Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Hoboken residents on SandyGate voice unanimous support for Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer

Interviews with Hoboken residents downtown outside City Hall today showed unanimous support for Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer in the widening federal investigation into the SandyGate scandal.

One resident said "I think Dawn is doing a real good job...  Dawn is doing a nice job trying to clean it (corruption) up," speaking of the mayor's efforts in recent years. "We have to clean up the city and the State... I think she's doing a great job," he concluded.

Another resident said, "I see no reason why Dawn Zimmer would lie... I think before Bridgegate she may have had no incentive to come forward because he, Christie was untouchable...  I think Dawn has done an amazing job for the City."

The longest detailed comment from one resident laid out his dissatisfaction with how Hoboken has been treated on Sandy aid.  "..it's a tragedy.. I don't believe in bullies... I think this guy (Governor Christie) might be bullying her. It's about the people... You don't do politics all the time... Give them (Hoboken residents) the money.... You have to think about what the people went through.

He concluded referring to Governor Christie, "He looks like Tony Soprano to me."

The video comes courtesy of Hudson County TV and John Heinis.

The big national guns come out taking aim at the "lady mayor."

A CNN interview with former Republican National Chairman and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour signaled the latest escalation in an all out death match between Governor Chris Christie and Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer over Sandy aid.

The mayor continues to point to additional details in documents to the State supporting her allegations the aid was held over her head in lieu of approving a massive development potentially valued at a billion dollars in Hoboken for the Rockefeller Group.

The media blitz begun Saturday after the three day holiday weekend is exploding nationally.

In a TV interview addressing Mayor Zimmer as "the lady mayor," Barbour laid out some repeated talking points the mayor has received "$70 million" and "has more coming" and was asking for $127 million out of pot of $300 million.

The former Governor also took a shot at the media saying it was jumping on anything to undermine Gov. Chris Christie's emerging status as a presidential candidate in 2016.

These claims are not accurate and have been dispelled previously as flood insurance compensated the bulk of the $70 million referenced and was paid for in policies taken out by local Hoboken businesses and individuals.

Barbour concluded, "But for her to think that this is going to shake that money loose, that was a surprising thing..."

The video comes courtesy of the Governor Chris Christie YouTube channel.

Talking Ed Note: Barbour is polished and prepared and the talking points are laying on the heat talking about favorable tweets after Hurricane Sandy among a series of repeated statements concerning insurance payments made to Hoboken in both the public and private sector.

If it's muddying up your perspective, well expect more of the same.

This demonstrates some very well prepared talking points well polished from a National Republican face.  It dwarfs the poor performance yesterday of a wooden Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno who looked to be reading notes several times near the floor.  Guadagno concluded her  performance saying she stands behind supporting economic development for New Jersey.

Hoboken residents may find that news endearing.

Hoboken are you ready for the storm?  The Mile Square City is getting an inside look at what it's like to be the center of a national media hurricane.

And it's only just begun.

The transcript also from the Gov. Christie YouTube channel follows:

1/20/2014. (Transcript Below) 
Cuomo: The latest suggestion by a local mayor, you know what it is, does it give you more concern about the atmosphere and culture in Chris Christie's government?

Barbour: No, I'll tell you what it gives me concern about, that the news media is willing to leap at any farfetched story with the basis in fact is unbelievable. This is a lady mayor who asked for 127 million dollars of hazard mitigation money from the governor to give that to her from the federal money. When the state was only receiving in its entirety 300 million dollars. It is absurd to think that one town would get well more than a third of the total amount of money. This town that was getting punished got over 70 million dollars in hurricane relief. She's got other projects pending, but she's already received more than 70 million dollars. More than 4 million dollars of hazard mitigation block grant money and that is the particular program that she was asking money for. So, hazard mitigation block grant money, which unlike what your reporter said, is not to repair damage from much needed damage, it is to prepare for the future.

(transcript continues at the jump)

Mayor Zimmer presses her case as Justice Department comes to Hoboken

The media and pr war ramped up yesterday with the weekend ending but even with MLK Day, the all out assault of words continues.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer appeared last night on Anderson Cooper's CNN show and late last night an announcement from the mayor made clear the Justice Department had been to Hoboken on the matter of her allegations about trading Sandy aid for approval to the Rockefeller Group's uptown development proposal.

On the Justice Department visit, the mayor is quoted saying: “They were talking to people in Hoboken today,” she said. “They were definitely talking to people today.”

The acknowledgement may mean that the Justice Department spoke to people in Hoboken City Hall and some of the mayor's staff.

The Feds are adding to the pressure cooker situation neither confirming nor denying any steps they've taken since a meeting on Sunday was held, according to the mayor.

In the interview with Anderson Cooper, Mayor Zimmer referenced documents she communicated to the State supporting her chronology of events.

In addition, she also states she was pressured directly by another member of the Christie Administration to agree to development in Hoboken.  She identifies that person to be the NJ head of Sandy Aid, Marc Ferzan.

The stakes and battle lines are ramping up as is the traffic here on MSV.  Partisanship has taken hold and all the weight of the Big Man with the dark Governor fleece jacket is coming to bear.  The weight is falling squarely on Hoboken City Hall.

Is Governor Christie the new poster child but leveraging Sandy aid for a billion dollar development?
According to Mayor Zimmer, that's the inescapable conclusion.

Talking Ed Note: In the battle of wills, Governor Christie knows a little about Hoboken's Iron Lady.  Will she bend to his will and crumble or continue to stand for Hoboken as she has against everything the Old Guard could throw at her?

The Governor must know unless he scores an early KO, he isn't going to take out Mayor Zimmer.
Ironically, since the mayor didn't have a Carmelo style wire to set up the Christie Administration, the process of a public pr war with the Feds already engaged works in the mayor's favor.

In some minds, the federal engagement should not occur so quickly but in doing so the mayor has initial cover from the efforts to conclude her testimony of quid pro quo immaterial.

Hoboken is the scene of enormous media attention, the largest since 2009 when Peter Cammarano became the poster child for the biggest corruption sting in NJ history.  It's not showing any sign of letting up.

In fact since the three day weekend, from this vantage point it's obvious that it's increasing.

The Political Insider column has lost its Jersey City centric focus for the moment and a column almost joyfully adds some sarcastic barbs while including two non-consequential quotes from the Zimmer foe corner.  Nothing to dignify beyond that.

MSV is working on the bigger story after the initial earthquake hit Hoboken and the nation Saturday.