Who will be the Old Guard standard bearer for mayor?
There’s a job opening for the Old Guard and applications are being accepted with this sample ad in an upcoming Hoboken Reporter:
Wanted: Old Guard candidate for Hoboken mayor. Must have an affinity for corruption, nepotism, massive development, back room deals and contempt for the public at large, especially busy professionals not paying attention when money is going out the back door. Enjoy taking “yuppies” for a ride wherever possible. Must show reverence for Hoboken traditions re: bar owners over homeowners, the Russo clan and be willing to kiss the Masonic ring, bowing to its temple of self-worshiping doom.
While awaiting applicants, the Old Guard is going all out to make mayhem on the City Council even as far as hiding from council meetings to avoid the appointment of Jim Doyle. It’s been a limited success with strong blow back. Nevertheless the sabotage of the legislative body in the wake of $100 million in damages from Hurricane Sandy, even if temporary is one of their biggest successes in the Dawn of Hoboken.
The action to hide, bravely of course, from council meetings comes with sympathetic editors at the Jersey Journal and the Hudson Reporter recently declaring incumbent Mayor Dawn Zimmer a more than formidable incumbent. Across the county, Hoboken is considered a mess with long time fellow Old Guarders asking, “How did you let this happen?”
When your media counterparts don’t think you can unseat an effective popular mayor, who will you designate to carry the banner for the Old Guard to regain some respect?
There’s lots of choices but not any good ones. First, the most effective potential candidate is nullified out of the gate in the form of Councilman Michael Russo. No one can pivot on a position faster, harder and make it almost believable than the third ward councilman. Unfortunately, his infamous FBI surveillance tape is beyond problematic and not likely to earn him support beyond his neighbors, Old Guard backers and alliances arranged in Newark.
Hoboken with its explosive growth in the last two decades no longer has the “On the Waterfront” love for the old way of cutting deals, favors and money. While Church Towers is admitting favored tenants, one recent addition is said to have properties all over and another is rumored related to a popular family resident easily among the most anti-Administration, that choir isn’t growing. Another bastion of control, the Hoboken Housing Authority is under direct threat and worse real independent accounting jeopardizing money, votes and power.
Michael Russo on his own is unelectable to the mayor’s seat. The apple has shown it doesn’t fall far from Anthony Russo’s tree and no amount of Christmas Eve robocalls can change it.
|Councilman Michael Russo must wonder how his prediction he would be mayor of Hoboken one day is slipping away.
It has to gall him a Tim Occhipinti is pushing himself as a potential mayoral candidate no matter how inept.
Assemblyman Ruben Ramos is the best professional selection for the Old Guard but he’s struggled gaining Old Guard leadership support and his fundraising has been lackluster. He’s been unable to build on any strength beyond his ties to the fourth ward. He holds sway with the Applied Building vote but it’s not large enough to give him dominant strength in a citywide election. The Russo clan would cut a deal with him and may yet but there’s serious doubts he has the stomach for a mayoral race unless he’s forced into it losing State Senator Brian Stack’s support to retain his current Assembly seat.
Ramos who made an early attempt to take out petitions for mayor this month is probably looking to cut a deal with the mayor not to run. The mayor who has broken all the business as usual practices in Hoboken since she took office is not likely to discuss let alone agree to anything. She’s more likely to greet Ramos with a hug and a smile while wishing him well in the race.
Frank “Pupie” Raia has a dream in his heart to become mayor of Hoboken. If you are against parks and open space but support municipal jobs as plums to friends, the perennial candidate and popular Pupie is your pick. His brain however is telling him the school board race where he joined Mason in backing the now infamous Move Forward Nazi Truck nullified his plan to not only take back the BoE but City Hall.
As for the Move Forward Nazi Truck campaign, Raia was said to have been against the operation to have a Nazi swastika flashing across town attacking Old Guard opponents and reform writers. During the lead up to the November election, Raia is thought outvoted at Old Guard BoE strategy meetings hosted by Michele Russo. The Old Guard did not listen to him and he was also opposed by at least one Move Forward candidate who vocally got behind keeping the infamous Nazi Truck rolling.
The fiasco of flashing a Nazi swastika on a truck in a BoE race all around town exploded in the Old Guard’s faces. Raia is also believed furious with Beth Mason for her Nazi Truck operation jeopardizing his last best chance to take the mayor’s chair at City Hall.
Councilwoman Terry Castellano would love to make a run for mayor. She’s made some noises but only in the background and like her Russo clan members, they will only be happy with a Russo holding the reins of power. Her enthusiasm for holding power is greater than her desire to run and there’s no citywide support to get behind the decades long councilwoman most famous for her attempt to bury the four million quarters theft in the parking meters with the infamous line she repeated three times in short order “It’s been cleared up.”
Castellano’s son John who has his name permanently attached to the Nazi Truck Move Forward BoE slate means the family future may lie in selling Chinese made t-shirts on Washington Street for the indefinite future
Councilwoman Beth Mason has a family allowance available to propel her to top candidate status. Well if money was the sole and most important factor. Unfortunately, Mason could spend well over a million dollars and spray tens of thousands of street money in every direction but at best would see only similar results to her wretched third place finish as in the spring of 2009. She’s been spending money at a prodigious pace attempting to buy a county or statewide political position. Her toxic reputation grows like her cancerous lawsuits in the Hudson County courts. Her willingness to bully citizen voices is enjoined with her political operatives decrying “bully bloggers,” who have dared to speak their mind against the Old Guard and her bad practices. Apparently, Hoboken411 and a million dollar communications budget hasn’t overcome the voices of Hoboken residents leading her to look outside the Mile Square for political power and acclaim.
Mason’s crafted image as someone who sought better government and transparency has been demolished with her endless vindictive actions against progress in Hoboken. At the last council meeting her eagerness to vote no saw her stop the legal funding to oppose the Monarch project. Later in the same meeting, she beseeched (and screeched) at the council to help her undo her own vote.
Mason’s legacy is already solidified in stone. Her effort to undermine and destroy the hospital sale when only one viable bidder was available counts as the most vindictive action against Hoboken on par with the arson killing dozens, mostly women and children back in the 1980s. In the end Beth Mason doesn’t want to burn people just destroy them and any opposition using the courts. The public’s taken notice.
Which leaves maybe the most enthusiastic and junior member of MORTe: Tim Occhipinti. The fourth ward “independent” who more resembles an Old Guard puppet without a puppeteer at council meetings is eager to duplicate his initial council run where he introduced himself as a viable Peter Cammarano type to the Old Guard. A young fresh face is what the Old Guard needs and Occhipinti would be happy to make a token run with plenty of Mason money wheeled into a mayoral campaign. There’s Old Guard supporters within the Rotary and Chamber of Commerce who would consider getting on board, although some have begun asking how supporting a dullard advances their hope to get a cut of any pie.
At the last City Council meeting, Occhipinti who always looks to voice opposition against the administration decided it was a good idea to cut off legal work on not one but three ongoing legal matters the City is being sued on led by one outside law firm. He proposed to replace the firm doing the legal work and have someone else sit in on an upcoming legal hearing related to the ongoing fourth ward park eminent domain case. Told that was not a doable proposition and the legal costs to get another firm up to speed would take weeks and come with a huge bill, Occhipinti insisted his on the fly legal prescription was correct and the administration needed to mollify itself to his idea, no matter how untenable. This Occhipinti petulance in the face of common sense is so commonplace, it’s become de rigueur.
Occhipinti has recently joined Beth Mason in applying more rigorous censorship to his Facebook page. Both ejected a vocal local businessman which may signal either the continued lack of respect for speech or the start of a push for his wider political ambitions.
Last, recent free “ads” posing as stories in the Jersey Journal and the Hudson Reporter last weekend point to Jamie Cryan who acted as the campaign manager for the fraud infested 2010 Occhipinti campaign as a compromise candidate for the Old Guard.
Cryan who has been propelled forward due to his cousin, former NJ Assembly speaker Joe Cryan may land up being the salve among fractured Old Guard egos. He was named campaign manager of the 2010 Occhipinti campaign, handed the title he currently holds as Hoboken Democratic Chair and was handed a seat on the County Planning Board not long after the late Maurice Fitzgibbons passed away. Fitzgibbons’ brother was given the heave ho to make room for Cryan before the grave was even cold.
The Old Guard could muster support in Old Hoboken for Cryan and he would present himself as the “safe” friendly face to the “yuppies” who are not paying attention, aka the Peter Cammarano for mayor strategy.
Hey, it’s a long shot but it worked once.
Talking Ed Note: Also at the ready with Old Guard support from certain local business corners is former faux reformer and rumored Al Arezzo business partner Scott Delea. He was forwarded as a selection for City Hall’s rebuild Hoboken efforts. Although a three time loser in council elections, Delea thinks he’s politically viable and pitches himself as someone who can work with both sides.
Which of course begs the question why would anyone in reform want to work with those with a taste for corruption? Delea sees it as a positive while most reform elements see no reason to let Old Guard backers wet their beaks for the sake of some broader alliance.
Delea and political pal Eduardo Gonzalez could land on a ticket or form a “third way” ticket in an attempt to lift themselves above the other Old Guard options with the hope to capitalize in future races. Delea’s copyright theft unaddressed after months of efforts and legal letters is not problematic in Old Guard circles, it’s a selling point.
In Hoboken reform circles, Delea is known as someone who can’t give a straight answer and after taking on its revered Peter Cunningham in 2011, never to be trusted.