Live City Council blog – Hospital first

Everyone is here and the big 4th ward showdown is underway. We’ve gotten a signal from a non-governmental source: the indication is that Mike Lenz has found the fifth vote.

The other candidates are all here dressed up to play.  They don’t look like they are out of it.  Frances Jennings is not in the Chambers.  The mayor Dawn Zimmer is though. She’s sitting in the front row and looking great with a new haircut.

The hospital has now been moved first.  First speech from the Hospital Authority guy selling the hospital tax contribution to the town.  Beth Mason not buying it.  She’s shaking her head no as he touts the tax benefit.  It goes all downhill from there.  When the hospital CEO gets up to speak, the numbers are clearly abysmal when it finally comes out.  THE HOSPITAL IS THE BLOODY TITANIC!  The whole hospital PR campaign is under assault.  Beth Mason is furious and calls for all their heads.  CEO Spiros Hattiras is trying to reason with the councilwoman.  He loses his patience several times.  It’s a joke.  They need millions immediately.  They are running on less than 100K in cash.  Hattiras says the hospital is “entitled” to millions in state aid.  Says the council should work with them to get the State funding by December.

The jig is up.  Hoboken has been set up.  This PR presentation is turning out to be a disaster.  Later on a break, Beth Mason spoke with MSV about the hospital.  Hattiras was dismissive of the councilwoman’s suggestion consultants could provide some help.  She’s absolutely convinced it would be very helpful.  She is none to pleased as we ask for what next steps can be taken.  She seems at a loss to explain the options.  For the town they appear to be quite limited.  She mentions that she believes the CEO knew about all this (red ink) when he took the position (in June).  She says she knows that there is a vulture waiting.  (An entity or person who will pick up the remains and profit from the disaster.)  It’s a stunning turnaround from her efforts (along with her husband) to stave off this situation from ever happening.  And now it is. The anger and resignation in the packed crowd is palpable.  There must be 90 people, many standing ringed completely around the outskirts of the chambers.  The crowd is not happy with any of the hospital people.  (And why would they?)

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