Old Guard laments defeat over November BoE elections

The Old Guard lost a key vote in Hoboken, and in the case of their opposition moving to November BoE elections, it’s nothing short of a monstrous defeat. A month after the option was signed into law by Governor Chris Christie almost 87% of State BoE election districts made the jump. It’s not been very controversial but to the Hoboken Old Guard, avoiding November elections and a bigger turnout is a life and death affair.

With a mayor not increasing the number of municipal employees, their voting base is decreasing not increasing. A slice of Old Hoboken is becoming more disenchanted with the Old Guard, especially in their reckless and incessant sabotage of Hoboken, their attempts to scuttle the sale of the hospital and repeated refusals to back capital improvements such as for police, fire and environmental services through much of 2011, just to spite the mayor.

With this backdrop comes a truculent letter from Old Guard politico Perry Belfiore. While awaiting a 2013 mayoral race where he hopes to see Mayor Zimmer replaced, he submitted a letter to the Hudson Reporter. On first reading, it wasn’t clear to Da Horsey Perry was highlighting MSV in the first paragraph as we did not interview Theresa Minutillo as claimed, it was Frank Raia.  Nor did we assure the BoE election would move from April to November.  MSV merely broke and stood by its story as in the Hoboken411 criminal coercion case.

Da Horsey most definitely did urge attendance at the BoE meeting on a Valentine’s Day where turnout would be a challenge and a question mark for a besieged duly elected body. The turnout was good and offset what was clearly a desperate attempt at creating a circus atmosphere or worse in the hope to stop a legal vote for November BoE elections.The Old Guard has been crying about the result for days on end since.

In the City Council meeting last Wednesday, an exorbitant amount of time was filled with whining and tossing out every falsehood the Old Guard could come up with  to put a meaningless question on the ballot this November.  This as a real BoE election is actually taking place.

The move to November BoE elections is a huge loss for them, they know it and their paid political operatives in service to Beth Mason are still kvetching about it endlessly on Hoboken Patch.

 Perry Belfiore (c) with Franz Paetzhold in happier times outside the Democratic Committee meeting last May. Has the death knell tolled for the Old Guard with BoE elections moving to November? 
Based on their reaction, it appears they may in fact see that writing on the wall. 

Here’s the letter to the Hudson Reporter by Perry Belfiore: 

For weeks, a local for-profit Blog Site has maintained a consistent message assuring movement of the school board election from April to November. The blog interviewed Theresa Minutillo, a sitting board member whose term expires this April, about the wonderful opportunity the move presents, published an election analysis demonstrating how November would reverse city-wide losses sustained by the Zimmer Administration, and sent out a clarion call to all Zimmer supporters urging attendance at the school board meeting.

Dutifully, a dozen or more ardent Zimmer supporters, including First Husband Stan Grossbard, braved the incredibly hot, cramped board meeting room where they were met by an equal or slightly larger group of administration critics.For two hours the meeting droned on with issues warranting lengthy discussion, such as the budget and labor agreements. Finally, it came time for the public to speak. Positive some in attendance wished to speak on more personal issues such as the schooling of their child, the first speaker chose to address the date of the election. At this point, the board president informed the speaker and all attendees that public comment would be shortened from the standard five minutes, which appears on all board agendas, to two minutes.

The uproar was instantaneous. Several times the board called a recess and approximately one hour later when the meeting continued, in rapid succession the motives of the chair were questioned, a motion to override the chair failed and finally a three minute gag rule was imposed by the Zimmer-supported majority.

Of course, I spoke. Trying to convey how the elected unilaterally extending their time in office was a major concern, I spoke of our representative form of government, which allows the elected to make decisions in the name of the people for a prescribed period and how this contract between the elected and the governed cannot be amended, to extend time in office, without consent from both parties. Midway through I was told my time had elapsed and threatened with arrest if I continued to speak. Debate on these consequential issues stymied, the threat of removal by uniformed police indicates not the lofty stated goal of increased voter participation but a tyrannical board obsessed with abject self-preservation.

I recognized a fait accompli and the affront to the democratic process was exemplar. Zimmer’s board members will tell you other districts enacted similar resolutions, or how not voting on the budget isn’t important. Left unsaid is how recent similar effort to extend the terms of Mayor Zimmer and her council cronies was rebuked by the people.

I don’t want to conflate the people’s right to set the course of term limits through referendum with the operations of the district. Our goal should be to provide the best education. However, the tumultuous 1960s imparted a healthy suspicion of government leaving indelible denying any governing body more than the will of the people freely gives. The will of the people was never considered at the board’s St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.With a ruckus underway, Nick Calicchio continues yelling at BoE members exiting to a side room even with the microphone down and the cameras not rolling as Old Guard row (rear) is seen. 

Nick Calicchio continues yelling at BoE members even with the microphone and cameras off as they depart the fracas to a side room.  Councilman Mike Russo rear left is pictured with Ma Russo and in-between a smiling Perry Belfiore enjoys the circus.  Frank Raia and Beth Mason right are seen rear right on Old Guard row. Order was restored in ten minutes not an hour

Talking Ed Note: There’s not much substance here, it’s more gassy misinformation not requiring correction. The chair is permitted under its rules to reduce speaking time when a large group signs up and the meeting which began at 7:00 went well past midnight even after the going from five to three minutes per speaker. Was that a wise decision considering a wound up desperate Old Guard looking to stop November elections at any cost? It would change no vote or outcome weeks leading into the vote as predicted here. It shortened a chance to denigrate the proceedings, nothing more.

With an overwhelming defeat handed down, Old Guard hopes to stave off higher turnout in November has put them in a sour mood. Without an expanding municipal employee voter base and/or growing subsidized housing, their only hope to regain power is to discourage or disgust other voters, especially taxpayers and parents from participating in the electoral process and also abandon the public schools. They put their worst face forward here. For their efforts which included a petition worded with no legal value they will see November BoE elections for the next four years.

The November BoE election will be the opposite of letting the least amount of people decide.  And that is what the Old Guard fears most.

As for Perry Belfiore, he should be careful the next time he goes on safari around  Hoboken election time.  People in the Hoboken Housing Authority were chasing him for their “campaigning” money when a number were stiffed after the BoE election.  Farmer Frank harvested the votes but didn’t pay them for their “campaign work.”

It’s awful when the hunters become the hunted.

There will be no safaris in Hoboken this April.

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