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The art or artless selling of the lie, “a political stunt” undone

The startling collapse of the opposition to making immediate the parking agreement allowing the hospital to move its sale to completion will be remembered for what Council President Ravi Bhalla aptly called an “11th hour political stunt.”

Councilwoman Beth Mason attempted to hijack the meeting at the beginning to announce a non-binding “deal” with Holdco but was stopped by the Council President.  The public’s response was overwhelmingly negative to its messengers Beth Mason and Mike Russo.
Face saving attempt: Councilwoman Beth Mason tried repeatedly to have read a “deal” she said was made with the new owners of the hospital but could not hijack the meeting and do so.  She would make attempts to have it read by Assemblywoman Joan Quigley and Freeholder Anthony Romano.  Those attempts also failed.
The public spoke first per the council rules and Council President Ravi Bhalla once again demonstrated a mastery of the proceedings by any measure.  He maintained decorum for the benefit of all involved and continues to impress with both his skill and acumen through a high pressure situation that could have degenerated into a circus.
A senior executive in a conversation with MSV at the hospital less than an hour before the council meeting expressed optimism the vote would be unanimous.  
The mayor played a critical role behind the scenes bringing this to fruition.  
Here’s the complete statement that was released to the Jersey Journal, the Hudson Reporter and also coordinated with Beth Mason’s political operation at Hoboken411 right before the meeting:

The Hoboken City Council Minority, composed of Council Members Theresa Castellano, Beth Mason, Michael Russo, and Tim Occhipinti, and HUMC Holdco, the proposed buyer of the Hoboken hospital, have reached an agreement to enact HUMC Holdco’s parking access agreement immediately in exchange for a written agreement to keep the

Hoboken hospital open for at least seven years, a designee on the new Hospital board, and the establishment of several important community health programs. This will allow the sale of the Hoboken hospital to proceed immediately.

These Council members repeatedly attempted to meet with Mayor Zimmer to address the community’s concerns with the sale. However, the Mayor refused, even stating the new owners would not negotiate any aspects of the transaction.

The agreement between these City Council

members and HUMC Holdco, negotiated through the evening last night and today, flies in the face of the Mayor’s claims. It also demonstrates HUMC Holdco’s willingness to work with all members of Hoboken’s government and its commitment to ensure the concerns of all residents are addressed…

Two of the main parts of the minority’s agreement include:

“An agreement to allow the City Council Minority to designate an appointee to the new hospital board. This appointment shows the buyer’s commitment to increasing community participation in the future of the hospital and allows all residents to have a voice.”

“The establishment of several community health programs as a give back in exchange for the 99-year parking agreement. These programs include pro bono medical services for low-income residents, a women’s healthcare center, a sports and alternative medicine program, and a senior citizen services program. The parking agreement allows the new owners to save approximately $12 million in costs since they will not have to pay to construct their own parking facility. These programs will compensate the community for this subsidy being provided to the new hospital owner. “

After the sale’s completion Hoboken taxpayers will be relieved of the $52 million bond guarantee the city agreed to in 2007 to purchase the hospital.

Beth Mason placed this document in front of Anthony Romano .
She was attempting to have it introduced as a second “council minority deal.”  
Talking Ed Note: It’s clear a face saving measure was quickly hatched as the pressure from the public was overwhelming along with additional pressures from all sides within and outside of Hoboken itself.  There’s more to all of this and in the future MSV will be updating the saga, for this was a saga and it put Hoboken through some turmoil for political reasons having nothing to do with the best interests of the hospital and its residents.
Some commenters question this “additional seat,” but MSV will say there is nothing at all binding in the presentation of this political document by Councilwoman Beth Mason.  Holdco is a private entity and if they choose to add a seat at their table, they certainly can do so.  
Later MSV would introduce in public portion its appendix to the Holdco deal.  Da Horsey announced part of the deal would include the hospital being renamed “Horse Farms” and noted one floor of the midtown garage would be taken over and the hospital would report to Da Horsey, SmartyJones.
….and about that seat.  The word is who will get that “seat” and Holdco decides to play along:

Beth Mason.

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