Fernandez defiant as rumors dog Garcia candidacy

Councilman Gerardo Fernandez: Politicker photoCouncilman Gerardo Fernandez: Politicker photo 

PASSAIC - The arrest last week of Passaic City Councilman Gerardo Fernandez on corruption charges dredged up the Sammy Rivera era again in the middle of a mayor’s election.

A candidate for mayor, Councilman Joe Garcia was on the governing body when the now disgraced and jailed Rivera told an FBI plant that he could deliver four votes on the City Council in favor of a dummy insurance contract.

Garcia defenders say Councilman/mayoral candidate Garcia was not one of Rivera’s four sure bet votes, but rumors persist.

An indictment already identified Councilman Marcellus Jackson as one of the council people implicated in the failed Rivera scheme. Former Councilman Jonathan Soto was also implicated.

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Charlie Black goes to bat for Myers

WASHINGTON – Republican U.S. House candidate Chris Myers will get a fundraising shot in the arm from Charlie Black, a John McCain advisor and former chief lobbyist for BKSH & Associates.

Black will be hosting the event at Washington D.C.'s Capitol Hill Club on Wednesday evening. Also attending the event will be U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa) and the New Jersey Republican congressional delegation. Individuals are being asked to contribute $500 apiece, while PACs are being asked to give $1,000.

Myers, who is the mayor of Medford, is facing off against Democratic state Sen. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill Township), in November. At stake is the seat of retiring U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton (R-Mount Holly Township).

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For Capuana and Ellen, the local roots run deep

School Board President Vincent Capuana: Politicker photoSchool Board President Vincent Capuana: Politicker photo 

PASSAIC - On Main Street, the tower looms over everything like the past.

Vincent Capuana and Carl Ellen grew up here together and now they’re running against each other for mayor in this immigrant city dominated by an old Art Deco building you can see all the way from the high ground in Paterson, which teemed with business 40 years ago, and now stands abandoned.

The Sicilian, and the African-American from Macon, Georgia came of age in the same Washington Place neighborhood, on the same block, right next door, in Passaic.

"I’m not going to say anything bad about anyone in this race," said Ellen, now 65, sitting in his bailbondsman’s office at the corner of State and Passaic streets. "All of the men I’m running against are caballeros y carinosos."

Gentlemen and affectionate.

They are, all told, Ellen and School Board President Capuana, physician Alex Blanco, real estate developer Jose Sandoval and Councilman Joe Garcia.

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Wilson slams Lautenberg on age, failure to debate

If he's re-elected, Frank Lautenberg would be 90 at the end of his next term: Getty Images Photo
Three months after former U.S. Rep. Dick Zimmer held a press conference and said he would not make age an issue in his U.S. Senate run against incumbent Democrat Frank Lautenberg, Republican State Chairman Tom Wilson stood in the same State House conference room and brought the issue front and center, making repeated references to the 84-year-old Senator’s senior status.

“If you’re too afraid, too incompetent or too old to campaign, then you’re surely not fit for six more years in the U.S. Senate,” said Wilson. “It’s time to let voters decide whether you’re up to serving in the United States Senate until you’re 90 years old.”

Wilson called the press conference to attack Lautenberg for the way he’s run his campaign – or rather, his lack of a campaign.

Lautenberg, said Wilson, has been missing on the campaign trail, making only a public appearance here and there while giving the media little time for questions and refusing to accept one of the roughly 20 debate invitations that have been issued so far.

By not engaging his opponent or the voters on the issues, Wilson said, Lautenberg has brought attention to his age by raising the question of whether he really is up to the task of serving another six year term, at the end of which he’ll have just turned 91. He contrasted Lautenberg’s public schedule with U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Penn.), 78, who although not up for reelection has been holding town hall meetings on behalf of John McCain in every one of his state’s counties.

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Intra-party woes plague Passaic GOP

Intra-party woes plague Passaic GOP

Passaic County Republicans don’t need an internal war.  But they’ve got one.

The latest flare up between leadership factions in the party occurred last Monday, when freeholder candidates Mike Marotta and Jerry Holt held a joint beefsteak dinner fundraiser with Chairman Scott Rumana, who’s also an Assemblyman, at the Brownstone Restaurant in Paterson.

That led Rumana’s critics to charge that he was competing for resources with the cash-strapped freeholder candidates.  Rumana, in turn, said that his critics were holdovers from the dark days of the party and puppets of the man who used to control it: Peter Murphy.

Meanwhile, Marotta and Holt are stuck uncomfortably in the middle while they try to campaign against Democratic incumbents Bruce James and Greyson Hannigan.

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Clerk draws ballot positions in Passaic

Clerk Amada Curling withdraws Sandoval's name first.: Politicker photoClerk Amada Curling withdraws Sandoval's name first.: Politicker photo 

PASSAIC - Moments ago, City Clerk Amada Curling drew names for ballot placement in the mayor’s race.

Jose Sandoval’s name will appear in the first position, followed by Carl Ellen, Vincent Capuana, Joe Garcia and Alex Blanco.

Seated in City Council chambers, the candidates or their surrogates watched Curling identify the candidates’ names on individual pieces of paper. She enclosed each name in a small plastic capsule. Then her assistant put the capsules in a small wooden box.

Curling then withdrew the names.

Read More >

The Back Room

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: April 22, 2014

Newark mayor's race: pro-Jeffries independent expenditure group shows donations of $1.3 million, Wall Street ties in ELEC reportNEWARK - Newark First, the independent expenditure group that supports Newark mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries in the run-up to the May 13 municipal election, has been on the attack lately against Jeffries'...

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How the City of Paterson became a city in crisis

By HAYTHAM YOUNES As the May 13th election for Paterson officials nears, I've noticed a lot of candidates running using slogans and empty promises as if they weren't around watching Paterson get to where it's at today. I think it's important that... Read More >


(Absecon Island, NJ) --With his shocking win in last year's election, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian emerged as one of the most intriguing figures in the New Jersey political... more »
(4-16-14) New Jersey Vote By Mail Law - The voter turnout for New Jersey’s November gubernatorial election was the lowest since the days of prohibition, coming... more »
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This week I begin a series called Dispatches from Somewhere Else. Based on my on-going experiences as an everyman in New Jersey politics, these Dispatches review the hollowness of... more »

Quote of the Day

Quote of the day

"You know what? I'm still Vinny Prieto. I'm still the same guy. This is always a great event — to see people, to talk about business, to hear about issues and concerns." - Assembly Speaker Vinny Prieto (D-32).

- The Star-Ledger


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