A non-profit foundation that works to improve public policy decisions in New Jersey says prompt action is needed to provide a high-quality public education for all children in the state.

Former Chief Justice Doborah Portiz chairs the Fund for New Jersey. She’s says it time for the state to give the school districts what they are were promised under the 2008 School Funding formula.

“We need to fully fund SFRA under the formula, not in any transition mode anymore, not with transition funding, but fully fund it.”

Advocates are urging New Jersey’s next governor to increase the state’s investments and support for higher education.

New Jersey Policy Perspective president Gordon MacInnes says a pattern of disinvestment in the state’s public colleges and universities over the last quarter century has resulted in high costs and rising debt for students.

He says the Secretary of Education lacks the resources to analyze the performance of colleges and maximize opportunities.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The defense team in Senator Bob Menendez’s trial opened with testimony from family members.  The senator’s son Robert Menendez Jr. recalled several trips to the Dominican Republic with his father’s good friend Salomon Melgen.   He called them "family gatherings." 

Prosecutors accuse Menendez of taking bribes from Melgen, a Florida eye doctor in return for helping him resolve business problems with government officials.

Governor Christie is advancing Newark’s bid to win Amazon’s competition to determine where the internet retailer will build its second headquarters.

Christie says Newark represents the heart-and-soul of what Amazon is seeking.

“Newark is a growing technology hub. They are a growing education for the state of New Jersey. Unparalleled transportation options and unique cultural options in this city as well.”

U-S Senator Cory Booker, a former mayor of Newark, says Amazon would be smart to come to Newark.

This is usually the time to think about a weekend drive to check out the fall foliage. But so far, we’re not seeing a dazzling display of color.

New Jersey state climatologist Dave Robinson says the change in leaf color is getting a late start because of warmer than average temperatures in recent weeks.  

“That tends to delay the season. It doesn’t necessary destroy the season. So, I would think right now unless it turns cool pretty quickly, we’re probably going to see a one, maybe even longer than, a week delay in getting the peak foliage.”  

Republican gubernatorial nominee Kim Guadagno is under fire for a campaign ad attacking Democrat Phil Murphy for saying he might make New Jersey a sanctuary state for undocumented immigrants.

The ad says Murphy would protect unauthorized immigrants including deranged murderers.

Louis DiPaolo with the New Jersey Working Families Alliance says that mischaracterizes what Murphy was saying and calls the ad shameful.

Eli Yamin
Doug Doyle for WBGO

What a treat for you this Saturday at the WBGO Kids Jazz Concert at Newark Symphony Hall.  Not only will the one-hour event be hosted by WBGO's Gary Walker, but it will feature the work of jazz and blues pianist, composer, singer producer and educator Eli Yamin.

Yamin remembers when he was a teen he worked for WBGO and couldn't resist playing the piano in the station's performance studio.  That same piano is still there today.

Yamin will be joined by many terrific performers including singer and educator Antoinette Montague of Newark. 

President Trump's executive order to make cheaper health insurance plans more widely available is meeting with resistance in New Jersey.

Betsy Ryan is the President and CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association. She's concerned the President's order could end up increasing the cost of insurance for people with pre-existing conditions.

Democrat Phil Murphy has raised more than three times as much as Republican Kim Guadagno in New Jersey’s race for governor.

Murphy collected $10.3 million while Guadagno raised $3 million.

Murphy still has $5.4 million left in his campaign coffers, Guadagno less than a million.

Fairleigh Dickinson political science professor Peter Woolley says there’s a simple reason for the big fundraising disparity.

Alexandra Hill / News

After months of debate and contentious city council meetings over how to keep housing affordable for residents in New Jersey’s largest city, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka today signed two groundbreaking affordable housing ordinances. The “Inclusionary Zoning for Affordable Housing” ordinance requires developers to set aside 20 percent of their residential units for affordable housing in projects consisting of 30 or more units. Baraka says for the city of Newark the timing is right.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Objections for relevance, a lack thereof, pulled the jury from the court room multiple times before the prosecution rested.  Attorneys for US Senator Bob Menendez spent hours on offense.  They say the prosecution has presented insufficient evidence to prove the US Senator guilty of bribery under a 2016 US Supreme Court ruling.  The prosecution seemed to be having some difficulty convincing US District Judge William Walls that they have enough proof to charge Menendez.  The New Jersey senior senator refused questions from reporters after court adjourned.  The trial continues on Monday.

The New Jersey legislature is not scheduled to meet until after the election.  It's uncertain what might be enacted before a new governor takes office and the current legislative session ends in January.

Governor Chris Christie says he wants lawmakers to pass a measure in the lame duck session that would extend the two-percent cap on arbitration awards for police and firefighters.

He'd also like to get some nominations done.

A philanthropic foundation says many New Jersey residents struggle with the high costs of housing.

The Fund for New Jersey is making several recommendations to increase the amount of affordable homes.

Staci Berger leads the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. She says one proposed initiative would provide $600 million in tax credits for developers to build affordable housing for working families, seniors, and people with disabilities.

Ang Santos / WBGO

There’s a lot of common ground between Newark and New Orleans.  Both the largest metropolitan areas in their respective state’s.  Both majority minority communities with a history of poverty and crime.

“America since the 1950’s and 60’s underinvested in its cities primarily because of the issue of race.”

Marc Morial is the president of The National Urban League and two term mayor of New Orleans from 1994 to 2002.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Republican candidate Kim Guadagno says she’ll lower Garden State property taxes if elected Governor.  Democrat Phil Murphy says she’s already had eight years to make it happen.

“So she can talk all she wants about audit’s and consolidations and property tax relief, all good and well, but where have you been?  With all due respect, we may not have everything right but I’ll tell you one thing we do have right.  We represent change.”

Governor Christie's Task Force on Drug Abuse Control has release its report, making 40 recommendations to combat opioid epidemic.

Christie says many of the recommendations were included in the $200 million initiatives he announced last month. And he's directing is staff to develop plans to implement all of them before he leaves office in January.  

He's directing New Jersey's Department of Health to immediately revise guidelines so first responders can carry four milligrams of Narcan.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Recent polling shows a good number of Garden State voters don’t know enough about the Democratic or Republican gubernatorial candidates to decide who they’ll vote for in November’s election.

Republican Kim Guadagno is a former assistant attorney at the state and federal levels, and the first woman to serve as Monmouth County Sheriff. 

Democrat Phil Murphy is a former Goldman Sachs executive. He was an Ambassador to Germany under the Obama Administration, and is running his first campaign for elected office.

The debate will air live on WBGO starting at 7PM.

A month before the election, the major party candidates in New Jersey’s race for governor hold their first debate tomorrow night at the Performing Arts Center in Newark.

They’ll meet again next week in Wayne.

Fairleigh Dickinson political science professor Peter Woolley expects the debates won’t attract enough voter interest to influence the outcome of the election.

Hampton Fancher
Jon Kalish for WBGO

The 1982 motion picture Blade Runner opened to mixed reviews but eventually came to be considered a science fiction masterpiece. It is now included in the Library Of Congress' National Film Registry.

A sequel, Blade Runner 2049, opened in movie theaters Friday.  WBGO's Jon Kalish reports on how the screenwriter Hampton Fancher helped craft both films.

Click above to hear Jon's feature.

Steve Adubato
Steve Adubato for WBGO News

Political analyst and television and radio host Steve Adubato, Jr. is giving you a chance to get to know who will be in charge of the Garden State following the November election.

New Jersey's Next Governor with Steve Adubato airs on WBGO Saturday October 14th at 6am.  During the one-hour program, Steve chats individually with Republican candidate Kim Guadagno and Democratic candidate Phil Murphy.


A measure signed into law by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie strengthens protections for people with developmental disabilities.

Stephen Komninos Law is named for a 22-year-old man who choked to death at a group home in 2007 when left unsupervised against medical orders.

The governor says the law requires more state oversight and consistent supervision of community-based residential programs.

black bear
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

The first phase of New Jersey's bear hunting season gets underway Monday and continues through Saturday.

The first three days are limited to bow and arrow hunting. For the next three, hunters can also use muzzle-loading rifles.

And a firearms-only hunt is set for early December.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Robert Geist says 636 bears were culled last year, and the number of interactions between bears and humans dropped dramatically.

Saturday October 7th Newark's Bethany Baptist Church presents A Tale of Two Cities, a retrospective two of the nation's largest and most culturally rich cities, Newark New Jersey and New Orleans Louisiana, with Mayor Ras Baraka, and former New Orleans Mayor Marc. H. Morial.  WBGO's Alexandra Hill chats with event Producer and former Executive Director of The New Orleans Music and Entertainment Commission, Jackie Harris, about what makes Newark and New Orleans so similar, and bringing these two leaders together. 

Ang Santos / WBGO

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is often associated with military personnel, first responders, and others whose livelihood puts them in dangerous situations.  A US Department of Veterans Affairs study shows one in two people experience a traumatic event that could cause PTSD at some point in their life.

“You can get bit by a dog.  You can be in a car accident or witness a car accident.  You can be the victim of a mugging or watch somebody get mugged.  You can almost drown or work in an ER.  You can be a burn victim.  There’s thousands of ways you can get PTSD.”

A proposed constitutional amendment on New Jersey’s ballot next month would limit how the money from environmental damage lawsuits is used.

The current state budget puts a $50 million cap on the amount of money from environmental contamination lawsuits that’s used for restoration projects at sites near where the pollution damaged the land or water.  The rest is diverted into the state’s general fund.

Debbie Mans with the Baykeeper clean-water advocacy organization says the proposed constitutional amendment would change that.

A New Jersey lawmaker is seeking action on his plan for a commission to work on reducing wrongful convictions.

Senator Joe Pennacchio  says 27 people in New Jersey have been exonerated since 1989 after an average of 10 years behind bars.

His proposed Innocence Study and Review Commission would examine causes of wrongful conviction and work on protocols for case reviews sought by prisoners.

Tim Mosenfelder / Getty Images

Legendary rock singer, songwriter and guitarist Tom Petty died Monday in Los Angeles. He was 66. 

Alexandra Hill / News

New Jersey’s Senior Senator Bob Menendez is heading back to Washington D. C. after wrapping up the third week of his corruption trial. Menendez spoke briefly to reporters outside the federal courthouse in downtown Newark today, and says the crisis in Puerto Rico is one of his top priorities. Menendez says  if he had to give the Trump administration a grade on their response to the island Menendez says, they would get a big fat D.

Governor Christie says the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Ocean County, New Jersey, may be shut down a bit sooner than scheduled.

The governor says the plant’s owner is indicating it might not take until the end of 2019 to close the oldest operating nuclear plant in the nation.

“I can tell you from recent conversations with the executives at Exelon, that plan is not only on track and on time but a little bit ahead of schedule. And we’re working to get as much of that done and completed before we leave office in January.”

Governor Christie says New Jersey is providing $20 million in grants to local and county governments to fund projects to protect Barnegat Bay.

He says progress has been made in preventing fertilizer and contaminants from getting into the state’s largest estuary and harming aquatic life.