Veteran Bayonne political operative Pat Desmond, the one spearheading the failed recall effort against Mayor Jimmy Davis, is returning fire after the mayor essentially mocked the endeavor for coming up short.
“Well, first of all, the reason I did the recall is because Jimmy [Davis] hasn’t done anything that we campaigned on. Not one thing,” Desmond said in an interview with Hudson County View.
Desmond claims that Davis has disappointed by not helping reinvigorate the businesses on Broadway, quietly supporting a Muslim Community Center (Davis has not publicly taken a stance on the project and it remains in limbo) and by allowing Business Administrator Joe DeMarco to make all the decisions behind the scenes.
In response to Davis calling the failed effort “an attempt to divide our community,â€ Desmond said with the help of fellow political operative Mark Meyers, the Bayonne Initiative helped distribute 1,500 turkeys in 2014 as a clear example of trying to help the residents of Bayonne.
Desmond later added that health issues prevented him from hitting the streets the way he had planned, and although he ended up 9,087 signatures, he had made a commitment to himself not to submit the petitions unless he reached 12,000. The necessary number of valid signatures to force a recall election in May was 8,127.
“I backed off on the signatures because … you know for a fact I was dealing with health issues, but … that’s fine. I had the numbers: I had 9,087, my goal was 12,000. When I was getting the signatures I told all the people in Bayonne that if I didn’t reach the 12,000 signatures, I wouldn’t turn the petitions in for a reason,” he said.
He also cited the fact that numerous candidates expressed an interest to run for mayor as another reason why it was pointless to follow through with the effort.
“Because Joe DeMarco will be retaliating against everybody that works at City Hall that signed that petition. And believe me, there’s plenty of people in City Hall that signed that petition.”
Desmond also said questioned why the city never investigated allegations that DeMarco accepted an envelope of money, among other things.
Reached over the phone on Thursday night, DeMarco scoffed at Desmond’s claims.
“This is another bait and switch by Pat Desmond. Pat Desmond is consistently disloyal and is out for himself. What his arguments say to me is that he did not have the signatures, he did not have nearly enough what he needed, he wasted and went through a lot of bluster and veiled threats,” DeMarco said.
“In the end, he does what he always does and didnâ€™t follow through. I donâ€™t know who these people [employees] are, nor does anyone else, since heâ€™s never shown this petition or produced the names of anybody. Secondly, when people sign this is becomes a public document.”
DeMarco added that it would be “illegal” to retaliate against employees who signed that recall, therefore it is something that “would never happen.” He also said he’s filed a counterclaim against PJ Leonard for slander and libel.
Additionally, Desmond mocked board of education candidate Michael Alonso, a fellow member of the recall team, for claiming he didn’t submit the petitions since he had a deal in place with the mayor to get his sister, Mary Jane, re-elected to the BOE.
“Michael Alonso’s a jackass. That’s what I say to that. Michael Alonso’s the biggest liar on the face of the earth. First of all, the clown didn’t get one signature for the recall. He did not even sign it himself,” Desmond claimed.
Alonso of course disagreed with that summation of events.
â€œThe proof is in the pudding: he said he had enough signatures to hand in, it raises a lot of questions [that he didn’t],” Alonso said today.”I donâ€™t know anybody who would collect enough signatures for a recall, collect enough to qualify and then not hand anything in.”
“The three of us signed us all in front of it right in front of the [city] clerk. You canâ€™t collect signatures unless the three people signed. Of course I collected signatures. Itâ€™s obvious he had no intention of ever filing the petitions,” further stated Alonso, who said he collected 1,000 signatures himself.
Finally, Desmond concluded that his eye is now on the 2018 municipal election, where he said he plans on supporting former Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell.
“You need a candidate where you can make all the anti come together, behind, because you need all the anti together: you can’t have them spread all over the place and you need money. So, Jason is capable of coming up with the money. Right now, I’m standing firmly behind him.”