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Horse Sense: Can we please have some sanity?

Wednesday night the special City Council meeting generated some discussion as always on the issues of the day. Word has gotten out and yes it’s true. Da Horsey took to the microphone and for good reason. It was time to press back on the mountain of misinformation repeated as fact over and over, not in any itemized fashion but more for the sake of taking it right to their doorstep – where too much grandstanding of late lives and breathes.

So rather impulsively, with no plan to speak, no notes, outline or bullet points, Da Horsey got up and laid out some points on the general state of affairs of City Council conduct and specifically the multitude of lies surrounding the Municipal Garage among other recent fare.

After the short remarks concluded, Councilwoman Terry Castellano felt compelled to respond to the remarks by noting the city was in a legal wrangle with the developer, S. Hekemian even though that legal equation took up much of Da Horsey’s remarks. Although there was no question put to her or the Council, she quickly replied to the request not to take a public position jeopardizing the city’s legal case on the matter of the Municipal Garage. “We’re being sued. Someone dropped the ball here,” she said leaving the innuendo hanging out in the wind and doing the opposite of what was just asked.

Councilwoman Castellano responds but there was no question posed

Councilwoman Castellano inadvertently proves the point. By an impromptu citation of the Hoboken Now story on the matter, the recognition the City of Hoboken was in a legal dispute with the developer, S. Hekemian was distinctly obvious. The point was to emphasize the dispute is not over the substance of the sale price of $25.5 million but the developer’s downpayment of $2.55 million and legal fees, nothing more. The developer was never going to put up $25.5 million on a property they now valued at less than $15 million without substantial concessions – those requested concessions were met with deaf ears. Developers are not used to such resolve from Hoboken over recent years.

See the northeast skyline for how developers earlier flummoxed the will of residents. The density and height was proposed to be in line with Edgewater’s development. Yet somehow, a bunch of high rises now tower over the water, blocking the sight lines to the Hudson and adding to some interesting smells from the sewer system on the north side of town during the summer.

Back to our “public” portion of the City Council meeting. The ability for the City Council to listen to the public even for a few minutes without them “responding” is a practice that needs to stop. The purpose of public portion is not for them to respond but to listen. It’s ironic Councilwoman Castellano felt this unbearable compulsion to remark on the obvious while doing exactly what the council was just requested not to do.

That cancer was particularly bad when Peter Cammarano and company were running the show. There’s been a remarkable improvement since that time but there is still an occasional, problematic outburst from the Council when the public is speaking. MSV cited a previous instance recently but the application requires consistency even if flotsam and jetsam is being spewed by John Q. Public pretenders who are political operatives and/or ghostwriting for Hoboken411.

Instead of speaking during the public portion, the Council should be listening. They get to speak over the course of hours, and much of that speech over the last year or more has been voluminous grandstanding, politicization of the most ordinary issues and frankly childish whining.

When you are politely asked to listen, at least try to act like you are capable of doing so.

Talking Ed Note: City Council President Carol Marsh has displayed a disciplined style on running the Council meetings. She’s done so by following the council rules and has minimized out of order remarks to her great credit. If she can get this aspect on the public portion to the finish line, that would be yet one more improvement.

Related: Katie Colaneri is relatively new to the Hoboken beat for the Jersey Journal. She posted the exclusive story cited in the public portion on the developer trying to recover their $2.55 million deposit and legal fees. MSV had predicted that would be exactly the case earlier, notwithstanding the white noise from certain quarters in the City Council.

http://www.nj.com/hobokennow/index.ssf/2010/09/s_hekemian_group_says_it_was_p.html#_login

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