Last night saw the public hearing in Newark on the UMDNJ-NB/Rutgers merger, and UMDNJ-Newark partisans were out in full force to do their best squeaky wheel impression. Isn't it enough if St. Barnabas takes over University Hospital? The arguments against a merger are limited to "University Hospital depends on UMDNJ-NB for subsidies," so why can't Barnabas just take it over and solve everyone's problems? The merger is a bipartisan issue, and Sen. Weinberg needs to be reminded of that vocally by loyal Rutgers alumni. Probably the worst news to come out of the meeting is that Essex County political boss Joe DiVincenzo is publicly clamoring for more concessions. On that front, why can't they just offer Joe D the same deal that George Norcross wants and put together UMDNJ-Newark, NJIT, and Rutgers-Newark? The problem is that Essex County is still playing politics as a zero-sum game, while Rutgers is concerned with benefiting the state on the whole (instead of carving out local patronage mills) and building the best possible university.