A Latin proverb, “Corruptio optima pessima” (“Corruption of the best becomes the worst”) summarizes the Hudson County political arena.
We have heard stories about pay-offs and bribery being an integral part of the political culture within Hudson County. Some have even stated that nothing in Hudson County would ever get done without “passing the envelope.” Passing such a legacy off to our youth only perpetuates a system that breeds abuse of authority and corruption. And now, regrettably, we have moved on to cases of sex scandals, abusive behavior, driving under the influence, and other acts that run contrary to ethical conduct.
Corruption does not have to be the inevitable by-product of the political system in Hudson County. Our citizens, especially our youth, should focus on those in Hudson County that worked hard to make a difference. We all know about the heroic actions of Detectives Marc DiNardo and Joseph Seals. These two police officers are true “heroes.” They are fine examples of what Hudson County can truly produce.
There are, of course, other ‘Heroes.” For example, Doctor Michael Conti provided outstanding medical services at a reasonable price for over 50 years. Lucy De Stefano – a legend in the Jersey City Public School system – strived to provide excellent education. Clergymen; such as Rabbis Solomon Herbst and Ben Plotkin and Fathers Gerald Santora and Hugh Fitzgerlad, led their flocks and became active in their respective communities. Mr. Anthony (“Tony”) Cupo, a true scholar and gentleman, was one of the community minded individuals that helped to topple Frank Hague and his tyrannical political grip. Tommy Smith mentions Tony Cupo in his book, “The Powerticians.” Naturally, this list of local “heroes” can continue.
The citizens of Hudson County should focus on those positive examples – our “heroes” – and not on the outrageous shenanigans of politicians, city workers, and others who believe they are above the law. Teaching our youth about the people who strived to make Hudson County a better place to live, work, and to go to school would help to break the legacy of corruption.
Anthony Eden, former English Prime Minister, reminds us that “Corruption never has been compulsory.”
John Di Genio