Grist for the Mill: The Big Man comes back to town

Governor Chris Christie may not be  present in Hoboken, but he might as well be based on the impact of the Governor’s statement in Hoboken yesterday.  People across the political spectrum were buoyed by his storming the Hoboken beach head: and Normandy is the emergency entrance at the hospital on Willow Street.

Official statements serve lots of purposes to illustrate, educate and inform but this one was more like an M-1 Abrams arriving on the scene and letting a round fly, it’s trajectory arced and aimed right at the heart of the Beth Russo hydra and striking their patrons at the hospital union.

While many may have taken great sustenance in it, there’s more reasons it’s important than appear on the surface.  Hospital jobs and a hospital are not the only items hanging in the balance; there’s Hoboken’s municipal workers and this includes police and fire jobs twisting in the wind.

The hospital unions are the last obstacle keeping ugly outcomes from becoming reality.  Are they ready to move ahead with the State money becoming available to resolve the creditor’s payout, the last bit of housekeeping before a sale can be completed to Holdco?

Governor Chris Christie wasn’t in town yesterday but he might as well have been.  The statewide war with the unions has reached Hoboken’s shores and the hospital is the beaches of Normandy.

The answer is no and even with the State’s stepping up to the plate with $5 million if necessary, no announcement on the creditor’s reaching a settlement agreement came yesterday.  The reason is evident in the Governor’s statement and it’s listed not down the list but first.  The hospital has not made adequate concessions to the new owner to keep the hospital open.  Enter the statewide battle between the unions and Gov. Chris Christie.  Hoboken now becomes the latest stop in that battle.

But the terms of battle are changed entirely.  The hospital employees have been treated like cannon fodder in a much bigger battle.  What they don’t know is the balance of the statewide war may see them thrown under the bus and the hospital yet close.  The unions have stated they would prefer hospital closure over giving in to Holdco again, after the hospital group took over the Bayonne hospital and turned it around.

The vast majority of people in Hoboken just want the hospital sold.  For the unions, the stakes are not just the 1100 jobs.  They have all kinds of other calculus involved not only their union membership in Hoboken.  They are looking to put a stop to Governor Chris Christie’s pro-taxpayer express, one that is paralleled in Hoboken in the person of Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

Councilwoman Beth Mason betrayed the true battle lines when she raised the issue of the nurse’s hospital union not being made whole in any deal on the bankruptcy.  That’s not remotely possible for any of the creditors but she belied where her true “constituency” lies.  Mason then went on to ridicule the “bondholders” being made whole.  Who are the bondholders, the only party secured in the sale of the hospital?  They are your neighbors, your friends, and well you – the Hoboken taxpayer.

The money is on the table to reach a settlement with the creditors, yet, there was no settlement announced yesterday at day’s end.  Much weighs in the balance. The big question is do the unions want to save the jobs and the hospital as most Hoboken residents or do they want to give Governor Chris Christie a bloody nose?

If it were up to the Beth Russo hydra, you’d already have that answer.  The Council of No are more than willing to trade the closure of the hospital to get in a clean shot at putting a shiv into the mayor, the more blood spilled the better.  It’s so forefront in their minds, Michele Russo, mother of Councilman Michael Russo was perfectly comfortable telling three hospital employees before the City Council meeting, “Why should we give them the money?  They’ll just close the hospital anyway.”

If the hospital unions behind the scenes with their statewide union allies concur, the deal obvious to everyone in the public including the hospital union’s members may not reach the finish line.  There’s real concern this may in fact happen.  A deal should have been reached yesterday, but it wasn’t.  The longer this goes on with no settlement, the less likely it is to happen.

Hoboken shouldn’t take it personal.  It’s just the latest battleground in the statewide union wars.  Of course no one should not be expected to take it personal when it ruins your life, least of all the more than 1100 hospital employees who may see their lives harmed so the union can make a point.

So it’s unclear if the hospital and its employees may be thrown overboard. If they are Mike Russo and Beth Mason will simply come up with new crafted lines to blame the mayor and include Governor Christie in the same politrickin sentence.  The unhinged vitriol flying from them at the City Council belies what they have in mind next to deflect what they’ve done putting the hospital and its employees in peril.

This war is  far bigger than Hoboken and sadly may be far bigger than the cost in jobs, a hospital and municipal burning that would be sure to follow with a closure of what many still call St. Mary’s.

Beth Mason’s censorship loving website Hoboken411 ran with the union fed line Holdco pulled out from buying HUMC.  The lie was so obvious this one was pulled down, maybe a first.

Talking Ed Note: Interest in this story, long a sleeper has become a barn burner. Traffic yesterday was near all time highs.  Even Hoboken411 we hear pulled the story we stated was wrong on Holdco pulling out of buying the hospital.

You have to wonder if Beth Mason apologized to Perry Klaussen for telling him to put that up.  Maybe the envelope will be a little heavier the next time they meet over at Elysian Cafe to soothe his feelings for being exposed as a union tool.  Hmmn, what would Glen Beck say?

Grist for the Mill is a rumor column but it strives for accuracy as a typical news story (in these parts) might.  Got a juicy carrot for Da Horsey.  Send it to  All correspondence is handled with confidentiality.

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