There was some back story leading into the day after election City Council meeting Wednesday night. Which Beth Mason would be showing up? The old reformer or the new and repackaged version who wants to represent all sides of Hoboken in the repackaged "triangulator" version.
Other than the invariable short length of the meeting and Mayor Zimmer's permanent recusal from the proceedings, last night's City Council affair was uneventful short of a proposed amendment by Councilwoman Mason to cut government officials and directors salaries beyond the resolution at hand. With the across the board 10% reductions ready for a final vote, Beth Mason perhaps not getting the memo from the election the night before decided a new amendment to reduce salaries 25% for the mayor, council and city directors was even better. She made a proposal along those lines to reduce the mayor's salary a whopping 35% from just last spring's salary. When that was brought to her attention, she agreed to have the amendment reflect the current mayoral salary as the base point of the reduction, not the already reduced figure. Is anyone else seeing the irony of this since the Councilwoman asked for backpay just earlier this year?
What Councilwoman Mason doesn't realize or has failed to in her million dollar drive for the prize is the battle has been engaged and finally won. What is called the reform movement here in Hoboken, (decent government in most of America) is now charged to fix years and years of old school operations where the tax takers stated a birthers right to grab as much loot as possible while the tax payers have been out trying to attend to their jobs and families.
The spotlight has been reversed for the moment but now the hard work begins. There's already fair warning now on the ticking time bomb of the hospital right in the heart of the city. More than one Hoboken citizen highlighted the lack of seriousness to address the hospital's threat to fell the town with one more financial heart attack. Dawn Zimmer in an interview after the Stevens debate stated she is already working on sourcing up to $40 million in grants to aid the hospital. Unfortunately, we are facing a structural issue, the executive posturing from the hospital CEO notwithstanding. Hoboken on the hook for $52 million needs to break that umbilical cord asap. Hey, what is Jon Corzine up to these days?
After the election, we've noted similar conversation coming from different corners all with the same hope: Beth Mason come home. Clearly some habits die hard. And if you can't beat them, at least cut their salary more than they have already agreed. Councilwoman Beth Mason's campaign, a bigger disaster than in the spring for the desperate falsehood of a tax increase her advertising and operatives shamelessly pushed in the final week, clearly didn't get the message with a 20 point defeat at the hands of her rival. In the famous words of Rosie Perez in "White Men Can't Jump," "Sometimes when you lose, you really win."
Does Beth Mason want to be a part of the long sought reform victory or does she want to make her stand with herself as a paragon of self-worship? Oh and the amendment to further cut salaries went down in flames with only the Russo clan playing along in the kabuki dance.
Talking Ed note: Frank "Pupie" Raia was first in stopping by Zimmer Campaign headquarters and Councilwoman Beth Mason also made a classy appearance to congratulate the mayor on her blow out victory. Pupie's campaign was notable in its stated goal of staying positive although he did make comparative ads late, his class and reputation remains solidly intact. It didn't escape notice along with the issues oriented campaign put forward by the Brinkman campaign who made a congratulatory call early.
Councilman Peter Cunningham was handed the gavel after Mayor Dawn Zimmer recused herself from the City Council meeting. The Councilman handled the proceedings well, using the chair's role to recognize speakers and act smoothly on motions as required. Not a bad start for a guy who said he was tired and a bit under the weather. Keep those subcommittees in action and this job will be easier.
Update 11:40 - To answer one of our favorite readers Infotainme, Councilman Peter Cunningham will officially take over as City Council President when Mayor Zimmer is sworn in after the election is certified.