Author: Mark Bonamo

Paramus mayor's race: Candidates in closely-divided Bergen borough spar over taxes, towing issues

Paramus mayor's race: Candidates in closely-divided Bergen borough spar over taxes, towing issues

PARAMUS - When voters go to the polls in November to pick between the two Paramus mayoral candidates, the decision could come down to two issues starting with the letter T: taxes and towing.

The Democratic incumbent, Mayor Richard LaBarbiera, and the Republican challenger, Tom LoCicero, at one time served on the six-person borough council together. They both completely agree that Paramus' blue laws, which mandate that all businesses are closed on Sunday, except grocery stores, restaurants, and certain entertainment venues in order to give the 26,000-person-town that straddles Route 17 one day of needed relief from traffic, should not be touched.

But things get touchy between LaBarbiera and LoCicero when it comes to taxes, the bete noire of politics in the statewide election bellwether, Bergen County. 

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CD 1 race: Norcross campaign attacks Cobb for Facebook post

CD 1 race: Norcross campaign attacks Cobb for Facebook post

CAMDEN - The campaign of Donald Norcross, the Democratic candidate in the First Congressional District, sharply criticized Republican rival Garry Cobb on Wednesday for what the campaign asserts is a "disturbing pattern" in recent statements he has made.

A South Jersey Democratic operative sent a screen shot to PolitickerNJ on Wednesday of what they claimed was a Facebook post recently up on the Garry Cobb for Congress Facebook page.

"Just as I worked with Republican Gov. Chris Christie to pass landmark bail reform registration, I am eager to work with anyone and everyone to get things done for my constituents," the Cobb campaign post read.

A search of recent postings on the Garry Cobb for Congress Facebook page appears to indicate that the post has been taken down. 

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Kyrillos on statewide, Monmouth GOP: "If New Jersey was run like Monmouth County, we'd be better off"

Kyrillos on statewide, Monmouth GOP: "If New Jersey was run like Monmouth County, we'd be better off"

RED BANK - Joe Kyrillos' perspective on New Jersey politics has roots in his Monmouth County home, but has stretched statewide because of a word critical in Garden State politics: relationships.

The veteran Republican state Senator from the 13th Legislative District, who has served in the Legislature since 1988, has built a network from his Middletown home base that has extended around New Jersey, as evidenced during his unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate against Democratic incumbent Bob Menendez in 2012. 

Kyrillos' close political and personal alliance with Gov. Chris Christie is well known. The governor even played matchmaker for Kyrillos and his wife, Susan. 

In a phone interview with PolitickerNJ from his Red Bank office, Kyrillos, 54, riffed on Republican power in Monmouth, as well as the direction of the GOP in the Chris Christie era.

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Bergen County Exec's race: Fort Lee Mayor Sokolich sees Bridgegate investigations as potential election catalyst

Bergen County Exec's race: Fort Lee Mayor Sokolich sees Bridgegate investigations as potential election catalyst

FORT LEE - Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich was the emcee of Tuesday's meet-and-greet event at the Richard A. Nest Adult Activity Center in his Bergen County borough, introducing U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr., (D-9) to the lunchtime crowd of about 50 people. 

More than 50 members of the press were jammed on the grass of Fort Lee's neighboring Borough Hall in January as what has become known as the Bridgegate scandal erupted. Sokolich stood in the national spotlight as Republican Gov. Chris Christie came to apologize. 

Christie's mea culpa, accepted by Sokolich, came after the revelation of email exchanges between a deputy on Gov. Christie's senior staff and Port Authority executives that link the two parties to controversial local access lane closures in September 2013 on the George Washington Bridge. 

The email exchange, which included "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," created chaos in town, whose Democratic Mayor Sokolich failed to endorse Christie in last year's gubernatorial race. The Christie administration has been accused of exacting political retribution on Sokolich for not backing the governor's re-election effort. Christie has denied that any retaliation took place, and both state and federal authorities still seek answers in separate investigations of the matter. 

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Bergen County Exec's race: Tedesco, Pascrell see certain synergy in South Bergen

Bergen County Exec's race: Tedesco, Pascrell see certain synergy in South Bergen

FORT LEE - If Democratic Bergen County Executive candidate Jim Tedesco hopes to win in the fall, he will have to make inroads in a place where the streets are familiar to Republican incumbent Kathleen Donovan: South Bergen County.

Donovan, who was raised in Lyndhurst, went to high school in North Arlington and now resides in Rutherford, is not an unfamiliar politician in the southern part of Bergen, a county in which the long-time politico has wide overall name recognition. 

But Tedesco, a Bergen County freeholder, could look to the 2012 Ninth Congressional District Democratic primary as a sign that some progress can be made against a candidate that has solid name recognition in the area. 

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Booker, Pascrell support Obama response to Ferguson civil disturbances

Booker, Pascrell support Obama response to Ferguson civil disturbances

FORT LEE - A convergence of state and local officials outside of a Bergen County senior center is a far cry from the fevered streets of Ferguson, Missouri, as the Saint Louis suburb continues to be roiled by unrest more than a week after an unarmed black teenager was shot to death by a white police officer.

But in conversations with PolitickerNJ on Tuesday at a meet-and-greet event at Fort Lee's Richard A. Nest Adult Activity Center, both U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-9) praised U.S. President Barack Obama's handing of the ongoing crisis, one that has highlighted the lingering fault lines in American race relations.

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CD 7 race: Lance "confident" that perceived policy changes won't hurt him

CD 7 race: Lance "confident" that perceived policy changes won't hurt him

SOMERVILLE - Moments before he spoke at a Somerville town hall meeting, U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7) pushed back at claims that his views have drifted too far to the right since getting elected to Congress in 2008. 

"I'm not sure there has been a change. I've always voted my conscience," Lance told PolitickerNJ on Monday in the back of the auditorium at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset. "I approach each issue as it comes to me. I think the most important issue in Washington is to try to get the economy stronger and try to create an environment where the private sector can create the new jobs that America so desperately needs."

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Ocean County Dem chairman calls patronage and sexual harassment allegations against GOP freeholder leader "perfect storm" for future victory

Ocean County Dem chairman calls patronage and sexual harassment allegations against GOP freeholder leader "perfect storm" for future victory

TOMS RIVER - As allegations of patronage and a sexual harassment cover-up roil Ocean County government, Wyatt Earp, the county's Democratic chairman, believes that in GOP-dominated Ocean, opportunity is now knocking.

"This is the perfect storm of elections. Tim Ryan is a long-standing community leader and a philanthropist," Earp told PolitickerNJ, referring to the Democratic candidate trying to block Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph Vicari, a Republican, from his twelfth three-year term in November. "Normally, in general in Ocean County, with the [Republican advantage in party] registrations, it's an uphill battle [for Democrats]. But even without this, Tim Ryan is going to be a significant challenger in this freeholder race." 

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Christie: 2016 presidential run decision "can't be based on politics" of outcomes of national governors' races

Christie: 2016 presidential run decision "can't be based on politics" of outcomes of national governors' races

ASBURY PARK - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the Republican Governors Association (RGA) chairman, said on Friday that when it comes to his personal calculus about his possible 2016 GOP presidential run, the outcomes the of 2014 gubernatorial races around the nation don't add up.

"It won't affect the decision, no. It might affect the way some people feel about me, but it won't affect my decision. My decision can't be based on politics, because anybody who tries to predict what's going to happen in the presidential election over two years from now is deluding themselves," Christie told PolitickerNJ following remarks made on the Asbury Park boardwalk alongside state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin. 

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CD 5 race: Bergen GOP Chairman Yudin challenges Cho, national Dems on Israel

CD 5 race: Bergen GOP Chairman Yudin challenges Cho, national Dems on Israel

HACKENSACK - Some observers may claim that Congressional candidate Roy Cho's recent trip to Israel was a step beyond what most first-time candidates do. But Bergen Republican Chairman Bob Yudin's response to the Democrats' Fifth Congressional District candidate's visit to Israel was that Cho is out of step with the national Democratic Party.

"Mr. Cho is completely out of step with the rank and file of the Democratic Party. The majority of the rank-and-file Democrats are not supporting the way Israel is defending itself from Hamas terrorists," Yudin told PolitickerNJ in reference to theongoing conflict along the frontier of the Hamas-controlled Palestinian territory of the Gaza Strip that began with a wave of rocket attacks. "The polling data clearly shows that."

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 21st

'We believe in redemption': Roque heads into 2015 with full backing of the HCDO WEST NEW YORK – When local pain specialist Dr. Felix Roque delivered U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) from discomfort and restored him to the golf course, the congressman in return indulged the political fancies of...

Op-Ed

Five ideas for strengthening the state's political parties

By Jeff Brindle An August 15, 2014 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Stanley Chesler reaffirmed the place of political parties in the State’s electoral system. By rejecting arguments that unaffiliated voters should have a right to vote in... Read More >

Contributors

(8-20-14) Can You Take the ‘Partisan’ out of ‘Partisan Politics’? - Redistricting will not take place for another seven years. Yet the debate has already... more »
    My Richard Nixon Ambivalence   Today is the fortieth anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s resignation address to the nation on August 8, 1974. At that time, I was ambivalent about... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »
(Washington DC)-- Two recent votes on Capitol Hill suggest an overdue and radical departure from our nation's Draconian and costly War on Drugs.  It's a long-overdue discussion (and not just... more »

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