The CCDO is not Respecting the Process or this County

A Guest Editorial by our friend Haystacks Calhoun:

 Here is how the process is supposed to work. A county party, after much deliberation and a vote, places the names of individuals it has chosen to represent its party on the primary ballot.  Others can also obtain a place on the primary ballot through the petition process. The primary election is held and the winner represents the party in the general election. Yes, the party’s original choice almost always wins the primary, usually running unopposed. However, there is a process here that is to be followed.

Now let’s look at what the Ds have done this election cycle. The CCDO chose Jannarone to stand for re-election and her name appeared on the primary ballot and she was elected to be a D candidate in the general election for freeholder. However, a few days after the primary, Jannarone suddenly decides she doesn’t want to run and drops out. This permitted the CCDO to bypass the primary process and install Tony Surace as their candidate for the general election.  Jannarone’s name should not have been on the primary ballot, if she had doubts about running in the general election. The Ds actions here did not respect the process.

Dunkins did just the opposite. He decided before the primary that he did not want to run, and so his name was not placed on the primary ballot, and Carol Musso was chosen to replace him. Her name appeared on the primary ballot and she was elected to be the D candidate for the position Dunkins now holds.  However, after Lou resigned, Dunkins decides he does want to stay on the board and announces he will run for Lou’s seat. So we have Dunkins running for Lou’s old seat and Musso running for Dunkins’ seat! Crazy! There may also be a bit of procedural snag. If Dunkins (assuming he were to win) is to be sworn in, as Greco suggested, right after Election Day (as opposed to the January re-organization),  he cannot do so because he is already a freeholder and could not occupy two freeholder seats simultaneously. I suppose he could resign his current seat in order to occupy Lou’s old seat but such a maneuver seems ludicrous. If Dunkins wanted to remain a freeholder, then he should have allowed his name to be placed on the primary ballot. Again the Ds are not respecting the process with their “musical chairs” approach to filling vacant freeholder seats.

And of course there is Pab Sungenis and the missing signature sheets of his petition. At a meeting of the CCDO last April signature pages of a nominating petition for him to run in the primary against Jeff Van Drew were removed, thus preventing Paul from having his name placed on the primary ballot. I don’t believe anyone has ever offered up any explanation or initiated any investigation as to what happened to Pab’s petition signatures.  Pab – on his birthday no less! — did get shouted at by Long at last Wednesday’s CCDO meeting. Again more blatant disrespect for the process and members who disagree with leadership positions.  (Maybe Pab should take his novel “Go To Hell” with him at the next meeting. He could just hold it up when it looks like another shouting match is brewing and thus save himself some breath.)

Now to the County issues.  According to documents filed with ELEC, Jannarone, Musso, and Whelan each made the exact same following contributions from their campaign funds:  7 June 2011, $250 (total $750 from three candidates) to “Friends of Jim Fazzone”;  23 June 2011, $250 (total $750 from three candidates) to “EFO for Gail Cook for Senate.”  Who is Jim Fazzone. He is the D mayor of Burlington and is currently in a tough re-election campaign (see http://www.phillyburbs.com/my_town/burlington/sinking-ships-sunken-leadership/article_4e4afcc1-aec8-54f9-ace5-85fb10d781cd.html for a commentary on his “sunken leadership.”)  Gail Cook is the D State Senate candidate running in the 7th District (Burlington, Camden Cos.)  against R Diane Allen.

Now I know that $1500 in campaign contributions is small potatoes by anyone’s standards. However, it is worth asking why are the three (former in the case of Jannarone) D candidates simultaneously contributing any money to election campaigns taking place in Burlington and Camden County? How would Cumberland County be affected by Mr. Fazzone losing his re-election campaign for mayor in Burlington?  As I noted in my 24 June post on the new CCDO co-chairs, Long has a long history of giving much more money to political interests to the north of Cumberland County as opposed to in the County itself.  The D candidates should explain why they are using their campaign funds to make contributions to campaigns out of the county.

Yes, the Ds have a strong slate with respect to name recognition and geography. However, disrespect for the process and the county to which they represent is not a recipe for success.  An educated electorate wouldn’t put up with it. The Rs have a little over two months to educate the electorate, and convince them to not simply vote for a familiar name or face.

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5 Responses to The CCDO is not Respecting the Process or this County

  1. Pab Sungenis says:

    I was the one who put Rev. Dunkins’ name into nomination and will proudly work for his reelection. As for the time being we, as called for by law, sent three names to the Freeholder board to replace Lou Magazzu. All three agreed to be placeholders and not seek reelection. Neither Musso nor Surace were on that list; they are seeking election in their own right.

    The decision to name a placeholder who would not run in November was one that both Doug Long and I agreed with. We (as did everyone at that meeting) felt it was important to get back to the business of governing at a time when so many important issues need to be addressed. Political wrangling would only be disruptive and was avoided.

    Say what you will about Doug Long or me, but despite your claim we followed both the letter and the spirit of the law, the process, and when all is said and done you will be able to say we did it with the greatest respect for the people of the County.

    Proud to sign my own name to my comments…

    Pab

  2. mango says:

    This still doesn’t explain why county Democrats are dumping money into Camden County. I hear Norcross owns Long. If the Dem’s win, have we gone from the frying pan into the fire? I mean, Lou was corrupt, but he wasn’t dumb (except, admittedly, for our local Weinergate). Is Long a dumb Lou?

  3. Guess-Who says:

    I am LMFAO at this from Pab 🙂

    Dunkins has been NOTHING butt another one WHO did NOTHING for the Citizens in Cumberland, NJ.

    The 2008 Campaign of Dunkins & Whelan is enough PROOF that their Word is WORTHLESS as they have proven this FACT.

    Promises Promises PROMISES that is all they have done is make PROMISES!

  4. Calhoun says:

    I am talking about “process” in the larger sense, specifically, the electoral process that normally should involve a candidate standing for (re-)election in primary and general elections.

    The Ds have four seats up for election this year. Three are currently held by Whelan, Dunkins, and Jannarone (one is vacant). Jannarone was elected in the primary and then dropped out. Dunkins was not on the primary ballot, but now wants to be on the general ballot. Of the other two candidates, Musso and Surace, only Musso stood for election in the primary election. However, Musso’s election in the primary is curious in that she was running in place of Dunkins, who now also want to be on the general ballot. So, out of the four seats up only one, Whelan’s, has followed the standard process without any deviation. To me this represents an overly cavalier attitude regarding the electoral process. Compare that with the Rs’ slate in which all three of their candidates were on the primary ballot. The Rs will need to choose a fourth candidate (not on the primary ballot) to run for the vacant seat but this is due to a D (Magazzu) resigning.

    Yes, the Ds have followed the proper process in filling these slots after the vacancies occurred. However, my point is that I don’t like the basic process (presence on primary and general ballots) having been discarded in three of the four seats that are up for election this year. I also still don’t fully understand how Dunkins can run for one freeholder seat while occupying another freeholder seat, especially if the terms of those two seats are not concurrent and could result in his being elected to one of the seats before his term expires in the other one – a very real situation were he to have to assume Magazzu’s seat immediately after Election Day.

    I also would have liked to have had a choice on the primary ballot other than Van Drew for state senate, such as Pab, but I had no other choice possibly due to mischief at a CCDO meeting. Granted the things I have complained about are the results of individuals (e.g., Jannarone staying in then dropping out, Dunkins dropping out then getting back in, someone stealing signatures) but they are all Ds, and, this, to me, ultimately is a reflection of the CCDO.

    As Mango noted, my point about respect for the county has less to do with my concerns about process and more to do with D Cumberland County freeholder candidates contributing to out-of-county campaigns. Call me a parochial rube, but I really don’t care how the Burlington mayor’s race turns out. Also the depressing trend of out-of-county money coming into the D coffers is already apparent, as well. A quick crunch of the ELEC reports for the Jannarone, Musso, and Whelan primary campaigns shows $39,100 raised, with $27,100, or 69%, from out-of-county contributions and $12,000, or 31%, from in-county sources. If you factor money coming into the D freeholder campaigns from out-of-county sources and then money going out of the county through campaign contributions from the Cumberland County D freeholder candidate campaigns, these campaigns, to some extent, are simply serving as cash pivot points for out-of-county campaigns. The money comes in and then gets sent back out again.

    I believe the Rs could make some headway here if they make distinctions between themselves and the Ds regarding campaign financing. If they do a better job, as they did last year, of raising money in the county and keeping that money in the county, they could portray themselves as better representatives of the county’s interests. (Speaking of the Rs’ fundraising, where are the Rs’ 20-day post-primary election R-1 forms? They’re not available on ELEC’s website, the most recent filing being from April 2011. Did the Rs not have to file for some reason?)

    As to the “proud to sign my own name” business, I am just as proud to be anonymous. Last time I checked, anonymous speech is protected by the First Amendment, the Supreme Court in 1995 noting it to be “honorable tradition of advocacy and of dissent” and as a “shield from the tyranny of the majority.” I am of the strong opinion that many, but not all, of those who are in positions of power are not nice people, and they will use their power to punish you (or those close to you). If you need proof go listen to the Norcross tapes. Anonymity levels the playing field. Like power, anonymity can be abused. However, just because something can be abused doesn’t mean it should never be used. If it were, then no one would be in positions of power or having a drink. A good rule of thumb to prevent this is to always post as if your name were attached to it, and I have always striven to do just that.

  5. Guess-Who says:

    Promises:

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