Tag Archive: Joe DiVincenzo

Fun with Redistricting Redux: Keeping Hawthorne in LD35

The Blue Jersey community was very excited to read this week that our very own, Jeff Gardner, has made his electoral intentions official and opened up a legislative campaign account.  Ever since John Girgenti voted against marriage equality and set in motion a process that was kicked into high gear when Jeff’s slate of County Committee candidates defeated Girgenti’s last June, enabling Jeff to become Hawthorne’s Municipal Chair, I have thought about how redistricting might impact Jeff’s chances of running for and winning a State Assembly or State Senate seat in 2011.

There has been a lot of talk about John Girgenti’s future with regards to redistricting, primarily because he was a loyalist of Governor/Senator Richard Codey’s when the Steve Adubato/George Norcross axis of corruption staged their takeover of the Democratic leadership in Trenton.  As a result, neither Jeff nor Girgenti have any advocates for keeping their otherwise Republican-leaning town of Hawthorne in the very Democratic (thanks to Paterson) 35th LD on the legislative redistricting commission.  I could be wrong, but I think that if there is anything that Jeff and Girgenti agree on, is that it is in their best electoral interest for Hawthorne to stay in LD35.

But without any advocates on the LRC, the only thing that might help them keep Hawthorne in LD35 is a compelling argument that serves the agendas of some of the commission’s members.  There are two members of the LRC in particular whose agendas have become quite clear over the last year.

Draft Rocco Mazza for State Assembly in LD36

Assemblyman Fred Scalera resigned his seat today in order to take a position in the private sector, which in and of itself is refreshing, considering the fact that many of his colleagues in the State Assembly and the State Senate hold other part-time and full-time jobs in addition to their “part-time” legislative positions, regardless of any conflicts of interest that these other jobs might create.

Scalera’s resignation creates a vacancy in the State Assembly that will be filled via a special election whereby all of the County Committeepersons in LD36 will vote.  The only name that has been floated to date as a replacement for Scalera is that of Essex County Undersheriff Kevin Ryan who is from Scalera’s hometown of Nutley.  LD36 State Senator Paul Sarlo State Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) is noncommittal regarding the name of Scalera’s replacement, but believes that it should be someone from Nutley.

“That is a Nutley seat,” said Sarlo. “With the current makeup of the district, it’s a longstanding tradition to have an Essex, Passaic and Bergen representative. Essex County will have the ability to pick an interim successor.

What is interesting about Sarlo’s position is that it has been widely reported throughout the blogosphere that in his role as a member of the legislative redistricting commission, he has been working overtime to remove Nutley as well as possibly Passaic to shield himself from a general election challenge from former LD36 Assemblyman and gubernatorial candidate, Paul DiGaetano, and a primary challenge from LD36 Assemblyman Gary Schaer whose hometown of Passaic has more County Committeepersons than any other municipality in the district.

If Nutley were removed from LD36 through redistricting, different sources have theorized that it could find itself attached to LD28, LD29, LD34, or possibly even LD40. If the vacant seat goes to someone backed by Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, it is very likely it would mean the end of the line for one of the incumbent Assemblypersons from Essex County.  If I had to guess, that person would most likely be Cleopatra Tucker as LD28 shifts further out of Newark and further into the adjoining suburbs.  The other possible target could be LD28 State Senator Ron Rice Sr., who has been on Steve Adubato’s hit list for some time now.

Sarlo appears to be the only South Bergen politician who believes in the Bergen/Essex/Passaic distribution of LD36 legislative, particularly as Sarlo works towards creating an all-Bergen LD36.  There is no shortage of ambitious politicians in South Bergen who may want to vy for one of the two Assembly seats that Sarlo’s manuevering could open up as well as Sarlo’s State Senate, which might explain why Sarlo would be resistent to elevating one of these would-be contenders to an Assembly seat that would enhance their ability to raise money for an Assembly re-election campaign or a primary challenge against Sarlo.

Being someone who believes in the Democratic process and does not think that this vacancy should be used to give one person an advantage over the many qualified contenders that an all-Bergen LD36 primary election would attract, I would like to advocate for the candidacy of someone who has personally expressed to me no interest whatsoever in running for this or any other LD36 office now or in the future, making him the perfect caretaker candidate, enabling the rest of the field of candidates to compete with each other next year on a level playing field.

Will the Adubato-Norcross ‘Axis of Evil’ fall apart at the redistricting table?

Two very interesting articles about redistricting were posted on PolitickerNJ.com today that could provide anyone interested in the redistricting process with some insight into the developing drama as Republicans appear united in their efforts to reclaim majorities in the State Assembly and State Senate that have been out of their grasp for the last decade against Democratic adversaries who seem to be anything but that.

After a year that has seen the Democrats in Trenton capitulate to our state’s Republican Governor on issue after issue, thanks primarily to overly cozy relations between the Governor and acolytes of Steve Adubato and George Norcross, the two most powerful Democratic Party bosses in the state, the unholy alliance between Adubato and Norcross seems to be fraying at the most dangerous possible time for all Democrats, when division could result in a legislative district map that could guarantee Republican dominance in the state for most if not all of the next decade the way that the last map, conceived by then-Senate Minority Leader, Richard Codey, who would go on to become Senate President and Acting Governor before being unceremoniously ousted from his leadership position in a coup, led by his fiercest adversaries, Adubato and Norcross and their acolytes, enabled the Democrats in Trenton to enjoy the majorities that they have held and squandered for the last decade.

One article presents the players for each team that will go head-to-head in the weeks and months to come to either draw competing (most likely) or cooperating (highly unlikely) legislative district maps that will determine the playing fields on which the next decade’s worth of legislative elections will be held and infers about the strategy that could lead to the end of Codey’s political career.

The other discusses potential fractures in the Democratic ranks in general and between Adubato and Norcross in particular that could spell doom for the Democratic majorities in Trenton once and for all.

There is no progressive Democratic leadership in New Jersey

With the news that Cory Booker will stab his fellow Democrats in the back by supporting a 2.5% property tax cap constitutional amendment, http://www.politickernj.com/ma… , it seems pretty clear that those in a position of leadership in Democratic state politics are the most conservative lot since the 1950s.  They are DINOs/Republicrats.

This not a first for Cory Booker, aka, the Brett Schundler of Newark:

In addition to Mr. Lesniak, the bill enjoys the support of Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat, who is appearing in a commercial promoting it this month.


The bill being, the diversion of public funds to private and parochial schools bill.  Pushed by another Republicrat, Ray Lesniak.  Who held a rally, masquerading as a hearing, in favor of it.  Where opponents were shut out.  Just as he did with S-1, the Repeal Mt. Laurel bill, which is Lesniak’s pride and joy.  Yet, this miscreant has the nerve to say, in the WSJ article quoted above:

Lesniak, who calls himself the “most liberal Democrat” in the Senate

If by liberal, he means conservative, then he might be right.  But he’d have to compete with Senate president Steve Sweeney, who might be the most anti-union elected official who holds a union card since Ronald Reagan.  His war against, and demonization of, state workers has been going on for quite a while now.

You also have the Essex County executive, Joe DiVincenzo, last seen holding hands with Chris Christie.

And last heard declaring that he agreed with Christie 95% of the time.

The only statewide or county leader to represent Democrats, as opposed to Republicrats, is Shelia Oliver.  Yet, no one ever heard of her before last year, when she was picked out of obscurity to be speaker, in a rancid political deal between Sweeney and Lesniak to dump Dick Cody (remember him?).  She is not a legislative heavyweight, and carries little weight, at least so far, in the media.

This is the depressing landscaping facing Democrats, especially progressive Democrats, in this state.  Perhaps it’s time for a progressive version of the teabaggers to let the Democratic leadership in Trenton and elsewhere know that we are not happy, and that they are not safe in their seats.

Caption Contest: “The Mayor supports Joe D”

Mayor Cory Booker and Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo took questions from Newark residents on the radio call-in show “Newark Today” at the WBGO Radio Studio on May 14, 2009. They discussed how the City and County are working together, and then fielded phone and e-mail questions from listeners on a diverse range of subjects, from stimulus funding and job creation to luring the New Jersey Nets to the Prudential Arena.

The Mayor has also officially his support for Divincenzo’s re-election through his spokesman:

“The mayor supports Joe D,”

Mayor and Joe D. 5.14.09

So what’s your best caption?