/Nobody except legislative Democrats likes their redistricting proposal

Nobody except legislative Democrats likes their redistricting proposal

There will be no trees under your Christmas tree this year. No reefer by your wreath. No schwag in your stockings.

After meeting with Gov. Murphy yesterday, Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin made clear what we already pretty much knew: There will be no vote on weed legalization in 2018. They did say they’ve made progress on the $15 minimum wage.

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Of course, this means that nobody in New Jersey will be buying or consuming marijuana while we all wait for it to become lega — for now, at least. Patience is running thin. If the governor doesn’t sign a bill soon to legalize marijuana, New Jerseyans may take matters into their own hands and resort to illegal means to obtain and consume it. Some may even see an opportunity to make money and sell it to those people, knowing full well it’s against the law.

I know this sounds far-fetched, but this really could happen. You’ve been warned.

WHERE’S MURPHY? No public schedule

HAPPY BIRTHDAY — Saturday for state Sen. Joe Lagana. Sunday for Assemblyman Gordon Johnson

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The American people want redistricting reforms that help level the playing field so that elections are decided on who has the best ideas, not which party was in charge of drawing the lines.” — Former Attorney General Eric Holder, leader of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee on state legislative Democrats’ redistricting plan.

ZERO PEOPLE IN SUPPORT OTHER THAN DEMOCRATIC LEGISLATORS — Opposition to Democrats’ redistricting amendment on display at hearings, by POLITICO’s Matt Friedman: New Jersey‘s Democratic lawmakers on Thursday defended their plan to overhaul the state legislative redistricting process in a way that would likely favor them for decades, despite strong opposition from across the political spectrum, including the Democratic Party‘s most prominent redistricting reform advocate. Testifying during a nearly three-hour Senate hearing on the proposed constitutional amendment — the Assembly held a similar hearing simultaneously — state Sen. Nicholas Scutari, the prime sponsor, said he was “bewildered“ by the opposition. “I’ve heard these outlandish reactions throwing around the word gerrymandering. It’s just simply not true,“ Scutari (D-Union) said. Opponents said they were insulted at an implication by Scutari that they hadn’t read the amendment. “We will not be discredited with the allegation that we have not read the bill, because that’s not the case,” Dena Mottola-Jaborska, associate director of New Jersey Citizen Action, told the Senate panel. The Senate hearing, during which Scutari was the only person to testify in favor of the proposal while dozens testified against it, illustrated the rare alliance that has formed in opposition to the amendment: Republicans, along with a host of liberal advocacy groups, non-partisan good government groups, environmentalists, academics and even Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy. Read more here

—“Republicans put money behind opposition to redistricting plan” Read more here

—Greenwald: “I authored the redistricting amendment. Here’s why it’s fair and transparent” Read more here

“Battleground ’19 is in the 8th district,” by New Jersey Globe’s David Wildstein: “Arguably the most politically competitive legislative district in New Jersey right now is the 8th, which is based in Burlington County and includes parts of Atlantic and Camden counties. The 8th will likely be the top target of Democrats as they look to increase their numbers in 2019 State Assembly races by ousting two Republican assemblymen, Joe Howarth (R-Evesham) and Ryan Peters (R-Hainesport). Republicans almost lost the district in 2017, even though Democrats didn’t actively contest the seats. Howarth was seeking re-election to a second term on a ticket with Peters, a Burlington County freeholder who entered the race after the primary when incumbent Maria Rodriguez-Gregg dropped out of the race.” Read more here

“EPA proposes $18.2 million cleanup of Meadowlands toxic site in East Rutherford,” The Record’s Scott Fallon: “Another major toxic site in the Meadowlands is slated to be cleaned up under a proposed $18.2 million plan, unveiled this week by federal officials, for a former East Rutherford factory. The proposal for Universal Oil Products comes just two months after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chose a $332 million plan to dredge mercury-laden sediment from nearby Berry’s Creek. The plan targets Ackerman’s Creek, which is tainted with lead, PCBs and other contaminants from Universal Oil Products.” Read more here

SWEENEY TO BUY HIMSELF A NEW TRACK SUIT IN CELEBRATION — “Gold Schnitzer retiring after 22-year run with NJEA,” from InsiderNJ: “Ginger Gold Schnitzer, director of government relations for the New Jersey Education Association, is retiring after a 22-year career with the organization. The labor leader is pursuing an opportunity at St. Peter’s University’s Guarani Institute in March of 2019. She started working at the NJEA in 1997, and has served as the powerful organization’s director for 12 years. `I’m going to go be an academic,‘ she told InsiderNJ.” Read more here

AFFORDABLE HOUSING — “Supreme Court rules in favor of housing development in sensitive area of Highlands,” by NJ Spotlight’s Tom Johnson: “In a setback to environmental groups, the state Supreme Court yesterday found the state acted appropriately in issuing permits for the construction of a 204-unit housing project on ecologically sensitive land in the preservation area of the Highlands. The decision reaffirms a ruling by a state appellate court to give the go-ahead to the long-litigated project on an 85-acre tract on High Mountain in Oakland. The New Jersey Sierra Club and New Jersey Highlands Coalition challenged the permit granting the developer an affordable housing exemption from the Highlands Act.” Read more here

DO YOU REALLY NEED TO ASK? — “You want snacks with that? New Jersey bill considers marijuana delivery,” by The New York Times’ Nick Corasaniti: “Door-to-door marijuana delivery? Marijuana cafes? Maybe. New Jersey is inching toward becoming the 11th state to legalize marijuana for recreational use, though a vote on legalizing marijuana this year is nearly impossible. The final day of voting in the State Legislature this year is Monday, and it appears the bill has become mired in Trenton gridlock, with Gov. Philip D. Murphy and Stephen M. Sweeney, the Senate president, struggling to whip enough votes to pass it. Still, the legislation will likely form the backbone of how New Jersey moves forward to legalize recreational marijuana.” Read more here

— “Work on Atlantic City Rail is done, but when trains will run remains unclear” Read more here

—“The N.J. governor’s mansion just got its holiday makeover. Take a peek” See the picture

— “Could advisory board to forecast annual budget help avoid last minute shortfalls?” Read more here

—“Trump meets with Chris Christie to discuss chief of staff role” Read more here

36-YEAR-OLD LEGAL IMMIGRANT FATHER OF FOUR WHO’S BEEN HERE SINCE AGE 11 — “Legal Marijuana Or Not, Green Card Holders Caught With Pot Can Still Get Deported,” by WNYC’s Matt Katz: ”While state legislators throughout the country move to legalize marijuana and expunge marijuana convictions, the case of one New Jersey father now on a path to deportation points to a wrinkle in any state law involving legal weed: Old marijuana convictions will continue to get immigrants deported. Dane Foster, a 36-year-old father of four from Westampton in Central Jersey, was arrested on December 4 after dropping off his 2-year-old daughter, Alaya, at daycare. ‘She’s inseparable from him, and she wanted him to take the ride to drop her off at daycare,’ said Alexsa Foster, Dane’s wife. With Alexsa Foster driving and her husband in the passenger seat, three agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement pulled the couple over after they had dropped their daughter off, saying they had an immigration warrant for his arrest … Foster is a legal permanent resident who arrived in the United States in 1991, at the age of 11 … Dane Foster has three marijuana convictions on his record from 2004, 2006, and 2014, according to his attorney, Afia Yunus. All were misdemeanors handled in municipal court and resulting in fines. Two involved driver’s license suspensions. None resulted in jail time.” Read more here

0.83 MASTROS — ”Christie-tied Super PAC spent $7.5 million to oust Menendez”.” Read more here

—“N.J.’s Pascrell has been seeking Trump’s tax returns for 2 years. Now he’s got Nancy Pelosi on his side” Read more here

—“Trump meets with Chris Christie to discuss chief of staff role” Read more here

NEXT TIME I HELP COVER UP A MURDER I’LL JUST QUIT MY JOB AND BE FINE — “Jackson cop accused in murder cover-up resigns, avoids prosecution,” by The Asbury Park Press’ Kathleen Hopkins: “A Jackson police officer accused of trying to thwart an investigation into a murder at a pizza restaurant has resigned from the police force as a condition of avoiding prosecution, his attorney said. Eric Prosniewski, 48, of Jackson was charged with hindering the apprehension of Daniele G. RomeodiSantillo, a 30-year-old heir to a pizzeria empire who is serving 30 years in prison without parole in the 2015 murder of a business partner. Prosecutors alleged that Prosniewski lied to investigators to cover up RomeodiSantillo’s involvement in the killing of business partner Peyman Sanandaji, but Toms River defense attorney S. Karl Mohel asserted that Prosniewski never should have been charged in the case at all … Avoiding a trial in the matter, Prosniewski recently was accepted into the court’s pretrial intervention program,.’ Read more here

NEWARK LEAD — “Newark said its water was safe, but email reveals it was warned of problems months ago,” by NJ Advance Media’s Karen Yi: “City officials in Newark said they learned in October that lead water contamination wasn’t just affecting a dozen homes, but was a ‘widespread problem,’ potentially impacting as many as 40,000 residents. But, a newly-released email shows officials were warned at least seven months earlier — months they spent insisting the water was ‘absolutely safe to drink,’ and assuring residents that the issue was confined to a small number of homes … In a Feb. 22 email to the city’s top water department officials — including then-director Andrea Hall Adebowale and then-deputy director Kareem Adeem — the consultant said a preliminary review showed Newark’s method of preventing lead from corroding off old plumbing and dissolving into the distribution system `has not been effective.‘ `Even if they weren’t going to take action (in February) they should have at least been straight with the public and told people there is a problem with lead in many households,‘ said Erik Olson, senior director for health and food for the Natural Resources Defense Council, the environmental group suing the city.” Read more here

AMONG THEM, PEOPLE WHO CAN TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ONE YEAR AND FIVE YEARS — “Some Paterson residents say Joey Torres should have spent more time in prison,” by The Paterson Press’ Ed Rumley and Joe Malinconico: “Torres spent 392 days behind bars for instructing city workers, who were being paid overtime, to do renovations on a beer distribution business owned by his daughter and nephew. He was released from the state’s Central Reception and Assignment Facility on Stuyvesant Avenue in Trenton at 8:11 a.m., officials said. The release rankled some who were unforgiving about the mayor’s use of city workers as a personal work crew for his family. ‘I think Torres should have been locked up more,’ said 52-year-old Tom Ronalds … Torres, who turned 60 while incarcerated, was sentenced in November 2017 to a maximum of five years in prison.” Read more here

EDISON PD SICK OF JERSEY CITY PD STEALING CORRUPTION SPOTLIGHT — “Edison Police Officer Nicholas Lunetta charged with witness tampering, evidence obstruction,” by By The Courier News’ Nick Muscavage: “Nicholas R. Lunetta, 31, an Edison Police Officer from Scotch Plains, has been charged with one count of tampering with evidence and one count of obstructing the administration of law — a criminal investigation, both fourth degree crimes, according to a news release from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office. The investigation by the Edison Police Department determined that Lunetta, from March 20 to March 23, allegedly tampered with and destroyed evidence that he believed would be included in a pending official proceeding or investigation.” Read more here

IRONICALLY, WEINBERG HAS SPONSORED BILLS TO REPEAL OUTDATED LAWS AT THE STATE LEVEL — “Teaneck attorney: Loretta Weinberg suit is based on rule repealed long ago,” by The Record’s Megan Burrow: “A lawsuit filed against the township by State Sen. Loretta Weinberg rests on a Prohibition-era law that was repealed in the 1970s, an attorney for the township says. The lawsuit, which was filed in late November in state Superior Court in Hackensack, claimed that officials wrongly approved a slot car racing track to open in the basement of Weinberg’s district office building. A municipal ordinance dating to the Prohibition era mandates that pool rooms, dance halls and similar businesses be at street level and open to public view. But the provision of the ordinance that the lawsuit cites was repealed by the Township Council in 1973, said John Shahdanian, the township attorney. ‘I’m hopeful that the process will work itself out and Senator Weinberg will withdraw her lawsuit against the township,’ Shahdanian said … The change was discovered by Councilman Keith Kaplan, who has been reviewing the township’s laws to rid the books of antiquated local ordinances.” Read more here

RETURN OF THE JEDYNAK…. PETITION — “Petition to recall Rockaway Councilman Jeremy Jedynak revived,” by The Daily Record’s Gene Myers: “A second attempt to recall Councilman Jeremy Jedynak is underway after a first try this summer was brought to a halt over procedural errors and a shifting political landscape. Michael Antonelli, Lisa Salberg and Catherine Dachisen formed a committee to recall Jedynak in the summer and their effort garnered over 3,000 signatures, but the recall was halted because the petition didn’t list the potential cost for a recall election, a reason for the recall and Jedynak’s response to it, which are all required by state law. Salberg halted her recall campaign when her husband, Adam Salberg, was named the second interim mayor during a period of political turmoil in the township last summer.” Read more here

—“Showboat owner Blatstein pays back taxes on Atlantic City property” Read more here

—“DeGise, Sacco, Stack, Fulop join Bhalla in urging Murphy to preserve Union Dry Dock” Read more here

—“Is an N.J. police union halting promotions because of race? These minority officers think so” Read more here

—“Trenton council president says acting police director agreed to resign, warns mayor about ‘sideshow’” Read more here

—“Flemington to sell police headquarters for $1.1 million” Read more here

—“Atlantic Highlands group ‘disheartened’ by latest plan to develop waterfront tract” Read more here

—“Freeholders approve road closure for natural gas pipeline” Read more here

—“Bloomfield police had a major use of force problem. Here’s how they solved it.” Read more here

“I’m a CEO. I support the $15 minimum wage” Read more here

MURPHY STOPPED BRINING THE ROADS AND NOW JUST DUMPS CASH ON THEM — ”Motorists nab cash spilled by armored truck in NJ, causing crashes,” by The AP: “Police say an armored truck spilled cash on a New Jersey highway, causing crashes as motorists stopped to grab the money. Police Capt. Phil Taormina says it looks as if the vehicle had an issue with the lock on one of its doors. The frenzy happened Thursday in East Rutherford, near MetLife Stadium, where the New York Giants and New York Jets play. In online videos, a man in uniform is seen running through traffic trying to collect money. Police say people exiting cars to grab cash led to two crashes.” Read more here

FOX NEWS — “N.J. town warns of ‘aggressive’ fox menacing pets, people,” by NJ Advance Media’s Jeff Goldman: “A 15-pound dog got into a fight with a fox and the owners of at least other two dogs each had to kick the same `aggressive‘ fox to prevent an possible attack on their pets, authorities said. The fox even went after a man trying to buckle his kid into a car seat, Hopatcong police said. A dog was on a leash outside on a property in the area of Mohawk Avenue and Evergreen Avenue when two residents who were in the house heard a commotion, according to a police report. The husband rushed outside, `broke up the fight‘ and the fox left. Later that day, a 61-year-old man was walking his dog when the dog began to bark at a fox in nearby bushes, police said. The fox became aggressive, came out of the bushes and tried to circle the dog before the owner kicked the fox.” Read more here

—“Time to say goodbye: Bill Ervolino announces retirement from The Record” Read more here

—“Map shows how shore residents think about global warming” Read more here

—“The American Dream mega-mall is hiring (theme park manager, K9 cop and more)” Read more here

—“N.J. has bred birds for hunting since the 1920s. Now the state says it’s cheaper to buy them” Read more here