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The Battle Continues: The Tale of the Tape

Councilman Joel Pabon

Councilman Joel Pabon

PERTH AMBOY – Mayor Diaz was not through with her dismay with what happened to cause a special election to be held on May 12. She made it clear at the 4/8/15 Council Meeting that there was no stone unturned. She played part of the audio where Judge Heidi Currier based her decision and called for this special election. You could hear a pin drop while the 16 minute audio was played.

The Mayor announced that the cost to the City would be $76,835 and she proceeded to give a breakdown of all the expenditures. (Click here for cost breakdown) She stated the reason for playing this audio was so that there would be no hearsay or other interpretation of the Judge’s decision other than this recording.

Some of the people in attendance were not happy that the Mayor was given the opportunity to play this audio. During the public portion Businesswoman Virginia Lugo said, “The Mayor’s presentation was smoke and mirrors. The residents of the nursing home that testified were targeted because Leslie Dominguez worked there. I found it odd that the Mayor supported a ticket. There should be checks and balances. There is an injustice of power going on in the City.”

When Stanley Sierakowski came up to speak, “What about the surveillance cameras at the nursing homes? Leslie Dominguez has not been indicted. Why did you ask Leslie to resign? What about Senator Menendez who has been indicted? Also the Police Chief was indicted. Did you ask him to resign?”

Resident Alan Silber came up to speak and addressed the Council, “You voted for Kenneth Gonzalez to be a judge and Mr. Blunda had stated that all judges are political appointees. Superior Court judges are not infallible.” Silber then proceeded to read a ruling that involved Judge Currier. Silber then referenced the Mayor’s Facebook Page about the opening of the Diaz Team Campaign Headquarters in 2014. “Mr. Blunda is no longer giving legal opinions, but the Mayor’s opinions and this should stop.”

Resident David Caba stated, “This election was fraudulent. More candidates should be on the ballot. I forgot that Mr. Vitale is running the town. I did not attend the hearings because Middlesex County Court is so corrupt. My cousin (Jelmin Caba) is a true Democrat. You saw as Republicans that you couldn’t win, so you switched parties. People are starving while the developers are being enriched and your friends are getting jobs.”

Resident Maria Garcia said, “Some individuals came here to protect us, but slander people personally. At one point they are defending Leslie Rodriguez without facts or proof. Mayors in the past have supported slates and the people who testified did it through a video camera.”

Former Councilman Ken Balut said, “The Planning Board Attorney did not fill out his ethics forms. Judge Robbins did a ruling on Kenny Gonzalez and then Robbins was indicted on voter fraud.” Balut again reiterated that the Middlesex County Clerk Elaine Flynn’s office was raided by the FBI. “If the Mayor needs more evidence (about corruption) I have tapes and letters that I would gladly hand over to authorities. This is about taking over the Democratic Party so they can get the money back. The Y owes us one million dollars. When I left office it was only $670,000. You should put that in the budget. The City is getting more money from Chevron. What about the money from the dismissal of tickets from the bar (on Fayette Street)? Maybe Elaine Flynn knows where the votes went.”

Former Housing Authority Member Pedro Perez continued to press the Council about information about the Housing Authority entity (PARTNER) records from 2003-2010. He was told that the information would be available.

Fernando Gonzalez who had been sitting on the Council from 1/2/15 until the court decision came down on 3/25/15 came up to speak. He started out by saying, “News can be spun.” He was beside himself at the $75,000 expenditure for the special election. “Someone lost and didn’t like that. I can’t hire lawyers to investigate votes. People were sent to people’s homes and told them they were Federal Investigators to intimidate people. Citizens of Nursing Homes have voted for years. 535 votes were the original amount of votes they tried to suppress. The voting machines were rechecked and so were other forms. People called me about people coming to their homes. The Judge went through a lot of hoops to get to her decision. I’m a poor man. I wish I had the money to appeal the Judge’s decision.”

The Mayor answered those who were not happy with Judge Currier’s decision. “We’ve heard a lot of the testimony, and I’m glad that people came up to give their views. I know it’s hard for them to hear the Judge’s decision, but you can’t overturn it. We have to move on. Many great things are happening. The Council doesn’t have the right to second guess a Superior Court Judge. I will continue to support candidates who have the best interest of the community. Businesses want to build up the City. We have to focus on the 50,000 residents. If you have an issue, you should go back to the Superior Court Judge. We are focusing on the redevelopment of the City to get jobs for the community. I don’t know how some people sleep at night.”

Resident Dorothy Daniel who was recently reappointed to the Housing Authority came up to speak. She decided to take a strong stance against those who personally attacked her and others in the Housing Authority. Before doing so, she told the Council that they have been bombarded by stuff that they have no control over. She recounted how she had served the community for over 30 years. “If the abuse continues against me (she referenced that comments are being made by Cathy DePow through Facebook) there will be lawsuits and I hope these people have money. If the Housing Authority was guilty of charges hurled against us, we would have been slapped by the Federal Government. I was recently honored for my work in the community. Even the top official from HUD sent me a letter thanking me for the job I’ve done.” Daniel again mentioned as she had done in previous meetings about some of the storefronts on Smith Street with “bright flashing lights at night” that should be looked into again. “My granddaughter has a condition where these lights can cause her to have seizures.”

After the public portion was closed, the Council made their comments. Councilman Bill Petrick thanked the Mayor for addressing the issues at hand and told her, “They were right on point. The comments about people posing as Federal Agents and coming to voter’s doors were untrue.”

Councilman Joel Pabon stated, “We owe it to the public to explain in detail about agenda items. Sometimes our knowledge is limited and we call on department heads or administrators here who are better qualified give a more detailed explanation. There are good things happening in our City. Let’s give it a chance. I’ve been volunteering since I was a teenager. We have a large number of little leaguers and a lot of them are without coaches. We are getting bashed because we are getting tax money from Chevron and we get kicked around because we want a county park. Someone said that the YMCA owes us a million dollars. It’s actually a little more than that, but if you can come up with something better than the Y, let us know. The Y is doing a lot for the community. A friend of mine has a child who has autism and the Y has helped him out with swimming lessons and that child is now swimming like a pro in a short period of time. Go to the YMCA on a Friday and see how many teenagers are participating in activities there. If I wasn’t on the Council, I would spend more time volunteering like I did before. People who complain should volunteer. I saw a lot of lawyers here. I wonder why they didn’t go to the trial. If you have video and records and other information (to back up your statements about corruption) then take them to the FBI.”

Councilman Fernando Irizarry read a lengthy statement in response to accusations made against him when he was sitting on the Board of Education. This was specifically regarding matters pertaining to the Seaman Avenue School Property (see page 6).

Council President Lisa Nanton said, “It’s an honor to serve with these gentlemen on the Council. It’s all about bettering the community. A lot of times we have our hands tied. We can’t comment on any litigation (referring to the YMCA) or personnel matters. ”

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