Stick’s tough choice
Apr 21, 2013 | 2970 views | 11 11 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Freeholder Anthony “Stick” Romano of Hoboken is caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place in deciding what to do next with his political career.

There’s a backlash among Old Hoboken against Assemblyman Ruben Ramos because of Ramos’ decision to run for mayor. Ramos’ political behind-the-scenes efforts have put him in a good position to get the backing of State Sen. Brian Stack in the November mayoral election. Some are pushing Romano to consider a run for mayor as an alternative to Ramos and Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

The argument is that Zimmer is unlikely to select Romano next year as the candidate for freeholder, so he might as well run for mayor. Zimmer may well have her own freeholder candidate in mind.

Romano, however, has also been criticized for being too close to Zimmer – especially during Hurricane Sandy, when he worked with her to help get Hoboken out of its dire straits, relying on his ability to work with the Zimmer administration as a way to save his job as freeholder.

If he decides to run for mayor, however, he can kiss his freeholder seat good-bye, and he probably won’t win the mayoralty with the anti-Zimmer forces so divided.

Romano has to convince Zimmer that he is someone she can count on, thus voiding some of the critics in her camp who might be working against his reelection as freeholder. It is not an easy chore, but it is possibly the only route he can take.

Carmelo Garcia’s troubles

The legal effort to wedge Carmelo Garcia out of his candidacy for assembly on Stack’s slate may not have its roots with Zimmer, despite what is being said by people in various political camps who blame Zimmer. Garcia’s legal woes stem from his desire to remain employed at the Hoboken Housing Authority even if he’s elected assemblyman. Five city residents have sued, contending he’s ineligible to run because his HHA job is a federal position.

The legal challenge may be coming from those who were thought to be in the running but got cut out of the loop by a clever political move that put Garcia and another close ally of Ramos onto the ticket instead. The suspects behind the legal move, which was expected to go to court on Friday, April 19 (after press time), include Hoboken Councilman Ravi Bhalla, a Zimmer ally who is also running for the state Assembly and had hoped to run with Stack. This is Bhalla’s second attempt at the same seat, and he was rejected by Stack the last time, too. Other possible culprits include people in the anti-Zimmer camp who may want to derail this move because they are angry at Ramos.

The question is: can Garcia serve both posts when the Housing Authority gets federal money to operate?

The federal Hatch Act prohibits an employee of the federal government from holding a state elected office. This was the reason West New York Commissioner Caridad Rodriguez had to resign as an aide of Rep. Albio Sires when she was elected to the state Assembly several years ago.

But those close to Stack say they looked into all aspects of this and found no legal reason to give Garcia the boot from the ticket.

Recall is on

West New York Commissioner Count Wiley has officially started the recall against Mayor Felix Roque in what many predict will be a three-ring circus, although behind the scenes the anti-Roque forces appear to be gathering for a united campaign.

A lot will depend on Roque’s support among ordinary people in West New York and whether he can maintain his cachet as a reformer. Many hoping to unseat him are hoping the old rock song by the British band The Who holds true: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” They hope to tarnish Roque as a reformer who has gone over the dark side of the force.

It is difficult to picture Roque as Darth Vader, however, although his political opponents will try. Roque’s real vulnerability will be the “read my lips” issue former President George H. Bush suffered from. Roque promised to lower taxes after using high taxes as an issue against former Mayor Sal Vega. But the Roque administration raised taxes this year instead. The fact that Roque has hired a number of people that some believe to be overpaid and underqualified also gives Wiley or any other challenger ample ammunition to use against him.

Meanwhile, in other ring of the circus, assault charges and counter charges between Wiley and Roque appear to be headed for court resulting from an incident in the hall after a city commissioner meeting. Most likely, the charges will be dismissed, including those of alleged harassment against WNY Parking Authority Chairman Richard Rivera. In a town where heated exchanges are common, it is hard to take any of them too seriously.

Wiley, however, did lose one of his potential candidates. With Doug Richards, a resident from the waterfront area, Wiley had hoped would to generate support from a part of the city often not involved in local politics. It is possible that he might try to name David Rivera in his place.

The big race

With Stack claiming he will support no candidate in the upcoming Jersey City mayoral contest, political observers are currently waiting to see to whom state Sen. Sandra Cunningham throws her support.

Many knowledgeable people claim the mayoral race is too close to call, with Councilman Steven Fulop deadlocked with Mayor Jerramiah Healy for the lead. With four candidates running, the election could go into a runoff.

This leads to some questions about strategy, such as which candidate can win in a head-to-head contest if they no longer have strong City Council candidates to help draw the vote for them.

There could be one or two runoff elections in the council races as well, although it is very likely that Charles Epps and Viola Richardson will win outright. Sean Connors, Nidia Lopez, Peter Brennan and Rolando Lavarro are also strong contenders. But in Jersey City, anything is possible. With more than two dozen ward candidates and eight at-large candidates running on May 14, a runoff election is inevitable.

Check out hudsonreporter.com to watch the candidates’ debate.

Al Sullivan may be reached at asullivan@hudsonreporter.com.

Comments
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PoliticalObservr
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April 21, 2013
To be fair,the words he uses are "Five city residents have sued".

"Culprits" is only used when trying to figure out if one of our famous Hoboken politicians is behind or funding the move.

This suit is heroict but I'd have a hard time believing these 5 people pooled their money LOL. I wonder if you know who is behind this one? And if you do, why you would pretend you do not?

Usually beth is behind other things and you demand an exaplantion on a daily basis so why not for this one? Is it because this time it is the other side? Do you think Avi put his own money into it? LOL

HobokenLeaks
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April 21, 2013
"To be fair" he calls the plaintiffs "suspects" and "culprits". It is not magically fixed by also calling them residents, any more than an ethnic slur is fixed by not using it every time.

Sheilah Scully is one of the "culprits". You might remember her from Delivered Vacant.

Stick that in your LOL and smoke it.
PoliticalObservr
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April 21, 2013
I think you have a problem in the reading comprehension area. He starts off with "five city residents." It is the political backers and funders he refers to as culprits/suspects and no amount of repeating your lie over and over makes it accurate.

I notice your avoidance of the other questions.

Stik8th
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April 21, 2013
for you to compare this to ethnic slurs shows at best an insensitivity and at worst a willful ignorance. you should be ashamed to make any comparison like that and i hope you will apologize.
Stik8th
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April 21, 2013
by the way, that comment was meant for hobokenleaks and his/ her extreme, disgustingly offensive comparison to ethnic slurs.

although we see such a thing on that person's blog all the time so it ain't no surprise this time.

HobokenLeaks
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April 21, 2013
@PoliticalObservr, "the other questions" you reference are little more than insulting innuendos about the plaintiffs.

Do I know who was behind this one? You're asking me to speculate. No I don't. Would Ravi endorse it? Wouldn't surprise me. Why should he stand aside for this blatant violation of the Hatch Act.

Read the first 3 para of the Office of Special Counsel website designed to inform federal employees and tell me it isn't an open and shut case.

Do you 'get' that this is an obvious violation of Hatch? Should anyone who would rather see Bhalla in Trenton and would not like to see Garcia there stand down on this clear violation?

When you say I demand an explanation when Beth is behind things, I get the the feeling you are yet another person taking me for GA. Which is not my problem.

But as to substance, Beth is behind the ruinous Doyle lawsuit. Beth was behind the max effort to kill the hospital sale. Thru a P2P violation so gross that new law had to be written to prevent it, Beth gave us Tim Occhipinti.

Do you mean to compare all that to a suit citing a clear Hatch violation?

Do I think Avi put his own money in? I don't know who Avi is. You obviously know him well enough to insult his integrity online. Why don't you ask him?

Doesn't really matter. You seem to have zero interest in Garcia (and Stack's) contempt for federal statutes and every interest in shooting the messengers who bring them to court.

I still think Stack can win and, like you, will never respect reform. So be it. He lost a round. Hopefully he'll muster more dignity than you have.
PoliticalObservr
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April 21, 2013
Do you 'get' that this is an obvious violation of Hatch? Should anyone who would rather see Bhalla in Trenton and would not like to see Garcia there stand down on this clear violation?

YES I do....and that wasn't the issue.

boy you really need a comprehension refresher course.
HobokenLeaks
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April 21, 2013
Al, you don't hit a new low very often, but you sure did today.

Your terms for the CITIZENS who brought suit in regard to Carmelo Garcia's absolutely flagrant violation of the Hatch Act? Suspects and culprits.

If you would spend a little more time reading and a little less time being spun, you could easily discover that Garcia's situation is and was and open and shut case. One does not have to be a federal employee, contrary to your gloss. One needs to have a salary that is drawn all or in part from the treasury. Second, anyone paid under those circumstances cannot be a candidate in a partisan election.

Surely you can figure this out on your own? Suppose you wanted to put a sign in the window of your HHA unit for a candidate other than the Executive Director? Do you see why that might be a problem?

Honestly, if you don't want to do the job, give it to someone who does. This is pathetic. Suspects and culprits indeed.
Stik8th
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April 21, 2013
looks like mr. brian stack couldn't figure that either and he had the legislative aides at his disposal and much more time then i guess mr. sullivan had in a week to figure it out.

Yet you beat up on a journalist rather than your own state senator who you probably voted for and who ravi was trying hard to run with last time and this time. had ravi run with stack you would be praising stack and excusing all of the investigations into him like you have done before on your sad poorly written blog.

The fact that you are sitting here all day on a beautiful sunday engaging in debate with that other moron leads me to believe taht you never leave your computer. How about trying it? i did.

by the way wouldnt disclosure encourage you to reveal that you run a blog, and any attempts here to discredit the mainstream media are meant to pull away their readers into your own brand of inaccuracy and cruelty.
HobokenLeaks
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April 21, 2013
If I ran a blog, wouldn't I plug the blog?

Why are you critiquing me for posting here instead of going outside when you are sitting here critiquing me instead of going outside?
PoliticalObservr
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April 21, 2013
No, only a real jerk would constantly go to other news sites, falsely discredit them, and then leave his web address.

You don't know anyone like that, do you?