I moved to Hoboken when Tom Vezzetti was mayor and who like all Hoboken mayors since then, called himself a reformer. While later crushed by an unfriendly City Council, his win was due to a combination of his own energy and anger against the incumbent.
“Reformer” has long been used to appeal voters who blame Hoboken’s problems on a corrupt political machine. Unfortunately, this movement has typically been better at saying “no” than persevering to creatively fix or improve a situation. Despite the best of intentions, “reformers” continue to come and go as their “causes” shrink against traditional barriers and/or challenges.
Dawn Zimmer, who won her Council seat less than two years ago from a weak Administration backed incumbent, is one of the “reformers”. Unfortunately, during her brief tenure on the Council she has relied too heavily on reformist rhetoric while being divisive and showing herself unable to take firm stands on hard issues. For Mayor, we need someone who can deal with change rather than simply talk about change.
Beth Mason, another “reformer”, has contributed useful dollars and dialogue on issues but unfortunately her new alliance with the Russo faction raises several serious concerns about her character and judgment. To summarize:
(1) The Russos have forgotten that public service is a privilege not a right, and that they severely abused (and should have lost) that privilege during Anthony’s Mayoral Reign of Terror. Beth has also apparently forgotten and is now re-enabling them with her quarter million dollar campaign and three Russo-picked running mates;
(2) If victorious, Beth’s three running mates plus Michael Russo and Terry Castellano will control a veto-proof majority on the Council after selecting the new 2nd Ward (i.e Beth’s) seat. Handing the Council to this politically ambitious group shows Beth to be not just a hypocrite, but also very naïve and/or just plain dumb;
(3) Lastly, Beth quit the Planning Board and Chair of the Master Plan Committee because she could not reconcile her role with Mayor Roberts. If she could not negotiate with Roberts, how will she negotiate with the Russos (and others)?
Peter Cammarano has had his reputation tainted both by his solid democratic roots and his Hoboken political start with Mayor Roberts. Having worked and gotten to know Peter when and since he served on the Planning Board, I find these charges ill founded. Peter is able to work with and understand both sides of an issue, has a very good grasp of the political process and is equipped to negotiate with tough situations.
Elections rarely offer the perfect candidate who brings all the appropriate skills, credentials and temperament. To complicate matters, Hoboken’s Mayor position is far more challenging than most give it credit for. While it may be easy to find faults with candidates (as I have), we ultimately need to choose someone and hope that that individual is up the challenge at hand. My choice is Peter Cammarano.