Who would have thought a Democratic mayor in the Northeast would attempt to disenfranchise African-American voters in the year 2006? I certainly didn't and I'm the one running against him! Sure, I knew the election was going to turn ugly when the Mayor called my campaign "a terroristic threat" only days after I submitted my petitions. I just didn't know he would attack the very citizens whose churches he visits every Sunday.
My name is Dr. Robert Stern. You've never heard of me nor should you have. I have no big name recognition or campaign war chest. I'm a private citizen who has lived, worked, raised a family, and retired in a beautiful city in northern New Jersey called Englewood.
You probably haven't heard of Englewood's mayor, Michael Wildes, either. But if he gets his way, he will be representing some of you in New Jersey's 9th district come 2008. And he's not the only one who thinks so -- the DLC anointed him one of their "100 National Up and Coming Leaders to Watch." He's had national exposure with his multiple appearances on the O'Reilly Factor. He's raised over $40,000 for his friend Senator Joseph Lieberman and another $400,000 for his own reelection campaign. His endless photo-ops and huge campaign war chest so intimidated local politicians that he waltzed into his first term as Mayor unchallenged.
Three years have passed since then and Englewood looks worse for the wear. Almost overnight, the City has been invaded by cranes and wrecking balls. Armed with the power of Eminent Domain, our political leaders decided that Englewood's "best use" was as a Condobankmallville. And the mayor didn't seem to mind -- his campaign contributions read like the real estate section of the yellow pages. With his out-of-state contributions ranking in the top ten throughout the state, he was happy to oblige everyone but the citizens of Englewood. His excuse? "Think of the ratables!"
I had my own run-in with rampant overdevelopment when a speculator invaded my neighborhood, buying up single family homes to convert into multimillion-dollar high-density condos. The Mayor called me up and encouraged me to talk with the speculator because "he's a good guy." This speculator and his wife also happened to contribute $8000 to the Mayor's reelection campaign. Our neighbors and I declined and had to hire a lawyer and expert witnesses just to keep our neighborhood intact.
The Mayor continued unchallenged in the Democratic primary. In the final days before his uncontested primary, he leapt into a smear campaign against our beloved Democratic State Assemblyman. This was just too much. I decided to come out of retirement and challenge a Mayor who was ruining our city.
That's when the voter intimidation began. Shortly after I submitted my petitions, the Mayor sent his campaign manager and his mayoral aide into an African-American community in order to knock on my supporters' doors and intimidate them into disavowing their signatures! The Mayor's political thugs threatened black voters with court appearances and even jail time if they didn't remove their names from my "illegal document." The Mayor himself phoned some of these citizens to pressure them into withdrawing their signatures.
The Mayor then challenged my petitions, claiming they were fraudulent and invalid. He moved for hearings, subpoenaing a whole slew of citizens, including those voters he had threatened, the former Mayor of Englewood, our state Assemblyman and even my son! Yet, when the Mayor was subpoenaed himself, he refused to appear before the Judge. Despite all this, the Judge ruled that our petitions were valid, finding absolutely no fraud on our part.
This election is shaping up to be somewhat of a David vs. Goliath story. I believe it was Arianna Huffington who told my son, "It's like Corey Booker vs. Sharpe James, but recast with Jews!" Yet my story is not unique; citizens all over the nation are standing up to take back their country. This is not a battle between liberalism and conservatism. Rather, it's a struggle between democracy and the corrupting influence of Big Money.
If you'd like to learn more about my campaign, give a donation or even volunteer, please visit my website at www.SternForMayor.com or e-mail me at SternForMayor@gmail.com. Thanks.