MILE SQUARE VIEW EXCLUSIVE
Pupie Power assault on Hoboken about to be unleashed!
|Former municipal judge Kim Glatt swears in Tim Occhipinti in 2011. He'd like to do it again for mayor.|
Frank "Pupie" Raia, Hoboken's perennial candidate and monied political power developer is making his move in the 2013 race putting himself on a council at-large slate bringing along former Tim Occhipinti 2010 campaign manager and local Democratic Chair Jamie Cryan for the ride with a woman to be named sooner rounding out the ticket. The date for submitting candidate petitions for the Pupie Slate is the day after Labor Day.
Atop the Pupie fueled ticket will be Tim Occhipinti, occupant of the fourth ward council seat who has in his short time on the Hoboken City Council served as a loyal foot soldier to the Hoboken Sopranos and is best known for his petulant immature behavior and hectoring of his reform council colleagues, fighting against good government practices such as a budget surplus to attacking the First Amendment.
Occhipinti's been a reliable backer of big developers voting in line with Beth Mason who via her family political committee likely wheeled tens of thousands of dollars to flip the Hoboken City Council to her and Michael Russo's control with his elevation. Occhipinti has supported backing for NJ Transit's massive downtown redevelopment plan, the Rockefeller Group which pushed to build a huge buildings with a 40 story tower centerpiece in western Hoboken and left a live City Council meeting to go speak on behalf of his developer contributor in a Hoboken Zoning Board meeting. That last action was not legal and was stopped by the Zoning Board attorney.
While the expected third slate is clearly a creature of Raia's design to put him in the ninth open swing seat on the City Council, Occhipinti believes he is the most popular City Council member in Hoboken (registering over 1200 votes in the 2011 council election) and will win the mayoral election. People are saying he'll tell anyone who'll listen he will beat Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Ruben Ramos for the mayor's chair.
Part of the difficulty in identifying a female candidate to round out the slate is the conventional wisdom the seat is sure to lose even if Raia can extract sufficient votes to take one at-large seat for himself.
Jamie Cryan a former bartender and mortgage broker is the cousin of former NJ Assembly leader Joe Cryan. This is his first foray for elected office. He's been consistently propelled forward as a friendly figurehead of the Old Guard. Cryan was the campaign manager for Occhipinti's controversial election in 2010 where hundreds of vote-by-mail ballots were contested in court and were forwarded from the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office to the NJ Attorney General's office. There's been no action since.
Both Cryan and Occhipinti backed former mayor and felon Peter Cammarano and were proteges of the late Maurice Fitzgibbons who sought to put forward fresh faces loyal to the Old Guard. Both Cammarano and Occhipinti were examples of Fitzgibbons' success.
The Ruben Ramos campaign aware a well funded third slate from its Old Guard flank means certain doom has been apoplectic about Raia getting into the race. In recent weeks, Ramos online operatives have assaulted Raia with a barrage of criticism saying he would be running on the Zimmer at-large council slate then quickly switching to stating he would endorse her when Jim Doyle was announced completing the reform oriented council slate. Although wrong on both counts, the bad blood between the Raia and Ramos camps has been further fueled in what's been described as old beefs between the parties going back years.
Most recently, departing Assemblyman Ruben Ramos managed to get his good friend Carmelo Garcia named to his Assembly slate ticket under Union City Mayor Brian Stack. The choice by Stack who is also a State Senator and Hudson County force surprised many who thought a seven figure bidding war would be decided between Frank Raia and Beth Mason. Stack is carrying a $600,000 campaign debt with many local Union City businesses holding huge unpaid bills.
Ramos' campaign efforts from earlier this year to dissuade other Old Guard candidacies from taking on Mayor Zimmer's popular and effective administration will be deemed a failure the minute Raia's candidate slate petitions are filed in the City Clerks' office.
In addition to a sizable Raia investment for the slate, the Mason family is rumored to have agreed to put in matching funds up to 250K as reported earlier on MSV. Those matching funds although illegal would not be the first time Beth Mason has flouted election law. In last November's Hoboken election, Mason's unknown funding believed to be in the tens of thousands on behalf of the Nazi Truck Move Forward slate in the BoE race was highlighted in a letter by the Hoboken Corporation Counsel which identified excessive expenditure of $6,000 contrary to Hoboken's anti-wheeling ordinance.
Beth Mason ignored the legal reprimand delineating the law breaking and is likely to do so again - at far greater amounts. At the last City Council meeting, Mason declared the two year FBI investigation "over" since no other arrests have followed conspirator Patrick Ricciardi who looted the mayor's electronic communications at will for well over a year.
The major campaign investment coupling Raia and the Mason family funding means Mayor Zimmer will once again be outspent in the 5-1 range putting her grass roots based reform campaign to the test.
As Raia works to find a way to put himself into the catbird's seat and control Hoboken with the decisive swing seat on the City Council, the November election is certain to see escalating heat. He previously ran a strong positive campaign for mayor back in 2009 running neck and neck with Beth Mason although both fell far short to Mayor Zimmer's clear cut election victory.