TRENTON - Fixing what ain't broke remains a favorite pastime of our stateLegislature, with some senators trying to ram through legislation tomorrow that would allow public schools to operate public child care centers for babies as young as six weeks old. Huh? Such a bill would require taxpayers to drop millions into old, under-used school buildings so they can magically comply with the modern-day requirements for high-tech child care centers. Meanwhile, in jeopardy, are 87,000 child care workers, mostly women, who comprise nearly 6 percent of the female workforce in the state. Why? Why? Why? Because Marlton Middle School has an illegal child care center, and somehow got state legislation proposed to keep it open, even though it would hurt the entire state. Listen to today's episode of the Jaffe Podcast, as we navigate the madness.
NEWARK - Maybe the key to ending poverty in Newark is cash handouts.That's an idea Mayor Ras Baraka is kicking around, as he announced last night a plan to consider a universal basic income program. Baraka pointed to studies that show just a $400 unexpected bill could be "difficult, even impossible" for some families to handle, TAPInto Newark reports. Universal basic income would be a government-funded program that provides residents a guaranteed source of income, in some form or other. Some ideas: A guaranteed job of $15 an hour, or an "American Opportunity Account" that would drop a few thousands bucks into a child's account every year, based on their family's income. Baraka is not the first to propose this; President Richard Nixon proposed something similar in 1969. And Sen. Cory Booker has introduced federal bills to offer guaranteed incomes across the nation. No opinion here, other than the obvious: There's no such thing as "free" money. Someone, somewhere pays.
OFF THE RAILS - It's as if President Trump is thoroughly unfamiliar with New Jersey. Nah, he figures, there's absolutely no reason for this Gateway Tunnel. There's obviously no importance to millions of people who want to, say, travel to Atlantic City, or stay in a swanky midtown hotel, or golf at a certain luxurious resort in Bedminster. Nope, this president really, truly doesn't see a connection between modern-day mass transit and the economic success of the tri-state area. In the latest move that just makes you want to choke your fellow commuter, the Trump Administration is not putting a nickel in the fiscal 2020 budget for the Gateway Tunnel, calling the $30 billion project a "local responsibility," Bloomberg reports. Apparently, Democratic leaders in New York and New Jersey are fully accountable for funding, even though Amtrak owns the rail tunnel and it's smack in the middle of the Northeast Corridor. Yep, in Trump World, Mexico makes the U.S. pay for the wall and Trump makes New Jersey pay for the tunnel.
TRENTON - Relations between Gov. Phil Murphy and Senate President Steve Sweeney appear to have mellowed, NJ Spotlight reports. For one, they're loping into budget season rather than stomping as they did last year. And they've now emerged from the smoke-filled rooms to announce a deal to legalize adult-use recreational marijuana in the Garden State. The devil may be in the details, however; it's still hazy if the Dems have the votes to pass the legislation. NJ Spotlight steers you through the weeds.
TRENTON - It seems the way to get a six-figure job in the Murphy Administration is to show up and point out your desk. State lawmakers have spent the past three months trying to figure who hired Al Alvarez, a former Murphy campaign worker who is accused of rape. Alvarez spent nearly four hours testifying yesterday, yet still no one knows who actually gave him a $140,000 state job. It seems there are only three people who have the power to say "You're Hired!" But none of them are admitting to it. It appeared Alvarez was interviewed at a Starbucks to become chief of staff for the School Development Authority, and that he kinda, sorta just assumed the position during the frantic transition process from one governor to another. At least there's one obvious take-away: Tighten up hiring procedures.
NEW BRUNSWICK - Expect bustling health centers at Rutgers University today, as the school is politely recommending that students may want to consider getting vaccinated for meningitis. Two cases surfaced at the New Brunswick campuses last month, TAPInto New Brunswick reports, prompting the university to issue these widespread advisories for on-campus students to be protected from a bacterium known as the type B strain. Meningitis can be caught from kissing, transfer of saliva or other super close contact, all of which have been known to occur on a college campus.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
FAIR HAVEN, VT - When some "old goat" gets elected mayor, it raises few eyebrows. It's news when a young goat with... um, four legs and horns wins. Voters in this 2,500-person town just elected a three-year-old goat named "Lincoln" to a one-year mayoral term. Like most Vermont towns, Fair Haven is run by an elected five-person Select Board, but has no human mayor. So, Lincoln - who took office this week - will be the "face of Fair Haven" at schools, playground and parades. The town manager (an actual person) tells the Rutland Herald the goat should be a "good civics lessons to get kids involved in government." Plus, Lincoln could save tons of money, pledging to keep the grass short at a local park.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 2015 that city firefighters had to extract a deer that fell in a tank at the Rahway Valley Sewerage Authority. It took 12 firefighters to harness the deer and lift it out of the freezing water. They then used "Deer First Aid for Dummies" to rub the animal and restore circulation, before sending Bambi back to nature.
WORD OF THE DAY
Bowyang - [BOH-yang] - noun
Definition: A strap worn below the knee, especially by laborers, to keep trousers from riding up one's calves while working
Example: Unless you're from Australia, you probably need an image to get a better idea of what a bowyang is.
WIT OF THE DAY
"When people are laughing, they're generally not killing each other."
- Alan Alda
WEATHER IN A WORD
THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun