The Atlantic City Council voted to approve a bond ordinance to raise $55 million to pay what will end up being more like $63 million in pension and health benefits deferred by the state overseers. So people who work for the city get benefits. And financiers get paid lots and lots too. And the state overseers put this off until their friends were out of office, is what it seems like to me.
Wouldn’t it be cool if someone impartial could explain this important issue to us before decisions were made? A trusted news source, for instance? I don’t get paid enough (i.e.anything). And more and more it looks like no one else will either.
It’s going to be a golden age for local entrepreneurs.
Camden Sues OxyContin Maker
Elsewhere in racketeering, Camden County Freeholders announced they were suing Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family, makers of the drug OxyContin, alleging the company drove the over-prescription of highly addictive opioids that fueled the public health crisis whose effects we see every day.
Matt Skoufalos’s NJ Pen reports the legal approach is comparable to the Master Settlement Agreement states employed against tobacco manufacturers in the 1990s. Camden is not part of the “multi-district litigation” (MDL) being managed by Judge Dan Polster in Cleveland.
If you want a sense of what Purdue was up to that was so outrageous–“deceptive marketing” doesn’t really capture it–again please read Harriet Ryan’s LA Times series about Oxy’s “twelve-hour problem” (that fueled addiction) and how the company had a precise, bird’s eye view of the pharmacists that were dolling out boxes of 80 milligram pills–a good sign they were supplying drug dealers–yet rather than contact the DEA, it added them to an internal roster (“Region Zero”) so sales reps would stop visiting them.
It’s worth pointing out that OxyContin sales have been falling since 2010 or something. They’d fallen 40% between 2010 and 2016. So though this great reporting is helpful, it would have been really helpful 15 years ago. Purdue’s role in the problem is no longer quite so central. In other news, support your local investigative reporter.
Breeding horseshoe crabs, migratory birds, mesh cages: these are just some of things you have to contend with if you want to farm oysters along the Delaware Bay. Good thing officials in Middle Township had a workshop to bring farmers and researchers together to discuss. Dave Benson has a cool report.
For all the rest of the recent developments, see below:
Hedge Fund Manager Seeks Frelinghuysen Seat–Antony Ghee, a 47-year-old hedge fund manager and Army Reserve captain, will seek the Republican nomination in New Jersey’s 11th district with the endorsements of the Essex and Passaic County Republican organizations.
Some Republicans think Ghee has a compelling story: raised by a single mother with his father in prison, he received a law degree from Howard University and a masters in securities and financial regulation from Georgetown Law. politicsdw.com
Camden County Sues Opioid Makers In Pioneering Suit–Camden County filed a pioneering lawsuit against several drug manufacturers and distributors Wednesday, seeking to recover millions of dollars the local government has spent combating the opioid crisis over the last decade. www.philly.com
Oyster Farms, Wildlife Look To Co-Exist–Challenging environmental rules and a lack of good Delaware Bay bottom acreage have slowed but not stopped oyster farming in the township.
Farmers are reaching out to local officials for help in growing the industry. www.shorenewstoday.com
ICE Gets Cold Shoulder From Rutgers, Backs Out Of Career Fair–Under pressure from immigrant students and administrators at Rutgers University in Newark — the most ethnically diverse campus in the country — Immigration and Customs Enforcement is backing out of an annual appearance at an upcoming career fair.
In a statement, ICE said it "voluntarily withdrew from participation" following a request by Rutgers officials, and added that "it is unfortunate that the university is disregarding the needs of those students who seek a career with ICE." www.njspotlight.com
$161 Million–More than $161 million in Municipal Aid grants is being awarded in fiscal year 2018 to 505 New Jersey communities. Last year, only $78.75 million in grants was distributed to 364 municipalities. www.njspotlight.com
Blackouts, Higher Costs A Proven Risk Without New Natural-Gas Pipelines–Last month, in the wake of one of the longest sustained cold spells since 2014, the New England power grid operator revealed a startling finding.
In just six years, six states from Connecticut to Maine are at an 80 percent risk of being hit with rolling blackouts based on 23 of 24 different modeled scenarios, even assuming ramped up renewable investment that powers one-third of the grid. www.njspotlight.com
New Jersey Transit’s Hidden Danger: Bad Brakes, Bare Wires, Rotten Parts–Federal inspectors found scores of New Jersey Transit train cars riddled with fire risks, faulty brakes and electrical hazards as they scrutinized the troubled railroad that brings 95,000 workers to Manhattan daily.
One engine was so defective it was declared unsafe, documents obtained under New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act show. www.bloomberg.com
Report Says Increase, Expand NJ Sales Tax — You Won’t Notice It–The latest suggestion for how New Jersey can find extra tax collections for its imbalanced budget is focused on the sales tax – including returning the rate to 7 percent to generate more than $600 million more for the state.
Sheila Reynerston, senior policy analyst for New Jersey Policy Perspective, said the cut in the sales tax to 6.625 percent, which was adopted along with the hike in the gas tax, amounts to less than $2 a week for middle-class families. nj1015.com
The 20 Fastest-Shrinking Towns In NJ In The Past Decade–New Jersey’s population is undergoing a shift, but a very slow one.
The population between 2016 and 2017 increased by only 0.3 percent, according to US Census data. High property taxes and a slow recovery from the recession have not been particularly helpful, either. www.nj.com
Student Walkout: Gun Violence Protests At Schools Today–Students at some Shore high schools walked out of their buildings at noon today as part of a nationwide show of solidarity with the students and school staff who were gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida a week ago. www.app.com
Breaking With Trump, NJ Buys Into Paris Climate Accord–President Donald Trump may not think much of the Paris Climate Accord, but that's not stopping New Jersey.
Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday signed a bill into law that will require the Garden State to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of states dedicated to cutting their carbon emissions and upholding the international agreement. www.nj.com
Chelsea Pub Set To Re-Open After Renovations, Ownership Change–When old-time customers come back to the Chelsea Pub on Morris Avenue, they will be greeted by a host of renovations but a similar atmosphere that generations of residents and visitors are used to experiencing at one of Atlantic City’s most iconic bars. www.pressofatlanticcity.com
State Police Looking For Hover Board Thieves–A man and woman are being sought in the theft of a hover board from a Cumberland County Walmart.
The man was seen on video surveillance leaving the Upper Deerfield Walmart just before 4 pm February 13, without paying for the board, State Police said. breakingac.com