ELIZABETH – Now, apparently, we are all supposed to hate Ronald Reagan. City activists are calling on the school board to strip the Gipper’s name from the “Ronald Reagan Academy” after an audio recording surfaced from 1971, in which then California Gov. Reagan referred to African delegates to the United Nations as “monkeys” during a call with President Richard Nixon, NJ.com reports. “To see those monkeys from those African countries, damn them,” Reagan can be heard. “They are still uncomfortable wearing shoes.” That’s certainly horrid, and complicated, as our national heroes are flawed. George Washington kept some 300 bondsmen at his Mount Vernon plantation. Thomas Jefferson—despite once calling slavery an “assemblage of horrors”—owned around 175 servants. James Madison, James Monroe and Andrew Jackson each kept several dozen slaves, reportedly, and Martin Van Buren owned one during his early career. What should we do about schools named after them?
TRENTON – As crimes fueled by hatred toward others rock the nation, New Jersey is also suffering. Fact: Bias incidents have increased here for the third straight year. What’s particularly disturbing, state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal says, is the prevalence of incidents at schools and involving young people. He was speaking about the release of a state report on the unnerving data. After delving into the report, NJ Spotlight brings us the discomfiting stat that almost eight of 10 of the known offenders were male and the same proportion were white. Close to half of offenders in 2018 were minors, up from less than 30 percent in 2017. We need a 50th anniversary of Woodstock, or at least some peace and love.
STATEWIDE – Is Pizza Hut going the way of Bennigan’s and Steak & Ale? Hard to say, but news that 500 of its restaurants are closing does not bode well. Also, ask yourself, when was the last time you dined in a Pizza Hut. And sober? There will still be 7,000 or so Pizza Huts in the country after all these closings, as the restaurant honchoes continue to “develop tailored action plans” while “transforming the estate” into a “more compelling off-premise focused asset strategy.” Know what that means? Nah, us neither.
PATERSON — City Hall might not have enough yellow legal pads or terabytes of computer memory to list everything it gets wrong. Yet, that’s the herculean task Mayor Andre Sayegh is giving to his two new efficiency experts – one he’s dubbed the “chief innovation officer;” the other, “chief data officer.” Their mission, Sayegh tells the Paterson Press, is to examine the city’s “long-standing problems through a different lens” and suggest solutions. Both go on the city’s payroll at $100,000 apiece for the next three years, but Sayegh secured private foundation grants to pay those salaries. Taxpayers won’t get soaked, this time, so that goes in the “done right” column.
CRANFORD – Installing a few security cameras outside Town Hall might be a good idea after a brazen teenager smashed rear windows on six police cars, stole bulletproof vests and took other gear. The 19-year-old local man allegedly caused $4,000 in damage when he struck overnight on July 27. Then, six nights later, he broke into more cop cars outside the Springfield Avenue municipal building, stealing a police jacket and removing a gun vault bolted into one vehicle’s trunk. The Home News Tribune says police recovered some stolen equipment after tracking him down using security video they got from nearby businesses. On the upside, he got a free orange jumpsuit and some other stuff at the Union County jail where he awaits a hearing on burglary, theft and criminal mischief charges.
ON THE RAILS – One of the most stressful jobs in New Jersey must be serving as a conductor on NJ Transit, regularly coping with the seething wrath of the commuting public. Most of these workers just want to get through their shift and ask, politely, to keep your feet off the seats. Now, New Jersey Transit wants to show everyone that their conductors are actually people, not soulless, robotic punching bags. This month, the agency will be videotaping the conductors on their shifts around Hoboken and Newark to “humanize” the crews and then post the footage on social media, Bloomberg reports. Sounds good. But can transit leaders also get the trains to show up, too?
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
RENO, NV – Remember all those old Nintendo games that you threw out, like, 30 years ago? Well, you could have been chucking away cold, hard cash, with word that a rare, sealed copy of the game “Kid Icarus” just sold for $9,000 in Reno, Nevada. Apparently, it was a forgotten birthday gift that was stored in the attic since 1987, and recently unearthed at the seller’s childhood home. The game, originally retailing for $38.45, plus tax, is apparently a valuable artifact when discovered in its native, unwrapped environment. The family is taking the cash to Disney World, where this windfall can buy perhaps buy one “on-property” hotel room, two admission tickets, and a turkey leg.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was on this day, 8/8/88, that the temperature hit 88 in NYC.
WORD OF THE DAY
Mufti – [MUFF-tee] – noun
Definition: Civilian clothes worn by soldier
Example: Beetle typically wears mufti to get away from that pesky Sarge.
WIT OF THE DAY
“Man who invented the hamburger was smart; man who invented the cheeseburger was a genius.”
- Matthew McConaughey
WEATHER IN A WORD
THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun