Union County and the politics of pie-eating

Union County and the politics of pie-eating
Gerbounka, left, and Holley, in the clutch.

LINDEN – The stage stood over Wood Avenue downtown, in that business district sprinkled heavily with Polish butcher shops as a more permanent matter, today enhanced by a ZZ Top lookalike rock band, barbecue grills and a block stocked with old cars, as two men got ready for a showdown surging with political optics.

“We’re friends – but today we’re adversaries,” announced Linden Mayor Richard Gerbounka, who stood beside Roselle Mayor Jamal Holley in front of a tableful of apple pies.

Both men had their hands behind their backs, as though preparing to face a firing squad together.

Actually, in a few moments, they would receive the order from a timer to plunge face first into a pair of pies.

A handful of other competitors likewise stood at the ready.

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State Dems open Woodbridge HQ, Booker and Bell trade on ideology, as undercurrent of regional party politics abides

State Dems open Woodbridge HQ, Booker and Bell trade on ideology, as undercurrent of regional party politics abides
Booker and Currie

WOODBRIDGE – In terms of creating the kinds of dramatic tension that produces a heroic public outcome, Jeff Bell has been a frustrating general election opponent for incumbent U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ).

The tedium of carrying someone for 11 rounds before coming suddenly alive in the 12th on Election Day at that carefully cultivated moment of heightened public expectation and producing the spectacular knockout is the difficult task of the incumbent in this case.

In his three mayoral runs – 2002, 2006 and 2010 – only in the first did Booker produce the kind of scintillating narrative that offset the loss to then-Mayor Sharpe James and resolved itself at last in his runaway comeback four years later.

Wins over Ron Rice and Cliff Minor were snooze-fests; and while Team Booker has labored hard to make this season look like Muhammad Ali versus Joe Frazier III against the backdrop of Republicans pushing around Barack Obama; or even Booker v. James with a happy ending, the media has absorbed the contest as something on the order of Ali v. Al Blue Lewis.

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CD 5 race: Cho, Bergen Dems slam Garrett's Hurricane Sandy campaign mailer "hypocrisy"

CD 5 race: Cho, Bergen Dems slam Garrett's Hurricane Sandy campaign mailer "hypocrisy"

RIDGEWOOD - Roy Cho, the Democratic candidate in the Fifth Congressional District, assailed a recently-issued campaign mailer from Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett that centered on post-Hurricane Sandy aid.

In the mailer, the Garrett campaign states that the six-term incumbent "was immediately on the ground helping families recover, while also leading the effort in Washington to ensure the federal funds we needed were available quickly."

In a written statement on Friday, Cho pointed out that Garrett was the only New Jersey Congressional representative who did not sign a letter in November 2012 that asked House leadership to build bipartisan support for the prompt delivery of federal aid for victims of Sandy. 

Garrett is one of eleven members of Congress who voted against federal aid for victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, citing concerns about oversight. He eventually voted in favor of federal disaster aid for victims of Sandy. 

"It’s beyond incomprehensible that Scott Garrett would actually have the nerve to send political mail to constituents who were displaced from their homes in hopes they will forget he laid down on the job when they needed his help," said Cho. "His efforts to take credit for providing Sandy relief when he had to be shamed into grudgingly helping his constituents are simply appalling.”

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Star-Ledger's Moran picture post says more than words

Star-Ledger's Moran picture post says more than words
Credit: Facebook

NEWARK - A recent photo posted on Facebook by Star-Ledger editorial page editor and columnist Tom Moran of the newspaper's recently abandoned newsroom is shocking, but tells a stark truth.

After the paper completed its move to Woodbridge earlier this month, Newark, New Jersey's largest city and home to other erstwhile papers such as the Newark Sunday Call and the Newark Evening News, is now bereft of a major newspaper presence for the first time in generations. 

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CD 3 race: Belgard, MacArthur set to face off this weekend on NJTV

CD 3 race: Belgard, MacArthur set to face off this weekend on NJTV

TRENTON - NJTV’s On the Record with Michael Aron series taped a joint discussion with New Jersey's Third Congressional District candidates Democrat Aimee Belgard and Republican Tom MacArthur on Friday at NJTV’s Trenton State House studio for an episode airing this weekend. The taping was the first time the two candidates have sat down face to face in the campaign.

The heated half-hour discussion, led by guest host Marie DeNoia Arohnson, included issues and accusations about the legitimacy of campaign ads and social media posts, Hurricane Sandy funding and insurance, jobs and the President’s recent action in Syria.

On the Record airs on Saturday, Sept. 27 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 28 at 10 a.m. on NJTV, New Jersey’s public television network.

The show will also be posted online at njtvonline.org

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Bergen County Exec's race: Weinberg, Vainieri Huttle, Sarlo back Stellato's leadership, whatever county exec campaign outcome

Bergen County Exec's race: Weinberg, Vainieri Huttle, Sarlo back Stellato's leadership, whatever county exec campaign outcome

HACKENSACK - With only 39 days left until Election Day, some observers of Bergen County politics wonder if the Bergen County Executive ballot box battle is only a test between Republican incumbent Kathleen Donovan and her Democratic challenger, Freeholder Jim Tedesco.

The county executive's race will also be seen by some as a scorecard on the leadership of Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato. Stellato has won praise for turning around the Bergen Dems in the wake of the fall of former chairman Joe Ferriero, who was convicted on corruption charges in 2009, indicted in a racketeering scheme in September 2013 and is now facing a second corruption trial scheduled to begin in early November. 

Since Stellato was elected chairman in 2011 after the brief leadership of Michael Kasparian, he has led the drive to win Democratic control of the freeholder board and has helped Tedesco gain a freeholder board spot last year despite Republican Gov. Chris Christie's wide margin of victory in Bergen in his reelection campaign.

Some political observers say State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37), the matriarch of the Bergen Democrats and a long-standing foe of Ferriero, could stand to gain greater control over the direction of the party if Stellato fails to get Tedesco elected.

Stellato could not be immediately reached for comment. But Weinberg herself saw things differently.

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Fight of the Week: MacArthur v. the DCCC

Fight of the Week: MacArthur v. the DCCC

For the second time in what is turning out to be a grueling, no-holds-barred contest between the Republican and Democratic candidates in New Jersey's third congressional district, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has been forced to take down a controversial ad attacking the former candidate, Tom MacArthur.

It was a clear win for the MacArthur team, who pounced on the negative ad as soon as it hit the air earlier this week, and a sorely-felt loss for the DCCC, to be sure, who is backing Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard in the South Jersey race.

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Winners and Losers: Week of September 22nd

Winners and Losers: Week of September 22nd

And so it comes (almost) to an end - another week of political frenzy.

The Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) and speculation about the specific role longtime insider Jamie Fox will play as the new commissioner of the Department of Transportation dominated PolitickerNJ headlines.

But there was more...

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The Back Room

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 30th

Dems fail to pry sufficient number from abstemious GOP caucus to pass debt report bill TRENTON - The Assembly this afternoon could not summon the necessary votes to override Gov. Chris Christie's veto of A961, as Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21) prevented Democrats - some of them outraged...

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Legislation needed for publicly financed gubernatorial elections

By JEFF BRINDLE It is critical that the Legislature soon enact a pending bill that would ensure the state’s Gubernatorial Public Financing Program is available in the event of a special election for governor.  Not only is there no current legal... Read More >


In tribute to John Sheridan, a good and great man     I first learned late last night from television news that John P. Sheridan, Jr. and his wife, Joyce had... more »
(9-24-14) The Founding Fathers and the Militarization of the Police - No matter what the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri decides, the debate over the militarization of... more »
(Trenton, NJ) --  On September 23, 2015 I shall dig this up and eat whatever crow I've got coming, but in the meantime only a listicle... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"When you're asked to cast a vote on a bill and it seems innocuous, and it's got a hidden land mine that perhaps only an expert would see, it would sort of behoove those experts to tell us in advance rather than make us look, shall we say, a little bit indecisive later on." - Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-25).



Which of these "Mount Rushmore of Corruption" states deserves the centerpiece?:


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