TRENTON – It seems Senate President Steve Sweeney has lost his patience with the governor, and his efforts to solve NJ Transit’s woes. So now Sweeney is taking on what could be the dirtiest job in New Jersey, trying to fix a rail system that has more holes than the Rutgers’ offensive line. Sweeney is setting up his own high-profile “select committee,” in which he will serve as chair, to figure out what the heck is really going on with NJ Transit. This bi-partisan committee will be demanding a long-term fix to the chronic cancellations, delays, breakdowns, engineer absences, track unavailability and many, many other lame excuses as to why so many commuters are chronically late to work. Meanwhile, Gov. Phil Murphy says he “welcomes the Legislature’s scrutiny,” while blaming them for working with former Gov. Chris Christie to slash NJ Transit’s state aid by as much as 90%. Some classic Trenton finger-pointing, while fed-up commuters just want to finally make that illusive 9 a.m. meeting.
STATEWIDE – It seems as if New Jersey's weather is about to become as erratic as a NJ Transit train schedule. Break out the bikinis and Speedos today because the National Weather Service is calling for high temperatures to hit 90 degrees in some places in Jersey, a possible October record. And, then, dig out your parkas from the bottom of the hall closet for Friday; temperatures are expected to plummet into the low 40s and maybe even 30s. It’s all just the new normal of unpredictable weather that many are still so eager to ignore. Time to get Greta to New Jersey.
STATEWIDE – There are 10 towns in New Jersey that may not be the worst in the United States, but Business Insider magazine has deemed them among the most miserable. Business Insider says “Hey, blame the U.S. Census, not us, for this data-crunching,” and noted that many of these alleged miserable places have suffered crime, bad economies and other things that make people downright cranky. The towns, ranked among Top 50 nationally, include, at No. 19, Paterson. Slightly more miserable, it is claimed, is Trenton (No. 17), preceded by Union City (No. 15), New Brunswick (No. 11), Camden (No. 8) and Newark (No. 4). The most miserable city in Jersey? Passaic. Of course, we disagree with all of this. You wanna talk misery? Been to Scranton lately?
TRENTON – To no surprise of anyone, we are learning this morning that the state Motor Vehicle Commission has customer-service issues. That “news” is courtesy of the state Legislature’s Office of the State Auditor, which just released a report declaring that “customer service operations could be more efficient if improvements are made” to the MVC’s compliance unit, with better use of mobile units and the handling of complaints. The timing of the audit is vital, as the MVC begins to roll out its “Real ID” licenses, with the goal of issuing them at agencies statewide. As of Oct. 1 next year, all airports will need this federally-mandated document as your identification to board a plane. So the MVC needs to step up its game, pronto. Cut to the front of the line in today’s NJ Spotlight.
NEWARK – The dearly departed don’t really need money, apparently. Perhaps that’s why a Clinton Avenue delicatessen supposedly stopped paying its rent in 2015, soon after the building’s 84-year-old owner died. Now, his very-much alive relatives want to know: “Where’s the beef?” So, NJ.com says the late owner’s family just filed a lawsuit demanding that Mama Kim’s Deli – known for its cheesesteak subs and Italian hotdogs – serve up $68,750 in overdue rent, plus a generous side order of court costs and attorney fees. So... now introducing the $20 special. Pile on the pastrami; but hold your tongue.
ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL – Whether Cory Booker’s candidacy was really “livin’ on a prayer” (or not), his campaign coffers certainly got a big last-minute boost from Jon Bon Jovi. The Jersey rocker fired off a rousing email to help raise $300,000 that the presidential hopeful claims he needed for a self-imposed $1.7 million fundraising goal. Otherwise, Booker claimed he’d withdraw from the race (or not). That claim, coupled with Bon Jovi’s weekend pitch, are fueling speculation that Booker’s staff played the media better than Jon plays guitar, getting a ton of a news mileage from an alleged, yet shrewd, stunt. Hmmm… pretty slippery when wet.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
FORT COLLINS, CO. – A huge, bouncy and jiggly victory for the nationwide “Free the Nipple” movement, which forced local officials to repeal a long-time ban on topless women. The key argument among activists: A federal appeals court deemed it a negative stereotype for women’s breasts to be considered sexual objects, while a male’s breasts are, well, kinda boring. So, hey, all you 14-year-old boys out there: There’s nothing to see. Nothing at all.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 2011 that more than 700 Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested for swarming the Brooklyn Bridge and shutting down a lane of traffic, attempting to draw attention to all those unscrupulous fat cats in the financial world and their run-away profits. The Dow Jones closed that day at 10,655.30. This morning, eight years later, it opened at 26,573, and protesters are trudging to their jobs at Starbucks.
WORD OF THE DAY
Farceur – [fahr-SER] - noun
Definition: joker, wag
Example: I wish I didn’t have to hear the snide remarks from the farceurs at the back of the room.
WIT OF THE DAY
“I mean, part of the beauty of me is that I am very rich.”
― Donald J. Trump
WEATHER IN A WORD
THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun