Mark Twain once pointed out: “Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.”
This may never be as true as it is in Hoboken, where the one time reformers have become the majority under Mayor Dawn Zimmer, and are running out of people against whom they can throw their reform without hitting an innocent bystander.
This is not so much a reflection on Zimmer as the change of role in which Zimmer has become the establishment – and may soon find that there will be a reform movement forming against her.
The old concept of old guard and newcomer is fading as the baby carriages pile up along Washington Street, and people who moved to Hoboken stay longer than it takes them to get through college.
Zimmer, of course, has continued to build her government from the inside out, and three years into her administration, is completing the transformation of various boards, purging loyalists to the previous administrations and replacing them with those loyal to hers.
Once this is done, however, she will have to begin bearing the brunt of any failing the administration suffers, since her followers will control most of the public bodies in the city.
Will Secaucus become the new patronage mill for Hudson County?
Secaucus Mayor Mike Gonnelli’s stepping into the Board of Education race earlier this month may signal a new era of politicization.
This comes at a time when the board will have to decide who to name as a new superintendent of schools when the current and largely unpopular superintendent is likely not renewed next year.
There are a number of names being bandied about for a possible replacement, including one or two current principals, a former high school principal and a former councilman.
With the increase of development and enrollment, the Secaucus Board of Education will also have to decide whether or not to build a new school, a very lucrative proposal for some savvy connected local contractor, and various subcontractors. The last significant structure built in Secaucus was the recreation center, which proved a field day for connected firms who served as subcontractors on the project.
Perhaps the most significant change in Secaucus will be the construction of the new Hudson County Schools of Technology campus slated for the southern portion of the town. Not only will there be construction contracts to dicker over, but a host of patronage jobs all located within the boundaries of Secaucus.
With municipal elections less than a year away, no one is certain if Gonnelli intends to run for reelection or whether he will seek some job with the county. With the impending retirement of County Parks Director Tom McCann, Gonnelli could be on a short list for that job. With his expertise in parks in the past, he may make a good candidate.
If Gonnelli does decide to run for reelection as mayor, what will his ticket look like? How many current incumbent council members will be running for reelection?
Will Stack back a counter municipal ticket in Secaucus next year?
The year 2013 poses significant questions as far as political civil war in Hudson County – putting Secaucus in the middle of it.
Recently defeated for reelection to the school board, Tom Troyer said he would consider running for Town Council or even mayor if State Senator and Union City Mayor Brian Stack decides to run alternative slates against the Hudson County Democratic Organization.
Troyer ran for State Assembly on a Stack-backed ticket back in 2008.
Because Gonnelli is so close to Stack’s rival, state Senator and North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco, Stack might be persuaded to lend money and financial support to an alternative ticket.
The most likely candidate to run for mayor against Gonnelli is Peter Weiner, who served as public defender in Secaucus for years and narrowly lost the Democratic mayoral primary to former Mayor Dennis Elwell in 2009.
Fulop to back Tom Payne Jr. for congress
Hoping to generate support in the African-American community for his mayoral run in 2013, Jersey City Councilman Steven Fulop is expected to endorse Donald Payne Jr. in the Democratic primary for the 10th Congressional seat.
Although last week’s column mistakenly claimed Nia Gill – the candidate supported by the HCDO to fill the 10th Congressional seat – was not African-American, Fulop people are backing Payne because they believe Payne has more name recognition in the district where his father served for decades rather than Gill, and may also have more deeply-rooted interest in representing Hudson County than Gill, who is a product of the Essex County Democratic organization.
Fulop is expected to hold a fundraiser for Payne in Jersey City shortly, at which time they are expected to trade endorsements with Payne supporting Fulop for Jersey City mayor.
This almost didn’t happen. Payne apparently declined to give Fulop the endorsement at first, saying that it was too premature to trade off endorsements. But U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez apparently weighted in on the matter, hoping to get the benefit of Fulop’s amazing political machine for his own reelection this November.
Fulop’s impressive victory outside his own Ward E appears to have become the glue for the deal with Payne, who not only has to contend with Gill, but also Newark Councilman Ronald Rice, Jr.
But Fulop is treading on dangerous ice here. An opponent of dual job holding, he is endorsing Payne, who currently serves as councilman and freeholder.
Fulop is also using the Payne election as a tool for keeping his troops sharp until the 2013 municipal election. He is also expected to turn loose his workers in the Ward F special election in November.
Fulop supporters claim they have a good idea what his council ticket will look like, although it is not yet complete decided. What he wants are candidates who are going to work hard, one of the mandates he has set for his own workers.