Larry Wainstein made his rematch with North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco official today when his new slate filed approximately 3,500 petitions for nomination, or about 700 per person, with the township clerk’s office.
“I’m blessed, I’m happy to be here. I’m happy that the North Bergen residents gave us this opportunity to be on the ballot and we’re ready to work and return North Bergen to its people,” Wainstein told HCV.
His ticket consists of two running mates from 2015: Juan Almanzar and Alcides Siri, as well as two first two candidates: Franklin Fabre, a small business owner, and Diana Ortiz, an attorney.
They will be running under the slogan “Our town, our time” and will face off against the current board of commissioners, which includes Julio Marenco, Allen Pascual, Frank Gargiulo, Hugo Cabrera and Sacco.
While the Sacco team broke township records last week by submitting over 52,000 petitions, or 10,492 per person, Wainstein called the situation “laughable.”
“It’s laughable, I think it’s a total fraud. Actually, we filed an OPRA request requesting copies of all those petitions and the sad part is they used police officers in uniform … and teachers of students that went door to door, asking parents to sign their petitions,” he stated.
“So it’s very, very sad that the teachers are forced to be involved in politics. I want the teachers to be in the schools to teach, to provide the best education possible, to provide them the tools they deserve and what they’re required to give by law.”
In addition to keeping politics out of the school district, Wainstein pledged to hold public meetings later, around 7 or 8 p.m., and to use multiple locations across town to maximize participation.
When reached for comment, Sacco campaign spokesman Phil Swibinski mocked the number of petitions that the Wainstein slate submitted.
“Almost ten years after he started his vendetta against North Bergen and Mayor Sacco and with hundreds of thousands of dollars of his money wasted, the fact that Larry Wainstein could only convince a few hundred people to support him is almost sad,” he said in an email.
“Wainstein has failed to gain any traction because he’s been exposed over and over again as a liar who the community could never trust, and all today’s filing really means for him is the beginning of another losing campaign.”
In response, the challenger called Swibinski “a political hack with a corrupt record.”
Wainstein’s petition tallies are about 1,000 less than what his “Lower taxes time for change” team submitted in 2015 – roughly, 4,500 in total.
The North Bergen municipal elections are on May 14th.