National Roundup 05-18: Al Gore Endorses Murphy for NJ Governor; Rubio, DeSantis Focus on Jerusalem as Trump Gets Ready to Visit Israel

National Roundup

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:


Al Gore Endorses Murphy for NJ Governor: Al Gore, the former vice president and environmental advocate who won the Nobel prize in 2007, endorsed Phil Murphy for New Jersey governor on Wednesday.

Phil MurphyAl Gore Endorses Murphy for NJ Governor: Al Gore, the former vice president and environmental advocate who won the Nobel prize in 2007, endorsed Phil Murphy for New Jersey governor on Wednesday. “Phil Murphy is dedicated to making New Jersey a leader in solving the climate crisis,” Gore said in an email blast sent to Murphy supporters. “I’ve known and worked with Phil for over two decades now and am confident in his ability to lead New Jersey toward a sustainable future.”

Murphy rolled out the endorsement from one of the greenest pols in the country after a week of taking some heat for his investments in companies involved in hydrofracking and building gas pipelines. Murphy opposes both as a matter of policy and said at a Democratic primary debate last week that there was probably “no good answer” to questions about the investments.

In the email to supporters, Gore noted that Tammy Murphy, the candidate’s wife, serves on the board of the Climate Reality Project, a nonprofit Gore started in 2007 to raise awareness of climate change. “I could not think of a better steward for New Jersey’s environment than my good friend, Phil Murphy,” Gore said. [Observer]

Hoosick Falls water was found to have a high level of toxic PFOA levels. [Steve Johnson]
Hoosick Falls water was found to have a high level of toxic PFOA levels. [Steve Johnson]
Flamholz Family Launches Israeli Water Project in Teaneck: Most people go through their day-to-day activities on autopilot, taking for granted the natural resources required to make everything happen. Jack Flamholz, who passed away in October, was always looking to make the most of what the environment has. After his passing, his wife, Beverly Luchfeld, started sorting through his books and interests and found that he had researched a variety of different projects and laid out how to fulfill them. Due to his prolonged illness over the last five years of his life, he was unable to carry them out, but the passion, the belief and the execution were all written out for others to proceed onward.

“My father was, among many things, passionate about education, Jewish tradition and water sustainability,” reflected his daughter Eta Flamholz.

Flamholz had learned of an Israeli—Amir Yechieli—who devised a water sustainability system by collecting runoff rain and using it for other purposes. Yechieli’s system, Yevul Mayim (water harvest) can use the rain for anything from toilet water to landscape watering. Flamholz’s blueprint for this project—which was outlined in his papers—was to partner with schools and homes to bring water sustainability and conservation to the forefront as a mainstream option. The family partnered with the Teaneck Creek Conservancy, which connected them to Hawthorne Elementary School. “My first thought was to start at the high school level, because students would need to be older in order to understand the concepts,” explained Luchfeld. “But I was told to start with the youngest audience first, so that conservation becomes a way of life from a very young age.” [Jewish Link]


rahm-emanuelRahm To Unveil Plan Friday On How CPS Will Fill Massive Budget Gap: Mayor Rahm Emanuel will brief aldermen Friday on how his administration plans to fill the $129 million budget gap facing Chicago schools.

Schools will not see additional cuts this school year, according to a City Hall source. Nor will the mayor propose any new taxes to fill the massive budget gap because there simply would not be enough time to implement a new tax, the source said.

“After a lot of hard work by the CPS and city financial teams, and many discussions with their lending partners, tomorrow we will brief aldermen on the district’s finances and the financial plan for the remainder of the CPS fiscal year,” said mayoral spokesman Adam Collins. [DNA Info]

J.B. PritzkerPritzker Defends Property Tax Reduction Application: Democratic candidate for Governor JB Pritzker defended Tuesday his decision to ask for a property tax reduction on the Gold Coast home that he purchased next to his mansion.

Pritzker tells NBC 5 by phone “everyone that appeals is attempting to get an accurate assessment on their property.” He says “we had plans to renovate the house” but then “it came to a standstill.” Pritzker argues the home next door to his is uninhabitable. Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios approved reducing Pritzker’s property taxes by 83 percent. He received three refunds checks worth more than $123,000.

Pritzker also notes “everyone in Cook County knows there’s something wrong with the system when there’s tens of thousands have to apply for reassessment.”

Pritzker’s real estate attorneys Schmidt, Salzman and Moran contributed more than $25,000 in campaign donations to Assessor Berrios. Pritzker initially said “I’m unaware of that.” But when it was pointed out that was reported Monday by WCIA TV, Pritzker added “someone brought it up for the very first time yesterday.” Pritzker noted several times that “Chris Kennedy and Bruce Rauner used the same process to appeal their taxes” and he adds “I support efforts to make sure that every property owner knows they can appeal.” [NBC5]


/File / Thomas Coen]
/File / Thomas Coen]

Rubio, DeSantis Focus on Jerusalem as Trump Gets Ready to Visit Israel: On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., teamed up with former presidential primary rivals U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, to officially unveil a resolution urging the U.S. government to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The three former presidential candidates were joined by U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., in introducing the resolution.

“Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish state of Israel, and that’s where America’s embassy belongs,” Rubio said when he brought out that measure in January. “It’s time for Congress and the president-elect to eliminate the loophole that has allowed presidents in both parties to ignore U.S. law and delay our embassy’s rightful relocation to Jerusalem for over two decades.”

Rubio is not the only member of the Florida delegation urging the U.S. to move the embassy to Jerusalem. At the start of the year, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., gathered more than 100 fellow members of Congress to send a letter to Trump urging him to move the embassy to Jerusalem. DeSantis’ effort won the support of some of the members of the Florida delegation including U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., who chairs the U.S. House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee. Other members of the Florida delegation who signed the letter were Republican U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Carlos Curbelo, Brian Mast and Ted Yoho. Since sending that letter, DeSantis has continued to lead the charge on Capitol Hill to move the embassy. [Sunshine State News]

05/18/2017 6:40 PM by JPUpdates Staff

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