State Shuts Door on Guadagno Pension-Fraud Probe, But Questions Remain

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Christie administration ends waiver for food stamp work requirement

By Brent Johnson and Samantha Marcus | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on December 31, 2015

Gov. Chris Christie speaks about public safety during a press conference at Camden County Police Department Headquarters in Camden, Monday, Nov. 2, 2015.

 

TRENTON — About 11,000 New Jerseyans may have their food assistance discontinued after Gov. Chris Christie's administration said Thursday that the state is no longer offering a waiver from a work requirement in the program.

People across the U.S. are required to work at least 20 hours a week to receive subsidized food aid under the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP.

But because of the struggling economy, a waiver has been available since 2009 to allow "able-bodied" adults without dependents in the state to qualify for the aid without having a job.

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Christie in Combat: The Fights That Have Defined His Presidential Run So Far

By Alyana Alfaro | 12/29/15

PolitickerNJ

Christie has long built a reputation of being combative.

GOP Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump went on the attack against New Jersey Governor Chris Christie this week, a move that some say points to a resurgence for the presidential hopeful as the New Hampshire primary draws nearer. Trump blasted Christie for what he sees as economic mismanagement of New Jersey.

That confrontation, however, is just one in a long line of such incidents that has come to define Christie’s pursuit of the candidacy. The Governor—whose tagline during this election is “telling it like it is”—has long built a reputation as a combative force, something that has only intensified with the added national spotlight that comes with the mounting national attention created by a presidential run.

As the primaries draw nearer, it seems that Christie’s main concern should be on his opponents’ focus on his economic record, even as he becomes more relevant in New Hampshire

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Mark Zuckerberg Highlights What He Learned After $100 Million Gift To Newark

Huffington Post

11/09/2015

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, talks with Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, right, during a gathering of CEOs and other executives at Microsoft's main campus in Redmond, Wash., Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.

 

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- Five years after donating $100 million to remake education in Newark, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg says he's using lessons learned about the need for community involvement in his next effort in California. He also highlighted some successes in New Jersey's largest city.

In a Facebook post Friday, Zuckerberg acknowledged increased graduation rates in Newark and successful charter schools, but also noted the "challenges, mistakes and honest differences among people with good intentions."

"It's very important to understand the desires of a community, to listen and learn from families, teachers, elected officials and other experts," he wrote. "We now better understand why it can take years to build the support to durably cement the changes needed to provide every student with a high quality education."

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Trump unleashes a tirade against Christie: He 'can't win because of his past'

By Brent Johnson | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on December 28, 2015

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a copy of The Union Leader during a rally in Nashua, N.H., on Monday night

 

TRENTON — Donald Trump on Monday night unleashed a new set of blistering attacks on Gov. Chris Christie, one of his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, at one point saying the New Jersey governor "can't win because of his past."

Trump, the former Atlantic City casino mogul who has been leading the GOP race for months, made the comments during an interview with a television station in New Hampshire, the state that hosts the nation's first presidential primary. Though Trump holds a strong lead in the state, Christie has been rising in the polls there. 

The billionaire businessman continued the onslaught during a rally later in the night in Nashua, N.H., saying Christie shouldn't spend so much time campaigning in New Hampshire when New Jersey's economy is suffering.

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Christie Spins His Version of Security Record on Trail

As a presidential candidate, Gov. Chris Christie has sought to differentiate himself by spotlighting his tenure as the United States attorney for New Jersey, framing it as a time when he spent his “life protecting our country” against terrorism. The message has begun to resonate: Mr. Christie, long an underdog in the Republican presidential field, has recently risen in the polls.

A close examination of Mr. Christie’s record as New Jersey’s top federal prosecutor from 2002 to 2008 shows that he did acquire greater counterterrorism experience than his current rivals. But it also shows that he has, at times, overstated the significance of the terrorism prosecutions he oversaw — he has called them “two of the biggest terrorism cases in the world” — and appears to have exaggerated his personal role in obtaining court permission for surveillance of terrorism suspects.

At the first Republican debate in August, Mr. Christie called himself “the only person on this stage who’s actually filed applications under the Patriot Act, who has gone before the Foreign Intelligence Service Court.” Similarly, his campaign website says “Christie’s office” secured authorization from that court, which is actually called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, for the surveillance of terrorism suspects.

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Cops targeting blacks for petty crimes, a shameless trend | Editorial

By Star-Ledger Editorial Board
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on December 27, 2015

If you still believe the distrust of law enforcement by minorities is exaggerated in New Jersey, here is another alarm bell that demonstrates how cops are not colorblind when it comes to enforcing the law.

The ACLU examined 10 years of arrest data from four cities on the enforcement of petty crimes – loitering, marijuana possession (50 grams or less), trespassing, and disorderly conduct – offenses that generally require the most discretion on the part of the officer.

It found a reprehensible trend of racial profiling and selective enforcement.

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'Extreme' racial disparity in local N.J. arrests, ACLU report finds

By S.P. Sullivan | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on December 21, 2015

Police in Orange stop and frisk on a group of young men who were loitering in a high crime area in this 2013 file photo. 

 

TRENTON — The New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is calling on the state attorney general to investigate racial disparities in low-level offense arrests at local police departments across the Garden State. 

That request is one of several recommendations in a new report that found black and hispanic people were between two and 10 times more likely to be arrested for petty crimes than white offenders in four New Jersey cities.

The ACLU report, released Monday, examined arrest data from 2005 to 2013 in Jersey City, New Brunswick, Elizabeth and Millville for four minor offenses: marijuana possession, disorderly conduct, defiant trespass and loitering.

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Wall Street to the Statehouse: Goldman Sachs Alums Push for Governor

By Alyana Alfaro | 12/21/15

PolitickerNJ

Fulop, left, and Murphy.

 

Former Ambassador Phil Murphy and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop have two main things in common: they both used to work for Goldman Sachs and they both want to be the next Governor of New Jersey. As the two duke it out for the Democratic Party nomination (along with other contenders like Senate President Steve Sweeney) PolitickerNJ decided to explore how that time on Wall Street might impact how the governorship gets approached on State Street.

Murphy rose through the ranks at Goldman over the course of a 23-year career. In 1993, he headed the firm’s Frankfurt, Germany office. Later, he was promoted to head the Asia office. He retired in 2006 after a three-year turn as Senior Director.

According to Charles D. Ellis, author of The Partnership: The Making of Goldman Sachs, “Nobody would want to compete with Phil.”

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Former Exec Director of Newark Watershed Pleads Guilty

By Max Pizarro | 12/21/15

PolitickerNJ

 

The former executive director of the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corp. (NWCDC) today admitted accepting approximately $999,000 in kickback payments in exchange for her assistance in awarding work to various vendors and contractors of the agency, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Linda Watkins Brashear, 56, of West Orange, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge José Linares in Newark federal court to Counts 1 and 5 of a five-count information charging her with a wire fraud scheme to defraud the NWCDC by accepting bribes and kickback payments from contractors and an employee of the corporation, which were funded by payments from the NWCDC based on fraudulently inflated invoices or issued for work that was not performed by the contractors (Count 1), and subscribing a false tax return for the year 2012 (Count 5).

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

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