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NORTH BERGEN – Long time mayor and venerable local politician Nick Sacco was talking to reporters Tuesday morning after casting his vote in the lobby of a high-riser overlooking the Hudson.
He’s been doing this for more than 30 years, but Sacco doesn’t seem to have lost any passion for the craft.
“I worked all 39 districts,” he said.
That’s not easy. North Bergen is pretty compact, but thanks to hills and some crazy one-way streets, getting around can be taxing.
A few minutes after Sacco spoke, his opponent, Larry Wainstein, held a rally outside the building at 9060 Palisades Avenue. His supporters carried signs pleading for township children not to be poisoned.
Well, who wants to poison children? Really.
That’s not the point.
Wainstein’s main issue in Tuesday’s municipal election revolves around plans for an electric generating power plant in the northern corner of the township. He says the plant, which is being reviewed by the state and which is backed by Sacco, would spew pollutants throughout the area.
Sacco, also a state senator, tried to brush that issue aside. He said North Bergen really has no control over the plant and besides, an electric plant doesn’t emit carcinogens.
Wainstein, who lost to Sacco’s team four years ago, says he’s feeling much better this time around.
“It’s the feedback from the people,” that is giving him confidence, he said.
Sacco doesn’t seem worried, contending that Wainstein is trying to divide the town.
“He’s just spewing hate,” Sacco said.
One of the interesting side issues here is a basic one – just where does Wainstein live?
The Sacco camp says he really lives in spiffy Franklin Lakes, not on 74th Street in North Bergen as he claims.
Still, Sacco said his supporters did not challenge Wainstein’s residency when he voted Tuesday morning.
But they certainly haven’t forgotten about it.
As Wainstein led his rally, a Sacco backer yelled at him, “Go back to Franklin Lakes.”
Wainstein dismissed the residency issue as a “total lie” by Sacco.