NJN debate opens Essex political divide

TRENTON – THE NJN debate pitted two Essex County pols against each other, each of them on different sides of a deep, countywide political divide.

Often allied from across the aisle with Democratic Party power broker Steve Adubato, Sr., state Sen. Kevin O’Toole (R-40) of Cedar Grove argued for the dissolution of New Jersey Network (NJN) in accord with Gov. Chris Christie’s policy initiative.

Rising on the other side of the issue was state Sen. Ronald L. Rice (D-28), a longtime same-party political foe of Adubato’s.

Adubato’s son, Steve Adubato, Jr., plans to assume control of the fragments of the disbanded public television network as it transitions to the New York-based WNET.

“This deal is more about relationships than it is about fairness,” said Rice.

State Sen. Richard Codey (D-27) of Roseland, another bitter political opponent of Adubato’s, called pulling the plug on NJN simply a “bad deal.”

Sources said among those Democrats who planned tonight to vote against a resolution protecting NJN was state Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29) of Newark, a political acolyte of Adubato’s.

NJN debate opens Essex political divide