BAYONNE – The 50 or so teenagers assembling in an alley off of Broadway just after 3 p.m. were not up to no good, as some may have thought.
In fact, they were there to exhibit some democracy in action.
The Bayonne High School students were being organized to hit the streets and to canvass neighborhoods on behalf of mayoral challenger Jason O’Donnell.
One of the men supervising the group said the students volunteered to spend a few hours after school getting votes for O’Donnell, who is trying to unseat incumbent mayor Jimmy Davis.
Some of the students admitted they were not old enough to vote, but said that their parents certainly were. Some said they liked O’Donnell, but quickly added they also expected to be paid for their time.
The man organizing the throng declined to give his name, but said the kids would handle traditional late afternoon election day chores.
That meant visiting voters, and presumably O’Donnell supporters, who have not made it to the polls and reminding them to do so.
As the students congregated in the alley, they were given a paper script and when they emerged, they donned “Team O’Donnell” shirts and were loaded onto vans for trips to specific neighborhoods.
All this was being watched by a guy who seemed about two generations removed from being a high school student.
The man, who gave his name as Pete, was unimpressed.
He said O’Donnell doesn’t give a damn about Bayonne and just cares about his own agenda.
But Pete quickly added, “Whoever wins, God bless him.”
Call this episode another part of the tapestry in this politically-enlivened city at the southern tip of Hudson County.
The students for O’Donnell were not the only event the challenger was using. A number of small trucks drove around town festered with O’Donnell signs with men yelling through loudspeakers that taxes were too high and that the mayor has granted too many tax abatements.
A few blocks away on Avenue C, some Davis supporters outside a polling place offered why they want the mayor to stay in office.
A woman named Christine quickly rattled off a number of the mayor’s accomplishments, including refurbishing city parks and working to bring new businesses, such as Costco and Starbucks, to Bayonne. She also said there are more jobs in the city and that home values are on the rise. Another supporter of the mayor said she backed Davis, because she is familiar with him.
“I’m sticking with the one I know,” she said.
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