Forrest Gump – that legendary fictional figure played so admirably by Tom Hanks – said it best. “Stupid is as stupid does.”
That pretty much describes the antics that went on in North Bergen recently. How could anybody be so stupid as to order North Bergen municipal workers – still on the time clock – to serve as campaign workers in other towns?
That’s what James Wiley is asking people to believe after he pleaded guilty to having workers from the township Department of Public Works perform work on his private home.
By default, if you are talking North Bergen, there are only two people with enough clout there to actually authorize campaign work in other towns: Mayor Nicholas Sacco and Schools Superintendent Frank Gargiulo – neither of whom are stupid enough to pull a stunt exactly like Wiley alleges they did. This is not to say that they might still have used the workers during off-hours for campaigns, but they know the game by now.
“If you’re going to send workers to help in campaigns – which happens all the time,” one knowledgeable source said, “you have them clock out and they become volunteers.” This wins them a lot of favor with their own political bosses, since they are giving up their own time to help win the cause of an ally.
Wiley’s accusations must have come as a shock to Sacco and Gargiulo, who had just promoted one of Wiley’s sons in his position within the school district.
Sacco is rumored to be supporting the other son, West New York Commissioner Count Wiley, in his bid to recall West New York Mayor Felix Roque and become mayor himself.
Many believe the Wiley accusations may be part of an emerging political war between Sacco and his arch enemy, Union City Mayor Brian Stack. The two have been butting heads over a number of issues, but their feud goes back to a failed plot years ago in which Sacco allegedly attempted to prevent Stack from running for state Senate in favor of then state-Sen. Bernard Kenny. But it’s all been downhill from there, and many bad things were said that won’t be forgiven any time soon.
Political attacks in the age of social media
Rumors also put Sacco behind a host of anti-Stack moves inside Union City, where new social media websites are popping up like mushrooms with titles containing such words like “honest government,” or “anti-corruption.” In general, most of the information contained in them appears to be rising out of one source who has been feeding media the anti-Stack tips for a while, and may indeed be generated out of the Sacco camp or at least with Sacco’s blessing. But Stack may have the last laugh if reports out of Trenton are to be believed. Several sources, including some media outlets, claim Sacco is in Republican Gov. Christopher Christie’s “cross hairs,” meaning that Sacco is a political target – partly generated over Wiley’s so-called revelations, partly to help Christie’s ally, Stack, and partly to keep the Democrats unsettled going into Christie’s reelection next year.
The question is: can Stack bring down Sacco before rumor mongers start a political civil war in Union City with the aim of getting rid of Stack?
Weehawken rumors rehashed
Rumors that Richard Turner will not seek reelection as mayor of Weehawken in 2014 have been grossly exaggerated, sources say.
“As of two weeks ago, he said he intended to run,” a source close to Turner said.
This may be part of yet another misinformation campaign that is being launched early in order to raise hopes for a handful of anti-Turner activists that have been unable to wrestle control of town government from him over the last few elections.
Why did you wait so long?
This column stated back on Aug. 19 that Carol Marsh would be resigning her seat on the Hoboken City Council. But she waited a whole month to make it official, suggesting that this was a deliberate move to avoid having a special election in November, leaving the choice of a replacement to a City Council, divided 4-4, on which Mayor Dawn Zimmer would cast the deciding vote.
This is nothing new. Zimmer’s problem is whom to replace the very competent Marsh with. The list of names is very long, but not the list of those who will actually get enough votes to get the seat. School Trustee
Zimmer opponents in disarray
Although replacing Marsh will take center stage for the moment in Hoboken politics, the school board election in November will be hotly contested, as the tag team of former Trustee Frank Raia and Councilwoman Beth Mason work hard to have their slate of Move Forward candidates win over Zimmer-backed Kids First. On that same ballot will be the referendum question asking voters to decide if Hoboken municipal elections will be held next year in May or November, an often-cited excuse as to why no Zimmer opponent has come forth yet. In reality, Zimmer opponents are in disarray, as they argue over which candidate has the best chance to beat Zimmer, who in fact may well be virtually unbeatable.
Councilman Michael Russo is not running for mayor, but could help decide who will, and is hard pressed about it, since he will likely need Raia to retain his own 3rd Ward seat, but may see Assemblyman Ruben Ramos as a better shot to challenge Zimmer.
Raia wants to run for mayor, apparently, and with Mason, has had fairly frequent meetings with State Sen. Stack.