Speculation had been growing that he might respond to pleas from Democratic activists to step aside for party unity, giving Biden — his only rival — a chance to focus on campaigning against Trump.But Sanders, 78, broke his silence to say he was preparing for his first one-on-one televised debate Sunday “with my friend Joe Biden.”While he remained defiant, Sanders did make a number of unusual statements, accepting both his losses during the primary race and perceptions that he would fare less well against Trump.”I cannot tell you how many people our campaign has spoken to who say they agree with us but will vote for Joe because they believe he’s the best to beat Donald Trump,” he said. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday shrugged off a string of primary defeats and pressure to drop out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, saying he remains in the fight against centrist frontrunner Joe Biden.In his first remarks since losing to Biden in Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi and Idaho on Tuesday, the leftist senator from Vermont said his main priority was defeating “dangerous” President Donald Trump.He acknowledged, however, in a brief, passionate speech that many Democrats see him as less electable than the 77-year-old former vice president — perhaps preparing the ground for his eventual exit. “Needless to say, I strongly disagree with that assertion, but that’s what millions of Democrats and independents say.”Sanders then listed questions he wanted Biden to answer on how to deal with far-reaching inequality and other structural issues that he believes can only be addressed by radical economic change or “revolution.””Joe, what are you going to do?” he asked in what sounded less like an attack on Biden than an appeal for him to reach out to the party’s left wing. Biden unstoppable? Biden’s trajectory to a November showdown with Trump began looking unstoppable after his primary wins on Tuesday, including in the industrial powerhouse of Michigan — a state that Sanders won over Hillary Clinton in 2016 and will be crucial in the general election.Sanders’ only win came in North Dakota while votes were still being counted in Washington state, where Sanders and Biden were in a dead heat.Biden now has about 860 delegates to Sanders’ 710, and looks set to reach the 1,991 needed to be declared the party standard bearer at the Democratic convention in Milwaukee in July.The next primaries are on March 11 in Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio and campaigning in the delegate-rich states is being disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak.Biden and Sanders cancelled rallies which had been scheduled in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday night and the former vice president announced further cancellations on Wednesday.The Biden campaign said because of health risks it was cancelling an event that was to have been held in Chicago on Friday and one that was scheduled for Miami on Monday.It said they would now be “virtual events” but did not release details of the format.The Sunday debate will also be without a live audience as a result of the health scare.Addressing supporters in Philadelphia on Tuesday, Biden reached out to Sanders, thanking him and his supporters for their “tireless energy and their passion.”Biden struck a unifying tone as he affirmed that he and Sanders “share a common goal and together we will defeat Donald Trump.”Uniting the ticket With Biden’s path to the nomination increasingly locked in, the main question now is whether Sanders will swallow his pride and get his supporters behind the candidate — or risk party civil war.”It will be vital for Sanders to mobilize his supporters behind the ticket,” tweeted Princeton University history professor Julian Zelizer.”But Biden has to reach out to Sanders’s energized movement. It will require a two-way effort to unite the ticket.”Many Democrats accuse Sanders and his devoted supporters of fatally damaging Clinton four years ago during their bitter nomination battle. They warn a similar scenario could play out this time.Reflecting the shift in power, Democratic political action committee Priorities USA, which had been neutral in the race, came out in support of Biden.”The delegate math is now a straight line to Joe Biden’s nomination,” chairman Guy Cecil told US public radio network NPR. “So we’re going to do everything we can to help him in the effort looking forward to November.”Topics :
By Jay Cook |MIDDLETOWN – An effort to make the township more storm resilient while protecting many essential services is advancing.On Nov. 13 the governing body agreed to spend a $150,000 grant from the state Board of Public Utilities on a 12-month microgrid feasibility study. The goal is to explore the creation of a backup power source on a portion of Naval Weapons Station Earle’s waterfront base in Leonardo which would connect to more than a dozen municipal, county and federal services.“It’s a pretty big deal for us, when you think about what happened to Middletown after Sandy,” said Middletown Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger.A microgrid is defined by the BPU as “a group of interconnected loads and distributed energy resources (DER) within clearly defined electrical boundaries that acts as a single controllable entity with respect to the grid.” Microgrids have the ability to connect and disconnect from the electrical grid to enable it to operate in both grid-connected or island mode.The wish list of services being sought for connection to the microgrid are NWS Earle’s Waterfront Administration Area, Township of Middletown Sewage Authority, NY Waterways Ferry Terminal, Middletown Public Works and CNG Fueling Facilities, Middletown’s municipal complex, Leonardo Elementary School, Bayview Elementary School, Bayshore Middle School, Monmouth County Highway Department, Middletown Fire Stations 3, 4 and 7 and the Monmouth County Bayshore Outfall Authority, according to the BPU.Middletown was one of 13 entities in New Jersey awarded grant money in January by the BPU for the studies, which totaled over $2 million. Neptune Township was the only other Monmouth County town given a grant.Middletown officials are supporting the study, hoping it can provide significant backup to flood-prone areas along the Bayshore.Scharfenberger compared the township to a checkerboard with the microgrid protecting one or a few of the squares in a specific area.“I think we submitted a good proposal,” added township administrator Anthony Mercantante. “Because we were partnering with a federal agency, particularly the military, that made it attractive. We were also a town that was significantly impacted by the last two hurricanes, so clearly there’s a need for power resiliency along the coast.”Mercantante noted two specific areas in Middletown which could benefit the most: the Route 36 corridor and Port Monmouth. He said Route 36 is a key evacuation route out from the Bayshore which should have a backup.Also, Phase II of the $110 million Port Monmouth Flood Wall is under construction. “Reliable power to that during a storm is important,” Mercantante said, considering it would protect low-lying areas in the event of another major hurricane.Cooperation with NWS Earle was necessary for the study to go forward as preliminary plans have the microgrid positioned inside the base’s Leonardo post.Continuing to invest in storm resiliency is important for the United States Navy, said Dennis Blazak, NWS Earle’s community plans and liaison officer. He said NWS Earle suffered more than $50 million in damages and was out of power for a week after Super Storm Sandy.“It would mean that if we had another Hurricane Sandy, we’d still be able to operate and do our mission and work with our partners in the community,” Blazak said.William Addison, NWS Earle’s spokesman, said keeping military operations open is of utmost importance. He said NWS Earle is unique along the East Coast because of its ability to quickly supply ordnance to the Atlantic Fleet’s Carrier and Expeditionary Strike Groups.“Nobody can do it on the scale that we do it, and nobody can do it with the speed that we can,” Addison said. “That’s really where it comes into play for us.”Blazak also said microgrid consideration is laid out in the Joint Land Use Study, a federally funded project by the Department of Defense looking at how NWS Earle and its neighboring Monmouth County communities coexist.Mercantante said a microgrid would have no connection to the Monmouth County Reliability Project, a proposed 230-kV transmission line travelling from Aberdeen through Hazlet, Holmdel and Middletown before terminating in Red Bank. The Jersey Central Power & Light proposal currently sits before an Office of Administrative Law judge for a preliminary decision.Middletown awarded the $150,000 grant money to Leidos Engineering, a Massachusetts-based firm, and Scharfenberger anticipates a contract will be signed this week. Mercantante added a public hearing would ensue once the 12-month study is concluded. He also said it’s too early to tell what the cost of a microgrid would be if it’s found feasible, but said grant money and help from different agencies would be important.Addison echoed those statements, saying the study is a “joint effort.”“It can’t just be the Navy or the townships,” he said. “We certainly have to work together. We share that shoreline and we share that need.”This article was first published in the Nov. 16-23, 2017 print edition of the Two River Times.