N.J. lawmakers push for more scrutiny over economic development incentives for businesses

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The Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee today approved a bill that would require the state to routinely audit the grants, loans and tax credits doled out to private businesses. (Tony Kurdzuk | The Star-Ledger)

By 
Samantha Marcus | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

TRENTON
 — The state would be required to routinely audit the billions of dollars in grants, loans, and tax credits doled out to private businesses under a bill approved by the state Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee today.

By collecting data on job numbers, salaries and returns, the lawmakers would be able compare the results to promises made by businesses to make investments or create jobs.

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Cowboys Great Roger Staubach Donated to Christie Months Before Landing PA Contract

By Kevin B. Sanders | 01/10/15

PolitickerNJ

 

Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach was generous with Chris Christie, donating $3800 to his re-election campaign. Four months later, Mr. Staubach’s real estate firm landed a $12.5 million contract with the Port Authority. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

It’s now widely known that Governor Christie is a Dallas Cowboys fan. Less widely understood—and reported for the first time in PolitickerNJ—is that the player at the root of his fandom, former great Roger Staubach, was awarded a juicy Port Authority contract just months after making a maximum contribution to Chris Christie’s campaign.

As 2012 came to a close, the governor was making a push to post an intimidating fundraising number to ward off any top-tier Democratic challengers. On the final day of the year, one check stood out—a $3800 contribution from Dallas Cowboy Hall-of-Famer Roger Staubach.

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Baraka, Jesse Jackson Sr. push for right-to-vote amendment

By Naomi Nix | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on January 08, 2015

Jackson and Baraka at today's event.

 

NEWARK — Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and Jesse Jackson Sr. banged the drum today for a federal resoluation hat would add the right to vote to the constitution.

"Your vote is your voice," Baraka said during a press conference at City Hall.
"We want to make sure the constitution protects (all Americans' voice)."

Jackson echoed similar sentiments arguing that voting rights should not be left up to states because minority groups and students have been disinfranchized in the past and currently

 

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NJ lawmakers say meeting with Newark superintendent was overdue

By Naomi Nix | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on January 06, 2015

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In this 2014 file photo, Superintendent Cami Anderson told a group of reporters at The Newark Club that she plans to continue the school district's controversial One Newark plan

 

TRENTON — After four hours of grilling Newark schools superintendent Cami Anderson on the district's controversial reform plan lawmakers say there is more work to do repair a fractured relationship between the district and the legislature.

The joint committee on public schools questioned the embattled superintendent and state education commissioner David Hespe on issues of policy and personality in Trenton today following months of what lawmakers said were multiple requests for her appearance.

"It was long overdue and that was reflected in the frustration and the emotion and the passion of the legislators," Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, who co-chairs the committee, said after the meeting.

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Oliver’s revenge

By PolitickerNJ Editor | 01/07/15

PolitickerNJ

 

Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver’s (D-34) dismantling of Newark Schools Superintendent Cami Anderson at yesterday’s hearing packed considerably extra punch because of Oliver’s history.

When she served as speaker, Oliver opposed the expansion of charter school education and failed to booster for the controversial Opportunity Scholarship Act as an alternative to public schools, spurring the wrath of the bosses, including powerful South Jersey Democrat George Norcross III.

At the time – this was 2011 – Norcross wondered aloud why Democrats didn’t get more vigorously behind charter schools.

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Booker wants to end ‘partisan gridlock’ in Washington, will start by shoveling driveways

By Chase Brush | 01/07/15

PolitickerNJ

WASHINGTON DC — U.S. Senator Cory Booker’s (D-NJ) first order of business in the 114th Congress will be to end the ‘partisan gridlock’ plaguing Washington — and he’ll start by shoveling your driveway.

Before being sworn in to his first full term on Capitol Hill yesterday, Booker talked about his plans for the next two year’s in office, saying he fears Washington — with a new Republican majority — could descend in gridlock again, and that he plans to prevent it from happening. Speaking to a gaggle of press, he said he’d reach across the aisle to “find ways to work” with both Republican and Democrats on issues facing his state and the country.

“I don’t want to live in fear, but I don’t want to descend into partisan gridlock again,” Booker, sounding what has become something of a trademark message of his, said. “My hope is, my intent is, really my mission is to find ways to work with my colleagues to actually get things done.”

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Christie never sought advice from ethics panel while Cowboys friend Jerry Jones bid on P.A. contract

By Claude Brodesser-Akner | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on January 06, 2015

The friendship between New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, left, and Dallas Cowboys team owner Jerry Jones, right, first kindled in 2010, has become a source of controversy: Jones spent tens of thousands of dollars to fly Christie by private jet to his luxury sky box at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex. last Sunday, and one of his companies also won a lucrative contract to provide hospitality services at the observatory of the Port Authority's One World Trade Center site.

 

TRENTON — During the 15 months that the Port Authority mulled awarding a lucrative hospitality contract to a company part-owned by the Dallas Cowboys, Gov. Chris Christie never solicited input from an advisory ethics panel specifically created to help governors avoid conflicts of interest, according to a former panel member and current Port Authority chairman, John Degnan.

On Monday, Christie’s office confirmed that his trip by private jet to Arlington, Texas, last Sunday to watch the Dallas Cowboys game from the luxury owner’s suite was paid by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, his friend. The state's ethics commissioner initially said the trip "seemed permissible" but many experts, including a fellow Republican former state ethics commissioner questioned the move.

That prompted the American Democracy Legal Fund, a left-leaning group with ties to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to file a complaint today with the New Jersey State Ethics Commission asking it to investigate whether the governor violated state ethics rules — including his own executive order.

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Come back to Newark, Governor Christie

By PolitickerNJ Editor | 01/06/15

Opinion

 

It was not a good day for the administration of Gov. Chris Christie, as his rollicking orange-sweatered image lingered in the luxury box of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones while state-appointed Newark Schools Superintendent Cami Anderson twisted in front of an angry Joint Committee on Education.

This is a bad story, and a sad story, for the reform of the Newark Schools System had its roots in a promise forged by Christie and North Ward leader Steve Adubato, Sr., visible the day after Christie won his first race for governor in 2009 and went to the North Ward Center with a commitment to the children of Newark.

This governor had the local political will and resources to make this work, with the assistance of the irrepressible Adubato and a skillful legislative team, including state Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29) (pictured), passionate chair of the Senate Education Committee.

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Newark Schools Chief Has Less-Then-Friendly Visit with State Lawmakers

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2015: Education in NJ Will See the Consquences of Earlier Policy Decisions

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