A.C. Fights Back, Lucy Loses A Friend and Our Crumbling Infrastructure in Today’s Route Forty Roundup – BETA The Press of A.C. reports on the widespread opposition across Atlantic County to Steve Sweeny’s takeover plan. Marty Small said the plan robbed the city of its “sovereignty” noting no municipality in the country faced the problems Atlantic City had, while Mayor Don Guardian challenged the narrative the city was at war with the state, saying he and his colleagues were voted to be “diplomats.”
Moody’s said the plan to expand casino gambling would be “bad news” forAtlantic City and cause more casinos to close there, NJ.com reports. Because it’s helpful to have the banker perspective on every issue. Meanwhile, city gambling revenue has been cut in half since 2006, Politico reports (subscription). Rebecca Forand reports on the “swanky” Mullica Hill house Rowan University bought for its president, supplying many photos of the $975,000 spread, which, spoiler, resembles a bog-standard McMansion outfitted to the tastes of Marshal Tito. Meanwhile Rutgers is asking the state for $98.5 million.
There were seven new arrests Friday in the big prescription fraud case, everyone reports. This batch includes two guys I grew up playing various kinds of sportsball with. I don’t know what that brings the total to on former sportsballers I sportsballed with, who have gone on to get involved in this debacle. I stopped counting.
Home Rule Micha Rasmussen has a fun op-ed in the Asbury Park Press on the proposal by Steve Sweeney for a pilot program for countywide school districts, which he (Rasmussen) says would “reduce duplicative administrative costs” and maybe even reduce segregation and the inequality that attends a system where students, “born into ZIP codes with strong property values go to better-funded schools than students born into ZIP codes with weak ones.” Of course people like their segregation and will even pay for 565 separate municipalities to maintain it. But I’m beginning to think people here secretly like the high taxes too. In Atlantic County, the small-governmenters want the homerule and the duplicative services and also want to replace the Hamilton Mall with an Amazon HQ somewhere that gets a 5,000-year tax abatement. Immigration Today is the deadline for local law enforcement to implement new procedures for dealing with immigrants, and NJ.com has a helpful explainer.
Payton Guion at NJ.com has some details on the marijuana bill set to go to the legislature, which includes “several social justice provisions aimed at helping people who have been negatively impacted by marijuana prohibition.”
The New Jersey Department of Education released its School Performance Reports for 2017-2018. The valuable Spotlight has a tool that let’s you search by county, district or school, while NJ.com notes the rankings are often criticized as overly simplistic.
Everybody’s reporting that March 25 is the day the state legislature will vote on marijuana legalization, though NJ.com, citing unnamed sources, say the leaders of the pro-legalization side are still many votes short, and if they can’t whip their colleagues into position, the vote could be delayed.
Guy Gargan at the Press has a nice story on the fundraiser for Stockton’s crew program where they honored rowing coach Stan Bergman and announced the Alton and Endicott families will provide funds for two new boats, which cost about $40,000 a piece, the Press reports.
New Jersey A.G. Gurbir Grewal is suing ExxonMobil, which is the ninth-largest corporation on the planet or something, for dumping toxic waste in a tidal zone in East Greenwich Township, NJ.com reports.
You may recall Chris Christie let Exxon pay $225 million to settle a $9 billion lawsuit in 2015 when he wanted to be president.
Lobbyists spent $2.8 million last year to stop legislation to give PSE&G $300 million in subsidies. We did that sh*t for free, so let this be exhibit 11,000 in the PowerPoint presentation I am preparing for myself titled: Why You are in the Wrong Business.
Phil Murphy made his budget speech yesterday and the valuable Spotlight says it got a “far less hostile response from fellow Democrats than his budget last year,” while Matt Friedman at Politico says, “Senate President Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Coughlin, both houses’ majority leaders and both budget chairs all said they were in a better place than last year.”
David Danzis at the Press reports the city cut the amount it pays in legal services by $500,000 for the upcoming year, which is something we’d been meaning to follow up on since Council President Marty Small mentioned it in a council meeting a few months back. They’ve also not approved a change order for legal services since 2016, according to Small.