The Jaffe Briefing will not publish from Thursday, May 21 to Tuesday, May 26. Enjoy the holiday weekend!

EDISON – Buying a pair of shoes at the mall is a whole new experience, as Gov. Phil Murphy announced that shopping meccas around the state can now offer curbside service at non-essential stores. Expect this: “Yes, I would like to try these heels in a size 6, please,” as you sit on the curb in front of the Nordstrom at Menlo Park Mall. “Ooo, they feel a little tight,” as you walk around the parking lot. “Could you run in and get me the 6-½ shoe? Oh, and in green, please?” And no rush. “I’ll just sit here on the curb. Oh, and do you have any Size 11 suede loafers for my husband? Father’s Day is coming…” Oh, and please hurry. “I just ordered a Skinnylicious® salad from Cheesecake Factory; I am meeting a friend for lunch in Section 7B of the parking lot.” Easing mall restrictions is just another part of Murphy’s “careful process of restarting our economy and getting our state back." It’s just, well, different.

STATEWIDE – In our race to return to normal, New Jersey just took a huge step forward. And we’re not just talking about procuring Size 11 suede loafers. Now, we can once again make our own coffee at Wawa. You may recall those long, dark weeks when we needed to rely on Wawa employees to desperately try to concoct that perfect mixture of French Roast, sugar and milk. Bless their hearts for trying. But now, when we hit the Wawa, there are plastic safety guards at check-out and food-service counters, visual floor markers for social distancing, more hand-sanitizer stations and other protocols. All good, as we breathe in our coffee, prepared precisely.

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PATERSON – Misuse of mail-in ballots in previous city elections was being investigated for months before last week’s newest accusations of tomfoolery. The outcome of six City Council races remains undecided as the FBI and federal Postal Inspectors try to unravel the suspicious mishandling of more than 800 mail-in ballots. The Paterson Press broke the news that authorities already had this city’s questionable vote-by-mail shenanigans under a microscope. Shocking, right? The inquiries appear to be welcome. One ward candidate says: “If we have candidates willing to steal votes … what are they willing to do when they get in office?” And Mayor Andre Sayegh insists: “We don’t want to see a mockery made of democracy. We want to preserve the integrity of our elections.” Clearly, the mayor wants to make history in Paterson.

BRIEFING BREATHER

America once issued a 5-cent bill.

TRENTON – ‘Recall Robin!’ is what some residents are demanding after Councilwoman Robin Vaughn’s vulgarity-laced homophobic rant against openly gay Mayor Reed Gusciora and a councilman. Despite ongoing calls from federal and state lawmakers for her reprimand and resignation, the City Council has not yet censured her for some crazy reason. So, five residents from Vaughn’s West Ward have just filed papers with the City Clerk to recall and replace her “for conduct unbecoming of a public official” after she once again turned an unflattering national spotlight on Trenton. They must now get enough petition signatures to hold a special election. Gusciora, who lives in Vaughn’s ward, tells The Trentonian that he did not influence these petitioners, but the mayor may sign their petition: “I’m just as fed up as a lot of my neighbors.” Perhaps, even a little bit more.

STATEWIDE – In the very near future, we could be all zipping around in our electric SUVs, while zero-emission delivery trucks roll quietly up and down the street. Hey, it could happen if — and it’s a sizable if — New Jersey builds out the infrastructure needed to top off the batteries in all these electric vehicles. Unsurprisingly, it’s not a matter of technology but a question of money. NJ Spotlight reports it’s going to cost billions to get the job done. Some Garden State utilities have already put a price tag on the project, at least part of it. Trouble is, if the utilities move forward, then their ratepayers — residential and business customers (that would be all of us) — end up with the bill. The state BPU has come up with what sounds like a more palatable proposal: attract private capital to invest in the requisite infrastructure. New Jersey’s mantra: Let someone else pay. 

BEACH HAVEN – When you visit LBI this summer, the streets will likely flood. It’s just the way things are, you assume. But, as the Asbury Park Press reports, something has to really, truly be done before the island is underwater. Over the next 80 years, there is likely a two-foot increase in sea level, which means you will be doing the backstroke down the Boulevard if it happens to sprinkle during high tide. The Beach Haven mayor says it's no joke, as she already sees little minnows swimming in the streets when water comes in from the bay. What can be done? Raise roads, raise bulkhead heights and raise the ground level of homes. And, somehow, of course, let someone else pay for it.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

SEOUL – At first, the plan made a lot of sense for the local soccer team to get some “fans” for its televised games. The marketing folks at FC Seoul purchased mannequins that can look like they are seated. All went as planned last weekend, as the team took the field against Gwangju FC. (A 1-0 win.) But then social media went wild, as fans were quick to note that the fans were, um strikingly attractive. It was quickly assumed they were blow-up sex dolls. On further inspection, team officials confirmed suspicions, even noting that some of the “fans” were holding banners that appeared to reference porn sites. The red-faced team explained there was an apparent “misunderstanding” with the supplier over the choice of product, reiterating the dolls were supposed to serve only as a backdrop. And absolutely nothing more.

WORD OF THE DAY

Neoteric – [nee-uh-TAIR-ik] – adjective

Definition: Recent in origin; modern

Example: Today’s newsletter celebrates the old and welcomes the neoteric.

WIT OF THE DAY

“If you want to make beautiful music, you must play the black and the white notes together.”

-Richard M. Nixon

 

TODAY'S TRUMPISM 

 

“Fox and Friends trounces Morning Psycho (MSDNC) in the ratings!”

- Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD

Dry