Presented by Anbaric Development Partners

Good Friday morning!

Its been a rough week for the Democratic establishment-backed ticket in District 37. First Palisades Park Mayor Christopher Chung dropped out of the Assembly after a scathing Comptrollers Office report on his towns governance. Then Assembly candidate Alexandra Soriano-Taveras dropped out over her comments about boycotting businesses on Teanecks Cedar Lane.

Now its Assemblymember/state Senate candidate Gordon Johnsons turn to face scrutiny. I obtained a 2008 email sent by Englewood activist Deirdre Paul to state Sen. Loretta Weinberg that accused Johnson of making her an offer involving the Englewood council seat he planned to vacate that was inappropriate and unacceptable coming from a public official and referred to Johsons alleged past and present sexual improprieties. (Paul is now a Republican and is seeking GOP support to run for Assembly in the 37th District this year). Read more about it here


To be clear, there is no specific allegation in this email. But even a whiff of misconduct allegations are a very unwelcome development for Johnson as he faces off in an intense primary against his longtime running mate, Valerie Vainieri Huttle. But there are complications. For instance, Paul who declined to comment for my article told David Wildstein

she informed Huttle about an undisclosed complaint about Johnson from over a decade ago and that he didnt do anything about it. Was it the same complaint?


CORONAVIRUS TRACKER: 3,208 newly-reported positive PCR tests for a total of 732,560. 46 more deaths for a total of 21,340 (and 2,474 probable deaths). 1,936 hospitalized, 392 in intensive care. 925,777 second vaccine doses administered, or about 10.4 percent of the population.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: I can assure you that I do not know [Satish Poondi] and have no recollection of ever meeting him. The mere fact that we once appeared in the same group photograph at a 2018 awards ceremony does not make us personal friends. I am unsure why you and others continue to insist that Mr. Poondi and I know each other other than the fact we are both South Asian lawyers but I hope that this letter can put the issue to rest. Attorney General Gurbir Grewalin a letter to Assemblymember

Erik Peterson, who in a letter to Grewal

had demanded he recuse himself from an investigation into the hate flyers in which Poondi is allegedly implicated.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: NJDEPs Jason Springer, Passaic County Commissioner John Bartlett, internet guy Scott Shields, Gloucester County Commissioner Jim Jefferson. Saturday for consultant Pablo Fonseca, NJDEPs Davon McCurry, Chemistry Councils Ed Waters, Murphy aide Mike DeLamater. Sunday for PR guy Anthony Campisi, Archers Brian McGovern, NJDHS’ Steve Shultz

A message from Anbaric Development Partners:

New Jersey is leading the race to scale offshore wind, taking groundbreaking steps like announcing a first-in-the-nation transmission only solicitation. Now, NJ will need a partner that can deliver on this bold vision. With extensive experience building transmission systems, Anbaric is the company New Jersey can trust to achieve our clean energy goals. Visit nj.anbaric.comto learn more.


EVICTIONS Despite COVID eviction freeze, NJ renters still being locked out by landlords, by The Records Ashley Balcerzak: When Bakema McFarland came home one day last September and tried to slide her key into the lock of her apartment door, it wouldnt work. While she was out, her landlord had changed the lock Under an executive order signed by Gov. Phil Murphy, New Jersey has had an eviction moratorium in place during the COVID pandemic. Landlords can still file for evictions, but they cant lock anyone out at least through mid-May, except in rare cases. McFarlands experience is not unique. Cases like hers are occurring throughout New Jersey, despite the protections Murphy put in place. Housing experts have urged state leaders to condemn landlords who flout the executive order and the law that requires a warrant for removal.

BORED OF ELECTIONS Already stressed NJ election officials urge caution in rush to early voting, by The Press of Atlantic Citys Michelle Brunetti Post: Election officials are warning that the stress put on them by the state’s first mostly-vote-by-mail elections in 2020 has taken a human toll on their staffs that will make it more difficult to quickly handle another first for the state early voting. Please understand unequivocally that we support early voting and believe in improving New Jerseys elections, the executive committee of the New Jersey Association of Election Officials said in a March 9 letter to Tahesha Way, New Jersey’s Secretary of State, who oversees elections. Our growing concern, however, is in the rapid pace of new legislation introduction (and eventual laws) and the limited timeframe to review, recommend amendments and implement the new laws, said the letter. According to the letter, the months of 12-hour workdays, six to seven days a week, to handle the processing, counting and securing of more than four million paper vote-by-mail ballots statewide has thinned the ranks of experienced election workers.

CAN YOU TELL ME HOW TO GET, HOW TO GET SOME PUBLIC FUNDING? State budget includes $1 million for NJ PBS, by New Jersey Globes David Wildstein: Gov. Phil Murphys proposed state budget includes $1 million for New Jerseys public television network, which hired a powerful Trenton lobbyist to help them obtain funding. The request to subsidize NJ PBS, known as NJTV until a rebranding last month, came [after the] network hired the Kaufman Zita Group in April 2020 to help them convince the Murphy administration to restore subsides for public television. Scott Kobler, the chairman of the NJ PBS Board of Trustees, said that New Jersey is the only state that provides no financial support for public television.”

I WONDER WHO SHES TALKING ABOUT Abolishing the NJ ballot line: Beyond a progressive brand, by Imani Oakley for When candidates previously endorsed by the political machine feign an awakening and begin to challenge the validity of the line and the party boss system, it brings up a bunch of confusing emotions. Initially, the feeling is one of deep satisfaction that progressives are finally being proven right despite being gaslit for years by party leaders who claimed that New Jerseys corrupt ballot line system gave no advantage to machine-backed incumbents. After the feeling of satisfaction, however, come the feelings of doubt and disbelief. I begin to ask why politicians who [benefited] from the machine for years are suddenly shirking the party boss system and the ballot line?

PINK TAX Senate Commerce Committee advances bill to ban pink tax, by POLITICOs Katherine Landergan: The Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday approved legislation that would prohibit businesses from charging more for products geared toward women. The bill, NJ S2039 (20R), would regulate the so-called pink tax, referring to how woman-oriented products tend to cost more than products for men. According to the Senate Democrats, recent data has shown women pay more than men for certain products 42 percent of the time. The most drastic difference is in hair care, where women pay an additional $2.71 on average for shampoo and conditioner. Under the bill that advanced on Thursday, tailors, barbers, hair salons, dry cleaners and laundromats must disclose to their customers in writing the pricing for each of their standard services. The bill would not prohibit price differences on the basis of labor, materials, tariffs or any other gender-neutral reason.

DID NOT VOTE Senate committee hears bill that would ban ICE detention contracts, by New Jersey Globes Nikita Biryukov: Lawmakers in the Senate took testimony on a bill that would bar counties and other local governments from entering into controversial contracts with [Immigration] and Customs Enforcement to detain immigrants in the country illegally but stopped short of a vote Thursday The bill, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) and State Sen. Nia Gill (D-Montclair) would bar state, county, local and private facilities from entering into contracts to detain non-citizens.

How COVID-19 overwhelmed NJs tightly-packed Latino cities

New unemployment claims filed in New Jersey dip below 10,000

Stile: Phil Murphy won’t take sides in the 37th Legislative District fray

Mulshine: Jersey leads the world in COVID deaths: Time for a probe into where Murphy went wrong

Family of unarmed Black man killed by N.J. trooper files civil rights lawsuit

Lofgren lawsuit shines a light on need for nursing home industry reform | Opinion

NJ Turnpike, federal funds expected to plug NJ Transit budgets, but will ridership return?

SUBSCRIBE TO THE RECAST TO JOIN AN IMPORTANT CONVERSATION: Power dynamics are changing. Influence is changing. More people are demanding a seat at the table, insisting that all politics is personal and not all policy is equitable. The Recast is our new twice-weekly newsletter that breaks down how race and identity are recasting politics, policy and power in America. And POLITICO is recasting how we report on this crucial intersection, bringing you fresh insights, scoops, dispatches from across the country and new voices that challenge business as usual. Dont miss out on this important new newsletter, SUBSCRIBE NOW. Thank you to our sponsor, Intel.


MAYBE SOME NJ COUNTY COMMISSIONERS CAN USE THIS MONEY TO GIVE THEMSELVES MUCH-NEEDED RAISES Biden signs $1.9T Covid relief bill, by POLITICOs Quint Forgey: President Joe Biden on Thursday signed into law a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, sealing his first significant legislative achievement in office. The expansive stimulus bill was approved by the Senate over the weekend and was sent back to the House this week, where it won final passage on a party-line vote Wednesday. “In the weeks that this bill has been discussed and debated, it’s clear than an overwhelming percentage of the American people Democrats, independents, our Republican friends have made it clear,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office. “The people out there have made it clear that they strongly support the American Rescue Plan,” he said. Biden’s signature on the bill comes hours before he is scheduled to deliver a prime-time address Thursday evening marking the one-year anniversary of the pandemic.

Biden stimulus spares airline workers from layoffs, adds more cash for new Portal Bridge

Stimulus check update: Jill Biden coming to N.J. Monday to promote new law with $1,400 payments


GIVING YOURSELF A RAISE TO HELP OTHERS. KINDNESS. PASS IT ON Hudson County commissioners vote to give raises to county executive, administrators and themselves, by The Jersey Journals Peter DAuria: The Hudson County commissioners voted Thursday to approve 2.5% raises for all non-union employees, including themselves, the county executive, and other administrator positions. The county executives salary will increase from $166,826 to 170,997 while the commissioners salaries will jump from $46,151 to $47,305. The salaries of the chair and vice-chair of the board of commissioners will be $50,616 and $49,513, respectively. Commissioner Anthony Vainieri, who chairs the board, said the raises were routine and were done every year or so. Vainieri noted that commissioners had the option to decline to take the raises. He said he would likely accept his to maintain the salary for his successor. I probably will, only because of (the) next person after me that would deserve it, he said. As of 2019, Hudson County commissioners were the highest-paid county commissioners in the state.

Hudson County getting $130M in federal stimulus, votes to give top county officials raises

ALL THE COOL TOWNS ARE DOING IT Many NJ towns banned marijuana sales back in 2018. What happens now that weed is legal? by The Records Matt Fagan: Garfield city leaders were adamant in 2018 when they voted to ban marijuana sales. Dispensaries could lead to panhandling, odors and worse, and the city wanted no part. The council wanted everyone to know this is a hard stance against the sale of marijuana, city attorney Chris Ditkas said at the time. But Garfield has changed its tune. Last week, the council voted to authorize the city manager to look into what areas in the city might be suitable for a dispensary. Councilman Joseph Delaney said council members felt it was important to consider, because the tax incentives would benefit the city. If it is something we can do, wed like it, he said. Garfield is far from the only municipality taking a second look at marijuana sales. Upper Saddle River, North Haledon, Chatham Township, Oakland and Clifton, among others, have the issue on upcoming agendas. When Gov. Murphy signed the bill on Feb. 22 that made marijuana sales for recreational use legal, towns were given six months to adopt local laws that proscribe sales, cultivation and the like within municipal borders. This means that municipalities that adopted anti-marijuana laws in 2018 will have to readopt ordinances again by Aug. 21 or wait five years for another opportunity.

Marijuana is legal in NJ, but your landlord can stop you from smoking weed at home

Man stopped with 128 pounds of marijuana in rental van, claims he doesnt know about it, police say

THE SHORTWAY OR THE HARD WAY Charges against Saddle Brook police chief throw Bergen GOP sheriff primary into disarray, by The Records Steve Janoski: Only two men [Police Chief Robert] Kugler, 59, of Saddle Brook and Harry Shortway, Jr., 83, the mayor of Midland Park had sought the Bergen County Republican Organizations endorsement to challenge Democratic incumbent Anthony Cureton for his sheriff’s star this fall. Kugler, a well-known figure in Bergen County law enforcement who has been the township chief for more than two decades, was widely considered the GOP front-runner. But all that changed Monday, when the state attorney general’s office announced that Kugler had allegedly ordered illegal police escorts for processions leaving his family-owned funeral home. Now the questions are piling up for county Republicans. Will Kugler drop out? If he does, can Shortway forge a campaign strong enough to unseat Cureton? Or will someone else step forward?

LESS IS GILMORE Ocean County GOP nullifies Toms River Republican club, by The Asbury Park Press Erik Larsen: Ocean County Republican Chairman Frank B. Holman III has consolidated his power base after a majority of party leaders in the county supported his effort to strip the Toms River Republican Club of its credentials on Wednesday night. The move was aimed at reducing the influence of his predecessor, George R. Gilmore, who after being pardoned by President Donald Trump in January, has been attempting to mount a political comeback as the Jersey Shores most powerful political boss.

NON-BINDING In rarely seen vote, Jersey City Council OKs resolution to abolish HCDO line with only 2 yeses, by Hudson County Views Daniel Ulloa: In a rarely seen vote, the Jersey City Council passed a resolution supporting fair elections by abolishing the Hudson County Democratic Organization party line on ballots by a tally of 2-0(4). Ward E Councilman James Solomon, the sponsor of the measure, was joined by Councilman-at-Large Rolando Lavarro in voting yes Solomon also said that the current unwritten party rule in Hudson where mayors get to select their picks for offices such as state assembly and senate, without input from anyone else, are outdated and need to be updated The resolution is non-binding and therefore has no implications on upcoming elections.

Snowflack: Sussex County grapples with hate

Paterson councilman Michael Jackson pleads not guilty in voter fraud case

Jersey City wants BOE to support waiving interest on employers late payroll taxes

Ocean City plans to ban weed shops, again

Judge reinstates Hossain to Atlantic City school board

Did you know that POLITICO Pro has coverage and tools at the state level? All the state legislative and regulatory tracking, budget documents, state agency contact information, and everything else you need to stay ahead of state policy movement integrate into our smart and customizable platform. Learn more and become a Pro today.


HOT AIR Offshore wind critics say farms will damage Shore economies and ruin ocean views, by NJ Spotlights Jon Hurdle: Opposition to New Jerseys coming surge in offshore wind farms is growing at the Jersey Shore. The hundreds of wind turbines due to be built up to 20 miles off New Jersey in the next five years or so will spoil ocean views, undermine local economies and hurt wildlife while boosting the profits of overseas developers, critics say Despite concerns about damage to tourism, research from the University of Rhode Island into the effects on tourism of a small wind farm the first of its kind on the East Coast that has been operating off nearby Block Island since 2016 found that occupancy and revenue increased on the island after the wind farm was built because visitors wanted to see it for themselves.

COFFEE SIZES ARE LETALL, LEGRAND AND LEVENTI Former Rutgers defensive tackle LeGrand to open Woodbridge coffee house

Cash crisis at American Dream will likely lead developer to lose 49% stake in Mall of America

What happens when the sun never sets on Amazon? | Opinion

Former NJ judge’s ex-boyfriend loses appeal of armed robbery conviction

A message from Anbaric Development Partners:

With a bold vision of creating 7500 MW of wind energy by 2035, New Jersey is leading the race to scale the offshore wind industry, but a major question remains: How will we transport that energy back to shore? The answer is planned transmission, the most efficient, economic, and environmentally friendly way to bring offshore wind power to New Jerseys homes and businesses.

Acknowledging the considerable benefits of a planned transmission approach, the BPU announced late last year that the state, alongside PJM, will issue a first-in-the-nation transmission-only solicitation in early 2021. Now, New Jersey will need a partner that can deliver on this transformative opportunity.

With extensive experience building transmission systems, Anbaric is the company New Jersey can trust to achieve our states clean energy goals. Anbaric is committed to scaling the offshore wind industry while protecting ratepayers and the environment. Visit nj.anbaric.comto learn more.