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Good Monday morning!

Im not used to Friday news dumps from the state Supreme Court, but we got one last week when the clerk of the court informed redistricting commissioners that the justices had voted for the Democrats’ choice, John Wallace Jr., as the congressional redistricting tie-breaker. The press release went out just after 5 p.m.

Wallace, a Democratic former state Supreme Court justice, was selected over Republicans Marina Corodemus.

This is a win for Democrats not just in New Jersey, but nationally, since even one seat could be the difference in who wins the majority in the midterms next year. Thats not to say Wallace wont be independent. He may be of counsel at the South Jersey Democrats favorite law firm, but my understanding is a former state Supreme Court justice kind of has his pick of where to work.

The court released no breakdown of how the justices voted, except to say that Justice Fabiana Pierre-Louis, who clerked for Wallace, didnt participate. Chief Justice Stuart Rabner made it quiet clear he didn’t want the court to have to make this decision when he urged Democrats and Republicans to compromise on a choice. But whether or not it was intentional, putting releasing the news on a Friday evening certainly limited its exposure even if few media outlets were paying close attention anyway.

WHERES MURPHY? InTrenton for a 1 p.m. coronavirus press conference

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Princetons Karen Jezierny, Insurance Councils Christine O’Brien, former Sanders NJ Vice-Chair Barry Brendel, Verizons Braxton Plummer

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I mean, right now, look at all these people with COVID who are coming across the border, and it scares me. They’re put on buses. I suspect some of them are coming up to New Jersey not a good idea. [But] the people pulled over from the border who are carrying illegal guns or drugs, or whatever. So there’s a lot of things going on that I didn’t want to see go on, and that was the reason that I voted for Trump. Lt. Gov. candidate Diane Allen during a radio interview with David Wildstein

, echoing a Republican talking point blaming undocumented immigrants on the surge of coronavirus in states with more lax restrictions and lower vaccination rates and gaining the attention of Team Murphy. (Read Politifact on this here


A message from AARP:

Americans are sick of paying the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs more than three times what people in other countries pay for the same medicine. The President, members of Congress in both parties, and the people agree: we must cut drug prices.

By givingMedicare the power to negotiate, we can save hundreds of billions of dollars. Tell Congress: Cut prescription drug prices now.


MASKDATE Murphy: School mask mandate a decision we need to make right now, by POLITICOs Sam Sutton and Carly Sitrin: Face coverings will be required for anyone attending, teaching or visiting New Jerseys K-12 schools when they return for full-time, in-person instruction this fall, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday. The new mask mandate, which POLITICO first reported Thursday afternoon

, comes after weeks of speculation regarding how the Murphy administration would mitigate the risk of the fast-spreading Delta variant in classrooms. Due to the recent and rampant spread of the delta variant, the act that no child under the age of 12 is eligible to be vaccinated, and the reality that too many older students and their parents remain unvaccinated, that all students, educators, staff and visitors will be required to wear masks inside of school buildings regardless of vaccination status for the start of the 2021-2022 academic year, Murphy said during an event at the Memorial Elementary School in East Brunswick.

Head of [AFT] now backs vaccination mandate for educators: The circumstances have changed

Comparing the Crises: Christie and Sandy and Murphy and COVID, and the coming election

TAKE THE SYRINGE OUT ON THEM Enough is enough: Gov. Murphys outburst was the latest sign of rising anger over pandemic divide, by The Philadelphia Inquirers Justine McDaniel, Allison Steele and Erin McCarthy: The day after Gov. Phil Murphys verbal takedown of a group of anti-vaccination demonstrators, messages of support from friends, other politicians, and community leaders all over the world were still coming in. Wednesdays outburst at a North Jersey news conference which quickly went viral wasnt planned, the governor said. It was a simple decision to push back against people who spread lies about the coronavirus vaccine. Frankly, enough is enough, he said in an interview Thursday with The Inquirer. The irresponsibility, the amount of people who are getting sick and dying because of these people believing in falsehoods they need to be called out. As the delta variant drives up new cases and a realization sinks in that the pandemic is not over, the tension is bubbling over. The fear of a pandemic backslide particularly among those who got vaccinated after months of sacrifice and precaution is prompting impatience and even anger.

ALIGNING WITH TRUMP, OATH KEEPERS AND BRIDGEGATE CONSPIRATORS CERTAINLY SEEMS LIKE A WINNING LONG-TERM STRATEGY Postcards from the edge After Trump, N.J.s Republican Party was left for dead. Can it reclaim the state against all odds? by NJ Advance Medias Adam Clark: When an older gentleman slowly approaches, Ciattarelli stops and listens, hoping for an endorsement Instead, 92-year-old Ed Weil announces hes sworn off the Republican Party for one reason. Trump! Weil shouts, gripping his cane with his left hand as he raises his right index finger. Ciattarelli, 59, tries redirecting, but quickly realizes Weil cant be swayed After more than a century of the political pendulum swinging back and forth in the Garden State, an avowed progressive occupies the governors mansion, Democrats hold a vice grip on the Legislature and Republicans cling to just two of the states 12 congressional seats. The GOP hasnt won a U.S. Senate race here since the early days of disco or a presidential election since the year before Taylor Swift was born. Worse yet, the affluent suburbs have turned their backs on the party. Republican elders Tom Kean and Christine Todd Whitman former two-term governors are losing hope. And even former Gov. Chris Christie, an optimist about the state partys future, acknowledges that Novembers gubernatorial election is Democratic incumbent Phil Murphys to lose. Were down, Kean says with a heavy sigh. No question about it. We have a long way to go.

BROWN OUT Caucus Hijinks and the political implications of Stanfield and Polistina, by InsiderNJs Maz Pizarro: Republicans under the leadership of Atlantic County GOP Committee Chairman Keith Davis affirmed Polistina to go to the senate in the 2nd District, where he will run for the seat previously held by Senator Brown as an incumbent. LD2 is another battleground district, which the GOP hopes to hold in its column with Polistina against the challenge by Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-2), who, like Addieo, has the considerable financial and political backing of the South Jersey Democratic Machine. The Murphy Administrations decision to give a job to Brown and leverage to the GOP ahead of the general election produced more than a few moans of irritation among Sweeneys allies. Why would Murphys political minders give Polistina an advantage? Just dumb and disorganized or savagely savvy?

NARRATOR: WHITMAN AND CHRISTIE WERE NOT AT BIGGER DISADVANTAGES THAN CIATTARELLI Ciattarelli hoping Diane Allen does for him what she always does wins, by The Burlington County Times Phil Gianficaro: Ciattarelli choosing her was beyond wise, perhaps vital. He trails Murphy in the polls by 15 points, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson poll of New Jersey residents released in June. He struggles with low name recognition beyond his base in Somerset County; 17% had never heard of him, according to a Monmouth University poll. And Gov. Murphys approval rating is around 57%, down from 71% prior to the coronavirus pandemic. The old saying is, the campaign doesnt really start until Labor Day, Allen told me by phone the other day. I know what the polls show. But Ive only been in this for a few days. Im finding my footing. Its a wait and see. After Labor Day, I think our numbers will start looking better. Its been told to me that both Christie Todd Whitman and Chris Christie were at a bigger disadvantage than Jack in their first campaigns. I see a lot of good with us.

“Murphy says he may join his family in Italy [this] week”

Zwicker is set on becoming first Democrat to win Senate seat in 16th district

South Jersey education community reacts to NJ school mask mandate

GOP mayor In Bergen Endorses Murphy for governor

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The OToole Chronicles: Port Authority founders could imagine a once-a-century pandemic


CLARK DISBAR Former acting attorney general testifies about Trumps efforts to subvert election, by The New York Times Katie Brenner: “Jeffrey A. Rosen, who was acting attorney general during the Trump administration, has told the Justice Department watchdog and congressional investigators that one of his deputies tried to help former President Donald J. Trump subvert the results of the 2020 election, according to a person familiar with the interviews. Mr. Rosen had a two-hour meeting on Friday with the Justice Departments office of the inspector general and provided closed-door testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Saturday. The investigations were opened after a New York Times article that detailed efforts by Jeffrey Clark, the acting head of the Justice Departments civil division, to push top leaders to falsely and publicly assert that continuing election fraud investigations cast doubt on the Electoral College results. That prompted Mr. Trump to consider ousting Mr. Rosen and installing Mr. Clark at the top of the department to carry out that plan.

GOP FINDS TOP RECRUIT FOR STATE LEGISLATURE IN 2025 Sussex County man admits to assaulting officer, obstructing Congress during Capitol riots, by The New Jersey Heralds Lori Comstock: A Sussex County man and gym owner pleaded guilty Friday to assaulting a police officer during the storming of the U.S. Capitol, the first such admission by a person who clashed with police at the Jan. 6 riots that sought to keep President Donald Trump in power. Federal prosecutors will seek to keep Scott Fairlamb, of Hardyston, in prison for 3 ½ to 4 ¼ years, although U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth won’t be bound by that, the judge said during a hearing by telephone in Washington, D.C. Fairlamb’s attorney, Harley Breite, said he will seek a lesser sentence.

To help Malinowski and Kim, two Biden cabinet members will be in N.J. on Monday

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McBRIDE AND PREJUDICE It’s unclear who Gusciora will appoint to replace Delisle, who faced allegations during his tenuTrenton council yanks legal ads from Trentonian over critical coverage, by The Trentonians Isaac Avilucea: Government officials in the capital city hit a new low, yanking legal advertisements from The Trentonian over critical coverage of the city’s leaders. Despite outcry from journalism advocates who called the proposed actions retaliatory, a majority of council voted 4-2 Thursday to make The Times of Trenton, the tabloid’s competitor, the sole recipient of legal advertisements for the city … Were going with the one newspaper. We got a legal opinion that we’re allowed to do such, council president Kathy McBride said. Trenton budgeted for $10,000 in advertising this year, records show. It’s unclear how much is earmarked for each newspaper. City officials cited alleged biased news coverage from The Trentonian and allegations its coverage was racist and sexist as reasons for cutting the tabloid out of the fold.

OUT ON A DELISLAND Trenton housing director Ben Delisle forced out after 2 years, mayor still mum, by The Trentonians Isaac Avilucea: Ben Delisle, the city’s housing and economic director the last two years, was effectively forced out of his position Friday, after the Mayor Reed Gusciora administration gave him an ultimatum. His departure was whispered about during the week, with multiple sources telling The Trentonian that Delisle was told he would be fired if he didn’t resign. I heard it from the horse’s mouth, South Ward councilman George Muschal said in a phone interview Friday It’s unclear who Gusciora will appoint to replace Delisle, who faced allegations during his tenure that he used a racial slur in front of a Black colleague.

OTHERWISE SOME PEOPLE IN PATERSON MIGHT SMOKE MARIJUANA Paterson city council votes no on recreational cannabis businesses, by The Paterson Press Joe Malinconico: In an effort to buy extra time, the City Council is moving to ban all recreational marijuana businesses from Paterson, despite Mayor Andre Sayeghs support for an initiative he says could produce $1.5 million in annual fees. In an 8-0 vote late Wednesday night, the council gave preliminary approval to opting out of the states recreational cannabis program. Sayeghs plan would have allowed as many as 36 businesses to cultivate, manufacture, sell and deliver marijuana. I think the whole city is going to smell like marijuana, said Councilman Shahin Khalique, who has opposed the marijuana business plan ever since it was proposed. Other members of the council have made it clear that they eventually would like to strike some sort of compromise to allow some types of cannabis businesses in Paterson and to reap the revenue those enterprises would generate in license fees and taxes but only if they are strongly regulated.

A message from AARP:

Its outrageous that Americans pay more than three times what people in other countries pay for the same medicine. And these unfair prices keep going up. Even during the pandemic and financial crisis, the prices of more than 1,000 drugs were increased. Its time for the President and Congress to cut prescription drug prices.

Currently, Medicare is prohibited by law from using its buying power to negotiate with drug companies to get lower prices for people. This must change. Giving Medicare the power to negotiate will save hundreds of billions of dollars.

And the American people agree. In a recent AARP survey of Americans 50+, a vast majority supported allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices, including 88% of Democrats and 85% of Republicans.

Tell Congress: Act now to lower prescription drug prices.

Let Medicare negotiate.

14 YEARS AFTER CLEAVER, CARMINE LUPERTAZZI JR. PRODUCTIONS IS STILL GOING STRONG Largest N.J. film studio opens for business in Jersey City, by NJ Advance Medias Samantha Marcus: New Jerseys largest film studio, which expects host up to four major TV and film productions a year, has opened its doors in Jersey City. Gov. Phil Murphy joined in the massive new studios ribbon cutting Friday, saying the project is just what he hoped for when he revived the states dormant tax incentives to draw big Hollywood business to the Garden State. New Jersey is where filmmaking began, and we are quickly regaining the reputation as a premier location for both film and television production, the governor said in a statement.

Englewood voted to ban marijuana sales. The mayor called that ‘ridiculous’ and vetoed it

A lawsuit called them ‘evil-minded.’ Now residents aim to recall Ridgefield Park trustees

Hackensack names former Lodi police chief as its city manager

Schools are still unaware of dangers of mercury-tainted gym floors, advocates say

Paterson train station parking garage project plan involves borrowing money


R.I.P. Kool & the Gang co-founder Dennis Thomas dead at age 70, by The AP: Dennis Dee Tee Thomas, a founding member of the long-running soul-funk band Kool & the Gang known for such hits as Celebration and Get Down On It, has died. He was 70. He died peacefully in his sleep Saturday in New Jersey, where he was a resident of Montclair, according to a statement from his representative. Thomas was the alto sax player, flutist and percussionist. He served as master of ceremonies at the bands shows. His last appearance with the group was July Fourth at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles

R.I.P. Comedian Trevor Moore, N.J. native from The Whitest Kids UKnow, dead at 41

THE ART OF THE GRIFT Shaun King asks for assistance to move out of $842,000 New Jersey house, by Yahoo! News Matthew Allen: The controversial activist says his family must move out of the New Jersey home after images of the property were published by news outlets Shaun King announced earlier this week he is seeking donations to help move his family out of their New Jersey home after photographs of the house were published online by news outlets. The controversial activist stated in a social media post that he is being forced to move from the $842,000 property, per a report from Atlanta Black Star. Kings Instagram page has since gone private and his Twitter profile was taken down. An image of Kings home was first published by The New York Post, who in late July reported that the 3,000-square-foot abode is located in North Brunswick, New Jersey. The house includes five bedrooms, four bathrooms and a gourmet kitchen with a backyard situated on a lakefront.

Former U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman criticizes AG over Cuomo harassment investigation report”

Founders of New Jersey gay conversion therapy practice lose appeal, must pay $3.5 million”

Traditions, crowds return at NJ State Fair a year after COVID hiatus

After hitting her head on a hike, N.J. woman saved by Modern Family star

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