Grist for the Mill: Rally around the summer campfire

Summer officially passes in these parts with Labor Day but the nuggets over the weekend were more entertaining than a late summer weekend decision on a seasonal movie selection.

Word of a summer gathering and rally around the campfire is basking in the glow of Old Guard unity or at least the appearance of it; a years long yearning held by the Hudson Reporter banished to Bayonne before it could see the demise of the Hoboken reform movement.

The construction office will not be seeing Al returning this week, next week or any other week but the political hopes and dreams that the Hoboken Old Guard would rally around one never say die candidate and knock off Mayor Dawn Zimmer who is eyeing a third term in the November 2017 election is dancing in some eyes.

Freeholder Anthony “Stick” Romano is the object of desire with dreams of bringing back the old style Hoboken way of governance and home cooking. Romano who is facing the prospect of running for Freeholder or mayor is already kicking the tires and looking for funds but it isn’ the county position the fundraising is intended.

Councilman Ruben Ramos is thought sitting it out but some suggest he’s looking to complete his NJ education pension as a schoolteacher, a believed three year requirement to complete. Whatever the speculative list of reasons, he’s not seeking another head-to-head battle with Mayor Zimmer where other forces can enter the mix and muck up the race as in 2013.

Frank “Pupie” Raia is the wild card and the history is interventionist for reasons only he knows. There’s been much speculation on the impact of the more than quarter century North Hudson Sewerage Authority appointment sought earlier this year and how Raia went from sole candidate to also ran in the space of days leading up to the council vote.

This Horse was intimate to that random party pooping so here’s what actually happened. Word was swirling at the tail end of 2015 of the upcoming NHSA seat and only one application was present in the mix: Raia’s.

So the question began germinating, how can a reform movement allow such an appointment to go unopposed? These things don’t happen by accident and the NHSA seat is the only board position of all Hoboken board positions with any compensation. It pays $5,000 annually and also featured paid health insurance benefits until Governor Christie pushed through a reform where part time positions in government no longer could chow down that tasty morsel courtesy of the taxpayers.

Except for Pupie who somehow got a grandfather allowance as is the Soprano State way for those who are down and out or sometimes neither. The health insurance benefits continued for one NHSA commissioner from Hoboken who served on the board for a quarter century and was seeking another term to maintain dignity and a mint bennie.

Enter one wayward pony and a giant. In a weekend January phone call discussing some football, the topic of the NHSA came up and the rhetorical question, how can a reform movement not act to see a change of the Old Guard after a quarter century? We’re not even getting into any other baggage as everyone well knows it’s almost time for Vote-by-Mail season in Hoboken, a hallowed tradition of employment.

So the random conversation turned to the NHSA and one pony said well if no one is going to to take on this less than democratic option of one paid board seat per candidate, an ole War Hoss will enter the fray. A quick comparison was elicited by the Giant on infrastructure experience. What about knowledge on the most juicy organic carrot?

With that, the decision was made. Kurt Gardiner would throw his hat in the ring the following week and with about 10 days until the City Council voted on the appointment, all hell would break loose until the final vote.

Upon entering the council chambers, neither the Giant nor this Horse knew which way or any which way the vote would go.

That story is for another day, no need to further Sully up the works. Time to get those logo designs for the Mikie Squared for Mayor for 2020 going. The 2021 race is only five years away!

 Grist for the Mill is MSV’s rumor column. Got a tasty carrot for Da Horsey? Send it to All email is kept confidential until mutual agreement and is protected by Da Horsey’s proven Reporter Privilege upheld under the NJ Shield Law in Hudson Superior Court.

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