BCDO convention is now Thursday of this week. – – promoted by Rosi
I wish I had better political news to report from the Bergen County frontlines, home of convicted felon Party Chairmen, and sitting Council members indicted for forgery.
I had hoped the Ferriero conviction and the subsequent crushing loss of the first Ferriero-crats to lose a Freeholder election in years, would at least chasten the Pay-to-Play crowd. I was also hoping the new Chairman of the BCDO, who seems like a decent guy, would have the strength of will to stand up to Lynn Hurwitz, who is actually still running the BCDO. It appears I was wrong.
The BCDO is as bad as ever. We have a new captain, but the same old crew is steering the ship. At the BCDO, the folks who carried out Joe’s orders are still very much in charge. Leading the crew is Lynn Hurwitz, who looks like Phylis Diller but isn’t funny in the least. Ms. Hurwitz, who was the lead cheerleader for Boss Joe, is the Hackensack Municipal Democratic Chair as well as being Deputy Chief of Staff for Bergen County. She also happens to be married to Howie Hurwitz, who is Executive Director of the Northwest Bergen County Utilities Authority, one of the shadow government bodies in the news lately. She is one half of the BCDO’s most active Power Couple and very much in charge at the BCDO no matter who the Chairman is right now.
This week is a big one for the BCDO. There will be the BCDO convention this Thursday night. The silver lining is that there are some positive differences this time. Instead of having the candidates address the Committee AFTER the vote where only one choice was available all the way down the ballot, there was actually a candidates night BEFORE the BCDO convention. Due to one Freeholder stepping down there are 3 freeholder seats in play this election instead of only two. There is wrangling over that third seat. But because of that, and new candidates in the election, there is also the danger for the Ferriero-crats that one of the newcomers may dislodge one of the incumbents. Oh, joy!
The two incumbents in question, are staunch FOJ (Friends of Joe Ferriero) – or Ferriero-crats. Current Freeholder James Carroll is ALSO a dual office holder as current Mayor of Demarest. Unfortunately for the incumbents, they are both tied to the legacy of Joe Ferriero.
The current BCDO members are painfully aware that despite what Dennis Oury used to say, the voters actually know what pay to play is now, and they really do care. They see the impact on their Municipal tax bill when Halliburton-sized engineering firms who donate to the BCDO are hired by their towns. In Bogota, T&M, (which is jokingly referred to as “Time and Materials”) the big engineering firm from South Jersey, was dumped this year, and in Emerson, Mazer, another big firm who often got no-bid jobs from Bergen County under the incumbent Freeholders, was ALMOST replaced until the Democratic Mayor broke the tie to keep them. This was AFTER the Dems LOST in Emerson because of Redevelopment plans hatched without the consent of the governed. The Bergen County voters now have a low tolerance for dual office holders as well and can’t wait to rectify that situation by separating Carrol from one of his elected offices.
And so, the crew at the BCDO appeared to panic last week. Faced with the very embarrassing possibility of having their incumbents losing the BCDO nomination, they asked all candidates running for Freeholder to actually sign a letter stating that they would not run in the Primary if they lost in the BCDO convention. Adding to their panic was the moment on Candidate’s night last Tuesday when Joe Ariyan read Julie O’brien’s email dropping out of the race. In it she explained that she was dropping out due to too large a field of candidates, which led to speculation that she was politely asked to bow out so as not to hurt Carroll’s and Calabrese’s chances. She also made reference that the Chairman’s pick was actually Northvale Mayor John Hogan, the guy with the lightest resume. The progressives in the BCDO smelled blood in the water. The old guard Ferriero-crats were finally actually worried that the rank and file BCDO members might actually ditch the incumbents.
And so it was no surprise what happened next. While everyone else in Bergen County was gearing up for a Nor’Easter, the BCDO leadership exhibited an unnatural hesitation to cancel the BCDO convention scheduled for Thursday night. They didn’t cancel it until Thursday morning, after getting complaints by committee members Wed night who wanted to know how people were going to get there. Apparently, an email had been circulated regarding BCDO’s decision to hold the convention and that people would have to get there regardless of the weather. It suspiciously appeared that the ONLY folks who would be able to get there would be from Hackensack – Lynn Hurwitz’s Committee Members or folks picked up in SUV’s perhaps courtesy of some officials the way Joe Ferriero used to get rides from the County cops. The BCDO leadership, after getting wind that the rank and file may come to the conclusion that their motives may not be as pure as the Nor’easter driven snow, realized folks might question their hesitation to cancel the election. AFTER the complaints robo calls finally went out Wednesday night assuring everyone that IF the storm did hit, the convention would be postponed to another day. The actual robo-calls finally postponing the convention went out Thursday morning.
With the convention wisely postponed to this Thursday we MAY see a fair election this time. There should even be actual voting machines too. There are a several good candidates this time, including the very popular Mayor Birkner of Westwood who is heavily supported by labor, progressive Sebastian Belfon, supported by grassroots Dems in Bergen County and impressive Dr. Pargellan McHall. These are three candidates popular with the BCDO members and who are also not tied to the BCDO Pay-to-Play legacy of the past.
Long story short. The BCDO crew that ran the show for Ferriero is supporting incumbants Freeholder Calabrese and dual office holder Carroll as well as Hogan, who, surprise, surprise was also a member of the compromised Bergen County Board of Elections. (The Election Commission deserves it’s own whole diary). The Ferriero-crats are supporting the Ferriero-crats. The rest of the BCDO may be ready for a change, but we still have the same crew steering the ship and re-arranging the same old worn out deck chairs. This Thursday we’ll see if the BCDO can actually turn before it hits that looming iceberg – the November election or at least toss a few old deck chairs off the boat.