Earlier today we indicated a legal challenge to the petitions of Councilwoman Beth Mason and Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer. We attributed the challenge incorrectly to the Nathan Brinkman campaign. The credit for this stated intention should have been to Kimberly Glatt's lawyer who was present at the filing.
We sincerely apologize for the error.
Update: Hoboken Now has also confirmed similar details of the potential challenges here. For the record, we independently discovered/posted our error separately.
Barely a day into the fully fielded mayoral race, the mud has already started to fly. If you watched the Council meetings last night and or meeting previous, you know the concerted efforts by the Russo clan to force a vote on a resolution to have the Acting Mayor surrender her Fourth Ward and City Council President seat by having her renamed Interim Mayor has been a large bone of contention.
Although the deadline has long since passed for such a resolution, and the votes certainly not evident for passage, the last two meetings have featured Councilwoman Terry Castellano and Councilman Mike Russo pushing it with reckless abandon all in the hope to get a vote on the record or eject the Acting Mayor out of the Council Chamber altogether. In order to do so, they needed a majority vote renaming the Acting Mayor as Interim Mayor, an action that would force Dawn Zimmer to remove herself from those temporary duties following Peter Cammarano's resignation.
The loutish behavior although declared quite inert by each Hoboken legal counsel, not once but several times over the last two City Council meetings produced little to no effect on the boorish behavior of Mike Russo who repeatedly demanded a vote. After being informed that the requested vote on such a resolution was yet again a waste of time and not to be viewed by a NJ Court in a favorable light which would result, Russo nevertheless kept demanding that such a vote be called. Unfortunately, his citation of procedure known as the Robert Rules of Order is to be polite questionable at best. His outcries and comments without due recognition in turn from the Council President another mere formality in his mind. At the end of the long meeting, several Hoboken residents in the public portion period were incensed, voicing strong disapproval for the useless actions. You can review some of the proceedings as it happened in part 2 here. Notice that not a minute after both legal counsel conclude similarly, Councilwoman Terry Castellano declares the Russo clan was denied a meaningless vote at the last meeting. Hoboken meet the Twilight Zone.
An online petition called dualjobdawn, equally of no legal value as the Russo clan's efforts in the City Council, has been posted to coincide with a similar yet unreleased attack ad by Councilwoman Beth Mason. That petition has to this point obtained but 19 signatures, some anonymous but it counts among them: Michelle Russo, Bob Castelllano, P Cammarano, Mickey Mouse, Fluffer Lane, and Jessica Hosbach.
While we look forward to a short election cycle with all candidates having an opportunity to put forward their platform, we wonder how effective residents will feel about this "petition" effort. We're going to venture a guess and suggest it may not change many minds.
The complimentary commercial is already in the bag and awaiting a run on local television and cable stations. If this is the kind of effort Paul Swibinski is bringing on behalf of Beth Mason, we'd suggest she get a refund. Hoboken voters on the other hand are not being well served by any of this with the onset of the electoral season.
If there was any doubt that Frank "Pupie" Raia would enter the race with victory his goal, those questions can be safely dispelled with his stated intent yesterday to legally challenge his main rivals petition submissions for office of mayor: Councilwoman Beth Mason and Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer.
As reported in Hoboken Now, Raia indicates he will engage the NJ courts to evaluate the legal entry of both of his main rivals for office of mayor in the November 3rd special election. The rumors being pumped furiously not a day after the official petition filing deadline that Pupie was merely a stalking horse in the race and a deal cut with the Acting Mayor for later electoral support have died a quick, brutal death.
The Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer was issued a valid receipt upon submission of over 400 petitions to enter the race, but a clerk in the office suggested additional signatures were required. As a precaution, Dawn Zimmer arrived and signed the additional sheets, receiving a second receipt minutes after the 4:00 deadline. Her legal counsel indicated those additional signatures were not necessary. At least one other potential candidate expressed concerns about late signatures and notarization procedure.
In what can only be described as an Act of God, Councilwoman Beth Mason's campaign spokesman, Paul Swibinski claimed she was lost in the building having been directed to three incorrect rooms and in addition was trapped in an elevator for an unspecified time. All this he says led to her entirely missing the 4:00 deadline.
Talking Ed Note: If you had any doubts this is a Hoboken election, let's rest that concern. Should Raia file a legal challenge, the Pupie Maneuver will without question earn him the unqualified loyalty of numerous "birthers," those town born residents who will eagerly embrace the disqualification of Zimmer and Mason without a ballot being cast.
The NJ Courts however are a different matter. Election law application previously has shown some wild interpretations on what appears to be clear cut statute. When Senator Toricelli dropped out of his Senate race in 2002, Frank Lautenberg was placed on the ballot long after the deadline passed. The NJ Court later ruled in favor of Frank Lautenberg's late entry. This potential case, pales in comparison.
Should Raia file a challenge, legal opinions indicate Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer already holds a valid receipt for her submitted petition while Councilwoman Beth Mason does not. The secondary issues about county error in requesting additional signatures would not disqualify the Acting Mayor but Councilwoman Mason may face a different hurdle with the complexity of her "trapped in an elevator" defense.
As for the wild rumors that Raia cut a deal to be a stalking horse in this race, consider the source.
The likelihood of a successful legal challenge to either Dawn Zimmer or Beth Mason by Frank Raia is remote. A new candidate on the Hoboken scene, Nathan Brinkman released a press release yesterday indicating he did not support Zimmer or Mason being barred from the race. His spokesman, Bill Pascoe, is a veteran of the controversial late entry of Frank Lautenberg into the 2002 race when he was campaign manager for the Douglas Forrester campaign. Pascoe referring to that court outcome, suggests it will not be problematic for either Beth Mason or Dawn Zimmer.
Earlier today, we cited that exact race as a significant factor in any legal challenge here.
We missed a previous article with a similar conclusion over at Politickernj.
Hat tip: Hoboken Now/Agustin C. Torres/Amy Sara Clark