Republican Assembly nominee says ‘gestapo tactics’ kept float out of parade


Garrett Simulcik, the District 33 Republican Assembly nominee, says a float that he and two other Republican candidates in the November 3 elections planned to use in the state Hispanic Parade was blocked from the festivities via “gestapo tactics.” 

Republican float

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

In a letter dated October 23 sent to the Hispanic State Parade of New Jersey, Inc., Simulcik writes that he, Herminio Mendoza (candidate in D-33) and Ivan Sutherland (candidate for Hudson County Executive) are “requesting an immediate explanation for the mysterious and sudden ejection of all of us” at the October 18 event.

Simulcik claims that “all of us, our supporters and our float” were removed from the parade by event organizer Victor Dominguez and members of the North Bergen Police Department.

He further argues that in the weeks leading up to the parade, Mendoza let parade officials know that the float would be political in nature and even on the morning of the festivities, no one objected to the float.

However, as the parade was about to begin, Simulcik alleges that Dominguez and four North Bergen police officers approached the candidates, telling Mendoza “we are not allowed to be here” and refused to provide an explanation to what was going on.

Simulcik points out that “seemingly almost every local elected official participated in the parade” and asks why they were not given an opportunity to either remove any “inappropriate” materials from the float or at least participate in the parade march without the float.

As Hudson County View reported, U.S. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), state Senator (D-32)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and West New York Mayor Felix Roque were among the many officials who participated in the annual event.

He concludes by stating that the ejection was “politically motivated,” later calling the way the situation was handled “‘gestapo tactics’ to silence political opposition.”

Simulcik, an attorney, as is Sutherland, also threatened legal action if the parade organization does not provide “a detailed explanation” in the next 10 days.

Dominguez deferred comment to Pascual Vallin, the parade chairman, before an email on behalf of himself and parade board of directors was sent to Hudson County View.

The organization said the vehicle was not properly registered with the parade and political signs are not permitted, also stating that these rules have been consistent in previous years.

“Every vehicle in the parade has to be registered to participate by providing the insurance and registration information of the vehicle. This information is required in advance of the parade in order to issue a permit. The vehicle in question did not provide this information and as such did not have a permit,” the email says.

“Second, we do not allow any signs that promote political campaigns as stated in our regulations. The vehicle in question had signs on both sides promoting candidates. As such, we fully support the decision of the Parade Coordinator to not allow this vehicle to participate.”

The “apolitical organization” adds that “we welcome people from all backgrounds and do not discriminate against political affiliations. However, we do not allow campaigning during the parade.”

October 18th marked the 40th annual state Hispanic Day Parade in North Hudson, which spans from 80th Street and Bergenline Avenue in North Bergen all the way down to 32nd Street and Bergenline Avenue in Union City.

The Republicans face an uphill battle against the Hudson County Democratic Organization at the polls one week from today.

Simulcik and Javier Sosa square off against Annette Chaparro and incumbent Raj Mukherji in District 33, Mendoza and the outspoken Matthew Kopko take on Nicholas Chiaravalloti and Angela McKnight in District 31 and Sutherland hopes to unseat longtime County Executive Tom DeGise.

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