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Jaffe Morning Briefing: July 25, 2014

7-25-14

JAFFE COMMUNICATIONS GIVES ITS TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

CHICAGO – We are unclear when the job of New Jersey governor became a part-time gig, but Chris Christie is once again up, up and away. As he hypes his big plans to correct the pension mess in New Jersey later on this summer, as part of his “no pain, no gain” slogan, Christie is once again on the nationwide campaign trail. Today, he is campaigning in Chicago for a guy who wants to be Illinois governor. Perhaps there is such a simple solution to the pension mess that has plagued New Jersey for decades that Christie has oodles of time for all these extracurricular activities.

BAYONNE – Sometimes the term “golden parachute” just doesn’t give the situation justice, such as the case of the Bayonne police chief who is managing to walk away with $444,450.40 in unused sick, vacation and personal time, as well as terminal pay. The Jersey Journal reports the chief somehow banked 3,291.25 hours of time, requiring taxpayers to make three lump payments over the next three years. Will he perhaps give taxpayers a break on that last quarter hour? Nah.

STATEWIDE – Office buildings were a key to suburban sprawl in the 1980s. Just mow down a few thousand trees, turn it all into three-story buildings with lawns that look like emerald green carpet and say you are building a better New Jersey. But now, Rutgers economist Jim Hughes says people no longer want to work in such an isolated, obsolete environment, WBGO reports. Hughes says younger workers are drawn to the cities, where there is life in and around the office. And that will continue to suck economic life out of all these complexes in central New Jersey, where office parks, McMansions and strip malls were once deemed key components of the American Dream.

TRENTON – If you put aside the fact that New Jersey is hopelessly broke, a meeting yesterday between GOP leaders and the business community offered some great ideas. But lowering the state income tax, estate tax and corporate business tax -good initiatives to attract new business and jobs – is a lifeline to keep the state out of bankruptcy. Business owners contend if you tax people less, they will have more money to buy things, and perhaps the state can recoup the losses with sales tax. It all begs the question: Is lowering taxes our only chance to create new jobs?

LAKE HOPATCONG – Many have been consumed with finding a massive snake that has been reported to be slithering around the state’s largest lake. The state sprung into action, setting baits with chicken to lure Jersey’s own Loch Nessmonster. Scientists also scoured the land for big snake poop and snakeskin. But there is no evidence to be found that this exotic snake exists, CBS reports, but it sure makes for some great fireside stories to scare the bejesus out of campers before they settle down for a sleepless night by the lake.

MOUNT LAUREL – Curious to know the motive behind a local man who is suing the company who makes Breyers ice cream. He says the ice cream is deemed “all natural,” but in his 19-page filing he argues the company uses cocoa processed with alkali in 23 Breyers “original” and ” 1/2-fat” flavors. The Record reports that alkali contains the man-made ingredient potassium carbonate. An interesting crusade, but one must wonder if this lawsuit is being filed by the brother in-law of a guy named “Baskin” or “Robbins.”

IN THE MEDIA

NEWARK – Another chapter in the slow and painful death of newspapers is unfolding in Newark, where the Star-Ledger announced the sale of their home of the last five decades, at 1 Star-Ledger Plaza. The massive building and its valuable parking garage will go to a New York-based real estate investment firm in October for a sum currently undisclosed. Meanwhile, the newspaper will be renting some faceless space in Gateway Center to keep a minimal Newark presence, while the rest of operations go to more sterile office space in Woodbridge. Sigh. Newspapers should remain a physical, ground-floor cornerstone of the communities they cover – a lofty opinion that is getting more antiquated with every signed lease.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 2011 that retired dictator-for-life Fidel Castro makes his first appearance outside Havana in five years, visiting a mausoleum. Good to see Castro embracing life after a successful career in Communism.

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