From today’s BEN column in the Cumberland News:
C’mon, Jane Christy, debate Lou Magazzu. Here’s your chance to tell everybody what a terrible person he is and what he did to you behind closed doors and how it was bad for the county and what you’re going to do to him if you’re elected freeholder.
I guess this is what you would call “needling”, but we shouldn’t be surprised. Jack Hummel is clearly one of Lou’s boys, and, no doubt, he has the support of the paper, so we can pretty well anticipate the News will endorse Lou.
Which means those of us who would like to see Lou defeated must work twice as hard.
As to Hummel’s needling, a debate is hardly the place to talk about Lou’s deficiencies, which have been documented over and over again on this blog. Second, Lou has a habit of filling the room with those who have received his largesse in one form or other. Consider the notorious Dec 8, 2008 freeholders meeting when he packed the room, via Al Kelley, with people on the Tri-County gravy train. The purpose was to humiliate county staff and to assure funding for a juvenile justice program would not go to local governments and educational organizations that had programs in place. Instead, to the cheers and jeers of the Lou-friendly audience, the money went to the Jerimiah Coalition. Now, six months later, I would love to see what that group has accomplished. This is state money — maybe someone should check with the state.
Anyhow, the point is that Lou has bought the support of people/groups in the county by funneling money to them, and at his beck and call they will pack the debate audience, making it miserable for his opponents.
Third, if there is one thing you have to grant to Lou, it is his silver tongue. The man is indeed glib. And, as we well know, he is mean. I really don’t blame anyone who would wish to avoid a debate with him. It’s like the unarmed Christians entering the arena with Lou, the hungry lion. The lion will make mincemeat of the virtuous, just because he is stronger.
In many ways, the freeholder election is a David and Goliath contest. We have very well financed Lou, beneficiary of fat donations from out-of-county companies and unions looking for work here and ensconced in a seat of power that he can use to his benefit, versus the few who will stand up against him, denounce his self-interested governance, and call for something better for Cumberland County.