Epps for Jersey City council?
Perhaps seeking to take advantage of dissatisfaction with the way the Jersey City School Board selected its new superintendent, and to hammer home the fact that the school board has close ties to his mayoral opponent Jersey City Councilman Steven Fulop, Mayor Jerramiah Healy may be seeking to get former Schools Superintendent Charles Epps to run on his ticket as a council candidate.
Healy appears to be seeking ways to take advantage of cracks in the Fulop for Mayor campaign, including possibly enticing former Fulop allies to his camp.
“It’s a great move,” said one political observer said
Recently, in what some call another brilliant move, Healy showed up at a fundraiser for state senator and Union City Mayor Brian Stack, who prior to this had been thought to be leaning towards supporting Fulop’s mayoral bid.
“Of course, I’m going to go there,” Healy said. “He is the state senator for half the city and I should have a good relationship with him and Senator [Sandra] Cunningham, who represents the other half of Jersey City.”
Healy, who still has yet to put together his organization for reelection, has been seen to date as the underdog, but many believe that Fulop may be running out of steam, and that Healy may be able to pull off his reelection bid after all.
“All he has to do is get into a run off with Fulop to stand a chance of winning,” said one source, claiming that people will rally to Healy if they see him as a viable choice, especially if it means they can protect their patronage jobs.
Healy may also be reaching out to Assemblyman Sean Connors as a possible Ward D candidate, putting pressure on Fulop, who is seen weak in some of the outlying parts of the city. This may be why a meeting between Fulop and Connors is being brokered.
Rift over sheriff’s hiring
A political rift appears to be opening between some Hudson County mayors, the county executive and Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari.
While it is unlikely that the rift will get so wide as to cause Democrats to seek another candidate for sheriff, the fight is over the hiring of investigators and whose choice that should be. Many of the mayors and apparently also the county executive appear to want some say in the hiring of these non-union and non-civil service positions, while the sheriff apparently believes that as sheriff hiring is his prerogative.
Schillari, who is supported strongly by state Senator and North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco, has made some political enemies – including apparently state Sen. Stack, who apparently thought a Union City resident was going to be a deputy sheriff. But for the most part, this is a battle over priorities, and few are predicting Schillari losing his seat over this.
The Hoboken mayoral
The once united opposition to Mayor Dawn Zimmer seems to have fallen onto hard times as next May’s election looms.
“Everybody wants to be mayor, but nobody can be if everybody runs,” said one political source.
While the most obvious choice for running against Zimmer is state Assemblyman Ruben Ramos, not everybody is in his camp – and he would need a united front to win.
Councilman Michael Russo apparently supports Ramos, but this has put him at odds with his very close associate Councilwoman Terri Castellano, who apparently thinks she would make a viable candidate – and indeed she would.
Frank Raia, who has run for mayor previously, and has served on the Board of Education in the past, is rumored to have the support of Councilwoman Beth Mason. But Raia has not yet made up his mind if he intends to run for mayor or city council.
Mason and Raia became fast allies during the special election for Fourth Ward when they helped Tim Occhipinti overthrow Councilman Michael Lenz.
“They’ve agree to work together and have a friendship, and they will support the same candidates for mayor and council and the Board of Education,” a source close to Mason said. “But who that candidate is, it hasn’t been decided yet.”
There is even some support from the business community for Freeholder Anthony Romano, who said he would not run in an election where there were too many candidates.
But anti-Zimmer people say there will not likely be a divided field for next May’s election, and that eight people that include Ramos, Raia, Mason, Russo, Romano, Castellano, Democratic Chairman Jamie Cryan, and Occhipinti are meeting regularly, and out of these meetings will emerge a slate for November’s Board of Education election as well as choices for mayor and council next May.
Rumors of firings in West New York unfounded
Someone began a rumor that West New York Mayor Felix Roque went on a firing spree this week, saying he allegedly removed people from the city's administrative office, the Department of Public Works, and the Police Department. And while sources confirmed that employees were in fact let go or left, it was for reasons other than the rumored political slaughter, including retirement.
Gov. Christopher Christie made reference to Roque’s legal troubles without mentioning his name in his weekly radio show in late June. Christie stated that any mayor should step down when he or she is indicted for a crime.
Although Roque and his son have been charged with allegedly hacking into their political opponents’ website, no indictment has yet been issued – and most likely won’t be issued, if at all -- until after the summer.
“Things slow down in the summer,” one source said.
But don’t expect Roque to resign even if indicted – especially if he honestly believes he didn’t do anything wrong.