Horse Sense: The (FBI) heat is on

The quiet before the storm has people on edge.  You can see it in the earlier City Council video with the less than forthcoming response to a yes or no question and the pointless arguing leading in about a certain horse coming in “consistently late” to the meeting. As if.

The question on whether Council members Beth Mason and Mike Russo have been reading emails from City Hall’s servers is easy enough to answer with a simple yes or no.  Neither could let one of those single syllable words escape from their mouths.  Mike Russo who is no slouch in the blathering department during council meetings wasted more words to say nothing deferring to the chair than to simply answer yes or no.  That’s not the Mike Russo we’ve all come to know in Council chambers.  The Mike Russo on the dais is happy to speak on all sides of an issue, sometimes in a single breath.

Not now.  With the FBI likely pouring through in forensic detail the fingerprints of who has what and when within the city’s confidential electronic communications, the heat outside may soon look cooler than endless days spent at Rahway.  Councilwoman Beth Mason said the council would be “happy” to answer the question but it seems to have escaped both her and Mike Russo’s short term memory.  Simple oversight or avoidance behavior against self-incrimination?

Councilman Mike Russo: where a simple yes or no will do, he’s uncharacteristically very short on words on a straight forward question whether he’s seen any emails requested in his own resolution.  The FBI has them.  Does Beth Russo too?  What confidential information has escaped City Hall’s servers and to whom?

The whole pretext of the email witch hunt was based on something clearly spurious making the enterprise suspicious out of the gate.  2nd ward candidate Franz Paetzhold spoke on the resolution at the last council meeting and repeated the exact Beth Mason position she used in early April deeming it improper for the mayor to have her comments on Mike Russo’s corruption appear on the city website.  Interestingly, his comments solely focused on the mayor’s words on corruption appearing on the website now two months old.  He never even breathed the word “emails” the focus of the Beth Russo resolution once.

How the mayor’s statement on Mike Russo’s corruption witnessed for all to see in the FBI surveillance bribe tapes became the basis for demanding the turnover of tens of thousands of emails is outlandish but the resolution sponsored by Beth Mason and co-sponsored by Mike Russo did exactly that and then returned with a more narrow scope: this time with three reform writers atop the list.

Reader InfotainMe recently wrote:
Where exactly is the smoke anyway? The only justification I’ve heard for this whole exercise is that Zimmer criticized Russo on the city website. How does that explain the need to receive all of Melli and Bryan’s emails? The answer should be a flat ‘no’ until they back up the suspicion with something concrete. Call their bluff, mayor.

While you’re working on that one, can someone name ANYTHING Mason/Russo are doing that can’t be classified as waging war on the administration? Cutting salaries, breaking contracts, eliminating the financial safety net, conducting an email witch hunt?

Is ANYTHING about the taxpayer’s business? If you eliminated the directors outright Hoboken would still have a $99million budget. When does this group do any actual work?

Salient points all and surprisingly at no time of any interest to our local media editors.  At this point we’re far beyond the endless politics and a pointless email search through thousands of pages of press releases.  Of the three reform targets sitting atop the Beth Russo resolution, there’s not any grand conspiracies to be found.  The Hoboken Journal has noted a few jokes going back among the hundreds of public releases received, Grafix Avenger mocks Beth Mason and Mike Russo noting a handful of recipes sent and has probably not even equaled that comic exchange.

MSV has some emails replied to the hundreds received in public releases but it doesn’t add up to a hill of beans.  After the criminal matter is dealt with by outside law enforcement, all of them will be available to the public.  It’ll get a chuckle or a few yawns.

The FBI will be weighing in at some point and one can conclude, it’s going to be far more grave than a Hoboken Journal joke, a Grafix Avenger banana bread recipe or a MSV observation on a community meeting about parks.

There’s one more Beth Russo led Council meeting and then they are moved aside.  The question is how far?  Only the FBI really knows.  And they aren’t talking.

Neither are Beth Mason and Mike Russo.

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