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Democrate Representative Charles Rangel calls for the draft

WASHINGTON - Americans would have to sign up for a military draft after turning 18 under a bill the incoming chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Representative Charles Rangel, says he will introduce next year.

Rangel, Democrate-N.Y., said yesterday he sees his idea as a way to deter politicians from launching wars.

"There's no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm's way," Rangel said.

N.J. debt grew by $4.1 billion over last year. Loan payments will affect state budget for years to come

  • $37.5 BILLION: New Jersey's debt, according to a state report.
  • $4,300: The amount of state debt per resident.
  • $11 BILLION: The amount of borrowing lawmakers have approved.

New Jersey's debt grew by $4.1 billion over the past year, locking in loan payments that will consume chunks of the state budget for years to come.

The state's total debt climbed to nearly $30 billion, according to a state report submitted Friday to the Commission on Capital Budgeting and Planning. That figure doesn't include billions of dollars more in debts for bonds tied to a settlement with tobacco companies and unfunded pension and health care costs.

Public advocate hears eminent domain defended

ATLANTIC CITY — Usually when Public Advocate Ronald K. Chen speaks out about the evils of eminent domain, he does so surrounded by a crowd of people who say they have been done wrong by the process.

But Wednesday at the Atlantic City Convention Center, he confronted a completely different animal: as a guest of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, he was speaking — by and large — to government officials who rely on the controversial power to pursue public improvement projects.

State attorney general says rooting out corruption takes time

State Attorney General Stuart Rabner, who has promised to slay the public-corruption dragon, on Wednesday revealed his view of how to snare such targets: "You catch a lot of frogs before you've got a prince."

Rabner, seven weeks and a day into his job, told reporters that indicting public officials takes time, with good and not-so-good leads, followed by investigations and eventual cases.

Stolen years, endless waits are eminent domain's toll

In her cozy white clapboard bungalow three blocks from the ocean in Asbury Park, Angie Hampilos waits. And waits.

For 20 years now, Hampilos, 92, has lived under the specter of losing her home of 47 years to make way for the city's long-awaited oceanfront redevelopment.

She can't sell it; she can't make any big improvements. She just watches it fall apart around her.

State Police told to focus on graft

Attorney General Stuart Rabner has asked the State Police to join the fight against public cor ruption by having troopers in their organized crime bureau focus on developing cases, tripling the number of investigators sniffing out crooked pols.

"The key to it all is building a more stable base of leads," Rabner said during a sit-down with reporters yesterday in his Hughes Justice Complex office in Trenton. "The first stop for me ... is the State Police."

$52M bond for St. Mary Hospital approved by unanimous council vote

The Hoboken City Council voted unanimously Monday night to introduce a $52 million bond ordinance to pay for improvements at St. Mary Hospital.

Mayor David Roberts said the bond, which is guaranteed by the city but will be repaid by St. Mary Hospital, is necessary to ensure Hoboken has a top-notch hospital.

Menendez investigation expands. FBI serves subpoenas for data about rent paid to lawmaker

Menendez investigation expands
FBI serves subpoenas for data about rent paid to lawmaker

November 12, 2006 The Record

TRENTON: Authorities have stepped up an investigation of U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez's relationship with a federally funded nonprofit organization just days after his hard-fought election victory, according to a senior government official.

The official said FBI agents served subpoenas Thursday and Friday seeking information related to the North Hudson Community Action Corp., which paid more than $300,000 over nine years to rent a Union City building from then-Rep. Menendez.

The subpoenas are being served on close associates of Menendez, as well as people affiliated with North Hudson and other groups linked to the senator, the official said.

On Tuesday, Menendez, a Democrat, defeated Republican state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. to win a full term in the Senate seat to which Gov. Jon S. Corzine appointed him in January. Most of Kean's campaign was a concerted attack on Menendez's ethics, including the lease investigation, which had gone quiet since early September in apparent deference to the political process.

HPU: Judge: Unitronics out of 916 Garden St. Now city is left to run garage without outside help

Federal Court Judge Stanley Chesler ruled last week that the city of Hoboken broke a confidentiality agreement with Robotic Parking, the Florida-based firm that designed the software for the automated 314-car garage at 916 Garden St., when it brought in an outside firm to use Robotic's software.

Now the city of Hoboken will be forced to run the automatic garage by itself until it can be retrofitted with new operating system.

The problems began earlier this year, when the city of Hoboken continued its longstanding battle with the garage's original designer, Robotic Parking, and terminated Robotic's contract to run the garage.

However, as currently configured, the garage cannot operate without Robotic's software.

Survey: Public concerned about government power to take land

Survey: Public concerned about government power to take land

11/13/06  AP

NEWARK -- Most New Jersey voters dislike the ability of government to take land from its owners for redevelopment, according to a poll released Monday.

The survey also found interest in the topic remains high nearly a year after a U.S. Supreme Court decision that allowed a Connecticut city to use eminent domain to seize homes for commercial use.

Several bills to restrict the use of eminent domain are pending in the state Legislature.

The Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll asked respondents to consider four scenarios under which local and state governments might seize property; none was supported by a majority.