NEWARK – South Ward political brain Carl Sharif said he hopes Gov. Chris Christie and Acting Attorney General Paula Dow consider removing the conditions of pardon imposed on former Central Ward Councilwoman Dana Rone – and do it now.
“I would hope they would look at this and decide that this is not the way to go,” said Sharif, a supporter of Mayor Cory Booker’s and longtime ally of Rone’s, whose son, Darren Sharif, is now pursuing the Central Ward council seat once occupied by Rone and now held by Councilman Charles Bell.
“The punishment far exceeded the violation,” said Sharif, in reference to Rone.
After intervening in a 2006 traffic stop on behalf of her nephew, Rone left city hall in August of 2008 when a judge deemed her actions unacceptable and imposed a lifetime ban from public office.
As he departed the governor’s mansion last week, former Gov. Jon Corzine granted clemency to Rone, but parole board papers that arrived in the hands of Rone allies last Friday indicate that clemency doesn’t kick in until Jan. 1, 2014.
While he said he had no coversations with Corzine, Sharif said he was very much in support of Rone’s pardon and “talked to people around the governor” about getting it done.
Delighted when the pardon came through early last week, the veteran political operative admitted that news of the condition “came as a surprise.”
“It’s a very odd circumstance,” said Sharif. “It’s almost as though she’s on probation for her pardon.
“What makes people concerned about the influence of politics is the date,” he added.
2014 places the ban on Rone through the four years of a second Booker term, should he be reelected this May.
“It just adds to speculation,” said Sharif. “The right thing to do is pardon her and make it effective immediately, or whatever is typical in these cases. If it’s 30 days, make it 30 days from now, or 90 days. The point is, do it right away. Let her get on with her life.”
Asked about a delay of 90 days putting her beyond the mark of being able to compete in this current election cycle, Sharif said, “If we have to worship at the altar of political skullduggery, so be it.”