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Sumter won't challenge Pascrell in Democratic primary – New Jersey Globe

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Sumter won't challenge Pascrell in Democratic primary – New Jersey Globe


Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter has decided not to challenge Rep. Bill Pascrell in the 8th district Democratic primary, clearing the field for the 87-year-old congressman to seek a 15th term.

Sumter attended the Passaic County Democratic screening committee this morning but told party leaders on Friday that she plans to drop any plans to take on Pascrell after that vote.

“I interviewed with Passaic County and made them aware that I am ready to serve at the federal level,” Sumter told the New Jersey Globe.  “I shook the congressman’s hand as he exited his interview.”

Pascrell, who has spent six decades in Passaic County politics, secured endorsements from Gov. Phil Murphy and his home county chairman, John Currie,  this week.

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Sumter, a seven-term lawmaker from Paterson who is 37 years younger than the incumbent, has found that Democrats are still ready to stick with Pascrell despite his age.  Following the retirement of Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-California), Pascrell will become the oldest member of the U.S. House of Representatives next year if he wins re-election.

Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh also mulled a primary fight with Pascrell, putting a poll in the field last month.  He decided against running.

But when Pascrell does retire, Sumter and Sayegh have planted flags indicating their readiness to run for Congress.  A third Paterson Democrat, Assemblyman Benji Wimberley, is also considered a possible candidate.

Bergen Democrats appear solidly with Pascrell — Democratic County Chairman Paul Juliano endorsed him this morning —  but an open seat could tempt them to run their own candidate.   Passaic County turnout has been light since 2012, when Pascrell defeated Rep. Steve Rothman (D-Fair Lawn) in an incumbent vs. incumbent primary caused by redistricting.  In 2022, primary turnout between the two counties was dead even.

Possible Bergen candidates include County Commissioner Tracey Silna Zur, Englewood Mayor Michael Wildes, and Assemblyman Clinton Calabrese.

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“Congressman Pascrell embodies the very best of leadership: integrity, authenticity, loyalty, and a tireless commitment to fighting for his constituents,” Juliano said.  “Bill Pascrell has been an unwavering advocate for Bergen County families, and we need his voice in Congress more than ever. I am proud to endorse Bill Pascrell for Congress and will fight as hard for his re-election as he fights for us.”



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New Jersey

Federal lawsuit alleges harrowing conditions, abuse in New Jersey psychiatric hospitals

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Federal lawsuit alleges harrowing conditions, abuse in New Jersey psychiatric hospitals


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WOODLAND PARK, N.J. — An advocacy group for people with disabilities filed a lawsuit against New Jersey officials on Tuesday, alleging harrowing conditions and systematic violations of patient rights in four state-run psychiatric hospitals.

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The lawsuit, filed in federal court by Disability Rights New Jersey, alleges that the “reality on the ground” at four hospitals — Ancora Psychiatric Hospital; Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital; Trenton Psychiatric Hospital; and Ann Klein Forensic Center — is “more akin to psychiatric incarceration” than to a setting where patients can get proper care.

“Individuals have been sexually, physically, and emotionally assaulted, sometimes resulting in permanent injuries or death,” the group said in a statement released along with the lawsuit.

The 99-page complaint names state Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman and acting Health Commissioner Kaitlan Baston, whose departments oversee the hospitals, as defendants, along with the state itself.

It asks the court to order reforms including better security provisions and discharge planning at the hospitals, where a combined 1,150 people are confined, and services to help patients transition back into the outside community. Disability Rights New Jersey also calls for the establishment of a stakeholder advisory group for the system and monetary penalties should the state not comply.

Reached Wednesday, spokespeople for the departments of Human Services and Health said the state wouldn’t comment on pending litigation.

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‘Violent and abusive conditions’

The suit isn’t the first sign of problems at the hospitals. New Jersey’s Office of the Public Defender filed a class-action suit in 2018 over conditions at Greystone Park. In an eventual settlement, the state agreed to address staffing issues at the facility, upgrade security protocols, and take steps to ensure the availability of medical care, equipment, and drugs.

The suit says seven “unexpected deaths” occurred in the hospitals between March 2019 and June 2022, ascribing them to inadequate supervision, delayed medical responses, and failures to follow safety procedures.

“Individuals confined to state psychiatric hospitals are continuously exposed to violent and abusive conditions in direct contravention of federal and state law,” Disability Rights New Jersey says in its lawsuit.

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The suit also said that patients are denied access to necessities, even water for drinking, which is allegedly kept behind locked doors. Patients sleep in “cramped spaces with two to four patients sharing bedrooms with minimal natural light,” the complaint states, highlighting a lack of personal space and privacy.

The suit criticized the hospitals for a lack of individualized counseling, even when dealing with personal anguish. “Patients do not receive individualized treatment for trauma, much of which is sexual in nature,” the complaint added. “Rather, treatment is provided in the form of these group programs.”

Staffing shortages

According to the suit, hospitals are understaffed, leading to frequent cancellations of therapy sessions altogether.

Staff shortages have also allegedly resulted in a lack of supervision that has produced violent and disrespectful conditions. The suit cites patients who have to take group showers and complain of living in unsafe and unsanitary conditions.

“Imagine living in an environment where even the most basic choices are taken away from you — when to wake up, when to go outside, when to have a drink of water,” said Bren Pramanik, managing attorney of the group’s Institutional Rights team. “And, in place of psychiatric treatment, you face both boredom and violence on a daily basis.”

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Is housing health care? State Medicaid programs increasingly say ‘yes’

Gene Myers covers disability and mental health for NorthJersey.com and the USA TODAY Network. Follow Gene Myers on X @myersgene.





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Montgomery County, Pa. sheriff's deputy arrested in New Jersey on child porn charges

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Montgomery County, Pa. sheriff's deputy arrested in New Jersey on child porn charges


This story originally appeared on 6abc.

A sheriff’s deputy from Montgomery County, Pa. was arrested in New Jersey on child pornography charges.

James Christopher Buckley, 57, of Gilbertsville, is facing two counts of endangering the welfare of a child by possession and distribution of child pornography.

The Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office said the investigation stemmed from a National Center for Missing and Exploited Children tip that revealed an unidentified person, subsequently identified as Buckley, allegedly possessed and distributed various images of child sexual abuse material via his iCloud account.

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This occurred at Buckley’s vacation residence located in Wildwood, N.J., the prosecutor’s office said.



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Work From Home Trend Gets Literal – Former Offices Are Being Turned Residential at Record Rates | Jersey Digs

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Work From Home Trend Gets Literal – Former Offices Are Being Turned Residential at Record Rates | Jersey Digs


25 Water Street in New York is the largest office-to-residential conversion project in the NYC metro area. Image via Costar.

A nationwide housing shortage has caused a reevaluation of real estate needs in the U.S. and New Jersey plus the surrounding region has emerged as one of the top spots where office buildings are being repurposed.

A recent analysis from RentCafe is tracking the country’s real estate shuffle in terms of converting existing buildings into residential complexes. The study found that 55,300 apartments are currently being converted nationwide and are expected to enter the market in the coming years.

Office To Residential Conversion Pipeline
Office-to-residential pipeline. Image courtesy of RentCafe.

That jump represents a 400% increase from just three years ago, when 12,100 residential units in former office spaces were in the pipeline. RentCafe determined that the office to residential trend is most prominent in Washington, D.C. (5,820 units), followed by New York (5,215 units) and Dallas (3,163 units).

The surge in the New York metro area represents an 18% increase in residential conversions from the previous year, a welcome development amid the region’s housing shortage. New Jersey is contributing greatly to the trend, as the combined markets of Northern and Central New Jersey have 1,450 office-to-residential units in the pipeline.

Office To Residential Conversion Stats
Nationwide office-to-residential conversion rankings. Image courtesy of RentCafe.

The only spot with more residential conversions in the pipeline was Manhattan, which is transforming offices into 2,609 apartments. The biggest single project in the region, at 25 Water Street, will add 1,263 apartments inside an office building previously headquarters for The Daily News and J.P. Morgan.

Other spots within the New York metro that are adding large numbers of residences through office conversions include White Plains with 708 units in the pipeline and Brooklyn, which is adding 540 new residences inside former office spaces.

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