fueled confrontation with two white Trenton cops in 1969 that eventually ended his career.”
SILENT SPRING: WHAT IT MEANS TO BE FROM N.J. — “Across N.J., ‘forever chemicals’ are tainting drinking water,” by NJ Advance Media’s Michael Sol Warren: “A year after New Jersey took some of the nation’s most aggressive steps to keep toxic “forever chemicals” out of drinking water, the crackdown has begun. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection issued violations to 22 water systems, including eight community systems, in the Garden State in the first half of this year for high levels of a trio of polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) … The eight affected community water systems stretch across the state, from Bergen County to Gloucester County, serving more than 55,000 New Jerseyans. Some are near sites known to be sources of PFAS pollution. Delilah Terrace, a mobile home park in Egg Harbor Township, is the only water system that has registered two violations this year.”
— “The lost generation The opioid crisis is over for some drug companies. But not for mourning N.J. families”
— “In-person gamblers lifting US casino market to its best year”
It’s outrageous that Americans pay more than three times what people in other countries pay for the same medicine. And these unfair prices keep going up. Even during the pandemic and financial crisis, the prices of more than 1,000 drugs were increased. It’s time for the President and Congress to cut prescription drug prices.
Currently, Medicare is prohibited by law from using its buying power to negotiate with drug companies to get lower prices for people. This must change. Giving Medicare the power to negotiate will save hundreds of billions of dollars.
And the American people agree. In a recent AARP survey of Americans 50+, a vast majority supported allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices, including 88% of Democrats and 85% of Republicans.
Tell Congress: Act now to lower prescription drug prices. Let Medicare negotiate.