EPA Delays Federal Ozone Standard, Slows NJ’s Efforts to Reduce Smog

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America Was ‘Not Normal’ Long Before Donald Trump Got Elected, Cory Booker Says

By Will Bredderman • 06/09/17

Observer

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.

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New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker used his address to a Manhattan audience today to push back on the popular anti-President Donald Trump slogan “this is not normal”—asserting that the lack of federal gun control laws and the phenomenon of mass incarceration have made the United States an outlier in the industrialized world for decades.

The Democratic senator and former Newark mayor was one of a number of politicians to grace the stage at the Personal Democracy Forum today, a summit to discuss the impact of technology on American civic life. Booker praised the gathering’s organizers, but took issue with a line in the program that characterized the present political situation as “not normal”—asserting that conditions have long been “not normal” in his home city and other majority-minority communities across the country.

“To say that the election of Donald Trump marked the beginning of an abnormal time is what gets me upset,” he said, recalling a shooting on his own block two days ago. “There’s shootings on blocks in America every single day. There are people being murdered in our city—in our country—every single day. And we have normalized it.”

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Critics Want Christie’s State House Repairs Halted. Governor Says, ‘I Don’t Care.’

TRENTON — Beneath the gilded dome, windows are boarded up, and some have frames held together with clips and duct tape. The roof leaks. Paint is chipping. Masonry is cracked.

The deteriorating condition of the State House, parts of which were built when George Washington was president, has been apparent for years, and it was something that was groused about and worked around.

As Gov. Chris Christie enters the waning months of his tenure, he has seized upon the state of the State House, vowing to leave behind better conditions for his successor. He has described the long-delayed overhaul of the offices where he has worked for nearly eight years as the kind of politically fraught project that only a second-term governor could take on.

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Explainer: Decoding NJ’s Budget Babble — a Dictionary of Useful Terms

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NJ Transit rebuffs mayors, sticks to train diversion plan

Mayors representing towns on the Morris & Essex lines said they came away "disappointed" from a meeting with NJ Transit officials about plans to divert those trains to Hoboken when Amtrak starts track work in Penn Station New York next month.

"We made a strong push on sharing the burden and equity (across all rail lines)," Maplewood Mayor Victor De Luca said after Wednesday afternoon meeting. "They are pretty locked into the diversion of all the M&E trains to Hoboken."

De Luca and municipal officials from  South Orange, East Orange, Orange, Summit, Chatham, Livingston, Westfield and other towns were joined at the meeting by Assemblyman John McKeon, D-Morris-Essex, and State Senator Thomas Kean, R-Union.

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On Murphy’s Road to Victory, No Stone Left Unturned

By Salvador Rizzo • 06/07/17

Observer

Phil Murphy.

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Behind the millions of dollars, the sterling resume, the upbeat TV ads and the sleek campaign apparatus, what has become apparent over the last three years is that Phil Murphy is one of the shrewdest political tacticians in the state, leveraging every asset he could to take over the New Jersey Democratic Party and become its nominee for governor.

In this regard — setting aside their vast policy differences — Murphy is not unlike the man he hopes to replace. Gov. Chris Christie may be deeply unpopular today, but he once mastered this game, too. He planned his moves far ahead like Murphy. He hired some of the finest political talent. He was a big-league fundraiser with a high tolerance for retail politics. And he became a student of the blood feuds, the bonds and the smoky folklore of New Jersey’s political scene — and moved accordingly.

Murphy, 59, a former Goldman Sachs banker, handily won the Democratic nomination on Tuesday night after months of leading in the polls and spending well in excess of $21 million, not just on his campaign, but on a 527 group and dozens of candidates and party committees operating at nearly every level of New Jersey government. The first donations, a pair of checks totaling $30,000 to then-Assembly Minority Leader Joe Doria’s legislative leadership committee, came in 2001, the year after Murphy and his family moved to Middletown.

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State Board Poised to End Control of Jersey City Schools, Newark May Follow

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Phil Murphy and Kim Guadagno Win Primaries in New Jersey Governor’s Race

NEWARK — Philip D. Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive, cruised to the Democratic nomination for New Jersey governor on Tuesday while Kim Guadagno, the state’s lieutenant governor, easily turned away a spirited challenge to claim the Republican nomination, setting the stage for a November battle to replace Chris Christie, the deeply unpopular incumbent.

Their matchup, the first open election for the governor’s seat in New Jersey since 2005, promises to be as much a referendum on the administration of Mr. Christie — who will leave a state crippled by debt, credit downgrades and creaky infrastructure — as it will be an early test of the electoral impact of Donald J. Trump’s presidency.

“People all across New Jersey are demanding change, and I am here to change things,” Mr. Murphy told a crowd to loud cheers on Tuesday night at his election night party at a hotel in Newark. “Four more years of Chris Christie-style politics won’t make New Jersey the state where we draw the line against Donald Trump. But we will.”

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National Politics Hang Over Tuesday’s New Jersey Primary

MONTCLAIR, N.J. — The African-American heritage parade on Saturday here drew to a momentary standstill. Philip D. Murphy, a Democratic candidate for governor, was darting back and forth across the street, responding to endless calls for handshakes, hugs and selfies.

Just in front of him was Jim Johnson, another Democratic candidate, who had barely broken a sweat after jogging nearly the entire route, so he could stop for hugs and handshakes as the parade wound through his hometown.

“People don’t forget when you shake their hands,” Mr. Johnson said, as he stood wearing a Rosa Parks shirt, a singular “Nah” quote stretched across the front. He added, “It was the hugs that slowed us down, it wasn’t the handshakes.”

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Booker: Trump’s Environmental Moves Will Hurt Minorities

By Alyana Alfaro • 06/02/17

Observer

Cory Booker, right, and Albio Sires

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NEWARK — U.S. Sen. Cory Booker is fired up about President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, charging that the move will have an outsize impact on communities of color.

“This is not about global warming for them simply, this is not about melting of ice caps to them simply — this is about the health of our children and the economic opportunity for our communities,” Booker said Friday at a news conference where he was joined by Reps. Albio Sires (D-8) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12).

A former mayor of Newark, Booker said the city’s children are especially at risk by a rollback of climate regulations and by abandoning the gas emission standards in the Paris agreement. Due to air quality issues, the asthma rate in the Brick City is three times what it is in suburban communities, he said. The city’s population is majority black, with a large number of Hispanics.

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