So many ideas raced through my mind after reading the story that Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy is now blaming “three Hispanic girls, young kids” for luring him out of his home naked during his 2004 campaign. The first one is that yes, this is a real story, not a bad SNL skit. There is a naked picture of Healy, taken one night in 2004 at 2:00 am, when he was running in a mayoral race, a race he won. Now all of a sudden, in 2013, Healy is blaming the “Hispanic girls,” because you know how “hot” those Latinas can be.
This must be a bad tribute to the Rolling Stones’ “Miss You,” the classic 70s song where Mick Jagger shouts out, “What’s the matter, man? Well, we’re coming around 12 o’clock with some Puerto Rican girls that’s just dyyyyyyyyiiiinnnnnng to meet YA!!!!” That was all I can think of as I tried to learn more about why Healy is doing what he is doing, just days before the May 14 election between him and opponents Steven Fulop, Jerry Walker, and Abdul Malik.
Before we get into the Healy’s newest excuse and why it makes no sense, a little thing you should know about him. He doesn’t seem to care, and that is why he is so appealing and popular. As he told NJ.com, “Listen, I like to eat, drink, sing, dance and laugh. And I make no apologies for any of the above.”
That same article also mentioned that his administration has been hounded by corruption, the FBI kind of corruption. How much of a survivor is Healy? While the city’s deputy mayor, housing commissioner, building inspector, utilities authority commissioner, health department managers, and three city council members were all convicted in 2009 for taking bribes in the FBI’s “Operation Bid Rig,” Healy did not. Yet how naïve can you be to believe that Healy did not know that his administration basically fulfilled every stereotype about Jersey politics? Healy may claim the he is “clean,” but I doubt it.
Now he revisits the 2004 naked photo and blames “Hispanic girls.” His opponent Fulop was quick to pounce, telling NJ.com: “It’s another embarrassment in a statewide newspaper courtesy of Jerry Healy and it’s sad that 10 years after the fact, he now decides to blame Hispanic women for his personal problems.”
The same article also received a reaction from a Latina city council member:
Nidia Lopez, who is running for reelection in Ward C on Fulop’s ticket, said the mayor’s comments made her “absolutely sick.”
“I think the Hispanic community deserves an apology and I think our mayor needs psychological help … For this mayor to degrade Hispanic women by creating this wild story eight years later … three young kids molested him, he’s laughing about it. How the hell did he know they were Hispanic?”
“When I ran in 2009, I asked him if that was really him on the stoop, and he said, ‘I don’t know baby. I was so drunk I don’t remember.’ Those were his exact words to me …. There is absolutely something wrong with this picture.”
Healy’s campaign has gone on record and said, “Events from eight years ago aren’t what matters to either Mayor Healy or the voters in this election. What matters is Mayor Healy hiring over 300 new cops, getting 1,500 illegal guns off the street at no taxpayer expense, creating the first five new parks in a century and stabilizing Jersey City finances as noted by Moody’s.”
However, I do wonder if Healy’s latest comments will hurt him on May 14. In 2004, there might not have been that many Latino voters in Jersey City, but nine years later, the demographics have changed. On a state level, New Jersey has seen a 39.2 percent increase in its Latino population between 2000 and 2010, and Jersey City is the state’s fourth-largest city when it comes to the Latino population In 2010, there were 68,256 Latinos living in Jersey City, accounting for 27.6 percent of the city’s population. The 27.6 percent is nowhere other Hudson County cities such as Paterson (57.6 percent), Elizabeth (59.5 percent), or Union City (84.7 percent), but no doubt that the Latino voter in Jersey City will continue to grow.
And eventually Healy will be faced with some Latino voters that are just dyyyyyyyyiiiinnnnnng to vote him out of office.
Julio Ricardo Varela (@julito77 ) founded LatinoRebels.com in May, 2011 and proceeded to open it up to about 20 like-minded Rebeldes. His personal blog, juliorvarela.com, has been active since 2008 and is widely read in Puerto Rico and beyond. In the past 12 months, Julito represented the Rebeldes on Face the Nation, NPR, Univision, Forbes, and The New York Times.