Leaders in the contest for the 2008 Zulima Farber and Wayne Bryant awards

Congratulations to Newark City Councilwoman Dana Rone, who has emerged as the early front runner for the 2008 Zulima Farber Award. She seems to be running ahead of Annette Lartigue, a City Councilwoman from Trenton, and former Jersey City Municipal Court Judge Wanda Molina.

And newly-elected Orange Mayor Eldridge Hawkins, Jr. is now a candidate for the 2008 Oink! Oink! Wayne Bryant Award – a category that always has considerable competition in New Jersey.

The Essex County Prosecutor is asking a state judge to remove Rone from her Central Ward Council seat after Rone was convicted of obstruction of justice after interfering with Newark Police during a traffic stop involving her nephew two years ago. Late last month, she lost her appeal of the verdict, and her conviction of the disorderly persons offense stands. Rone was an ally of Newark Mayor Cory Booker when she was elected to Booker’s old Central Ward seat on her second try in 2006. She has subsequently split from the mayor.

Rone’s attorney has complained that the state is seeking to oust his client, but not Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, who was convicted of a disorderly persons charge during an incident at the Jersey Shore two years ago.

Lartigue was involved in a flap recently when Trenton Police pulled over her daughter for using a cell phone while driving. The Councilwoman was on the other end of the phone and asked to speak to the police officers. Police sources, according to published reports, say that Lartigue sought to interfere.

Molina was indicted this week on charges that she fixed traffic tickets for herself and her daughter.

Hawkins, who took office as Mayor on July 1, has raised his own salary from $25,000 to $104,700. The 28-year-old mayor made himself the city’s civilian fire director and the emergency management coordinator.

And Atlantic City Councilman John Schultz, according to a Press of Atlantic City report, was present during the editing of a video tape of Rev. Eugene Robinson, a City Councilman, receiving oral sex from a prostitute.

Leaders in the contest for the 2008 Zulima Farber and Wayne Bryant awards