August City Council: Politics and Boys and Girls Club funding

Tomorrow is the City Council meeting for the month of August, the slowest month of the year in the legislative calendar.  If you think that would make for a sleepy summer meeting you’d be wrong as Councilwoman Beth Mason is pushing a new resolution to eliminate health and subsidiary benefits to City Council members.
The Councilwoman leading into a mayoral run in 2008 did forego both pay and benefits herself later changing her mind on the matter in 2009 after she was defeated.  That public rejection followed with Mason not only asking her council salary be reinstated, but the monies foregone be paid back to her too.
There’s numerous funding items on the agenda, mostly regular business but among them, the Boys & Girls Club.  The organization providing support to Hoboken’s neediest children has not provided a required annual report on services to the City in over a decade going back to the original agreement in 1994.    
Can you approve funding when the contractual agreement providing a building to the organization for a paltry $2 a year remains unsatisfied?  The City is reviewing the terms but it’s on the agenda so MSV will look to follow up.
B&G Club VP Scott Delea
Two Hoboken residents who have Boys & Girls Club board positions have not stepped up to offer any accountability to the community either.  Scott Delea who is listed as Vice President on the group’s board and Tim Occhipinti who is on its Advisory Board haven’t raised a whisper as to why children are being shown the door making room for HoLa, a charter school on taxpayer paid property.
MSV has been told of several such instances among them Save the Youth’s dance group. The group of children and young teens was quietly pushed out and Grafix Avenger has documented additional first hand accounts of a mother in tears over the treatment of children who are the most vulnerable.
One point the B&G website notes:
Most children have their first drug, alcohol or sexual experience between the hours of 3 and 8 pm. The doors to Boys & Girls Clubs are open during these times, on Saturdays and during school breaks—when kids need us most.
Note it doesn’t say during the school year.  Why?  A new tenant obviously has a big role in the use of the facilities during the majority of the year – and it’s been given added rights during after school hours.  Where do Hoboken’s underprivileged go then – during those hours when first drug, alcohol and sexual experiences are likely to occur?
Tim Occhipinti is backing Beth Mason’s political plan to eliminate health benefits for City Council members.  Since Occhipinti obtains benefits through work, he’s sure to rubber-stamp the effort.  Beth Mason put up over $30,000 for Occhipinti to occupy the 4th ward Council seat.  Oddly Occhipinti accuses  others of taking “marching orders” and being a rubber stamp.  Can you say projection?
Talking Ed Note: For this August politics du jour Councilwoman Mason brings along Tim Occhipinti.  He’s the boy in her $30,000 plus toy.  She spent at least that if not more exceeding legal limits to obtain that seat’s vote and install her to Council President.  That term became the shortest in living memory after her prompt removal at the July 1st City Council meeting. 
Health benefits are a significant part of a Council member’s salary.  Should they be eliminated or should there be a reduction also in the City Council salary?  Although Tim Occhipinti joined Beth Mason in attempts to again reduce the salaries of city directors and the mayor, they didn’t once offer to reduce their own.
If Hoboken eliminates health benefits and/or reduces council salaries, do we ensure only the wealthiest voices in Hoboken seek elected office?  Should the voices in our government be limited to only those in the community with access to wealth – holding not just one seat but additional ones through other less ethical means as in the example of Tim Occhipinti?
Wednesday the City Council will decide.

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