Wednesday night’s meeting yielded Dominic Cappella, Barbara Hudgins, and Scott Evans as the City Democratic Committe’s three choices to fill Mayor Bob Levy’s unexpired term. Many people suspected Cappella and Evans would be able to garner enough support to capture the nomination. My big question is: why Barbara Hudgins?
Barbara Hudgins was defeated by George Tibbitt in the Democratic primary for Councilman At-Large. She has not enjoyed political clout since the days Mayor Jim Whelan. Why choose her as a choice to present to Council?
The meeting, held at the UAW Hall in Chelsea Heights was a who’s-who of AC political figures. Damon Tyner, Joe Pollillo, Don Hurley, Bobby Turner, Iris Hernandez, George Amiriantz, Bob McDevitt, Lillian E. Bryant, Champ Hoffman, Tom Foley, and Alice Gordon were only a few of the notable guests, allowed to observe the pseudo-parliamentary style maneuvering that yielded Cappella, Hudgins, and Evans as the three selections.
Evans began by asking all but the Committee members to leave the hall. After five minutes, the approximately seventy-five guests and members of the media were allowed to sit on the other side of the hall. A yellow police tape separated guest from Committee member.
Signs adorned the entrances to the hall reading, "Atlantic City Democratic Committee Bringing Honesty And Integrity Back To Atlantic City Government." I observed this sign, being led in, as a person near remarked that A.C. Committee member Floyd Tally had sworn in front of a judge, earlier in the day, that he lives in Pleasantville.
Evans opened the evening by stating, "We are going to keep things tight. This is not an open session." While this was not as noisy as a City Council meeting, there were still plenty of cat-calls from the guests and threats of election yelled by Evans at various guests.
The next move was for Dr. Howard Barsky to motion for the committee to recommend Cappella, Hudgins, and Evans. The motion was second. Councilman and Committee member Marty Small got to his feet and argued for an open and transparent vote.
Small was denied a hearing on his motion.
Bob McDevitt was threatened to be ejected twice by Evans, after McDevitt yelled in response to Evans and Barsky, "What you are doing is illegal. All of you are criminals. Read Robert’s Rules of Order."
Tom Foley yelled, “Ask the lawyers.” I wanted to suggest that maybe we have had enough from lawyers. See Kim Baldwin and the City’s Department of Law.
Kaleem Shabazz spoke of how A.C. is in a national, regional, and international spotlight. "We must be sensitive to our appearance," he stated.
There was noticeable friction between the County and City Democratic chairpersons. Ruff shouted a disapproving "no" in response to Evans’s handling of the meeting.
David Tayoun expressed his disapproval of how Evans conducted the meeting.
Joe Pollillo proclaimed, “I think that the runner-up from the last election should be mayor.”
Small supervised the ballot count as 23 voted yes and 18 voted no. Next Small had a motion to reverse the first vote. His measure was voted down by the same 23-18 margin.
“This is confusing, totally confusing,” said an Indian gentleman seated next to me. “They fight like little kids,” said another person. Marty Small had a few people yell, “Sit down Marty,” and “He [Small] just want the spotlight.”
Toni Dixon moved to adjourn the meeting, was seconded, and now we wait for City Council to act on the Committee’s selections.