In one of the more bitter battles of the year sure to drag out into at least 2018, veteran political operative Pat Desmond, a childhood friend of Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, took every opportunity to try and banish the other from the Peninsula City for good.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Desmond, a key force in helping Davis defeat incumbent Mark Smith in 2014, was never a fan of Business Administrator Joe DeMarco (the feeling is mutual) and had grown tired of him making pivotal decisions for the administration.
As a result, Desmond spearheaded a recall effort in April, hoping to force a special election and ultimately force Davis out of office before he’d even served a full term.
Before we get into that, also note that around the same time, the Hudson County Board of Taxation ordered the city to conduct a tax reval by 2019, drawing the ire of the incumbent.
“On Thursday, April 7th the Hudson County Tax Board ordered that the City of Bayonne implement a revaluation by 2019. The order was at the request of Peter Cresci, of Bayonne, and his client Pat Desmond. This request was purely political, plain and simple,” Davis said at the time.
Cresci, who late in the year attributed politics to the temporary suspension of his law license, of course disagreed, pointing to the fact that Bayonne hadn’t had a reval done since 1989 and was therefore simply the right thing to do.
Back to the recall, Davis wasn’t exactly thrilled with that either, calling it the selfish actions of a few politicos who only had their best interests in mind – not the city as a whole.
Of course, when Desmond and co. opted not to turn any signatures in by the September 27 deadline, Davis was quick to mock his friend turned foe, dismissing the “political maneuver” that didn’t actually accomplish anything.
Desmond certainly didn’t take too kindly to that, responding in a rare video interview that just had Bayonne written all over it.
He said he had to do the right thing since Davis had not been living up to his campaign promises and that despite earning over 9,000 signatures, it was not worth taking the risk of missing the required number of verified signatures (8,127) since many signees were city or BOE employees.
DeMarco shot back, saying it was typical Desmond to make excuses and not follow through, something that will surely not be soon forgotten by either side.
In arguably the most substantive soundbite from the interview, Desmond said he’ll be backing ex-Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell for mayor in 2018.
He and Desmond could prove to be formidable adversaries for Team Davis, but as we all know, May 2018 is a lifetime away in politics.
In the meantime, keep your eyes in the June 2017 primary battle for Assembly, as Desmond will do everything in his power to make it difficult for Nick Chiaravalloti (D-31), a top Davis ally.