Open Letter to Mayor Steven Fulop
Happy New Year, Mr. Mayor.
From the outside looking in, change in Jersey City looks like a marathoner running in place at full speed. If not for The Star Ledger and Jersey Journal reprints of glorified press releases, highlighting accomplishments more symbolic than meaningful, people might realize that nothing has actually changed. I’m not mad at you though, the majority of big problems Jersey City faces need An Act of Congress to be solved, not a charismatic mayor.
As for the issues within your control, your supporters will say I’m being unfair, but frankly, you’re pretty much what I expected – business as usual. You may recall the first time I ever spoke at a Jersey City council meeting was to make residents aware that the difference between you and Mayor Healy were cosmetic. It’s the speed at which you’ve morphed into a generic Hudson County politician from faux reformer that has been surprising, even to a harsh critic like me.
This letter has nothing to do with your performance as Mayor of Jersey City though, and everything to do with anti-Semitism, racism, partisanship, and true leadership. This letter is long, so if you don’t read it, the point is you’re a typical politician that stands for nothing. I hope that you will read this to the end, because I have some important questions for you to answer.
Before I begin, I cannot toss rocks without admitting to my own wrongs.
It should come as no surprise to you when I admit that I was the Hudson Hawk, producer of semi-viral YouTube videos which I’m sure your campaign didn’t like. The Hudson Hawk conspiracy begins and ends with me, not a disgruntled former associate perpetually on the verge of going public with information sure to bring your demise.
Why did I do it? You condescendingly laughed in my face about doing an interview with me on HudsonCountyTV. Saying in the most smug, elitist way possible “what are we going to talk about, marijuana?” We could have a conversation about marijuana, or any other drug, on camera any day, but I wasn’t going to ask. The truth is you were scared to be interviewed by someone who would ask the difficult questions about crime and policing, and challenge your scripted answers.
For example, during your campaign journalists and supporters mocked questions about stop-and-frisk. What a surprise it must have been to them when you placed an executive from a powerful conservative think tank that aggressively backs stop-and-frisk on your public safety transition team. Your decision to hire former NYPD Deputy Chief James Shea as public safety director, a key person in developing the stop-and-frisk training program, validates why you stayed clear of any questions that would have brought your views to light.
As for the Hudson Hawk, in all I produced ten videos, but released only two. The reason I stopped is two-fold, the important one was anti-Semitism, and the other was that it didn’t result in a job for me.
To say I’ve made some awful career/professional choices would be an understatement; this letter is probably further proof of that. Desperate for gainful work, I notified a high-level member of Team Healy that a highly negative video about you would soon go viral in Jersey City. At first they didn’t respond to my phone calls. The morning after I released the video they scheduled a meeting for me in their office.
In brief, the person told me that they were highly appreciative about the work I had done, but that they didn’t need my help. I was informed President Obama would be endorsing Mayor Healy, which would result in a heavy black voter turnout for the mayor, essentially guaranteeing his reelection.
Despite the “thanks, but no thanks” I was still asked to make more videos, which I obliged twice. One was mocking your bizarre swim in the Hudson River commercial, and the other was highlighting Diane Coleman’s bad joke about her Ward F constituents. After that I stopped picking up the phone from them.
I hate to be a Monday morning quarterback, but I didn’t think that strategy would work. I guess they realized that a few months too late. By that point they were too far from the wall for the feces they were throwing to reach, forget about sticking. Sometimes I still wonder how much was spent on that pathetic Dr. Fulop campaign, and who the imbecile was that authorized it.
Trust this, for a fraction of what they spent counter-attacking I would have made your campaign a living hell. Just think of the stir I caused with no money.
(Special Note: If you’re a big shot in New Jersey politics reading this, and interested in Mayor Fulop not becoming the next Governor of New Jersey, or US Senator, Democrat or Republican, Conservative or Liberal, don’t hesitate to contact me. I promise it will be the best investment you’ve ever made, and everything will be confidential.)
The reason I stopped, and didn’t release the other videos, which were exponentially more brutal than the first two, was because blatant anti-Semites were using my work to hurt you. I can live with the teachers union using my material, regardless of how low my opinion of them is, left-wing anti-Semites not so much.
There’s a line every decent person should draw with how far their willing to go to succeed, mine is embracing bigots to further a political agenda. By posting videos under Hudson Hawk, as opposed to my own name, I handcuffed myself from speaking out against anti-Semites using my material to bash you.
For that I apologize.
Before I transition to the broader point of this letter I want to pre-answer an obvious question. The entirety of my contributions to Hudson County TV was fair to you, your team and to all parties that ran in the election. My only regret was not exposing that one of your council candidates, Chico Ramchal, openly lied about graduating from high school, a lie which you published on your website.
What brought me to write this letter was the controversy surrounding NRA board member Scott Bach’s insensitive comments about your grandparents, who were Holocaust survivors.
Were his comments offensive? Yes. Should he have apologized? Yes. Was the controversy completely blown out of proportion by the Anti-Defamation League and Star Ledger because the source was a member of a special interest group aligned with Republicans? No doubt about it.
It’s sad that this is the politics you’ve chosen to play. That’s not change, and neither is all the gun control press you’ve been making, which is right out of the Mayor Healy playbook. Do absolutely nothing about the crime problem in Jersey City, and blame all the shootings on federal gun laws. Sprinkle in the biannual crime sweeps that achieve nothing more than the tough on crime headlines and its clear the status quo has continued.
Without starting a debate about gun control, Mr. Bach’s point, while expressed poorly, is not something to be dismissed. What is offensive is how you, the ADL, and Star Ledger have used his remarks to forcefully dismiss the notion that Jewish gun ownership during the buildup of Nazi Germany could have saved lives. One Fordham Law Review article cited by the ADL and Star Ledger, institutions which aggressively support gun control, doesn’t equal the end of a debate. You, the ADL, and Star ledger certainly don’t speak for every Jewish person, especially this descendent of Belarusian Jews.
What’s wrong about this is how the Star Ledger and ADL have chosen to vilify someone for offending you, not for being anti-Semitic, but because they represent a conservative special interest group. Deciding when to fight anti-Semitism through partisan or ideological lenses is dangerous. Unfortunately that’s the path these two liberal institutions have chosen to take.
Where were the ADL and Star Ledger when the Jersey City Teachers Union’s Facebook page compared you to Joseph Goebbels?
Where were the ADL and Star Ledger when Occupy Jersey City demanded to know your involvement with the Goldman Sachs’ agenda, including the war in Iraq?
They were nowhere to be found because they wouldn’t want to bring negative press to Democratic and liberal special interests. As for you, you’re too much of a political coward to risk alienating support in the 2017 Democratic primary for Governor. With anti-Semitism on the rise in the political left of America, it’s clear you’re not the leader ready to take it by the horns and make a stand.
How would your grandparents feel about that? Maybe the same way they would have felt knowing you hid your Jewish roots from an imam to garner political support. I know you can talk about how your grandparents faced Nazism, but can you talk about your own struggles with anti-Semitism?
To be clear, by no means do I think bigotry is something unique to the left. That’s why I was always surprised about the leadership of the Jersey City Tea Party being so influential in your campaign. Please spare me the denial; you even nominated the Vice President of the JCTP to be the head of the MUA board, and attracted a plethora of tea partiers to your campaign.
As someone who has been to a Jersey City Tea Party meeting, I guarantee, there is no difference between them and the Tea Party you vilify on the Huffington Post. For example, it was widely known that one of the more influential Tea Partiers in your campaign, someone who rode on your flotilla in the Puerto Rican Day Parade, called a black man the n-word on Facebook. When it sparked outrage you didn’t denounce their support. In fact, that person is still an open supporter.
That’s because you’ll always put political opportunism and expediency ahead of principle. Truthfully, I still don’t know what you stand for, or if you stand for anything at all. You can call me a loser, bum, quixotic outcast, gadfly, or anything else, but what you can’t call me is a political coward that stands for nothing.
If you want you could prove me wrong and show that you’re not a political coward by answering three very straightforward questions.
Note: I noticed you followed J Street on Twitter, and since you posted an article that says Assemblyman Charles Mainor liking big booty freaks on Facebook was the 6th biggest political story in Hudson County for 2013, that’s a very big political deal. You don’t need to be an Israeli security expert to answer these questions, but if you need one I’m sure the 5th biggest political story of 2013 can help.
1. President Obama recently agreed to an historic nuclear deal with the country of Iran. Sen. Menendez, the powerful chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is leading the way in Congress for new and tougher sanctions against Iran which would undermine that deal. Yes or No, do you support Sen. Menendez’s Iran sanctions bill?
2. American colleges and universities are increasingly becoming breeding grounds for anti-Semitism. Open discrimination towards pro-Israel Jews is occurring at the highest levels of academia, with the American Studies Association decision to boycott Israeli academics being just one recent example. Will you speak out for Jewish and pro-Israel college students of all backgrounds who face open hostility and discrimination on college campuses?
3. Finally, do you have the courage to use your Huffington Post account to speak out for Jews in Europe facing a rising surge of anti-Semitism? Or are you scared of angering left-wing anti-Semites whose opposition would clearly be a detriment to you in a statewide Democratic primary?
I wish you the best of luck in 2014. Send me a Chanukah Card when you make it to the top!
Great letter. Michael Shurin is spot on.
He gets to the core, a generic politician that will say anything to get elected. We need more people like this Shurin guy to tell it like it is and rid this county of phoney reformers.
I doubt Fulop will respond to his questions yet, he needs to check the polls first to know how to answer.
Keep em coming Shurin.
Mr. Shurin’s bluntness is refreshing in an arena rife with intentionally vague and trite language. If the Hudson County electorate were to evaluate would-be leaders with such a reasoned and critical eye, I suspect we’d be rid of this smile-and-a-handshake mediocrity in city hall within a few terms. But then again – hawks (Hudson and otherwise), do have a keener eye than most.
Can’t wait to see which rat finds itself gripped by the hawk’s talons next.
What’s all this Jew on Jew crime going in JC? Nicely said Mike this city needs more politicians with strong convictions.
Should of never messed with Michael and his marijuana!
There is no doubt that Steve Folup is on the fast-track to political stardom. He has the scripted resume, he is doing all the right things, opening his mouth at the most opportune time there is a vacuum to let everyone know he’s there, whether they like it or not.
I disagree with you wholeheartedly, I believe in Steven Fulop for the best interest of Jersey City. I got involved with his campaign because of meeting Councilwoman Diane Coleman at charity function in West New York. She impressed and stole my heart with in the first 30 seconds of a speech. She actually reminded me of a mixture between my father Anthony M. DeFino former mayor for 24 years in West New York, and my mother Patricia DeFino.I won’t go into it now however for anyone who didn’t know my mother this is an awesome mix for a politician. Honesty, compassion, dedication and the lack of dealing with BS.so I do have a personal problem with you attacking Mrs.Coleman but politics is politics.I admire your honesty for admitting your fault sir, but I was taught that you do not get involved just for a job so this is where my criticism of you will end because it is obvious that’s what you(were/are) looking for you stated such and you still are soliciting yourself to fight against Mr Fulop.I say Mr because he will continue to rise in Hudson County(meaning his title will be changing) in New Jersey politics regardless of what you do. But it is refreshing to see someone like you,a pundit or Critic, who takes responsibility for their actions and admit when they’re wrong or at least admit what they did.I did not get involved with that election for a job, even know I was advised to ask for one I pulled away from it after the election because it goes against my and my father’s principles. I did whatever I did and I won’t call it assisted or helped, I participated,because I believed in that entire ticket and I still do! Genuine people, I’m sure you will disagree with me but everyone has their opinion the future will prove me right. God bless