Mike Russo goes politrickin in the Hudson Reporter

Here is a letter published in the weekend Hudson Reporter from 3rd ward Councilman Mike Russo:

Dear Editor:

I hope you’ll allow me an opportunity to discuss the upcoming City Council race in the 3rd Ward. As this campaign begins, it is clear that my opponent will be pulling out the same old playbook of lies and innuendo that has been used against me in the past with no success.

Here are a few facts. My surname is Russo. I am the son of a former mayor who went to prison for corruption. His last year in office was 2001. This is old news, but that won’t stop my opponent from bringing it up every chance he gets. I’m used to it by now, and the residents of the 3rd Ward have heard it all before.

Here are a few more facts my opponent has either forgotten or simply chooses to ignore.

I am the councilman who initiated the investigation that removed several individuals who were receiving city health benefits incorrectly. Mayor Zimmer, then a councilwoman, did nothing on this issue.

I am the councilman who first asked questions about close to a million dollars in missing income at the Parking Utility. It was the mayor’s office at the time that called the discrepancy “a mistake.” It was my questions that ultimately uncovered the missing funds.

I am the councilman who raised the alarm when the administration was considering moving the municipal garage to Jackson Street. The only reason the municipal garage wasn’t moved to Jackson Street is because we joined with 3rd Ward residents to stop it. These residents will be surprised to learn that my opponent calls their efforts “a lie.”

I am the councilman who took the political heat and held out for a promise of a 3rd Ward park to be included as part of the recent $20 million bond issue.

I am the councilman who has forced this administration to spend tax dollars conservatively, forcing municipal budget cuts that trim fat from the budget and focus spending on needed services. I chair the council committee that will present amendments to the municipal budget that will result in real tax relief for Hoboken.

I’m confident that the voters of the 3rd Ward will see through the lies my opponent will tell during this campaign. It’s one thing to attend a few City Council meetings for a few minutes and call yourself a concerned citizen. It’s quite another to actually do the important work that affects the lives of Hoboken residents. I challenge my opponent to tell 3rd Ward residents what exactly he has ever done for them.

Councilman Michael Russo

Talking Ed Note:  Mike Russo makes some interesting comments in this letter.  He claims he initiated an investigation into illegally paid health benefits.  Actually his charge which MSV showed in its entirety on video claimed over 90 people were illegally receiving those benefits.  It proved to be a handful.  But he doesn’t and won’t explain how his father, the former mayor and ex-con was put back on taxpayer paid health benefits after getting out of jail.  How did that happen Mike?  What did you know and when did you know it?

Mike Russo claims credit for uncovering almost a million in quarters missing in the Parking Utility.  But once he asked the question about the revenue, he ran away from the answer and refused to cooperate with other council members such as Councilman Peter Cunningham who wanted desperately to pursue the matter.  He fought tooth and nail to keep the Council from acting on a desire to tackle the issue in an audit.  He called THAT pursuit illegal and the revelation of the missing money incorrect and his “mistake.”  

Why were you covering up the million dollar theft Mike Russo?

Mike Russo threw a grandstanding party on the Municipal Garage’s temporary move, of this there is no doubt.  He spread rumors and undermined the search for a temporary location at every turn claiming the Pino’s site was the location intended.  He had a bunch of real estate people help spread the rumor who held a financial interest in the 3rd ward.  In the end the City needed to negotiate the best option for a temporary garage location.  Mike Russo knew that and demanded that only one location be eliminated BEFORE negotiations were complete in choosing ANOTHER location.  In doing so, he may have also revealed confidential information discussed in private executive session.  Way to go Mike!

Mike Russo acted single-handedly to table the bond ordinance to give Hoboken more parks.  He acted similarly on each and every successive bond for open space and parks thereafter in a series of moves to eject the matter out of the City Council just a few weeks ago.  Now he claims he is a parks advocate after flip flopping from public pressure with the resulting publicity of his actions.

If you think Mike Russo “forced” the Administration to curb spending or provide tax relief in any shape or form, MSV has a bridge to sell you.  He did however vote along with his cousin 2nd ward Councilwoman Terry Castellano and Beth Mason to have Director Ian Sacs pay $1,000 in transportation costs for a professional transportation conference he was approved for in advance AFTER THE TRIP at a recent council meeting.

Last, if you think this will be the end of the serious questions surrounding Mike Russo, it won’t.  Bet.

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