STATEWIDE – If you’ve awoken today to 14 eblasts, three robocalls and your Facebook feed filled with wild accusations, it could mean only one thing: politicians are welcoming you to the official start of their campaign season in New Jersey. Yep, summer is waaay over, folks. Time to pull yourself out of the pool and get in a voting state of mind. November 3 will creep up before you know it, and the gloves are already off. Gov. Phil Murphy has already proclaimed that voters here will be casting ballots mostly via mail-in, and President Donald Trump’s campaign has already sued him for it. As Trump screams “Fraud!,” Murphy argues there are still four legitimate ways people can vote in New Jersey: vote my mail, use a drop box, bring your mail-in ballot to a polling place on election day or vote in person that day. That doesn’t exactly seem like suppressing the vote, but, hey, in this silly season, logic isn’t exactly a priority. Hide. Hide, well.

POINT PLEASANT BEACH – So, who really runs the beach in this town? Town leaders would like to think they control things, while Jenkinson’s Pavilion has been ruling the roost for decades. NJ.com reports on the boiling point, with the town now closing the beaches at 7 p.m., while banning loud music and coolers to limit all that beach blanket bingo. Now hold on a second, pal, says Jenkinson’s, arguing in 438 pages of court filings that its operation is private and it owns the beach, if that could be possible. Jenkinson’s says the township is violating the Fourth Amendment, with illegal searches, on this private property. The mayor responded to the 438 pages with a Facebook post, saying booze is prohibited on every public beach in the state, and Jenkinson’s is demanding to be exclusive. The mayor considers this lawsuit a fight for the very soul of the Township of Point Pleasant Beach. Or, what many others consider to be the Township of Jenkinson’s.

TRENTON – Gov. Phil Murphy is happy to share his vision for a “stronger and fairer” New Jersey. Yet, as NJ Spotlight reports, he is raising the tax benefit that goes to all Garden State homeowners, yet slashing the tax-relief programs that help their low-income counterparts, like seniors and people with disabilities. Own a mini mansion; you’ll be getting a bigger tax break. Rely on the Senior Freeze or Homestead Benefits programs, you’ll see a cut. Huh? To be fair, Murphy has done a great deal to help lower-income residents, particularly during the ongoing pandemic. No doubt, he’ll do more. But what rankles the pundits is that COVID-19 continues to batter the less fortunate in New Jersey. Cutting their property-tax rebates feels a wee bit unconscionable. Perhaps there are other programs for the governor to trim here or there, even in his stripped-down budget plan. 

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BRIEFING BREATHER

Banging your head against a wall for one hour burns 150 calories.

EMERSON – As we all raised our fourth or seventh drink this glorious weekend, and toasted the Summer of ’20 for actually happening, we tried to ignore this one exercise maniac for a moment. So, shield your eyes, and keep them fully focused on the seven-layer bean dip, as we tell you about the Emerson schools superintendent, who spent 37 hours this weekend running 19 separate 5-kilometer races in eight counties, while cycling 225 miles to get to each of the races. Yes, Brian Gatens is in amazing shape. And the fact that he is around the same age as so many of us serves as an inspiration. “I feel great. A million bucks. It’s a very gratifying experience,” Gaten told NJ.com. Remember this story the next time you circle the parking lot three times in the hopes of walking 20 feet less.

STATEWIDE – It’s just 10 hours or so after Labor Day has officially concluded, so it’s apparently time to start thinking about Christmas. And Walmart is pleased to be the one to start having us think about the season of giving, already announcing a bunch of popular toys that it believes will be flying off the shelves. (So you better start spending now.) Here are the biggies: the “Gotta Go Flamingo,” “the Sensory FX ASMR Mega Bar,” and the “Treasure X-Sharks Treasure.” And if you have any clue, at all, what any of this stuff is, then you are a big step ahead of most of us clueless parents.

IN THE MEDIA

STATEWIDE – The caliber of journalism in New Jersey took a substantial hit last year, with the passing of Star-Ledger columnist John Farmer at age 89. Yet his lofty standards and quest for fairness over the decades will now be the measuring stick of a new endeavor, the John Farmer Memorial Journalism Fund. The first project? A collaboration between The (Easton) Express-Times and The Star-Ledger to examine a swing voting district, Pennsylvania’s Northampton County, which in 2016 went for Trump after twice going for Obama — and which many political observers believe is critical to winning the 2020 presidential election. No doubt, it’s the type of project the late political columnist would have relished.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

TOKYO – Just as New Jersey gets used to indoor dining, with a healthy heaping of social distancing, perhaps some restaurant owners should look toward Tokyo for inspiration, as one business owner plunked down cash on 16 attractive mannequins to sit at his empty tables. So, now, Masato Takemine's Chinese restaurant looks as if it is teeming with diners, as life-like ladies in ornate Chinese-style dresses and a girl in a kimono are among those seated at his tables, awaiting the won ton soup. He notes the mannequins keep the real customers at a distance, and they are a nice solution on what do with all the extra tables. An added plus: mannequins never demand a fourth helping of duck sauce.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 1994 that MTV featured newlyweds Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley. Could you think of a more perfect union?

WORD OF THE DAY

Cadge – [KAJ] – verb

Definition: Beg, sponge

Example: Typically, this time of year, I’d try to cadge a ticket for a Rutgers football game.

WIT OF THE DAY

“I do believe that Joe Biden is ahead, and I do believe the challenges for Donald Trump are significant.” 

-GOP pollster Frank Luntz

TODAY'S TRUMPISM 

 

“As we get closer and closer to the November 3rd election, and as my poll numbers rocket up, the attacks get more and more vicious.”

-Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD

Dreamy