The Morning Briefing March 16, 2012
SHORT HILLS - One "lucky" financial executive is being singled out this morning by members of the Better Choices for New Jersey and the New Jersey Citizen Action coalitions, who will stopping by the office on JFK Parkway to deliver a mock "pot of gold." This executive is receiving this "gift" and some unwanted publicity for being on Forbes magazine's annual list of the 400 richest Americans. The stunt is really aimed at Gov. Chris Christie and designed to focus on his proposed fiscal 2013 budget, which, the group claims, is a fat gift to the wealthy. In any case, expect the Short Hills office to release the hounds.
NEWARK - Looks like the staff of Jaffe Communications will soon have to find a new place to park, as Prudential Financial has announced it will be building a skyscraper at West Park and Halsey streets, home to a massive surface parking lot and shells of old, bombed-out department stores. The $444 million tower, The Star Ledger reports, will take up a full city block and serve 2,000 employees in an effort to revitalize a sketchy part of the business district just a short walk from NJPAC.
ON CAMPUS - It is "Match Day" yet again, as about 400 medical school students from the four campuses of UMDNJ learn where they will be spending their residency programs upon graduation. Will they be whisked away to a boutique hospital under the sunny California skies or dropped off, kicking and screaming, at a run-down, bullet-ridden ER in Detroit? It all depends on what's inside those little white envelopes.
PASCRELL v. ROTHMAN - As expected, Bergen County Democrats have come out strong for Rep. Steve Rothman, who received 83 percent of the votes cast for the county's official support. The Pascrell camp, whose base is Passaic, made the most of it, pointing out that he did get 72 votes out of the Bergen Dems. While Rothman celebrates his mini-victory in front of the home crowd, it will be interesting to see if anyone from Paterson dares to vote for him in this primary battle for the Ninth Congressional seat.
ELMHURST, IL - Tuesday is another huge day for Mitt Romney, as GOP voters in Illinois head to the polls to help forge a definitive frontrunner in the primary. The election in Illinois is such a big deal that Gov. Chris Christie is expected to appear at a lunchtime "Romney for President" rally at Elmhurst College. It had been expected Romney would have sewn this thing up already, but Rick Santorum took Alabama and Mississippi earlier this week, prompting a whole new round of political punditry about the future of the GOP.
CHESTER - Some interesting politics churning in North Jersey with the Highlands Council, which has suddenly lost its top leadership. The council, which oversees the protection of the cordoned-off Highlands region, fired Executive Director Eileen Swan last night, prompting the deputy director to immediately quit, the Record reports. Some blame the Governor for the ouster, as Christie believes the 2004 law protecting the Highlands is "a disaster" and destroying widespread economic opportunity. One would surmise the now-former executive director believes otherwise.
STATEWIDE - Kids in New Jersey public schools just figured the "pink slime" served up in the cafeteria was just part of life with a green tray and a carton of milk. But, The Washington Post reports, the feds will no longer require districts supported through the government's lunch program to serve meat containing pink slime, which is an ammonia-treated filler that everyone swears on a stack of Bibles is really meat. In any case, it's probably good practice to serve kids filler-free ground beef, as opposed to slime.
PHILADELPHIA - More upheaval at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly.com and Philadelphia Daily News, as ownership announces layoffs of 19 unionized reporters and editors in three newsrooms and buy-outs to 21 other newsroom employees, taking effect March 31, the Inquirer reports. The union says it handed management $6 million in cost cuts in 2010 and can't fathom why ownership is still crying poverty. One will never know the true numbers, as the news operation is privately owned. Meanwhile, it's getting harder and harder to find a living, breathing reporter to cover real news.
It was this day in 1983 that the Nets helped set a record - drawing just 1,814 "fans" to a basketball game against the Cavaliers at Cleveland Coliseum.