Jersey City Councilman Steven Fulop recently got the endorsement of ministers in Ward F – only to find out later that perhaps he may not have.
Usually, people pray to the Lord for things when they’ve tried everything else. But for mayoral candidate Fulop, the endorsement seemed to be good news, since he’ll have to do more than just pray to get the most votes in Ward F, which has a large African-American population. Fulop has been claiming credit for helping to get Diane Coleman elected to the City Council in that ward. Behind the scenes a number of people connected with the churches, and more precisely with State Senator Sandra Cunningham, are disputing the ministers’ endorsement.
This may have a lot to do with two political polls conducted throughout the city and a push to have Cunningham run for mayor.
When pollsters gave respondents a choice only between Mayor Jerramiah Healy and Fulop, some of those polled may have been willing to go with Fulop. But factor in a possible Cunningham candidacy and the whole election changes – and at least one minister has said publicly he wasn’t part of the endorsement.
Cunningham is the last hope in the May 2013 election for many of the Old Guard who no longer have faith in Healy but know that nothing in the city will be the same if Fulop wins, something many believe is inevitable if the race comes down to Healy vs. Fulop.
If Cunningham doesn’t take the bait and jump into this mayoral fish pond, some of the movers and shakers behind the scenes – that backroom crowd with large cigars and a lot of puppet strings – might be content to let Fulop become mayor in order to perform the unenviable task of cleaning house after eight years of Healy rule.
These powerbrokers may not believe Fulop can pull the city together, but if he wins they’ll have four years to groom another candidate to run for mayor in 2017. Under this scenario, these brokers and their agents would begin a guerrilla war similar to the ongoing opposition campaign waged by a minority of the Hoboken City Council members against Mayor Dawn Zimmer, hoping to render Fulop frustrated and ineffective for four years.
Fulop might be wise to learn a lesson from Zimmer, who has refused to get rattled by the constant attacks by her opposition, as opposed to Union City Mayor Brian Stack, whose predictable knee-jerk reactions to the campaign against him have given his enemies a lot of ammunition.
Opponents of Fulop, however, believe that he will likely become another Stack, overreacting to attacks and thus rendering himself less and less effective over time.
But only time and a victory in May will tell, and Fulop may just frustrate them.
The trouble with Everett
Retired Police Chief Charles Everett continues to frustrate Union City officials with his ability to beat the system and give the Police Department enemies of Mayor Stack more bullets to use against him. Everett, who is being investigated by the state Attorney General’s Office, recently received a $284,000 payout for unused sick and vacation time.
In old cowboy movies, Everett is the guy that the townspeople run out of town on a rail – not quite the bad guy, but someone whose personal agenda clearly stopped him from being the hero.
For those whose goal is to bring down Stack, Everett has become a convenient tool, partly because most people believe Stack knew about Everett’s alleged misdeeds, which included allegedly working at “no show” off-duty jobs doing security for school facilities.
Stack also gets blamed for allowing Everett to retire just days before a report commissioned by the city unveiled damaging information last October. In a town where Stack has his fingers in every pie, it is hard for anyone to believe he was ignorant of these things, or for that matter, the alleged misdeeds of others whom federal authorities have been looking into.
Each time Everett beats the system, Stack takes a political hit, and worse, it feeds the rage brewing for years among others in and out of the police department who feel they did not get fairly compensated.
Wiley throws the first pitch in a recall
Living up to his word, West New York Commissioner Count Wiley has delivered petitions to the city clerk in an attempt to recall Mayor Felix Roque and three other commissioners.
While recall elections have been fraught with danger for those that have called for them in the past, full of irony and surprises, it seems like Wiley just can’t resist. The most successful recall in WNY history did succeed in dumping Mayor Anthony Defino, only to reelect him on the same ballot.
WNY voters, unlike other Hudson County towns, are unpredictable. Even Roque was a surprise, winning his 2011 election despite all the high priced mud that supporters of Mayor Sal Vega could sling at him.
With so many political enemies against him – including possibly U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez – Roque may not be able to dodge mud or even keep his seat – although as some observers pointed out, Menendez did endorse Vega over Roque in the 2010 election. Perhaps there’s a lesson there for the mudslingers who might wind up with mud on their own faces if Roque should prevail.