Healy fundraiser hardly fun

Police protesting Mayor Jerramiah Healy’s fundraiser at Puccini’s Restaurant earlier this month may have pushed things too far and continued to erode public support for their own cause.
Reported as something of a rowdy protest against the city’s laying off of police officers, the event was apparently caught on video security cameras, and may have helped win Healy support from taxpayers who bear the burden of police salaries and benefits, while private sector jobs are becoming scarce.
Healy, who apparently told some close associates that he would like to run for reelection in 2013, despite the apparent growing support among residents for Jersey City Councilman Steve Fulop, got a good showing of Democratic Party regulars brave enough to cross the line of protest. This include former state Sen. Bernard Kenny, his legal partner and county freeholder legal counsel; Ed Florio, Freeholder Jeff Dublin, County Executive Tom DeGise, his chief of staff and Jersey City Councilman Bill Gaughan, former Assemblyman Rudy Garcia, Freeholder Bill O’Dea, Jack Kelly, Kevin Lyons, Jersey City Councilman Dave Donnelly, rumored heavyweight boxing champion Carl Czaplicki and other brave men and women, risking life and limb – or at least the loss of their car keys – to show support for Healy.
There were plenty of boos to go around by protestors, although Jersey City Councilman Peter Brennan apparently got more than his share as he walked in.
Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith, chairman of the Hudson County Democratic Organization, was conspicuously absent, although as a retired police deputy chief, Smith could not cross a police protest line, nor could his public safety director, Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell.
Witnesses reported seeing a number of possible Healy supporters steering away from the place at the sight of the protestors. But whether or not they attended, they still paid for their tickets in advance, no doubt.

Will Lenz run again?

Michael Lenz, who was defeated by Tim Occhipinti in a special election for Hoboken City Council in November, may be considering a May run for the 4th Ward seat he was forced to give up. Early reports suggest that Rami Pinchevsky, also from the reform camp, may be seeking an opportunity to try and unseat Occhipinti in the May elections. Lenz may be hoping that Pinchevsky can split the newcomer vote with Occhipinti so that Lenz can get elected.
In a year when Gov. Christopher Christie may be the political man of the year, his one most unrecognized failing came in the November 4th Ward election when Republicans apparently sought to support Lenz.
Christie appears to have nixed a local Republican effort to run a candidate in the special election possibly as a favor to Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who came out early in support of Christie’s policies statewide.
The legal challenges over absentee ballots – now known at mail-in ballots – are the first blow in the May municipal elections as Lenz and Zimmer reformers seek to create a shadow of doubt about the Occhipinti victory. The ballots in questions played no role in that victory; Occhipinti won on the voting machines.
The Occhipinti-Lenz election raises an even more significant threat to the Zimmer Administration and its hopes to regain control of the City Council. The election brought together diverse groups of Zimmer opponents and showed that they can work together against a common enemy. This may be why so many of these and others from around the city came out for Michael Novak’s Christmas Party – including some former Zimmer people, too.
Of course, there is a line starting for the 2013 mayoral election and you have to figure one of the frontrunners to oppose Zimmer is Assemblyman Ruben Ramos.
Meanwhile, Thomas Greaney has filed some state paperwork for a possible run in the May elections, although he has not publically announced his candidacy.

All in good fun

One of the curious questions that lingers over Hudson County these days is whether Freeholder Bill O’Dea intends to run against County Executive Tom DeGise in the June Democratic Primary.
O’Dea did nothing to dispel these rumors at the recent roast of DeGise, when he was about to give a definitive answer and then claimed he got a phone call he had to answer.
From every indication, O’Dea accidentally started the rumor earlier this year when someone asked him if he would be interested in running. Shrugging in his typical way, O’Dea said, “Well, if Brian Stack and Sandra Cunningham came to me and asked, I would consider it.”
He apparently was half joking, but in an atmosphere where there is always a rumor of war, and some political power egging State Senator and Union City Mayor Brian Stack to break with the HCDO, O’Dea’s statement took on additional weight.
At one point, even state Sen. Sandra Cunningham asked O’Dea if he was running against DeGise.
But from every indication, there isn’t going to be a political war between Stack and the HCDO in 2011, and O’Dea will likely seek reelection to his Freeholder seat.

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