Friday, June 10, 2011

Beth Mason tries to fit in one more ambush

Another Friday and another call by Councilwoman Beth Mason for a Monday special council meeting.  In need of a distraction to get the FBI heat off and change the topic, Mason is back to her meme, "I'm going to get them," with yet another shady contemptuous anti-public call for a meeting at the last minute.

This is transparency?  Yet another Friday ambush for yet another Monday meeting with the public looking elsewhere - as in a summer weekend.  The Beth Russo hydra looks to go on the offensive as the sweating among its troops is creating quite a messy puddle.  In their waning days of power, it's sure to get absolutely nowhere other than the noise they will be screaming to the heavens to any reporter who will kindly listen, obey and repeat the narrative without asking any uncomfortable questions.


According to the Hudson Reporter:

 "One resolution would be to “command the appearance of officials or employees of the fully advise the City Council about the aforementioned matter” and another would be to adopt a resolution “directing that ‘Rice Notices’ be issued to certain employees of the city of Hoboken.”

So with the countdown in days underway with the end to the Beth Russo hydra, the lame duck 'majority' is going to try to create noise and irritation pointed at the Mayor's staffers.  One can imagine if they would care to show they might just drop a pile of emails printed out and walk out of the room laughing.  

It's highly doubtful anyone is going to take any of this very seriously.  Wonder if Councilman Nino Giacchi would question the necessity of this.  At the last Council meeting, the outgoing 6th ward Councilman began the discussion on the request from the FBI to have the city's lawyer relay a message declaring it unnecessary out of the gate.  

Councilman Ravi Bhalla responded to that Beth Russo political orchestration, calling the effort to avoid hearing from the FBI astounding.  (See video below.)

Five votes were needed for this grandstanding meeting called and clearly Councilman Nino Giacchi is on board with this.  Another Giacchi vote, this one behind closed doors or over the phone to obtain five needed votes to obtain this Mason declared meeting.  Not very transparent is it?

Here's Councilman Giacchi declaring executive session to hear from the FBI "unnecessary" out of the gate before he even knows what it's about.  Hey, why would you want to hear from the FBI?  Those are the guys after the local good old boys and your friend's friends.  (Can we say welcome Councilwoman Giattino fast enough?)

Way to go lame duck Councilman Giacchi!

Talking Ed Note: No local publication even reported on the last attempt by Beth Mason to create this sideshow a week ago.  That's right zero!  You can bet they will all be in attendance Monday armed with pens and computers at the ready to trot out the latest Beth Russo party line.

Will any critical questions be asked?  It's long overdue.

That my fellow readers is what keeps MSV growing and growing and in business.

Horse Sense: The (FBI) heat is on

The quiet before the storm has people on edge.  You can see it in the earlier City Council video with the less than forthcoming response to a yes or no question and the pointless arguing leading in about a certain horse coming in "consistently late" to the meeting. As if.

The question on whether Council members Beth Mason and Mike Russo have been reading emails from City Hall's servers is easy enough to answer with a simple yes or no.  Neither could let one of those single syllable words escape from their mouths.  Mike Russo who is no slouch in the blathering department during council meetings wasted more words to say nothing deferring to the chair than to simply answer yes or no.  That's not the Mike Russo we've all come to know in Council chambers.  The Mike Russo on the dais is happy to speak on all sides of an issue, sometimes in a single breath.

Not now.  With the FBI likely pouring through in forensic detail the fingerprints of who has what and when within the city's confidential electronic communications, the heat outside may soon look cooler than endless days spent at Rahway.  Councilwoman Beth Mason said the council would be "happy" to answer the question but it seems to have escaped both her and Mike Russo's short term memory.  Simple oversight or avoidance behavior against self-incrimination?

Councilman Mike Russo: where a simple yes or no will do, he's uncharacteristically very short on words on a straight forward question whether he's seen any emails requested in his own resolution.  The FBI has them.  Does Beth Russo too?  What confidential information has escaped City Hall's servers and to whom?

The whole pretext of the email witch hunt was based on something clearly spurious making the enterprise suspicious out of the gate.  2nd ward candidate Franz Paetzhold spoke on the resolution at the last council meeting and repeated the exact Beth Mason position she used in early April deeming it improper for the mayor to have her comments on Mike Russo's corruption appear on the city website.  Interestingly, his comments solely focused on the mayor's words on corruption appearing on the website now two months old.  He never even breathed the word "emails" the focus of the Beth Russo resolution once.

How the mayor's statement on Mike Russo's corruption witnessed for all to see in the FBI surveillance bribe tapes became the basis for demanding the turnover of tens of thousands of emails is outlandish but the resolution sponsored by Beth Mason and co-sponsored by Mike Russo did exactly that and then returned with a more narrow scope: this time with three reform writers atop the list.

Reader InfotainMe recently wrote:
Where exactly is the smoke anyway? The only justification I've heard for this whole exercise is that Zimmer criticized Russo on the city website. How does that explain the need to receive all of Melli and Bryan's emails? The answer should be a flat 'no' until they back up the suspicion with something concrete. Call their bluff, mayor.

While you're working on that one, can someone name ANYTHING Mason/Russo are doing that can't be classified as waging war on the administration? Cutting salaries, breaking contracts, eliminating the financial safety net, conducting an email witch hunt?

Is ANYTHING about the taxpayer's business? If you eliminated the directors outright Hoboken would still have a $99million budget. When does this group do any actual work?

Salient points all and surprisingly at no time of any interest to our local media editors.  At this point we're far beyond the endless politics and a pointless email search through thousands of pages of press releases.  Of the three reform targets sitting atop the Beth Russo resolution, there's not any grand conspiracies to be found.  The Hoboken Journal has noted a few jokes going back among the hundreds of public releases received, Grafix Avenger mocks Beth Mason and Mike Russo noting a handful of recipes sent and has probably not even equaled that comic exchange.

MSV has some emails replied to the hundreds received in public releases but it doesn't add up to a hill of beans.  After the criminal matter is dealt with by outside law enforcement, all of them will be available to the public.  It'll get a chuckle or a few yawns.

The FBI will be weighing in at some point and one can conclude, it's going to be far more grave than a Hoboken Journal joke, a Grafix Avenger banana bread recipe or a MSV observation on a community meeting about parks.

There's one more Beth Russo led Council meeting and then they are moved aside.  The question is how far?  Only the FBI really knows.  And they aren't talking.

Neither are Beth Mason and Mike Russo.