Monday, June 8, 2015

Grist for the Mill: "It was a shitshow"

Update: This story features actual live video courtesy of The Hudson County View.

Chaos reigned at Room 84 as although there's a new chair in the somewhat reluctant form of Freeholder Anthony "Stick" Romano, there's no actual tally for that office or any other according to multiple independent witnesses.

Independent observers say what transpired was less a committee meeting and more "a shitshow."

As noted earlier, Third Ward Councilman Michael Russo did in the end take the prize for Vice Chair. This even with voices raised questioning how that was possible as the existing bylaws suggest the position go to a woman if a man is chair.

Another observer described the entire proceedings as an utter embarrassment calling it "chaos."

Apparently Chairman Jamie Cryan tried to run the meeting and hold a vote to see appointment of a president pro tem so he could participate in an actual vote as a candidate for Chairman.

That position was not so much voted upon as seized based on multiple observers who noted Cryan never had a chance to "say two words" or do anything much less see an actual vote.

Michele Russo nominated Carmelo Garcia to run the meeting who then "took over" and later ran clear across the room to get a working microphone silencing Cryan's efforts who more than meekly stated repeatedly, "You're not recognized."

Not minutes later he would walk out on the entire scene.

New Vice Chair of the Hoboken Democratic Committee?
Can Michael Russo without a committee seat be made an officer?

The bylaws say that's not the case but
a suggestion was forwarded the bylaws had been "amended."

On hand for the vote that was never conducted by even paper ballot, the actual Hudson County Board of Elections head Michael Harper who some say was there with a wooden ballot box never used to tally votes.

Instead a public vote by hands was taken whereby Romano and then Michael Russo were both quickly "elected" Democratic Chair and Vice Chair respectively.

No vote tallies of any kind are available.

Hudson County View was on site and provided actual video footage of the meeting.

Other officers "elected" with what sounds like a show of hands but no recorded vote: John Castellano, Treasurer; Joe Branco, Secretary and Linda Petrazelli, Sergeant-at-arms.

Beth Mason was in attendance although she's not an elected
sitting Hoboken Democratic Committee member.
She left the proceedings with nothing to the utter chagrin
of her political operatives.

Beth Mason who is not an elected committee woman was somehow allowed in attendance. She however left with nothing to the deep consternation of her political operatives.

Cryan walked out on the proceedings and was not the only person to leave displeased.
Others in attendance said Beth Mason would leave in a huff, storming out.

Actual video footage from the meeting courtesy of The Hudson County View:

Talking Ed Note: Based on a show of hands it appears Anthony "Stick" Romano had the majority of votes to be as he called it "the compromise candidate." Other observers state there was an obvious fear of a secret ballot.

John Heinis of Hudson County View was in attendance and filed the above exclusive video report.

In the video, you can hear yelling and screaming as Michele Russo suddenly blurts out her nomination for Carmelo Garcia to run the meeting as President pro tem as former Chair Jamie Cryan is ignored.

It sounds like the prefabricated takeover is then seconded by none other than fourth ward committeeman Matt Calicchio.

And the bum rush is on!

You can also see in the video at the front of the room, the head of Beth Mason's employee and 4th ward committeeman Matt Calicchio, Third Ward Councilman Michael Russo and hear the voice of newly elected Democratic Committee woman Patricia Waitiers yelling out for of her former employer Carmelo Garcia.

Another committee member in attendance quipped, "Jamie never had a chance."

The video concludes with a brief interview with Anthony "Stick" Romano calling for unity and no "rancor."

Good luck with that.

Voting Machine for Democratic Committee cancelled


The voting machine expected for tonight's Hoboken Democratic Committee is cancelled.

According to the owner, Room 84 is not able to accommodate the machine which would need to go to the basement where committee members will be voting.

Joe Branco the owner of the club who also is a current Hoboken Democratic Committeeman noted a problem getting the machine to the basement and other locations inside would block the public egress and weren't suitable.

The elevator's use is restricted for reasons Branco declined to detail due to litigation with the landlord.

Another possibility would have been to set up an outside tent with the machine but was that too is said to be unpalatable due to possible late rain.

Talking Ed Note: On with the show, this is it. Councilman Michael Russo may be seeking a nod for Vice-President in the vote tonight.

The question of a "honorary" chair typically done for outgoing politicians is unknown. Most other Hudson municipalities don't regularly name an honorary chair. But hey, this is Hoboken.

Update: Grafix Avenger has an updated story on this snafu and says, the plot to undo a voting machine was in the end foiled.



Hoboken, NJ   Dana Wefer announced on Monday that she will be running for the 4th Ward Seat of the Hoboken City Council.  The elections for City Council are on November 3rd and all six ward seats are up.   Control of the City Council could change depending on the outcome of this election. 

Wefer, an attorney, has gained visibility and credibility through her work at the Hoboken Housing Authority where she has served as chair since May 2014.  She was just reelected chair for another one year term last month.  At the Housing Authority, Wefer uncovered and blew the whistle on millions of dollars in unlawful procurements.  Her whistleblowing precipitated an independent audit and HUD procurement review that uncovered even more unlawful procurements.  Under Wefer’s leadership, the administration was changed and the agency is now conducting its first ever legitimate nationwide search for a new executive director.   Wefer has also served as treasurer of the Democratic Committee. 

According to Wefer’s campaign website,, her campaign will focus on the issues of taxes, development, and transportation and parking, but Wefer assures that she is eager to tackle all issues facing Hoboken and the 4th Ward.  “The 4th Ward deserves a representative who can effectively advocate for solutions to the big problems, such as taxes and parking, as well as quality of life issues, such as street cleanliness,” Wefer said Monday.  “Constituent services is important, and I believe that we can do better in the 4th Ward.”  

The 4th Ward seat is currently occupied by incumbent Timothy Occhipinti who announced his bid for reelection last month.  Occhipinti also ran for mayor in 2013, but came in a distant 3rd in both the city and the 4th Ward.   

Wefer will officially launch her race with a kickoff at 2:30 pm on 
June 14th at the Brasserie de Paris, located at 700 1st Street.  Everyone is welcome. 

Hoboken Democratic Chair Showdown tonight @ 8:00


What is typically an exhibition in the political slug fests common to Hoboken is surprisingly becoming an early thermometer of influence and leadership preceding the important November council ward races. At least for Reform's Old Guard opposition. 

In one corner: the surprising victor who's KOed the Beth Mason family wallet for the largely ceremonial Hoboken Democratic Chair, current occupant Jamie Cryan could call it a day and depart having flat out beaten the odds in the Hoboken derby.

In the other corner: the reluctant Freeholder Anthony "Stick" Romano who didn't seek this showdown and finds status symbolically at stake as he looks to stay unmarked before the 2017 Hoboken mayoral sweepstakes officially begin.

Current Mile Square Democratic Chair Jamie Cryan who's never say die effort against long odds has made tonight a crash worthy event if you are one of the select party committee members holding a ticket to the big dance at the Hoboken Democratic Committee vote set for 8:00 at Room 84.

Back in April, MSV exclusively reported Beth Mason saw her exit visa stamped "DEPART" from the second ward council seat. She's induced more self-inflicted nightmares on top of her monstrous cynical efforts to shutter the local hospital, HUMC back in 2011. (Much of that ugly political work is revealed in the words of her own political operatives reported exclusively on MSV in their own emails. (See: Bench Slapped - The Hospital Series.

Much cajoling, begging, pleading, attempted bribes and intimdiation since; Beth Mason's the odd man out as Jamie Cryan musters one last push versus Freeholder Anthony "Stick" Romano in tonight's showdown.

Apparently, the Hudson County Democratic Organization (re: HudCo) truly believes the road to the NJ Governor's seat in 2017 runs through Hudson County and Jersey City's City Hall. 

With that focus and HudCo eyes looking south to Trenton the buzz word is "unity" meaning councilwoman carpetbagger in the enemy camp of South Jersey, re: Beth Mason and the Mason family checkbook are persona non grata.

The litigious Beth Mason is not done begging though. Iced out of the official Hoboken Democratic Chair sweepstakes, she's making a last ditch plea for the honorary position of Democratic Chair currently held by Mayor Dawn Zimmer. 

Final word on that sidebar of a race will come after the main event tonight when the elected members of the Hoboken Democratic Committee put in their votes for Hoboken Democratic Chair.

If that prequels not entertaining enough for you, say hello to Jamie Cryan's little friend:

The Hudson County Board of Elections is expected to deliver an operating voting machine for tonight's Hoboken Chair showdown between Freeholder Anthony "Stick" Romano and current occupant Jamie Cryan. MSV referenced "hardware" coming into play in its Saturday story.
Well, say hello to Jamie's little friend.

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Unrelated: Big Monday news as Dana Wefer throws her hat in the ring for fourth ward council!
Well there's your big Monday news. Never a dull moment in Hoboken.