Sunday, November 1, 2015

Two Hackensack candidates play trick or treat with voters

HALLOWEEN IN HACKENSACK: On Saturday, the traditional celebration of Halloween on Clinton Place was more subdued, with far fewer decorated homes between Prospect and Summit avenues than in the past.

"Rest in pieces" is a humorous play on words. Although fewer homes were decorated on Saturday, there was no shortage of trick-or-treaters on the streets of the city's Fairmount section.


Call them the two Jasons.

Jason S. Nunnermacker and Jason W. Some are two of the four candidates in Tuesday's election for an unexpired term on the Hackensack City Council.

Here is a report on the two Jasons that you didn't see in The Record of Woodland Park.

They resemble each other, and I'm not talking about their double chins.

The real story is that neither has discussed in any meaningful detail the powerful special interests they represent.

Board czar

Nunnermacker, an attorney, is the president of the city's free-spending Board of Education, which this year approved an irresponsible $106.88 million budget -- bigger than the city's own.

In the May 2013 council election, Nunnermacker was one of the hand-picked candidates of the city's bare-knuckle Democratic Party machine, the power behind the Zisa family political dynasty that ruled for decades and brought the city to its knees.

After Nunnermacker and his running mates were defeated in his first bid for the council, he has attended nearly every meeting.

But he and other board members have never spoken about education. 

Instead, he's helped wage a partisan war against the slate of mostly Republican reformers, including Rose Greenman, who resigned, creating the vacancy he is now seeking to fill.

On June 9, school board President Jason S. Nunnermacker, above, along with fellow board members and the board's attorney, photos below, continued to launch more bitter partisan attacks against the City Council. None of the council critics every spoke about education or the city's schools.

School board member Daniel Carola.

School board members Joseph Barreto, left, and Fancis W. Albolino.

The $95,000-a-year school board attorney, Richard Salkin, conferring with Lynne Hurwitz, back to camera, the Demoratic Party power broker in Hackensack. Salkin lost a second city job as municipal prosecutor after council reformers were elected.

Jason W. Some

Some was 25 when he was appointed in April to fill the seat left vacant by Greenman, who resigned and filed a lawsuit, claiming council members discriminated against her.

Some is sales director of the family owned Some's Uniforms on Main Street, but he also is a member of the Main Street Business Alliance, a powerful group of business owners and real estate companies who have lobbied hard for the city's redevelopment.

Some and other members of the alliance who own downtown property are expected to profit directly from redevelopment or see their property values go up from the construction of retail and residential projects downtown.

Some, who is backed by the current council, and Nunnermacker haven't publicly identified their campaign donors.

Other candidates

The other two candidates for council on Tuesday are:

  • Richard L. Cerbo, a homeowner whose father won election as mayor in 1981, defeating Frank Zisa.
  • Deborah Keeling-Geddis, a teacher's assistant in the city school system and the only African-American in the race, who was endorsed by the city's education union.

Tax equity

Cerbo has attacked the dramatic property tax inequity in Hackensack, and criticized the 25- and 30-year tax abatements the council has promised apartment developers. 

He's said he'd like to see Hackensack University Medical Center, Bergen County, colleges and others who own hundreds of millions of dollars in tax-exempt property give back more to the city.

That would help ease the burden on home and business owners, who now pay a disproportionate share of  property taxes.

Cerbo also feels that 10-year tax abatements would have been sufficient to lure developers to Hackensack --  in what is the city's second apartment-building boom after the one on Prospect Avenue.

He also is disappointed the mayor and council didn't negotiate agreements with developers to give a good percentage of construction and other jobs to Hackensack residents.

Cerbo is the only candidate on Tuesday who represents long-suffering homeowners who see higher tax bills every year, and the only one without an ax to grind.

Today's paper

Nine days after Suzanne Bardzell was murdered in the driveway of her Midland Park home, allegedly by her ex-cop boyfriend, The Record's lazy, incompetent editors finally got off of their asses.

Editor Martin Gottlieb and local Assignment Editors Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza assigned two reporters to explore on Page 1 today the central question surrounding her death:

Whether local police, courts and other agencies could have done a better job of protecting Bardzell, 48, the single mother of two teenage boys who is being called a victim of domestic violence.

Staff Writers Abbott Koloff and Monsy Alvarado do a masterful job of pussy footing: No criticism is leveled, no blame assigned.

The editorial page likewise is silent on the case.

The story notes Bardzell was fatally stabbed on Oct. 22 "after a tumultuous 17 days that began when the suspect broke into her home" and threatened to kill her with a pair of scissors.

Local news?

On the Local front, Road Warrior John Cichowski continues to report on transportation one highway sign at a time (L-1).

Nearly an entire page is devoted to listing the names of all of the local and county candidates in Tuesday's election (L-3).

Saturday's paper

On a front page dominated by baseball, the editors found room for a well-crafted story on the history of Hackenack's Oritani Field Club by Staff Writer Todd South.

The Camden Street landmark closed today after 128 years, to be replaced by as many as 280 apartments opposite a Toyota dealer on River Street.

South did a great job capturing the importance of the club as a place for social gatherings, as well as a showcase for sports and Hollywood celebrities. 

However, some Hackensack readers had hoped he would have done a better job of reporting on the special interests backing Nunnermacker and Some in Tuesday's council election.


  1. Gaddis received no such endorsement.... In fact the union President said so....

    It is unfortunate that you can take to a keyboard with how off base you are with the actual political climate in this town. You do know that there are 2 Zisa candidates? That the Zisa's themselves are divided? That Nunnermacker is fractured from both Zisa factions? Or was the relevance of "double chins" as far as you got into the issues?

    1. Thanks for your comments, and the clarification on Geddis' claim.

      If you'll elaborate about the "actual political climate" in Hackensack, I'll be glad to include it in the post I plan to write and publish later today.

      As for the "double chins" reference, I don't trust anyone who ignores their own health to look out for my welfare. Overeating also is a sign of greed.

  2. Very sketchy on your facts Victor. Some & Geddis are both backed by Zisas, Geddis is NOT backed by union. Current political climate is strange bedfellows - current council & a Zisa both back Some. Nunnermacker is not backed by a Zisa but by quite a few of former "reformer" supporters. A council meeting is not the place for BOE issues, although you keep bringing the subject up there. Go to a BOE meeting to discuss education. Check NJ ELEC for donor reports.

    1. Thanks. I'm in favor of returning to a Board of School Estimate, where school board members are chosen by the council. This "go to the meeting" is just B.S.

      The board president and other members have no business spending all of the time they do tearing down the City Council; it's designed to distract from the awful job they are doing in the schools.


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