Monday, October 31, 2011

Was today election day?

One prominent member of the Reform movement in a conversation earlier this evening remarked, "It feels like we won an election."

"It certainly feels like an election except this time there's no joy with a win or sadness in defeat.  It's more like relief," Da Horsey replied.

Which leads to some initial reflections on last night...

An overflowing packed Council Chambers saw a strong turnout of Hoboken and Reform with many new face and new voices.  Mayor Dawn Zimmer did what many though impossible in leading Hoboken University Medical Center back from what looked like certain closure.  The audience would burst into spontaneous sustained applause when her leadership was mentioned by HMHA Chairwoman Toni Tomarazzo. 

What I saw at the Reformalution

Last night I saw Hoboken fight for a hospital in a battle that had already been waged and won.
Last night I saw a packed City Council room show it's fed up with the politrickin from MORTe.
Last night I saw my fellow citizens embrace each other in a united cause where justice was clear to all.
Last night I saw Reform arise from its slumber in Hoboken's critical hour.
Last night I fell in love with Hoboken and Reform. Again.

Thanks to all of you for your unwavering strength to fight for Hoboken. 
Thanks to all of you who have and continue to support MSV and let others know there is an alternative in Hoboken for news and information.  People continue to come here week in and week out by the thousands.  Email your Hoboken friends and neighbors.  They need to be engaged in Our Community.

Today was like election day.  But this time all of Hoboken won.  

Thank you Hoboken.  And thank you Reform.  You have shown you are mighty again.  

Stay vigilant!

Sign of the Halloween Times: The Beth Russo embrace

Before the City Council meeting, a hasty sidebar strategy session was shared by Council members Beth Mason and Mike Russo.  Apparently, the collapse of the opposition did not permit them sufficient time to fully prepare a plausible narrative to feed the public.

The political stunt of releasing a "council minority agreement" with new HUMC owners Holdco went out right before the City Council meeting.  It was posted on two local news sites without any scrutiny.  Got journalism?
Let's see it then.  If your print such,  you are required now to explain it.

Here Beth Mason is embracing Mike Russo to share some tidbit of strategy for their political theater soon to follow.  The audience was having none of it and was at times downright hostile pricking their narrative almost from the very start.

Mike Russo would later whimsically comment on the booing he received when he tried to make that sale.
You could almost hear him thinking, "Hey this is what we do, why are you booing me for it now?"

Talking Ed Note: Of the numerous problems and fallout for MORTe is the utter collapse of their position sabotaging the hospital sale over months.  What did their self-proclaimed and utterly unenforceable "agreement" have to do with allowing the hospital sale to go through?

Even worse, they bragged about a so called back room deal they claimed the public process was guilty of and saw no contradiction in doing so.

MSV would like to dedicate this piece of photo journalism to one member of the amazing Hoboken Municipal Hospital Board: Steve Rafsky.  Thank you for your tireless service on behalf of Hoboken.

Victory for HUMC & Hoboken - the video

Here's a segmented video showing comments by HMHA Chairwoman Toni Tomarazzo and Mayor Dawn Zimmer along with the council vote.  A spontaneous moment is captured when the audience burst in applause to thank the mayor for her efforts.

The following video was made by Hoboken resident Greg Bond who attended the City Council meeting last night.  The video begins outside City Hall when hospital employees are greeted with applause by the public, many of whom were part of Hoboken's reform movement.

MSV is pleased to provide it in its entirety.  It's a beautiful summation.

The art or artless selling of the lie, "a political stunt" undone

The startling collapse of the opposition to making immediate the parking agreement allowing the hospital to move its sale to completion will be remembered for what Council President Ravi Bhalla aptly called an "11th hour political stunt."

Councilwoman Beth Mason attempted to hijack the meeting at the beginning to announce a non-binding "deal" with Holdco but was stopped by the Council President.  The public's response was overwhelmingly negative to its messengers Beth Mason and Mike Russo.

Face saving attempt: Councilwoman Beth Mason tried repeatedly to have read a "deal" she said was made with the new owners of the hospital but could not hijack the meeting and do so.  She would make attempts to have it read by Assemblywoman Joan Quigley and Freeholder Anthony Romano.  Those attempts also failed.

The public spoke first per the council rules and Council President Ravi Bhalla once again demonstrated a mastery of the proceedings by any measure.  He maintained decorum for the benefit of all involved and continues to impress with both his skill and acumen through a high pressure situation that could have degenerated into a circus.

A senior executive in a conversation with MSV at the hospital less than an hour before the council meeting expressed optimism the vote would be unanimous.  

The mayor played a critical role behind the scenes bringing this to fruition.  

Here's the complete statement that was released to the Jersey Journal, the Hudson Reporter and also coordinated with Beth Mason's political operation at Hoboken411 right before the meeting:

The Hoboken City Council Minority, composed of Council Members Theresa Castellano, Beth Mason, Michael Russo, and Tim Occhipinti, and HUMC Holdco, the proposed buyer of the Hoboken hospital, have reached an agreement to enact HUMC Holdco’s parking access agreement immediately in exchange for a written agreement to keep the

Hoboken hospital open for at least seven years, a designee on the new Hospital board, and the establishment of several important community health programs. This will allow the sale of the Hoboken hospital to proceed immediately.

These Council members repeatedly attempted to meet with Mayor Zimmer to address the community’s concerns with the sale. However, the Mayor refused, even stating the new owners would not negotiate any aspects of the transaction.

The agreement between these City Council

members and HUMC Holdco, negotiated through the evening last night and today, flies in the face of the Mayor’s claims. It also demonstrates HUMC Holdco’s willingness to work with all members of Hoboken’s government and its commitment to ensure the concerns of all residents are addressed...
Two of the main parts of the minority's agreement include:

"An agreement to allow the City Council Minority to designate an appointee to the new hospital board. This appointment shows the buyer’s commitment to increasing community participation in the future of the hospital and allows all residents to have a voice."

"The establishment of several community health programs as a give back in exchange for the 99-year parking agreement. These programs include pro bono medical services for low-income residents, a women’s healthcare center, a sports and alternative medicine program, and a senior citizen services program. The parking agreement allows the new owners to save approximately $12 million in costs since they will not have to pay to construct their own parking facility. These programs will compensate the community for this subsidy being provided to the new hospital owner. "

After the sale’s completion Hoboken taxpayers will be relieved of the $52 million bond guarantee the city agreed to in 2007 to purchase the hospital.

Beth Mason placed this document in front of Anthony Romano .
She was attempting to have it introduced as a second "council minority deal."  

Talking Ed Note: It's clear a face saving measure was quickly hatched as the pressure from the public was overwhelming along with additional pressures from all sides within and outside of Hoboken itself.  There's more to all of this and in the future MSV will be updating the saga, for this was a saga and it put Hoboken through some turmoil for political reasons having nothing to do with the best interests of the hospital and its residents.

Some commenters question this "additional seat," but MSV will say there is nothing at all binding in the presentation of this political document by Councilwoman Beth Mason.  Holdco is a private entity and if they choose to add a seat at their table, they certainly can do so.  

Later MSV would introduce in public portion its appendix to the Holdco deal.  Da Horsey announced part of the deal would include the hospital being renamed "Horse Farms" and noted one floor of the midtown garage would be taken over and the hospital would report to Da Horsey, SmartyJones.

....and about that seat.  The word is who will get that "seat" and Holdco decides to play along:

Beth Mason.

Sign of the Times: Landmark victory for Hoboken and Mayor Zimmer saving hospital

After the big turnaround with a unanimous vote in favor of making the parking agreement official for the sale of Hoboken University Medical Center, Dr. Abby Jacobs enveloped Mayor Dawn Zimmer in a joyful embrace as a packed council chamber applauds celebrating a miracle for the hospital.

There's little to say as MSV will have video saying it all!  The council majority sat on an embarrassment of riches when their opposition crumbled in the face of a huge turnout of Hoboken residents and hospital employees.

An attempt to present an illegal side deal by the council minority as being conclusive to the Hoboken victory was met with derision by the majority of the audience in attendance.  That minority "deal" is an unenforceable farce meaning nothing.  MSV understands some will attempt to sell that "smell."

Congratulations to Mayor Zimmer, the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority, especially Chairwoman Toni Tomarazzo and the City Council majority who stood up for Hoboken.

Finally the overdue victory for Hoboken, HUMC and its long suffering employees.