Hudson County Sheriff Juan Perez seems to believe no one is trying to put him out of office. Up until a few weeks ago, he said he is on good terms with all the political powers in Hudson County. But he may be wearing rose colored glasses.
A big pow-wow this week will bring together the leaders of Hudson County’s Democrats, where some people representing state Sen. and North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco are looking to “talk some sense” into Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy – who as chairman of the Hudson County Democratic Organization was considering giving Perez the Democratic line.
Normally, this is enough to guarantee a candidate election in the overwhelmingly Democratic county of Hudson. But reportedly, Sacco and Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith are supporting an alternative candidate, Undersheriff Frank Schillari of Secaucus.
Reports suggest that Perez angered some key people in the Sacco and Smith administrations, and became an outcast by mistakenly being too friendly with Retired Bayonne Municipal Judge Patrick Conaghan when he ran against Smith in November 2008.
Earlier this month, Sacco and Smith people confronted Healy saying that they had garnered strong support for Schillari, allegedly even getting the unpredictable state Sen. and Union City Mayor Brian Stack on board.
Sources say that Healy stalled for time, saying he needed a few days to settle the matter with Perez – meaning that Healy wasn’t just going to toss Perez to the dogs.
“Healy wants to give Perez somewhere to land,” one source said, meaning that Healy and the others would need to find Perez another job.
Word soon got back to the Sacco people that instead of putting out Perez’s resume, Healy began calling around to other mayors looking to get support for Perez against Schillari. This has raised the stakes in the political infighting among Democrats, filtering down into local elections.
However, by the end of last week, sources said that Healy had dropped Perez from the line.
Healy, apparently, was playing hard ball partly because he learned that some close supporters of his arch rival, Councilman Steven Fulop, have been working in Jersey City to get Schillari support.
Perhaps more importantly, state Sen. Sandra Cunningham, an important Healy ally, is casting her support behind Perez.
So is her close associate Assemblyman Anthony Chiappone, who had said he would be challenging Smith for mayor of Bayonne in the municipal election slated for May 11.
Sacco, Smith, Fulop and Stack should be able to drum up enough votes to get Schillari elected even if Perez runs in the June primary. But the issue puts Stack in a very uncomfortable position.
How can a non-Latino mayor of a town overflowing with Latino voters support a non-Latino candidate against a Latino? Stack, a master of local politics, has always been very loyal to his Latino base, and this could easily be the opportunity his opponents in the municipal elections need to crack into that base and peel off some votes against Stack.
If Stack doesn’t support Schillari, even the powerful Sacco-Smith base might not be enough.
McCann in the mix again
While a recent sighting of Terry Dehere, Sean Connors, Gerry McCann and Charles Epps seated together at a public function might not in itself indicate that a ticket for the Jersey City Board of Education election is being formed, it suggests there are common interests at work.
McCann, former advisor to Connors, former Hoboken Councilman Chris Campos, and former state Assemblyman Louis Manzo, has become a significant lightning rod in Rutherford elections, where his past convictions have been dragged out in order to besmirch a council candidate currently using him as an advisor.
In some ways, this is only just deserts for McCann, who has been the master of dirty tricks – he has been blamed for the failed effort to use half-naked pictures of Mayor Healy to help Manzo become Jersey City mayor – proving the old saying that “what comes around goes around.”
Speaking of dirty tricks, apparently one story says that one or more Secaucus Board of Education members may have been behind a plot to have a secretary seduce a security guard at Secaucus High School in order to somehow get him fired from his job. The plot failed because the secretary had a bout of conscience and confessed the whole plot to the intended victim.
But are the board members in trouble? No way. She wouldn’t give them up, and so she’s in trouble for filing a “false” police report about the alleged setup, and has been suspended.
“This thing is under investigation,” one Secaucus school official said. “But there are a lot of stories. We don’t know which was one is true, if any.”
Apparently late breaking reports have two new prominent names have appeared the Bayonne municipal election: Vincent Militello may reportedly seek a council seat at large, while Nick Chiavallotti may be running in the 3rd Ward.
In Hoboken blogger known as the Hudson Shark has challenged his on-line opponent blogger – Hoboken Horse – to a triathlon to settle their differences, predicting he will win in swimming and bicycling, but the Hoboken Horse, being a horse, will win the footrace.