Former Gov. Christie Whitman on Trump and hateful language: 'How have we fallen this far’

Posted Jul 21, 2019

By Christine Todd Whitman

We are not a people who look away when our president spews hateful rhetoric and tries to divide our country along racial lines, former Gov. Christie Whitman says. And my party, the Republican Party, must return to our roots and champion our commitment to freedom for all.

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Last week, our president used his Twitter account to tell four Democratic congresswomen of color to accept the way things are or leave the country. He equated advocating change with hating America, a far cry from the roots of the Republican Party that once fought to end slavery and segregation. When I denounced Donald Trump in December 2015, I entreated my party — the GOP — to remember our brightest moments in history, when conservatives advocated changes that would overcome hate and division. I argued that then-candidate Trump’s language was reminiscent of that used by dictators in the 1920s and 1930s, a period that did not end well.

Four years later, I have watched the Trump administration chip away at the basic tenets of our democracy and the Republican Party embrace our president’s fearmongering tactics. His hateful language is an alarming threat to our nation, and heralds the denigration of our country’s institutions.

In response to Trump’s tweets against these congresswomen (which he continues to defend), a Virginia church put up a sign stating, “America: Love it or Leave it” in front of the building. Freedom of speech is a basic tenet of our democracy, and separation of church and state has been a foundation of our Constitution, yet the two are so contorted here, it can be hard to unwind. On Wednesday night, the president stood before a campaign rally audience that began chanting, “Send her back!” in reference to Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. While he subsequently has denied that he encouraged that, for an extended period of time he basked in it and didn’t resume his speech until the chant died down on its own. How have we fallen this far that a mob would suggest forcefully sending an American citizen elsewhere as a result of her suggestions for improvements to our country?

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Three more companies face scrutiny over millions in N.J. tax breaks

Posted Jul 18, 2019

The state Economic Development Authority — which is already looking at six companies that received millions in controversial tax breaks awarded by the state — is widening its investigation to include three more companies given lucrative grants that have also been called into question.

The EDA on Thursday requested what it called “clarifying information” from GoBrands, Sandoz and Express Scripts Pharmacy regarding their Grow NJ tax credits, saying the companies will be afforded the opportunity to respond to a range of questions, “including discrepancies in their applications.”

“This outreach is the first step in a process that will allow NJ EDA staff to make informed decisions, which may include recommendations to the board for any potential actions, if warranted,” the agency said.

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'Newark Is What Keeps Me Up At Night,' Says Pediatrician Who Exposed Lead Levels in Flint

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha speaks to Newark residents at St. Stephan's Grace Community Church
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NEWARK, NJ - For Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha -- the pediatrician who exposed lead levels in Flint, Mich. -- Newark’s lead crisis is one of her major concerns.  

“Newark is what keeps me up at night right now,” Hanna-Attisha said during a community meeting in the Ironbound. “I don't know how this is not a front-page story on every single newspaper. When you look at these numbers and for how long it's been going on, nobody should be sleeping on this.”

The pews were almost filled at St. Stephan's Grace Community Church as the pediatrician spoke. The event was organized through the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which is suing the city over lead, and a grassroots activist group known as the Newark Water Coalition. 

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Murphy signs law requiring survey of untested ‘rape kits’ held by police

Posted Jul 17, 2019

Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday signed a new law directing the state attorney general and a leading advocacy group for sexual assault survivors to team up to study how the state handles “rape kits” – the physical evidence collected by medical staff and law enforcement after a reported rape.

State authorities say New Jersey does not have a backlog of untested sexual assault examination kits, as is the case in some other states. But a report from the state auditor released last month found nearly half of the kits collected by police in New Jersey go untested for a variety of reasons.

The most common reason, the report said, was that the victim did not consent to having testing done, a key requirement for authorities to move forward.

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His jail was too cruel for ICE. Here’s Joe D’s progress report | Editorial

Posted Jul 17, 2019

After federal inspectors issued two scorching reports, finding Essex County jail’s treatment of immigrants too inhumane even for the Trump administration, Joe DiVincenzo wanted to show he’s improved things.

The Democratic political boss invited us to tour the lockup he oversees, one of the largest in the country with a multi-million-dollar contract to hold immigrants for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

On our pre-arranged visit, with an entourage of more than a dozen officials, the facility looked spick-and-span. They’d cleaned up the kitchen, with no more bloody boxes of chicken or piles of moldy bread.

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SUPERINTENDENT’S 2020 PLAN FOR NEWARK’S SCHOOLS: WHAT TO EXPECT

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Rape Case Judge Resigns Over ‘Good Family’ Remark; State Orders Training

By Luis Ferré-Sadurní and Nick Corasaniti

THE NEW YORK TIMES

July 17, 2019

Judge James G. Troiano, shown in court in 2003.

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The Supreme Court of New Jersey, responding to a nationwide backlash over insensitive comments made by several judges in sexual assault cases, announced new mandatory training on Wednesday for judges across the entire system.

The move came as one judge involved in one of the high-profile cases resigned and removal proceedings were initiated for another.

James Troiano, the Monmouth County judge who recommended leniency for a 16-year-old boy accused of rape because the boy was from a “good family,” resigned from the bench, officials said.

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OP-ED: LESSONS OF NEWARK’S SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION SUCCESSES, MISTAKES

KYLE ROSENKRANS | JULY 17, 2019

NJ Spotlight

Kyle Rosenkrans

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It’s perhaps one of the saddest open secrets that Newark children have routinely been cheated out of their constitutional right to funding for safe, adequate school facilities; a recent report by TAPinto Newark underlines that fact yet again.

It’s been nearly 20 years since our state’s highest court — rightly — declared that kids in cities like Newark have a constitutional right to learn in adequate school buildings. Twelve billion dollars and almost two decades of greed, graft and mismanagement later, the state has fallen short on this promise in just about every imaginable way.

TAPinto Newark’s well-researched report found that the state routinely exceeded its own cost-per-square-foot rules by almost four times the state limit in Newark.

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SIGNING THREE BILLS, MURPHY ADDS WEAPONS TO WAR AGAINST ADDICTION

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Booker’s latest $4.5M haul trails presidential rivals in fight for campaign cash

WASHINGTON  Cory Booker, trailing his Democratic presidential rivalsin the polls, continues to trail them in fundraising as well.

The New Jersey senator Booker brought in just $4.5 million during the last three months, well behind the early party frontrunners, according to his campaign finance report filed with the Federal Election Commission. He entered July with $5.4 million in the bank.

In contrast, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg all reported bringing in at least $10 million from April to July.

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