William Shakespeare and Will Rogers had very little good to say about lawyers, and had they lived to see what goes on in Hudson County these days, they might even have lowered their opinion.
Any dog that wasn’t able to learn how to catch a fire truck should take a lesson from those attorneys dealing with the political realm here, and we might even make ambulance chasing an Olympic sport. Hudson County attorneys would take the gold in nearly every event.
Everybody has an attorney and leans on them to get the ruling they want on every decision, even when it is clear the attorneys haven’t a clue as to what they are talking about, such as the recent opinion by an attorney representing those opposed to the appointment of James Doyle to the City Council in Hoboken who said Doyle could not be nominated again.
Hudson County freeholder meetings don’t have just one attorney, but two, one representing the board and the other, the county executive.
The war between state senators Brian Stack and Nicholas Sacco is rife with lawyers who are quick enough to issue a threatening legal opinion if they don’t like what you say or give too much to the other in their ongoing blood feud to prove each other allegedly corrupt.
Sacco’s strategy appears to be to keep Stack rattled and to reduce the number of Stack insiders and make Stack ineffective on a countywide basis, and to that end, Sacco appears to be successful. But Stack and Sacco are both very isolated figures. Stack relies on very few people, while Sacco – with a huge war chest – relies on paid professionals. This truly shows just how lonely it is at the top.
But you would think that political bosses as big as those guys are would know how to settle petty differences without having to wage war through surrogates or resorting to high class lawyers.
Will Rogers once pointed out, “Any time a man can’t come and settle an issue with you without bringing his lawyer – look out for him.”
You have to believe Stack had his legal department watching over what the FBI took out of Union City City Hall during its raid a few weeks back. But then FBI made such a show of it, they might have qualified for an Oscar nomination if they hadn’t hammed it up so much or mugged so often for the camera.
Democratic civil war may be inevitable
Meanwhile, Stack appears to be deadset on causing a political revolution in Hudson County with the hopes of taking control of Hudson County in the June primary by backing his own slate in all three legislative districts and his own candidate for county sheriff.
The list of possible candidates is as long as a tall man’s arm, and includes former county sheriff Juan Perez, private investigator Richard Rivera, Freeholder Anthony Romano (who said he’s not interested in taking a side in the north Hudson political war), Jersey City Councilwoman Viola Richardson (she is a police officer after all), and possibly even Assemblyman Sean Connors – although some believe he doesn’t have enough name recognition outside Jersey City Heights.
This could fundamentally damage Sacco, because with the election of Frank Schillari as sheriff three years ago, Sacco gained a patronage job mill to help bolster his control countywide. He is reportedly looking also to take control of other countywide seats in the future, such as the county executive seat in 2015 – a move Stack and others oppose.
Stack is apparently trying to lure state Sen. Sandra Cunningham off the Hudson County Democratic Organization line to run with him and reportedly met with her and Republican Gov. Christopher Christie last week in Toms River prior to Christie’s announcement that he will seek a second term next November. Less certain is whether Cunningham will run for reelection as state senator – the nightmare senerio for Sacco and friends – or jump into the Jersey City mayoral race, where Councilman Steve Fulop is seen as the front-running challenger against Mayor Jerramiah Healy.
While recent poll numbers show Cunningham could easily compete against them, many believe Stack and Cunningham backing Fulop would be an unbeatable combination, since the mayoral election and the June primary are only a month apart.
Fulop insiders are overjoyed by the recent decision by Connors to withdraw his endorsement of Healy’s reelection, believing that Connors has handed Jersey City Heights to the Fulop campaign on a silver platter. But it appears they are gloating too soon, since it appears that Cunningham has met with Connors, and if she is running for mayor, Connors could help swing the Heights to her.
Stack may well also be tapping the somewhat strained relationship between Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith – who serves as chairman of the Hudson County Democratic Organization – and Sacco, who is supposed angry with Smith over a number of issues. In particular, these include Smith ally Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell’s vote for Joe Cryan as Assembly speaker over Sacco’s choice.
Smith and O’Donnell may well also have other reasons to seek a closer friendship with Stack. Smith backed Nia Gill for the 10th Congressional District in last June’s Democratic primary over Tom Payne Jr., who was the choice of U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, straining relations with one of the most powerful senators in the nation. By continuing to support West New York Mayor Felix Roque, Stack apparently also strained relations with Menendez. Roque angered Menendez by initially endorsing a Republican challenger earlier this year against Menendez. Although Roque later shifted support to Menendez, the damage was done, and Roque alienated Rep. Albio Sires and Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, his one-time strongest supporters.