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In a dramatic refutation of Gov. Chris Christie's long-standing insistence that he knew nothing about the traffic study that led to the Bridgegate traffic jams, the governor's former deputy chief of staff told a federal jury that she notified the governor before sending the infamous "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" email. Read more

In The Spotlight

New Jersey can’t reach its potential as a great state until it turns around its cities, former Gov. Thomas Kean told a gathering on urban policy last week. Speaking at the second-annual NJ Spotlight on Cities conference, he said, “If we can make them an engine of economic progress, and not in any way a drain, that will do more to help this state and its budget than anything else we can be doing.” Newark Mayor Ras Baraka proposed an “urban Marshall Plan” to address the lack of attention to — and underfunding of — our cities. Given current low interest rates, the state should consider issuing 100-year bonds, suggested Phil Murphy, the Democratic frontrunner in next year’s race for governor. He also suggested more could be done to find federal money for infrastructure projects in the state. Read more
NJ Spotlight Daily News

October 21, 2016

Bridget Kelly Speaks: Christie's Ex-Aide Says Gov Knew About Bridgegate
Andrea Bernstein and Matt Katz | Katz on Christie
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October 20, 2016

State Poised to Issue First Drought Warning in More Than a Decade
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Today’s public hearing of Department of Environmental Protection will document drought conditions in more than a dozen north and central New Jersey counties
Outside Interest Groups Infiltrate Political Process, Parties Losing Grip
Chase Brush | Politics
The latest figures for election spending in New Jersey show major parties have been weakened and special-interest groups continue to increase their influence
Protecting Uber Passengers Who Are Injured in an Accident
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Car-service company argues riders are already covered by current $1.5M liability insurance; critics contend there are too many loopholes in coverage
Opinion: Bridgegate Testimony Leaves No One Untainted
Carl Golden | Opinion
Disconcerting picture emerging from trial is of an administration that is equally ugly, vindictive, and profane
Poll: Waiting to Inhale — Is NJ Ready for Recreational Marijuana?
A delegation of NJ legislators will report today on its fact-finding trip to Colorado, where pot is legal. Is the Garden State moving in the same direction?
Shortage of Affordable Housing Explored at NJ Spotlight on Cities
Colleen O'Dea | Housing
One advocate suggests that even the term ‘affordable housing’ has negative connotations for many people
In 10th District Moderate Payne’s Opponents Are Weak, Broke
Joe Tyrrell | Politics
U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr. seeks a third term with little opposition in a district that is struggling economically

October 19, 2016

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield Launches Integrated Mental-Physical Pilot
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
A new program for patients with Crohn’s disease will integrate mental and physical treatments in order to improve health and reduce costs
Beleaguered Christie Holds Town Hall in Friendly Territory
John Mooney | Education
But even in suburban New Providence some question his ‘Fairness Formula’ to equalize state aid to schools
State Not Doing Enough to Protect Poor from Pollution, Advocates Argue
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
At NJ Spotlight on Cities conference, environmental justice session explores how to better serve minority communities, poor urban centers
Profile: The World of Cumberland County’s Bayshore Is Her Oyster
Jon Hurdle | Profiles
One woman’s passion for the county’s historic Bayshore led to a restored ship, a museum, an environmental center, and renewed local pride
Why Medicare Part D Pays Too Much for Prescription Medicine
Stuart Silverstein/FairWarning | Healthcare
The Medicare law forbids the government from using its sizeable bargaining power to negotiate drug prices. Lobbying by the drug industry keeps that law in place
Minors Who Do Time in New Jersey’s Adult Prisons Must Deal with Intimidation
WNYC News | Social
One offender, sentenced to several years in an adult prison, said he’s worried about the guards, not the other inmates
Trying Juveniles as Adults Called A ‘Dead End’
NJTV News Online | Social
Conference on juvenile justice has pilot program in Camden County to keep young offenders in community
Baroni: Christie Used Me to Punish His Enemies
WNYC News | Politics
Under cross-examination, Baroni admits going after firefighters’ union chief and Sen. Frank Lautenberg

October 18, 2016

Money Shakes Up New Jersey's House Races
Chase Brush | Politics
There’s a lot of money sloshing around this season’s Congressional races, adding to the pressure on at least one long-term incumbent
Emergency Rooms Becoming ‘Dumping Ground’ for Psychiatric Patients
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
With fewer inpatient beds and inadequate outpatient services, patients often have no other choice but the ER
Democratic Lawmakers Hope to Compromise with Christie On Urban Enterprise Zones
John Reitmeyer | Planning
Proposal would give a two-year extension to five cities while state studies whether another program would be more effective for hard-pressed cities
Move Afoot to Ban Bear Hunting in New Jersey
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Hunting opponents argue it increases rather than reduces human-animal conflicts, call instead for better bear management
Imagining a Marshall Plan for Our 'Ignored' Cities
Lee Keough | Planning
At the NJ Spotlight on Cities conference, leading politicians agreed ‘we’ve ignored our cities’ and it’s time to make them a priority
Explainer: Open Enrollment for State Insurance, Medicare, Obamacare
Lilo H. Stainton | Explainer
Policy holders have chance to examine new options, take advantage of subsidies under Affordable Care Act
NJ Spotlight on Cities: A Quick Recap
Amanda Brown | Planning
A few digital glimpses of the second annual conference, judged a success by participants and attendees — or so they told us. See you next year.
Op-Ed: A Moratorium On New Charter Schools Is A Step For Civil Rights
Lauren Wells | Opinion
Charters have drained funding from district schools in cities like Newark, leading to separate and unequal systems

October 17, 2016

Baroni Takes The Stand: Bridgegate Defendant Expresses 'Regret,' Says He Was Duped
Matt Katz | Katz on Christie
Phil Murphy Hedges on Charter Schools, Says ‘It’s Complicated’
John Mooney | Education
‘NJ Spotlight on Cities’ brings early focus to charter schools in 2017 governor’s race
Converting Food Waste into Fuel for Renewable Energy
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Making smart use of biomass could be a win-win: It can be used a source of power and it prevents methane from being released into the atmosphere
Campaigners Demand Map to Limit Forest Destruction by Off-Road Drivers
Jon Hurdle | Energy & Environment
Pinelands activists welcome new data on disturbed sites, but say damage to Wharton State Forest will continue unless detailed map shows which areas are off limits
NJ Spotlight on Cities: Healthcare Panelists Call for Integrated Urban Care
Lilo H. Stainton | Healthcare
Speakers say mental health and substance-abuse treatment needs to be combined with physical care
At Day-Long Conference, NJ Spotlight Shines Spotlight on State’s Cities
NJTV News Online | Planning
The second annual NJ Spotlight on Cities conference brought together politicians, policymakers, urban architects and advocates
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