Along with many other admirers, friends and family, yesterday I attended the wake for my friend, Mayor Timothy J. Driscoll. This morning I will be at his funeral. He was one of a kind! In the field of politics, one doesn’t meet too many folks like Mr. D. He stood up to the “bad guys” when they engineered the forgery of his and other’s signatures in the Democratic convention which I finally won after a court fight. And, if it wasn’t for Mr. D. and the famous “Tenafly Five”, I would not be in the Senate today.
He then went on to beat the bosses in a primary (without the help of the “organization line”) and became Mayor of Bergenfield when he was already 80 years old. A tough Irishman, the Mayor didn’t give in to too much and Bergenfield was the better for it. Though he was probably a little more conservative on matters of policy than I am, I always knew he would preside over a government that never veered from the highest standards of complete integrity. Thank you Mr. D for all you have done and for being a role model and teacher to many of us.
Unfortunately, with his passing from the political scene, we have seen a resurgence of the old “boss dominated” machine coming back to rule Bergenfield. After the last redistricting, I no longer represent the good people of Bergenfield in the State Senate, but I still have strong feelings for the good government they deserve. Makes me sad to think that there seems to be a lack of leadership in our party to help preserve the idea of open, transparent and responsive government in Bergenfieldd.
It is up to the Bergenfield Democratic Committee to select three names to replace Mayor Driscoll, and then to submit those names to the remaining Council members who will choose one. I hope the residents of Bergenfield will be watching closely. I know many of us from the Real Bergen Democrats will be! Council member Christopher Tully has been chosen by the Bergen County Democrats to represent our party as a candidate for Freeholder in the upcoming election. He has a particular responsibility and a unique chance to show his independence from the old machine, and that he will be a real stand-up Freeholder in the style of our beloved Mayor Timothy J. Driscoll. There are many good involved folks in Bergenfield (and even on the current Council) who would make great replacements. Hope they look in the right places!
This is a unique week ahead. This evening begins the Jewish celebration of Passover, a time to be with family and friends and to enjoy the traditional seder which celebrates freedom. It is also the Holy Week which started yesterday with Palm Sunday and concludes next Sunday with Easter. A good Passover and happy Easter to all who celebrate.
What a week for the Supreme Court to hear arguments on two issues around marriage equality. One involves DOMA and whether the federal government has a right to regulate marriage. If DOMA is struck down, the “afraid Republicans” will have a reason (or cover) in our State to override Governor Christie’s veto. If DOMA is ruled unconstitutional, our residents in civil unions could be denied federal benefits which would be discriminatory.
The other issue concerns the constitutionality of Prop 8 which outlawed marriage equality in my beloved California. Let’s hope the spirituality and introspection of this particular week motivates our Supremes to do the right thing and ratify marriage for committed gay couples.