Anyone who thinks that Councilman Russo has done anything but embarrass Hoboken and its residents is blatantly ignoring reality. Agreeing to break the law with a $5,000 donation and rushing through development deals with the same man who brought down ex-mayor Peter Cammarano has thrown Hoboken’s name through the mud once again. But elected officials like Councilwoman Theresa Castellano and Councilman Giacchi allowing this reprehensible behavior to go unpunished, without asking him to step down from his post as commissioner on the Hoboken Housing Authority, drags Hoboken further down the dirt road.
Castellano and Giacchi’s display of ambivalence towards Councilman Russo’s actions at the city council meeting on April 6 is inexcusable. Councilman Giacchi must not understand the higher moral standard to which elected officials are held and the subsequent effects of their negative behavior when he referred to the outrage against Councilman Russo just as “political theatre.” Does he not realize that, because of Councilman Russo’s actions, residents of Hoboken and colleagues of Councilman Russo can’t even trust him to abide by the rules he helps regulate? He also stated that he was ready to get back to the business of improving Hoboken. I’ve got news for you, Councilman Giacchi – residents can’t rely on public officials like Councilman Russo to improve Hoboken if they’re ready to sell out our city to developers while lining their pockets with thousand dollar bills.
Similarly, Councilwoman Castellano shamelessly defended Councilman Russo, her cousin, stating several times that he “did not commit a crime.” No, Councilwoman, your cousin did not technically break the law; his actions, however, were just as bad if not worse – he erased every ounce of credibility and trust with the residents of Hoboken that he had left as an elected official. Simply calling his behavior “irresponsible” is ignoring the fact that Councilman Russo did not just display arrogance and boastfulness – he was ready to throw Hoboken residents under the bus for his own personal gain.
You can’t tell me that any upstanding Hoboken resident can look Councilman Russo in the eye and believe a word that comes out of his mouth or trust him to do the job for which he was elected. I’m embarrassed for Hoboken that people like Councilman Russo who not only refuse to take responsibility for their own actions, but also for elected officials who allow this to occur – especially those who refused to ask Russo to step down from all posts of authority on the city council.
It makes me think that certain council members have learned nothing from the mistakes of elected officials-turned-criminals like ex-mayors Peter Cammaranno and Anthony Russo.
1st Ward Committeeman