Wednesday, November 4, 2015

New Council order @ 7:00

It's not the actual new council being seated tonight. This evening the Mile Square City will feature three lame duck members on their way out.

Beth Mason who unleashed a torrent of venom at Councilwoman Jen Giattino as her outgoing lasting memory to her fellow council members; Tim Occhipinti who actually leaves on an up note under his own power with some positive votes this calendar year and of course Terry Castellano who last night reportedly was telling people she had won.

Does that surprise any close observer?

Big item up is an ordinance for redevelopment of Neumann Leathers Rehabilitation with a presentation. The public across the board from artists to tentants will be most interested in the flourish of details.

The Hoboken Police Department has a new 2016 Ford Explorer on tap if approved.

The question tonight is what will the swan song mean to the tenor of the meeting and any indication for the future? With a 7-2 Reform majority taking hold January, it's time for the grassroots, activists and residents from every corner to put forward ideas and innovation to make Hoboken better.

Based on the exploding post-election traffic, it appears many were caught off guard by the stunning Reform victory last night. Hoboken is no longer divided. The insipid arguments, catcalling, lawsuits, threats and intimidation are or should be over. (MSV has a new December 11th trial date for Beth Mason's criminal complaint but hey, that's politics, right?)

A new day has Dawn-ed.

Let's Go Hoboken!

The aftermath: Mayor Zimmer, Peter Cunningham and Michael DeFusco

Here's a video report from last night after the council results came in courtesy of John Heinis at the Hudson County View:

For the complete story, please see the Hudson County View:

Mayor Zimmer indicated moving ahead to finalize and repair Washington St. is a high priority.

Talking Ed Note: Folks as the fates would have it, there's a City Council meeting tonight.

Bring out your corruption?

Voices in their own minds deemed self-important pat themselves on the back while issuing platitudes on the moral equivalence of "both sides" in Hoboken politics.

Yesterday, Hoboken was witness to a litany of reasons how untrue that delusion is and since the public has short memories, let's put some of yesterday's incidents on the record.

First, there's the notorious application of Vote-by-Mail among certain Old Guard campaign crews; a staple food group of their election activities. Over 1500 VBMs were tabulated in applications in the Mile Square City. Most were clearly legitimate but hundreds perhaps several hundred were not.

Exhibit A, here's an interesting reference to the going rate for paid voters in Hoboken. Note the amount highlighted a few entries in makes mention of $40.

The VBMs yesterday threw the results unofficially announced on the Board of Elections website askew. Earlier the Reach Higher BoE slate showed they had swept. After 10:30 pm, VBMs were added and suddenly they lost two of three seats.

John Madigan, short of law enforcement taking major action investigating VBMs is headed to being sworn-in a BoE trustee. There's lots of murmuring about this and not much can't be said without making those unaware shake their heads in disbelief.

Yesterday a series of bad actions by the usual bad actors reared its head. Councilman Michael Russo went into a polling station in the fourth ward and got into the face of a Dana Wefer challenger who questioned why poll workers were taking voters into the booths and voting with them.  Russo did not like this "interference" with voters.

County officials were brought in and the scenario repeated itself when the challenger attempted to put the issue behind and went over to offer to shake hands with Russo. The unopposed third ward councilman promptly yelled out for the police, a technique MSV has witnessed used by his father. 

Hey Mikie do you think that story's over or is it recorded on memorex? (People in this town are learning just how to deal with this type of Old Guard behavior.)

In another part of Hoboken yesterday, a Reform candidate who MSV won't name questioned some electioneering too close to a polling station. After it was addressed a conversation with an opposing supporter led to the candidate expressing pleasantries and shaking the person's hand. The hand shakee promptly yelled out their two handed handshake constituted "assault."

Uptown at Fox Hills, late afternoon Beth Mason's sidekick Matt Calicchio, a sitting fourth ward Democratic Committeeman entered the voting area illegally and according to eyewitnesses began screaming his grandmother must be allowed to vote (again). The abusive ruckus continued for some time as he insisted another vote was going to happen and no one could stop her. She had already cast a Vote-by-Mail ballot registered with Hudson County.

Matt Calicchio, more antics from the Beth Mason worker
around town was escorted by police out of the Fox Hills senior building
yesterday.  He demand his grandmother vote again after 

she had submitted a Vote-by-Mail ballot.

The Hoboken Police Department arrived and once two officers entered, one witness recounted, "All the yelling and screaming and abuse just stopped. He just sat down in a chair and shut up." The police professionally escorted him out of the building.

Why should Old Guard voters not vote twice? Several independent reports that Ruben Ramos VBM voters were not only going to the polls at his campaign's urging but poll workers were allowing some to go ahead and vote a second time on the machines. Additionally, over 100 Ramos VBM workers were recorded voting provisionally in addition to their VBM ballots already recorded.

Councilwoman Beth Mason after being shown the door at the Calabro School polling station early in the morning was not impeded by the law which states if you aren't on the ballot you can't be lingering in voting polls. She reportedly entered more polling stations through the day and one observer recounts her visit to Fox Hills.

"She came in and it was a lull with no voters there at the time," this witness offered agreeing to speak only anonymously. "She made a big thing about telling everyone she wanted to say goodbye one last time but she seemed clueless as no one cared." The witness said a decision was made to let her stay a few minutes as no voters were there and "everyone just wanted her to leave without a scene."

Talking Ed Note: There's more to all this but there's your sample of "moral equivalence." Why would anyone want any of these people in charge of anything let alone government and our tax dollars we'll leave for another time. 

Sign of the Times: a new Hoboken dawning

Sifting through the rubble after an election where Hoboken's unofficial Reform Party led by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer absorbed every dirty punch thrown at it, the Mile Square City may finally be turning a corner on its "On the Waterfront" past.

The seismic City Council victory led by Reform's anti-corruption champion Councilman Peter Cunningham and the succeeding dominoes Councilwoman Jen Giattino with new council members-elect Tiffanie Fisher and Michael Defusco shifts the tide for Hoboken progress in the next two years and perhaps further.

There's no mistaking however, looming in the backdrop is the ever increasing abuse by the Old Guard using Vote-by-Mail ballots.

In a late update last night after 10:30 pm, the Hudson County Board of Elections threw the Hoboken BoE a loop adding 600 VBMs to the totals propelling John Madigan into top vote "getter." Earlier the county had a clean sweep for the Reach Higher slate registering 100% of the vote.

Legal challenges may follow with third place being contested between current VBM beneficiary Britney Montgomery who holds a tenuous hold on third place with Addys Velez nipping at her heels.

The new 7-2 majority for Reform on the Hoboken City Council means policy differences among voters will emerge and debates on issues can and will be weighed.

One of the top issues shot down by the Old Guard council members years back, fixing and repaving Washington St. will move ahead as a top priority.

Now there will be a normal real debate on the particulars, not the Old Guard Russo faction blocking progress withholding a needed sixth vote for spiteful politics.

So in the end, Washington St. and Hoboken can move forward.


Mayor Dawn Zimmer arrives at the Hudson Tea Building last night greeting Councilwoman-elect Tiffanie Fisher. A room full of Fisher supporters enthusiastically greeted the two who made clear an era of second ward representation and citywide progress is here.

Councilwoman Jen Giattino who absorbed an onslaught of vile dirty politics from Carmelo Garcia and Beth Mason saw a decisive victory last night. Councilman Jim Doyle joined the uptown Reform Party celebration at 10th and Willow with a throng of supporters.

Councilman-elect Michael DeFusco (r) shares a lighthearted moment with Mayor Dawn Zimmer at the downtown party of Assemblywoman-elect Annette Chaparro at Mills Tavern. He had not heard anything from his opponent Terry Castellano late last night.

NJ Assemblywoman-elect Annette Chapparo is surrounded by affection with Mayor Dawn Zimmer and her man, Police Chief Ken Ferrante at Mills Tavern.

Anti-corruption champion Councilman Peter Cunningham
addresses a packed room at 10th and Willow last night.
He led an overwhelming victory in the fifth ward making
Vote-by-Mails there inconsequential.

Peter Cunningham photo courtesy of Mac Hartshorn

There's a lot more to come. 

Hudson County comes in late with VBM votes altering BoE plus updated City Council results

Hudson County Board of Elections updates Vote-by-Mail altering the BoE landscape and confirming the Hoboken City Council.

Hoboken City Council with Hudson County Board of Election VBMs added late: (post 10:30 PM)

Hoboken Ward 1 Council
6/6 100.00%
Vote CountPercent
NP - Theresa Castellano65643.47%
NP - Michael DeFusco85056.33%
Personal Choice30.20%

Hoboken Ward 2 Council
6/6 100.00%
Vote CountPercent
NP - Bonnie Murray1549.99%
NP - Peter Biancamano61940.17%
NP - Tiffanie Fisher76649.71%
Personal Choice20.13%

Hoboken Ward 3 Council
7/7 100.00%
Vote CountPercent
NP - Michael Russo73093.83%
Personal Choice486.17%

Hoboken Ward 4 Council
7/7 100.00%
Vote CountPercent
NP - Ruben J. Ramos Jr.92556.96%
NP - Dana Wefer37823.28%
NP - Timothy S. Occhipinti32119.77%
Personal Choice00.00%

Hoboken Ward 5 Council
7/7 100.00%
Vote CountPercent
NP - Peter Cunningham84461.47%
NP - Eduardo Gonzalez52738.38%
Personal Choice20.15%

Hoboken Ward 6 Council
7/7 100.00%
Vote CountPercent
NP - Jennifer Giattino70758.43%
NP - Carmelo G. Garcia50041.32%
Personal Choice30.25%

The earlier sweep by the Reach Higher slate has been capsized by 600 Vote-by-Mails:

Board of Education - Hoboken
40/40 100.00%
Vote CountPercent
NP - Britney A. Montgomery2,37915.19%
NP - Thomas Kluepfel2,57216.42%
NP - John Madigan2,71117.31%
NP - Sheillah Dallara2,31514.78%
NP - Alanna M. Kauffmann1,78811.41%
NP - Addys Velez2,34314.96%
NP - Patricia Waiters1,5219.71%
Personal Choice350.22%

There may be legal action taken on the VBMs in the Board of Education Race.