Besieged by protest, Healy resorts to song

JERSEY CITY – Mayor Jerramiah Healy is embattled to the hilt, but last night he let himself go to “The Summer Wind.”

Healy submitted a plan to Trenton laying off 82 police officers and demoting 12 superior officers on Wednesday.

It was just a bit of scheduling coincidence that the very next night was a fundraiser for the mayor, so the protestors that have gathered outside City Hall took advantage.

The signs on the corner of West Side Ave. and Broadway last night called for a recall of the mayor. The protesters call him anti-union and disparaged the former judge, accusing him of nepotism. News vans, police presence, and two inflatable large rats filled the intersection, as inside Healy hobnobbed.

Not exactly the reception Healy had hoped for his guests and campaign contributors almost three years out from his next election; several City Council colleagues were booed as they entered.

“This isn’t for everybody,” Healy said. “You need to be thick-skinned.”

His next mayoral race will most likely pit Healy against Councilman Steve Fulop, although Fulop doesn’t think the mayor will still be a viable candidate come 2013.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do before we can talk about that,” Healy told PolitickerNJ. “But you have to have a little money (on hand).”

Healy isn’t just battered and bruised from the layoffs. Last year a government sting netted many of his allies, who were allegedly doing his bidding with informant/bribeman Solomon Dwek. Even as all the allegations turned to convictions for his former cohorts, Healy never gave up his seat in City Hall.

Last night, he recounted the story of Pete Dawkins, the Heisman Trophy winner, Rhodes Scholar, distinguished Vietnam-era vet, Oxford- and Princeton-schooled former Wall Street CEO Republican candidate for Senate in 1988. He was also a polio survivor and the youngest Brigadier General ever in the U.S. Army’s history, but even with that impressive resume, Dawkins lost to U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-Cliffside Park) by 8 points.

Healy remembered Dawkins, a Michigan native, admitting after that loss that New Jersey politics really is a full-contact sport. Then Healy grinned, “I’m still here.”

Healy entertained the crowd with his vocal rendition of crooner Frank Sinatra’s “The Summer Wind,” then passed the microphone to some guy named Tommy Two-Scoops.

“The autumn wind and the winter winds, they have come and gone…And still those days, those lonely days, they go on and on,” Healy sang. “And guess who sighs his lullabies through nights that never end…My fickle friend, the summer wind.”

During a speech to supporters he looked toward better times.

“We’re still hopeful we can come to a better outcome (with the police layoffs),” Healy said. He hasn’t lost is sense of humor, either: “The chef wanted to thank me for all the extra publicity he got, helicopters, TV cameras.”

“That’s an incidental benefit,” Healy told PolitickerNJ afterward, and at least now everyone knows he’s still here, and still singing.

"I don't think what he's doing tonight, the method by which he's doing it helps to build a trustful relationship."
—Gov. Chris Christie reacting to President Barack Obama's speech on immigration reform.