As the end of the year looms with most Hookenites having their minds elsewhere, the finale rings in on the City Council's last meeting for 2010, the honorable City Council President Carol Marsh presiding.
After the controversial November 4th special election, the post election Council meeting was a twilight zone like affair. Cool demeanors in the front of the room lacking invective, and anything but festive considering the installation of Tim Occhipinti into the council seat and his first meeting on the dais. Something was brewing and they knew it. Sure enough a two fer by week's end: criminal referrals from a Board of Elections to the County prosecutor, then another push up the hill to the NJ Attorney General's office.
Gov. Chris Christie's appointment crossing party lines of his colleague Paula Dow to the position of New Jersey's Attorney General may be the most important event for Hoboken since Mayor Zimmer's election win a year ago last November. Hoboken's fourth ward election with a stack of potentially massive election fraud problems has been sitting in the Attorney General's office for weeks, and not a word has come out except for some rumors posted twice here about a grand jury being held over in a Patterson City Councilman's case.
At the last City Council meeting, Hoboken resident Scott Siegel made note of that case and so did MSV noting there were a dozen arrests for election fraud. Local politico Perry Belfiore tried to play down its significance noting the differences in that investigation to Hoboken. Well we don't have an investigation in Hoboken, not yet anyway - so any comparison between bad fruit there and here is premature.
There's a black cloud hanging over this City Council. Nothing changes with the this new version of La Familia as far as free and fair open elections until people are taken away in handcuffs.
Based on the midnight power grab at the last City Council meeting most believe will lead to the elevation of Councilwoman Beth Mason to City Council President, you could make an argument darkness has descended on the town.
Come January, they'll be burning down the house. That's right, we're in for nasty weather.
But although there will be negatives coming from the union of Russo-Mason, Da Horsey can assure you, reform is not dead in Hoboken.
Not by a long shot.
Talking Ed Note: The Hoboken Journal returns with the season ending City Council finale with one more live chat with all the gizmos and whistles at 7:00 tonight.
Tonight Tim Occhipinti makes his most important contribution since taking the seat, levying a tax increase on the taxpayers looking to eliminate a more than reasonable $25 usage fee for children's enrollment in local activities. The fee generates well over $20,000 to the City. How many taxpayer homes does it take to cover that bill?
As some commenters have posted here, other NJ towns charge far more than that nominal fee including Newark. In the words of former Mayor Koch, "Build it and they'll come." It's a flat out giveaway stopping no one from freeloading. Do parents in the W or Maxwell Place need this?
This is indicative though of the entitlement mentality in certain sections of town. It's voice is again established with the Russo-Mason bulkhead. Expect more along these lines into 2011, much more. They'll be telling you how they are helping you, all the while describing themselves as "budget hawks," yet never bringing anything notable in cuts to the table.
Instead they'll let the professionals do the heavy lifting upstairs at City Hall and try to take the credit with grand gestures like returning more of the surplus than prudent or similar sleight of hand.
Their wins will be limited, their bet on acquiescence and ignorance of the electorate a fool's gamble. Let the resistance commence.
Last, Attorney General Paula Dow, please come to Hoboken for the springtime.