The Morning Briefing July 9, 2012
SEASIDE HEIGHTS – Who needs the cast of Jersey Shore for drama when you have the Governor in town? When Chris Christie stopped on the boardwalk Thursday for an ice cream cone, apparently someone yelled at him about his education policies. It prompted a nice rant: "You're a real big shot! You're a real big shot shooting your mouth off!" Christie yells. "Just take care of the teachers," the man responds, according to TMZ. Shaking cellphone footage shows the Republican aggressively strutting toward the man, barking, "Keep walking away . . . keep walking." Yeah, ok. Sure, it’s good to talk tough in Seaside Heights – as long as you remember to bring along your own security detail.
ON THE FARM – A bill has zipped through the state Legislature designed to stop people from slaughtering horses for their meat. Wait; is this 1934? And is New Jersey in the Dust Bowl? The Legislature is waiting for Christie to sign the bill – just as soon as he finishes his horse burger with an extra helping of hoof.
WASHINGTON – After slugging it out with the Democrats during another heated budget season, Gov. Chris Christie is off to the nation’s capital today for a victory lap, positioning the state’s fiscal 2013 budget as a shining example of good, solid Republican leadership. He will be at the Brookings Institution as the next step on his national media tour, talking about how he has solved New Jersey’s spiraling property tax crisis. Likely, there will be precious little talk about how the Democrats torpedoed his 10 percent income tax cut for all taxpayers – unless revenue collections meet the Governor’s extremely rosy revenue projections.
TRENTON – Constituents will be urged today to ask State Sen. Jim Whelan (D-2) any question they want – any at all – as long as those questions do not exceed 140 characters. A Twitter town hall is planned at 3 p.m. today on the Senate Democrats’ uStream channel. Interesting to see how many people will actually be taking time from their busy workday to tweet some questions for Whelan, as anyone can just call his local legislative office for a response. But while this town hall doesn’t have the allure of, say, a command performance at the Brookings Institution, any and all outreach is always a good thing.
STATEWIDE – President Obama is giving a little love to the two Democratic senators in New Jersey this election year, announcing $1.5 billion in transportation projects to the Garden State. Sen. Bob Menendez, who just happens to be up for re-election, noted the bill will create or save 54,000 construction or transit jobs in the state. No idea if that statistic is remotely accurate, but it will play well in the political literature that blares “Menendez Saves 54,000 Jobs!!!” In related news, the Bergen Record notes New Jersey lags behind most of the country in the amount of federal transportation dollars it receives, with 38 states getting larger bumps in their aid from 1995 to 2010.
TRENTON – In a decision that is causing environmentalists to breathe fire, the state appellate court says owners of contaminated properties don’t have to prove they are clean before selling them. This only applies to land with small amounts of contamination, but that includes tens of thousands of properties in New Jersey. The big losers here could be the purchasers. As the political winds shift, no one wants to be stuck owning contaminated land in New Jersey. Ever.
IN THE MEDIA
NEW BRUNSWICK – What is left of the print journalism world is bidding farewell to a former editor of the Home New Tribune who had a storied international career. Watson Sims, who died at 90, won a Silver Star for helping rescue Gen. Douglas MacArthur during World War II. His robust journalism career was filled with coverage of the Hindenburg, the Dalai Lama and the Rosenbergs. Most of his reporting career was at the AP, but he did have an editing stint in New Brunswick when the Home News was actually bursting with news.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 1997 that Mike Tyson was banned for boxing, after apparently mistaking Evander Holyfield’s ear for a horse burger and chomping down a bit too hard.