Friday, December 14, 2012

BREAKING: Judge orders City Council vote on at-large council seat Wednesday


Earlier today Hudson County Assignment Judge Peter Bariso ordered the Hoboken City Council to vote on the open at-large seat.  The vote is scheduled to take place this Wednesday at the regularly scheduled meeting and council members may vote in person or by telephone if necessary.

The legal wrangle ends the Old Guard council effort of avoiding a full vote of its eight members to avert a 4-4 tie where the mayor could cast the legally binding fifth and deciding vote.  At the previous hearing Judge Bariso ruled five votes were required and the mayor's earlier vote was not valid short of a 4-4 tie.

Councilwoman Beth Mason was seen by a reliable source last month in town driving her younger daughter in her car and  did not show up for the council meeting two hours later where a vote was held on the council candidacy of long time Hoboken activist Jim Doyle.  Mason has never provided a reason for her failure to appear at the meeting.

The following meeting Councilman Michael Russo failed to show up with his godmother Councilwoman Terry Castellano saying he was out due to a family illness.  Both Russo and Mason made no effort to call in and cast a vote on the council appointment.

In court, Mason lawyers attempted to hide behind the 30 day window for the council to back fill the at-large seat and make an appointment but the judge ruled against them and set forward the decision to hold a vote of all eight members.

The judge has indicated he will hold another hearing January 2nd to determine what the actual vote means.  It's expected at least one Old Guard council member will attempt to abstain and claim their vote is not a "no" vote.  In doing so, the Old Guard council will cast their last hail mary to prevent Mayor Dawn Zimmer from casting a tie-breaking vote and keep Jim Doyle from being appointed to the council at-large seat up for election next November.

Beth Mason and her Old Guard council colleagues Michael Russo, Tim Occhipinti and Terry Castellano could make a legal application to stay the legal decision today and forestall the vote on Wednesday.  It's unclear if an attempt for an emergency injunction will be filed and if it would be granted leading into Wednesday's meeting.

Will Beth Mason attempt to hide again from her council responsibility
and avoid a vote for the at-large seat risking contempt of court?
The ruse has been shot down in Hudson County Superior Court earlier today.

Talking Ed Note: Beth Mason is said to have told others the judge can't make her vote.  We'll see what Mason does now that the sabotage of the council has failed to stave off a legal vote this Wednesday as ordered by the Hudson County Assignment Judge Peter Bariso.

Mayor Zimmer statement on CT shooting

Office of the Mayor announces:


“I am horrified and sickened by the tragedy in Newtown. My heart breaks for the families of all the victims. On behalf of the residents of Hoboken, we extend our deepest sympathy to the community of Newtown for their tremendous loss.

The City of Hoboken will continue to assist the Connecticut State Police in any way requested.”

CT shooter's brother lives in Hoboken

The shooter in Newtown, CT allegedly behind the shootings involving 27 deaths 18 among them children  has been identified as Adam Lanza, 20.

Lanza's brother, Ryan 24 in Hoboken is not a suspect. Media reports earlier are confusing the two.

MSV was on the scene and heard there are two people connected in some way in custody at the Hoboken Police Department.  That information remains unconfirmed.

The alleged shooter went to the school killing his mother with the other victims.

Upper Grand Street in Hoboken, the scene of media and law enforcement.

Talking Ed Note:  A number of early media reports gave the wrong brother as the alleged shooter due to id found by law enforcement on the crime scene.  The number of media and law enforcement descending on Hoboken was significant and MSV arrived on upper grand to see a large CNN truck driving to the location as well.

Apparently, the police in Connecticut had sent out the misinformation and it snowballed from there.

Rent control wars flame on as MSTA heads to court

According to sources on both sides of the housing divide in Hoboken , the rent control war is not over and heading to court.  The referendum, Question #2 separated by a scant 53 votes is facing a legal challenge based on a release obtained from a third party last night.   

The tenants group HFA announces:

Hoboken Fair Housing Association (HFHA) has learned that Sean Smith of Brach Eichler, the law firm that represents the Mile Square Taxpayers Association (MSTA,) a developer/real estate lobbying group that sponsored the failed anti-rent control initiative, Hoboken Public Question #2 (HPQ2), is attempting to circumvent democracy by filing a challenge to overturn the certified election results.

The ballot question -- which would have exempted all 1-4 unit buildings from rent control when the current tenant vacated either voluntarily or through court-ordered eviction and allowed complete vacancy decontrol on larger properties -- was struck down at the polls by the majority of Hoboken’s citizens in the November 6, 2012 election.

The court filing claims that more than 53 voters who supported the MSTA ballot initiative had their absentee ballots rejected. The court documents are not supported with any specific information detailing the actual numbers, names, address or facts about the alleged rejected ‘yes’ votes. 

The filing urges the court to reject the actual election results and declare that the ‘yes’ vote prevailed based on absurd speculations about how the election might have turned out if some things were different or, alternatively nullify the result and force election-weary Hoboken to hold yet another election, adding more expenses to the city and demonstrating that they will stop at nothing to get their way. 

Fifteen Hoboken sore losers -- Alexandra Vaughn; Anne-Marie Pelletier; Joseph Murray; Connie Coppola; John Zaza; Carol Branton; Ann Shearn; Julia MacDermott Joseph Shearn; David Paige; Joan Enger; Kyle Enger; Lindsey Richards; Michael Klein and Pat Pisani -- have signed onto the shameful legal maneuver.

HFHA members are outraged at the blatant attempt to undermine a free and fair election, and demand that Mr. Smith immediately identify each of the actual disqualified voters by name and address. HFHA further insists that the Mr. Smith explain how he can be so sure that this unspecified registered voters voted ‘yes’ on HPQ#2 when absentee and provisional ballots are to be completed in, and remain private by, the actual voter.

The Hoboken Fair Housing Association hopes that both the citizens of Hoboken and the court system reject this outrageous legal maneuver.

Rent Control pamphlet circa World War II
In Hoboken, rent control is going World War III

Talking Ed Note:  MSV has contacted both sides of the issue confirming legal action is underway and will have updates on the ensuing legal battle.