Home>Highlight>Wainstein, Sacco trade barbs over schools referendum

State Sen. Nicholas Sacco, the mayor of North Bergen

Wainstein, Sacco trade barbs over schools referendum

By Nikita Biryukov, December 06 2018 11:30 am

North Bergen mayoral candidate Larry Wainstein attacked Mayor Nicholas Sacco on Thursday, claiming a school renovation ballot initiative pushed by the 24-year incumbent is an attempt to defraud voters.

“This special election was not properly noticed.  It is being held at a time to suppress voter turnout and to benefit Sacco’s political machine,” Wainstein said. “I am asking the court to stop Sacco from disenfranchising voters by having an election under a cloak of darkness.”

Wainstein suit, filed last week, claims the city did not provide proper notice for the ballot initiative, which would authorize $60 million in bond payments, with large chunks coming from state.

The largest single expenditure there would would allow the North Bergen Board of Education to purchase an area vocational school. Other funds are dedicated to school renovation.

Wainstein and his attorney claim proper notice of the ballot measure was not given because it was announced in the North Bergen Reporter, a weekly paper, that would have first been able to publish notice of the referendum’s introduction two days before it appeared before North Bergen’s commission.

North Bergen officials also sent notice to the Jersey Journal, a daily paper.

Those aligned with Sacco, who is also a state senator, say the annual costs of those bonds will be covered by contributions from North Bergen’s payment in lieu of taxes program.

The tiff over the referendum is a continuation of a long-standing feud that dates back to at least 2015, when Wainstein challenged Sacco in a mayoral race. Sacco won overwhelmingly.

“Larry Wainstein’s desperate attempt to stop North Bergen voters from having their voices heard is destined to fail just like his multiple campaigns for Mayor have. It’s the height of hypocrisy for Wainstein to oppose this innovative school realignment plan when he has publicly complained for years about overcrowding in North Bergen schools,” a Sacco spokesman said. “This plan would solve that problem without raising school taxes, but of course Wainstein is against it because of pure politics and hatred for Mayor Sacco and anything he proposes.”

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2 thoughts on “Wainstein, Sacco trade barbs over schools referendum

  1. Larry Wainstein is a fiscal conservative who believes in honest, transparent government. I hope he runs for Mayor again and wins!

  2. There’s much more to this story…
    The referendum ballot states that the bond is for $60,000,000 while the North Bergen BOE website and flyer says the bond is for $34,000,000. See the information at the BOE website: https://www.northbergen.k12.nj.us/
    The BOE has given 4 incomplete sentences about how the purchase of the $60,000,000 bond is to be paid off without school taxes and/or property taxes going up hundreds of dollars a year.

    In Ramsey, NJ, where there is a similar referendum, after 18 Town Hall meetings with the public, residents are aware that their taxes will go up hundreds of dollars a year, and with that knowledge and everything else they learned at the Town Halls, they can make an informed decision of whether to vote yes or no.

    In North Bergen, we have a bunch of gibberish on the ballot and there have been no town meetings and barely any information given to the public, other than the scant, misleading and incomplete information on the BOE website and in the flyer they mailed, and they expect residents to believe it, without proof.
    Why are officials so secretive, so unwilling to engage the public, and pushing so hard to get this done quickly, without proper consideration?
    This is an expensive and complex proposition that needs explanation and debate.

    Neither the BOE or the Township has told the public which PILOT funds will be paying off the bond and for how long.

    North Bergen residents were completely caught by surprise by this $65,000,000 referendum proposal – last week the BOE sent out their flyer, next week is the referendum.

    Further, in their description of how the money will be used, the BOE says it will be used to realign North Bergen Schools, and they give examples.
    But they forgot to mention the important fate of the North Bergen Preschool, which was the original basis for the realignment plan.
    The 17 preschool trailer classrooms that are illegally located in Braddock Park have to be removed, as per NJDEP and National Park Service orders.

    The public needs to know why the realignment plan says nothing about the preschool, and it needs credible information about the financing for this $65,000,000 proposal – this rush to vote on something we don’t have information about is a very suspicious move by town and BOE officials, who are very suspicious people, according to the NBC I-Team and many others, not just Larry Wainstein:

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