POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Jaffe Morning Briefing: Jan. 11, 2016

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JAFFE COMMUNICATIONS GIVES ITS TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

The content and opinions expressed herein are those of Jaffe Communications and do not necessarily reflect the views of NJTV.

TRENTON – New Jersey will bid a fond farewell to the 216th Legislature today, as there are about 200 bills or so that are awaiting some type of action by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Chris Christie. The headliners are legislation about pension reform, redistricting the legislative map and, of course, if and when casinos will come to North Jersey. Don’t worry; legislation that dies during this last day of “lame duck” can be rehashed by the 217th Legislature, as the debates rage on.ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL – GOP candidates are salivating this morning as they try to figure out the best way to slam Gov. Chris Christie, following his appearance yesterday on “Face the Nation.” Christie claimed he never donated to Planned Parenthood. “No. No,” Christie vowed. But then the darn media dug up a quote from Christie from 1994 when he was running for a freeholder seat. “I support Planned Parenthood privately with my personal contribution and that should be the goal of any such agency, to find private donations,” Christie was quoted saying in The Star-Ledger on Sept. 30, 1994. Insert “Hmmm” here.

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL – With a WNYC report showing it has cost at least $1 million to New Jersey taxpayers for Gov. Chris Christie to run for President, perhaps something desperately needs to change. If the governor is traveling out-of-state for political purposes unrelated to his service to the people of New Jersey, the political campaign should obviously cover the costs for round-the-clock security, hotel rooms, Trooper stipends, gas, cell phones, use of state-owned SUVs and a bunch of other stuff WNYC has yet to unearth. Why are we footing this bill, when the governor’s lofty career aspirations serve his purposes, not ours?

STATEWIDE – There was all this talk of getting serious about property taxes, with state lawmakers voting in 2010 to limit annual increases by just 2 percent. Yet, the Asbury Park Press reports, taxes somehow spiked by 2.4 percent cumulatively last year, with property owners paying an average $193 more, the fastest rate in four years. Will property taxes be the lead topic of discussion in the governor’s “State of the State” address tomorrow? (Insert a “Likely, no” here.) And is a 2 percent tax cap being proven infeasible as a long-term solution?

PATERSON – Lots of cops moonlight for extra cash. But for the top cop to take a second job? Police Director Jerry Speziale apparently has gobs of extra time, landing a part-time gig for hourly wages as interim Chief of Police in Hazelton, Pa. Speziale is keeping his $92,000 post in the state’s third-biggest city, and assured the Record he can handle his new chief’s duties by phone, email, or on nights, weekends and days off. Hazelton is two hours west of Paterson and six times smaller, but it’s got similar issues: Urban blight, gun violence and illegal drugs. There’s actually a bus route between the two cities, with plenty of drug dealers going back and forth. Perhaps Speziale can serve both masters by just riding the bus with cuffs and Miranda warnings.

MARGATE – Hope it was the best damn sausage-egg-and-cheese croissant evvver, because shoplifting it and $7.98 worth of other breakfast items is costing a 34-year-old firefighter and lifeguard $79,000-a-year worth of jobs. A municipal court judge ordered him to relinquish both jobs Friday after being convicted of strolling out of a convenience store without paying for a breakfast sandwich, a bag of sunflower seeds, a 20-ounce Gatorade and coffee, the Press of Atlantic City reports. An assistant county prosecutor insisted the firefighter/lifeguard forfeit his public jobs because his conviction involved “dishonesty.”

PAULSBORO – Here’s some more dishonesty. Cheating Social Security for seven decades has set a record: A criminal one for Nicholas Severino Jr., who kept the scam going for 29 years after his dad – who hatched it in 1945 – died. That’s when the late Severino Sr. began collecting benefit checks for a phony retiree named “Frank DiCarlo.” His son kept getting the $700 monthly checks after dad’s death in 1984. It all unraveled in 2013 when Social Security finally got suspicious and sent investigators to visit the nonexistent DiCarlo on his supposed-100th birthday, N.J. Advance Media reports. Severino Jr., 63, pleaded guilty to theft charges and faces three years in a federal pen. Unless “Frank DiCarlo” miraculously materializes, he must also repay $243,844.

JEFFERSON – Yet more dishonesty. Has anyone happened to see a six-foot-tall wooden soldier, in white pants, red jacket and a blue hat? If so, please tell the good folks at the Jefferson senior center, who are trying to figure out who stole the handmade creation from outside the building. It has been used by the Jefferson Arts Committee for the “Christmas in the Village” display. Bring it back, no questions asked, reports the New Jersey Herald.

CLOSTER – With “Hamilton” now the hottest ticket on Broadway, bidding for an engraved power horn once owned by America’s first Treasury Secretary should be spirited when goes up for auction here today. The opening bid is $10,000, about the cost of six tickets to the musical. The etched cow horn, now owned by a Clifton dentist, is inscribed with the year 1773, so it was probably at Alexander Hamilton’s side during the Revolution and his infamous 1804 duel with Aaron Burr in Weehawken that ended Hamilton’s life at age 49.Read more  here.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

BURLINGTON, VT. – There’s plenty of leftover bologna after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump visited “Bernie Sanders’ Country” last week. A deli near Trump’s venue offered a special sandwich in Trump’s honor, but sales weren’t very brisk. For the outrageous price of $20.16, “The Donald” featured bologna piled high on plain white bread, smothered in “B.S” (that’s bacon slices), with white American cheese, lettuce, tomato and deli mustard. Other deli sandwiches usually go for $7-$10 and sold better, proving that not everyone’s eager to own a piece of the Trump name.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

Happy birthday to the lottery! It was on this day in 1569 that England held the very first state lottery for what we assume was considerably less than the $1.3 billion Powerball, the world’s largest.

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WORD OF THE DAY

Gehenna (gi-HEN-ah) – noun

Definition: A place or state of torment or suffering; hell.

Example: Attempting to write a “State of the State” address for a governor who was out of state for 261 days last year must be a form of Gehenna.

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