In Pre-Election Letter To Jackson Residents, Former Councilman Barry Calogero Says Reina “Cozied Up With Lakewood Money Makers”

In a letter sent to many Jackson residents one day before last week’s contentious mayoral election, former Jackson Council President accused Mayor Michael Reina of of cozying up with “Lakewood money makers and activists” in an attempt to convince voters to support Reina’s opponent, Marty Flemming, for mayor.

In his letter, which TLS refrained from printing prior to the election, Calogero, who resigned from his post in 2020, also accused of Reina of wanting to turn Jackson in to a “template for Lakewood extremists.”

“He has cozied up with Lakewood money makers and activists for their commitment to Block Vote for Mike and his liberal non Republican ticket on election day,” Calogero wrote.

“In exchange, Mike will wave the magic wand and change Jackson from a suburban family town to a template for Lakewood extremists,” the letter goes on.

Reina easily won re-election last week, beating Republican Councilman Martin Flemming by more than 1,100 votes, or by 6.4%.

Calogero, a Trump-appointee to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, resigned his post shortly after he called on New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy to mobilize the National Guard to enforce stay-at-home orders during the height of the coronavirus, which many people said was a thinly-disguised remark aimed at Lakewood’s Jewish community.

“Unfortunately, not everyone has followed the law of the land,” Calogero said during an April 14, 2020 council meeting. “Unfortunately, there are groups of people who hide behind cultures and religious beliefs, to put themselves, first responders, and quite honestly all of Jackson … at risk for their selfishness, irresponsibility and inability to follow the law put in place by President (Donald) Trump and Governor (Phil) Murphy.”

Calogero has denied the comments were anti-Semitic.

Calogero ends the letter, which can be read in its entirety below, with a call for Reina to “hang up your paint brush and start a new career in Lakewood politics.”

“I hear they love you and welcome you with open arms,” the letter concludes.

In the race for council, the rest of Reina’s slate, Jennifer Kuhn and Scott Sargent, ousted Councilman Andy Kern, elected in 2018, and Councilwoman Samara Porter-O’Neill, who works as a local real estate agent and was appointed to the council a few months ago.

In a post election “analysis” of her own, Samara Porter-O’Neill also seemed to blame her loss on Jewish community in Jackson, writing on Facebook that the message voters sent on election day “was a sad one.”

“The message today was a sad one,” she wrote.

“That people can be bought. Block votes are real and that not good people who have never done anything for their community can win,” she added.

Read the full letter from Calogero below:

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Get used to it. It’s called sour grapes. It happens in many situations including elections, losers are not happy.No he doesn’t learn mussar. And oh yes there is A grain of truth in it.

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