Candidate Suppression in Bergen (Again)

The other night I was watching MSNBC and I was struck watching Civil Rights icon and Georgia Congressman John Lewis use all his considerable credibility and emotional weight to shame a fellow Republican into withdrawing an amendment from the floor that would have suppressed voting rights.

I felt that old familiar anger rise up in me.  I feel it whenever I see yet another blatant attack on voting rights.  It reminds me of when someone tried to do it to me.  When I was a duly elected County Committee member and I was almost prevented from casting a vote for NJ Asssembly candidate Valerie Vaineiri Huttle by a Bergen County Committee Staffer who dared challenge me.  I was angry because that Republican Senator tried to once again steal another election from thousands upon thousands of US citizens.

Thankfully, John Lewis reminded that Senator that he knew friends who had DIED trying to vote. He had  his own blood spilled himself.  That shamed the would-be Republican election thief into withdrawing his abomination of an amendment.  I remember how angry I was that someone had tried to steal my vote away from me.  I remembered how I felt knowing that Elizabeth Cady Stanton had lived in my town of Tenafly and had tried to vote right there in the center of my town.  I remembered how much that very anger drove me to become a blogger right here on Blue Jersey.  I fought that day in Hackensack, I got there first in line and stayed to be a witness, and even shouted to get not only my vote counted, but the votes counted of all the African American County Committee members in Teaneck  - who I watched being challenged the minute they walked in the door.  Our uproar prevented another stolen election.  That is how the BCDO used to operate - which is why they changed the name to BCDC in the hopes folks would forget that although they changed the Captain - the same crew is still running the ship.

I am extremely unhappy to report that the reason I feel that old familiar anger boiling up inside me today is that the BCDC apparently actively prevented candidate Jason Castle from participating in the Bergen County Committee Convention.  I received a letter today that was sent to the Chairman Lou Stellato and the entire CD5 membership of the County Committee that describes the underhanded way in which the nomination was just handed to FOJ (Friend of Joe) Adam Gussen of Teaneck.  

I will include the text of it here:  

REGINA DUNPHY O'NEILL

MAY 22, 2012

Chairman Lou Stellato

BCDC

Dear Chairman:

Jason Castle is my choice for Congress in District 5.  To say I'm impressed with him is to put it mildly.  His positions on the Afghan war, Marriage Equality, and education are a perfect contrast to Scott Garret's record.  In addition, Jason is a former Marine who served our country in Iraq.   Jason is a great candidate; he makes the Bergen Dems look good!

In my opinion your hand-picked candidate, Adam Gussen is a very poor choice for our party.  I have seen this guy in action.  He acts like a bully, especially towards women.  He makes Chris Christie look like a pussy cat. As far as his positions concerning the voters, he did not show up for the first debate and he has no website.  So who knows!

I am not surprised that you manipulated the democratic process with your decision to keep Jason out of the convention.  It's very similar to the way you ran the legislative caucuses last year. Some of the legislative candidates were required to adhere to the convention process and your hand picked candidates got a pass on that process.

I believe you purposely held back the delegate list from Mr. Castle until 3 days before the convention knowing he needed it to get his petition signed by those same delegates.

He completed the requirements to run at the convention.   When he called to say he was going to drop off the signed petition at headquarters he was told to bring them to Ron's house the next day.  Jason reminded Ron that that would be past the deadline; Ron insisted it was not a problem.  

On Sunday I hosted a meet and greet for Jason.  A great success; Jason was able to win over  all those in attendance.  Some of my guests had received an e-mail discouraging them from supporting Jason because he didn't go thru the convention process; a "fact" that had been confirmed by none other than the BCDC.   "Your people" in Maywood and throughout Dist. 5 are busily spreading around your party line.

Nice try Lou! First you stomp all over the democratic process and then you get your "party puppets" to convince the voters that the candidates you blackballed did something wrong.  I don't think it will work this time.

Lou, you do understand that these corrupt policies take away the rights of all county committee people!  In turn, your decision disenfranchised thousands upon thousands of voters represented by those same county committee members.  It is their responsibility to research the candidates and then vote for the candidate  who will best serve their constituents.

In the past, Joe Ferriero desecrated the democratic process over and over again.  And know I see you are doing the same thing.  I'll ask you the same question I asked Joe; what are you afraid of?

As for Jason Castle, I'm not worried.   I believe he has the courage and integrity to move our party forward.  

Sincerely,

Regina Dunphy O'neill

CC: DIST 5 COUNTY COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Now in order to understand what happened, you need to know why the old Ferriero supporters would want to rig the election in favor of Adam Gussen.  Adam was a candidate supported by Joe Ferriero to weaken Loretta Weinberg's supporters in Teaneck.  

Here is an old diary I did on THAT topic:

http://www.bluejersey.com/diar...

From the following link, you can get the gist of the Zisa, Ferreiro connections to Adam Gussen's campaign and career in what is supposed to be a non-partisan Teaneck.  

http://teaneckprogress.blogspo...

I know it is a few years later, but the same characters are still in power at the BCDC - like the BCDC staffer and Joe Ferriero supporter Ron Subramaniam who told Mr. Castle to hand his papers in a day late even though he had them ready in time.  It is an ugly ugly political scene in Teaneck these days, and the efforts to prevent Castle from participating in the convention stole the votes of hundreds of County Committee members who wanted to vote for Mr. Castle.  They are angry.   My other BCDC sources tell me that not only did the BCDC withhold the list until only 3 days before the deadline, but when Castle's campaign got the list - it had no phone numbers on it. They had to literally look up hundreds of phone numbers themselves to get those signatures in time. Which they managed to do only to be prevented from delivering them by BCDC staffer Subramaniam.

In one sweet bit of poetic justic, Jason Castle still won the first column in Bergen County, and also won the party line in Counties where he was not PREVENTED from being on the ballot.  Because of that, the BCDC folks who prevented a fair election at the Bergen County Committee are trying to intimidate County Committee members from openly showing their support for Jason Castle.  I have already had to refute misinformation being spread to Democrats in Teaneck by Gussen's allies.  

I was asked to blog this by County Committee members infuriated by being deprived of their voting rights and afraid to speak out publicly about this terrible systemic cancer still embedded inside the BCDC.  That anger I feel is shared by at least 100 county committee members who dared to sign Jason's petition in good faith.  I wonder if those County Committee members will find THEMSELVES thrown off the line in the next election like I was a few years back for daring to support, the HONEST candidate and now our Senate Majority Leader, Loretta Weinberg, rather than the recently convicted and hand-picked Ferriero candidate named (Charles "Ken" Zisa).  I think there should be a full investigation into candidate suppression and the alleged illegal rigging of the 2012 Bergen County Democratic Committee Convention. God knows it wouldn't be the first time the Bergen County Democratic Committee forgot how to hold an honest election.

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