NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The Chairman of the city’s Zoning Board spread bad information on his public Facebook page, some of it targeting his own political party.
John Cox, a Mayor-appointed board member for 18 years, has repeatedly spread false claims about so-called “illegals” who “belong in jail” and attacks on “dummycrats” despite being a registered Democrat himself.
“ill post whatever the fuck I want you don’t control me like the dummycrats control you,” he responded to one critic recently.
According to voter records, Cox is a registered member of the party he calls “the dummycrats.” Despite the affiliation, he is an avowed supporter of Republican President Donald Trump.
Why he remains a Democrat could have something to do with his position on the Zoning Board, where he serves as the most senior member of a body which has been appointed entirely by one Democrat: Mayor Jim Cahill.
“another shitty job by the Democrats,” was Cox’s reaction to the passage of legislation that would allow both citizens and non-citizens to obtain driver’s licenses with a lower threshold of documentation.
The law is expected to help many of the city’s undocumented immigrants to obtain driving privileges, and its passage was supported by Cahill and his ally, Governor Phil Murphy. But Cox doesn’t agree with them on that.
“they are ILLEGAL… If they are here ILLEGAL they dont deserve licenses,” wrote Cox. After a suggestion that he is not a good representative of the city’s zoning board, Cox wrote back: “I represent the Legal citizens of The US and New Brunswick”
Cox apparently un-friended this reporter after an inquiry about his posting habits, and most of his posts are no longer available to the general public.
Cox’s extreme views frequently put him at odds with his party, but some of those beliefs could affect his land use decisions when it comes to issues like extreme weather and the climate crisis.
Earlier this year, New Brunswick Today tried to ask Cox if he believed climate change was real, after noticing some of his online commentary.
But Cox refused to answer the question in front of his Zoning Board colleagues on July 22.
“I’m not gonna discuss that,” said Cox. “I’m not.”
The response came amid questions the board had rushed through a project slated for contaminated land, despite a flimsy Environmental Impact Statement that was kept from the public.
Pressed on his party affiliation and many years as a Democrat appointee, Cox responded: “Doesn’t matter what i am registered as or who Appoints me I am my own person and have my Own Opinions.”
On December 23, Cox posted a grossly exaggerated statistic claiming more than 10,000 “Americans” were killed by “illegal immigrants” in 2018, with the caveat that the number was “wrong but come on.”
He posted the same image without the disclaimer on December 29.
The bogus claim had been circulated widely and dispelled by numerous fact-checking outlets long before Cox posted it.
But Cox’s trolling went even deeper down the rabbit hole after one of his critics shared a link to the fact-checking website Snopes.com, which refuted the statistics.
The morning after posting the false statistics for a second time, Cox shared an image labeled “BUSTED,” claiming that Snopes.com was funded by the Democratic National Committee and the Hungarian-American investor George Soros.
The image, which had also already been widely circulated on the internet , cites no source and has also been widely debunked before Cox shared it.
When challenged on that post, Cox offered a poorly-typed deflection: “already been proven right on another post I,posted, so,ill,stick,to,ot that Snopes,is,paid,for,by Democrats”
Cox previously worked for the New Brunswick Parking Authority. His term on the Zoning Board expires on December 31, 2019.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.