Earlier this year, Gov. Christopher Christie on his weekly talk show made a distinction between West New York Mayor Felix Roque and another mayor elsewhere in the state who had been charged with serious crimes.
Christie said the difference was that Roque – who is viewed as something of a Christie ally – had not been indicted, while the other mayor had been. Christie said if a public official is indicted he or she should step down.
Well, now that Roque has been indicted, will he risk alienating the governor by refusing? The indictment will likely spur on efforts to recall Roque, although West New York recalls have a curious history. A move to recall one time West New York mayor and powerful political boss Anthony DeFino fell on its face back in the early 1990s.
A recall asks two questions: should the mayor be recalled, and who should replace him or her? In DeFino’s recall, voters agreed to recall him, then immediately, at the same time, voted him back into the seat they just dumped him from.
Perhaps Roque believes history will repeat itself, regardless of how unlikely. Perhaps he hopes that a divided political field of hopeful replacements that he might get enough votes to beat the recall. Commissioner Count Wiley has already said he is running against Roque (see story in this weekend’s West New York Reporter), but reports suggest that Commissioner Caridad Rodriguez may also have the favor of the North Hudson power elite, while former Mayor Sal Vega and former Commissioner Gerald Langeappear to be looking for the mayor’s slot as well.
Referendum madness in Hoboken?
Mayor Dawn Zimmer and her followers appear to be on the road to getting a referendum placed on the November ballot that would move the municipal election from May to November, just in time to allow Zimmer to run on the same ballot as Republican Gov. Christie and perhaps get a financial boost from the Christie campaign.
Even Zimmer critics are not completely against the move, since it would save the city a significant amount of money by doing away with one more election. What many oppose, however, is the second referendum that would do away with runoff elections, allowing any winning candidate in a multiple-candidate election to take office.
Currently, a runoff occurs if no candidate gets 50 percent plus one vote in the first round of elections, and it requires to the two top vote-getters to run against each other in a second round. The point of a runoff is to make sure that whoever wins an elected seat actually has a majority of the voters. It is also designed to take away what is called “The Hudson County Swerve,” running fake candidates designed to siphon off opponent votes.
Suit against Hoboken bloggers
The biggest political story in Hudson County this week is the lawsuit filed against two Hoboken bloggers by newsman Lane Bajardi and his wife, who say they have been harassed on the internet over the last few years. Although the bloggers will try to make the case that Lane and his wife are political operatives, the question remains how far is too far when it comes to political satire. The Bajardis note that their child has been exposed to political attack, that their jobs have been threatened, and even possibly their lives. This could be a landmark case as to how far can bloggers go when raising political criticisms of opponents: are people’s personal lives ripe for such attacks? The bloggers, on the other hand, claim that they were provoked in some cases into making exaggerated satire.
Is Minutillo gearing up to replace Marsh on the council?
Theresa Minutillo reportedly said that she will not seek reelection to the Hoboken school board this November. This comes at a convenient time, since it is rumored that she intends to replace Carol Marsh as a City Council candidate in 2013, allied with Mayor Dawn Zimmer. Marsh, who recently got a government job elsewhere in New Jersey, may not run for reelection.
Rumors that Secaucus School Board Trustee Dora Marra will step down have been grossly exaggerated, said sources, although she may not run for reelection when he term expires in 2014. Marra apparently was troubled by the political influence Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli had on the last Board of Education election.
Tea leaves of Jersey City
Who marched with whom at this year’s Jersey City Puerto Rican parade is supposed to be some indication of which candidate is with which political group and which power figures support which candidates.
State Sen. Sandra Cunningham, Rep. Albio Sires, and Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner were spotted walking with City Council members Nidia Lopez and Viola Richardson at the parade. Joining them were Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez and Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. Freeholder Bill O’Dea joined the group later in the parade.
Surprisingly, Jersey City Councilman Rolando R. Lavarro Jr. didn’t walk with Councilman Steve Fulop even though they are supposed to be on the same ticket next May.
Meanwhile, incumbent Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy walked with City Council members Peter Brennan, Michele Massey, Freeholder
Meanwhile, former leaders of Dominican Empowerment PAC and other broken Jersey City Hispanic groups are coming together to form a Hispanic political action committee, they are pretty upset that they don’t have a seat at the negotiation table next May.