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Boss Hague
King Hanky-Panky of Jersey

Part 14

By Jack Alexander

Originally appeared in The Saturday Evening Post on October 26, 1940
Edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2002

Opposition by the local press is almost unknown. The Jersey Journal, a Jersey City daily, tried it once. Some years back it cut loose with a blast of irritating questions addressed to the mayor, and referred to his record as, “slimy.” Hague forthwith issued an order that any city or county employee seen reading the Journal was to be fired summarily. He accused the Journal of trying to “rob” the city on assessments. Policeman end firemen covered the city, traveling door to door handing out leaflets calling the Journal “a vicious newspaper” with “selfish and dishonest motives.” The City Council passed a resolution changing’ the name of the town’s chief plaza from Journal Square to Veterans’ Square.

A Paper Takes a Hint

At Hague’s behest, theater owners. withdrew their advertising. One theater operator refused to be bulldozed. Almost immediately his theater was visited by inspectors from the health, building, fire and police departments, and dozens of violations were plastered on it. The owner capitulated. Next, Hague sent his cope and firemen door to door again, soliciting subscriptions for a rival paper. Every solicitor had to subscribe for himself and obtain four additional subscriptions. The Journal took the hint. It now treats Hague with deference. The plaza is once more Journal Square. One of the publishers of the paper is a lay Judge of the Court of Errors and Appeals, the highest tribunal in the state, at forty dollars for each day he sits.


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