ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL – Candidates might think twice about ‘going postal’ after the U.S. Postal Service admits that it can no longer guarantee on-time delivery of political mail. Supposedly, neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stops mail carriers from “swift completion” of their rounds. But, thousands upon thousands of political mailers sure as heck can slow these carriers down. The Postal Service says it now needs at least 7–10 days lead time to get these flyers in mailboxes, The New Jersey Globe reports. This revelation comes after the USPS looked into complaints from Linden candidates, infuriated that most of the 3,800 campaign fliers sent just before the 2019 election hit homes way after the voting booth closed. The longer lag times might put an end of those last-minute, ludicrous “gotcha” mailers - even though they are often the greatest fiction ever written.
CAMDEN – The state Department of Education is heading to federal court today to explain why it’s not meeting timelines for settling ongoing disputes between parents of special-needs kids and their school districts, NJ Spotlight reports. How bad is it? The U.S. Department of Education found that of nearly 1,300 due-process complaints filed in New Jersey in 2016-2017, just 52 of them were resolved within the required timelines. There’s a family in Clifton that spent more than 300 days resolving their dispute, while students waited on the sidelines to learn their future. One must recognize these are all difficult, controversial and expensive issues. Still, besides apologizing to the federal court in Camden today, what is the state’s plan to meet these state and federally-mandated deadlines?
PATERSON – Making teachers and students sell overpriced board games is a new fundraising gimmick this city’s school board is entertaining to rake in a proposed $50 million over five years. One hitch: Who the heck plays board games anymore? A second hitch: To raise so much cash, they’d need to somehow sell at least 300,000 of these games at $150 a pop, the Paterson Press reports. A Brooklyn-based nonprofit pitched this quirky fundraiser last week to school board members. The game it supplies is similar to “Trivial Pursuit,” with trivia cards about “financial literacy” (yawn). Customers can also buy more packets of trivia cards for $30 apiece on topics like civil rights, criminal justice and, perhaps, on how to make a fast buck via dumb fundraising campaigns.
BRIEFING BREATHER: There's a town named “6” in West Virginia - right down the street from another town named "8," and a short drive away from another town called "100."
PATERSON – The school board may have another “get rich quick” scheme: Outsource 700 school aide jobs to save $10 million. The teacher union’s president blew the whistle on this BOE plan when he publicly opposed any layoff of classroom aides and personal assistants for students with disabilities. The district already hires 190 private aides. The Paterson Press is getting mixed messages from the district. Its spokesman says privatization “is nothing more than a rumor.” The BOE president says a $60 million budget shortfall means “everything is on the table.” Besides, he says, laid-off workers may find jobs with whatever firm the board hires. But probably not for the $29,000–$49,000 salaries or benefits they get from the school district. Maybe, we’ll learn who's getting tossed under the school bus on Feb. 26, when budget talks resume.
TRENTON – Rumors of an FBI raid on City Hall are “complete bulls**t.” That’s the final word from a flabbergasted Mayor Reed Gusciora after a false post on social media forum claimed FBI agents carried boxes out of City Hall last week. The Facebook forum, called Fans of Trenton’s Irresponsible Blogger, is now shut down. The Trentonian says a political operative, who wrote the untrue post, supposedly got tipped off by “someone close” to Councilman George Muschal, a critic of the mayor. Gusciora, however, says: “They clearly like to cause havoc at City Hall. They can’t move past (losing) the election, so they make stuff up. I can’t help what people say, but it’s just not the truth.”
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
NEW SOUTH WALES – Getting drunk in a pub with your mates can be an opportunity for great heroism. Take this one Australian man who was able to save a lizard's life when he fished it out of his beer. The customer, known as “Brett” to some and “Slab” to others, performed CPR on the seemingly lifeless animal on Feb 11. At first, he thought the gecko floating in his schooner was just another prank from staff at his watering hole, The Amble Inn. Whatever the case, Brett (or Slab) sprung into action, performing chest compressions on the lizard and blowing air into its mouth, while a friend filmed video of the big rescue. Miraculously, the lizard was revived. Some of the surrounding drunkards immediately hailed Brett (or Slab) as a hero; others argued the gecko was playing dead as a defense mechanism. Arguments ensued; the taps continued to flow.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 1930 that Pluto was discovered, gloriously hailed as a planet. At least for a little while.
WORD OF THE DAY
Probity – [PROH-bə-tee] – noun
Definition: Adherence to the highest principles and ideals
Example: My probity, impartiality and wisdom are truly valued within the community.
WIT OF THE DAY
“Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy.”
― Isaac Newton
“Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me 'old,' when I would NEVER call him 'short and fat?'”
- Donald J. Trump
WEATHER IN A WORD
THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun