A couple of decades ago, I held a minor position in the Democratic Party in a neighboring town. Political Parties in New Jersey, both the Democrats and the Republicans, are organized with County Committees; one male and one female County Committee person in each election district.
Yawn. I know it really isn’t that interesting. Nor is it seemingly the least bit relevant to the day-to-day struggles of people working to pay their bills and raise their families. But it is relevant to the small-minded politicians who run the governments that run our communities, counties, state and to a lesser degree, country. For those political County Committees in New Jersey choose the “official” Democratic Party and Republican Party endorsed candidates for the elected positions that rule, and often ruin our lives.
Yet, for all that “power” it is without question transcending power, even though egomaniacal politicians rarely seem to notice that reality while they have their power.
Political power is ephemeral at best.
Lou Stellato, formally from Lyndhurst, is the outgoing Chairman of the Bergen County Democratic County Committee. I’ve known him for decades. He was once a powerful Lyndhurst mayor. Years later, a powerful Bergen County Democratic Chairman. But, Lou Stellato’s power has now peaked; his greatest influence is behind him.
I believe the same is true for soon to be former Chairman Lou Stellato’s backed candidates in the 2017 Lyndhurst municipal election; the four of five Stellato candidates for The Board of Commissioners who squeaked by in a very close local Lyndhurst election, Mayor Robert Giangeruso and Commissioners Thomas DiMaggio, Karen Haggerty and Richard Jarvis.
In fact, like the scandal plagued election in Elmwood Park in 2017, the Lyndhurst election in 2017 was decided by what are called “mail-in ballots”. (In truth, in Lyndhurst, the Giangeruso ticket actually LOST at the polls, when people came out to vote in private in voting booths without interference by politicians on Election Day.)
In Elmwood Park in 2017, there were an unprecedented number of these “mail-in ballots” cast for Lou Stellato’s Democratic Party’s local candidates. Lou Stellato’s Democratic candidate for mayor won in Elmwood Park that year. The same thing occurred in Lyndhurst, where three to four times as many “mail-in ballots” were cast as was the norm for Board of Commissioners’ elections in past years here. Again, Lou Stellato’s Democratic backed candidates won (here they were Giangeruso, DiMaggio, Haggerty and Jarvis).
Today, the Democratic Elmwood Park mayor elected in 2017 is under arrest for “mail-in ballot” fraud.
Meanwhile, former Lyndhurst Commissioner Brian Haggerty (brother-in-law of Stellato backed Commissioner Karen Haggerty) was made the Lyndhurst Chairman of the local Democratic County Committee, just as Bergen County Chairman of the entire Democratic County Committee, Lou Stellato, exits stage left…
And in local Lyndhurst government, Democratic Mayor Giangeruso, Commissioners DiMaggio, Haggerty and Jarvis (whose son, also named Richard Jarvis, was just promoted to Police Chief over a better educated and higher-ranking officer) are all feeling their oats in demonstrating what they believe is unchallengeable power.
But just because they believe it is so, doesn’t make it so. Just ask the fading all-powerful Lou Stellato, or the now indicted former Mayor of Elmwood Park.
All power is fleeting.
So, anyone who attains power, especially political power, should consider that the only true purpose of it should be to humbly serve those who do not possess power, and cannot possess it for whatever the reason.
I close with where I started this article; with my low-ranking position as a Democratic County Committeeman some 20 years ago in a neighboring town to Lyndhurst.
In that minor County Committee position I held, the newly elected Democratic Mayor asked me to lunch because she needed my vote to oust the longtime Chairwoman of the Democratic Committee, an older woman who gave her soul to her Party in its worst days for many years until it finally achieved success.
The new Mayor was brash and decades younger than this older woman, and neither cared for the other. Fitting to this new Mayor’s brashness, she was uninterested in anything other than what appeared to me to be consolidating her political power for power’s sake.
I told the new Mayor I wouldn’t vote with her to remove the longtime Democratic Party Chairwoman and that as the new leader of the town she should offer the older woman an appointment to a government Board befitting her years of service, giving her an opportunity to resign with dignity, instead of being humiliated as weaker people, who were the older woman’s longtime “political friends”, abandon her at a Democratic reorganization meeting that night for the new power that be; this new, brash Democratic Mayor.
The newly elected Mayor smirked at me, to which I responded:
“A mayor is viewed as parent, be it the mayor of a large city or a small community. How they behave and treat others sets the tone for everyone.”
Look at Lyndhurst today. Look at the behavior of many of our elected officials, and these elected officials’ families.
You know the worst among them, and why they don’t belong there any longer. In their twisted minds they are always the victims, even though they began as and continue to be the victimizers.
Rest assured it will not last much longer. The next Lyndhurst municipal election is exactly two years away. And I believe Lyndhurst’s incumbent Commissioners will share the same fate as their neighboring predecessor.
That neighboring Mayor of two decades ago was first elected in a landslide and was re-elected once more in all her glory; but, what was her final fate? Well, eventually her style wore thin, and she was defeated, garnering only 30% of the vote in her last campaign against an underfunded, unknown opponent who won 70%.
Can the arrogant, nepotistic, corrupt and unethical leaders of Lyndhurst be far behind?
I say their time has already come, but for the day of the actual counting of their final vote…Election Day, May 4, 2021.