Phil Murphy’s Rhetoric Doesn’t Match His Actions When It Comes To Women

Gov. Phil Murphy

Gov. Phil Murphy

Here at The Bob & Steve Show we’ve talked a lot about Governor Phil Murphy’s double-standard problem when it comes to his treatment of women.

More than 30 times, on this blog, we’ve mentioned the mistreatment of women on Murphy’s professional soccer team (forcing young women to live with a dirty old man, forcing players to live in a house with plastic bags for windows, reports that “Suburban recreation leagues for 8-year-olds have better accommodations” when it comes to the professional team’s practice facilities and the list goes on).

And, I can’t count how many times the mainstream press mentioned the piss poor way Murphy handled the Katie Brennan situation.

There was the much less covered Allison Kopicki who said she was resigning from her position in the Murphy administration because she alleged she has faced retaliation from Murphy’s administration. To refresh your memory about the Kopicki story here is an excerpt from an article:

Shortly after Murphy was elected in November 2017, Kopicki told members of Murphy’s transition team about concerns that Kelley created a hostile work environment for women, according to the Journal report.

That included allegations that Kelley threw a chair while a female subordinate was in the room. NJ Advance Media later confirmed those accusations.

Kopicki was a deputy policy director to Murphy’s transition.

Murphy’s transition team hired an outside attorney to look into the complaints. The probe found that Kelley did throw the chair but did not find evidence that he treated women unequally, the Journal reported.

Kelley was later hired as a deputy chief of staff after Murphy became governor last January.

The women’s soccer, Katie Brennan and Allison Kopicki situations all add up to a track record of Phil Murphy not believing women. In fact, the only instance of Murphy believing women I could find was involving Brett Kavanaugh.

All this has had me wondering if “#MeToo” and “#BelieveWomen” are nothing more than political tools to Murphy.

If those three situations weren’t enough to cause anyone else to wonder if “#MeToo” and “#BelieveWomen” are nothing more than political tools to Murphy then yesterday’s Bob & Steve Show blog post should get you asking questions.

I wrote about the very kind words Murphy had for Nick Sacco at a recent Sacco campaign event. To refresh your memory Murphy said of Sacco:

“I talk about a stronger and fairer New Jersey all the time, and if you want to see an embodiment of strong and fair, look at the leadership we have on stage tonight,” Murphy said. “I know the mayor as a friend, supporter, and confidante when times are tough. I know him as one of the most senior, distinguished, and respected state senators in Trenton, and most importantly I know him as Mayor Nick Sacco of the great North Bergen.”

Governor Murphy said all these nice things about Sacco despite the fact that in 2010 North Bergen paid April Tricoli-Busset $90,000 because she sued over sexist remarks. Keep in mind those sexist remarks included Sacco allegedly discussing “boobs” with Tricoli-Busset.

And, there’s the voicemail messages left on Lydia Coleman’s phone allegedly by Sacco. An expert said the recordings were authentic. Coleman said the alleged voicemail messages came after she rejected Sacco’s sexual advances in a bar in 2003.

All this adds up to one big question: Does Phil Murphy really believe women?

I say the answer is no. Even if you want to believe in Phil Murphy and give him a pass on the women’s soccer, Katie Brennan and Allison Kopicki situations, at the very least the fact that Murphy had no problem standing with and supporting Nick Sacco even though Sacco has been accused of sexual harassment and/or sexist remarks at least twice and his town settled one of those instances for $90,000 you have to wonder if Murphy really believes women.

Murphy is always ready with the rhetoric to make it appear he supports women, like the time during the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings when Murphy said Kavanaugh "ought to just pack up and leave town." Unfortunately for Democrats, the reality is Murphy’s rhetoric doesn’t match his actions.

If Murphy’s rhetoric truly matched his actions he wouldn’t have stood with Sacco and instead said “he ought to just pack up and leave town.”

The only question left is will Murphy follow his own advice and pack up and leave town since his record on women doesn’t match his rhetoric?

Aren’t We Supposed To #BelieveWomen? Apparently, Phil Murphy Doesn’t, Not When It Comes To Nick Sacco

Nick Sacco

Nick Sacco

Elections in New Jersey are tough, no one denies that. In Hudson County the race for mayor of North Bergen between Larry Wainstein and Mayor/state Senator Nick Sacco is especially tough, and for those of us who like watching slug fests this is the one to watch. As a Republican, this one is especially fun because they’re both Democrats. The Hudson Reporter did a good job capturing some of the fun back in March.

One particular part of the Hudson Reporter piece caught my attention:

At the March 11 rally, Gov. Phil Murphy was one of many high-ranking officials to turn out and sing Sacco’s praises.

“I talk about a stronger and fairer New Jersey all the time, and if you want to see an embodiment of strong and fair, look at the leadership we have on stage tonight,” Murphy said. “I know the mayor as a friend, supporter, and confidante when times are tough. I know him as one of the most senior, distinguished, and respected state senators in Trenton, and most importantly I know him as Mayor Nick Sacco of the great North Bergen.”

The reason that jumped out at me is reading about what a great guy Governor Phil Murphy thinks Nick Sacco is reminded me there was once some sort of issue with a woman and Sacco. I didn’t remember exactly what that issue was until last week when Wainstein came with an online ad that includes alleged “actual voicemail recordings of Nicholas Sacco.” They were recordings allegedly left on Lydia Coleman’s phone by Sacco.

To be fair, Sacco, through a spokesman, claimed the recordings were “doctored.” From a Star-Ledger article.

Paul Swibinski, a spokesman for Sacco (D-Hudson), said the recordings appear "doctored," and that there were other issues, including financial difficulties, that called into question Coleman's credibility.

The spokesman did his job making the claim the recordings were doctored, but then launching into an attack on Coleman was classless.

Now, to continue with being fair, in an Observer article an expert concluded the recordings were authentic. From the Observer article:

Attorney Mario Blanch said he received a letter from Professional Audio Laboratories of Park Ridge, Inc. President Paul Ginsberg.

“After some experimentation to optimize intelligibility, I produced an enhanced copy, and proceeded to do a preliminary examination,” said Ginsberg, referring to a copy of the tapes he received from the Star-Ledger.

“My conclusion was that the recordings were authentic, but with the caveat that in order to make a definitive finding I would need to examine the original recording or have access to the voicemails.”

I’m going to have to believe the expert because the Lydia Coleman incident is not the only sexist incident involving Sacco and a woman.

In 2010 North Bergen paid April Tricoli-Busset $90,000 because she sued over sexist remarks. According to the Jersey Journal:

In the suit, she said she endured a series of sexist taunts, including an occasion in June 2006 when Mayor Nicholas Sacco, chatting at the North Bergen Flag Day Parade with township commissioners, asked, "Don't you think we should have a big boobs page on the website?"

The thing is I don’t remember any outrage at Sacco during or after either of these incidents. It’s almost as if Trenton Democrats thought it was okay for Sacco to allegedly make sexist remarks and allegedly leave threatening messages.

Two incidents involving two different women makes a pattern. Sacco has a track record of mistreating women. Yet, Phil Murphy still felt it was important to stand with Sacco.

Someone needs to ask Murphy if with Sacco’s record he still believes Sacco is “a friend, supporter, and confidante when times are tough.” And, if Murphy still believes that then he needs to explain if he still knows Sacco “as one of the most senior, distinguished, and respected state senators in Trenton.”

One may argue these incidents involving women and Nick Sacco are old, but don’t forget allegations against Brett Kavanaugh were even older and Phil Murphy made his opinion on that known when he said Kavanaugh "ought to just pack up and leave town."

Now that new light has been shed on Nick Sacco’s treatment of women Phil Murphy should be calling on him to just pack up and leave town. He did it for Kavanaugh and Sacco should be no different.

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.