On my personal blog today, I made a prediction of the outcome of a Democratic meeting that occurred tonight at the Cosmopolitan restaurant in Vineland. south Jersey Times predicted that Nelson Albano might be ousted, and I said that it would be Matt Milam that was going to be tossed to the curb. I was correct. Matt, after all, is a decent guy who has some scruples and ethics left, and those are things that do not fly in the Jeff Van Drew camp!
Paul Sungenis, an elected committee-person since 2002, is one that can certainly attest to the lack of ethics in the first legislative district. A most unpolitical politician, he has had his official petitions to run for office stolen at official events, spoken his mind all too frequently for the comfort of Van Drew, had a dead possum left on his doorstep after one evening where he said some really uncomfortable things against the status quo – and then there was tonight.
Tonight’s event was billed as a committee meeting, according to this internal email sent to committee-persons:
CUMBERLAND COUNTY COMMITTEE MEETING
DATE: THURSDAY, FEB 28TH
PLACE: COSMOPOLITAN RESTAURANT
DELSEA DRIVE, VINELAND NJ
TO DISCUSS CAMPAIGN 2013
Pab tells me he arrived expecting a committee meeting. The place was packed. After the self-congratulatory speeches, Matt Milam announced he was stepping down and they forced their new choice: a former army veteran. They then called for speeches.
Pab asked Nancy Sungenis, his grandmother, what was going on, that this seemed to be a Van Drew rally under the false pretenses of a committee meeting. She said she had no idea, apparently the Van Drew campaign lied to her, also. I have to guess that Balicki was behind this farce, Nancy Sungenis, although I have been ciritical of her in the past, has scruples and would not violate party by-laws in such a blatant fashion as tonight.
Van Drew called the county chairs up to vote on the nomination, which hadn’t even been made under the established rules. That is not surprising, as the Cumberland County Democratic Party frequently ignores the sunshine laws. Under the rules of the CC Democratic Party a candidate must be nominated by one person from Vineland, one from Millville, one from Bridgeton, and one from the townships. No motions were called for or made, yet the committee members were instructed to vote for the nomination.
Pab raised a point of order, asking if discussion was to be allowed as required under the bylaws. Chairman Bob Balicki said yes. Once the motion had been forced by one person and one second (not even under our rules), Pab took the stage to speak. He iterated how important it is to remember what it means to be a Democrat, and he is a proud Democrat, unashamed. He then went on to blast Jeff Van Drew’s opposition to labor unions. He then made the fatal mistake, he started to bring up Van drew’s record on gay rights (Van Drew would make the right wing proud on this issue) when Bob Balicki yanked the microphone out of Pab’s hands, and a committeewoman from Cape May (who didn’t even have a right to be at a Cumberland Democratic Meeting) forced him off the stage.
In the most surreal moment of the evening, he was then swarmed by Cape May committee people who started yelling and threatening him for disrupting their “paid rally.” I call Bullshit. It was a Cumberland Democratic Meeting that had been called, not a paid campaign rally. They then had Pab ejected from the premises, which is in direct violation of the CCDO by-laws. But we again understand fully how the CCDO flaunts ELEC laws, refusing to publish ELEC reports in the legally mandated time frame, in an attempt to ensure that their questionable spending and possibly illegal contributions are not made available to the public before an election.
This is the sort of report you will not see in the daily Journal,or any other South Jersey yellow journal, whose purpose it seems is to protect the status quo of the entrenched Democratic party. Even those with a conscience, on the inside, are squashed and threatened and shut out of their right to have a say in their own organization. Lou Magazzu might be gone, but Bob Balicki was recruited by Lou, and has learned his lessons well – ruthlessly shut down all opposition with force.