Video courtesy of Kurt Gardner, former editor of the Hoboken Journal:
In the video seen above prior to the City Council meeting last night, Mayor Zimmer presents plaques to outgoing members of the City Council: Terry Castellano, Beth Mason and Tim Occhipinti.
It's a mixed bag illuminted here further but the mayor clearly choose to take the high road not for what she's been accused by some - not reaching out to "the other side," re: the darksiders. The fact of the matter is Mayor Zimmer has been continually and viciously attacked as the City itself since she became Acting Mayor in 2009 and was not given any chance to pick up the pieces on behalf of Hoboken after convicted felon and former Mayor Peter Cammarano was bounced out of office courtesy of the FBI.
Anyone can view the Ustream videos in 2009 when the mayor attempted to work with all eight of her council colleagues by consensus. She was met by a continuous assault by the Old Guard in their belief she could be put down immediately. She's proven them wrong over and over and over since. (They could have looked anytime to Margaret Thatcher for an explanation but elected to see other men as the reason, most recently her husband.)
It's impossible to pause on this moment in Hoboken history without further detailing the utter depravity led by Beth Mason and her family checkbook and her Old Guard allies: Terry Castellano and Michael Russo to see bankrupted Hoboken University Medical Center and with it possibly the City of Hoboken itself.
In 2011, the Old Guard viewed this as their best hope to finally stop and destroy Mayor Zimmer. If it took the destruction of the hospital and the City's finances, so be it.
They refused to waive the 28 days required for an ordinance going into effect making immediate the parking garage transfer in tandem with the hospital sale. The hospital, left running on fumes was within days if not hours of going under. The State of NJ Department of Health contemplated being forced to step in and close HUMC due to dwindling supplies and a questionably viable medical operation. The potential buyer HoldCo stated it could not complete the sale without having the garage make the sale financially viable for the future. Michael Russo mocked it all.
The Old Guard council led by Beth Mason, a bankruptcy attorney intimately close to her injected poison on this side of the Hudson River and came within an eyelash of succeeding in its objective to take down both Mayor Zimmer and the hospital. The battle raged in Hoboken, in the NJ courts and the NJ Assembly and Senate. They almost succeeded calling due a City backed bond debt of $52 million for immediate payment.
In October 2011, with that plug almost pulled and the taste of sweet, vindictive victory in their grasp -one council member decided not to go through with it: Tim Occhipinti. Via an intermediary in former Hoboken Democratic Chair Jamie Cryan a discussion took place with representatives of the hospital. Occhipinti informed them through that channel he would not be the decisive vote strangling the hospital to its death. He would join the Reform council memebers in merely stepping out of the way of the garage sale allowing the hospital sale to go through and thus survive.
Occhipinti has never commented on this publicly. Even the Hudson Reporter who covered up for the Old Guard throughout their attempt to destroy the hospital sale in 2011 learned of that truth and put in an inquiry to Occhipinti which went unasnwered.
The fourth ward councilman informed his Old Guard council colleagues he would not move forward with them. They in turn quickly created a brand new position claiming an inert "side deal" by them saved the hospital. Their press release making the outlandish claim promptly found its way published (on a Sunday no less) online with the Hudson Reporter mere hours before the final emergency meeting on the hospital at City Hall.
While the mayor credited Occhipinti properly for his important support in approving the second floor pump for Hoboken earlier this year, his greatest contribution to Hoboken in office was walking to the edge of the abyss, looking down on the hospital back in October 2011 and saying no. His Old Guard council colleagues however were not enamored with his decision and in the end got payback, flipping on him and backing Ruben Ramos for his council seat last November.
The truth on Hoboken University Medical Center is best highlighted by Beth Mason's "friend" Kimberly Cardinal Bajardi who relished the idea of the hospital being destroyed and the Mayor with it writing in an email,
That was the Old Guard intention all along.
Talking Ed Note: There's far more to say about the wretched cancer of Hoboken and it's removal from the body politic but MSV will withhold further historical facts for the moment and leave Beth Mason to her own self-created misery.
Like many in Hoboken who truly know the full scope of that inflicted disease, an accounting is not complete but the First Amendment eroded but not destroyed stands firm in this Mile Square City today for the landmark day arriving. Many people played critical roles in bringing this Reform achievement to fruition - over decades.
Hudson Superior Court and Judge Arre also deserve far more thanks than can be adequately expressed here. Judge Arre's devastating legal opinion lambasting the frivolous SLAPP-suit Bajardi v Pincus publicly supported by Beth Mason is a towering First Amendement case not only for Hoboken but the entire state of NJ.
In the end, Mayor Zimmer again elected to take the high road in respect and perhaps deference to her office. MSV however has a similar but slightly differing standard, telling the truth to the Hoboken public. In the end, it's with an eye to serving all Hoboken.
Related: The 2011 MSV exclusive live history told on the hospital and the Old Guard council: "Suicide Mission."
As the hospital teetered, the Old Guard council mocks its plight with Michael Russo's infamous, "The sky is falling, the sky is falling."
Beth Mason's "business partner" and chief political operative in Weehawken crows about taking out HUMC and the dual benefit to "destroy the administration."
Evidence of Beth Mason's dwindled band of followers and their embittered plan for HUMC in the Bajardi v Pincus Bench Slapped emails:
"I say let Dawn go down with the hospital!."
Thursday, December 17, 2015
From the desk of City Council President Ravi Bhalla:
Dear Friends and Neighbors -
Dear Friends and Neighbors -
As you may know, a historic opportunity is before us to address flooding in Hoboken. Through the advocacy efforts of Mayor Zimmer, last year Hoboken received $230 million in federal funding to implement a plan to keep our City safe from the massive flooding we have seen in the past, including the terrible damage stemming from Hurricane Sandy.
For the past several months, I have served as co-chair of a Citizens Advisory Group (CAG), which is made up of dedicated local residents who want to ensure the needs of the community are met as we work toward a very important decision about how to utilize these funds. It is important to note that the State of New Jersey and federal government, not the City Council or the Mayor, will make the final decision on this plan. This makes it all the more critical for Hoboken residents to speak up so our City’s needs and desires are represented in the planning process.
I am asking you to please come to a drop in session at 221 Jackson St. tonight, Thursday, Dec. 17 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. so you can learn more about the concepts presented to date and offer your feedback to the State Department of Environmental Protection and its professionals. There will be engineers and state officials on hand to address any questions you may have about this historic project for Hoboken.
Earlier this week, residents expressed frustration about the idea of flood “walls” in neighborhoods and along our waterfront, which is included in the proposed concepts. In my capacity as co-chair of the CAG, I share the frustration and anger regarding some of the concepts being presented – particularly the ones that would negatively impact our treasured waterfront or brownstone neighborhoods. However, the selection process legally requires a certain number of potential concepts to be presented, and then it is up to us to decide which ones are feasible starting points and which ones we consider to be “non-starters.” While there are concerns about barriers for flood protection, my expectation is that they would be designed in a manner that integrates them into our urban landscape without adversely impacting property values, waterfront views, or any aspect of the quality of life for Hoboken’s residents. For example, they could be designed as park benches, planters, or other community amenities.
I cannot stress enough how much of a historic opportunity we have presented before us. We need to protect our City from the devastation of a Hurricane Sandy and the “resist” portion of the Rebuild By Design federal grant may be our only chance to save Hoboken from a similarly devastating weather event. As co-chair of the Citizens Advisory Group, I will continue to be very involved in this process, and I hope to see you all on Thursday evening.
Please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any feedback on these concepts or if you have any questions for me. Click here for more information.
I hope to see you tonight from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at 221 Jackson Street!
Ravinder S. BhallaCity Council President