The following is the WeekenderNJ (WNJ) weekly news roundup, highlighting some vital stories from around the state, nation and world.
Good Sunday Morning!
NJ nonprofit – Housing Help NJ – launches a website featuring local, state, and federal resources for renters, homeowners, and landlords, including a resource library with answers to many frequently asked questions.
NEVER FORGOTTEN – Teaneck Remembers Phillip Pannell 31 Years After His Death
Pannell, a Black 16-year-old, was shot by a Teaneck police officer in 1990. The 3rd annual commemoration event in honor of Philip ‘Clint’ Pannell took place yesterday. You can view more photos from the event in WNJ 'Week in Photos' series.
ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS – Councilwoman Deborah Tsabari resigned from her Borough Council seat Thursday afternoon, attributing her departure to ‘endless’ personal attacks and bullying by the mayor. Her resignation was effective immediately.
Tsabari, a Democrat, had served two years on the governing body, including pleading guilty to a felony.
In a letter sent to residents, Tsabari said it had been her “great honor and privilege to serve” the community.
She said Mayor Kranjac had consistently muted select council members during virtual meetings “in an attempt to censor any opposing opinions” and that she has been on the receiving end of the mute button in both public and closed sessions. She added “I am not a politician, I am a public servant.”
BERGEN COUNTY – Who’s the first person that comes to mind when you think of the highest paid employee in the State of NJ?
Roy Riggitano, the Chief Financial Officer for the Rochelle Park township with a population of 5,597, brings home at least $347,970 a year. No, this is not a misprint, nor our new Fiction section.
Mr. Riggitano is also the CFO for Palisades Park, the tax collector for Elmwood Park, a CFO in Garfield, a Fire Inspector in Fairview, and a Fire Inspector in Cliffside Park. Six municipalities in Bergen County, six separate salaries and pension credits.
Mr. Riggitano public payroll:
Elmwood Park CFO, purchasing agent and tax collector: $160,406
Garfield CFO: $62,816
Palisades Park CFO, purchasing agent: $60,971
Rochelle Park CFO: $41,008
Cliffside Park fire inspector: $12,000
Fairview fire inspector: $10,768
Perhaps people throughout New Jersey should ask the following questions:
1). How and who hired this guy?
2). Is he a full time or part time employee in Palisades Park?
3). Are all these jobs so easy Mr. Riggitano can handle all six of them?
4). How do you feel as a taxpayer reading this?
5). How do you as an unemployed taxpayer feel about this matter?
6). Should Taxpayers have an open dialogue about how their municipalities hire people and conduct business?
On April 7, we contacted Palisades Mayor Chung for comment, who had not responded at the time of this publication.
NEW JERSEY COVID19 UPDATE
As of April 10:
2,993 new positive PCR tests
834,182 total positive PCR tests
839 new positive antigen tests
115,921 total positive antigen tests
33 new confirmed deaths
22,286 total confirmed deaths
2,573 probable deaths
For more information you can click here.
NJ VACCINE UPDATE
5,288,261 total doses have been administered as of yesterday mid-morning .
2,110,278 New Jerseyans are now fully vaccinated.
Learn more here.
According to NY Times New Jersey now ranks:
6th of all states in % of individuals who’ve received at least one shot
6th of all states in % of doses used
8th of all states in % of fully vaccinated individuals
GOVERNOR MURPHY – Signed legislation providing $35 million in federal pandemic relief funds to restaurants, bars, breweries, brewpubs, and wineries.
NEW YORK – Governor Cuomo has signed S5177 into law to fully repeal the blanket immunity New York granted healthcare facilities and nursing homes. This comes after Progressives defeated Gov. Cuomo and his huge healthcare industry donors, shaming him into signing a repeal of his own questionable immunity law.
NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL JAMES
Attorney General James Applauds Decision to Send Amazon Lawsuit Back to State Court
Via Inbox: US State of New York
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James released the following statement in response to a court’s decision to grant her office’s motion to allow her lawsuit against Amazon to be tried in state court, and deny Amazon’s attempts to have it heard in federal court:
“As we have contended all along, Amazon has forced its employees to work in unsafe conditions throughout this pandemic, in violation of New York state labor laws. We are pleased with today’s decision to allow this case to be heard in state court, where it belongs. We look forward to making our case and continuing our work to protect workers.”
The lawsuit against Amazon alleging it failed to protect workers from COVID-19, moved back to New York State court. Amazon argued that the New York State Attorney General did not have jurisdiction over workplace issues. You can read more about this story at WeekenderNJ.
Amazon did not immediately reply to a request for comment from WeekenderNJ on Saturday.
BRONX – Apple begins hiring for its first retail store in the Bronx. Some open roles are for Specialists, Store Leaders, and Managers. Search for Jobs at Apple on the Apple website and filter open retail positions by locations in New York.
POLICE BRUTALITY – An officer in the United States armed forces filed $1M federal civil lawsuit against police officers who pepper-sprayed and assaulted him.
Lt. Caron Nazario, of Latinx and African American descent, alleges that his constitutional rights were violated and race played a role.
On the video you can see and hear Lt. Nazario say: “I’m honestly afraid to get out”
Police Officer: “Yeah, you should be”
Congressman Castro said in a tweet: “We need to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act immediately—for starters.”
People in communities should ask the following questions:
1). Should the community demand cops pay for their own settlements, and penalize cops wages and pensions when they brutalize the people they swore to protect?
2). How can this be reformed?
AMAZON UNION – More than 3,000 Amazon employees in Bessemer, Ala. voted in the election administered by the NLRB, with 1,798 voting against unionizing, the NLRB announced Friday, and just 738 voting in favor of the union.
121 lawmakers from 24 countries, including Jeremy Corbyn and Rashida Tlaib tell Jeff Bezos:
"The struggle for a @BAmazonUnion has planted powerful seeds in the global campaign to #MakeAmazonPay — and your efforts to bury them will only help them grow."
KANSAS CITY – Unhoused people organized and won
After a two-month encampment at City Hall, followed by a week of escalation after City Hall threatened to evict them, the Kansas City Homeless Union has won what could be the seedlings of a citywide social housing program in Kansas City.
US OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL – Ex-Trump official Lynne Patton fined $1000 and barred from federal employment for 48 months for violating the Hatch Act by using her U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) role to create a video for the 2020 RNC.
An Incoherent Dissent – Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas suggests that social media companies may not have a First Amendment right to regulate speech on their platforms, analogizing them to "common carriers" and "places of public accommodation."
TECH GIANTS - Supreme Court sides with Google over Oracle
In a major copyright battle between tech giants, SCOTUS sides with Alphabet Inc’s Google over Oracle, finding that Google did not violate federal copyright law when it used Oracle Corp’s software code to build the Android operating system that runs most of the world’s smartphones.
The court finds that Google's use of the lines of code was "fair use" under the copyright laws.
Are Republicans supporting repealing Citizens United?
1). Do corporations have 1st Amendment rights?
2). Does this mean that Corporations can stop sending McConnell donations?
WASHINGTON DC – Still an incomplete picture about the Jan. 6., 2021 Siege
New details about the Jan. 6 Capitol riot are revealed in a previously undisclosed internal Pentagon document:
'Pence finally made a call to the acting defense secretary at 4 p.m. on Jan. 6, after Trump had done nothing, according to new documents obtained by the AP.'
WASHINGTON DC – How do you think the WH press corps is doing so far?
Four times in recent weeks, members of the White House press corps have relayed questions to press secretary Jen Psaki from someone claiming to be a fellow member of the press corps who was not able to be there in the room due to Covid-19 protocols.
That colleague, who goes by the name Kacey Montagu, doesn’t exist — at least not as an actual Journalist.
Turns out someone frustrated with the media, decided to ‘join’ the WH press corp and the crazy part is that not one person questioned any part of it. Here’s ‘Kacey’s Montagu’s’ twitter account if you’d care to read up more about it. As of last night, KM asked the WH for a job via twitter.
1). Should Journalism be about gathering information and informing people, or all ‘about the right person’ mentality?
2). Is now the right time to discuss the need of hiring people based on merit vs. whatever the hell happened here?
BIDEN – Calls out for Congress to take action against gun violence in America.
ACROSS THE POND – His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh And Queen Elizabeth’s Husband, passed away peacefully this Friday, April 9th at Windsor Castle.
OUT OF SPACE – 3 new crew members arrived at the International Space Station this Friday. NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and two Russian cosmonauts arrived at the International Space Station bringing the number up to 10 residents.
OTHER NEWS – All hell breaks loose!!
Fox News correspondent-at-large Geraldo Rivera asks fellow network contributor and civil rights attorney Leo Terrell during a race and a political debate “When was the last time you were in the ghetto?”
At that point, all hell broke loose on the Fox News set.
“How dare you say that?!” an enraged Terrell shouted back. “You know nothing about me. How dare you say that?!”
Yelling over each other, the two went back and forth over their shared living experiences before Terrell directly appealed to Hemmer over what Rivera said to him.
“You know what Geraldo accused me of? Living in a particular area that I don’t understand,” he grumbled. “I have been a civil-rights attorney for 30 years and fought against this for 30 years. How dare you!”
HAWAI’I – It’ll Get Easier to Travel to Kauaʻi Starting in April
Beginning on April 5 visitors to Kauaʻi can bypass quarantine with proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Starting April 5, the Garden Isle will rejoin the state’s 'Safe Travels' testing program, which would allow travelers to bypass Hawaiʻi’s mandatory 10-day quarantine with a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours before arriving in the Islands.
RASENJ - Justice for all Black lives, the living and the dead, Sunday, April 11 at noon, Ramsey Main Street Train Station, north side.
INGENUITY HELICOPTER'S FIRST FLIGHT ON MARS DELAYED TO NO EARLIER THAN APRIL 14
"Be yourself and think for yourself, and while your conclusions may not be infallible, they will be nearer right than the inclusions forced upon you by those who have a personal interest in keeping you in ignorance."
- Elbert Hubbard
This article has been amended April 11 to reflect a change in an event date.
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