Sphinx-like Sacco Makes His Move


Mickey Rourke made a movie years ago called The Pope of Greenwich Village, and if Nick Sacco isn’t precisely the pope of North Bergen, he might be the Mickey Rourke of New Jersey, or at least the closest thing since Steve Adubato, Sr. to someone who makes phlegmatic ex cathedra utterances while making political chess moves.

Amid a lot of tugging by the Hudson County political classes at Sacco and his Union City alter ego, Brian P. Stack, in the vicinity of the developing Jersey City mayoral drama, Sacco apparently cleared things up this week.

Stack picks former Governor James McGreevey to succeed Steven Fulop.

People around the neighboring North Bergen Mayor are nudging Sacco toward Hudson County Commissioner Bill O’Dea to succeed Fulop.

That would put Sacco on a collision course with Stack.

That makes a lot of people in Hudson nervous because they worry about being turned into collateral damage.

When Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) Chairman Anthony Vainieri last week invited O’Dea to a dinner honoring Nick Sacco, and took a picture with him, politicos sensed Vainieri running recon for Sacco.

Not so fast, says a source close to Sacco.

What the North Bergen Mayor said to his inner circle after the dinner went something like this:

“I say, let the people of Jersey City decide.”


“Nick is now neutral in the mayor’s race,” a source told InsiderNJ. “He had previously endorsed McGreevey but is concerned about Middlesex taking over the HCDO with Brian.”

There was the Monroe Doctrine.

There was the Obama Doctrine.

And in Hudson, there is the Sacco Doctrine.

“The Sacco Doctrine is to let JC people make their own decision and stay out of it,” the source explained.

It’s interesting, because Sacco has a reputation – like Stack – as something of a tough guy.

But apparently not so tough that he feels inclined to bully Jersey City.

Let the people decide who they want to be mayor over there.

That’s the Sacco Doctrine, the source said.

It seems a little Pollyannish – even for Hudson.

Another interpretation is Sacco’s close political ally and Team Sacco member Vainieri takes the picture with O’Dea and invites him to the dinner, and other Sacco types materialize around O’Dea. But the boss himself stays neutral, as The Hudson County View’s John Heinis quotes McGreevey verbalizing “Stack” as a prime backer. Sacco’s tactic would appear to be his attempt to diffuse the scary optics of Stack versus Sacco, or to influence by not seeming interested in influencing, as when the Mickey Rourke character in another movie, The Year of the Dragon, complained, “It’s always f’ing politics,” as if he wasn’t animalistically political.

Photo by Al Sullivan.

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