LINDEN — Democratic mayoral candidate Michael Puzio condemned what he called “racial pandering” among city politicians and party bosses.
“I felt compelled to become a mayoral candidate because I saw what looks like a race to the bottom, with party boss Chris Hudak believing the only way to beat Derek Armstead is by finding somebody worse to run for mayor,” said Puzio. “I am profoundly disappointed that Mayor Rich Gerbounka has decided to join the fray with his selection of a poorly qualified city council president candidate.”
Puzio said he expects a tough battle with Derek Armstead who he described as his principal opponent.
“Chris Hudak committed leadership malpractice when he designated Councilwoman Cosby as the regular political organization candidate,” said Puzio. “Manny Donelson was unsuccessful in his campaign last year but he lodged some excellent criticisms about neglect and incompetence.”
“Chris Hudak did not find the most qualified candidate for mayor; he recruited the most expedient political alternative ,” said Puzio. ” it would be hard to imagine a worse decision if as freeholder, Hudak had not just voted to privatize our county hospital.”
“I have respect for Councilman Armstead but I look forward to a vigorous debate,” said Puzio. “We differ on a number of substantive issues and I would be better at bringing people together, because whoever wins this is going to be the mayor for all of Linden.”
Puzio compared Gerbounka’s choice of former school board member Jacklyn Williams to Republican John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin.
“I don’t believe in political pandering so I am going to put Linden first,” said Puzio. “We have had eight years of tax increases, cutbacks, layoffs, red light camera revenue and garbage fees.”
“City Hall has been a circus for eight years” said Puzio. “It is the place our quality of life crumbles, development stalls, and good ideas go to die.”
“This should not be about race ,” said Puzio. “Crispus Attucks, George Washington Carver and Rosa Parks we’re great Americans who contributed to our society.”
“Linden’s political scene is littered with double dipping, dysfunctional dilettantes with a record of failure in public office ,” said Puzio. ” I am qualified and I am committed to win this election to give Linden the kind of leadership it deserves.”
Puzio is in the Democratic primary election with Carmen Southward as his council president running mate and political newcomer Jessica Manna running for City Council in the 10th Ward.
Southward said she concurs with Puzio, and explained that she would seek to encourage “Linden’s best and brightest citizens” to get more involved in civic affairs.
“Linden has a tremendous supply of human capital, because potential leaders abound among us,” said Southward. “Teachers, engineers, doctors, lawyers, technicians, skilled laborers and a host of other occupations are under-represented among the political class in this city because a lot of folks do not want to become mired in a political cesspool.
“We have to engage Linden’s best and brightest citizens to offer their service to the community because we have had eight years of tax hikes, stalled development and irresponsible political antics,” said Southward. “The people occupying City Hall are clearly not up to the task of leadership.”
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