Newark and Jersey City Gay Politics

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Does the Councilwomen Rone ruling mean anything for Healy’s future?

Who would have guessed that summer 2006 scuffle with police in front of a Bradley Beach bar might put gay-friendly Mayor Jerramiah Healy of Jersey City in danger of losing his City Hall post? The mayor, his spokesperson, and even Hudson County Prosecutor Ed DeFazio say the mayor being handcuffed by police, pepper-sprayed in the eyes to bring him under control, and then convicted of obstruction of justice and disorderly person charges does not merit his removal from office. It would not have been a question except that on December 20, 2006 openly lesbian Newark Councilwoman Dana Rone created a scene with Rutgers-Newark University police.

Rone’s nephew, Jameel Grant, was stopped for a traffic violation on Broad Street. Rone threw around her position and influence and was convicted of obstruction in a municipal court trial and a state court upheld the verdict, followed by forfeiture proceedings.
Everyone in Jersey City seems to think that whether an elected official can be tossed out of office hinges on that part of the state law that refers to whether a conviction for obstruction of justice “touches or involves” the defendant’s public office. Then you read the decision by state Superior Court Judge Patricia K. Costello in Newark–who once worked out of Jersey City–to remove Rone. Costello wrote that everyone agrees that the actions of Rone touches her office. The councilwoman was repeatedly told to get out of the way and stop interfering. On numerous occasions, she announced that she is a local councilwoman and called for the “real police.”