PATERSON - They say it's tough to get a decent slice of pizza in the south.
“There’s no pasta, that’s for sure,” cracked Jerry Speziale.
No offense to Prichard, Alabama, but Speziale wants to come home.
The former Passaic County Sheriff who fell out of favor with the Democratic Party establishment, bounced into a pair of blues at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on a GOP deal, and then ended up in a chief's uniform in the Yellowhammer State as he dealt with personal heartbreak, is returning to Paterson as police director in the administration of Mayor Jose "Joey" Torres.Read 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 because the War on Drugs is an epic failure.)Read More >
CLIFFSIDE PARK - U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9) came to the Bergen County borough of Cliffside Park on Monday to talk about legislation he is backing to fix New Jersey's crumbling infrastructure, backed by his Congressional colleague, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ).
After Pascrell's crushing victory over former U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-9) in the June 2012 Democratic primary, a fight forced by Congressional redistricting, the former Paterson mayor had an air of invincibility after a torrent of votes drowned his opponent, Paterson Great Falls-style, on primary day.
But following the May 13 Paterson municipal election, in which Pascrell's preferred mayoral candidate, Andre Sayegh, was defeated by Joey Torres, some observers of the Passaic County political scene wondered if it was Pascrell who had now gone over the falls in a barrel.
Yet when asked by PolitickerNJ.com if his public alliance with the defeated Sayegh meant that he or his Passaic County Democratic Party allies, including New Jersey State Democratic Chairman and Passaic County Democratic Party Chairman John Currie, were threatened regarding their primacy in Passaic's political firmament, Pascrell personally scoffed at the idea of any potential challengers.Read More >
CLIFFSIDE PARK - U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) came to the Bergen County borough of Cliffside Park on Monday to discuss legislation he is backing to fix New Jersey's crumbling infrastructure. Flanked by U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9), who has introduced similar legislation in the House of Representatives, he at one point held up a section of corroded sewer pipe to make a point.
While any discussion of fraying infrastructure could be soporific to some, political warfare waged at home and abroad is anything but boring. And right now, Menendez has to contend with aggravated political corrosion on two fronts.
As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Menendez is keeping close tabs on the volatile situation in Ukraine, where pro-Russian insurgents in the eastern half of the country, reportedly influenced and supported by Russian President Vladimir Putin, are locked in touch-and-go combat with Ukrainian troops. The potential disintegration of Ukraine, a nation which borders several of America's North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies, could destabilize the entire region.
Meanwhile, the former congressman of a district concentrated in Hudson County and an erstwhile mayor of Union City, a Hudson municipality, is also witnessing potential fragmentation at home over the next eight days that could destabilize county politics.Read More >
TRENTON - James Gee, a longtime Trenton political player, is now embroiled in two soon-to-be concluded political battles that will shape city politics for years to come.
In the June 3 Democratic primary in the Twelfth Congressional District, Trenton voters will close between state Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-15), who lives in neighboring Ewing, state Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-14) and state Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula (D-17). The CD 12 struggle will arguably be the most closely-watched Congressional primary in New Jersey.Read More >
In this cycle, nursing confusions and mangled alliances from 2013 and intent on reformulating and hardening battle lines leading up to 2017, the statewide Democratic Party warred with itself locally, its internal divisions enhanced by overwhelming outside spending.
The theaters all fit together – Paterson, Irvington, Trenton, Bayonne - and at the center stood Newark, in many ways the torque point for everything else.
Undiscovered territory undergirds these contests, specifically the amount of spending by independent expenditure groups: so far a total of $2.7 million in the cities – most of it ($2.6 million to date) in Newark; and the bulk of the Newark IE spending ($1.7 million) lined up in favor of establishment Newark mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries, according to the state Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC).
The most independent spending locally prior to this year was $251,000 by Better Education for Our Kids (B4K) in the 2013 Jersey City mayor’s race.Read More >
PATERSON – This mayoral election has been unsettling – even agonizing - for Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D-35), Paterson, the man who might have run for mayor himself, who didn’t run and controversially backed another man for the job.
But amid a back boil of racial anger and street charges that he finds himself deflecting about loyalty and race-identity, on one level it’s getting easier for Wimberly now, he says – easier to fight for Council President Andre Sayegh, an Arab-American.
“You can be an albino transvestite from Yugoslavia and if you can get the job done, are competent, and can balance the budget, I will be with you,” said Wimberly.
Within a community that represents roughly 32% of the city, African-American leaders have pushed back against the assemblyman – who is black – protesting his affirmation of Democratic Party support for Sayegh.Read More >
PATERSON - Downtown on Market Street the campaign headquarters of mayoral canddiate Jose "Joey" Torres had a full tilt swing to it in mid-afternoon on the Saturday before Election Day, as field commander Idida Rodriguez oversaw another outgoing battalion of canvassers.
Above the Great Falls in the 2nd Ward, home base of the former two-term mayor craving a return to City Hall, Torres workers in pairs of two walked the streets in door-to-door exercises on behalf of the candidate.
They weren't the only ones out there.
"Everyone's out today," said Rodriguez. "All the campaigns."Read More >
PATERSON – With one week to go before the May 13th Paterson Mayor’s election, colliding forces on the ground in the state’s ultimate retail politics town will look to a combination of financial resources and GOTV targeting as they seek a common destination: the chair of power on the second floor of City Hall.
Only one candidate will get there.
Below find a breakdown of the players and their strengths on those key teams gearing up for a showdown next Tuesday…Read More >
PATERSON – The same mayoral candidates this weekend juggled yet another misfiring microphone in yet another public forum defined mostly by the presence of empty chairs and operatives with sagging bags under their eyes, slouched shoulders - and uniformly in this brief break from door knocking with ten days to go - a deepened sense of urgency.
The visuals of dollars, players and television advertising once again threw the perception of this contest back onto two rival campaigns: that of former Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres, who as the most well-known Latino in a Latino-majority city has bulked up numerical advantages; and Council President Andre Sayegh, who runs with the support of the county Democratic Party.
Leading the field with resources, the Sayegh Campaign on Friday launched its first TV ad of the season, singling out the $74,000 severance package Torres received when he departed from office – and the city payroll – in 2010. Eschewing the characterization of “negative,” Sayegh allies describe the ad as a “contrast piece,” because it closes with their own sunny alternative to Torres.
Signifying frontrunner status, Torres has already been up on television; and it’s all positive.
On a Saturday afternoon, six of the eight candidates found themselves at the front of a Ward 2 Pentecostal Church run by the Rev. David Rios, who two years ago bucked the Passaic County Democratic Party when he aligned himself with Bergen’s Steve Rothman in the CD9 Primary.Read More >
PolitickerNJ reporter Mark Bonamo will appear on the WBGO Journal radio program tonight and on a weekend public interest television program.
Read More >
Christie makes his pitch on bail reform TRENTON -In a win-win moment for Gov. Chris Christie as he seeks tough guy points ahead of the 2016 GOP presidential primary, both houses of the legislature packed into the assembly chamber and listened as Christie pleaded for a constitutional amendment on...
By Linda Stender At his most recent town hall, Gov. Chris Christie accused his predecessors of "monkeying with the math" when it comes to their handling of our state's economy. But as the old saying goes, when the governor points a finger, he... Read More >
"Potentially, we can get this done, because it's important. We get it. We understand it. But there are issues. There's the speedy trial component. How are we going to pay for this? How is the risk-assessment piece of it going to be done?" - Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32), on bail reform.- The Asbury Park Press
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