Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Beth Mason continues anti-democratic jihad, unilaterally removes campaign finance reform

At the last City Council meeting, Beth Mason attempted to remove the election reform legislation sponsored by Councilman Peter Cunningham but was rebuffed when an appeal was made to the Corporation Counsel. Although informed she can not arbitrarily remove sponsored legislation as chair, she's doing it AGAIN!

Now a late breaking story on Hoboken Patch indicates she's back at it yet again! Beth Mason is removing from the agenda the same legislation for the second City Council meeting in a row. What is it that is making her go nuclear? Well it's to protect her money laundering operations, known as WHEELING!

This has erie parallels when certain members of the City Council refused to follow the law and vote by ordinance on a parking issue of the Corner Cars. Beth Mason was a party to that infraction along with her 'majority,' - Mike Russo, Nino Giacchi, Tim Occhipinti and Terry Castellano.

This time Beth Mason is again acting unilaterally on the council agenda with powers that do not exist.

Hoboken Patch story:

(Not) On The Agenda: Campaign Finance Reform


Here's the video from Beth Mason's previous attempt. She claimed the ordinance was proposed too late for the meeting. That also proved to be inaccurate whereby Mike Russo then said he hadn't read it and gave that as a reason to bury it. The City Council agenda is presented Friday night before a Wednesday meeting.

What will be Beth Mason's attempted reasoning for her unilateral action this time?

The video from the previous City Council meeting when Beth Mason tried to eject the campaign finance reforms sponsored by Councilman Peter Cunningham.
(You just can't make this up.)

City Council prepares for dueling versions of paying to play with data request sideshow

Hoboken is suffering from its never ending election cycle and this one may seem more low key, at least for an initial brief period as the armaments are being loaded.  The new Beth Mason 3.0 version is officially released: a kinder, more gentle and friendlier Beth than Hoboken has seen in quite a while.  Or is it?

At election time you need to think she's nicer and heck, she even has her ally Mike Russo doing YouTube infomercials, (he doesn't say what he's selling but maybe what his wife is rubbing is clearly part of the package).  While the latest release of her rebranding takes hold, Beth Mason wants you to know she's working with the mayor, at least she says that somwhat in recent days.  The truth is far from the rosy pictures she paints and not the smoochy pictures of her and the mayor together.  But she's ordered her minions to stand down and even her political operative and web administrator Fin Boy has been quiet on NJ.com's Hoboken forum with his dozen or so screen names.  He's going with Fin Boy the original mostly, obviously the standard dictated by the Queen of Transparency's checkbook.

What's wrong with this picture?  This is the generic pay-to-play housekeeping updated but stripped of the anti-wheeling portion originally sponsored and presented by Councilman Peter Cunningham.  In its place is the pro-Mason version supported by the Russo's and POG's board.

At a recent meeting Councilman Mike Russo complained he was not receiving requested financial information from the administration.  He echoed the charge more than once and not one person on either side of the divide voiced agreement or disagreement with his tirade.  In short, no one in the room believed him and you would have to include Mike Russo himself among them.  He's been known to talk out of both sides of his mouth sometimes in the same thirty seconds, sometimes in the same sentence.  It's like not dissimilar to watching bad high school theater performing Shakespeare.

Now Beth Mason has a resolution all ready for Wednesday's meeting other than the her limited pay-to-play update requesting the city's financial data going back to 2010.  What she wants to do with this is not clear but apparently she's looking to pick a fight.  Since the hospital situation is heading to a favorable resolution (far better than anyone could have hoped) and her requests and numerous legal wrangling with its administration for financial records produced limited documents and much ill will, she's on to another collection target.  To what end?

If you ask Beth Mason, she probably doesn't even know.  It's probably nothing more than a political stunt so she can try to grab some headlines and say she is again being victimized.

Here's Beth Mason's idea of paying to play.  What has she gotten for her $13,400 of pay?  Lots!  She's received a 5-4 council vote flipped when Occhipinti's 500 plus bought votes got him a seat, a council puppet to rubber stamp votes, a shiny new gavel to go with her title of City Council President she is already using on her campaign website.

Tomorrow's meeting will be interesting on the two fronts as the mayor has invited City Council members to submit ideas on reducing the budget and Beth Mason is threatening action if she doesn't get the financial data requested "in three days."

Even better, Beth Mason's sponsored pay-to-play resolution with Terry Castellano completely stripped out Article II, the anti-wheeling portion other municipalities in New Jersey have acted on.  This is a competing resolution to the original sponsored by Peter Cunningham at the last City Council meeting.  Isn't that convenient?  You don't even need to discuss amendments, the original sponsor or most importantly WHEELING.

This is similar trick performed with the earlier pay-to-play ordinance when it went to a referendum.  A Cammarano council coalition presented a competing pay-to-play referundum in order to confuse the public into voting for their toothless version.  Beth Mason's goal is to eject without public comment the original legislation presented by Peter Cunningham and then vote on the generic update with the pay-to-play housekeeping.  The last thing Beth Mason wants to see is her flood of election monies limited by the existing law of $2,600 in individual contributions.  Without her wheeling PAC, she's nothing.

It's interesting to see the real Beth Mason versus the old one who claimed to stand for reform and transparency.  It's tough to distinguish if she is morphing more into Mike Russo or Peter Cammarano.  She's adopted the morals of both.  Or maybe we are just seeing the truth now.

Is the request for financial data in mass a distraction or a fight to cover up any attention on wheeling?  Knowing the local media's limitation to dissect a story let alone investigate one, she may be be looking to create a ruckus about financial data she will do nothing with in order to bury the wheeling story that is clearly ongoing.  No doubt, Mike Russo will be bellowing about it some more too.
Graphic courtesy of Hoboken resident satirist The Grafix Avenger.

Reader Mattacino asked people to contact the NJ Senator Loretta Weinberg and let her know what her old pal Beth Mason is doing:


Unrelated: The Hoboken Journal reveals the latest in the kinder, gentler, rebranding campaign of Hoboken's wallet punching, never say die mayoral campaign and government-in-exile; it's Beth Mason and the Hoboken chocolate factory.


BoE's Theresa Minutillo corrects the record

This editorial is a reply by BoE trustee Theresa Minutillo to her colleague Maureen Sullivan who wrote a letter to the Hudson Reporter a week ago.

Dear Editor:

School board members should strive to make our schools better. Publically we should support efforts that are working and honestly address those that are not. Above all we must tell the truth. The recent letter by Maureen Sullivan failed that test.

Ms. Sullivan states “our school taxes actually went up.” They didn’t. Hoboken’s BoE raised $36,764,796 in 2009-10, $36,761,743 in 2010-11, and is proposing to raise $36,746,171 in 2011-12. In spite of increasing salaries, health benefits, and energy costs, decreasing state aid and a loss of our surplus, total taxes collected from Hobokenites decreased each year. This is an accomplishment. Ms. Sullivan would instead focus on the sad reality that since many Hobokenites have appealed their taxes in recent years the rest of us – who have not appealed – have to pay a larger share. Unfortunate? Yes. The fault of the BoE? No.

Ms. Sullivan also claims all the 5th, 6th, and 7th graders from Connors took a “field trip” to the Hudson County Correctional Center. The truth? Only six at risk children visited the site, with the approval of the Child Study Workers and their parents. And of course, like all our students, Connors students also attend field trips to museums and colleges. In truth, expectations for all district students have been set high. And Connors, with a dedicated staff and the arrival of the new Principal Laurinda Pereira, will no doubt exceed them.

Are there still challenges to overcome? Of course. But Ms. Sullivan highlights only the shortcomings at Connors and throughout the district as though no one is concerned, and nothing is being done. Under out-going Superintendent Mr. Carter we have made great strides and with the arrival of the Dr. Toback next month we are poised to continue our improvement. A key goal of this board is to increase the NJASK test scores. A new Curriculum Director has been hired and is working diligently with a dedicated team of teachers and principals to address all concerns. Three experienced experts were engaged to directly support the teachers. Connors also has great news to report. During the 2009-10 school year, Connors 7th Grade Math Scores beat all the 7th Grade Math Scores in Hoboken, including both Charter Schools. Congratulations to those hard working and dedicated students, teachers and parents.

Dr. Toback is committed not only to raising our student’s academic performance but doing so within the confines of a tightened budget. He was chosen in part for his proven ability to find financial efficiencies in restructuring the use of all of our facilities while promoting educational excellence. With the full support of the board, I have no doubt that he, and the entire district, will succeed.

The facts speak for themselves. Another recent achievement is that more residents will get the opportunity to vote on the budget and Board Trustees this April 27th, Wednesday. The Board unanimously approved extending the polling hours for the April elections from 6 a.m. – 9 p.m. Please be one of them.

Theresa Minutillo

Hoboken BoE Trustee