Weigh in, especially you Union County folks – Rosi
By Stephen Yellin – I am proud to be on the ballot for the June 7th primary on Column A. I am also a candidate for Township Council in Berkeley Heights.
This isn’t a ‘me-first’ rally – this is a ‘community-first’ rally…a worker’s rights rally!
– Joe Cryan, March 3 2011 (standing with union workers in Trenton)
He’s going to do a wonderful, fabulous job as our next Governor.
– Tony Monteiro, November 4 2009 (at Chris Christie’s victory party)
On June 7th, Democrats in the 20th Legislative District (Elizabeth, Hillside, Roselle and Union) have a clear choice to make. They have a choice between the regular Democratic ticket, whose Democratic Party credentials aren’t in question, and a renegade group called “Democrats for Change”.
Just who are these “Democrats for Change”, and what do they stand for? Examining the facts paints a troubling picture of this group, and its candidates for the State Legislature in the 20th District. This ticket has managed to combine the 2 worst problems confronting New Jersey today: a corrupt, unaccountable political machine and the enabling of Chris Christie’s destructive, divisive policies across our state.
Here are the facts you need to know:
1. The “Democrats for Change” ticket is entirely from Elizabeth; specifically, they are part and parcel of the Elizabeth Board of Education. The Star-Ledger’s investigative team exposed the Elizabeth BOE only a week ago as a machine worthy of Tammany Hall or Jersey City’s Boss Hague. Teachers are repeatedly bullied and threatened into giving donations to the BOE’s political coffers, including friends of mine who don’t live in Elizabeth. Relatives and cronies are hired regardless of merit, and at ridiculously high starting salaries. Don’t take my word for it: read the Star-Ledger expose for yourself.
2. The Elizabeth Board of Education and the “Democrats for Change” effort are both run by Rafael Fajardo. Why does this matter?
For one, Fajardo was recently handpicked by Chris Christie to join the effort to dismantle…err, “reform” public education in New Jersey, despite his reputation (now publicly exposed by the Star-Ledger) for running the rogue Elizabeth “education” machine. If you think Christie is going to set the prosecutorial dogs after Fajardo…think again, if his comments yesterday at a press conference mean anything. “Prosecutors, not politicians, should be deciding that, that’s why I won’t go there”, Christie said.
We already know Christie’s double standard exists, but now it extends to blatant corruption that the Star-Ledger demands an investigation of. As a political crony and enabler of Christie’s agenda, Fajardo is presumably safe from prosecution by Governor/Prosecutor-in-Chief Christie’s administration.
3. One of the Assembly candidates in the 20th Legislative District – and the ticket’s most prominent member – is former BOE member Tony Monteiro. Why does this matter?
It matters because Monteiro was an active, vocal supporter of Chris Christie in 2009 – not exactly a surprise, considering Monteiro ran for the same Assembly spot as a Republican in 2003! Monteiro was even interviewed on Election Night 2009 praising Christie and congratulating him on his victory…at Christie’s election night party. See the clip for yourself (at the 1:00 minute mark):
This is the same Tony Monteiro who is now going after Jon Corzine’s #1 champion (other than Loretta Weinberg) on the campaign trail in 2009 – Assemblyman Joe Cryan. Whatever else is said about Joe Cryan, calling him a Republican-in-Democratic-clothing, as Monteiro has done, is simply ludicrous. As State Democratic Chairman, Cryan was a Democratic bulldog, going after Republicans all over the state, loudly spreading our Party’s message (and often losing his voice in the process – I was there at many of those events).
For Cryan to be repeatedly assailed in mailers and speeches as a “fake Democrat” by Tony Monteiro is like the Boston Red Sox claiming they better represent the Bronx than the New York Yankees.
4. Finally, for those in the rest of Union County (like myself), know that the Column B Freeholder candidates are also part and parcel of the Fajardo machine. All hailing from Elizabeth, and with 2 of its members being part of that Board of Education’s ranks of supporters, they can hardly claim to be better Democrats than the Column A Democratic candidates. Angel Estrada, Chris Hudak and Vernell Wright have all been dedicated Democrats for a long time, and deserve the Democratic electorate’s vote.
Those are the facts. Should any of the Column B candidates emerge victorious on June 7th, the real victors will be Chris Christie and the culture of corruption that plagues far too much of our state. I have known the Democrats representing the 20th Legislative District for several years now; while I disagree with them on 1 or 2 issues, their Democratic Party credentials are not up for debate.
Ray Lesniak engineered Bill Clinton’s 1992 victory in New Jersey, the first since 1964 for a Democrat; Annette Quijano has been an active surrogate for Democrats in the Latino community for years; and Joe Cryan’s credentials are well-established.
Reelecting them and the Column A team on June 7th will send a clear message to the Bully-in-Chief: you’re not welcomed to our Party in Union County! If you’re a Union County Democrat, please go “all the way with Column A” on June 7th.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for my kickoff announcement tomorrow!