Wednesday night was a revelation. The meeting was moving along at its typical backbiting pace but with no earth shattering surprises. Then a "brief" presentation by Hoboken Housing Authority executives at the end would allow council members and the public to get to sleep at a normal hour. Instead, it transformed into a verbal brawl for more than an hour with a less than official ending as reform council members departed, refusing to be held hostage to the artificial deadlock sans Councilman-in-waiting Jim Doyle's open seat.
Councilman Michael Russo added to the storied history he's made for himself attacking the mayor as he did during the hospital sale calling her a con. Coming from the Head of State to the City's senior grifter family, his fact-less charge was at a minimum entertaining.
Then Russo grew frustrated he couldn't advance phase one of the Vision 20/20 plan in one fell swoop. And all hell broke loose.
Working himself into a semi-frenzy (real or not makes no difference, he'll always give a grade B- or better performance). Russo laid into Councilman Ravi Bhalla the last minute resolution for the 20/20 plan was not going to occur. What then came out of Russo's mouth may be less a personal problem in his ward where he's not held accountable for flapping (or much else), but it certainly is damaging.
Seeing he wasn't going to inch the Vision 20/20's first building toward the finish line, Russo first launched into one charge saying to Councilman Ravi Bhalla, a civil rights attorney and the reform council members this was "class warfare at its best." But not satisfied to play the Old Guard divide and conquer game which Tim Occhipinti immediately brayed in assent, he upped the ante and went into the gutter charging "racism."
When an astonished Councilman Dave Mello asked if they were really going to play that card, Councilwoman Terry Castellano is heard replying with a one word answer: yes.
Now why would Michael Russo reach to the bottom of the deck dealing the race card? Is it possible as in the Solomon Dwek tapes, Russo is just misunderstood?
This is after all the same Michael Russo seen not only trading on his office as a councilman in the 2009 FBI surveillance tape with government informant Solomon Dwek; he's the guy taped bragging about his influence over the Hoboken Housing Authority via one former HHA commissioner who magically found himself arrested. If the Hudson Reporter is correct in its implication, Russo got an assist there from HHA ED Carmelo Garcia who finked out fellow HHA commissioner, Hector Claveria.
Here's Michael Russo's most famous contribution to the Hoboken Housing Authority. It's a key moment in the now infamous Russoism, "I did for you, you do for me." Except when poor Hector didn't do for Russo, he found himself having a dime dropped on him only months after this video was recorded by the Boys of Summer surveillance team:
Others may not recall a 2010 November council meeting where a little staged performance by a Beth Mason political operative took a movie poster from a film made famous for its use of early 20th century propaganda cinematography and tried to make Mason a 21st century poster child of victim hood. At that meeting, Michael Russo who certainly knew of that staged political operation in advance called Grafix Avenger who happens to be Jewish, anti-Semetic.
As one Hobokenite said to MSV later of the same faith after that performance, "Yeah Michael Russo, defender of the Jews."
In the body politic, the charge of racist has lost its thunder and many eyebrows are raised when the charge is lobbed but often it's toward the bomb thrower. For the Russo clan, long time residents see it as more a family tradition and it's been applied in similar and other nefarious ways back to when Anthony Russo was Hoboken mayor.
Now it's coming to light the HHA building pilot being shoved down Hoboken's throat will hand over the building outright to the developer. The people living there will be at the mercy of the developer/owner and everyone involved will have been paid and long gone.
I thought it was the "yuppies" always charged with looking to do away with the HHA?
Do you think Russo and his fellow Hoboken Sopranos don't know this?
This is exactly the same formula used in Hoboken in the past.
In the end, Michael Russo's favorite Vision 20/20 color is green. It has nothing to do with the poor, housing for minorities, or fairness. This is a continuous war in the exploitation of the people in the southwest corner of town who are farmed during election season in the hundreds as 'campaign workers' with millions of dollars dancing in the Russo clan's Vision 20/20 eyes.
Talking Ed Note: This Horse Sense editorial is dedicated to my colleague The Wizard who like MSV Executive Publisher Jimmy the K never shies away from a fight on the high ground or surrenders the low ground, come hell or high water.
All for Heaven, Hell or Hoboken. We are Reform.
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