Jaffe Morning Briefing - October 14, 2016

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OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

CLARK - A local Trump supporter has built himself a wall...and paid for it. TapInto reports that Vic DeMarzo has placed a fence in his front yard. On one side of it is a "Trump for President" sign; on the other is a lawn statue he affectionately calls Paco. Paco wears a sombrero and a serape. Next to him is another sign that reads "Coming to America."  "I got fed up with illegal immigration," DeMarzo said. "Illegal immigration is an insult to the people who did it the right way. Doesn't anybody understand the word 'illegal?'"

ON THE RAILS - It would appear congratulations are in order for the new head of NJ Transit. Steven Santoro will now be sprinting toward a buzz saw, given just 30 days to update everyone on how to implement a speed control program that would have stopped that train from slamming into the Hoboken terminal. He must also answer to the fun fact that NJ Transit has had more accidents and paid more fines for safety violations than any other commuter railroad nationally since 2011. Then, there's the desperate need for another rail tunnel and other maxed-out tunnels that haven't been repaired since Superstorm Sandy. And then you have the expensive cost of tickets, infuriated commuters, 11,000 workers to oversee and a slue of politicians wondering why you haven't fixed everything yet. So, welcome Mr. Santoro. Feel free to begin defending yourself.  

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STATEWIDE - Bribes? Kickbacks? Politicians: you are not alone. Doctors and chiropractors apparently want a piece of the action too; certainly understandable with all that medical school debt and pricey malpractice insurance. Except, the Attorney General's Office isn't too understanding. It's been cracking down on doctors who ship off their patients for unneeded X-rays, ultrasounds, MRIs and CT scans in return for brown paper bags stuffed with small, unmarked bills, the Record says. Owners of a North Jersey medical imaging facility pleaded guilty to paying $850,000 in kickbacks to 15 doctors. A Totowa chiropractor admitting taking bribes for referrals and a Union County chiropractor was just busted for the same thing. No wonder a gauze wrap costs $800.  

LONG BRANCH - And, speaking of corruption, it's a safe bet that a former mayoral candidate will not be throwing his hat back in the ring. Former Councilman Brian Unger, who ran for mayor in 2010, will be sentenced in January for collecting his wife's Social Security disability checks for four years after she died, NJ 101.5 reports. He collected a total of $82,854. When asked by the U.S. attorney why he never told the government of her death, he said, something like, "Well, duh, Mr. Fishman, because I wanted to keep collecting the money." Unger is looking at a max of 10 years in jail and a $250,000 fine.

NEWARK - Presumptive gubernatorial nominee Phil Murphy is Cincinnati-bound for the NAACP's vote on a resolution for a charter school expansion moratorium. The N.J. Education Association supports a moratorium on charters in the state and it already endorsed Murphy, a voting member of the civil rights group's national board (Say whaaat?). But, a host of African American leaders oppose it, including St. James AME Church's Rev. Ronald Slaughter, former mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries, Bishop Reginald Jackson, who heads the N.J. Black Ministers Council, and city Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins and former councilman Ron Rice Jr., who works for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Since governors must often make compromising choices, this may be an valuable test of the former German ambassador's diplomatic skills.

IN THE ROUGH - Calling it his "grab Trump by the (golf) balls" challenge, Philadelphia artist Donald Gleeson is trying to goad the acerbic GOP presidential nominee into an $180,000, 18-hole duel. Gleeson and companion Mary Mihelic are part of an anti-Trump performance art group that's trekked across 42 states in what looks like Trump's old blue campaign buses, showing up at Trump rallies in hopes of "driving out The Donald." They got turned away from Trump National Golf Course on Wednesday as Gleeson tried to deliver his challenge, NJ.com says. Not teed off in the least, Gleason and his big blue bus are heading to Trump's other golf courses in Colts Neck and Pine Hill. 

TRENTON - So, the gas tax is signed and sealed, right? Well, not exactly. The state Legislature passed the 23-cent gas tax last week, but Gov. Chris Christie has not yet gotten around to signing the bill. Is this some sort of political game? Nah, says Senate President Stephen Sweeney. "The governor, I don't know why he's not signing the bill that we agreed to. They said he is, so I expect him to do it. Why he's waiting, I have no idea."

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS 

BROCKTON, Mass. - Mom always said to stay away from drug addicts, and maybe this is why. A local woman thinks an addict stole her mother's ashes from the glove compartment of her car, figured it was drugs and snorted mom. The woman tells The Enterprise that she had plenty of valuables in her unlocked Jeep on Monday, such as a gold chain, expensive sunglasses and money. But the only thing taken was the little white box, the remains of a 71-year-old who died in July. The daughter, who had been spreading the ashes around some of mom's favorite places, says it is "mortifying" to think someone is now sitting around with his giggling pals, passing around the box and wondering why they aren't feeling anything. She asks for whatever remains are remaining to be returned. No questions asked. 

THIS DAY IN HISTORY 

Some companies offer free coffee as a perk. Others will pay to freeze your eggs so you don't have to rush off to motherhood. It was this day in 2014 that Apple and Facebook announced the egg-freezing program as part of the companies' insurance plans; the companies see the offering as a way to help career-minded women focus on their jobs.

WORD OF THE DAY 

Univocal [yoo-NIV-uh-kul] - adjective 

Definition: Unambiguous  

Example: Let me send a univocal message: I can't wait to trick or treat.  

WEATHER IN A WORD 

Glorious

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