Bar Fight Over the Eagles Key in Latest Push for N.J. Bail Reform

Photo illustration by Joe Trinacria.

The story of the latest fight for bail reform in New Jersey begins in a bar in Sicklerville, where an argument between two Eagles fans and a father-son tandem that cheers for the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers (don’t ask us how) sparked the literal tossing of fists back in April. It was a beat down really, and the Birds fans were unfortunately on the receiving end.

According to NJ.com, Winslow Township police officers arrived at Joe’s Tavern on Williamstown Road on the night of April 6 to find a 36-year-old man unconscious and suffering from a head injury in the parking lot. Inside, the son of the bar’s owner was treating a broken nose. Read more »

Poll: N.J. Voters Don’t Think Cory Booker Should Run for President

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rumors have long swirled that U.S. Sen. Cory Booker is mulling a 2020 presidential run. The senator has neither confirmed nor denied those predictions.

But according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, New Jersey voters don’t think the former Newark mayor should run for president in 2020.

The poll, which was released last month, found that 57 percent of participants approve of Booker’s performance, but the majority of participants – 54 percent – said they didn’t think he should consider a 2020 presidential bid (as opposed to the 33 percent who said he should).  Read more »

Senate Bill Would Make Weed Legal in New Jersey

iStockphoto.com | cheche22

A Democratic senator has introduced a bill that would make recreational marijuana use legal in New Jersey.

Sen. Nicholas Scutari is behind a bill that, if passed, would allow weed to be grown, sold and taxed in the Garden State. The senator – who’s attempted to pass a similar bill before – wants New Jersey to join the eleven states that have legalized recreational use of the drug.

The bill stands virtually no chance of making it past Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who has called supporters of marijuana legalization “crazy liberals” who wants to “poison our kids,” according to PoliticoRead more »

Who Is Tom MacArthur, and What Did He Do to Rile Up South Jersey?

Rep. Tom MacArthur (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

At a town hall meeting held on May 10th in the heavily Democratic township of Willingboro, New Jersey, U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur was the object of scorn. Willingboro is part of the Republican’s territory as the representative of New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District, but MacArthur may be the most unpopular man in the region right now.

It’s all because of an amendment he introduced to legislation designed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which ruffled feathers across party lines after its language was influential in the House’s narrowly passage of the bill on May 4th — without any support from Democrats, who all voted against it. Read more »

Who’s Building Philly: Vince Viney

There's a touch of the Levitt approach in V2 Properties' strategy: standardize to keep costs low. It enables the company to offer more in its homes than others similarly priced. You should be able to spot the V2 homes on the 700 (left) and 600 (right) blocks of Mercy Street in Dickinson Narrows. | Photos: Sandy Smith

There’s a touch of the Levitt approach in V2 Properties’ strategy: standardize to keep costs low. It enables the company to offer more in its homes than others similarly priced. You should be able to spot the V2 homes on the 700 (left) and 600 (right) blocks of Mercy Street in Dickinson Narrows. | Photos: Sandy Smith

To understand why Vince Viney builds, all you really need to know is two basic principles:

Inexpensive new homes don’t have to be cheap.

And buying them shouldn’t be a nightmare.

Put another way, Viney doesn’t want home buyers to have the experience he did when he bought his first home.

“As a homebuyer, I was tired of seeing the inferior quality and lack of craftsmanship that I saw, and the poor service, especially after delivery,” he said. “It was the acceptable standard, but it was an acceptably bad standard.”

Viney, 45, grew up in Kensington’s Harrowgate section, a largely blue-collar neighborhood. When he was coming of age, success meant a house in the suburbs, and he followed that path to a new construction home in Collegeville, which he purchased in 1995. Read more »

Two Philly Chefs Join Forces Over a Wood-Fired Grill

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A few months ago, Greg Vernick’s sous chef Dominic Piperno announced that he and his wife Lindsay would be opening their own restaurant in Collingswood, N.J. At the time, there was no name, no real details at all, just a general concept and an address: a fine-dining BYOB centered around a wood-fired grill.

Today, the chefs revealed their big plans for 801 Haddon Avenue.

Read more »

Get This: The Mob Is Involved in the Waste Business in Jersey

SCI dump

Image via the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The mob is involved in the waste business in New Jersey.

The mob and the garbage industry are a common trope in film and TV depictions, and with good reason: The mafia really has historically been involved in the waste business since the mid-20th century.

In some ways the reason is rather simple, as Michelle Tsai explained in Slate a few years ago: “Find a business that’s easy to enter and lucrative to control.” Garbage-haulers get big public contracts that aren’t going away, and compared to other ways of earning money it’s much easier. Organized crime has been in the garbage biz ever since cities started bidding trash collection out to private companies about 70 years ago.

The business has been corporatized in recent years, especially as governments have passed regulations for handling solid waste, but the mob still has its hands in the garbage business. And a report from the New jersey State Commission of Investigation says that New Jersey’s recycling business remains vulnerable to corruption because it’s relatively unregulated compared to the garbage business. Read more »

Joe Piscopo May Actually Run for N.J. Governor

Joe Piscopo / NJ seal

Donald Trump is just a celebrity. Or, rather, he was just a celebrity before he ran for president and actually won, making him the 45th president of the United States. Now that he’s shown it can be done, what’s to stop other celebs from following in his footsteps?

As Trump has demonstrated, you don’t even need to be a particularly popular celebrity to win the highest office in the land. You also don’t need to have been popular recently to win an election — the 1980s will suffice. And it follows that you don’t need to be a particularly notable celebrity to win a lower office.

Which leads us to your potential next New Jersey governor: Joe Piscopo!

The actor and comedian, best known for his Frank Sinatra impression on Saturday Night Live 30-plus years ago, told the Associated Press he’s “more serious than ever” about running. Read more »

N.J. Pols Can’t Stop Sharing Offensive Jokes on Facebook

Facebook memes

What’s the biggest trend among New Jersey politicians? Offending their constituents with Facebook memes.

Okay, that’s overstating it. But there have been two incidents of New Jersey politicians sharing offensive jokes on Facebook in the past few weeks, so it bears investigation.

First was Atlantic County Freeholder John Carman, a Republican, who shared the following joke ON the day of the women’s march: “Will the Women’s March be over in time for them to cook dinner?” He added, “Just asking” to let you know he was just asking.

Predictably, belittling women into a homemaker first and a person second did not sit well with his constituents. He landed on the cover of the Daily News and had to sit and listen to a bunch of angry people berate him at a meeting.

One woman brought a box of macaroni and cheese to the freeholders’ meeting and told Carman to “cook his own damn dinner.” How did Carman respond to being berated by a bunch of people? Did he say sorry and move on? Of course not.

Carman stood up and said: “This has made me realize how blessed I am, because the women I’m surrounded by, my family, my friends, my colleagues are all strong, confident women, women who are sure of themselves. They didn’t get offended by this.” Read more »

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