However you want to frame it, the race for mayor and council is on between Mayor Mark Smith and Police Capt. James Davis after the Feb. 27 launch by Davis at his headquarters at 16th Street and Broadway.
The mayoral candidate unveiled his slate, with no real surprises, in front of more than 100 people in the packed storefront office.
Davis’s ticket consists of: Thomas Cotter, First Ward; Sal Gullace, Second Ward; former councilman Gary Lapelusa, Third Ward; and former county sheriff Juan Perez and Sharon Nadrowski, at large.
Local businessman Anthony Zanowic, who is also challenging Smith for mayor, began last week with a full slate. However, he lost two of his council candidates, Washington Flores, Third Ward, and John Sebik, at large, when they left his ticket after a texting scandal between Zanowic’s then aide Peter Franco and a Smith supporter.
Residents show support
The mood at the launch was upbeat, as residents unhappy with Smith’s administration, voiced their support for Davis.
“I’m here to support Davis,” said John Fitzpatrick of 14th Street. “I think Bayonne needs a change. That’s my main reason.”
Nicole LoCascio of 23rd Street attended because she’s known Davis for five years and is a good friend.
“I also know a lot of people who know him,” she said. “He’s an honest man. He says what he means, and I think we need that here in Bayonne.”
Deb Peveler of Newman Avenue, a business owner, believes Bayonne can, and should, be doing better.
“It’s a town to me that can rival any one in New Jersey,” she said. “We’re close to New York. Why aren’t we a booming town?”
The candidates were buoyed by the large turnout for the quickly planned event.
“I think we have a good team,” said Sal Gullace, a candidate in 2010. “I think we’re going to take it.”
“I like Jim; he’s an honest guy,” said Perez. “His heart is in it. He’s enthusiastic, and I can feel he’s going to be a very good mayor.”
Lapelusa, a councilman from 2006-2010, said he had run twice before as an independent, but after meeting and talking with Davis, decided to join his team.
“We had a lot of the same ideas about which way we want the town to go,” he said. “I wouldn’t run with somebody unless they have the same ideas as me.”
Nadrowski said that she didn’t like the direction the city was going in, and that “there’s nothing else to sell off in Bayonne.” She also said she felt there is no transparency with the Smith administration.
“People should know what’s going on,” she said.
The candidate speaks
“The reason I’m here is because of you people here,” Davis said. “You decide who runs the city. This is about taking care of the city. This is about bringing Bayonne back together.”
“This is about everyone having an equal opportunity to work for our city,” he continued. “No more nepotism, no more cronyism. Everyone deserves a shot to work. Everyone deserves a chance to become a police officer, a fireman, a teacher.”
Davis’s platform includes supporting a changeover to an elected school board, close monitoring of the Bayonne Bridge-raising project, and passing “sensible rent control regulation.”
Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.