Between the Lines

Stressed out in WNY?

Zippia, The Career Expert, a professional advice website, recently declared West New York to be the most stressful city in New Jersey, which it declared is the most stressed-out state in America. And this had nothing to do with local politics.

Using the most recent data from the U.S. Census American Community Survey for 2013-2017 and other sources, the website ranked each city in each state in America by unemployment, hours worked, commute times, population density, home price to income ratio, and percent of uninsured population.

The higher a city ranked in any of these areas, the more stressed it was.  Then they took a closer look at each of the 50 states and ranked the cities in each state from most stressed to least stressed.

And the website claims West New York is the most stressed of the cities it researched in New Jersey.

“West New York is one of the most densely populated cities not just in the United States but worldwide,” the report said. “That along with super long commute, and high unemployment rates make this city one of the most stressed in America.”

Considering the amount of mud being thrown by the various political camps in the upcoming municipal election, you can bet the stress level is going up.

Mayor Felix Roque is trying to fend off a serious uprising among commissioners who ran with him four years ago but now are seeking to upset him. Roque is hoping that his record of accomplishments as mayor will resonate with the general public more than the almost non-stop attacks from his opponents.

Roque’s team believes he is more popular among ordinary voters than the campaign against him would let on. Roque claims campaign polls show he has better recognition than his opponents.

His opponents in the New Beginnings campaign have managed to bring out negative things by the truck load. But negative campaigns do not always work. Sometimes, they show desperation, and in this case, you have to wonder if maybe they are seeing the same numbers Roque’s poll show, and they need to damage him ahead of the election.

A recent mailer sent out anonymously attempted to show how in league Roque allegedly was with a number of well-known local bad guys.

The Rogue campaign, meanwhile, is fighting back, suggesting that votes for his opponents are basically votes to allow party bosses such as North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco and Rep. Albio Sires to run West New York through puppet commissioners.

Recently, Roque came under fire for allegedly ducking out of a possible appearance on a local podcast. His campaign team said Roque is not avoiding the press. But he had been negotiating for some of his running mates to appear on the podcast before him, giving them desperately needed public exposure.

Roque also wants to appear in media closer to the election to get the most impact with the public, his staff claims.

“The mayor is going to be appear on Insider NJ shortly,” one of his campaign people said this week.

How close will Wainstein get?

Of course, tension is also up in North Bergen where Larry Wainstein is trying to unseat Sacco as mayor.

If anything, the mudslinging is even more intense in this race than in the one in West New York.

There are many ironies in the North Bergen battle, as Sacco’s campaign tries desperately to imply that Wainstein is either an alleged crook or associates with former alleged crooks.

Negative campaigns often create myths, and then build on them, such as the recent claims that Wainstein hasn’t paid his federal taxes since 2015, making him look like a deadbeat.

Wainstein’s camp said he paid his federal taxes but failed to file electronically as required by federal law.

“When this happens, the federal government puts a lien on him for the full amount of the taxes paid,” one of his campaign people said. “He paid the taxes. But until he files properly, he has a lien.”

The spin from the other side implies that Wainstein stiffed the feds, but still managed to come up with $600,000 to fund his campaign, and that $170,000 of this was his own money.

Of course, one of the recent reports shows Sacco received a hefty number of contributions from engineering and legal firms doing business with North Bergen, as well as from the campaign of the Hudson County sheriff, as well as employees of the Hudson County Schools of Technology.

Wainstein has raised questions about how Sacco has been paying Vision Media for doing campaign work, when there appear to be no payments to the premier political operative on the campaign finance reports.

The fact is that there is a lot of lose if Wainstein wins, especially access to the patronage jobs with the Schools of Technology, the county jail, and the sheriff’s department. South Jersey political bosses such as George Norcoss would love to see Sacco lose, but apparently aren’t yet willing to work against him openly.

If polls closer to the election show Sacco is vulnerable, Wainstein may see a flood of money and workers to help him.

Other stuff from around the county

Will Neil Carroll III be Mayor Jimmy Davis’ pick to retain a council seat in Bayonne? Rumors are swirling down in the Peninsula City because KT Torrella, of the Police Athletic League, has been a frequent quest at the mayor’s office.

Carroll, who was named earlier this year to serve out the final year of First Ward Councilman Tom Cotter’s term, is member of an old school political family. But in this era, history matters little when it comes to building a political base.

Meanwhile in Jersey City, the mainstream Democrats are desperate to keep Patricia Waiters from running against County Executive Tom DeGise in the primary.

Waiters’ challenge comes at a time when the Hudson County Democratic Organization has healed many of its wounds from last year’s brief civil war. The HCDO does not need any more fights going into next year’s presidential primary – in which U.S. Senator Cory Booker is the local favorite son.

In Hoboken, former council candidate and developer Frank Raia got bad news last week when a U.S. District judge said he will have to stand trial for allegedly buying votes.

Raia, who has always been the deep pocket person many candidates in the past went to for campaign money, will cast a long shadow over the upcoming ward council elections in Hoboken. People will be extra careful to avoid looking like they may be breaking the law. This might be the first truly honest election in a generation, thanks to Raia.