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18 May 2008

A hodgepodge look back at last week

Well it has definitely been an interesting week. From the Mets playing like garbage to John McCain playing himself on "Saturday Night Live," there was something for just about everyone over the last seven days or so. Here's a look back at some of the more interesting events, in a hodgepodge format.

* Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., made an appearance on "Saturday Night Live" last night, the show's 33rd (and hopefully final) season finale. Unfortunately, he wasn't close to being funny, save for one self-deprecating joke about his elder-statesman status.

In years past, the time around Presidential Elections was always so much fun on "SNL." The 2000 spoofs on the Bush-Gore debates were as good as it gets. But the show, once a huge hit, has taken such a downward spiral that it's kind of sad.

* Things appear to be really heating up between the Harrison Police Department and the Harrison Town Council.

The tensions are rising because the mayor, Ray McDonough, won't rule out possible layoffs in the police department as a means for saving money in a rough economic period for the town. Common sense dictates this is political suicide for an politician -- in suggesting trimming police personnel. But you just never know what might happen.

When all is said and done, however, this writer can't envision a single scenario under which cops would be laid off. Perhaps it's just wishful thinking, or applying too much common sense.

But if McDonough does go ahead and call for a slashing to the police department -- one that is already severely undermanned, he may as well write his ticket off the council, because with redevelopment and a potential population boom here, cutting cops would equate to being the worst-possible decision any politician has ever made in West Hudson -- period. Ever.

McDonough is too smart to allow this to happen.

* Speaking of Harrison, did you see the video of the last council meeting? It's amazing what running a meeting can do to a person's personality, as witnessed by Council President James Doran, who ran the get-together in place of the absent McDonough.

* I still hope Bobby Valentine comes back to the Mets, even though he's happily employed as a manager in Japan. The Mets need him -- or someone like him -- to take over for the woefully dreadful and passive Willie Randolph.

* With Carmen Orechio out as a Nutley commissioner, it'll be intriguing to see who is picked to be the next public safety director. Logic dictates it'll be Mauro Tucci getting the nod. Then again, whenever logic enters a discussion, it's time to end said discussion.

Tucci has it made as the parks and recreation commissioner, but someone with council and managerial experience is needed for the public safety post. And Tucci has plenty of experience dealing with large numbers of employees, as a former township manager of Belleville.

* Sticking to Nutley, Joanne Cocchiola's stunning first-place victory margin in last week's municipal election was one of the widest in the township's history. She will remain as mayor, though Tucci privately wanted the post -- and spent a good deal of cash to potentially get there.

Wouldn't be all that surprised to see Cocchiola beginning to look at higher office at some point. Her value as an honest, hardworking politician is rare these days -- and she should be seen by the Essex County Democratic Party as a hot commodity.

* Congrats to Hudson County Exec Tom DeGise for being honored by the Boy Scouts of America. DeGise continues to support worthy causes despite his busy schedule of the county's top official.

* The Jersey Journal continues to report that Sandra Cunningham, the widow of former Jersey City Mayor Glenn Cunningham, is mulling a run for the mayoralty of the county's largest city.

Talk about a dream matchup -- the former mayor's widow against the man who ultimately replaced her husband after his untimely death in 2004.

Though Healy would have the Hudson County Democratic Organization's backing, Sandra would give him a run for his money.

And boy does Healy have a lot of it. At last check, reports indicate he's got a cool mill saved for the 2009 race. And given Healy's PR problems of the last year or so -- Bradley Beach, for instance -- he might just wind up spending all of that and then some to defend his job.

* I learned the other day that Walter Koszyk, a legendary teacher at St. Peter's Prep, who was planning on retiring at the school year's end, collapsed and had a stroke in class the other day. He is recovering in the Jersey City Medical Center.

Walt is the epitome of an English teacher -- and I certainly wish him and pray for a speedy recovery.

It's always worse when things like this happen right around the time of a person's retirement. Here's hoping he'll soon be able to enjoy all that time off.

* Big Brown won the Preakness yesterday after winning the Kentucky Derby a few weeks ago. He's poised to win the Triple Crown in three weeks at the Belmont in Elmont, N.Y. Were I a betting man, I'd stay clear from Big Brown. It's been more than 30 years since we've seen a Triple Crown winner.

* Finally, I was happy to learn my former colleague Celeste Regal was appointed Editor of The Observer. Celeste was a consummate professional, and an absolute delight to work with. Congratulations, Celeste, on your new achievement.

One thing though: My spelling may not be the very best, but be careful of the following words -- it'll help in the long run: athlete, Schaer, Nitin and Lutheran. There are others, too, but these are the ones that stick out right now.

Best of luck along the road!

That's all for now. Enjoy a good week.


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