NEWS, SPORTS, COMMENTARY, POLITICS for Gloucester City and the Surrounding Areas of South Jersey and Philadelphia

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The Pen vs. The Gloucester City Democrat Party Machine | PART ONE : When It Began






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“A small change can make a big difference. You are the only one who can make our world a better place to inhabit. So, don’t be afraid to take a stand .” 

― Ankita Singha


GLOUCESTER CITY NEW JERSEY- - Leaders of the Gloucester City Democrat Party Machine (GCDPM), and their minions, have always wanted to control the  information that you the public were receiving from the media. The GCDPM also takes issue with anyone who has an opposing view. This two-part series is about my off and on clash with the GCDPM over this Freedom of Speech issue during the past 33 years. 


It will include incidents that happened when I was publisher and editor of the Gloucester City News until now as editor and owner of ClearysNoteBook (, a 24-7 blog established in 2006.


 ~William E. Cleary Sr., CNBNews Editor







“Quite frankly, having an uninformed populace works extremely well, particularly when you have a media that doesn't understand its responsibility and feels more like it's an arm of a political party. They can really take advantage of an uninformed populace.” 

~Benjamin Carson


By William E. Cleary Sr.


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 Above: Gloucester City Democrat Party Machine (GCPDM) campaign literature published October 1986 (the bottom half of the 10 x 16  page is below) click image to enlarge




First-amendmentGLOUCESTER CITY NJ--After the 1982 mayor election in Gloucester City two members of the Gloucester City Democrat Club/Party Machine, on behalf of the membership, approached Camden County Sheriff Bill Simon with a plea to stop publishing the sheriff sales in the Gloucester City News and the Camden County Record. At the time the Cleary family owned both newspapers. Those legal notices were worth $20,000 to $30,000 annually. Running for mayor that year was an Independent candidate named Bob Bevan and the endorsed Democrat Club candidate Jack Brophy. Bevan won that election. The two club officers told the sheriff that I was  “troublemaker.” And, the Club membership wanted to punish me because they said my reporting of issues favored Bevan because he and I were friends. 

 Sheriff Simon, a Democrat at the time, called and told me about their request.  “Bill, you have nothing to fear, I am not going to stop publishing the legal notices in your newspapers. I think you do a good job covering the news in Gloucester City and Fairview, and I told those individuals the same thing.” [paraphase] 


Think about what these sleazy politicians wanted to do to me and my family because they lost a mayor’s election to an unknown candidate with no experience. Remember, too, they still held the majority of council by a 6-1 margin. Connie and I were trying to raise three young children, pay a mortgage, buy a newspaper from my parents and keep a business afloat. If Sheriff Simon had acted on their request, both newspapers no doubt would have been in jeopardy of closing. We depended on that income. Without that money the 10 part-time workers we employed would have been laid off.


This type of unsavory, cheap politics by the local political power brokers  (aka the GCDPM) has continued over the last 33 years up until today. 


Four years later when Bevan was up for re-election, the Democrat Club campaign literature contained an attack on my professional integrity. 


Some excerpts from that sordid October 1986 Democrat campaign literature: 


It is our opinion that the people of Gloucester City have not received impartial coverage from our local newspaper. In all fairness, we realize that it is very difficult for an owner of a newspaper, who also happens to be a personal friend of the present mayor, to present factual material that may be detrimental to his personal friend. 


When the newspaper owner is the sole decision maker on what is to be printed and what is to be omitted, it can be expected that personal interests and relationships will prevail. It may be construed as ethical in the publishing business, but in our opinion, it definitely is NOT in the best interests of the community where the people are seeking the truth.


We are so strongly committed to the principles of democracy where everyone is entitled to their own opinion that we have no fear as to the outcome of allowing the people to make up their own minds. [emphasis, editor].The truth is something to be feared only by those who have something to hide. We have nothing to gain by presenting half truths and substituting opinion for fact. 


For these reasons, we find it is absolutely necessary to make every effort to find alternative ways to provide the citizens of Gloucester City with the information necessary to make up their own minds. We are of the opinion that the local newspaper does not provide this opportunity to our citizens based upon past experiences. 


The front page of that Democrat 10x16 newspaper published in October 1986 appears at the top and bottom of this article. 


Bevan and his three Independent running mates for council, Bart Rettew, Maryann Callahan, and Jack Brandt were all victorious. Their opponents that year were Democrat mayor candidate Pat McNutt and council members Will Tice, Daniel Spencer Jr., and Thomas Quicksell. Republican candidates included Frank Gandy, for mayor and council candidates, Anna Marie Smith, Walt Jost, and Cliff Oorlog.


My answer to the Democrat Party’s disparaging remarks appeared in the November 6, 1986 Gloucester City News.  (SEE SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT)




Et Cetera--In the mid 90’s city council passed an ordinance charging landlords a $25 inspection fee for each rental they owned. For example, if you had a duplex you paid a total of $50. A triplex, $75. This was on top of the annual fire inspection fees the city housing office was already charging landlords. After writing an editorial, critical of the new law, we received a notice from the Housing Office to fix a crack in the sidewalk apron behind the office building we owned. The crack was so small you could hardly see it. When we complained to the Housing Officer, he says, “Maybe you will think twice before writing your next editorial about our department.” [paraphrase]



Part two of the series JUMP TO THE PRESENT will be posted at noon on Tuesday’s page. 


Below: The bottom half of the Gloucester City Democrat Party Machine (GCDPM) campaign literature published October 1986 (click image to enlarge) 


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My answer to the Democrat Party’s disparaging remarks appeared in the November 6, 1986 Gloucester City News.  (SEE SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT)