Not everybody who failed to show up for the kickoff to U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez’s reelection campaign meant to miss it.
Some people, such as some of the Hudson County freeholders, never got the invitation, adding to already mounting tensions among Democrats in Hudson County and the ill feelings generated over normally petty feuds.
Some freeholders were actually angry at how badly the announcement was handled, and how they received a last minute flyer rather than something more personal and more advanced notice.
“I would have been there,” said one freeholder, who clearly supports Menendez in the upcoming campaign.
Menendez kicked off his campaign on May 21 at Union City High School against Republican state Sen. Joe Kyrillos in what ought to be a sleep walk for the Democrats – except that many of the prominent Hudson County Democrats didn’t bother to show up.
This included all of the state legislators from the 32nd District – state Senator and North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco and his assembly members Vincent Prieto and Angelica M. Jimenez Also missing were members of the 31st state legislative district, including state Sen. Sandra Cunningham and her assembly members Jason O’Donnell and Charles Mainor. Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith – who chairs the Hudson County Democratic Organization – did not attend, nor did County Executive Tom DeGise.
West New York Mayor Dr. Felix Roque, who after a brief flirtation with Kyrillos eventually endorsed Menendez, did not attend either, nor did Secaucus Mayor Mike Gonnelli.
Oddly enough, state Senator and Union City Mayor Brian Stack and Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer did come out for the Menendez event, even though both have been playing political footsie with Republican Gov. Christopher Christie for several years, suggesting that neither is yet willing to give up their Democratic mantle to fully embrace a Republican agenda, no matter how much money Christie throws their way in state aid.
The botched invite list, however, does give cover to those Democrats who deliberately snubbed the event, part of a continuing Democratic civil war that no one has the finances to actually fight more openly. This guerilla warfare, however, bodes ill not for a divided Hudson County but for a statewide conflict with Republicans who may seek to exploit these weaknesses.
Hoboken bloggers under scrutiny?
Grafix Avenger has once more come under scrutiny for alleged used of Nazi imagery, although Nancy Pincus, who is the name behind the blog, says this is a false accusation and something that is part of an ongoing campaign to discredit open discourse on political issues.
Pincus became the center of a dispute almost two years ago when she allegedly used the background and lettering of a well-known Nazi propaganda poster in a parody portrayal of her arch enemy, Hoboken Councilwoman Beth Mason. This was not the first use of such images, since one prior posting on her website had also depicted a political enemy fishing a swastika out of a urinal with a fishing pole.
Pincus – Jewish herself – made peace with the Hoboken Jewish community and the matter seemed to dissipate from the blogosphere, although other websites got into the mix last year by using mock Nazi videos as attack vehicles.
But leaving no ill stone unturned, Pincus’ political enemies appear to have farmed her regular web postings, hoping to harvest yet more Nazi imagery they might use to discredit her and her allies, and by default, discredit Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who Pincus supports and who appointed Pincus to the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
Orchestrated perhaps, several opponents of Pincus complained about a reference to starting up gas chambers that appeared on her website, not two years ago, but in the aftermath of the sale of Hoboken University Medical Center.
Pincus when initially contacted about the reference, could not recall it, and denied any Nazi reference.
“After what happened two years ago, I wouldn’t touch a Nazi image with a 1,000 foot pole,” she said.
In order to prove the reference existed, this columnist went back to one of the people who complained, asking for some proof about the posting. This resulted in their producing a screen shot that showed the phrase.
Pincus then agreed, she had written the phrase, but that the screen shot had been doctored to take it out of context.
James Barracato, who had had produced the image, said that he had simply provided proof about what was written.
“I didn’t Photoshop it,” he said. “I just didn’t print all eight pages of the website. She did write it and this was proof. Every word that was on there is what she wrote.”
Pincus said she hadn’t misrepresented anything.
“I wasn’t being evasive,” she said, saying the phrase had been part of a larger posting that talked about Mason’s efforts to derail the hospital sale, after which Mason held a meet and greet for new hospital owners.
“Only one portion of the post was extracted, but taken in its proper context, you can see that I was talking about Mason as Dr. Kevorkian who was trying to kill off the hospital sale.”
Kevorkian was one of the leaders of the movement for merciful euthanasia of terminally ill people.
The phrase was minus the images and the other references so it was out of context.
The original posting posted images from other sites that declared the hospital sale as dead, and Pincus said she took images of Mason dressed as a nurse during the Halloween Parade and painted her as Hoboken’s Dr. Kevorkian who wanted to euthanize the hospital.
“I was referring to capital punishment and the gas chamber, not the Nazi gas chambers,” she said. “Others might read what they want into it, but I’m the author of the piece, and I know what she meant.”
“She claims ultra sensitivity to Holocaust references. Why didn’t she pick her words more carefully?” Barracato said. “To the general public, gas chambers are the means the Nazis used for genocide.”
Pincus, however, said this has nothing to do with the Nazis.
“This was humor; I made what Mason did into a joke. Some who are pro-Mason might be offended,” Pincus said. “This was stripped of context to make it look like a Nazi reference when it was not. As a Jewish woman being accused of using Nazi images, this makes me very angry.”
Both Barracato and Pincus have contacted the Anti-Defamation League, a very powerful0 Jewish civil rights organization.