Can Hoboken’s Al Sharpton imitator pave a road to the mayor’s seat?
Hudson Reporter continues to push its rumor of Mayor Zimmer resignation as the Old Guard scrambles to promote themselves for Carmelo Garcia’s Assembly seat
As the mourning unfolded across the river with two police officers assassinated as they sat in their patrol vehicle last Saturday, questions arising from the roles certain media and officials played in fostering the political climate leading to that violence are emanating in the Mile Square.
Could an Old Guard candidate applying Al Sharpton tactics take power and bring winning electoral results to Hoboken?
Last weekend, the Hudson Reporter bereft of a single fact or theory continues to spout off repeating the “rumor” Mayor Dawn Zimmer is resigning. Al Sullivan’s Between the Lines column began out of the gate with misinformation highlighting an accident at the Borgata in Atlantic City where two people fell into a pool of water at a hotel party.
Deemed not appropriate after speaking to one of the unfortunates, a well known Hobokenite as any mention would be undignified. There was personal injuries suffered in the fall. All local political columnists, from Grafix Avenger to the Political Insider steadfastly avoided naming him when it was at least then possibly newsworthy.
|Litigious loving allies Beth Mason and Carmelo Garcia share their joy using the courts for political purposes against obstacles re: enemies/Hoboken residents. She’s turned on him attempting in her typically self-centered ambition to purchase higher office using the family checkbook to buy his Assembly seat. Which means Garcia finds himself under the bus where his Al Sharpton race baiting tendencies has so often seen him throw others.
What if he returns the favor?
The Hudson Reporter for some reason decided to not only name that victim but did so more than a month later while fingering Mayor Dawn Zimmer as the event’s host in Atlantic City. Mayor Zimmer who did not host that Atlantic City event or any other during the League of Municipalities last month wasn’t anywhere in the vicinity of AC’s boardwalk casinos. The political event was a party hosted by gubernatorial aspirant Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop.
As for the weeks long news discussed here, PolitickerNJ and elsewhere about the pending open 33rd Assembly seat, Sully joined the fray saying there’s repeat offenders in Beth Mason, NHSA sewerage commissioner Frank Raia and Third Ward Councilman Michael Russo again angling to obtain the seat while a warm body’s in it. No one apparently gives a fig about putting in a pitch to State Senator and Union City Mayor Brian Stack and embarrassing Carmelo Garcia, the current occupant.
A recent PolitickerNJ story described Stack’s last choice for the seat in Garcia as “high maintenance” and similarly described his odds of holding the seat for another two year term as highly unlikely. But Carmelo “Dead Man Walking” Garcia has other political ambitions even if he’s being kicked to the proverbial political curb. In Trenton, colleagues are known not to be fond of Garcia’s penchant for surreptitiously recording others. They reportedly leave post it notes on Assemblyman Garcia’s door saying, “The Wire is Here.”
Not weeks after his bountiful contract was terminated by the Hoboken Housing Authority Board of commissioners in a 5-2 vote last August, word on the street says Carmelo Garcia tells anyone who’ll listen he’s making a run for mayor. This even with Mayor Dawn Zimmer not having completed a single year into her second term. (Is this one “source” of Sully’s dumb as a rock rumor mongering?)
Even as he left the Hoboken Housing Authority in financial shambles and may be facing a full fledged federal investigation, Garcia’s been mobilizing his base of support among HHA residents with an eye to bring his brand of ghetto politics to City Hall and aiming for the mayor’s office.
Garcia received national attention when last year he brought the national spotlight on Hoboken filing a civil lawsuit against Mayor Zimmer, the City of Hoboken and the HHA itself saying he was a victim of “ethnic cleansing” while he held the federal post contracted to head the agency as Director. It was and continues to be with his follow-up lawsuits some of the most venomous, vile politics in modern day Hoboken. Many people are deeply offended by the Al Sharpton style gutter tactics; they tend to be reform oriented voters but others in Old Hoboken voice their disgust for Garcia too.
Now in his third filed lawsuit since last year, Garcia had filed the first as initial reports of his recording Hoboken’s former State Senator Bernard Kenny and the mayor’s husband at a lunch he sought began to leak out. (Those reports coming first at Grafix Avenger and MSV.) That first civil action came on the back of the mayor’s and her reform oriented majority on the City Council refusing to approve his undocumented proposal to rebuild and more than double the size of the downtown HHA in a massive taxpayer subsidized redevelopment called Vision 20/20.
The Old Guard Council enthusiastically endorsed and voted to approve Vision 20/20 even without any actual documentation. Nor did they publicly ask how it would fit into the City’s existing Master Plan. Of those who backed the Vision 20/20 “plan,” each are up for re-election next year in the six City Council ward races: First Ward councilwoman Terry Castellano, her cousin and godson Third Ward councilman Michael Russo, Fourth Ward councilman Timmy Occhipinti and the vastly unpopular Second Ward councilwoman Beth Mason.
When Mayor Dawn Zimmer questioned a shady request for an immediate “emergency” approval by Carmelo Garcia and the five member reform oriented council members refused to yield to his rabble rousing spokespeople, the ugliest racial demagoguery was launched in a continuous fusillade of attacks leading into the November 2013 election.
Local media led by the Hudson Reporter made little mention of the disturbing “KKK” attacks as the Old Guard saw the opportunity of millions of greenbacks fall away. In addition, their dwindling Old Hoboken voter base which is becoming increasingly disenchanted with them has further eroded their power and the perception they can deliver.
Vision 20/20 was the huge opportunity seen as the vehicle to rebuild on that declining voter base and a cash cow to milk with many zeroes but in the end, all the hype promoted by Carmelo Garcia led to nothing as he couldn’t deliver or intimidate Reform’s elected officials to stand down and look the other way.
In the face of the ugliest, race baiting rhetoric in Hoboken memory, Mayor Dawn Zimmer and council members: Peter Cunningham, Jen Giattino, Dave Mello, and Ravi Bhalla said “none shall pass.” (Councilman Jim Doyle would likely have joined the battle in the affirmative but was temporarily sidelined in a six figure legal war underwritten by Beth Mason’s family until the public crushed that litigation overwhelmingly voting him back into his council seat.)
At the prior City Council meeting, former Assembly aide to Carmelo Garcia, bomb thrower Patty Waiters again complained the Old Guard council was unlikely to see Terry Castellano, Michael Russo or Beth Mason elevated to City Council President next month. At the last Council meeting, Waiters who often speaks at HHA meetings launched a series of ugly rants there last May, advocated for Michael Russo being handed the gavel as City Council President in January.
All the elements are in place to see a brutal, ugly election contest with race baiting unabated by the same players. Since they failed to pay much of a cost in last November’s BoE election, expect them all back in play with the vilest politics exploding at the drop of a hat. The City Council itself would be the repeat victim when the nasty voices return to the scene of the crime.
As MSV previously noted, the campaign for the City Council’s six ward seats is underway. The Old Guard is in a mad scramble, among themselves for who will appeal to lead Old Hoboken and who will be left standing with any semblance of power. Their factional battle last seen in the BoE race in November failed to obtain a clear victor but Carmelo Garcia saw 2,000 votes for two of his three candidates and thinks he has one-third or more of the votes necessary to win a multiple candidate mayoral race.
|Al Sullivan, political columnist for the pro-Old Guard Hudson Reporter
continues to take punches at Mayor Zimmer repeating his rumor she is
resigning but has yet to say once why. His ear is burning with the Old Guard’s
jockeying as they urge the mayor to disappear and turn on each other.
Sully’s weekend column says Garcia is aiming to pursue the Sixth Ward council seat currently held by City Council President Jen Giattino. That he gets correct as it’s clearly in line with Garcia’s stated aim to seize the mayor’s chair in 2017.
Pending the outcome of the federal corruption probe in the Hoboken Housing Authority, Garcia is going to marshall a run for the Sixth Ward council seat. City Council President Jen Giattino will not be willing but eager to take on his challenge.
She’s been embraced warmly by the reform movement and a consistent ally behind the scenes of sorting solutions among the mayor and her fellow reform allies on the council. Her ability to marshall consensus as a team player is one of her strongest skills. With reform seeking to retain her sixth ward seat along with anti-corruption leader Peter Cunningham in the fifth, there’s a solid group of people in the reform tent who know and despise Carmelo Garcia’s less than savory actions ready to unleash a strong grass roots campaign.
As for Garcia, he’ll have nothing to lose as his Assembly seat is going to find a new occupant when Brian Stack who may team up with Mayor Zimmer makes the choice next spring. He needs another job as the Assembly seat is his only employment check at 49K annually. He’s out 175K he was scheduled at the HHA and getting back on the public payroll is a high priority.
As the Hudson Reporter continues to hype a “pending” mayoral special election with its repeated rumor mongering Mayor Dawn Zimmer is resigning; the Old Guard scramble only gets hotter. In addition to Carmelo Garcia’s aspiration to make Hoboken his newest Banana Republic, the Old Guard front runner remains Freeholder Anthony Romano, who is raring to go. (Some say he is the source of the repeated suggestion Mayor Zimmer will be resigning as she’s going to be indicted the end of this month.)
Then there is Hoboken’s Old Guard leader/rock star Michael Russo who would love to turn the clock back in the Mile Square City and become mayor. It’s killing the Russo clan they’ve lost control; their hands on the wheel of government power, jobs, the money till and a compliant media.
Can the long trail of corruption, the family tradition be remolded by a refurbished re-branded Mikie Squared? Their machine and perceived power is reduced to control of subsidized buildings mostly in his third ward base, the Church Towers buildings. His fortunes may dovetail on whether he can deliver for his neighbors another PILOT subsidy next year. This time a Beth Mason vote betraying the rest of Hoboken will not be enough. Power or more frustration, which lies ahead for the Russo clan?
At the previous council meeting, that frustration with fangs appeared for Hoboken’s universally respected new police chief Ken Ferrante who Terry Castellano congratulated but knowingly predicted a “bumpy ride.” Castellano’s husband is a retired HPD patrolman who was most recently working there as a dispatcher. Maybe it’s a little more than knowing.
Ferrante is one of the most visible from Old Hoboken who crossed over and found working with Mayor Zimmer in his role leading OEM (Office of Emergency Management) not difficult at all. His consistent classy behavior, on and off the job through personally difficult days when he opposed the police reorganization in 2010 and saw a temporary demotion is not generally known by the public. It impressed many and was a factor leading to his emerging as the right choice to lead Hoboken’s Police Department.
Unrelated: For those thinking about commenting on the Hudson Reporter website, MSV continues to advise caution. Your personal information, including actual identity may not be secure and could find itself in the hands of a certain bottom feeding fish who works for a vitriolic litigious family checkbook on upper Hudson Street.
MSV can confirm a similar fate befell a number of Hoboken residents on cyber sewer, Beth Mason sponsored Hate411. More on all that at the appropriate time.