Hi Gang, Happy Thursday. The Route 40 team is back in South Jersey after a whirlwhind tour of Barcelona, where they eat octopus and have little micro-playgrounds that look like they cost about $10K every few blocks. Verily it is the Atlantic City of the East.
In realer news:
Murphy to DO AC as Well?
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.
Christie ally Jeff Chiesa and his firm have billed $4 million, according to Amy Rosenberg’s reporting. I wonder if those bills adequately capture what a profit-center AC can be if you can convince people it’s broke enough.
Tip Your Servers Part II
That story on the Department of Labor (the big one in DC) and its plans to allow restaurant owners to pool tips and decide how to distribute them themselves has an interesting update: According to a report from Bloomberg News, top officials at the DOL “scrubbed an unfavorable analysis” of the proposal because it showed “potentially billions of dollars in gratuities could be transferred from workers to their employers.”
Per the story, senior DOL officials saw the initial estimates and then ordered the estimators to go back and estimate again presumably to get a more flattering estimate. Then even after the estimates had been re-estimated a few times, DOL ended up “receiving approval from the White House to publish a proposal Dec. 5 that removed the economic transfer data altogether,” the Bloomberg sources said.
The public comment on the rule ends Feb. 5 so if you think wait-staff have a right to their tips, maybe leave a comment. Or call your Congressman. I’m sure Frank’s people will be happy to hear from you. They’ll probably tell you the rule hurts small-businesses, but remember they think a hedge fund is a small business, so they’re not lying. They just operate on a separate plane of existence.
Talking Tipping, Minimum Wages, Hospitality Fees and Atlantic City
Local historian Dennis Niceler was arrested in connection with 70 burglaries across the region over the past few years, a story that, I’m not going to lie, depresses me more than your average crime story since I kind of know Dennis through the local South Jersey history community and have always liked seeing him at events. He was/is smart and meticulous and naturally he used his–wait for it–research skills to scout locations and vet targets beforehand.
Police caught him this Christmas Eve after someone heard him on the roof of the Laurel Hill Plaza. They then got a warrant for his computer, where they found evidence he’d researched burglaries that they already, allegedly, thought were connected.
According to a 1989 story in the Asbury Park Press, Niceler, then 27, was arrested and charged with seven counts of burglary, six of theft, that happened in Galloway between October 1988 and January 1989. “All the buildings were entered through a roof vent at the businesses.” Sounds like what he was doing this time around too.
For more of what’s happening across the region, see below:
Gov. Phil Murphy orders swift action to harness offshore wind for power–Gov. Phil Murphy ordered his administration Wednesday to develop an offshore wind plan for New Jersey after eight years of stalled progress to harness the Atlantic Ocean as an energy resource. www.northjersey.com
Old Atlantic County Jail started coming down Wednesday–The former Atlantic County jail in Mays Landing, which was built in 1964, started being demolished Wednesday. www.pressofatlanticcity.com
BOMBSHELL: DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE DROPS CORRUPTION CASE AGAINST MENENDEZ–In an about-turn, the U.S. Department of Justice has abruptly abandoned its plan to retry U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez on bribery and corruption charges. www.njspotlight.com
Planning Board approves Margate Food Truck expansion–After the applicant revised the layout for ingress and egress to just one curb cut, the Planning Board on Jan. 25 approved a minor site plan allowing expansion of the Margate Burger and Food Truck restaurant on Ventnor Avenue between Frontenac and Franklin avenues. www.shorenewstoday.com
Flight from Moscow to Cuba makes unexpected stop in Atlantic City–Airline passengers from Russia were treated to a hospitable welcome after making an unplanned stop in Atlantic City early Wednesday morning, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. www.nj.com
What does N.J. say to legal recreational weed?–Most N.J. residents still aren't quite sold on legalizing the sale and use of weed for recreational use, even though more than two-thirds want to see changes made to the state's marijuana laws, according to a new statewide survey, obtained exclusively by NJ Advance Media. www.nj.com
‘Flash Freeze’ Causes Multi-Vehicle Crash On Delilah Road Overpass–A flash-freeze on the Delilah Road overpass caused several cars to lose control Tuesday night in Absecon. breakingac.com