By David Cruz
The perils of an embrace from a Democratic Hudson County mayor are many. Yes, there are votes to be had here, even for a Republican, if that Republican is Chris Christie. But the other side of that embrace is the risk of getting caught up in local controversies, of which there can be many in Hudson County. State senator and Union City Mayor Brian Stack gave a full-throated endorsement today, if not for Chris Christie the candidate, certainly for Chris Christie, the governor.
“I ask not only Union City, not only Hudson County, but all of New Jersey to join behind Gov. Chris Christie’s leadership in this state,” Stack told a crowd of several hundred. “New Jersey’s in great hands.”
The governor was in town to cut the ribbon for a renovated and re-christened Colin Powell Elementary School, paid for with funds from the Schools Development Authority, made possible by the chummy relationship between one of Hudson County’s most powerful politicians and the irresistible political force that is Chris Christie.
But Stack is carrying around some baggage this week. A local opposition group, Union City Concerned Citizens, is charging that Stack plugged a nearly $3 million municipal budget hole with a non-existent Port Authority grant for road repairs. It was something Stack tried to avoid talking about with his special guest nearby.
“The money’s either there or it’s not,” said Eric Dixon. “If it’s not there, it shouldn’t be reported in general revenue.”
The governor wasn’t talking today and NJ Today cameras had to chase Sen. Stack down the block to get him to answer questions on the Port Authority grant, which he dismissed as straight up politics.
“Obviously those people, the so-called attorney that’s hired by my opposition, obviously doesn’t understand a grant is anticipated,” said Stack. “This is an introduced budget; it’s not an adopted budget, and I’m guaranteeing you that the work will be done, as we’ve always done.”
Sen. Stack was confident enough that these charges would not rise to the level of scandal that he rolled out the red carpet for the governor, and the governor seemed comfortable enough with Stack to accept the red carpet treatment.