Monday, November 25, 2013

What I saw at the Reformulution

A first hand account of Hoboken's historic election night

Election Day was nearing its finale and the Firehouse polling station at 13th and Washington winding down.  From late afternoon to near closing at 8:00, most municipal voters could be distinguished from one another.  The late rush and demeanor of working professionals arriving contrasted sharply with the earlier Hispanic voters who fill Applied Housing buildings uptown.

The professionals arriving some in suit and tie would pace quickly, most not taking any literature from anyone.  Among the campaigners working the block, two gracious candidates from the Ramos slate: Joe Mindak and Eduardo Gonzalez along one with one local activist in favor of the rent control ballot question.  Later Timmy Occhipinti would make an appearance on the 14th St side of Washington St. looking unhappy with a pro Reform horse arriving on the scene as a small group from the Raia-Mason campaign stood around unclear what to do.  His unhappiness before the polls closed would contrast later with the despair to come when the full results came in.  (According to recent stories on Grafix Avenger, Mr. 7 otherwise known as Frank "Pupie" Raia, is "livid" he's been had by some double dealing moles on his campaign dime.)

As the voters mostly passed with little interaction with campaigners, watching them go to their destination was a contrast of Hoboken past and present.  The Hispanic voters would saunter by, there was no doubt they were coming out to vote for Ruben Ramos. The professionals belied on the whole little but their demeanor said much.  Like lasers they would walk to the door of the polling station.  Most didn't need any literature and knew exactly what levers to pull.

Most of Hoboken this election cycle didn't appear as it has in the past to be enthralled in an election with the battle lines and the scars going online and duking it out in new venues attempting to reach out and touch Hoboken voters on social media sites.  Campaigns had different policies, to scrub or not to scrub or censor critical voices altogether.  Occhipinti long ago blocked people who merely asked uncomfortable questions on his Facebook page but during the campaign the Ruben Ramos page would adopt similar lock down policies.

In the end, the election night offered some telling revelations.  The mayor grew her numbers from November 2009 and considering the four year turnover of her base managed to increase her vote almost 10% going from 5621 to 6123, a significant improvement.

While the Old Guard are finger pointing and stabbing one another drawing blood, a pastime showing no signs of ending anytime soon; the mayor and her council slate rolled in a sweep bringing the BoE ticket along for the ride.  It's a crushing blow in two consecutive November elections indicating the tide of corruption may have finally been beaten back even considering the rampant vote buying by the two Old Guard campaigns.  (The Feds are investigating as exclusively reported here, with the Department of Justice taking the lead.)

MSV was told by one close political observer Gov. Chris Christie and Mayor Zimmer were within six votes of each other before the final election results were certified.  The Governor edged out the mayor so one would imagine he's the choice for Presidential candidate.  Jokes aside, it was a historic election night for Hoboken.

With just under 48% of the vote against two well financed competitors, Mayor Zimmer sealed a huge victory for the Reform movement and ended all doubts both she and the movement were a force whose time had come and was no flash in the pan.  The Old Guard treated her with contempt from the moment she became Acting Mayor and nothing changed when she was elected in the fall of 2009.

That's all history now.  Among the first casualties in this election outside of failed candidacies is Vision 20/20, the undocumented, controversial concept plan to more than double the size of the Hoboken Housing Authority's downtown campus.  The non-stop snow job continued right up to the election with nary a Master Plan put on the table.  Zero, nada, nunca, nothing.  There was no compunction to see anything let alone a Master Plan from Beth "I need more information" Mason, Timmy Occhipinti, Terri Castellano and of course Michael "sheets" Russo.

Got corruption?  It doesn't get any more corrupt than this Barnum and Bailey circus in council meetings leading into the election backed to the hilt by both Old Guard tickets.  The million dollar parking quarters swindle is mere chump change compared to the potential millions of dollars wetting the Old Guard's corrupt appetites in the massive redevelopment scam proposed.

The Old Guard council were not exactly unenthusiastic to approve anything and everything connected to Vision 20/20, even hijacking a council meeting and holding an illegal vote at midnight with no quorum after reform members left.  The cries they only wanted a "letter of need" just one among a pack of lies, both said and unsaid.  At the midnight hour they also tried to pass a PILOT for Vision 20/20 on an unsuspecting Hoboken public.

Do you need any more examples what was in store for Hoboken if Michael Russo, Timmy Occhipinti, Terri Castellano and Beth Mason got the upper hand in this town?

The rest of this feature will be released later this week for MSV subscribers.

Last trick or treat for the Old Guard?  This satirical graphic is a takeoff on the actual
FBI video taken by federal informant Solomon Dwek with Councilman Michael Russo
in a Jersey City restaurant.  Who will meet to cut back room illegal deals with them now?
They can't serve up Hoboken with Mayor Zimmer and her council majority in place.

Talking Ed Note: Nearly 100 comments on the charity Sign of the Times photo from Friday showing one Old Guard adherent hungry to peg generic negativity on MSV and seeing their criticism turned on them by some commenters.  Nothing left but a puddle of troll.

Trick or treat time is over for the Old Guard and they can't cash in on the Hoboken taxpayer or abuse the institutions to generate back room deals (and cash) like the good old days.

In case you haven't heard, there's a new sheriff in town.

With gratitude to the Hoboken voter for delivering this town from the Hoboken Sopranos, today's feature is dedicated to you.

Film strip "trick or treat" courtesy Grafix Avenger


Unrelated: People ask Da Horsey questions only answerable with a smile for the moment but here's a must see from the Hudson County political website by the Vine person.  Did Horsey just say it's a must read?