Hudson County, New Jersey: Corruption Pride

Our political columnist, Al Sullivan, got this handwritten letter last week:
“Dear Al, just a note to let you know how much I enjoy your column as a lifelong citizen of Secaucus living in the same house my father’s family had built in 1928.
“I’ve seen a lot of ‘stuff.’ As you may analyze from contents of envelope I think Dennis got a ‘raw deal’ and once again in the spirit of public education you may wish to once again reprint your excellent explanation of patronage system and how Hudson County politics will never be confused with ballroom dancing.”
By “Dennis,” the author is referring to the mayor of Secaucus, who resigned two months ago after being arrested. He was one of 44 political and religious leaders in the NJ/NY area arrested in late July after an FBI sting of officials who allegedly took campaign money in exchange for promised government help with development. That mayor, Dennis Elwell, had never been in that sort of trouble before, and some believe he is innocent.
At the time of his arrest, he was headed to an upcoming Nov. 3 election for mayor against Councilman Michael Gonnelli. Now, Gonnelli is unopposed.
With the letter came two bumper stickers pictured here (see photo). One says “Hudson County Corrupt & Proud.” The other says “Dennis is NO Menace! Re-Elect Elwell in Nov ’09!”
Is the letter-writer serious, or joking? What do you think? Comment below!

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