PALISADES PARK – So, the median cost for a house here is $642,100, and you should expect to pay about $11,000 in property taxes each year. Yet, with all this expense, don’t expect your children to find open seats in their elementary school classrooms. ABC-7 reports that the schools in Palisades Park are so jammed that some students are using the radiators as desks, while others just stand against the walls. At Lindbergh Elementary School, kids have to make a mad dash into their classrooms in the hopes of grabbing a seat in this outrageous game of musical chairs. ABC reports this is nothing new; schools are getting more and more crowded. School officials admit there’s an obvious problem here, with this “flexible seating” option. They even put a plan before voters last fall to build more classrooms. Yet, for some insane reason, voters rejected it.

TRENTON – Here’s one tax the government can keep on raising: the cigarette tax. There’s plenty of applause (among non-smokers) that would make the Garden State one of the most expensive places on the planet to buy a pack of smokes. Murphy wants to hit smokers with another $1.65 per pack in taxes. Hell, yeah. The state hasn’t raised the cigarette tax in a decade, when the rate was hiked to $2.70 per pack, while plenty of other taxes have increased in the interim. Politico reports cigarette tax revenues raked in $611 million in fiscal ’18. If people insist on systematically killing themselves, at least the state should rake in some more cash before they kick.

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TRENTON – Here’s another tax the government must stop raising: tolls. The New Jersey Turnpike Authority has scheduled public hearings March 18-19 to discuss “revenue enhancement.” Ugh. No one knows how much tolls will increase on the Turnpike and Parkway, as government has to roll through a painful process before smacking us silly with higher tolls. You may recall the Port Authority keeps increasing tolls on bridges and tunnels. And now the Turnpike Authority wants more capital programs, which always seems to cost billions and create miles of traffic. Yes, we need a strong infrastructure. But what is the breaking point for motorists, who will, very soon, not have the extra cash to use a toll road?

Briefing Breather: The word “uncopyrightable” is the only 15-letter word that can be spelled without repeating any letter.

BRIELLE – A local guy has got a lot of balls hitting his lawn from the Manasquan River Golf Club, next door. Fed up with all those stray golf balls, the irritated Riverview Drive homeowner erected a huge net – 65-feet high and 130-feet wide – suspended on four giants poles to catch all these wayward shanks. The net went up in 2018 without borough approvals or variances. Now, the Asbury Park Press says a Monmouth County judge has given this 70-year-old homeowner until March 12 to dismantle his big net. Before going to court, borough officials tried multiple times to get him to remove “the hideous mega-structure” after 200 neighbors signed a petition. He applied for a variance, but got denied. The homeowner counter-sued saying all those flying golf balls are “an invasion,” equivalent to “trespassing.”  Perhaps the solution should include mandatory golf lessons for club members.



IN THE MEDIA

ONLINE – When NJ.com was launched nearly a quarter-century ago, the idea that readers could suddenly post instant comments about news stories was groundbreaking. Civic journalism at its finest! But like most things in technology, bad actors are quick to spoil the party. And, so, after 24 years of anonymous New Jerseyans abusing the site to mercilessly bash each other online - with some of the most moronic, gross and abusive comments ever conceived in this galaxy - NJ.com is fed up. The news site is pulling the plug on comments tomorrow morning. And whatever muck exists on the site will be permanently scrubbed off. NJ.com doubts there will be any loss, noting only 0.03% of readers waste time posting comments that most people never bother to read. Hey, it was a good idea back in 1996. Now, we say, good riddance.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

OXFORD, MS – Some basketball fans heading to the Ole Miss basketball game on Saturday were attracted to a great contest against the Alabama Crimson Tide.  The game ended up a bit of a blowout by the visiting team, but the real entertainment came at halftime. That’s when an 84-year-old fan won a new car, sinking a 94-foot putt across the court. Of course, there is a video from the event showing the senior citizen calmly lining up her shot, hitting the ball, and watching it slowly roll across the court and sink in the hole, as the crowd goes wild. So, while Ole Miss fans left with a 103-78 loss, this woman picked up a 2020 Nissan Altima, courtesy of a less-than-pleased local car dealer who thought he was pretty safe when the octogenarian grabbed the putter. 

THIS DAY IN HISTORY 

It was this day in 1989 that the Yankees announce Tom Seaver as their new TV sportscaster. Mets fans are aghast.

WORD OF THE DAY

Misbegotten – [miss-bih-GAH-tun] – adjective

Definition: Unlawfully conceived or ill-conceived

Example: New Jersey’s attempt to throw many more millions of dollars at New Jersey Transit is well-intended, but may be misbegotten without solid, measurable deliverables.

 

WIT OF THE DAY

 

“The Democrats are the party of government activism, the party that says government can make you richer, smarter, taller, and get the chickweed out of your lawn. Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work, and then get elected and prove it.”

-P.J. O'Rourke

 

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“Good people don’t go into government.”

-Donald J. Trump

 

WEATHER IN A WORD

Patchy

 

THE NEW 60

A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive

By Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun