When you get this close to Election Day, there is no shortage of dumb comments that come from people who are either in public office or likely to win one. But with Joseph Ferriero no longer in charge, what's coming out of Bergen county is sort of amazing.
The best line of the week came from Assemblyman Frederick Scalera (D-Nutley), who sought to lessen the effect of Ferriero's criminal conviction by noting that he also represents parts of Essex and Passaic counties: "We answer to three county chairs," Scalera said, not considering that some might think he actually answers to the voters.
The biggest stretch of the truth also came from two Democratic Assemblywomen, Connie Wagner (D-Paramus) and Joan Voss (D-Fort Lee). Their campaign put out a mailer attacking Republican Judith Fisher of being an Internet pornographer. Their evidence: Fisher and her husband own a firm that produces accounting software for intellectual property management. One of their customers is Playboy. Fisher's problem is that she's running in a Democratic district and doesn't have the money to respond – or talk about how Wagner and Voss were hand-picked for their seats by Ferriero, who liked candidates who didn't necessarily think entirely for themselves.
Democratic incumbents Julie O'Brien and Vernon Walton have seized on attacks against tobacco companies as a critical issue in a race for Bergen County Freeholder. They are blaming GOP challenger John Driscoll, who is a field sales representative for Lorillard Tobacco, for his role in enabling children to smoke cigarettes. "As a mother and a grandmother I know how hard it is to keep kids away from cigarettes. John Driscoll's efforts aren't helping. It takes your breath way," O'Brien said. Maybe it's smart politics that O'Brien has shifted the debate away from property taxes and Ferriero (by the way, he picked her too).
A Republican Council candidate in North Arlington taped a one-hour conversation with four Democratic leaders, including Mayor Peter Massa, where the Democrats outline a plan to give him "money, appointments and power" in exchange for dropping out the race. What remains to be seen is whether the bad guy is Republican Chris Johnson, who may have solicited a bribe, or the Democrats, who may have violated the same state law that sent the Mayor of Carney's Point to jail.
In Paramus, a Republican Council candidate has filed a lawsuit after the Democrats alleged that a fish food business he owns got in trouble for failing to pay about $4,000 in taxes in 1996. The problem is that Michael Rohdieck didn't but the company until 2007; in 1996, he was serving as part of a U.S. Marine Corps peace keeping unit in Bosnia.