Sunday, June 1, 2014

Stick Romano gets his Vote By Mail Harvest on

Tilling the fields of Hoboken for votes in the sleepy embrace of a late spring election after the voters said November elections are what we love is only part of the big picture heading into Tuesday's decisive Freeholder election.

The earth however isn't being plowed over as has been the ritual down in the Hoboken Housing Authority. Two reasons are more likely than a list of others for that odd turn of events. One is money and the going rate last November was $50 per vote, I mean campaign worker.

The other is the Department of Justice investigation MSV exclusively reported leading into November's election day followed by a Hudson County trial on the suspicious voter harvesting surrounding the rent control ballot question. What followed was one connected family in the HHA was completely "investigated" according to a senior soldier in the Vote by Mail army.

The explanation of what followed was encapsulated in a Grist for the Mill story, "Shit rolls downhill" where the VBM officer publicly was heard talking about how his HHA relatives received the kind of attention they didn't want saying, "they investigated my whole family."

Dios Mio! Or is it guzzenteit?

Anthony "Stick" Romano (c) confers with HHA commissioner Rob Davis as Beth Mason political operative and campaign worker Matt Calicchio looks on at the HHA special meeting last week. Stick's campaign signs were generously handed out to the bused in HHA residents. The signs read "Hoboken is our Home."

But that lack of campaign money for "campaign workers" aside doesn't mean the vote harvest of paper ballots is dead. VBM efforts have moved to other points of the Mile Square in a mad scramble to get Anthony "Stick" Romano over the top and is being led by the Russo family.

According to the Board of Election's latest Vote by Mail report, the paper ballot tilling grounds have moved east and all points across Hoboken. Led by Michele Russo, the wife of former mayor and felon Anthony Russo, efforts are seen clustered in Church Towers in the third ward, the first ward and elsewhere seeking to give Stick an advantage heading into election day.

Also prominently listed as a bearer of VBM ballots is Councilwoman Terry Castellano who is hitting the elevator banks in Marine View and other locales mostly in the first ward.  Another prominent bearer has been working the downtown senior building on Bloomfield and some other locations and one Old Guard soldier even found his way to collecting paper ballots in a Jersey City building.

All this means a solid head start for Romano before the polls open Tuesday morning. The race is shaping up as an Old Guard vs. Reform mini-election. There's less money on the streets for the guaranteed paper ballot votes but the subsidized housing buildings are being mobilized. In the end, who shows up in the Hoboken and Jersey City primary determines the outcome.

Tuesday's outcome will determine who represents Hoboken and parts of Jersey City as the county legislator for Freeholder. Hudson County's budget is well over half a billion dollars and the results of this election could alter a great deal on the nine member Freeholder board.

Do enough Hoboken voters, especially those who see the the biggest chunk of their taxes going to Hudson County realize the stakes?

That question will be answered on Tuesday.

Talking Ed Note: Last February, MSV testified more than a day in the Hudson County Superior Court trial centered around the rent control ballot question on Vote by Mail fraud in the Hoboken Housing Authority. As part of that testimony, the assertion of the reporter's privilege known as the Shield Law was a topic of discussion dozens of times in the proceedings.

Each and every time MSV asserted the reporter's privilege, the Court upheld its application. MSV testified in detail to its own independent investigation and findings on Vote by Mail payments for votes. Some of that information was turned over to the Department of Justice investigation.

Mazel mazel good things. Now do your part and get out your friends and family and vote Tuesday.