It is Convention Time! The Jaffe Briefing will be on hiatus beginning Monday, May 20, returning Tuesday, May 28

TRENTON - It is the tale of two governors. There is Gov. Phil Murphy. And there is Senate President Steve Sweeney, who is acting like the governor, in this clash of the titans. Yesterday, Sweeney introduced a sweeping package of more than two dozen bills designed to slash the ridiculous cost of government in New Jersey, setting up a colossal fight with the other governor, who is trying to get a budget passed by June 30.  Sweeney is promising immediate savings with his "Path to Progress" initiative, arguing that is the reason why Murphy should quit trying to pass a millionaire's tax. Sweeney still has to get these bills by Murphy, who is out shopping this morning for some new veto pens.

NEW BRUNSWICK -  It was scheduled to last an hour and a half... it lasted about 20 minutes. Senate President Steve Sweeney walked off the stage Thursday night in the middle of a raucous town hall meeting, unwilling to be shouted down when he tried to hype his "Path to Progress" legislation in front of a pro-union audience at Douglass College's Trays Hall, TAPInto New  Brunswick reports. Sweeney paused to let the screams, shrill railroad whistles and boos subside, but was quickly drowned out, again and again. At one point, Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It" blared, much to the delight of the 300 or so pro-union workers who danced, pumped their fists and sang along to the 1980s hair band classic. "You're not going to scare me," Sweeney told the crowd, whipping them into a higher frenzy. "You're not going to chase me off." And, after another round or two of jeers, he was gone.

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MIDDLETOWN - Even the U.S. Postal Service is sucked into the Trenton tussle, as some unlucky mailman had to walk up the steps of the governor's other mansion in Middletown with a letter from Democratic power broker George Norcross III, demanding that Murphy preserve all records and documents connected to New Jersey's controversial tax incentive programs. These cheerful notices also were sent to members of a task force investigating the state's Economic Development Authority.  Murphy lawyers were quick to pounce, reports, slamming the lawyer who sent the letters to homes, rather than offices. Now, these task force members need to explain to little Susie and little Johnny, both of whom are asking, "Mommy, what is a litigation hold notice?" The governor's lawyers say the nine-page missives sent home are a "clear attempt to threaten a public entity."

TRENTON - It's full steam ahead for a plan to have all electricity in the Garden State come from carbon-free sources by 2050. Some business groups aren't warming to the idea; they say a Senate committee was much too fast in giving the OK to a related bill. Maybe the critics should stay cool. After all, NJ Spotlight reports that Sen. Bob Smith, who sponsored the bill, is taking the long view - the very, very, very long view. Stressing the need to minimize any impact on the state economy, he said, "It's a 31-year transition plan." A lot of us will be pushing up daisies by then, doing our own bit to help the carbon cycle.  Fuel the fire with today's NJ Spotlight. 

CEDAR GROVE - Two laws of Jersey politics: Every vote counts. And, never ever give up. We can all learn plenty from the Cedar Grove councilman who lost his seat in Tuesday's election. After learning he lost by just 33 seats, Councilman Harry Kumburis was knocking on doors that same night, checking to see if potential supporters had sent in mail-in ballots, as promised. By 10:15 p.m., voters were wondering who the hell was at the door. The councilman's canvassing ended when one voter called the cops, wondering why this apparent deranged lunatic, with a pile of papers in his hands, was at her door. Kumburis admitted to that all the late-night door-knocking was "inappropriate." But, hey, democracy never sleeps.

NOT NEW JERSEY - The U.S. Conference of Mayors must be tone-deaf,choosing to hold its 87th-annual conference in beautiful Honolulu this year. With such a decision, all these elected officials from towns across the county have to either sneak away, or feebly explain to taxpayers and the media about who is paying for this big, fat junket beginning June 28, as well as detail the many, many benefits to the local electorate. is obviously asking questions - just like media around the country. Mayors from Elizabeth, Kearny, Pleasantville, Fanwood, Piscataway, Rahway, Irvington and Plainfield are slated to attend the four-day conference, reports. And all have varying plans to pay for it. Some on their own; others courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Weary Taxpayer. A suggestion: Hold next year's event in Detroit.


LONDON - Waiter! What is this undrinkable swill?? Are you telling me this is a $5,760 bottle of wine? And you served it to me by mistake? Hmm. Let me try another sip... A waiter at a swanky British restaurant has some explaining to do, after he picked up the wrong bottle of Bordeaux on a very busy evening. The Hawksmoor Manchester reports one of its waiters served a 2001 bottle of Chateau le Pin Pomerol rather than the wine that was ordered, a super-cheap, bottle of Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2001, only selling for $333. The restaurant told the red-faced employee - at least publicly - that "one-off mistakes happen" and added "we love you anyway."


On this day in 1975, NBC bought the the rights to "Gone With The Wind" for a cool $5 million - showing TV executives frankly didn't give a damn.


Darkle - [DAHR-kəl] - verb

Definition: To lay in the dark

Example: Why is a Cedar Grove councilman darkling on my porch?


"It's kind of fun to do the impossible."


- Walt Disney



A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun