Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Grist for the Mill: Hoboken the envy of political junkies across NJ

The time for action is apparently now with Stick Romano doing a pivot and diving into Hoboken's mayoral race at a steeper angle than a jet fighter sighting an enemy aircraft carrier.

Tora! Tora! Tora!

Later today, the Hoboken field is expected to see its City Council President Jen Giattino announce her entry into the mayoral sweepstakes bringing the total to four of the Mile Square City's major election campaigns.

People are yet to catch their breath or see campaigns announce full council slates as the reverberations of Mayor Zimmer's untimely exit announced last week has created a bad case of whiplash for Hoboken political observers.

The clearly orchestrated political power play didn't succeed in pushing Hoboken activists to the sidelines resigned to backing Ravi Bhalla. It produced the opposite effect: engagement. A Sunday meeting last weekend where about two dozen long time reformers and previously strong backers of Mayor Zimmer sat down to examine the viability of a Jen Giattino victory in November.

The conventional wisdom going in deemed a late mayoral bid would see no path to victory for any desired Mayor Giattino administration and end with a consensus, resigned or not, to get behind Councilman Ravi Bhalla.

Except it didn't work out that way. Prior to the Sunday afternoon meeting, a vicious political operation was deployed assaulting Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher's electronic communications. An orchestrated coordinated onslaught of mostly new Hoboken Democratic Committee people emailed and texted her with vile personal attacks calling her and Council President Jen Giattino a string of ugly names typically reserved for the mostly defunct Ku Klux Klan. Another massive email bomb questioned Jen Giattino's vote for president last November demanding to know who she voted for even as it's commonly known she sought to be a John Kasich delegate. The poison was clearly all cooked out of the same stew falsely claiming Giattino had voted for Donald Trump. Fisher would dryly note the same calling the false allegations spurious in reply.

Whatever happened to the right to privacy of one's vote let alone Hoboken's long time non-partisan municipal contests and Hoboken reform's big tent? Democrats as Mayor Zimmer was later to find out were aghast. Silence from the people hitting the nuke button since as some including this Horse made rare emails up the chain of command asking how could such a thing happen?

Fisher didn't allow the coordinated fury of venom to interfere with the meeting. The meeting went ahead as planned but the thoughts of uniting behind Ravi Bhalla evidently turned into a non-starter. Among the dozens of people in attendance, mostly dye in the wool Democrats including Fisher herself, word of the vicious email assault was spreading all over town. So was the backlash, acting as a one-two punch to the mayor's presser last Tuesday that spurred distaste all over the Mile Square City.

The meeting surprisingly ended with reformers united in praise for Jen Giattino and to a person concluded she is the most qualified and the best person to become Hoboken mayor and no alternative backing Ravi Bhalla would be contemplated. Someone has some explaining to do.

The ugly political operation to keep Giattino from considering a bid to get into the race achieved the opposite effect. All the colluders in the unseemly intimidation scheme, stand up and take a bow!

Mayor Zimmer's departure may leave a wreckage of a Hoboken mayoral campaign with four, five or more major candidates possible. MSV can confirm the rumor of one with ties to Church Towers who is not Councilman Michael Russo. The third ward councilman is rumored to also be considering a bid in this winner take all November contest.

Talking Ed Note: The Hoboken mayoral campaign pool is not complete. Already, another potential Old Hoboken candidate is rumored to be weighing an entry. The uptown resident who won't be named here as it's uncertain and he's made no overture to MSV will be seeking to catapult an age old dream. This time family connections into Church Towers would be the launching point for votes, right in the territory of Third Ward Councilman Michael Russo.

Let's call it what it is, a hostile invasion.

This is going to be a cantankerous mayoral race like nothing seen. Baton down the hatches.

Grist for the Mill is MSV's rumor column. Got a tasty carrot for Da Horsey? Send it to smartyjones@me.com. All email is kept confidential and is protected by Da Horsey's proven Reporter Privilege upheld under the NJ Shield Law in Hudson County Superior Court. In farm animals we trust.