N.J. Dems don’t want Elon to kill the AM radio star

N.J. Dems don’t want Elon to kill the AM radio star

Good Thursday morning!

New Jersey Democrats are rallying around … AM radio?

Democratic U.S. Reps. Josh Gottheimer and Rob Menendez, along with GOP Arkansas Rep. Bruce Westerman, are holding a conference call today on legislation that would require car manufacturers to include AM radio. And Assemblymember Herb Conaway just last week introduced legislation to do the same.

Is that a coincidence? I don’t know. When I talked to Conaway about the bill, he said it was “staff-driven” and that he wants more input from emergency responders and auto manufacturers.

A bunch of carmakers have dropped AM radio in new cars. I understand the lawmakers’ arguments for keeping it, even though the percentage of Americans with smart phones approaches 90. “I would think that if Elon Musk has enough money to buy Twitter and send rockets to space, he can afford to include AM radio in his Teslas,” Gottheimer said in a statement. …“When the cell phone runs out, the internet gets cut off, or the television doesn’t work because of no electricity or power to your house, you can still turn on your AM radio,” Gottheimer said in a statement.

Still, I can’t help but be a little amused that it is Democrats who are rushing to save the radio format that gave birth to conservative talk radio and so many right-wing commentators who became big stars.

TIPS? FEEDBACK? Email me at [email protected].

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I’m an Eagle Scout. I’ve done everything exactly by the book as I was told for all these years.” — Senate President Nicholas Scutari defending his campaign finance disclosures that lacked required information

HAPPY BIRTHDAY — Vin Gopal, Sue Livio, Josh Lederman, Leany Pichardo, Darvis Holley

WHERE’S MURPHY? In Times Square at 9 a.m. for World Cup soccer stuff with Mayor Eric Adams, then in Philadelphia for NGA events

NJ IS TAKING UP BASE JUMPING BUT DIDN’T FORGET ITS PARACHUTE —± Steep revenue decline shouldn’t mean drastic action, officials said, by POLITICO’s Dustin Racioppi: A projected loss of $2 billion in revenue would usually trigger panic in the state Capitol. But the latest update on New Jersey’s two-year financial outlook is being met with what amounts to a collective shoulder shrug. “Today we face no crisis,” Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio told the Assembly Budget Committee Wednesday. Her counterpart at the Office of Legislative Services, Budget Officer Thomas Koenig, agreed, telling lawmakers on the committee that the state’s strong revenues after the Covid-19 pandemic have fortified its finances to withstand such a drop-off. His office’s two-year, nearly $2 billion downward revision of expected tax revenues “does not automatically require hard budgetary choices through the end of June,” he said.

COUGHLIN IS SO MIDDLESEXY — “Coughlin’s tease,” by InsiderNJ’s Max Pizarro: Speaker Craig “Coughlin took to the social media platform to tease his latest initiative. His chosen subject matter? Seniors. “I want to see seniors stay in New Jersey,” the speaker coyly tweeted. “People should be able to remain in the communities they built, with the families they love. I want to make that a priority. Seniors need more property tax relief.” Message? Coughlin is about to announce a big plan – a $1.9 billion senior property tax cut. …The plan doesn’t have the backing of the Senate or the governor. … In New Jersey, the fastest mode of signaling powerful intentions is to spotlight the needs – the tremulous and heartstring-yanking needs – of a vulnerable population. Children? Yes, of course. Children – and seniors. Children don’t vote. Seniors do. Coughlin tonight gently asserted himself in the unfolding, volatile statewide quest for power.”

THE EXPERTS HAVE SPOKEN Snooki, Tucker Carlson and the battle for offshore wind in New Jersey, by POLITICO’s Ry Rivard: Mainstream Republicans and leading conservatives like former Fox News host Tucker Carlson — not to mention reality star Snooki — have been attacking Gov. Phil Murphy’s offshore wind plans as whales wash ashore. It’s a problem not just for the Democratic governor, who’s pinning his climate change agenda on coastal wind farms, but also for President Joe Biden. Murphy is hoping New Jersey will be the nation’s leading producer of wind energy by 2040, so a stumble here could blow a hole in the side of the Biden administration’s clean energy goals. … But the whale issue is not the only obstacle facing offshore wind. In recent months, the more serious question in Trenton is how to actually pay for wind projects. Quiet negotiations have been going on since last year between state officials and Orsted, the company expected to build what would be the state’s first wind farm. The stakes couldn’t be higher for either side — or for state electricity customers, who are caught in the middle and may pay billions of dollars more in coming decades depending on the outcome of the talks. …

In a tweet aimed at Murphy, “Jersey Shore” star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi said, “Can you please stop killing the whales and dolphins?” (Her history as an amateur marine biologist leaves something to be desired. She once said, falsely, that the ocean is salty because it is filled with whale sperm.)

SOMEHOW I DOUBT THIS WILL MEAN MORE TRANSPARENCY — “The need to update NJ’s open records law surfaced at a Senate budget hearing. What to know,” by The Record’s Katie Sobko: “As the state Senate Budget Committee heard testimony from officials from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs on Tuesday, state senators talked about the need to modernize the Open Public Records Act. State Sen. Paul Sarlo … joined Minority Leader Steve Oroho to talk about updating OPRA. Sarlo said that his office has been working on a ‘positive and transparent overhaul’ of the law, calling his efforts a ‘transformational update..’ … ‘It’s something that’s clearly needed,’ Sarlo said. ‘There are a lot of cottage industries that have been created that utilize our hardworking understaffed small municipal offices for research to help them with their legal cases or to help them with their projects.’”

THIS IS NOT DISNEY’S FANTASIA — “LD-24 uproar,” by InsiderNJ’s Fred Snowflack: “Dawn Fantasia is a Sussex County commissioner and a candidate for the state Assembly in LD-24 … But as Fantasia candidly acknowledged in a message Wednesday to Republican voters, her life was quite different some 16 years ago. She put it this way: ‘In one horrific night – that started with state troopers knocking on the door of our family home, with my young children asleep in their beds – my world crashed down around me.’ … The referenced scandal was the arrest of her then-husband, a high school teacher, for having a sexual relationship with a female student. … It was Rubashov who ‘authored’ the relevant piece in a recent post on the Jersey Conservative site. The gist of it as far as Fantasia is concerned is the following statement: “Like Jim Cunneely, Dawn Cunneely (Fantasia) believes he will never commit a similar crime. She calls him a good father and she has granted him joint custody of the children. … In her response, Fantasia says she did not grant custody to her former husband, pointing out that such decisions are made by the court. More broadly, she lashes out at the overall theme of the recent attack.”

DISTRICT TO AMEND POLICY, WILL NOTIFY PARENTS IF BOYS AND GIRLS ARE SEEN HOLDING HANDS — “N.J. Attorney General takes school district to court over policy to out LGBTQ students,” by NJ Advance Media’s Tina Kelley: “The New Jersey Attorney General filed a civil rights complaint Wednesday against the Hanover Township Board of Education and public schools, challenging a policy passed Tuesday requiring school staff to notify parents of their children’s gender identity and sexual orientation. Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin joined Sundeep Iyer, Director of the Division on Civil Rights, in filing an emergency motion in Superior Court to prevent the new policy from going into effect. … The complaint argues that the policy violates the state’s Law Against Discrimination because it discriminates based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, requiring parental notification for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer students but not for their peers.”

Judge dismisses discrimination lawsuit against Murphy

Murphy: State considering ‘bulk acquisition’ of mifepristone

—“Atlantic City Expressway all-electronic toll project cost increases to $200 million

—“Senate Judiciary Committee considering 3 judge nominees

—McDonald: “Ruling on New Jersey gun law shows Democrats didn’t do their homework

—“Judge dismisses AFSCME wage disparity lawsuit against Murphy Administration

BYE! — “Paterson man who killed 8 in NYC terrorist attack gets 10 life sentences, plus 260 years,” by The AP’s Larry Neumeister: “An unrepentant and defiant Islamic extremist received 10 life sentences and another 260 years in prison on Wednesday for killing eight people with a truck on a bike path in Manhattan on Halloween in 2017, as a judge decried his ‘callous and cowardly’ crimes. ‘The conduct in this case is among the worst, if not the worst I’ve ever seen,’ said U.S. District Judge Vernon S. Broderick, as he announced a sentence designed to underscore the severity of the terrorist attack Sayfullo Saipov claimed he carried out on behalf of the Islamic State group. … A former long-haul truck driver, Saipov moved legally to the U.S. from Uzbekistan in 2010 and lived in Ohio and Florida before joining his family in Paterson, New Jersey.”

SPOILER: HE DIDN’T VOTE TO EXPEL HIM — “How will Kean vote on move to expel George Santos?” by New Jersey Globe’s David Wildstein: “A resolution by Democrats to expel Rep. George Santos from the U.S. House of Representatives forces the hand of a freshman Republican congressman from New Jersey who made ethics a cornerstone of his campaign last year. Rep. Thomas Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield) will need to decide if he wants to kick out Santos, who has pleaded not guilty to a 13-count federal indictment, or side with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who prefers to refer the matter to the House Ethics Committee. The ethics panel is notoriously slow-moving, frustrating Kean during his 2022 congressional campaign. There’s no guarantee that the bi-partisan committee will expedite the matter.”

PATERSON FAILS — “Facing old tech, fumes and other hazards, Paterson students and staff hang on — or dig in,” by The Record’s Christopher Maag: “These are students who require extra assistance. Instead, many attend school in old buildings that make learning harder — buildings with an overwhelming array of problems: leaky roofs, adjoining classroom space without dividing walls, faulty heating and cooling systems, waste pipes that send raw sewage into bathrooms during heavy rains and, in some cases, so little space that students spend class time in portable trailers. …. In a few schools, the crisis is obvious. There’s an elementary school that has operated for the last 48 years with no walls between classrooms. There are playgrounds so cramped — and gymnasiums so crippled by floods and age — that some children never get to run with their friends … By about third grade, students begin to understand that their schools are broken. By fourth grade they begin to resent it, some teachers say. Paterson cannot afford to fix its schools, and neither can the state of New Jersey. “Obviously there’s not enough money,” said Steve Morlino, who managed Paterson’s more than 40 school buildings for five years before leaving the district in 2019.”

THE JERSEY DEVLIN — “Atlantic City school board member, Small critic, removed due to absenteeism,” by The Press of Atlantic City’s Christopher Doyle: “A dissenting voice and a center of controversy has been removed from his position on the city’s Board of Education. The board voted to remove John Devlin from his seat Tuesday due to what officials said was chronic absenteeism. School board officials said Devlin had missed three consecutive meetings, which authorized them to remove him from his position. … Board President Shay Steele said the action was not based on past disputes with Devlin. … Devlin has been the center of controversy before. City Council voted to remove Devlin from his position as chair of the Atlantic City Municipal Utilities Authority in February 2022. Some ACMUA officials alleged Devlin had not been treating them with respect and had been detrimental to ACMUA business. Devlin said he was being retaliated against due to his opposition to the administration of Mayor Marty Small Sr. and has pursued legal action against the city.”

—‚“Jersey City announces return of Port Liberte ferry service, with discounted rate

—“Third Red Bank weed shop coming after voters reject candidates favoring tighter rules

“[Manville] failed to protect transgender student who died by suicide, suit claims

—“A second lawsuit filed accusing Passaic board of education of nepotism

—“Fallen South Jersey officer Bobby Shisler honored in massive service at Rowan University

—“Suleiman launches South Jersey public policy think tank

—“[Freehold] school district may restore busing for 3K students, but parents would pay fee

—“Is Lakewood’s future looking up? Township considers increased building heights

HINCHLIFFE STADIUM — “Baseball returns to the ‘hallowed grounds’ of a Negro Leagues stadium,” by The New York Times’ Gary Phillips: “Hinchliffe Stadium is at the end of a massive redevelopment project that has cost more than $100 million. The initiative, which broke ground in April 2021, features a multisport athletic facility, a preschool, a restaurant and event space, parking, affordable senior housing and a museum devoted to the venue’s glory days, which ranged from the 1930s to the ’80s. And this weekend, professional baseball games will return to the site. Kendrick can’t wait. ‘To stand on those hallowed grounds, that you know the likes of Larry Doby and Monte Irvin and so many of the legendary stars of the Negro leagues were there, that’s special,’ [Negro Leagues Baseball Museum President Bob] Kendrick said.”

IT’S A FILM ABOUT PATERSON POLITICS CALLED ‘CITY SICKER’ — ”When Harry met Andre: Billy Crystal shooting TV show in Paterson, snaps photo with mayor,” by The Record’s Liam Quinn: “Paterson played host to a comedy icon Tuesday when Billy Crystal came to the Silk City to shoot a new television series. The show, titled ‘Winston,’ filmed scenes at Passaic County Community College’s Hamilton Club, which was transformed into a set. Mayor Andre Sayegh greeted Crystal and posted a picture with the six-time Emmy winner Tuesday.”

— “CFO who stole $833K from N.J. company avoids jail after repaying money

—“Lawsuits still in limbo five years after fatal Paramus school bus crash

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