Officially released minutes ago, a resolution appointing James Doyle to the City Council as ordered by Hudson County Superior Court Judge Peter Bariso is officially on the council agenda for a determinative vote of all eight council members Wednesday evening.
The order of the judge Friday calls the full Hoboken City Council to vote on back-filling the at-large seat meaning the four Old Guard council members will be officially in the legal spotlight and must cast a vote, either in-person or by telephone.
The judge’s order Friday ended the legal effort by Beth Mason, Michael Russo, Terry Castellano and Tim Occhipinti to circumvent the council appointment by staging absences and avoid a 4-4 tie where a decisive fifth vote would legally be cast by the mayor.
The ruse concocted some observers say by Old Guard Boss Michele “five-bucks-a-tow” Russo with the financial legal cost underwritten by Councilwoman Beth Mason is front and center in the years long power struggle to dismantle the mayor’s working five member majority on the council.
Old Guard Boss Michele Russo, mother of Councilman Michael Russo is said by some
to have pushed for the legal action with Beth Mason to overturn the council majority.
Beth Mason has reportedly said the judge can’t make her vote.  With the judge ordering all council members to vote, what happens Wednesday night?
In a conversation earlier with a long time reform denizen of Hoboken politics, several Old Guard options were contemplated including a contempt action by Beth Mason making another secret, unannounced “trip” out of town, a bizarre inane protest staged by Tim Occhipinti walking off the dais or simply one or more of the four Old Guard council members voting to abstain and claiming their vote doesn’t constitute a “no” vote.  The idea being without a 4-4 tie, the mayor is not able to provide a deciding vote in the appointment.
No matter which Old Guard rear guard action is taken, after a hefty legal expenditure and time wasted to eliminate a pro-mayor council majority, no one expects the old guard council to go down quietly.  This even with the scorn from scores of Hoboken residents suffering heavy losses in the tens of millions after Hurricane Sandy.  
An abstention has previously been counted as a “no” vote on a council appointment, most recently in 2009 when Mayor Zimmer cast the fifth decisive vote to fill her own 4th ward council seat.  The Old Guard council took action to forestall a repeat when Councilwoman Carol Marsh resigned by staging absences as they did last October with an eye on creating a legal case blocking a fifth vote by the mayor less a 4-4 tie.
Last Friday, the decision by the Hudson County Superior Court judge eliminated that strategy and orders a full vote of all eight council members.  Judge Peter Bariso will review the vote at a scheduled January 2nd hearing where any abstention cast will be ultimately weighed and decided.
Beth Mason gets to back up contempt of court Wednesday with another disappearing act.
Does she have the guts to do a repeat, unannounced disappearance?
Talking Ed Note: You feel lucky Beth?  Well do you?  Go on and stab the court in the eye with your contempt now.  I dare you.

I double dare you.

Up for a full vote of the eight member council Wednesday night is Resolution #1.

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