Montclair 2012, a slate led by former Montclair mayor Robert Jackson, who seeks the office again, held its kick off party tonight in a tight Dick Grabowsky storefront filled with green and white balloons.
All the candidates spoke briefly.
“Right now we’re at a crossroads,” Jackson told the crowd. “Because the economic pressure that’s real in some cases is forcing us to perhaps do some things that make our town not what we want it to be, not what he came here for, and not why we stayed here. So our team believes our real strength is Montclair. And we have to make sure that we don’t lose the values.”
The Montclair 2012 slate includes Rich Murnick, Robin Schlager, Richard McMahon, Bob Russo and Sean Spiller.
Among the people in the room tonight were mayor Jerry Fried, councilors Nick Lewis and Renee Baskerville, developer Dick Grabowsky and Mark Alexander, who ran President Obama’s presidential campaign in NJ in 2008. Some noted that their presence didn’t constitute an endorsement. “I’m just here for the party,” said Lewis. But he added, “I like Sean Spiller a lot. He’s very refreshing.”
The crowd ribbed the loquacious Bob Russo, who said he was running for council for just one last term. “I’m 64, I don’t know if you know that,” he said, to which several people responded, “You look it.”
Pausing for the laughter, Russo touted his slate’s diversity and experience.
“It’s very good to have some new people and we do have new people, but it’s very good to have experienced people,” said Russo, who was mayor from 2000-2004. “I used to run the lemon law for New Jersey, and people would buy a new car and they would think the new car was great. Sometimes the new car was a lemon. I’m cautioning you not to let people convince you we need another change…It’s good to have new people. But we also need to have some experienced people who can hit the ground running.”