Last night, the first of two council forums is encapsulated in this video report from John Heinis of The Hudson County View:
The complete report by Hudson County View is available at the link:
Talking Ed Note: Typically, MSV doesn't highlight any horse sense perspective/editorial to the generous video reports offered by HCV so this will be a rare exception.
The contrast between sixth ward candidates was perhaps most vivid here. While HCV sees the candidate conflict as palpable, MSV saw it as restrained. Carmelo Garcia generates strong feelings with a long checkered history, most recently in the conflict of seeking to represent Hoboken residents and taxpayers while he's actively suing them. His infamous "ethnic cleansing" lawsuit has bitten Hoboken residents for $150,000 to date. (Garcia sits atop the Old Guard Carmelo Ticket with many smiling photos with his former Hoboken Housing Authority commissioner "yes" vote Eduardo Gonzalez and running mate Peter Bianacamano only seats away.)
Giattino's criticisms were from this vantage point, muted and typical of her professionalism seen in four years of strong service on the City Council where she lets her actions do most of her talking. Garcia's claim of her lack of visibility in her ward is contrasted with his claim he'll be available 24-7 to Hoboken residents. His reign over the Hoboken Housing Authority (there's no more apt description) was anything but as he was known for being on the east side of Hoboken at a local gym in the middle of the day and attempted to skip town entirely before Hurricane Sandy. Reality once again meets Hoboken illusionary politics.
The fifth ward saw the most fire and rebuttals of all exchanges. Peter Cunningham grew visibly emotional about the odd proposal of Eduardo Gonzalez before the City Council to do a developer deal on the six acres of the BASF property the City of Hoboken is seeking to acquire. Cunningham highlighted those six acres will be obtained using a park trust fund and not in tax increases as Gonzalez offered. Cunningham highlighted the decades of broken developer promises and concluded by pointing to the Old Guard's "Council of No" politics which he said has greatly harmed Hoboken in recent years. Gonzalez retaliated to criticism of his "running mates" by equating his conversations with parents of his kids school with that council ticket. Some may see a most odd strain in that equation.
Strain was more evident when the second ward issue of the Monarch towers arose. Bonnie Murray voiced agreement with Tiffanie Fisher (who was absent due to a conflict with a Zoning Board meeting) she opposed the Monarch Project albeit for what she said were differing reasons. Peter Biancamano sought to blame the Hoboken Planning Board for the legal battle between the Barry family (Applied Housing/Ironstate Development) stating he supports open space at the location. The legal battle however is underway in both state and federal court and its origin is due to the Barry family reneging on a contract with the City of Hoboken. Unfortunately, Biancamano is in a political vise and word of arm twisting at Applied Housing uptown is reportedly underway with residents being threatened with eviction, rent increases and urged to turn over Vote-by-Mail. Those mostly Hispanic residents are being ordered to vote for him. The Monarch Man finds himself in a most unhappy situation. Developer "protection" comes at a cost.
That veneer of the heavy handed Old Guard past and present was not far as Michael Russo hovered over the proceedings as a worried looking Freeholder Anthony "Stick" Romano stood by and Ma Russo circled.
"This is a war," Romano declared of the City Council elections a week prior. By the looks of it, the front may be collapsing. Much rests on the effective outreach of candidate campaigns and the grassroots getting the word out.
Is there an opportunity for Reform to finally turn this town around from its lingering "On the Waterfront" past? It rests in the hands of Hoboken's voting residents with November 3rd's approaching Election Day.
Related: PolitickerNJ's reporter filed this report.