Guy Catrillo’s ‘squabgate’

Guy Catrillo, a Jersey City Republican who has found his way onto Mayor Jerramiah Healy's 2009 ticket, is probably hoping he turns out to be a better candidate than he was as an advance man.

Catrillo was the organizer of Jersey City's 9/11 Memorial Committee back in 2002, when he planned a ceremony on the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks. The New York Times' Richard Lenzin Jones explained it best:

It was meant to be a dignified tribute on Sept. 11: a flock of doves soaring majestically past Lower Manhattan's altered skyline. There was only one problem. Those weren't doves. They were pigeons. And many of them couldn't fly.

During the memorial service here last week, many of the birds plunged into the Hudson River, smacked into plate-glass windows on office buildings and careered into the crowd. One perched atop the hard hat of a construction worker whose company had helped clear ground zero.

The problem was that instead of finding trained doves or homing pigeons, Catrillo went to a Newark poultry market "and bought 80 squabs, not knowing that the weak-winged birds would have trouble flying."

Catrillo, doing some damage control, had his own spin.

''Without a doubt it beats what could have happened to them,'' he told the New York Times. 'They were squab; they were soup birds. I like the idea that I helped these squab get another chance.''

Catrillo will face incumbent Steven Fulop, who declined a chance to run on Healy's line and will seek re-election as an independent in the May non-partisan election.

A former Deputy Hudson County Superintendent of Elections, Catrillo sought the Republican nomination for State Senator in 2001, losing the District 31 primary to Martin McFadden by a 79%-21% margin. He now works for Healy in the city planning department. Guy Catrillo’s ‘squabgate’