Thursday, December 13, 2012

Legal showdown on at-large council seat Friday

The looming showdown on the at-large council seat will be heard tomorrow in Hudson County Superior Court and anxiety is heightened with the second hearing.  A decision by Judge Peter Bariso could see a request of the full council to vote on the seat together or alternatively, no vote may be called leaving a 4-4 deadlock until next November.

Should the latter outcome prevail, it would be the biggest victory for the Old Guard since the attempt to block the hospital sale.  Obstruction from the "Council of No" would commence in force and the most simple matters requiring a council majority such as year end line item budget transfers would turn into galactic hour long discussions led by the king of grandstanding Councilman Michael Russo.

Please rise Hoboken! Tomorrow Judge Peter Bariso will hear part two of the legal matter on the open at-large council seat.
His action Friday could see the eight Hoboken City Council members meet and vote together on the issue.

With no clear leading mayoral candidate among the Old Guard council or citywide, chaos reigning against the mayor and the City on the council may be the closest victory at hand leading into next November's citywide elections.

The judge in a similar case in Newark ruled there was no basis to weigh the validity of a mayoral tie-breaking vote because the council had enacted council rules earlier abstentions would not be counted as either "yea" or "no" votes.   That decision has made some in the reform community anxious and for others it's confirmation the courts can not be relied upon to overcome staged political operations against the law. 

Hoboken's City Council is guided by Robert's Rules of Order and abstentions are counted as a no vote.  The Old Guard Council members likely hatched a plan to see one member absent during the 30 day window to avoid a 4-4 tie and the mayor casting a fifth and determinative vote.

Judge Bariso at the first hearing does not appear to be swayed by the action and will decide what if anything is required of the Hoboken City Council.  A vote of the full City Council could be ordered and take place before the end of the year.

The 30 day window for a council appointment vote was suspended with the legal action on the open council seat in Newark and may be viewed similarly in Hudson County Superior Court.  Councilman Michael Russo who was conveniently absent in the council meeting after ally Beth Mason was mysteriously absent at a prior meeting called an appointment beyond that window an attempt by the mayor for a second bite at the apple.

What Russo didn't tell the Jersey Journal is he and Mason already took their bite.  Now it's the judge's turn.

Talking Ed Note: Da Horsey has learned a bit about some of the current roster of Hudson County Superior Court judges. MSV continues to differ with those who expect the legal ruse by the Old Guard to prevail.

On another legal front, one rumor refusing to die says Beth Mason embittered by her latest election humiliation at the hands of Hoboken voters for the BoE is looking to open another lawsuit.  Some say the chatter is to challenge the 290 Hoboken voters who had their ballots tabulated via email and fax and Mason wants each subpoenaed to demonstrate they were displaced by the hurricane.

If true, it's unclear if Mason's husband would provide an additional allowance for yet another lawsuit by his overly litigious wife.

photo courtesy NJ.com, by arrangement