Friday, November 8, 2013

It's a "NO" again on Rent Control Ballot Question #1

The see saw battle on rent control is over with the "NO" votes again prevailing by 122 votes.
Last year they won the election before it was overturned in court by 52 votes.

The final tally after provisional ballots:

Yes:     5022

No:      5144

The final tallies in the mayoral race:

Dawn Zimmer        6123

Ruben Ramos        4522

Timmy Occhipinti   2287

Final margin of victory for Mayor Zimmer is 1,571 votes.

Who's up, who's down and who is getting thrown down


Mayor Dawn Zimmer - from the moment she became Acting Mayor the Old Guard never accepted her after Cammarano finally resigned and eventually went to prison.  Mayor Zimmer responded with class and dignity every step of the way and the crushing victory at the polls proved her right.  Her agenda is led by another pump and a resiliency plan which may become her legacy but both cost serious money and her never say die work ethic and attitude will see lots of progress.  The mayor has cut fat and lowered expenditures all over government making whatever budget challenges arise a bigger obstacle ahead.  The Old Guard placed every roadblock in the way they could and ransacked her communications for almost a year and a half and they still couldn't beat her.  No reason to start thinking that will change.

Councilman-elect Ravi Bhalla. He's back for four more years and
stands tall having weathered some of the vilest attacks from Beth Mason.

Councilman Ravi Bhalla - the civil rights activist lawyer found himself on the end of brutal, ugly and some suggest racist defamation.  He held the dignity of himself and family high while standing up eloquently in the face of the most vicious, foulest attacks seen in Hoboken over decades.  As he said at the victory party - "we're all standing."  His future is bright but he has to know the bulls eye on his back won't go away. He did after all survive a direct attack by the Queen of Vindictive Mean - Beth Mason. A reorganization meeting of the City Council may take place in January not July. Another round as City Council President would be in order. He was the best seen in MSV's years observing the role in Hoboken.

Lt. Ken Ferrante - he stood with grace arguing the police reorganization in 2010 which eventually saw no layoffs but he's become a friend to reform and a rising community leader with this election.  His efforts along with others leading a Reform win in Marine View Towers sounded a thunderclap on election night that will have people on both sides of the electoral divide talking for months.  He's the new OEM coordinator and a rising star in demonstrating what leadership, strong values and putting Hoboken first is all about.  When people talk about divisions in Hoboken, they need to speak to him and follow his example. 

Councilman-elect Jim Doyle - suffered through much in his quiet Irish stoicism.  He won't have to remain quiet for much longer. A true, honest voice of dedication to the community, it was a toxic decision to appeal the court decision upholding his original appointment. Toxic is what Beth Mason does so now she gets to see him more often and a lot closer on the council dais. His time in purgatory only endeared him more to the community.

Councilman Dave Mello - he's found his voice and mission to match his passion for the City. Now he has to marshal the drive and focus with his long list of demands from the council to the Hoboken Housing Authority where more leadership will be needed.  Communication, coordination and interfacing with others will determine how far the objectives are made.  Had the line of the night at the party, short and sweet saying, "Does this feel good or does this feel good?"  It brought the house down.

Rent control advocates - in the most contested issue in Hoboken, they withstood a questionable legal challenge forcing the issue back on the ballot. It goes back to court it says here. Can the NJ judiciary repeat the fiasco a second time?  Hopefully not as everyone agrees changes are needed and should be done through City government.

Jennifer Evans - a picture perfect advocate for the district, she made a splash as the top vote getter in the BoE race. Kids First is a mature brand and now it needs to move squarely into another phase of its majority.  Evans may be the model for what evolves in Hoboken education: a leader who can bring all discordant voices together accelerating improvements in the district.  Superintendent Mark Toback will be pleased to see her arrival.

Irene Sobolov - a model of decorum and reasonableness, her steadfast approach to rise above the fray once again made Kids First dominant in sweeping the BoE election again.  Both her temperament and stature in the community is a model for anyone (and everyone) to follow. A former Elk of the Year, talk to her about divisive politics and watch it melt into a discussion of how we can make the community stronger. 

Leon Gold - his election is confirmation he was not out on a limb in his leadership in running the BoE meetings: a proper mix of business like professionalism and stern direction. Sets a standard for everyone to follow on the dais and in the audience. It's welcome and the voters agreed.

Stan Grossbard - the husband of the mayor runs a business in midtown Manhattan but became an object of attack with a ridiculous lawsuit by HHA Director Carmelo Garcia. He never became the issue although others tried to make him one.  He stayed in the background and kept supporting his wife as he's proudly done for years. He'll continue showing how a strong husband can aid his wife who is a rising state and national figure.

The Reform Movement - a loss would have erased all the gains for the City after 2009.  One of the biggest issues in the election was a secret massive redevelopment advocated by the Old Guard called Vision 20/20. Only Dawn Zimmer and Reform questioned it and demanded accountability. It's a legacy unspoken and likely was unheard by most residents. The maturity of the movement is what brought it to this position. It takes lots of sacrifice from many, not the ambition of a few and today everyone gets to enjoy the fruits of that maturity.  

The People of the City of Hoboken - the people have won because this is the most open, transparent government in its history, end of story.  Voices are heard like never before in Hoboken while others complain they aren't. The negative voices insist capitulation is "listening" but they never listen to anyone.  Not on the hospital, not on repaving Washington Street, not on the budget surplus... the list goes on and on.  Special interests and big moneyed interests - especially from outside of Hoboken has never had to wait in line for a hearing as they do now.  In Hoboken, it's Hoboken first. Finally.

(This is not a comprehensive/ordered list. There's many people who won, many others on the rise. Many of you will be called to do more for Hoboken.  Answer the bell!)

Unlike the winners list, the losers list is in order of loserdom.

Beth and Ricky Mason - Beth is the public face of the latest loserdom driven by her animus against Mayor Dawn Zimmer.  Did you know that Mayor Zimmer beat Beth Mason not once but twice for mayor - and in the same year? 20% of Hoboken residents change in a four year period so many (new) readers won't know that and it's what funds all the ugliness in this town's toxic political environment.

Ricky Mason is the treasurer of the Mason political committee and the person who deposits the money dedicated to harming Hoboken into a Beth accessible checking account.  The One Hoboken name was repackaged from 2009 as well.  Great idea Beth along with taking out full page ads and putting yourself on the back page so we all know who the loser is pushing all the other losers.  Hoboken heard you loud and clear and even with the coupled 250K in a short campaign, you managed to hit the pavement harder then in the spring of 2009.  Got a clue yet?

Frank "Pupie" Raia - According to GA, he wanted to run alone for council and the results would have been likely the same.  It just has to feel worse being taken for a ride and attaching yourself to the Beth Mason Titanic.  People around town are calling him Mr. 7 since he finished in seventh place right above ticket mates Peter Biancamano and Britney Montgomery-Cook.  But they were just stand-ins.  Pupie power has pulsated its last. Time to move on Pupie but does the Department of Justice have a say first?

Timmy Occhipinti - sadly the question remains did this guy really quit his job with about a month left in the campaign where he had zero statistical chance of beating a popular incumbent mayor and a rival's campaign well entrenched from February?  If he did, it was dumb and if he didn't he's learning termination from Alliance Bernstein as a help desk customer service guy wasn't so bad after all.  The smirk is gone and that's a permanent political improvement.  He looked like he was crying all night before Wednesday's council meeting. Who can blame him?  He believed he was popular and that 1240 votes purchased on his behalf in 2011 made him a strong candidate in 2013.  No Timmy.  Those votes get bought by the Hoboken Syndicate and go to whoever is deemed appropriate.  Did you notice what happened when that went away?  A mere 476 votes in his OWN ward and only 300 of them were on the machines.  Matt Calicchio could do better than that. So who needs Timmy anymore?

Carmelo Garcia - his insubordination at the Hoboken Housing Authority is an irreparable problem. His lawsuit gambit when he was about to be exposed for recording others in his little library stash of future blackmail made him a statewide pariah which he'll learn in Trenton in short order. When you are the problem with the bosses, it doesn't look good when they take a closer look at you.  He's dead to Brian Stack and there's others who look forward to similar.  His lawyer must be wondering why he ever thought of filing his rancid case.  Ramped up the ugly and now he has to look at himself in the mirror.  Thinks he's talking to God when doing evil.  His ticket was stamped express by the devil a long time ago.  We could, we did, watch us!

FinBoy - If you think the moniker of loser bothers FinBoy, you'd be wrong.  If Grafix Avenger is correct, FinBoy always comes out on top because he keeps his hands on the Mason money so he comes up roses even when his dead fish head stinks up the joint.  He's become the master of one thing: spinning others to blame for his actions leading to abysmal failure.  He was Mason's orchestrator of the infamous Nazi Truck. This time he orchestrated Frank "Pupie" Raia's utter destruction. The only thing he can do worse is testify against him in a federal case.  Don't be so sure he wouldn't either. He's that dirty.

Michael Russo - got on board with the Ramos campaign early but there's no immediate payoff (quite literally) so there's no coin for the Russo clan and he can hang the white sheet over his own head and kiss goodbye all his green dreams of Vision 20/20.  It's dead and there's no payday for him there.

Jamie Cryan - mostly campaign managers don't make such lists and when they do, it's usually only when they are on the upside.  Cryan was not managing the campaign, a senior consultant from Brooklyn and FinBoy were running the show.  Cryan however has some questionable PAC money that came in from Union County via his cousin Assemblyman Joe Cryan. It's double trouble to be hit with the blame for a bad campaign you didn't control and then your family's money comes in illegally making things worse.  (More on that story later.)

Ruben Ramos - he's a loser but he exceeded expectations overall including here by coming in with over a third of the vote.  He didn't let animus drive him or his campaign and he showed in a personal way some respect for the mayor during the race and conceded in exceedingly quick fashion earning him more respect.  The rough treatment of voters though in the fourth ward showed how desperate he was to do well and revive his political fortunes. Some of those people won't recall it well while others will be holding a grudge.  Although his campaign has been pointing fingers at the Raia-Mason campaign, the Department of Justice may not see much of a difference on who did what. It could become a problem which would dispirit some in the campaign who don't like vote buying.

Peter Biancamano - a Raia soldier who took the mantle when Jamie Cryan was scared off by the Ramos campaign from doing so, his prospects for Second Ward in 2015 are now up in the air.  He has time to recover however and that's his best advantage but not much.  His mouthing "voter suppression" on a question about Vote by Mail may however haunt him, or worse.

Councilwoman Theresa Castellano - the shocker of the night was a fortress of votes for the Old Guard not only dented, it flipped over to Reform from top to bottom.  It must have been a shock to her and as she said "humbling" regarding the election results at the last council meeting.  Is humility too late at Marine View?

Councilwoman Theresa Castellano - can you hear us now?  She's publicly said she doesn't care what "they say" at
council meetings but what they said in her base of Marine View Towers sure got her attention.  

One Hoobken and BSN BoE slates - more of the same formula from the Old Guard BoE tickets. It's all identity politics and not issue based although BSN tried the formula at least on the periphery.  The mistake is in leading with a sneering candidate - the much disliked Brian Murray.  If your slate is begging Patricia Waiters to stay on your ticket, you have bigger problems than education issues.  Just saying.  Knowledge of school board issues was frankly embarrassing and showed in the BoE forum.

Hudson Reporter editors Caren Lissner Matzner and Gene Ritchins - they're not subtle in advocating as the pro-Old Guard rag but what they coordinated against Councilman Ravi Bhalla was some fine mid-twentieth century yellow journalism.  They've been so compromised the mayor's office may contemplate ignoring them and it would actually be beneficial to Hoboken. Perennial award winners of the Mason Media Complex, they have FinBoy's phone number on speed dial for all things Hoboken and he doesn't even live here.  From the people who proudly published the letter 'send the jew bitch carpetbagger back to New England.'

Britney Montgomery-Cook - the only reason she makes the list is because she had no business getting into this race.  People think she's genuinely nice and a good person but she had the misfortune of being a neighbor of Timmy Occhipinti.  She can walk away now, the faster the better. Hopefully she escapes from the mess of the Department of Justice breathing down on the One Hoboken campaign.

No one makes the list from the Vision for Hoboken ticket.  They conducted themselves admirably as candidates although Eduardo Gonzalez has an issue sitting on the HHA in how he backed Carmelo Garcia over more than half-a-dozen votes for a legal counsel against the wishes of his fellow board members for more than a year.  That is however, peripheral to this campaign.  Joe Mindak conducted himself very well and Laura Miani did fine but her connections to Peter Cammarano surfaced with a four figure family contribution raising eyebrows more than her efforts complaining about parks.

There's other losers. We'll have to think more on it first. 

... and now Winners & Losers

Friday Da Horsey will pen a column on the Hoboken post election winners and losers.  There's a long list on both sides but the sweep by Reform means there's going to be both a house cleaning and a reckoning.

The City has been put through way too much and its people taken once again for granted with the arrogance, petulance, ambition, sheer greed and the total disrespect of our institutions.  Yes, again.

Let's add high on the list to the obvious group of winners the family of Jim Doyle.  He'll be returning to the council dais in January and although his low key professionalism won't say it, there's going to be a strong rudder guiding that ship.

Not a moment too soon.

As for losers...
Beth Mason's family checkbook led the repeat of the One Hoboken spring 2009 election disaster.
This one was a similar outcome featuring scorched earth tactics and expenditures in the ballpark of
$250,000 with a distant, third and last place finish.  Hoboken while a city of 52,000 filled with
some eager sellouts refuses to allow itself to be bought.  Thank you Team Zimmer!

Talking Ed Note: Provisionals will be tallied on Ballot Question #1 - Rent Control, so final numbers later today.  However based on the close anticipated result, expect a challenge and court date.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer thanks "unbelievable team effort!" in CLEAN SWEEP!

Team Zimmer announces:

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Dear Horsey & MSV readers --

We did it!  It was a Clean Sweep thanks to everyone’s unbelievable team effort!  Thank you to everyone who helped to make it happen from making a donation, hosting a meet and greet, knock, knock, knocking on doors and more doors, calling, calling and calling potential voters, writing letters and emails to your neighbors, to standing at the Path and ferry in the freezing cold and rain to GET OUT THE VOTE for the Zimmer Team and Kids First Team!
Thanks so much to the leadership of Mollie Binotto and her amazing core team of Ross, Christian, and Maddy who helped us reach 12,000 people online for FREE with her cool Buzzfeed post.  Thanks so much to Susan Chait for once again bringing her creative expertise to ensure that our message reached voters, and our t-shirts were the MOST visible!

There was a core online and print team working with her and we thank you all for your unending effort to making sure that we clearly got out our message in every way possible!

Now the really exciting work continues and I hope you will all continue to be involved!  We need you for planning the park in the Southwest, we need you for designing a Complete Washington Street, we need you for the Monroe Center and so much more so please stay involved! 

Dave, Ravi and I cannot wait to be sworn
in together with Jim Doyle! Congratulations again to the Kids First team of Leon Gold, Irene Sobolov and Jennifer Evans!

Thank you all again!  With your support, we will continue to Lead Hoboken Forward!

Mayor Dawn Zimmer
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Councilman Ravi Bhalla: a moment of "tremendous gratitude"

Councilman-elect Ravi Bhalla announces:

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(photo from Jersey Journal)
Dear Neighbor,

I just wanted to take a moment to express my tremendous gratitude for having the opportunity to serve as your Councilman again!  Thank you also for electing Mayor Dawn Zimmer to a second term, re-electing Councilman Dave Mello and electing James Doyle. We won together!

With your support, Mayor Zimmer can now work with a City Council that shares her vision for leading Hoboken forward. Whether it's making Hoboken more flood resilient, balancing our budget, ensuring responsible development, upgrading and acquiring open space and parks, or preserving affordable housing, in 2014 you will see a City Council and Mayor working together on these issues.

This election was personally difficult because of the lies and distortions that were spread by Councilwoman Beth Mason.  It placed great strain on me and my entire family. Even my six year old daughter became aware of the attacks on me. Happily, Councilwoman Mason's attempts at Hudson County-style dirty politics fell flat. The people of Hoboken made their voices heard loud and clear. Again, I am grateful for your support.

As always, I am here to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and assist where possible.  You can always reach me on my personal cell number, 201-647-6090, or via email at

I look forward to hearing from you and again, thank you for your support. Let's continue the progress together.
Ravi S. Bhalla
City of Hoboken