Lakewood Briefs

Gov. Murphy Boosts Security Funding for Private Schools and Houses of Worship

Governor Phil Murphy’s budget proposal for the coming fiscal year contains large security funding boosts for private schools and houses of worship.

Since 2015, a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic) has made a budget allocation for security funding for private schools. The first year it was set at $25 per student and has been steadily raised since then, now standing at $75. Last year, against the backdrop of shootings in Pittsburg which drew national attention to violent threats of anti-Semitism, it was raised to $150. After a year that show attacks in Poway, Jersey City, and Monsey, Governor Murphy pledged strong action to protect local Jewish communities. His present proposal calls for levels to be raised to $200.

The proposal also raises funding for state Nonprofit Security Grants (NJ-NPSG) from $2 million to $5 million. The New Jersey program closely mirrors the federal NPSG which can be used for target hardening or to supplement the salary of live security guards.

The announcement was part of a $40.9 billion budget plan rolled out last week, days after the Governor revealed that he will be undergoing treatment for a tumor likely to be cancerous.

The Agudath Israel of America welcomed the proposal in a statement.

“Unfortunately, events over the past year have shaken the religious community’s sense of security as we witnessed terror attacks on synagogues and Jewish locations across America. The Nonprofit Security Grant Program is a necessary and very much welcome resource for houses of worship, schools, community centers and other nonprofits who often lack the funds to properly secure their premises. We applaud Governor Murphy for proposing to increase the NPSG. Throughout his time in office, Governor Murphy has demonstrated refreshing leadership in ensuring that religious communities feel safe here in New Jersey, and this latest proposal is yet another example of his support.”

The proposal will be debated by the state legislature and ultimately voted on at some point before July 1.

Barnegat Mayor Seeking GOP Nomination to Challenge Rep. Andy Kim

Barnegat Mayor, John Novak, is one of three candidates for the GOP primary to challenge Rep. Andy Kim for the New Jersey’s third Congressional district.

In a recent interview with Shorebeat, Mayor Novak painted himself as the most Trump-aligned option in the upcoming race.

“I support the Trump agenda, I support building the wall and securing our borders, turbocharging our economy – which Trump has already started, but I want to keep it going – and I want to take the boot of government off the throat of small business owners,” he said in the article.

Mayor Novak’s lead challenger for the candidacy is Kate Gibbs, a first term Burlington County Freeholder who has been endorsed by several local and statewide party leaders. Many assumed her hold on the nomination was inevitable, especially in a year when GOP strategists have prioritized running more female candidates. Yet, revelations of Mrs. Gibbs’ criminal record which includes illegal substances possession and shoplifting, challengers might have a better chance than originally thought. Also seeking the nomination is David Richter, a former healthcare CEO.

Mayor Novak emphasized his policy credentials pointing to conservative positions on social and fiscal issues and strong support for gun ownership rights.

“We have young men and women coming back home, missing arms and legs, and they take a back seat for the services they need to what I call the chronic couch-sitters,” he said in the interview. “We have illegal immigrants and couch-sitters who go to the front of the line for government programs, educational programs, vocational programs and medical attention, and they get to the head of the line before veterans who served in combat. That is a national disgrace.”

Mayor Novak also pointed to the geographic advantage he would hold in the general election. The third district spans heavily Republican Ocean County and Burlington County which includes Democratic leaning Philadelphia suburbs. As the more well-known name in Ocean County, he said that he is the best positioned to rally the GOP voter base.

The New Jersey primary elections will be held in June.

LPD on Community Outreach Campaign

The Lakewood Police Department is reaching out during efforts to expand their connections to the local community.

A recent Asbury Park Press article detailed one of the department’s latest efforts, a “shop with a cop” event, at which a table of officers distributed candy, stickers, and the like in Gourmet Glatt supermarket on a busy Friday afternoon.

Chief Gregory Meyer said that the goal of this and similar initiatives is to look for ways to make the community more comfortable approaching police. While Lakewood’s Orthodox community has long had a largely positive relationship with the LPD, amid rising threats of local anti-Semitism, local activists have stressed the heightened importance of reporting what may appear as minor incidents.