STATEWIDE – So, what’s $30 billion or so among friends? That’s the pitch from Gov. Phil Murphy, who cozied up to his new BFF, President Donald Trump, in the Oval Office yesterday. Sure, let’s assume Murphy had plenty of ulterior motives for the drive down I-95, pleading with everyone in Washington that it’s “our hour of need.” Murphy says the state is desperate for ventilators, temporary hospitals and FEMA-run testing sites. So, $30 billion ought to just about cover it, Mr. Trump. The President, in response, noted Murphy’s superb ability to rebound from cancer treatment. Oh, and about the $30 billion? Well, uh, he called that “a tough question.”
STATEWIDE – Hard to believe, but it looks like politics played a role in how the feds dispatch dough to small businesses eager to offset COVID-19 losses. The Paycheck Protection Program awarded small businesses across the state $9.5 billion – definitely a lot of long green. But do the math: Only 18% of New Jersey’s small businesses got cash, so far. In fact, New Jersey and New York, two of the states hit hardest by the pandemic, were ranked nearly last in terms of the percentage of all businesses the feds threw lifelines, so far. The 10 states where the greatest percentage of businesses got loans included eight that voted for Trump in 2016 and all five states without stay-at home-orders as of April 23, NJ Spotlight reports. Meanwhile, the nine states and District of Columbia that got the stingiest loans included seven that voted for Hillary Clinton and five that put in place stay-at-home orders as of March 23. Coincidence?
STATEWIDE – ‘Drive-bys’ have a whole new meaning with everyone fearful of catching corona-cooties. People are finding a growing number of clever drive-bys as they practice social distancing. Take priests at a Boonton church, holding weekly drive-by confessions in their parking lot for penitent parishioners. Family and friends celebrated a Brick Township couple’s nuptials this week – with no cake, no dancing – but a drive-by 50-car parade down their street. A Morris County funeral home became Jersey’s first to hold a drive-by viewing, displaying a Clinton woman’s open casket at its rear doors as mourners drove by. Then, there’s a parade of cars, with horns blaring, outside a Sewell nursing home Wednesday to celebrate centenarian Mary Logan’s 100th birthday. Yep, this is new and normal.
BARNEGAT – A new microbrewery called “Beer Naked Ladies” got a frothy reception from the planning board here, all because of its name. The brewery application got put on ice this week after two board members objected, one saying: “I find (the name) offensive to Barnegat … I don't like it.” The craft brewery and bar would replace an ice cream parlor and candy shop on Route 9. The Asbury Park Press says brewery owners intend to provide a “family-friendly gathering place” for community groups, organizations and residents. During Tuesday’s video-streamed meeting, the planning board members punted the decision to the zoning board, saying the business would need a variance. Maybe zoners will have an appreciation for Beer Naked Ladies.
BRIEFING BREATHER: The first toilet seat ever seen on television was on “Leave it to Beaver.”
TRENTON – The police director and the local tabloid have two very different takes on the city’s crime rate. In defending the curfew, Police Director Sheilah Coley says crime dropped an impressive 144% during curfew hours, which went into effect April 6. Meanwhile, the Trentonian noted that Coley didn’t compute “violent crime” in her stats. So, the tabloid did its own math, based off the city’s reported crime stats, finding that crime is down 51% during those same hours. Still good to see, but why are the numbers so different? Mayor Reed Gusciora attempts to explain: “If we got a decimal wrong, or the calculator didn't work, then I will take responsibility for it. I did not put my fingers on the calculator. I became a lawyer because I didn't like the sight of blood or math.” So, there you go.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
LUND, SWEDEN – They take this whole social distancing thing seriously in Lund, where city officials ordered workers to spread more than a ton of chicken poop all over the central park to deter festival-goers. Unclear where the city was able to procure so much excrement at one time – or who exactly offers such a service – but the city was desperate to keep people out of the park yesterday on “Walpurgis Night,” an ancient pagan holiday and huge music festival, drawing tens of thousands of revelers the last night of April each year, which seems... lovely. Now, the big question: what to do this morning with all the poop? Meanwhile, city officials are admitting to a local newspaper that there is no “guarantee that the rest of the city will be odorless. But the point was to keep people out of the city park.” Mission Accomplished.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 1981 that Sen. Harrison A. Williams (D-NJ) was convicted for taking bribes in the now-famous Abscam sting. He quit the Senate in 1982 before he would be booted.
WORD OF THE DAY
Appellation – [ap-uh-LAY-shun] – noun
Definition: An identifying name or title
Example: I go by many, many names. But my appellation this morning is “Mr. Jaffe Briefing.”
WIT OF THE DAY
“I want with all my heart to see your burdens lifted, to see farmers who have given so much to America receive the rewards they deserve. As Dwight Eisenhower once said, ‘Without a prosperous agriculture, there is no prosperity in America.'”
- Ronald Reagan
“I have done more for farmers and ranchers than any President in history.”
- Donald J. Trump
WEATHER IN A WORD: Warm
THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun