Four weeks out….

Fear and loathing observations from a horse on the campaign trail
The Mile Square City suffers from a seasonal schipzoprhenic division, one of many its undegone in recent years. Summer lingered and suddenly it’s four weeks out to a November election. Is the public ready?

From all appearances the answer may be negative. The public is by all appearance less than energized in the Mile Square partly due to the astounding success of Mayor Zimmer and her council allies who have held the reins for most of the last six years other than a short but brief reign of terror from the chair of Beth Mason and the Russo faction.

That terror was real, destructive and sadly for voters with short memories distant. The hospital in the fall of 2011 was thee major issue as Mayor Zimmer fought with a group of volunteer Hoboken residents led by hospital board chair Toni Tamarazzo to pull off a stunning reclamation keeping the doors of Hoboken University Medical Center open.

Theresa Castellano voted no on a bond to aid hospital saving negotiations
in September 2011. Worse, in a destructive cynical display of bullshit
in a City Council meeting, she claimed there were “other bidders” available
to the hospital which was on life support and days from closure.
Many people in the first ward need that hospital as any in town.

In due course, the savage propaganda claiming Reform would close the hospital to turn it into condos fell by the wayside as Governor Christie himself intervened to stop the sabotage by the Council of No.

That effort however by Michael Russo, Theresa Castellano and of course Beth Mason and her family to see that century old institution closed and point the finger at Mayor Zimmer for the financial hardship to befall Hoboken and the loss of the largest employer in town with over 1,000 jobs was a clear and very present danger.

It was the ugliest Old Guard council face witnessed in some years.

No candidate has made an issue of those efforts to harm Hoboken and Michael Russo may have been on the hook but deftly eliminated his opposition in a deal which likely unraveled involving the North Hudson Sewerage Authority and health benefits for a Frank “Pupie” Raia reappointment via West New York. (If you tell everyone you are worth a gazillion dollars and own a piece of Shoprite will anyone hear a public tear fall that you have to pay a four figure bill each month like every private citizen for health insurance?)

The City Council race which could see the hospital issue arise is the First Ward. To date, challenger Michael DeFusco has not made it a plank on his platform. Da Horsey kinda wishes he would. Having sat in the front of the City Council on the critical $5.5 million bond to leverage necessary negotiations in closing any potential sale, it was Theresa Castellano who spoke first trying to put a dagger right through the heart of Hoboken’s only hospital.

And it was Theresa Castellan who cavalierly said in one of the worst baldfaced obvious lies there were “other bidders.”

There was no viable bidders in that late hour, only one had put one on the table with any chance of succeeding early that year and the intent by Castellano, her cousin Michael Russo and a heavily invested effort by Beth Mason using resources in Hoboken, NJ and New York (name that bankruptcy attorney) to sabotage and destroy the efforts to save Hoboken University Medical Center should be forgotten by no one.

It was if anything just short of an outright criminal enterprise.

The video below shows a packed City Council chambers at a special session of the body on a late Sunday where six votes were needed to merely allow the needed parking garage agreement to go into effect. It had been rejected in a vote previously before finally the Council of No capitulation occurred. In watching this video recorded live, the viewer can almost feel the narcissism oozing out of Beth Mason. Her reaction to the audience’s spontaneous response applauding Mayor Zimmer is not to be missed.

Back to the present, we’re four weeks out from a critical Hoboken election with an important City Council majority the stakes.

No major election is atop the ballot making this election very local and a pure match up of Reform vs. the Old Guard.

Who Hoboken voters pull the lever for on Election Day be it Old Hoboken, newcomers, Reform or in-between will decide if Hoboken continues its strong progress or if it turns back the clock as Michael Russo has publicly sought. He says, “change it back…”

As for the Board of Education race; once again the main issue is what? It’s been more akin to appeals to tribalism than anything else. How does that work with the Darkside 2015 ticket putting not one but two enemy “yuppies” on their ticket? It’s clearly motivated to appeal to parents outside the district who would like to get the other kids’ stuff. 

MSV will have a guest column on the BoE forum.

Related: The September 2011 City Council meeting where Theresa Castellano teamed up with Michael Russo and Beth Mason in a cynical attempt to destroy the hospital and…

That should have ended Castellano’s political career right there.

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