Thursday, February 11, 2016

Archive: March, 2013

POSTED: Monday, March 25, 2013, 1:58 PM
Gov. Christie listens to other officials after announcing that the state of New Jersey is taking over the school system in the city of Camden. Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd stands with him, at the news conference at Woodrow Wilson High School. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer

Full coverage in Tuesday's paper, here.

Gov. Christie formally announced this morning that he is taking reigns of the Camden school district, but he offered few details about how and when students, teachers and parents would see changes in what he considers the lowest-performing district in the state.

Instead, a soft-spoken Christie spoke of the need for saving children in America's poorest and most dangerous city through a "partnership." Talking to more than 100 reporters and community leaders on and off for nearly an hour, Christie never uttered the word "takeover."

POSTED: Monday, March 25, 2013, 10:11 AM
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie addresses the New Jersey Conference on Tourism in Atlantic City, N.J., Wednesday, March 20, 2013. Christie talked about the rebuilding process after Superstorm Sandy and about some elements of the Jersey Shore that may not be able to rebuild. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Follow live coverage of N.J. Gov. Chris Christie's announcement this morning on the state's takeover of Camden public schools. Christie is scheduled to begin speaking at 11 a.m. Inquirer reporters Matt Katz and Claudia Vargas are covering this announcement via Twitter.

POSTED: Monday, March 25, 2013, 9:45 AM
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie addresses the New Jersey Conference on Tourism in Atlantic City, N.J., Wednesday, March 20, 2013. Christie talked about the rebuilding process after Superstorm Sandy and about some elements of the Jersey Shore that may not be able to rebuild. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Response is trickling in after our scoop last night about Gov. Christie's plan to take over the Camden school district. Colleague Claudia Vargas is reporting that school board members are either luke warm or flat-out opposed to the idea -- or something in between. School Board President Kathryn Blackshear, for example, says she is "disheartened," but will nonetheless stand in support of the takeover: Christie is “going to do it his way...there’s nothing I can do about it."

Opposition from education and community activists is expected to be strong. Those arguments, embodied in this blog post here, are that the state's three other school district takeovers have been failures -- and that the state's motives are racial and economic, not altruistic.

A source close to the takeover deal has provided a list of the political names in support, beginning with school board members Blackshear, Felisha Reyes-Morton and Barbara Coscarello.

POSTED: Thursday, March 21, 2013, 1:25 PM

A longer version of this story ran in Friday's paper, here.

UPDATE, 4:40 pm: A Christie spokesman just emailed me saying that the governor "does not believe in conversion therapy." He also cited his comments, in the video below, that sexual orientation is determined at birth. But he won't say whether he will sign the gay conversion ban until he sees the bill in its final form.

Gov. Christie said yesterday that he wasn't sure if he would sign a bill to ban the sometimes graphic practice of using therapies to turn a gay child into a straight child.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 10:38 AM
Gov. Christie hosted a town hall meeting in Paterson last week. (AP)

The lottery privatization train is on its way into Trenton. Any day now, the gov is expected to sign a deal with a private operator to run the sales and marketing of the $2.8 billion state institution. 

In Pennsylvania, Republican Gov. Corbett had to send his plan to a Democratic Attorney General for approval. In New Jersey, the attorney general is Christie's former chief counsel -- and the Democratic legislature has no power to stop Christie's plan.

So yesterday legislators did something largely symbolic: They passed a bill demanding that the Legislature sign off on any privatization deal. The move is futile, because Christie could announce the deal tomorrow and summarily veto the bill. There is just one bidder for the lottery, and negotiations with Christie's people are ongoing behind closed doors. I've reported the details that we know here.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 7:22 PM
Gov. Chris Christie and the woman who wants to replace him, state Sen. Barbara Buono, head to Washington Thursday along with 900 of New Jersey's movers and shakers.

A shorter version of this post ran in Wednesday's paper, here.

NEWARK — Yes, they’re friends. Yes, they agree on some educational issues. And yes, they have worked well together in the past.

But Democratic Newark Mayor Cory Booker disagrees with his friend and occasional ally, Republican Gov. Christie, on at least a half-dozen issues — and that’s why he lent his considerable star power Tuesday to Christie’s expected opponent this fall, State Sen. Barbara Buono (D., Middlesex).

POSTED: Monday, March 18, 2013, 2:17 PM

In Sunday's paper, I took a look at Christie's relationship with the issue of race:

Meeting with African American leaders at the governor's mansion last year, Gov. Christie told a story from his student days at the University of Delaware. An African American friend, hoping to give the young Christie a sense of being black on a largely white campus, took the future governor to the historically black Delaware State University.

Christie stood out. He got stares. And so, the boy from the white North Jersey suburbs got a small sense of his friend's daily existence.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 3:56 PM
Gov. Christie after signing the bill, which makes tenure harder to get. RICH SCHULTZ / AP

CHESILHURST - The Republican gov snagged an endorsement this afternoon from the mayor of tiny Chesilhurst, Camden County – an African American Democrat – as part of a continued effort to frame himself as a bipartisan leader of a blue state. 

"I'll admit I was a little hesitant at first when he first got in," said Mayor Michael Blunt of Christie.

But Blunt was impressed on several fronts. When Blunt asked Christie to hold a town hall meeting in Chesilhurst, he did. When Blunt asked for financial aid for the borough, Christie provided it. And at an event marking the end of slavery, Christie showed an understanding of racial history.

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