Updated: Apr 17, 2019
HudPost’s 2019 North Bergen Power List focuses on the pending transition of power within the North Bergen political machine. "Power" is defined by influence, popularity, and leverage.
This is HudPost’s third annual North Bergen Power List.
1. Nicholas Sacco, Senator & Mayor
What can be written about Sacco that already hasn’t? He’ll more than likely keep his mayoral seat after the votes are counted in May. After that, it’s his choice as to when he will retire- if ever.
2. Anthony Vainieri, Hudson County Freeholder
Right Hand man to Sacco - Vainieri continues to build on the brand as the logical next-of-kin to the throne.
As a Freeholder, Vainieri continues to bring value to North Bergen with park renovations, annual festivities, national landmarks, and coordinating the purchase of a new high school.
3. Julio Marenco, Commissioner
Admittedly, our very own Eva Deras's favorite public figure, Julio Marenco continues to advocate for his downtown neighborhood and brings a youthful, diverse outlook to the local government.
While Julio has not been willing to share future ambitions- we suspect that his future is bright.
4. North Bergen Federation of Teachers
The teachers union proved they could have a public debate without being hijacked with political rhetoric.
With over 600 teachers represented by the Teachers' Union - their influence is fundamental in any changes made in North Bergen.
5. Robert Dowd, North Bergen Police Chief
High-profile crime in the area rarely goes unsolved; whether it’s a hit-and-run, street shootings, or a stolen vehicle.
Chief Dowd represents a highly diverse force of over 120 officers and his leadership of the department has lead to many in & out-of-town accomplishments.
6. Phil Swibinski, Township Spokesmen/VP of Vision Media
Phil Swibinski has earned his own spot on our list. New to fatherhood, Swibinski steps into a bigger role in business and personal life. Paul Swibinski (father to Phil), who started Vision Media over 30 years ago, retired and regularly spends time in his Florida home.
Phil is the barrier between the public and Sacco over any outrage. He has held his own against the various hit-pieces from the iTeam, and will have plenty of work during the upcoming election.
7. Local, independent Media; HudPost (of course), Hudson County View, Talk on the Hudson
First it was print, then TV, but now it’s the age of the internet. These companies bring value to each other and in return to its viewers.
Whether its 'Talk on the Hudson' getting both state Senators Stack and Sacco on the record on their stance on marijuana or 'Hudson County View' getting a heated exchange between Wainstein/Vainieri over a development in the area- the “larger local” medias such as Jersey Journal or News 12 can't compete with the relevant content, or simply ignore “NoHu” issues.
HudPost exclusively focuses on North Bergen (with a pinch of Guttenberg) so you can expect relevant and reliable content in 2019.
8. Aimee Focaraccio, Community Organizer
Aimee has a heart of gold and it shows in her work. Focaraccio continues to build the NB CARES program while becoming a leader within the Young Democrats of Hudson County party.
During our interview with her earlier this year, she has not ruled out a career in politics, but her current commitment is to helping families in need.
9. John Bender, Committee-person
Although a committee seat only represents a small portion of the town, Bender has used his political muscle to be the front of the anti-Larry effort.
He once ran a protest in front of Wainstein’s North Bergen home back in 2015.
Now he is addressing the "litter-ture issue" caused by elections with a clever widespread ’NO LARRY LITERATURE ACCEPTED’ window sign campaign. You’ll be sure to see (and hear) John at any anti-Larry event this year.
10. Larry Wainstein, Business Owner & 2019 Mayoral Candidate
So 2019 is finally here and everything Wainstein has been working for is coming to a conclusion; does his years of “community organizing,” and Sacco bashing win him a seat? Or will history repeat itself with another 3 to 1 or 2 to 1 loss.
Throughout the years Wainstein has fought against building a new Kindergarten school and acquiring High Tech High School. He has also fought against several residential buildings such as the projects on 56th and Kennedy, 48th and Tonnelle, and 78th and Bergenline Ave.
While it’s clear what he is against - he hasn’t done a great job of telling us what he is for.
He’ll be receiving help from West New York Mayor Roque and possibly some South Jersey politicians most of our readers probably wouldn’t recognize. He just makes our list but another loss in May definitely kicks him off.
NB BOE Superintendent Dr. George Solter
Retired Lt. Henry Marrero
Commissioner Hugo Cabrera
North Bergen…Now, Then, & Memories Administer Denis Jaslow
Esq. Mario Blanch