Woodlynne Borough Employee, Friend Of The Mayor, Uses A Government Car For Personal Use

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Apparently, Edwin Ramos, who is employed as a clerk by the borough of Woodlynne in Camden County and holds the title of “Deputy Police Director” enjoys using an unmarked police car for personal reasons.

The Bob & Steve Show has been provided video and photos of Ramos using the borough owned car to travel to at least two locations in Camden, Kaighn’s Liquor & Sports Bar at Kaighn and Mt Ephraim and Eddie’s Liquors at 7th and Chestnut. The photos are from weekend of December 1st and 2nd.

Sources tell The Bob & Steve Show that Ramos has a close personal relationship with Woodlynne Mayor Jeraldo Fuentes, with one source claiming Ramos is the Godfather to one of Fuentes’ children. Fuentes is the younger brother of Camden City Councilman Angel Fuentes. Ramos is retired from the old Camden PD.

Sources also say Ramos has a history of using the borough owned car for personal reasons.

Not only does Ramos use the borough owned car for what most municipal governments wouldn’t allow, he also appears to believe bus stops are reserved for him to park the car.

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And here is the car parked at Kaighn’s Liquor & Sports Bar in Camden where it is alleged Ramos works part time security

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Not one to allow the weather to ruin his hair, Ramos is sure to use an umbrella while getting in to the borough’s car.

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 There’s going to be more coming out of Woodlynne, so stay tuned. For now, here’s a little video taken December 2nd at 3:05AM.

We Now Have Election Season, Not Election Day And Republicans Better Get Their Act Together

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A guest column penned by Brigid Callahan Harrison (yes, the Montclair State Brigid Harrison) that appeared in the Star-Ledger over the weekend caught my attention. The piece, “How votes by mail helped turn the tide for key races in N.J.’s big blue wave,” reminded me of something listeners of The Bob & Steve Show have heard me say numerous times – we now have an election season, not just election day.

For some odd reason Republicans in New Jersey cannot seem to figure out New Jersey’s Vote-by-Mail program. They act like it is some strange, out of this world concept. It’s not. Simply put, it’s an early voting system. At least 34 states, including New Jersey, have some form of early voting.

I’ll save the arguments about the potential fraud that can occur with voting by mail, but I will say I prefer in person early voting, much like the system in New Mexico with voting convenience centers. Unfortunately, this is New Jersey, so we are stuck with vote-by-mail.

Here’s the thing, it is not rocket science! In the Star-Ledger piece, Democratic party strategist (and all-around good guy) Steve Ayscue how easy this is:

The author of that playbook is Steve Ayscue, a political strategist who works for Norcross, and he describes their effort to drive out VBMs as a form of grassroots activism that is elegant in its simplicity: Ayscue invites party loyalists to house parties; Freeholders speak, food and drink is served, and then the Democratic loyalists cull through voter lists, identifying voters they know. These workers then become responsible for contacting “their voters” and ensuring that their ballots are returned. Starting in September and continuing through to Election Day, voters are texted, called and visited by a party worker they know and reminded to return their ballot.

Unlike campaigns that rely on random canvassers or volunteers, Ayscue says that “relationships still matter in politics,” and relationships are what deliver results.

What Ayscue explained in the Star-Ledger piece is exactly the kind of thing we did when I was the executive Director of the Bernalillo County GOP in New Mexico. It led to a pick up of a seat in the state senate, a seat on the county’s board of commissioners and eventually helped Republicans gain control of the state house of representatives for the first time in 60 years.

It’s also what we do in Greenwich Township (Gloucester County – the locals call it Gibbstown). It works! Greenwich Township Mayor George Shivery has won six terms now in a town that is roughly 5 – 1 Democrat to Republican. Our team knows personally about 60% of the people who are voting for him before an actual vote is cast. The volunteer who handles the computer program we use to track voters can tell us what the percentage of votes will be long before the results come in.

I mention Gibbstown because voter registration disadvantage doesn’t matter when it is about relationships. I am an elected member of county committee and I do as a committeeman should – I walk my neighborhood and meet my neighbors. One neighbor in particular I met is a union guy and was not registered to vote when we first met several years ago. He registered to vote, as a Democrat, “because I have to.” But every year when he gets his mail-in ballot he calls me and asks who I’m supporting, well okay, he asks, “who am I voting for?” It’s a personal relationship.

Another neighbor, one who places Democratic party candidate’s signs in his yard, calls me with basically the same question every election. Again, because there is a personal relationship.

I also mentioned Gibbstown because I’ve talked with folks who live in Camden County, almost every one of them says, “but the Democrats pay people to get them to vote by mail.” Maybe they do, maybe they don’t, but if the elected (or appointed) members of the county committee do as a member of the committee should and meet people you will earn their votes for the Republican ticket. It’s just an example that if people are willing to put in the work, they can win, no matter the voter registration disadvantage. President Trump and Bob Hugin both won Gibbstown despite losing New Jersey.

Being a committeeperson is more than simply putting your name on the ballot in June every couple of years. It requires work to build the personal relationships required to win. Try it, you might like the results. Start now and deliver Christmas cookies to your neighbors. I do.

Was The Recent News 4 I-Team Report On North Bergen Mayor And State Senator Nick Sacco Another Sweeney-Sacco Skirmish?

 State Senator/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco

State Senator/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco

Generally speaking, The Bob & Steve Show doesn’t cover North Jersey politics, but the most recent NBC New York report on North Bergen Mayor and state Senator Nick Sacco cannot be ignored.

For some background, the last time this blog mentioned Sacco was after the release of Republican congressional candidate Seth Grossman’s first television ad against Democrat Jeff Van Drew. In that post I wrote that there was “grumbling in some circles within the Democratic party are that North Bergen Mayor, state Senator and Hudson County political boss Nick Sacco is somehow involved in this ad.”

In that piece I provided a little history to bring South Jerseyans up to speed as to why some Democrats thought there was a link to Sacco in that ad writing, For South Jerseyans who pay little attention to North Jersey politics you need to understand Sacco and Sweeney aren’t exactly best friends. The Jersey Journal’s Agustin “Augie” Torres put it into perspective in a column back in June. Torres wrote, in part (and misspelled Wainstein):

Oh yeah, and should the younger DeGise suffer a slaughter, the elder will still have to run - to continue depleting resources that may otherwise be used in the North Bergen May election against the incumbent administration.

Sources say money will not be a problem when it comes to the North Bergen election. South Jersey Democrats - read that as insurance guy George Norcross and Senate President Steve Sweeney -- so despise Sacco that you can expect to see a super Political Action Committee (PAC) pop up with $1 million available just to make certain there's a new mayor in North Bergen, say sources.

Larry Weinstein 's school board race went poorly but he still aspires to replace Sacco in Township Hall. You can't always translate school political success to a municipal race. In the last municipal election Weinstein received 5,000 votes. How much of an impact was that vote total? Ask yourself what would be Stack's reaction if he gave up 5,000 votes? It would be seismic.

In the present atmosphere it would not be difficult to come up with another 2,000 votes or more in anti-Sacco votes.

Of course, those of you who pay little attention to North Jersey politics need another piece of the puzzle. That piece of the puzzle is that the Grossman campaign’s ad was put together by political strategist and pollster Rick Shaftan. Shaftan is known for his work with Republicans, but he also happens to be North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco’s guy. Shaftan is Sacco's pollster, media buyer, and produces videos highlighting the North Bergen DPW's snow removal efforts.

With that background out of the way, take another look at the most recent News 4 I-Team report. In the report the News 4 I-Team makes clear:

The I-Team did a search for all political donations in New Jersey where the contributor reported being a teacher or working for any board of education in the state. Since 2010, there are a total of 11,000 contributions statewide. More than 6,000 of those went just to the political committee closely linked to Sacco. That is more than half of all individual education-related donations in the state.

North Bergen ranks 23rd in population in the state. Yet over that same nine-year time period, we found 317 individual donations in New Jersey’s three largest cities – Newark, Jersey City and Paterson – compared to more than 6,000 in North Bergen alone.

When the head of the state teacher’s union was showed this data, she said it is a big concern.

"Our students' education is too important to play politics with," Donna M. Chiera, president of the American Federation of Teachers New Jersey, said in a statement to News 4. "Educators… should not be coerced to donating to campaigns with the promise of favor or threat of retaliation."

Chiera called for "employment based on qualifications, credentials and merit rather than nepotism, cronyism or donations to political candidates."

Considering, that in North Bergen the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is the union of choice for educators, it makes sense that’s the union News 4 would go to for comment, but do not forget the AFT endorsed Sweeney for re-election when the NJEA opposed him..

And, let’s not forget a Star-Ledger column from back when the NJEA was trying to take Sweeney out. That column ended with:

Murphy's campaign won't comment, but the rest of the Legislature is watching. Some worry that this will create a rift between Murphy and Democrats allied with Sweeney and Norcross, one that could kneecap Murphy's agenda. Others are hoping for just such a rift, saying Norcross and his crew need to be brought down a peg after steering the party towards the center during the Christie years.

My guess is the NJEA is making an enormous mistake, that Sweeney will win, and that Murphy will emerge weakened as legislators see that he refused to throw a fellow Democrat a life-preserver in his hour of need.

There’s that and back when Grossman’s first TV ad launched I wrote, “One source close to the Governor told me Phil Murphy is happy with the ad because he feels it hurts Sweeney.”

So, I typed a lot of words for what in a nutshell is: Sweeney and Murphy aren’t best friends. Sacco and Murphy are allies. In June a Jersey Journal columnist outed Sweeney as being friendly with Wainstein, a challenger to Sacco for mayor. In October Democrats considered the possibility that a Republican campaign ad was being used by Democrats to weaken Sweeney. All this adds up to one question: Was the News 4 piece another Sweeney-Sacco skirmish?

Things like this are part of what makes New Jersey politics fun to watch. And, since there is a South Jersey connection to the upcoming May election for mayor in North Bergen we will keep watching.