North Jersey News Roundup for Aug. 20, 2020

Gov. Phil Murphy accused President Donald Trump’s campaign of “full-throated propaganda” for filing a lawsuit against the state’s plan to hold a mostly vote-by-mail election in November.  “As the president and his team try to delegitimize our election and impact the health and safety of millions of New Jerseyans, we will defend our rights vigorously, and we will not back down,” Murphy said. “If vote-by-mail is good enough for our president, it is good enough for all of us.”

The third night of the Democratic National Convention was highlighted by the acceptance speech of vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris. The California senator’s speech was heavy on her own personal biography, while addressing race and equality in a personal way. “There is no vaccine for racism. We have got to do the work,” Harris said. “We’ve got to do the work to fulfill the promise of equal justice under law. None of us are free until all of us are free.” The Wall Street Journal

Former President Barack Obama warned democracy’s very existence is in jeopardy in a speech in support of his party’s presidential nominee, Joe Biden. Calling the consequences of President Donald’s failures severe, the 44th President implored Americans to get behind his former vice president, stating “What we do these next 76 days will echo through generations to come.” The New York Times

Gov. Phil Murphy said he wouldn’t take a position in the Biden administration if the former vice president defeats President Donald Trump in November’s election. “My job is New Jersey and I can’t imagine, even in peacetime, I can’t imagine another job. But certainly not under the circumstances in which we find ourselves,” Murphy said, adding that his decision to remain in New Jersey and likely pursue a second term in 2021, was “unequivocal, unequivocal.” PoliticoNJ

Rep. Josh Gottheimer made the case for the House Democrats’ plan to fund the United States Postal Service, highlighting nationwide Postal Service interference and delay issues impacting the delivery of absentee ballots, medication to seniors and veterans, Social Security benefits, paychecks and tax returns. “By tampering with the mail in order to slow down the delivery of absentee and mail-in ballots, the Postmaster General’s actions to sabotage the USPS are impacting the health, safety, and economic security of North Jersey veterans, seniors, families and our small businesses,” said Gottheimer. 

The head of the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association said she has been unable to get a face-to-face meeting with Gov. Phil Murphy to coordinate plans to safely reopen limited indoor dining. Marilou Halvorsen claims for two months they’ve been denied a meeting, saying they were first told the governor was busy, then was reportedly told by an unidentified aide to the governor that indoor dining was a “luxury.” The Daily Record

The former assistant health commissioner leading the state’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic is demanding a public apology from Gov. Phil Murphy after he and others in his administration validated “false accusations” about the man’s firing in May. According to a lawyer for Christopher Neuwirth, he claims Murphy and chief counsel Matt Platkin among others made multiple defamatory and misleading statements about Neuwirth centering on outside consulting work he did with Margolis Healy and Associates that he reportedly did not disclose, but had been approved by the Department of Health. The Record

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled the investigative powers of Newark’s civilian-complaint review board were too broad. The state’s top court stripped the city’s review board of its authority to issue subpoenas while investigating police misconduct due to no state law existing granting the authority. Additionally, the court found state law bars the board from conducting an investigation when the Newark Police Department is leading a concurrent probe into the same matter.

A Superior Court Judge ordered a new election to be held in Paterson Nov. 3. The election will have voters decide which of five candidates will fill the single post for the city’s 3rd Ward. The need for a new election is a result of voting fraud charges brought by Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal against 1st Ward Councilman Michael Jackson, 3rd Ward Council-Elect Alex Mendez and two other men. News12 New Jersey

New Jersey utility executives defended their response to Tropical Storm Isaias that left 1.4 million of their customers without power earlier this month in front of two Assembly committees. Appearing before the Telecommunications and Utilities Committee as well as the Homeland Security and Preparedness Committee, the executives from the state’s four electric utilities argued the investments made since Superstorm Sandy helped reduce the number of outages while speeding up the restoration of power to customers more quickly than in past extreme storm events. NJ Spotlight

The Hoboken City Council rejected a proposed ordinance to impose fines on people who don’t wear masks outdoors, where social distancing isn’t possible. The vote failed 6-3 even after a city survey 51% of them agreed or strongly agreed with a fine of $250 for not wearing a face mask when social distancing is not possible. News12 New Jersey

And finallyThe Sandyston Tractor Parade will take place Aug. 22 followed by a fundraiser at the firehouse on Route 645. New Jersey Herald

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