WOODBRIDGE - It's not easy being mayor. Your constituents hate paying taxes, yet demand the best services that money can buy: Fancy athletic fields, free garbage pick-up and streets that are fully-plowed just after the final snowflake has fallen. So, how do you make the magic happen? Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac, elected four times so far, has figured out the secret sauce, offering a tutorial in this week's Jaffe Podcast. Mayors around New Jersey: Listen up.
STATEWIDE - It's well-known that the local "justice" dispensed in municipal court is an ATM for the host town, especially in the state's summer tourist areas where you can leave with both a sunburn and a summonses for walking on someone's lawn. The state judiciary is now wondering if these itty-bitty courtrooms can be merged as part of an effort to regain some credibility in these halls of justice, rather than turnstiles for the treasury. The judiciary is trying to come up with inducements for mergers among the 515 local courts. That's encouraging, but you can certainly expect municipal leaders to bristle at any effort to eliminate this steady stream of fines and fees.
PATERSON - More bad news for Ralph Kramden: You can be too fat to drive a coach bus in New Jersey. An appellate court decided a 600-pound driver was rightfully fired after repeatedly failing the required medical and physical evaluations, NJ 101.5 reports. The canned employee then shouted "Discrimination," claiming a hostile work environment and all that. Yet he was not legally deemed "disabled," which would have allowed him plenty of protections for the job. An appellate court ruled yesterday that people who just happen to be fat are not protected under the "Laws Against Discrimination." So, guess they are discriminated there, too.
TRENTON - NJ Spotlight digs into the ongoing brouhaha of the Schools Development Authority, with its questionable firings and hirings. NJ Spotlight focuses on the CEO, Lizette Delgado-Polanco, who famously terminated 26 staffers and hired 38. The hires included a family member who had been accused of sexual harassment, a friend of her daughter's, the mother of her grandchild, and at least 10 other individuals who previously worked with her. There was plenty of support for Delgado-Polanco at a recent meeting of the SDA board, principally for bringing diversity to the authority. The SDA, by the way, whose job is to oversee construction for the state's poorest school districts, is cash-strapped. Its officials are set to appear at budget hearings next week; expect NJ Spotlight to be all over it.
TRENTON - In other state personnel news, pot-sniffing police pooches are hanging their heads low. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal says the State Police won't have much use for K-9s trained to sniff out burnt weed as the state moves (quite slowly) toward legalizing recreational weed. NJ.com reports that it is impossible to "un-train" pot-sniffing dogs, but kind-hearted Grewal won't send them packing. Instead, he suggests they get reassigned to patrol places where marijuana will still be forbidden: Prisons, schools and all other places where weed is particularly popular.
ATLANTIC CITY - It might be a real blast to have a Spaceport just outside town. A bill to set up a nine-member Spaceport Feasibility Study Commission for underused Atlantic City International Airport got quietly introduced in the state Legislature, the Press of Atlantic City reports. Some leaders envision the airport - which is actually in Egg Harbor Township - capable of launching commercial "space planes," not vertical rockets like at Cape Canaveral. Eight other states already have Spaceports. To date, the measure hasn't gotten liftoff from legislative committees. But the countdown is on.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
FRESNO, Calif. - Assume one shoplifter really, really wanted a chainsaw, as surveillance video shows him somehow stuffing it down his pants, the Fresno Bee reports. The video details the shopper taking the chain saw from a display on Wednesday, stuffing the blade down his pants and then covering the engine display with his jacket. He then magically limps out of the store, quite gingerly we suspect, and then climbs into a pickup truck for the big get-away. What a tool.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 2017 that Nebraska scrapped its new license plate, after many, many jokes. Not only did the artist use the wrong image he found online, but the art depicts a Nebraska Sower apparently grabbing his freakishly endowed groin area. The art was supposed to be of the Sower, throwing seeds from his sack from atop the state Capitol. The artist did get the sack right, but not much else. To add further insult, the online art was actually from a sculpture at Michigan State University, no where near Nebraska.
WORD OF THE DAY
Cinephile - [SIN-ə-file] - noun
Definition: A film enthusiast
Example: My wife complains I waste every waking moment on Netflix. But I consider myself a well-informed cinephile.
WIT OF THE DAY
"The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary."
- Vince Lombardi
WEATHER IN A WORD
THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun