National Roundup 05-04: Christie Hopeful Democrats Will Prevent State Gov’t Shutdown; New Chicago Hotline Aimed At Those Reluctant To Call Police
The following is a round-up of national news from several major states across the country that will be featured on our site on a daily basis:
Christie Hopeful Democrats Will Prevent State Gov’t Shutdown: Gov. Chris Christie says he’s in a “sit back and wait mode” to see if lawmakers in the Democratic-controlled Legislature send him a budget by June 30 to avoid a government shutdown in the state.
The governor, speaking at a public event in Flemington on Wednesday, referred to the intra-party clash between Senate and Assembly Democrats over changes to the way the state funds its schools.
Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) threatened Tuesday to not pass a budget in his chamber unless it includes their plans for increasing funding for public schools. It was a shot at Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson). Lawmakers say the state needs to spend more money on public schools and make key changes to how that aid is distributed. It’s up to the Legislature to send the governor a budget by June 30. If its members don’t, state government — excluding essential services — shuts down.
“It’s unfortunate they’re fighting with each other, but it’s nothing new for me,” Christie said. “If they don’t send me a budget, I can’t sign it,” he said. “The legislative Democrats decide whether to put a budget on my desk by June 30. I suspect that the Democrats in the Legislature, all who will be up for re-election in November, I think the last thing you’re going to want to do is close down government and make their leadership in the Legislature look inept,” Christie said. [NJ Advance]
Piscopo fakeout Ends with Guadagno Endorsement: After stringing the media along for more than six months, comedian Joe Piscopo on Wednesday finally put an end to the self-driven speculation that he would run for governor as an independent. Instead, the former Saturday Night Live cast member will settle for the role of “cheerleader” for Republican candidate Kim Guadagno — the lieutenant governor of New Jersey — whom he endorsed.
“It is with a heavy heart that I announce today that I will not be entering the gubernatorial race in New Jersey at this time,” Piscopo said during a breakfast at Bergen Community College hosted by the media conglomerate that airs his radio show on weekday mornings. “If Kim is going to run with the initiatives that I have, the initiatives of the people, then I say to you, Godspeed.”
Piscopo endorsed Guadagno despite having said it would be “impossible to win” the governorship as a Republican because of Gov. Chris Christie’s deep unpopularity.
Christie, who met with Piscopo in October, joked with reporters on Wednesday that he thought he “was going to need to be hospitalized” after hearing Piscopo won’t run. “This was about Joe Piscopo increasing ratings for his radio show and just trying to get himself some more attention,” Christie said during an unrelated event in Hunterdon County. “The time I met with him, I knew he had absolutely no idea what it was like to be governor and no intention of running for governor. He’s an entertainer. That’s great. And I like him, and I think he’s funny. … But he never had any intention of running for governor, as a Republican, as an independent, as a Democrat, as a Martian.” [Politico]
More Racist Graffiti Spotted In West Loop, Neighbors Outraged: Graffiti reading “KKK” and “No N—–s” was spotted by neighbors in the West Loop this week. Neighbors reported the “KKK” graffiti to the city’s Street and Sanitation Department and police Wednesday, and as of 12:30 p.m. Thursday, the graffiti had been removed.
The graffiti, sprayed in black paint on three concrete barriers designed to protect pedestrians, appeared at the Kennedy’s Madison Street northbound exit near Whole Foods at 1 N. Halsted St. in Greektown. The graffiti was first spotted the “KKK” graffiti Wednesday night, according to Moshe Tamssot, a West Loop neighbor and founder of True West Loop, a Facebook page focused on West Loop issues.
The “KKK” graffiti was brought to the attention of police at about 9 a.m. Thursday, a Chicago Police Department spokesperson said. A criminal damage to city property report was filed in the case, and a request was made for it to be removed. No one is in custody, and there is no camera footage to share at this time, police said.
After neighbors took to Facebook to voice their outrage about the “KKK” graffiti, more racist graffiti was spotted. On Thursday afternoon, someone spotted this near the Monroe exit ramp, according to True West Loop. [DNA Info]
New Chicago Hotline Aimed At Those Reluctant To Call Police: An anti-crime group in Chicago is starting a new crime hotline aimed at those wary of contacting police directly with anonymous tips.
The Chicago Crime Commission says it will focus its marketing of the hotline on residents in neighborhoods hard hit by gang violence and other crime.
The Anonymous Crime Reporting Hotline was scheduled to be officially unveiled Tuesday by the advocacy group and representatives from several federal agencies. Crime Commission President J.R. Davis says “the intention … is to enable Chicagoans who are reluctant to call the police with another option.”
The hotline number is 888-393-6646. Callers leave a voicemail and the Chicago Crime Commission will forward the information to the appropriate law enforcement agency. If a crime is in progress, callers are told hang up and call 911. [AP]
Carlos Lopez-Cantera to Head Federal Judicial Nominating Panel: Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera will be the next statewide chair of the panel that vets candidates for federal judges, according to a Thursday statement from U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio‘s office.
The purpose of the Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission is “to identify highly qualified individuals as finalists to become U.S. district judges in each of the three judicial districts in Florida,” the release said.
“Carlos is well-suited for this position and I am confident he is dedicated to this important process and will successfully lead the commission in identifying exceptional candidates to serve on the federal bench in Florida,” Rubio said. “I look forward to reviewing the commission’s selections and working with Senator (Bill) Nelson and the president to ensure that these critical positions are filled.”
Added Lopez-Cantera: “I am committed to ensuring that the commission identifies for our senators’ consideration the most qualified applicants to serve as U.S. district judges. [FL Politics]