"The county executive and I are recommending to the Democratic committee of Hudson county that consideration to Inclan as the candidate," said HCDO Chairman Bernard Kenny. "Javier has been making the rounds the past three days, to meet with political leaders to ask for their support. If, in fact, he garners support he will be placed in nomination on Tuesday night at Schuetzen Park."
County Executive Tom DeGise said that there was some discussion about various candidates, but in the end everyone but Jersey City Mayor Glenn Cunningham and Kearny Mayor Al Santos supported Inclan.
"There are many qualified people for the position, and there are many people that would do well there, but in the end you have to pick one person, and we decided on this person," DeGise said.
The move could feed into a continued battle between Jersey City and the rest of the county's Democrats, and what some sources called a lively debate, other sources claimed was open dissention.
Inclan, in his HCDO role as executive director, has been a kind of bulldog for the party. This has not made him particularly popular in the African-American community in Jersey City.
Having the county clerk seat go to someone outside Jersey City could give Mayor Cunningham additional clout in future attempts to retake control of the City Council as well as appointments to various boards.
Insiders claim Rep. Bob Menendez has been behind the move in order to protect his own re-election bid next year. The county clerk has significant clout over petition filings and such. By having a political alley in that position, Menendez keeps solid control over his own power base in Hudson County should he face a challenge from other parts of his congressional district.
Another shoe drops As tempers flared during the first official debate between candidates in the 4th Freeholder District this week, independent Juanita Lopez filed papers with the Superior Court to also become a candidate. Last week, the court ruled that Jersey City Deputy Mayor Anthony Cruz and former Jersey City Mayor Gerald McCann can be allowed on the ballot. Lopez is seeking the same opportunity.
Meanwhile, McCann clashed with Radames Velazquez, the choice of the HCDO, at the first debate, with Velazquez calling McCann a convicted criminal and McCann questioning Velazquez's residency. McCann was convicted in 1992 of business crimes not related to his office as mayor of Jersey City.
"I have always maintained my innocence in that regard," he told the Reporter during an interview.
Velazquez, in defending against McCann's attack, said his children lived in Bergen County, but he lived in Jersey City.
McCann, however, questioned Velazquez's lack of voting record, saying that the first election for which there is a record of a Velazquez's vote was the 2003 primary.
Around the county...
Reports suggest that Lois Shaw may be considered to replace Melissa Holloway as the county's director of Consumer Affairs.
Meanwhile, Bud Demellier has been scouring the county departments looking for ways to reorganize the department, armed with spreadsheets and reports.
Demellier came aboard the staff last month with the idea of shaping the county administration's office into a more professionally operating organization. Last week, he was apparently roaming the halls of the county's department of Roads and Highways. Who knows where he will end up next?
Freeholder approval of the county technology maintenance contract may soon head to court, as the president of a competitor claims undue political influence was used to award the contract. There was a letter in the winning contractor's application that came from Rep. Bob Menendez, in support of the firm. But Menendez said he did not mean the letter to be used in seeking contracts; it was just a favorable letter about the firm. Hindsight, who won the contract, had a bid that was almost $1 million more than any of the other bids.
Political guru Tony Amabile suffered a $48,000 setback last week when council members in Hoboken decided not to approve his public relations contract. With the city proposing to lay off workers, none of the council felt comfortable hiring an additional public relations man, especially since the city already had a full-time capable public information officer in Bill Campbell. While Amabile had done work for the city's development projects and the Parking Authority in the past, no prior mayor had hired him just as a city public relations officer. He has done political work for both Mayor David Roberts' candidates and those of former Mayor Anthony Russo.
On Jersey City's west side, Freeholder Bill O'Dea gathered his supporters together at the Knights of Columbus last week, saying that the political club would once more begin weekly meetings. The club will have a fundraiser on Sept. 9.
At a recent Summit House retirement luncheon for Florence Robinson, who has worked for the county for more than 37 years, she surprised everyone when asked who her favorite freeholder was. Most expected her to name Maurice Fitzgibbons, but she gave the nod to former Hoboken Mayor Anthony DePascale. She also expressed affection for former Hoboken mayors Thomas Vezzetti and Steve Cappiello.
Jim Kennelly, former political columnist for the Hudson Reporter and current spokesperson for the county executive, was passing out the cigars last week as the proud father of a baby boy.