Beth Mason bombshell: “What’s the point of being the 2nd ward Councilwoman?”
Back in the spring of 2009, Jake Stuiver acted as campaign manager for Councilwoman Beth Mason’s mayoral run. The turn of events leading to her defeat, the resignation of a corrupt Mayor Peter Cammarano and swearing-in of an Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer opened the door to a later conversation after Stuiver no longer was active with Beth Mason or any potential candidate.
Jake Stuiver reveals for the first time, the inside story on Beth Mason’s effort to re-enlist him for another run for mayor in November 2009.
In September 2009, I sat down with Second Ward councilwoman Beth Mason and tried to convince her to sit out the November special election for mayor, arguing that she had supported Dawn Zimmer in the runoff and could not credibly withdraw that support without giving her a fair shake after only three months.
The conversation took place more than three months after the intense spring mayoral election in which I served as Ms. Mason’s campaign manager, and I no longer held any official capacity with her. Ms. Mason was gearing up again to run in the November election to replace the recently arrested and resigned ex-mayor Peter Cammarano, seeking my renewed enlistment into her effort.
I, in turn, was laying out for her the case as to why I could not justify supporting such a run, and why it was in her best interest to start rebuilding her reform cachet lost in a series of missteps earlier that year. Her time and energy were better spent, I argued, pulling back, regrouping and reconnecting with her reform base to build herself up for a future opportunity with the full support of her traditional constituency.
Ms. Mason utterly balked at the notion, and in so doing, unveiled to me the extent of the malevolence lurking in someone I’d once held in high regard. Dripping with thoroughly dismissive disgust, she sneered, “What’s the point of being the Second Ward Councilwoman?” Her point was not subtle. In her view, there was no purpose in holding an office other than to use as a springboard to a higher office.
In June 2009, Hoboken had just come off an intense, extremely close election ultimately decided by paper ballots that mysteriously turned up a day after the election. We had, briefly, an administration and City Council majority from opposite ends of the political spectrum, engaging in what was shaping up to be a heated showdown. Then, as suddenly as our new paradigm had materialized, it was radically transformed, in a once-in-a-lifetime moment in which crow pie and toldjaso surprise were the daily specials, depending on which side of the fence one fell.
Despite a handful of hardcore partisans, most people were exhausted with the fighting, exhausted with the bickering, squabbling, recriminations and online assaults. Many residents were eager to find some common ground and work together, whether or not we’d started out as Zimmer supporters, to now get behind the new mayor and help her move our community past the crisis of confidence in our leadership and into a brighter future.
It was against this unity backdrop as Mayor Cammarano submitted his resignation, that Ms. Mason decided to retreat to the Catskills and be one of the only councilpeople to not attend the swearing-in of a new mayor.
Then, just hours after the city began basking in a renewed sense of purpose with the swearing-in of the new acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Ms. Mason sullied the moment issuing a press release announcing her intent to run against the new acting mayor. This total inability to read the mood of the public was an act of shameless crass ambition that would become Ms. Mason’s politically tone-deaf signature going forward.
What Beth Mason conveyed to me demonstrates her true feelings toward the people of Hoboken, and that she really does not care about being the Second Ward councilwoman.
On May 10, I sincerely hope the voters of the Second Ward take her at her word and vote for Tom Greaney to continue Dawn Zimmer’s Change That’s Working.