OFF THE RAILS – Sad news from NJ.com: 10 years ago yesterday Gov. Chris Christie killed the $9 billion Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) tunnel. Oct. 27, 2010 marks the moment of the biggest blunder of the Christie Administration, as New Jersey lost the perfect opportunity to replace a pair of century-old tunnels that connect our state to Manhattan, while creating gobs of jobs. Christie gambled that the feds would rush in with a last-minute reprieve to cover cost overruns. That didn’t happen and the project died, to the fury of commuters who quickly noticed there is no viable Plan B. The ARC Tunnel was slated to be completed in 2018, generating an enormous boon for the local economy that would have shaved valuable commuting time for riders via all this modern-day infrastructure. Christie diverted $1.8 billion from Gateway to avoid increasing the state’s gas tax. Well, at least that’s something. Right?
ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL – If you’re glued to morning news like us, then you know our airwaves have been hijacked by the Presidential campaign. We hear repeatedly from Trump, using half a sound bite to “prove” Biden will raise your taxes. And we hear from Biden, claiming he only wants to raise taxes on the rich. And we hear these two messages over and over, as these ads run ad nauseam. The big question: Why are the campaigns spending a nickel for air time in New Jersey? NJ.com reports that Democrats are driving early voting, with nearly half of all 2.1 million ballots cast as of Monday coming from them. Republicans, who are outnumbered in the Garden State by more than 1 million, have handed in just 525,421 ballots. The campaigns know where New Jersey will land with our 14 electoral votes. Why blow the cash?
ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL – Six More Years! That’s the message from Sen. Cory Booker, who pledges to serve out an entire senatorial term when he is likely re-elected next month in a landslide. That is certainly the intention, sure, but you never know what will happen – especially if 77-year-old Joe Biden wins the White House. So, for the shear benefit of the recent debate against GOP challenger Rik Mehta, sure, Booker says, he will finish out another term as New Jersey’s junior senator. Hey, why not? But, as Presidential aspirations run as strong as ever, and our politics are so rough-and-tumble and inconsistent, no one can possibly know what will happen next.
“Competitive Art” used to be in the Olympics.
VENTNOR – All agree that fees charged to ice cream vendors here is a bit light – just $500 a year. But when members of the Citizens Advisory Committee dared to propose raising ice cream vendor fees, the response was immediate and, dare we say, visceral. One committee member noted that neighboring Margate rakes in about $50,000 in ice cream vendor fees. But, in Ventnor, those permits are sold exclusively to veterans at the bargain-basement rates. And what locally-elected official would dare hike those fees? Certainly not Mayor Beth Holzman, telling the Press of Atlantic City that “$50,000 is not chump change, but I’m going to tell you right now, it’s not going to be worth the headache and not going to be worth the aggravation and emotion that’s going to be stirred up.” Smart move, mayor.
IN THE MEDIA
SALT LAKE CITY – The story of local journalism here is the same story playing out across the country. Since 1871, the Salt Lake Tribune arrived faithfully on readers’ doorsteps. Beginning January 1, however, the newspaper will stop printing and delivering a daily edition and switching to a weekly printed newspaper, which will arrive by mail. This vanishing cultural mainstay, always available each morning at the local coffee shop, will now live stream at sltrib.com. Publishers vow the newsroom staff won’t be cut, and the website will be brimming each day with local news and photography. That tough decision comes as the other local daily, The Deseret News, announced it will print just a weekly edition and a monthly magazine beginning next year. Salt Lake City – suddenly and abruptly with no daily newspaper – joins cities across America who once had thriving daily print runs. This story is relevant to any news reader anywhere: It shows the future business model of local news. You may soon need a second option to line the bird cage.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Georgia May Adkins lived for 93 long years and – upon her ultimate demise – had just one wish as she departed the world: Please don’t re-elect Trump. An obituary for this scrappy old lady, who died of a stroke at United Hospital, was published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press with details of how she wanted to be cremated and then honored with a church service under COVID-19 protocols. No need for a florist. “In lieu of flowers, Georgia preferred that you do not vote for Trump,” the obituary reads. Her obit went viral, of course, with one supporter posting “What a peach!” and another writing “We got you covered Georgia!” Others said other stuff that we won’t post. She is survived by 17 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild, which, together, are a lot of votes.
DALLAS – Some people who get into the Halloween spirit by carving a pumpkin, perhaps with a nice pumpkin spice latte. Then there's artist Steven Novak, who has recreated a blood-strewn slaughter on his lawn, with 20 gallons of blood. There’s a lunatic on the roof with a machete in his head, a guy below who has been crushed by a falling safe and the victim on the sidewalk has a chainsaw protruding from his back. There’s another body, apparently wrapped and ready to be buried. The display offers something for the whole family – if you’re the Manson family. Police have declined to cite Novak, even though neighbors have complained about this gratuitous gore straight from a B level, home-made horror flick. “Honestly, though, I think I could’ve used more,” he said. “(My plans) were way worse on paper. Next year though!”
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 1988 that jurors awarded $147,000 to a Tacoma parishioner seduced by her minister. Oooo, church scandal.
WORD OF THE DAY
Dexterous – [DEK-strus] – adjective
Definition: Mentally adroit and skillful
Example: I write this sentence with dexterous fingers, sharp eyes and Zen-like concentration.
WIT OF THE DAY
“Genius is 1% talent and 99% percent hard work...”
“We are rounding the turn. 99.9%.”
-Donald J. Trump
WEATHER IN A WORD