On The Move – Friday’s Roundup

Today’s Roundup is abbreviated since we are in the process of celebrating the long weekend by moving our household (two kids, one cat, endless boxes of accumulated items etc) out of the freezing-cold Ventnor beach house and into (a hopefully warmer place in) Atlantic City. So here’s the brief lowdown on what’s going on around town.

‘Common Sense’

The Columbine massacre was 19 years ago this April. I remember thinking how surreal and horrible that felt–fifteen school kids murdered (two the murderers themselves). Yesterday it was 17 and our failure to do anything meaningful to halt this epidemic is an index of how broken our civic and political culture is. I think so anyway. Our grandkids will measure us by it, if we’re lucky enough to have them.

Death & Dysfunction Update – Wednesday’s Roundup

In 2015, 18-year old Tiffany Valiante, of Mays Landing, was struck by a NJ Transit train in Galloway and the death ruled a suicide. But her family has long maintained the details don’t add up. Now a pathologist hired by the family’s lawyer has argued in court filings that the autopsy report was without scientific merit and investigators didn’t collect enough evidence to determine if the body was even Valiante’s, let alone that she committed suicide.

Our Crumbling Infrastructure, Undocumented Immigrants Pay Taxes and More – Tuesday’s Roundup!

Our Crumbling Infrastructure
The White House released its long-awaited infrastructure plan and it looks like we’re not getting that transit hub at Bader Field, or a high-speed Jitney lane to South Street or even a bike path to Pleasantville. The plan from President Trump–who grew up in Queens and became a famous casino mogul in Atlantic City–“favors little-populated rural areas to the detriment of urban America,” Politico reports, citing critics who of course would say that. The plan is supposed to “stimulate” $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investment but proposes only $200 billion from the federal goverment, relying on, “local governments and private operators to do the heavy lifting, even as those same local governments — particularly in high-tax blue states — are grappling with the budgetary implications of Trump’s tax code changes that took effect last month.” The Undocumented Pay Taxes
Undocumented immigrants paid $587 million in taxes–sales, income and property–in New Jersey in 2014 according to the nonpartisan think tank the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, the valuable NJ Spotlight reports. The same group said DACA recipients paid about $66 million in state taxes in 2016.

Lives of Crime – Monday’s Roundup!

Lost Generations
Kevin Riordan at the Philly Inquirer and Jim Walsh at The Courier-Post each did follow-ups on Dennis Niceler, the curator of the Egg Harbor City Historical Society, who’s been accused of committing 70-odd burglaries across South Jersey since 2013. Both note Dennis’s life of crime dates back nearly 30 years, though if you read Route 40 you knew that detail two weeks ago. Walsh says Niceler was charged with “an estimated 100 commercial burglaries across South Jersey,” and convicted of at least five of them, in 1989. Riordan reports Niceler once told a historical society colleague he’d been “an idiot” when he was young. Isn’t it amazing when you read about criminals and they’re the hardest working people you know?

Emperor Kelce and Cupid’s Arrow — Friday’s Roundup!

$5.86 per Month
Local persons who pay Atlantic City Electric for their electricity will likely see lower bills starting in June, the state Board of Public Utilities said. The BPU sets wholesale electricity prices that determine what utilities charge so I guess they’d know. Grownups
Governor Phil Murphy “called on” the senate Democrats to do something or other yesterday which was evidently bad because it prompted a prickly response from Senate President Steve Sweeney which NJ.com in turn called the “first public shot” between the two men and the blogger formerly known as Wally Edge called “hugely important” and my god are we all actually big children? Our country is hurtling toward about three different Constitutional crises, not to mention a climate crisis and our Nth decade of uninterrupted war, and the political establishment that brought us this hallowed state of affairs still pretends it’s the only adult in the room. Somewhere an Overton Window is opening.

Marijuana and Road Fatalities, Overdoses

In case you missed it, Phil Murphy campaigned for governor (in part) on a promise to legalize marijuana in his first hundred days then won the election by 13 points, but his proposal has become “controversial” in recent weeks.

‘He told me if he died, no one would notice’

The Atlantic City Democratic Committee (I think) is examining how a $10,000 check from the Atlantic County Democratic Committee ended up in Mayor (then-candidate) Frank Gilliam’s bank account, Lynda Cohen reports.

The check was made out to the City Democratic Committee, and it came from the County Democratic Committee. I realize that’s a lot of “committees” but they’re forming another to probe the mystery check.

Happy Nick Foles Appreciation Day!

Nick Foles–whom Chip Kelly once traded along with draft picks for Sam Bradford–threw for 373 yards and caught a touchdown against a Bill Belichick defense in the Chronic-Traumatic Encephalothapy Bowl, which is probably something you never thought you’d read, but there you have it and here we are.

Russian Invasion Pizza – Friday’s Roundup

Lynda Cohen has the fun details on what happens when 300 Russians get stuck at the airport after their plane is forced to land in Atlantic City on the way to Cuba. Spoiler: A translator from Stockton helps write thank you notes!

Tip Your Servers Redux

Phil Murphy maybe won’t end the state takeover of Atlantic City and may instead appoint a new law firm to rain-make in the impoverished town that nevertheless still sprays many tens of millions of dollars across the Garden State annually, NJ.com reports. The story cites “two sources familiar with the situation” on the potential of a new law firm.

I Don’t Understand Millennials

The New Jersey Business & Industry Association issued a report on attracting and retaining Millennials in the Garden State, and the valuable NJ Spotlight reports that, after studying the subject over the past year, their recommendations ranged from improving college affordability to “just doing a better job of promoting the different well-paying career opportunities that exist here.” That sounds about right.

Alexa vs. the Cape May Zoo Camel – Thursday’s Roundup!

Phil Murphy said he wants a “new culture” at the Economic Development Authority and named Tim Sullivan to be the new chief executive. Sullivan is currently “deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development” and was a “top New York City economic-development official” under Mike Bloomberg, the valuable NJ Spotlight reports.