With a New Jersey E-ZPass It’s E-Z to Pay Higher Tolls in New York City

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Thaw for Senior Freeze Property-Tax Relief Frozen Out of 2018 Budget

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Guadagno Announces Carlos Rendo as Running Mate

By Alyana Alfaro • 07/27/17

Observer

Carlos Rendo and Kim Guadagno.

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WEST NEW YORK — Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno announced Woodcliff Lake Mayor Carlos Rendo as her running mate on Thursday, reconfiguring her gubernatorial campaign as a pitch to the large bloc of Hispanic voters in New Jersey who are not represented on the Democratic ticket.

Rendo, 53, and his family fled the Fidel Castro regime in Cuba under political exile in 1966, when he was 2 years old. He is the only Republican Hispanic mayor in New Jersey and an immigration lawyer with deep ties in Hudson County, a Democratic stronghold in New Jersey.

“As a young boy, my family was forced to flee communist Cuba and the atrocities of the Castro regime,” Rendo said Thursday at a restaurant in the heart of New Jersey’s Cuban community. “Today I stand before you as living proof that it is still possible to live the American Dream.”

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Oliver Goes After Guadagno in Debut as Murphy’s Running Mate

By Christian Hetrick • 07/26/17

Observer

Sheila Oliver.

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Former Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver quickly went on the attack against the Christie administration at her announcement as the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor on Wednesday, offering herself as a stark contrast to the current lieutenant governor: Republican gubernatorial nominee Kim Guadagno.

Oliver, a state assemblywoman from East Orange, debuted as Phil Murphy’s running mate at a news conference in Newark attended by dozens of high-ranking Democratic officials. The two candidates hugged and praised one another, and Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive, described it as a pairing of “two like-minded souls.”

Oliver, 65, had harsh words for the “Christie-Guadagno administration,” which she said “strangle-holded” the state for the last seven and a half years. In a possible preview to her attack-dog role on the campaign trail, she pledged to be a “very different lieutenant governor” from Guadagno, who has focused on being a liaison to New Jersey’s business community.

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Phil Murphy, Sheila Oliver, and the Rehabilitation Opportunity of the Essex County Democratic Party

By Max Pizarro | July 26, 2017, 5:30 pm | in Columnist

INSIDER NJ

 

NEWARK – Essex experienced something on the order of a full systems collapse in the Chris Christie era, which began with the elimination of its own Senate President Dick Codey, ostensibly in exchange for empowering Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo with Speaker Sheila Oliver, and ending up without Oliver, or the money sought for county programs, and finally shackled like a dumb beast to the priorities of South Jersey and a preposterous, scandal-hampered GOP presidential ambition.

Egos irritated by having to lump themselves in the Codey camp or the Joe D. camp, went in their own directions, a condition epitomized by Oliver – jettisoned as speaker – pulling the ripcord on her own renegade run for the U.S. Senate in 2013 against the county-backed Cory Booker. “Somebody needs to get to her, DiVincenzo said into a cellphone when he heard about Oliver’s petition drive just as Booker walked onto a stage with former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley to present as the statewide face of a new generation. There was also state Senator Nia Gill’s 2012 hotdog campaign in the face of the same line occupied by the county-backed Donald Payne, not to mention Ras Baraka’s Magic Bus campaign for Newark Mayor in 2014. Under all of it curdled Codey’s bitterness – “George! George!” – over having been ejected from the senate presidency in favor of Iowa and Camden, even as DiVincenzo – in a display of bipartisanship – embraced Christie’s 2013 reelection bid, and Codey’s nemesis, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3), wore the tires out on his car driving up to Essex to party with friends who saw him as the successor to Christie in Drumthwacket.

That ongoing bar brawl dumpster fire in neighboring Essex enabled Assemblyman Vincent Prieto of Hudson County to step over the ruckus and – with state Senator Nick Sacco’s (D-32) assistance – cut the deal with South Jersey for leadership. That was back in 2013, the same year South Jersey operatives landed in Jersey City and helped Steve Fulop become mayor over another Codey ally named Jerry Healy.

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Phil Murphy and Sheila Oliver, Two Faces of the Democratic Party

By Christian Hetrick and Salvador Rizzo • 07/25/17

Observer

Sheila Oliver.

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Phil Murphy and Sheila Oliver will share the same gubernatorial ticket in November, but they represent two starkly different currents in the Democratic Party.

Murphy, 59, was born to a working-class white family in Massachusetts and earned an economics degree at Harvard University, then made millions at Goldman Sachs. He has never held elected office but served as President Barack Obama’s first ambassador to Germany and made his name as a prolific fundraiser for national Democrats.

Oliver, 65, is a black woman born in Newark who graduated from Lincoln University — a historically black college — then received a master’s degree in planning and administration from Columbia University in 1976. Over two decades, she has served at every level of New Jersey government: as a member of her local school board in East Orange, as an Essex County freeholder and administrative official, and as a state lawmaker and Assembly speaker.

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Christie Vetoes Bill to Expand Paid Family Leave and More

By Christian Hetrick • 07/21/17

Observer

Chris Christie

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Gov. Chris Christie vetoed 14 bills on Friday including a top priority for Democratic lawmakers, a measure broadly enhancing the state’s paid family leave law.

The bill (S3085) would have given workers more paid leave and time off to take care of a new child or sick relative, while also increasing job protections and covering more types of family members.

But Christie called the bill a “costly expansion” that would raise taxes and harm small businesses. His conditional veto of the bill gut almost all of the legislation, leaving only portions pertaining to processing, public reporting and promoting the benefits currently available under the state’s existing family leave law from 2008.

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Absentee Train Engineers Keep NJ Transit’s ‘Summer of Hell’ at Low Boil

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Meet Gina Genovese, an Independent Running for NJ Governor

Running for NJ Governor

By Alyana Alfaro • 07/17/17

Observer

Gina Genovese.

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Gina Genovese — a former professional tennis player and mayor of Long Hill — is running an independent campaign for New Jersey governor centered around sharing services between municipalities, a move that Genovese claims could slash property tax bills by up to 15 percent for many New Jersey homeowners.

“I feel that the only hope for New Jersey is if I at least bring this message to the governor’s race so people can talk about real issues and real solutions and look at the elephant in the living room,” Genovese told Observer on Monday.

New Jersey has 565 municipalities, many of which have fewer than 10,000 residents. In many cases, each of those towns has a mayor and council, a police force, a fire department and a school district. Property taxes are the main funding source for all those services and other local programs.

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NJ Jail Population Down Almost One-Fifth After Bail Overhaul

By Christian Hetrick • 07/17/17

Observer

 

New Jersey’s jail population dropped 19 percent in the first five months after a sweeping bail overhaul took effect, according to recently released state statistics.

Two-thirds of counties saw declines in their jail populations of at least 10 percent, while five counties shed more than 25 percent, during the period spanning Jan. 1 through May 31, according to data released by the Administrative Office of the Courts. Essex County saw a decline of nearly 37 percent of its jail population.

The statistics also showed a nearly 36 percent drop in the statewide jail population when comparing May 31, 2017, to the same date two years earlier.

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