News

In response to a recent State Commission Investigation report claiming that the New Jersey SPCA is failing to consistently respond to animal cruelty laws, state lawmakers are considering some changes.

At a legislative hearing Brian Hackett, the state director of the Human Society of the United States, said many of the officers in the SPCA that enforce animal cruelty laws serve on a voluntary basis with virtually no funding.

Majority Democrats in the New Jersey Assembly have selected their leadership team for new legislative session that begins in January.

Assemblyman Craig Coughlin from Middlesex County will be the new Assembly Speaker. He’ll take over for Vinnie Prieto who lost a leadership fight and will end his term as Speaker in January.

Coughlin says he intends to be a Speaker that leads by consensus to help move the Democratic agenda forward.

Ang Santos / WBGO

New Jersey Republican Congressmen Rodney Frelinghuysen and Tom MacArthur are the only two yet to publically oppose the tax overhaul.  Governor-elect Phil Murphy is asking them to vote no.

“I plead with our republican brothers who represent the five districts that they do to look at what the facts are in their districts.  They are overwhelmingly compelling in terms of the devastation this bill would wreak upon the middle class and seniors in their districts.”

M. Butterfly
Michael Bourne for WBGO

The Broadway season is heating up for the holiday season, although not all the plays are light-hearted.  

Theater critic Michael Bourne reviews the revival of the play M. Butterfly.

Click above to hear Michael's review.

Dizzy Gillespie Bigger Than Life

Nov 10, 2017
Dizzy Mural
WBLS Program Director Skip Dillard for WBGO News

Last month, Harlem hosted a 100th birthday tribute to trumpeter and innovator Dizzy Gillespie. The celebration included wonderful music and the unveiling of huge colorful murals of the jazz legend.

Global street art and human rights campaign, Education Is Not A Crime, announced the creation of the John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie 100th Anniversary mural at 229 West 135th Street. The mural is the project’s 20th and largest in New York.

With Democrats about to take full control in January, Republicans in the New Jersey legislature know that a higher minimum wage is not far off.

The top Republican in the state senate now wants to make sure that Democrats don’t go too far.  

Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean says the issue of affordability is the greatest challenge confronting New Jersey lawmakers and he’s calling for a bipartisan compromise.

Governor-elect Phil Murphy takes office in January. He met with Governor Chris Christie in Trenton today for about an hour and half to discuss the transition.     

Murphy says it was a terrific meeting.

“Just a great willingness on the Governor’s part to be as helpful as possible and we welcome that obviously. So, it was a good discussion.”

Murphy did not provide any specifics about what they discussed.

He’s decided his Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver will serve as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs.

Now that he’s won reelection, New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney says Democrats who control the legislature want to work with Governor-elect Phil Murphy to advance legislation they couldn’t get through during the Christie administration.  

Sweeney says Democrats’ plans include funding for women’s health care, expanding paid family leave, a higher minimum wage, and phasing in higher pension payments and more money for schools.

Governor-elect Phil Murphy supports legalizing recreational marijuana use in New Jersey, and other advocates are hoping lawmakers act on a bill to do that within a hundred days of Murphy's inauguration.

Scott Rudder is president of New Jersey CannaBusiness Association. He says after legislation is enacted, it'll take several months to develop regulations, license sellers, and grow the product.

"We really are looking at early 2019 on a very aggressive schedule, but more than likely mid 2019 is when we would see most of the retail sales coming on line."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says it wasn't only bad weather that caused anemic turnouts on Election Day.  He says his second administration will fight to change election laws in Albany.

“We are one of only thirteen states that doesn’t allow early voting.  Early voting is the greatest preventative measure to make sure people aren’t excluded because of the weather or because work went late, or the subway broke down.  If you don’t have early voting you’re implicitly allowing the disenfranchisement of a huge number of voters.”

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Wins Re-election

Nov 8, 2017
Bill de Blasio
CNBC.com

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio cruised to re-election Tuesday.  The mayor collected about 66 percent of the vote compared to 28 for his main challenger, Republican Nicole Malliotakis, with more than 95 percent of the election precincts reporting.

“We have a lot to be proud of, but we can’t stop now,” de Blasio said in a victory speech at the Brooklyn Museum.

WBGO's Scott Pringle was at the election night headquarters.  Click above to hear his report.

Democrat Phil Murphy will be the next governor of New Jersey, after defeating Republican Kim Guadagno in the race to replace Chris Christie.

In his victory speech, Murphy told his supporters says the days of division are over and as New Jersey’s next governor he’ll work to rebuild the state.

“It won’t be easy and it certainly won’t be overnight. But let there be no doubt. Starting here, starting now, and starting with us, New Jersey is coming back.”

Murphy says his first task will be living up to his campaign promise to build a stronger and fairer economy.

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The owner of a New Jersey political consulting firm has pleaded guilty to tax evasion. NJ.com reports 35-year-old Linda Jumah entered her plea Monday.

Jumah faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when she's sentenced in February.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Jumah intentionally underreported more than $121,000 in earnings in 2015 when she owned the Newark-based firm Elite Strategies. Prosecutors say that resulted in a tax loss of nearly $40,000.

A political action committee is spending about $400,000 on advertising that ties some New Jersey Republican candidates to unpopular Governor Chris Christie.

That could affect who holds the top position in the state Assembly.

Rider University political science professor Ben Dworkin says most headcounts of majority Democrats in the Assembly show that current Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto does not have enough support to continue in that role. 

Ang Santos / WBGO

For weeks, Democrat Phil Murphy has focused on big name endorsements like former President Barack Obama, New Jersey rocker Jon Bon Jovi, and even International Brotherhood of Teamsters President James Hoffa, who says Murphy's opponent is another Chris Christie.

“You know, so long with Chris Christie we’ve had so many problems in the state of New Jersey.  This is a great state.  We’ve got to turn it around.  We need a new man, new thinking, someone that is for the average person in this state and that is our man Phil Murphy,” Hoffa said.

A day before New Jersey voters select a new governor, a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll shows they're ready to say goodbye to the current one.

Poll director Krista Jenkins says only 17 percent of voters surveyed approve of Chris Christie's job performance while 73 percent disapprove.

"By comparison Governor Christie's predecessor left office with approval numbers that were also upside down, but Jon Corzine still had a higher approval rating when he left office than Governor Christie does now, with numbers that were more than double those for the current governor."

Terror Attack
Business Insider

Security will certainly be on the minds of the runners and spectators of the New York City Marathon this weekend, following the deadliest terrorist attack in the city since 9-11.

WBGO News Director Doug Doyle has reaction to the terror attack in Lower Manhattan. Click above to hear the report.

Wind turbines
Jon Kalish for WBGO

Recently WBGO's Jon Kalish took you to the eastern tip of Long Island to the village of Montauk. Fishermen there are worried about a massive off-shore wind farm proposed some 30 miles out in the Atlantic that they say will impact their livelihood. 

Click above to hear Jon's story.

Measure for Measure
Michael Bourne for WBGO

Theater critic Michael Bourne reviews Measure For Measure at the Public Theater.

Click above to hear the review.

Jane Monheit
HacPac for WBGO

Jazz performers Jane Monheit and Tony DeSare share the bill for the opening night of the Pac The House Series at the newly renovated Hackensack Performing Arts Center.

Both Jane and and Tony share their thoughts on the evening with WBGO News Director Doug Doyle.

Click above to hear the entire interview with both artists.

Authorities are trying to determine who sent campaign mailers to homes in Edison, New Jersey, with a red ‘deport’ stamp under the photos of two Asian-American school board candidates.

It's possible the anonymous mailers do not violate election law.

New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission deputy director Joe Donohue says state election law requires political communications distributed by a candidate to have a disclaimer showing the name and address of the person or group that paid for them.

Even before the election of a new governor, a coalition of business groups in New Jersey is mobilizing to oppose any big boost in the state's minimum wage.

A business owner in a 60 second ad from the Protect Jersey Jobs coalition says to stay competitive he can't raise prices.

"If some Trenton politicians have their way and pass these mandates, I'm concerned I would have to cut employees hours or their jobs."

Governor Christie vetoed legislation last year that would have raised New Jersey's minimum wage to $15-an-hour by 2021.

 

With just five days before the election, the GOP candidate for New Jersey governor is on the road, taking her message to the people.

On a bus bound for 50 stops throughout the state, Kim Guadagno says the tour is allowing her to talk directly to voters about lowering taxes and keeping New Jersey from becoming a sanctuary state for undocumented immigrants.

Supplies at the Food Bank warehouse in Hillside
Community Food Bank of New Jersey

The holiday season is approaching and food pantries in New Jersey are appealing for donations.

Julienne Cherry with the Community Food Bank of New Jersey says many residents can’t afford to buy the food their families need.

“In the state of New Jersey we still have one million people that are food insecure. And of that almost 300,00 of them are kids, and that’s one in seven kids. So, the need is still there. For every dollar that someone donates we’re able to actually provide three meals.”

Cherry is appealing for donations of turkeys and supplies.

Just days before the election of a new Governor, a Monmouth University poll finds Democrat Phil Murphy holds a 14-point lead over Republican Kim Guadagno among likely voters in New Jersey.

Poll director Patrick Murray says that margin is the same as it was in early October.

A New Jersey Congressman is introducing legislation to combat price gouging after natural disasters.
 
Democrat Frank Pallone says his proposed Stand Up Act would empower the Federal Trade Commission to issue regulations to prohibit excessive pricing of consumer goods or services within 180 days of the declaration of a major disaster and determine the fines for violators.
 
He says no one should have to pay abusive prices for essentials such as food, water, and gasoline when they’re a victim of a natural disaster.

A New Jersey lawmaker is proposing legislation to prevent convicted sex offenders from living near their victims.

Assemblyman Ron Dancer hopes lawmakers will act on his bill in the lame duck session.

“I think this should have priority for the protection of any of these victims so they do not have to think about their molester, their convicted offender, living either next door or within 1,000 feet.”

Republican Kim Guadagno is hoping to be the second woman elected Governor of New Jersey, but female voters are showing more support for Democrat Phil Murphy.

Only 29 percent of likely women voters surveyed by Quinnipiac University favor Guadagno while 65 percent support Murphy.

Debbie Walsh, the director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers, says that fits with the gender gap observed since 1980. 

Irish Rep
Michael Bourne for WBGO

Theater critic Michael Bourne talks about some works with Irish connections. 

The Irish Repertory Theatre presents the Brian Friel play The Home Place, meanwhile New York cabby John McDonaugh talks about 35 years of “driving New York crazy”.

For almost 30 years, The Irish Repertory Theatre has been presenting classic and new Irish plays. They renovated the theatre on 22nd Street last year, and WBGO theater critic Michael Bourne reviews these two shows opening the new season.

Click above to hear Michael's complete review.

Alexandra Hill / News

As the debate around Immigration continues to dominate headlines around the country and as the Trump administration continues to roll out stricter policies around the issue, Ellis Island, known as the gateway to America, is celebrating immigrants and their families at the annual Family Heritage awards where this years honorees include an NBA basketball legend, a prominent philanthropic family, and a television news anchor. 

Pages