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Tag: Bergen County

BCRO Policy Committee Results

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Bob Avery

Bob Avery

The BCRO’s Policy Committee met tonight and made its recommendations with one week to go before the Bergen Republican convention, Save Jerseyans. I’m told approximately 50-ish of the 100 members showed up. Here’s how the participants voted on the freeholder primary race

Bob Avery – 31

Deirdre Paul – 29

Bernadette Walsh – 18

Brian Fitzhenry – 14

Bergen Democrat Heartbreak?

By Matthew Gilson | The Save Jersey Blog


Bergen County Surrogate Michael Dressler

It may be close to Valentine’s Day, Save Jerseyans, but in Bergen County the Democrats are yet to fall in love with any candidate for County Executive.

That’s bad news for a party hungry to take its next big step in reconquering New Jersey’s most populous county.

While the hype for the bulk of the last year has centered on Surrogate Mike Dressler, it appears which each passing day that Dressler is less and less likely to seek the nomination.

Unlike other candidates, due to nature of his position, Dressler would have to resign his post to even run for another office. The Democrats are expecting to have his decision by the end of this week according to their chairman, Lou Stellato.


Donovan Requests and Achieves Restoration of Bergen’s Blue Laws (VIDEO)

Back on October 28th, at the request of Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan, Governor Chris Christie signed Executive Order 109, immediately suspending Bergen County’s “blue laws” owing to the effects of Hurricane Sandy.

Some wondered whether Christie’s extraordinary act was the prelude to a permanent suspension. 

Well, the final answer is definitely “no,” Save Jerseyans. At least for now. Donovan has formally asked Christie to lift the suspension and, yesterday afternoon, the Governor’s office confirmed his intention to oblige.

Donovan appeared on NJTV shortly after requesting the blue laws’ resumption and defended Bergen’s most controversial tradition as a matter of “quality of life” outweighing any economic detriment: 

Are you opposed to Bergen’s blue laws, Save Jerseyans? Or do you agree that they’re an important part of the “quality of life” in our state’s most populous county?

Weigh in below…


Bergen Freeholder Debate has GOP on Top at Korean Community Center in Englewood

At last week’s debate hosted by The Record, Save Jerseyans, we witnessed not so much a debate, but an opportunity for candidates from both sides to state their positions on the issues.

The debate was hosted by the Friends of Grace Seniors Korean Community Center in Englewood; there was the same amount of time allotted for statements, but a little more leeway for statements ands rebuttals than the last public forum; fair play all around.

Here’s a recap…


Bergen Freeholder Race: GOP Spars with Democrats in Rigid Format at BCC Paramus

The Record hosted and moderated the fourth debate between Republican Freeholder Robert Hermansen, Former River Edge Mayor Margaret “Peg” Watkins, Democratic team of North Arlington Councilman Steve Tanelli and former Municipal Court Judge Tracy Zur.

Monday’s forum wasn’t anything like the first presidential debate, hardly allowing for any rebuttal between the two sides or free-flowing discussions, and the time allotted was constrained to a strict 60 second time limit.  Mr. Doblin was a stern taskmaster when it came to abiding by this rule, refusing to allow candidates from either side to exercise any sort of leeway. Columnist Charles Stile and Bergen Beat writer John Ensslin alternated asking questions to the candidates.

The process was rather rigid, and could have allowed for more of a natural discussion between the four candidates in order to convey their points to those in the audience and watching on the live feed provided by The Record.

This shortcoming in the format was most apparent the very beginning of the debate when the subject matter was pay-to-play reform, a topic which Save Jersey covered very extensively last year.


Hispanic Republican Association Launches in Bergen County (AUDIO)

President Bush accumulated 35% and 44% in 2000 and 2004, respectively.  In a recent poll, President Obama leads Governor Romney among Hispanic voters by a margin of 70%-20%, representing a staggering reversal in favor of the Democratic party.  

We addressed this issue and others with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the newly formed Bergen County Hispanic Association, Fernando Alonso and Albert Enriquez.  You may be familiar with Fernando Alonso from our ever so extensive 2011 coverage of the District 38 race.  The Farleigh Dickenson University Professor and immigration attorney brought some much-needed perspective to our conversation on the Hispanic vote:

The Democrats have painted the Republican Party in a certain way to convince the convince the Hispanic community that the Hispanic community that the Republicans don’t care about them…at the end that was the fault of the Republican Party for letting [the democrats] paint them in a certain way.  If you look at Bush, he’s had a lot of top people in his administration…  In the last four years the Republican Party wasn’t able to counter that.

The Vice-Chairman, Albert Enriquez, talked about his entry into Republican politics and being raised in a Republican household:

My family came from Cuba; they escaped communism.  A lot of that communism has a lot of similarities with the hard left liberal agendas.  I’ve seen where that can lead to.

We have a brief but insightful conversation which can be nothing short of eyeopening with the three of us, tackling the objectives of the Hispanic Republican Association, the “Menendez Effect,” and even a little bit of Fernando’s 2013 aspirations.  All you have to do is press play right down here…


Save Jersey Interviews Bergen County Freeholder Rob Hermansen

Over the weekend Save Jerseyans, we had the pleasure of sitting down at One Bergen Plaza in Hackensack with Bergen County Freeholder Robert Hermansen (R-Mahwah).

Freeholder Hermansen took the time to reflect on the first year of pay-to-play reform, and its impending challenge by the very same Democrats who helped work with him to pass it, the ongoing saga that is the consolidation discussion between the  Bergen County Sheriff’s Office and the Bergen County Police Department, as well as his impending re-election battle this November.  The interview is split into three parts below.

We hope you enjoy!


Special thanks to Cory Alexander and John Beattie.

Note: the author/interviewer is an employee of the Bergen County Police Department

Things Just Got Very Real (Again) in Bergen County

This afternoon, Freeholders Maura DeNicola and Robert Hermansen called an atypical presser at the Bergen County Law & Public Safety Institute in Mahwah.

The topic? What they’ve graphically described as “a disgusting abuse of power on behalf of political bosses of Bergen County” (h/t

Distributing emails between board Chairman John Mitchell, various attorneys and a Pennsylvania-based political consultant, the two freeholders said they were deliberately kept in the dark by members of their own party as they developed the wording of a public referendum on police consolidation, a controversial issue and the subject of a series of public hearings earlier this summer.

The freeholders are scheduled to consider two measures — one which would approve a ballot question on the matter for the November election and another that would immediately bring the county police under the control of the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office — at a special meeting on Friday.

In the e-mails, Mitchell and the others discussed the particular wording of the proposed ballot question. Bergen County Republican Chairman Bob Yudin and Sheriff’s Department Attorney John McCann were copied on the discussion, but did not participate, but Hermansen and DeNicola accused Yudin of exercising undue influence on the process.

“I can’t help it if I get a lot of emails,” Yudin told, adding that he “had been privy to some of those conversations” about police consolidation because he’s been a public supporter of such a move since 2006.”

After the press conference, Chairman Yudin told that he never responded to the emails; moreover, he expressed disbelief at what he characterized as DeNicola, Hermansen and County Executive Kathe Donovan’s opposition to saving money. Freeholder DeNicola previously articulated her position on the county policy consolidation ballot question right here at Save Jersey.

Unfortunately for everyone involved, Save Jerseyans, I think many voters will treat this important debate as anything other than the latest, ugly extension of the seemingly never-ending GOP civil war that has ravaged Bergen’s Republican Party.

Charlie Stile recently blamed a lack of leadership from Governor Christie for the conflagration. I understand his point, but the Bergen GOP’s leaders, politicians and local warlords were at each other’s throats long before 2009. My opinion? The County Committee members have no one but themselves to blame at the end of the day. They re-elected Bob Yudin to another term in the worst way possible – via a long, drawn-out battle that took many weeks, two ballots, and resulted in more hard feeling than before the process got underway.

If you think Yudin was the wrong choice, then the County Committee committed a compound sin. If you think Yudin is the right man, then why hasn’t he made any progress whatsoever towards uniting the party? Though, in all fairness, the same could be said for the opposing faction that unsuccessfully rallied around Anthony Rottino’s candidacy.

Get it together, Bergen GOP! November is coming…


Responding with Facts Regarding “Freeholder Candidates Call for Referendum on Police Merger”

I was elected to represent the people of Bergen County as your Freeholder. I think a costly referendum on the issue of a police merger would only reveal what common sense already tells us. Bergen County citizens want every government agency to cut spending, increase efficiency and eliminate redundancies.

Moreover, having been immersed in the details of county policing for the last year and a half, and as a member of the Creamer Taskforce, the most important county law enforcement question is whether or not a reduction and shift of the County Police Department to the Sheriff’s Office will impact the safety and security of Bergen’s citizens. That critical and not so simple answer is something that a referendum will not provide.

Bergen County is unique. We are approximately 250 square miles in direct proximity to New York City, with over 500 miles of state and county roadways and 9,000 acres of county parkland. We are the most populous county in New Jersey. We have more than 905,000 residents throughout 70 municipalities; a population larger than six States. There is little value gleaned by comparisons to other New Jersey counties given these statistics when it comes to law enforcement.

When I became a member of the Creamer Taskforce, I took on the mission of analyzing county law enforcement with an open mind. Maintaining security for our citizens while examining cost saving opportunities in the county law enforcement agencies of the Prosecutor’s Office, the Sheriff’s Office and the County Police Department was our priority. The Guidepost Solutions study was similarly positioned. Their resulting report provided recommendations for savings and options for remodeling county law enforcement. We agreed on a great deal.


UPDATE: Yudin Defeats Rottino, Survives Challenge in Bergen

It’s finally over, Save Jerseyans.

Incumbent Chairman Bob Yudin walked away the big winner of tonight’s epic showdown at the Hackensack BCRO.

The margin was 438 to 315 in his favor. Yudin now begins the hard work of reuniting arguably the most bitterly fractured Republican county organization in New Jersey. Hopefully it’s not impossible work.

More details/post-mortem analysis to follow…


@JamesGBeattie Reports From Round 2 of Bergen’s GOP Chairman Vote (PHOTO)

Sen. Cardinale campaigns for Chairman Yudin

It’s a MUCH more subdued atmosphere tonight at the BCRO Hall in Hackensack, Save Jerseyans.

That’s because we’re down to the wire in the increasingly nasty, twisting and turning race war between the Yudin Camp and Team Rottino. Tonight’s run-off vote likely won’t cure the fissures that plague the BCRO. It will, however, have a profound effect on county and statewide politics both in 2012 and 2013.

Our own James Beattie (R-Bergenfield) is once again on site for Save Jersey as Bergen County GOP committee members decide whether to grant Chairman Bob Yudin another term as their chairman.

Follow James’s Twitter feed (@JamesGBeattie) for live and continuous updates…

Chairman Yudin engaging in last minute campaigning in Hackensack.


Anthony Rottino looks for votes at the 11th hour at BCRO HQ.

UPDATE: Yudin Wins First Round Vote for BCRO Chairmanship

Bob Yudino (left) and Anthony Rottino (right) were competing to lead the BCRO. A third candidate, John McCann, is not pictured above.

The vote total from Round One:

Yudin – 283

Rottino – 268

McCann -198

So don’t expect any white smoke over the BCRO tonight, Save Jerseyans.

749 committee members voted tonight in Hackensack but the winner needed 375 (50% plus one) of them to capture the chairmanship outright.

We’re headed to a runoff next Thursday, 6/21…


Does this thing ever end??? I guess we at least have more grilled hot dogs and assorted sweet treats as consolation.

The only sure thing following this first big vote? John McCann (R-Cresskill) is done. Expect both remaining candidates to work hard for his supporters’ backing (as well as his endorsement, too).


@JamesGBeattie Reports Carnival Atmosphere at Hackensack BCRO as Chairman’s Vote Begins (PHOTO)

Want to know what will happen tonight in Bergen County’s Republican Chairman Showdown, Save Jerseyans?

Check back here later for results! We’ve got you covered.

In the interim, James Beattie (R-Bergenfield) is on the scene for Save Jersey. Follow his Twitter feed (@JamesGBeattie) for live and continuous updates.

Initial observations? James reports a carnival-like atmosphere outside the Hackensack BCRO Hall! Somewhat surreal given then the nasty tone of the campaign.

Incumbent Chairman Bob Yudin is handing out burgers, dogs and fries to supporters. Challenger Anthony Rottino’s son is giving out stickers for his pop. And John McCann has an impressive sign by the door (see above)…


Rottino Rolls Out Endorsement List in Bergen’s GOP Chairman Race

Bob Yudino (left) and Anthony Rottino (right) are competing to lead the BCRO. A third candidate, John McCann, is not pictured above.

Another day, another battle for control of New Jersey’s most populous county.

Anthony Rottino, the North Jersey developed hoping to unseat incumbent GOP Chairman Bob Yudin at next month’s Bergen County convention, rolled out a list of endorsees yesterday afternoon to his email list and Facebook followers.

It’s extensive, and it includes three legislators and two freeholders:

  • Senator Kevin O’Toole
  • Assemblyman David Russo
  • Assemblyman Scott Rumana
  • Christopher G. Sinisi, Councilman, Wallington
  • Mike Cerbo and Karen Haggerty, Lyndhurst
  • Bruce Young, Councilman, Carlstadt
  • Joel Brizzi, Councilman, East Rutherford
  • Lisa Randall, former Freeholder, County Clerk
  • Maura DeNicola, Freeholder
  • Robert Hermansen, Freeholder
  • Drita McNamara, Wyckoff Municipal Chairwoman
  • Rudy Boonstra, District 40 Chairman
  • Chris DePhillips, Mayor, Wyckoff
  • Dennis Bonugora Franklin Lakes, Municipal Chairman
  • Lenore Cohen, Ridgewood municipal chair
  • John Butler, Glen Rock Municipal Chairman
  • Tom Giordano, Mayor, Waldwick
  • Bud O’Hagan, Mayor, Midland Park
  • Gary Burns, former Councilman & Municipal Chairman North Arlington
  • Andrew Cimiluca, Councilman, Saddle Brook
  • Ben Focarino, BCRO State Committeeman
  • Eleanor Nissley, BCRO State Committeewoman
  • Henry Wallace, Lodi Municipal Chairman
  • Liz White, Councilwoman, Allendale
  • Jacqueline McSwiggan, Councilwoman, Allendale

No surprises thus far, Save Jerseyans.

The BCRO’s uncivil war has been raging for months in venues ranging from the courtroom to the pages of the Bergen Record and our own Save Jersey message boards. This list is merely a public affirmation of the battle lines. Unsurprisingly, the statement accompanying Rottino’s list pledged a positive campaign while simultaneously firing a few not-so-subtle broadsides in the direction of Chairman Yudin:

I know many of you are tired of being ignored by BCRO leadership and you want to have a constructive voice in how we approach issues and campaigns. I guarantee you that as your chairman, your voice will be heard and we will have open and honest communication.

For the BCRO to prosper we must become a cohesive party that looks forward not backward. We must focus the organization’s attention on running effective campaigns to beat Democrats and stop beating up on ourselves. We must focus on raising money in new and creative ways. And we must stop creating factions within the party that drain the BCRO of energy and constructive ideas.

A third candidate, John McCann, is also vying for the big chair.