But alas, Garcia, a former assemblyman and Union City mayor, was not satisfied taking the long road to proper coronation and - along with Janiszewski - plotted the overthrow of North Hudson's reigning monarch, Rep. Bob Menendez.
Menendez, however, could easily trace his lineage back to former political bosses and Union City mayors Bill Musto and Bruce Walter, and could not be easily removed.
Garcia's plot was aimed at Menendez's chief counsel, Donald Scarinci, a wily and crafty political sorcerer who also possessed the keys to the empire's treasury. Town after town, under Garcia's tutelage, removed Scarinci from the payroll, until after being fired in Secaucus, Scarinci, with Menendez's aid, struck back.
The enraged Emperor Menendez showed no mercy, ridding his realm of the upstart Garcia, not merely from the seat of Union City mayor, but also from the state Assembly.
It didn't help Garcia that his major budget problems led to a municipal tax increase. As a recall movement loomed, Garcia resigned as mayor.
Most of the wise believed Garcia was ruined. But not so.
A short time later, Garcia returned as an advisor, a lobbyist to the even higher princes entrenched on their thrones in Trenton. He was far from through with his crafty ways here in Hudson, keeping the ear of his close friend, Jersey City Councilman Bill Gaughan, chief of staff to County Executive Tom DeGise.
So when a client of Garcia needed an abatement in Jersey City, the good Garcia invited his dear friend Gaughan to the Super Bowl where they could talk between plays and plead his case.
Tales claim Garcia also played a role in proposing the light rail extension to the Meadowlands Sports Complex, where the pleasure dome of Xanadu is soon to be built - an entertainment complex in which Garcia's protector, Lesniak, reportedly has an interest.
Such an act committed right under the nose of Emperor Menendez? What will the emperor say? How will he react to the return of the exiled king Garcia?
Only time will tell.
What is patronage?
Patronage is such a big part of Hudson County political life that most people involved in politics presume the public knows what it is. But several people have asked for a definition.
Patronage politics, as defined by political studies textbooks, is organized around a system of reciprocal obligations. If an important political figure does a favor for an unimportant person, that unimportant person owes a favor to the important personage - and must at some future time discharge that obligation. So if the mayor of some town gets some schmuck a job, that mayor can call upon the schmuck for some additional duty later on.
A politician becomes obligated to those who support his or her campaign. Some politicians even charge people for favors, trading campaign contributions for contracts and other governmental business - this has been called "Pay for Play." If a contribution is directly in exchange for business, it's illegal.
Last year, during the trial of Freeholder Nidia Davila-Colon, Janiszewski described some aspects of his own machine, under which vendors paid to get favors. Some politicians even set a fixed rate for particular favors, a percentage of a contract or salary to be kicked back in campaign or other contributions.
In a patronage system, big shots like Janiszewski rarely dealt directly with those they do business with, operating through intermediaries or what are popularly called "bagmen." These bagmen, often close friends or associates, take the graft in the big shot's name, helping to shield the big shot from prosecution if something should go wrong. This is called "deniability" in which the big shot can claim to know nothing about the transactions. The bagman often gets a share of the graft before passing the bucks up to the big shot.
"Pay for play" has its drawbacks. For instance, people who pay for favors feel less obligated to repay favors to the big shot than if the big shot had done the favor for free.
The idea behind old-fashioned patronage is to perform such acts of kindness for free but with an expectation of a favor down the road, especially when you are an up-and-coming political figure. The more favors you can do for bigwigs above you, the more those bigwigs owe you in future favors. It is possible to build a network of such obligations. The greater number of powerful people who owe you favors, the more powerful you become.
A Hollywood blockbuster?
Councilman Tony Soares - who works for a Manhattan advertising agency - recently took a trip to Hollywood for the filming of an AT&T commercial. While there, people kept mistaking him for actor Peter Dinklage.
"I had to go to L.A. on a shoot in Hollywood," he said. "Everywhere I went people kept mistaking me for Peter Dinklage. Outside a trendy L.A., restaurant Robert Wagner and Julie St. John saw me and told me they thought my performance was fab."
Soares also ran intoAl Pachino, Mark Walberg and Brian DePalma, all of whom made the same mistake.
"I told them I wasn't who they thought I was," Soares said.
Finally, when Dave Mamet made the same mistake, Soares said he didn't correct the man.
"I just went along with it," he said. "A lot of people in my hotel made the same mistake. It was hilarious. Now, I'm back in Hoboken, and people are getting me confused with a certain councilman..."
Compounding matters, Drinklage's film, The Station Agent, actually took place partially in Hoboken.
Soares could even be invited to the annual Lincoln Day Dinner at Frankie and Johnny's restaurant in Hoboken on Feb. 22. This event, put on by the Hoboken Democratic Organization, will honor U.S. Senator and Hoboken resident Jon Corzine from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event is put on to celebrate the spirit of President Abraham Lincoln, where even Republicans are invited.
This, of course, may not be true if President George W. Bush came to town. Menendez, who serves as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, blasted the president's budget, claiming it disregarded the needs of American families.