N.J. landlords can now apply for emergency grants so they can forgive back rent

Posted Aug 20, 2020

Landlords who didn’t receive rent or reduced payments amid the coronavirus pandemic can now apply to a federally-funded grant program , as long as they forgive outstanding rent and fees.

The Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program opened Wednesday to owners of residential properties in New Jersey with three to 10 rental units who weren’t paid full rent between April and July due to COVID-19, according to the New Jersey Mortgage and Finance Agency, which is overseeing the program.

Winners will be randomly chosen via computer for a chance at the $25 million bucket, which came from the CARES Act. The grant amount will vary depending on number of rental units for low- and moderate-income tenants, and how much income was lost.

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In Response to COVID, NJ Moves to Pay Long-Term Care Workers More

LILO H. STAINTON | AUGUST 21, 2020

NJ Spotlight

Advocates for the disabled community want to ensure the state includes their workforce in its plan to increase wages for certain frontline health care workers.

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Facilities that care for and house New Jerseyans with disabilities did not experience the same level of COVID-19 outbreaks witnessed at some nursing homes. Now advocates for the disabled community fear this will keep the state from including their workforce in its plan to increase wages for certain frontline health care workers.

“Where is the recognition for this group?” said Valerie Sellers, chair of the New Jersey Coalition for a DSP Living Wage, which advocates for the direct support professionals (DSPs) who work with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “We’ve got to rectify years of underfunding.”

Gov. Phil Murphy committed $155 million last week to assist New Jersey nursing homes, which have the highest coronavirus case rate per facility in the nation and account for half of the lab-confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the state. Of this funding, a mix of state and federal dollars — $78 million — is allocated to hike pay for certified nursing assistants, the frontline caregivers who bathe, dress, feed and help residents with other daily activities.

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New Local Election Ordered in N.J. After Mail-In Voter Fraud Charges

By 

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Aug. 19, 2020

Nearly 20 percent of the mail-in ballots in a municipal election in Paterson were thrown out because of irregularities. Credit...

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In the days before New Jersey’s third-largest city held municipal elections in May entirely by mail, postal workers became suspicious when they found hundreds of ballots bundled together.

The discovery triggered an investigation that led to charges of voter fraud against two local elected leaders and resulted in nearly 20 percent of the ballots being rejected. It also prompted President Trump to cite the case as an example of how mail-in voting can corrupt elections, though election experts staunchly disagree.

On Wednesday, a New Jersey judge ruled that the election in Paterson, N.J., had been irreversibly tainted and ordered a new vote to be held in November to settle the race for the City Council seat.

The superior court judge, Ernest M. Caposela, wrote that the election “was not the fair, free and full expression of the intent of the voters.”

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Trump attacks Obama and Harris speeches in real-time, all-caps tweets

President Donald Trump did not hide that he was closely following the third night of the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, firing off tweets in real time as former President Barack Obama and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris delivered withering criticisms of his presidency.

The first of Trump's all-caps broadsides came less than 10 minutes into his predecessor’s speech, as Obama unleashed a blistering attack on Trump’s presidency and his character.

“HE SPIED ON MY CAMPAIGN, AND GOT CAUGHT!” Trump accused Obama, repeating a false conspiracy theory stemming from the FBI’s surveillance of Trump campaign associates in the run-up to the 2016 election.

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State Supreme Court Limits Powers of Newark’s Civilian Review Board

IAN T. SHEARN | AUGUST 20, 2020 

NJ Spotlight

Newark patrol car parked outside 3rd Precinct

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The state Supreme Court handed Newark officials a severe setback Wednesday in a ruling that drastically limits the powers of the city’s fledgling civilian review board to investigate police misconduct.

The 6-1 decision struck down key parts of the city’s 2016 ordinance that created a civilian-complaint review board, which would have been one of the strongest agencies of its kind in the nation. The court ruled the board cannot be granted subpoena power, according to state law, and  it may not conduct investigations at the same time as the police department’s internal affairs office is conducting its own. Only legislative action could grant those powers, the court asserted.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka issued a statement on the court’s decision. “At this time in our nation’s history, where the world watched the barbarism of Officer Chauvin as he murdered George Floyd with a knee on his neck, the New Jersey Supreme Court’s action is out of step with national sentiment, and failed to remove the knee off the necks of many of us in New Jersey.”

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Trump campaign suing N.J. to block Murphy vote-by-mail order, report says

By David WildsteinAugust 18 2020 

New Jersey Globe

President Donald Trump.

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Donald Trump’s re-election campaign is suing Gov. Phil Murphy in a bid to overturn an executive order to requires nearly 6.2 million New Jersey voters to receive a vote-by-mail ballot for the November 3 general election.

In an Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal, Trump deputy campaign manager Justin Clark claims that the power to change to a predominately all-VBM election rests with the state legislature, and that the executive order violates the right of New Jersey votes to vote under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“Mr. Murphy’s order relegates in-person voting—the most secure method—to second-class status by deeming every ballot cast at a polling place ‘provisional,’” Clark said.  “Citizens who want to vote in person face a real threat that their ballots won’t be counted.”

Clark said that the Trump campaign filed their case in federal court on Tuesday evening.

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After Lockdown Slowed Vaccines in Children, Immunizations Rising

LILO H. STAINTON | AUGUST 19, 2020

NJ Spotlight

Getting vaccinated

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As many as one out of two children were not getting their scheduled vaccines against preventable diseases after New Jersey went into a lockdown this past spring, studies indicate.

State data suggests the trend may have reversed come the start of summer, but pediatricians and public health officials want to ensure ground isn’t lost. They are reminding parents to get their kids properly immunized before they return to school next month and underscoring that vaccines matter, regardless of whether classes are held in-person or online.

“Children should be vaccinated, period. We have the ability to protect them and we should,” said Dr. Jeanne Craft, a pediatrician with RWJBarnabas Health and current president of the New Jersey chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). “This is really not the time to back off vaccines. As if any time is a good time,” she added.

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2020 DNC: Murphy honors coronavirus victims, frontline workers as N.J. votes to nominate Biden

Posted Aug 18, 2020

New Jersey’s delegates formally voted to nominate Joe Biden for president on Tuesday as Gov. Phil Murphy memorialized those who died of the coronavirus and saluted the frontline workers helping the state through the pandemic .

Murphy cast 139 votes for Biden and five for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who withdrew from the presidential race before the New Jersey primary.

The governor, standing in front of Convention Hall on the Asbury Park boardwalk, discussed the coronavirus during his brief time in the spotlight at the 2020 Democratic National Convention. He was joined by first lady Tammy Murphy and state Democratic leaders John Currie and Peg Schaffer.

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Former N.J. Gov. Christie Whitman, ‘lifelong Republican,‘ backs Biden at Democratic National Convention

Posted Aug 17, 2020

Former Gov. Christie Todd Whitman, who once co-chaired a Republican convention and served in a Republican adminstration, spoke at the Democratic convention Monday night to endorse Joe Biden for president.

“What am I doing here?” said Whitman, whose parents were introduced by their parents at a Republican National Convention. “I’m a lifelong Republican.”

Whltman was the first of four Republicans to speak during the first night of the of the 2020 Democratic National Convention under the theme, “We the People Putting Country over Party.”

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COVID Crisis Exposes Educational Inequities Between Haves and Have Nots

By Christine Sloan | August 17, 2020

Insider NJ

 

The Newark Public School District announced Monday it’s dropping plans to reopen in-person classes and instead opting for a virtual year until November.  The decision by the state’s largest school district comes less than a week after Governor Phil Murphy suddenly changed course, allowing public schools to go all-remote if they couldn’t meet COVID-19 health and safety guidelines for in-person teaching.

If the process appears somewhat schizophrenic, it may say something about the circus-like political atmosphere around the front office and its sensitive relationship with labor and other key stakeholders in the educational firmament – but it also fundamentally underscores a deep divide in New Jersey, persistent from one administration to the next, as poor children struggle amid unfair and unequal conditions now exacerbated by COVID-19.

The Governor had initially asked the state’s 600 public school districts to offer some form of in-person learning, even as the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), the state’s largest teacher’s union and one of Murphy’s biggest supporters, called for all-remote learning statewide.

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