But if someone can hit a home run in politics, Cunningham managed it this week when the Jersey City Ethical Standards Board members voted to remove Donato J. Battista as their counsel at its first meeting of the year.
Cunningham teammates on the board may even have taken the first steps towards a political comeback after a year of lost battles.
This is a victory partly because of the close relationship between Battista and County Executive Tom DeGise, whom Cunningham did not support for election. Not only does Battista serve as counsel for the county executive, but has been a close ally of his through several conflicts with Cunningham. His being replaced could suggest other impending changes on that board and a shift in Cunningham's ability to regain control of other boards.
The victory comes at a good time for Cunningham, whose team is gearing up for another political season. It always helps to get a few wins under the belt before taking on the Hudson County Democratic Organization team in the primary. While only rumors account for who will make up the Cunningham-backed slate for state legislative positions, former Freeholder Lou Manzo said he will be on the ticket for a state position. Others may include former Hudson County Director of Consumer Affairs Director Willie Flood and possibly Jersey City Freeholder Bill O'Dea.
Assistant Corporation Counsel Karen DeSoto will temporarily replace Battista on the board.
No reprieve for fired county workers
Four county employees fired after DeGise took office in November will not get a hearing before the Hudson County freeholders - despite similar hearings held last June after a similar situation.
Flood, who was the county's consumer affairs director, claimed she was released due to political reasons. So has Anthony Grazioso, a public relations person, and Thomas Fricchione and Luis Jurado, both administrators at the county correctional facility.
DeGise fired the four for what he said were "economic reasons."
Although O'Dea proposed a resolution authorizing a hearing for this week, he could not get a second from the rest of the freeholder board.
Freeholder attorney Edward Florio said state and county regulations required the hearing to be this week or not at all, but that no law said the freeholders had to hold a hearing.
Last June, after then-County Executive Bernard Hartnett made firings that he admitted were political, freeholders not only held a hearing but acted to reverse the firings.
Bob Menendez makes the big leagues
Rep. Bob Menendez (D-13th Dist.) added to his series of historic firsts this week when he was sworn in as a member of the 108th Congress and officially took on his new title as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. He is the first Latino and first New Jersey congressman from either party to be elected to a leadership post in the United States Congress. This exposure could eventually lead Menendez to an even more prestigious title as the speaker of the House of Representatives at some future date - the third in the line of succession after the president and vice president. His current position also leaves him as the Democratic voice for Spanish-speaking people throughout the nation. With Latinos becoming a larger part of the voting population, Menendez's Spanish translations of Democratic responses would increase his exposure among a significant voting block if he should seek an even higher office - such as the vice presidency.
Bill Gaughan, a Jersey City councilman and the County Executive's chief of staff, was extremely enamored with Secaucus' new library, unveiled last week. He suggested that regular meetings of Hudson County mayors, which rotate between municipalities, should be held at the library when it is Secaucus' turn to host.
"It is an amazing building and Mayor [Dennis] Elwell should show it off," Gaughan said.
Elwell said agreed with the suggestion, hinting that Secaucus may have created a model for other municipalities to follow. The library, with its business resource center, also bonds municipal governments with local corporations.
Elwell's political woes at home, however, have grown more complicated as his one-time close ally, 2nd Ward Councilman Bob Kickey, seems to be drifting away. Although Elwell supported Kickey in last November's reelection bid against Republican challenger Tom Troyer, Kickey seems to have aligned himself more closely with Elwell's opponents.
Troyer may not be one of these, however, since Kickey has also developed a close relationship to Assemblyman Anthony Impreveduto (D-32nd Dist.).
"If I have to choose between Elwell and Impreveduto, I'll go with Elwell," said Troyer, who has been a bitter critic of Impreveduto for decades.
Hoboken politics seem have run into bus troubles, as Councilman Tony Soares raised questions recently over the use of volunteers to transport people via town-owned buses for what he claimed was a political rally. Councilman Chris Campos, one of the organizers of the event, claimed it was a neighborhood party to which everyone was invited.