STATEWIDE – Our pool noodles are on standby and our inflatable tubes are filled to the precise size for maximum flotation. All we need to take the plunge is word from Gov. Phil Murphy that our pools can re-open for some summer splashing. But before we dive in, Murphy is planning to announce today his boring, never-fun restrictions to preserve our health and safety, yada, yada. Everyone is relieved that chlorine and bromine stops COVID-19 from spreading, but still there are legitimate concerns that pool patrons will breathe all over each other, spreading viruses. New Jersey finds out today if our summer floats or sinks; a mask would certainly add a new level of challenge to snorkeling, but, hey, we are up for anything at this point.
STATEWIDE — While we wait for our governor to announce his big pool plans… (BTW, Guv, the weather forecast for tomorrow is 86 degrees) … let’s go to NJ Spotlight for a deep dive into the state's history of not socking away enough funds to deal with emergencies like we're currently experiencing. The economic fallout from the pandemic has the state slashing funding for property tax relief, preparing to defer public-worker pension-system payments and holding aid for K-12 school districts flat. One reason for these draconian measures is that — despite repeated warnings — New Jersey's leaders haven't put enough away for a rainy day, though Gov. Murphy has topped up reserves. A Pew study found the median number of days that states could operate with their cash reserves was 48. For New Jersey, the figure was 16. That’s crazy; everyone knows it never rains in New Jersey, just pours.
JERSEY CITY – There’s a glimmer of hope for struggling families and help for sagging city finances. The local Redevelopment Agency is poised to approve a $100 million residential project that will ultimately bring more than 8,000 low-and moderate-income housing units to the city’s bayfront. Hudson County View says this much-debated, long-awaited project will be one of the tri-state area’s largest affordable housing projects in decades. It will revitalize the old 100-acre chromium-contaminated Honeywell site along the Hackensack River. And its developers are to pump $26 million into city coffers during the first construction phase. More cash will come to the city as future phases get built. Sounds like a win all around, especially for people who will suddenly get a new home with a waterfront view in one of the most congested places on the planet.
Online sales of sweatpants, hoodies and pajamas are soaring with so many people now working from home.
PATERSON – There’s never a good time to give big pay raises to City Hall’s highest paid officials. But could there be a worse time than now? That’s what the City Council told Mayor Andre Sayegh before blocking his plans to increase “salary ranges” for a dozen top administrators, some by as much as 35 percent. The city is borrowing $25 million to cover pandemic-related deficits and it may soon furlough lower-paid workers. The Paterson Times says council members called the proposed raises “an embarrassment” and “an insult” while many “people are suffering.” Councilman Luis Velez told the mayor: “This is political suicide for you.” The tone-deaf mayor claims he is not actually raising salaries, but he’d like “the flexibility” to do it. Yet, his recent budget proposal includes a $40,000 pay bump for his business administrator and increases for a few other top officials. Pants on fire, Mr. Mayor?
STATEWIDE – As we get giddy about some our favorite restaurants reopening for outside dining on June 15, eatry owners are scratching their heads, trying to figure out an entirely different way to do business. NJ.com notes some of the glaring challenges: What happens if it rains? How do we keep patrons apart? How do we protect our staff? How do we warmly greet customers wearing a mask and gloves, at a distance? How do we expand our outside footprint? What will all this cost in additional supplies, umbrellas, tables, etc.? And does it even make sense to try all this?
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
BRITISH COLUMBIA – Unclear who would ever bring $5,211 into a Walmart. But that is not the really unique part of this story. A local woman is overwhelmed with relief this morning after she somehow lost this wallet bursting with cash in her local Walmart, while taking her elderly parents shopping. When she got home, she could not find the wallet, containing $7,000 in Canadian dollars, the proceeds of sales from the two cannabis stores that she runs. Amazingly, the store manager was the first to find the wallet and promptly placed it in the store safe, awaiting the obvious word from a frantic person. When the shopper called, he said, “Don't you worry, now you can sleep tonight, it's in our safe.” “He's an unspoken hero, he saved my business,” the shopper told the Keremeos Review.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
Happy anniversary to Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa, married on this day in 1991.
WORD OF THE DAY
Tine – [tīn] – noun
Definition: A prong on a fork
Example: Make sure to scrub the meat off that tine.
WIT OF THE DAY
“Too often we honor swagger and bluster and the wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others.”
“I built the greatest economy in the World, the best the U.S. has ever had. I am doing it again!”
- Donald J. Trump
WEATHER IN A WORD