Bayonne Mayoral Debate: O’Donnell Hits Davis on Transparency and Residency as Mayor Says he Doesn’t Read The Jersey Journal

BAYONNE – They traded leather, Bayonne style, here at tonight’s lone mayoral debate to decide in front of a jeering at times and at times chest thumping crowd who will run this maritime slagheap of a city that sits like block after block of WWII era blue collar mayhem at the southern edge of Hudson County.

Incumbent Mayor Jimmy Davis wants another four years, and his two challengers, former Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell (D-31) and Dr. Mitchell Brown, pawed at him all night in search of the lasting shot that would keep the mayor stretched on the canvas here in the basement of the Nicholas Oresko School.

“This administration spent taxpayer dollars to hide a settlement,” said O’Donnell. “Fact. They spent your money to hide a settlement, and the mayor was quoted as saying, Nobody came and asked him. I saw the interview and the mayor said, although it was in the paper dozens of times, he doesn’t read the paper. He had no idea that his own lawyers were in superior court. He had blocked information that is rightly ours and spent our own money doing it. We have to stop this. We can no longer afford it. We’re driving people out of the town.”

O’Donnell was referring to a local police brutality case that resulted in a $1.5 million settlement.

Davis shot back, “The plaintiff’s layers wanted it sealed, because not only was there a victim, but there were two other people in the lawsuit. One was underage. One was a special needs.”

As far as what he said about the newspaper, “I don’t read the Jersey Journal,” he reiterated.

O’Donnell chopped at Davis’ residency outside of the city during the 1990s, which again prompted a comeback and counterattack from the incumbent.

“It’s no big secret, I lived in Rahway for 11 years and I returned in 2000,” said the mayor. “And I didn’t leave the Bayonne Police Department after 20 years to go work for a lobbying firm. Even when I lived outside of town, I was here every single day protecting the people of this city.”

“I was never a lobbyist, I’ve never worked for a lobbying firm,” O’Donnell said, referring his employment at Kivvit.

The crowd seesawed between O’Donnell and Davis, promoting debate moderator John Heinis, editor of the Hudson View, to at one point push his seat back, face the crowd and restore order.

“You’re killing me,” Heinis said.

This is a May 8th contest, with a politically reanimated U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and his functionaries devoted to Davis’ reelection; a dynamic that has the chattering classes mostly predicting a Davis win. But the presence of Brown in the debate too made the mayor a one-two punch target for both challengers.


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