With a U.S. Senate panel voting to subpoena former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine to testify about his role leading the collapsed MF Global, you would expect to hear some chuckling coming from Christopher Christie, the current occupant of the governor’s mansion. Or at least an “I told you so.”
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Corzine ignored internal warnings about the risks of betting on European bonds, and even threatened to resign if the company board did not go where he wanted them to go.
Corzine, a Democrat, represented New Jersey in the U.S. Senate from 2001 to 2005 and later served as governor until Christie beat him in 2009, largely based on policies involving the economics of the state. So you have to wonder: if he took risks that cost MF Global an estimated $140 million, how did his decisions result in the state’s current economic woes?
And strangely, Christie, the man who should be laughing the loudest, isn’t boasting – showing a bit of class at last, even when it seems that time has proven which of the two men deserved to be in the governor’s office.
Meanwhile, Christie headed off to Iowa to help bolster the Republican presidential aspirations of Mitt Romney, who recently found himself tied in the polls with Newt Gingrich. (Did you’d ever think voters would have to choose between candidates named “Mitt” and “Newt?”)
Christie’s visit to West New York this past week appears to have irritated state Senator and North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco. Christie and Sacco are arch enemies, and thanks to redistricting, West New York has been moved into Sacco’s senatorial district.
Meanwhile, state Sen. and Union City Mayor Brian Stack is making a lot of local Democrats nervous with his warming up to Christie. But the move makes sense. Stack has always had to look over his shoulder at his fellow Democrats to see which one is wielding the knife for the next political stab in the back.
Hyman backed nobody in special election
Although encouraged to support Viola Richardson and Rolando Lavarro Jr., the winning candidates in the Jersey City special election for two at-large seats, Jersey City developer Steve Hyman said he refrained from doing so.
Although Hyman has no love for Mayor Jerramiah Healy (whose two candidates ultimately lost), he said he did not support any candidates in this election.
This makes sense, since Hyman has had something of a precarious relationship with Richardson, especially after he was falsely accused in 2009 of funding an “anti-Healy” newspaper that some in the African-American community considered racist.
Hyman still denies being behind that paper, but said Richardson’s position in 2009 was that Hyman had erected a barrier between them that would have made it unlikely he would support her in this or other elections.
The victory of Richardson and Lavarro is seen as a blow to Healy’s reelection chances in 2013 since the candidates Healy backed lost by a significant margin.
But Healy’s recent fundraiser at Puccini’s was well attended, suggesting that some political powers may be hedging their bets and not counting Healy out of a future run for mayor, despite reports that he is done.
Meanwhile, members of Richard Boggiano’s impressive if not successful campaign for an at-large seat in the recent Jersey City special election for council took exception with this column’s accolades for Althea Bernhiem, a former aide to Councilman Steven Fulop.
Bernhiem helped the campaign, Boggiano’s people said, but she came in late in the game and much of the success in giving the lead candidates a run for their money had to do with the internal organization, which functioned very well, raising the money and getting out the vote needed.
Boggiano looks like someone to be reckoned with in the future.
Rivera back as Freeholder Eliu Rivera made a joyful reappearance at the Board of Freeholders meeting this week, coming back from health issues that sidelined him for several months. Dragging in his oxygen bottle and still breathing with some difficulty, Rivera had good reasons to make a return, since it appears that Carol Lester, a trustee on the Jersey City Board of Education, was rumored to be seeking Rivera’s seat. She apparently noticed that Rivera had not been attending meetings.
Taking back the Puerto Rican Day Parade?
In what can only be described as a bloodless coup, promoter and security consultant Ric Ayala wrested control of the Puerto Rican Day Parade from the cabal controlled by Jersey City Fire Department Director Armando Roman. Faced with the prospect of a highly-organized opposition and the potential for a total rebuke from the city’s Puerto Rican community, Roman withdrew his candidate and the board selected Ayala, who ran unopposed.
“I am honored to be in this position,” said Ayala, a Heights resident, who narrowly lost to Roman’s candidate last year. “This is an amazing opportunity for us to refocus our parade and restore some pride and dignity to the event. I am ready to get started.”
Wanted: New chairman for the HCDO
To say the Hudson County Democratic Organization is in turmoil may be an understatement, since a host of names are being bandied about as a possible replacement for Mayor Mark Smith as its chairman.
Smith was named HCDO chairman shortly after he took over as mayor of Bayonne, but it is a thankless job, and one that some Hudson County officials say no mayor should take on since it often requires groveling at the feet of the political bosses, especially in regards to raising money.
This may be part of the reason why Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner isn’t going after the post even though some people threw his name out. Even state Assemblyman Ruben Ramos has been rumored to replace Smith, even though it’s clear that Smith still wants to keep the job.
Brian Stack would take it if he could take over and revamp the party.
Bayonne’s Flores to seek Republican nod for Sires’ seat
With the apparent support of local Tea Party Republicans, Washington Flores is looking to run for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2013.
This seat is currently held by Democrat Rep. Albio Sires, who from all indications doesn’t intend to leave the seat any time soon, regardless of rumors among Democrats that they might replace him as the Democratic candidate.
Flores, meanwhile, is building his base in the age-old tradition of Hudson County and will hold a Breakfast with Santa on Dec. 17 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Bergen Point Community Church in Bayonne. The cost is $20 bucks for adults.
Meanwhile, Hoboken Councilman Tim Occhipinti is scheduled celebrate Frank Sinatra’s birthday on Dec. 12 with a fundraiser at Leo’s on Second and Grand streets in Hoboken.