In the 1960’s and 70’s, Dave Friedland was the quintessential New Jersey politician. As Hudson County’s version of the Renaissance man, he was a poet, lawyer to the Teamsters, legislator, scuba diver, fugitive, and, finally, inmate.
Dave Friedland also possessed remarkable powers of persuasion.
One day, on the New Jersey State Assembly floor, David Friedland worked himself into a frenzy prophesizing the doom that would befall New Jersey, Society, yea, the Universe, if a certain bill passed.
“Women will no longer bear children…The sun shall cease rising in the East…Stars shall come loose in the night sky and fall into the ocean…
His speech was cut short by a lunch break. As Dave Friedland was about to leave the building, an aide, out of breath, came running up to him.
“Sir, you’ve got a phone call.”
Not breaking his stride, without turning to look at the functionary, “Tell them, I’ll call back.”
Braking by pressing his heels into the marble floor, the aide grabbed Dave Friedland, by the sleeve.
“You’ve got a call.”
Assemblyman Friedland knew what a call was. He immediately turned and hurried to his office. Pushing past a minor multitude of favor and job seekers, David Friedland made his way to a back room. Dave closed and locked the door before picking up the phone.
J. V. Kenny, political boss of Hudson County for two generations, was on the other end.
“Are you out of your mind! That’s my bill! I’ve been working all year to get that thing passed! What are you doing! Stop it! STOP IT! STOP IT!!!”
And then hung up.
Later that afternoon after lunch, as the Assembly re-convened, Dave Friedland rose to speak.
“Now that I’ve pointed out the few minor flaws, imperfections, merely cosmetic blemishes so-to-speak, of this fine bill, let me now relate all its good points, the benefits, the bounty, the cornucopia….”
The bill passed.
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In a strange confluence of Hudson County politics and the dazed and confused zeitgeist of the ’70s (Was the geist, zeit or polter?), as a campaign promotion, Dave Friedland proposed printing his name on packs of rolling papers! In a further stroke of warped genius, he intended to have a different campaign promise on each individual sheet. An aide convinced him that the druggie “constituency” probably did not include many voters.