Whether it’s Gerry or Jerry, you can expect to find Jersey City Councilman Steve Fulop on the other side of the equation.
Usually Mayor Jerry Healy is Fulop’s target, but with School Board elections two weeks away, the councilman has School Board member (and former JC mayor) Gerry McCann in his sights.
McCann’s running for re-election along with ally and fellow School Board member Terry DeHere, but his efforts to stir up a populist backlash against teachers strikes Fulop as pure fudge.
“He has said nothing for three years, just had the Board of Education hire his friends and pay his personal legal bills after the election,” Fulop said of McCann. “This is a convicted felon we are talking about that has no track record of ever telling the truth on anything.”
The former mayor – jammed up in a federal savings and loan scam that landed him in the pen for two years – relishes the fact that Fulop backs a slate that includes New Jersey Board of Edcucation-aligned School Board candidates against himself and DeHere.
“People say Fulop’s smart because he works on Wall Street, but it’s not true, he’d dumb, otherwise he would have accomplished something on the city council,” McCann told PolitickerNJ.com. “I asked someone the other day why he thought Fulop was smart and asked him to tell me something Fulop’s done. This guy told me Fulop led a petition drive. A petition drive? He led a petition drive. No, I mean, something tangible. An accomplishment. I got a blank look.”
McCann thinks the taxpayers of Jersey City will seize on the teachers’ intransigence during salary negotiations and vote him and DeHere back into office. Fulop believes McCann is using DeHere to deliver votes in a minority community where the former mayor typically doesn’t register big numbers.
The voters, maintains the councilman, will see through both McCann’s self-serving alliance with DeHere and what Fulop interprets as his phony, election year war whoop over teachers’ salaries.
But it gets worse for McCann, Fulop said.
“He may not be able to tell the truth, but he can do the math – either him or DeHere is in trouble,” said the councilman, who attended a Newark fundraiser last night for West Ward Councilman Ronald C. Rice.
There are three seats in play on April 20th.
The McCann-DeHere team accounts for two slots, and Fulop’s fusion ticket of his own forces with the teachers’ union-backed candidates overlap on two of them, running Dehare or McCann out of re-election room, Fulop argues.
The councilman has Sterling Waterman, Angel Valentin and Carol Lester. The education association has Valentin, Waterman and Chips D’Amico. That would make Waterman and Valentin two super-charged candidates, or so argue the Fulop forces.
Fulop welcomes McCann’s critique of his record, and would like to hear more – and preferably always at election time.
“I’ve sponsored and passed with the council more legislation than the other eight council people combined,” Fulop said. “Gerry McCann doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Gerry McCann is living his political life from 20 years ago. It would be great if he could come out against me in every election.”
Dismissive of Fulop, McCann says the muscle the teachers hope to exert in this election isn’t Jersey City bred.
“The people in Monmouth County can’t vote in this election,” he told PolitickerNJ.com last week. “I spent $248 last time I ran, three years ago – up against $50,000 poured in here by the teachers. That’s documented. I won. I want them out there. They’re just making my case a better case. The more they stir it up, all the other people paying tax increases are saying, ‘McCann is fighting for me.'”