TRENTON – Election season is over, so now what? Well, it looks like the state Legislature has to go back to work, as there is plenty of business to do over this “lame duck” period. This is that glorious time of the year when stuff actually gets done, often when voters are more interested in the holidays than what’s happening (or not) at the Statehouse. The Record has identified the top issues, which the media has been writing about all year. They include: a state response to lead in our water, a proposed ban on single-use plastic bags and paper bags, providing driver’s licenses for immigrants, regulating vaping, creating smart business tax incentives and – of course – and maybe, finally, marijuana legalization.
OFF THE RAILS – Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker have invited Elaine Chao, head of U.S. Department of Transportation, to meet and greet some of the downtrodden folks whose daily commute sends them through the 100-plus-year-old Hudson Tunnel. Maybe they’d regale the secretary with tales of delays more predictable than train schedules. Perhaps they’ll share iPhone photos of huge chunks of century-old concrete breaking off tunnel walls. And if all goes well, Secretary Chao can deliver a PowerPoint presentation explaining why - after 18 months - the Trump administration stillhasn’t signed off on plans for a new tunnel. Chao, of course, will be a no-show at this meeting, NJ Spotlight reports. Here’s the solution: Just place a sign over the Hudson Tunnel that reads: “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here.” Hey, it worked for Dante.
RANDOLPH – So much for the good ol’ slip and fall scam. A Randolph man is hit with two years of probation and 14 hours of community service, after he threw ice on the floor in the cafeteria at his Woodbridge workplace, placed himself on the ground, and waited until he was discovered. He then yelped about some bogus head injury, prompting fake claims to be submitted to the insurance company. As part of the plea deal entered in Superior Court in New Brunswick, the 58-year-old scam artist has to pay back the insurance company $563.48. As is quite evident, this guy really slipped up.
EAST NEWARK – Quirky little elections can make history too. It happened Tuesday as Dina Grilo officially became her tiny hometown’s first new mayor in 32 years and Hudson County’s second-ever female mayor. Grilo ran unopposed; her 138-vote win is no big surprise. The real victory came in June, when she defeated eight-term incumbent Mayor Joe Smith, 78, in the Democratic primary by 175-144 votes. Small numbers? Sure, but there are only 690 registered voters among this borough’s 2,700 people (630 Democrats and 9 Republicans). And Grilo, 47, tells NJ.com, “they want change.” So, she's going to reopen the long-closed recreation center, fill police and public works vacancies and stop holding afternoon council meetings that end just in time for Tops Diner’s early bird specials.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
WASHINGTON – In the future, there’s hope that ethicists will have a voice beyond a whimper. And those ethicists will look back onto 2019 in shear wonder, as they attempt to peel back the many murky layers of the Trump presidency. They will certainly fall off their seats when they discover U.S. officials have, to date, paid to make 1,493 trips to Trump properties while he has been in office. So have 121 foreign officials from 71 foreign governments, not to mention the legions of lobbyists and business interests who overpay for rooms and then meet with the President to gush about the soft linen. White House officials see nothing wrong with Trump profiting from office, the Los Angeles Times reports, explaining “he still considers himself to be in the hospitality business.” For some reason, in 2019, this all seems perfectly ok.
BEIJING – The capital city has become a haven for subcontractors. Case in point: A Chinese hitman hired to murder a businessman’s competitor hired another assassin to do the job, The Week reports. Then that assassin hired another hitman, who hired another hitman, who hired another hitman. The original price was equivalent to $282,000. The job unraveled when the fifth hitman – probably hired for less than $10 and a bus token – met with the intended target and suggested he just fake his death. All five hitmen – as well as the businessman who hired the first assassin and then had no clue of all that transpired – were thrown in prison for attempted murder.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 2010 that Queen Elizabeth launched a Facebook page. But no one is allowed to “poke” her or befriend her. No problem there.
WORD OF THE DAY
Logrolling – [lawg·roh·ling] - noun
Definition: In politics, the exchange of support or favors for mutual gain; cronyism
Example: Will any new politicians elected on Tuesday bring New Jersey into a new, exciting era of logrolling?
WIT OF THE DAY
“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past."
― Thomas Jefferson
“In life you have to rely on the past, and that’s called history.”
- Donald J. Trump
WEATHER IN A WORD
THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun