Lou’s Circus in Millville

With his election victory, Lou is carrying out his grand plan of retribution, rewarding his friends and squashing his opponents. Since Millville has been a hotbed of resistance to Lou’s authoritarian rule, he has gone after the city with a vengeance.

The latest act was played out at Tuesday’s Millville City Commission meeting. Here’s how it went: Lou wanted to reward Lauren Van Embden, who ran on his ticket but did not get the County Clerk’s office. So he engineered her hiring as Millville’s Prosecutor. This was done despite the loud objections of the Millville police, who are quite happy with the current Prosecutor, Brock Russell, who reportedly is doing a good job putting the bad guys in jail.

However, the deal involved not getting rid of Russell. Instead, he was hired as Public Defender. The loser in this circus was Jim Swift, the Republican Public Defender who ran as freeholder against Lou’s hand-picked candidates. Lou really wanted him out.  So at Tuesday’s meeting, Van Embden became Millville’s Prosecutor, and Russell Public Defender.

We like Lauren Van Embden, and even feel sorry for her, given the formidable odds she is facing: a Police Department really angry at her hiring, and, from the sounds of it, court personnel who are none too pleased. On top of the anticipated lack of cooperation she is going to get from these quarters, she has to face, as an opponent, Brock Russell, for whom, as we understand it, winning is everything. The reports are that he is very good at winning, with justice, as most of us perceive it, a secondary consideration.

The losers in all of this political BS will be, of course, the citizens of Millville. With an inexperienced Prosecutor, it is likely that more of the bad guys will go free, demoralizing the police, and harming the city. Unless, and we grant this as a possibility, Van Embden overcomes the odds she faces and matches Russell’s record of putting the bad guys in jail.

Now, how, you may ask, did we come to these dire straits? The speculation goes this way: Lou promised jobs to Commissioners Jim Quinn and Dale Finch. Maybe Quinn will get a county job, perhaps that of a retiring director, and Finch may end up in the Cumberland County Improvement Authority. To get these jobs, all they had to do was to make sure VanEmbden got her job. The mystery in all of this is Commissioner Joe Derella. We don’t understand his reasons for supporting a change that, at least in the opinion of the police — and we have to respect their opinion – places the city at risk. Derella was the third vote to hire VanEmbden. The other two commissioners – Vanaman and Shannon – voted against her. Why did Deralla vote to hire her? As near as we can tell, party loyalty played a major part.

The explanations given for their votes were pretty weak. Quinn went on about how significant it was to hire a woman “for the first time in Millville history”. Poor Jim, maybe he thought he was scoring points with women, but those intelligent women present wanted to vomit. His remarks were so patronizing and presented a further obstacle that VanEmbden must overcome. The perception will be that she got the job because she is a woman, not that she got the job because she merited it – sort of a “sex card” like the “race card”.

The only other explanation offered was that the job was not meant to be permanent and it was time for a change – this was Derella’s explanation. Well, maybe, but then why Van Embden? Why not someone with more experience? Why, for instance, was Swift not made Prosecutor?

As we see it, it all comes down to politics. VanEmbden is in because of Lou. This will, we think, haunt her. She is intelligent and talented enough to have made it on her own – it just may have taken a little longer. Now, the perception will be that she got the job because of political connections. Let’s face it, people following this issue will perceive that Lou owns her.

But, as we hear it, this is only the start. Reportedly, Lou is seriously intent on getting even with Millville. Word is that he wants to eliminate call dispatch through the Millville Police Department and to centralize it at the county level. As we hear it, this will seriously diminish the ability of Millville police to respond to citizen complaints.

Another ring of the 3-ring circus. Wait for more.


6 Responses to Lou’s Circus in Millville

  1. nononannet says:

    Never saw the former mayor so intent on pushing the appointments (Prosecutor & Public Defender) as he was tonight. Makes one wonder what his reward will be. The city will watch very closely how the Prosecutor will handle her job. Many of its citizens have fought hard to clean up the streets and get people to do their jobs. They’ll continue to make a lot of noise and never stop trying.

  2. WuLi says:

    The News of Cumberland County had this interesting quote concerning last night’s circus.

    “Commissioners Quinn and Finch can say what they want that it’s not a political decision to remove me,” [Jim Swift] said. “I’ve been a vocal opponent of the county Democrats and specifically of Freeholder Director Lou Magazzu, and we’ll see in the future if commissioners Quinn and Finch later receive jobs on the county payroll as payment for their votes.”

    Asked to respond to Swift’s allegation, Magazzu said ousting Swift would “not be worth taking the time out of my busy schedule.

    “Jim Swift is not someone who means anything to me,” he said. “He has an overblown view of himself to think I’m concerned with any job he might have.”

    That is interesting because he is calling Lauren Van Embden a liar. Lauren told me almost two weeks ago how tonight’s vote was going to go. It is interesting that the City Commission, with the exception of Vanaman and Shannon refused to consult either the police or the courts on this vote. Not only did they do an end-run around Vanaman, commissioner of Public Safety, they ignored tne endorsement of law enforcement at all levels, and the pleas of citizen groups that have worked diligently to make Millville safer.

    Lauren told me that Lou Magazzu said “that whatever happens, Brock Russell satys” because it would piss Carl Johnson off.”

    Of course that shows how little Lou understands how I work. Brock Russell has been doing a superb job as prosecutor, and as much as I would not cry if he died a slow painful death of cancer, and I wouldn’t piss on him to put out the flames if he was on fire – I fully support him as prosecutor. My personal history with him aside, he is a great prosecutor, he plays to win. Brock as prosecutor is best for Millville.

    As a defense attorney, I am sure he will play to win, and he is formidable. Criminals will walk away Scott-free with him on their side, and Millville loses.

    Lou lies with a straight face, and only does what benefits him. This was proof that his tentacles have reached deep into Millville politics, and he now owns this town. Lou Magazzu is not fit to lick Jim Swift’s shoes.

    I know that two women were deeply offended by Quinn playing the sex card. He did Lauren a disservice by claiming the sole reason for supporting her was not her qualifications, but her sex. That is sexism at its worst.

    Quinn is the ultimate politician, talking out of both sides of his mouth. he stated last night “I am voting to keep the job in Millville” – and then he voted to oust Jim Swift, a Millville resident, and give the Public Defender position to a person that lives in Cape May Point! And, he did that with a straight face. I suppose when a person lies enough it eventually comes easy.

    At least we know how much it costs to buy Millville City Commission. Two of last night’s voyes were bought with a promise of a county job. Lou Magazzu was definitely behind last night’s vote, or else Laurn Van Embden lied to me two weks ago when she told me what was going to go down.

  3. oinkforfreedom says:

    All I can say is that sombody is lying. We may NEVER know.

  4. lobsterclaws says:

    Why is Carl Johnson such a two-faced liar?

    Here’s what he said here:

    “Of course that shows how little Lou understands how I work. Brock Russell has been doing a superb job as prosecutor, and as much as I would not cry if he died a slow painful death of cancer, and I wouldn’t piss on him to put out the flames if he was on fire – I fully support him as prosecutor. My personal history with him aside, he is a great prosecutor, he plays to win. Brock as prosecutor is best for Millville.”

    Let’s look at this post from his website on Nov. 19. Yes, less than three weeks ago:

    “How is it that the Millville City prosecutor lives in Cape May point; 102 Lincoln Ave, Cape May Point to be exact? Couldn’t the city find a qualified resident to fill that post?

    I cannot fathom how any Millville City Commissioner could even consider this man as qualified for any city post. We will see how things play out this January.

    I for one suggest that any person earning our tax dollars should be a resident, and not a triple or quadruple dipper like Brock Russell, bringing in paychecks from Millville, Bridgeton, West Cape May Borough and even Upper Deerfield Township. How many jobs does one person need?

    With Millville being in the poorest county in the state, we need to be ensuring that our local money stays local, and not lining some rich Cape May lawyer’s pockets at our expense. Even more disturbing is Brock’s association with the anti Millville group, Millville First. They work diligently to destroy everything positive in this city. The fact that a paid attorney that does not even live here can get rich on city funds is unfathomable. Hopefully ALL of our elected officials will make sure this man gets the boot out of Millville politics. Let him join forces with Cape May First!”

    It looks like this is actual proof that YOU are the liar, rather than the heresay you post on this site.

    How does it feel to kowtow to the man you’ve spent the last year bashing publicly. You are a hypocrite of the highest order, an embarrassment.

  5. mango says:

    It is disturbing how the term “liar” is cast about with such facility.

    Looks as if with Lou’s victory, his opponents are devouring each other.

    In Johnsons’s defense, new information led him to alter his position on Russell. The new information was the vehement opposition of the Millville police to Lauren Van Embden serving as prosecutor, and their strong defense of Russell in that position.

    Johnson loathes Russell, so I have to credit him for reversing his initial position to support the police. Their fear, of course, is that Brock Russell, as public defender, will ride roughshod over Lauren, an untested prosecutor. The outcome will be the criminals back on the streets. You can understand how the cops feel — they bust their butts bringing in the bad guys, and without competent prosecution, a plea deal is cut, and they’re out and up to their old tricks.

    Of course Van Embden must be given a chance to show what she can do — she may amaze us all. But the police position is understandable. Johnson has been a strong supporter of the police, so his reversed position is understandable as well.

    No need to call names, Lobster Claws, unless something else is ticking you off. I see nothing mentioned about the widely-shared opinion (see “Cheers and Jeers” in today’s Cumberland News) that the VanEmbden appointment was political. Jim Quinn wasn’t even subtle about it. He was sputtering about keeping Millville people in these jobs, yet he votes to fire Jim Swift, a Millville resident, and retain Russell, who, as you note, lives in Cape May. Of course it was political. Swift publicly opposed Lou, where it looks as if Russell keeps his nose out of Cumberland County politics.

    It may be annoying to you that the public sees Lauren joined at the hip with Lou, but you dance with them whut brung ya. Maybe we will never know to what extent Lou pressured for her hiring — it may have been a case of the Dems on the Commission taking care of one of their own. But it will take a while for Lauren to shake loose the taint of Lou.

  6. WuLi says:

    Kowtow to Brock? Hardly. Were you at the same city commission meeting I was at? Jim Quinn lied by saying he was making the vote to keep the jobs with Millville people,and then allowed Jim Swift to go while allowing Brock to stay.

    Lauren told me two weeks prior this is how the vote was going to go, and that Lou had demanded it go this way from Millville Commissioners in exchange for county appointments. Dale Finch last night – yes we are still on friendly terms,a nd he knows exactly where I stand – confirmed that he did what he had to do.

    I wish we had a candidate with Brock’s proven track record for the position of prosecutor – and I am not comfortable allowing someone with absolutely no prosecutorial experience breaking their teeth at the expense of law and public safety in Millville.

    If that were all there was to the appointment – if there had been no power play from Magazzu interfering with Millville city politics, I would not have said one word about the appointment. However, when our city sells out and Lou Magazzu now calls the shots for city business that is none of his damned business, I will not be quiet.

    I would love to see all of the positions go only to qualified Millville residents. And I would love to see Brock die broke and sick. But my personal feelings aside, and the fact that Millville does NOR require residency – which was the POINT of that post – and if you were so myopic you would have seen that – Brock is the best qualified candidate. There were NO problems in the courts – the city commission stated that as a fact on Tuesday.

    I was told last night by another friend that “these hirings are always political, have always been…” So just because it has always been done, it’s all right? According to that logic we would still have slavery and women would not be allowed to vote!

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