In a letter published in the Hoboken Reporter, my City Council colleague, Peter Cunningham, gushes that his majority members were able to balance Hoboken’s 2012 municipal budget despite the “unrelenting obstructionism” of those opposed of marching lock-step with Mayor Zimmer.
I take exception to Mr. Cunningham’s broad and simplistic notion that dissent is harmful to our community. As Hoboken’s longest serving City Council member, I have enjoyed a reputation as an independent voice on our city’s legislative body during the course of four administrations.
This has not made me popular with our past mayors, but my goal is to serve my constituents and the interests of our entire community, not an individual mayor. Mr. Cunningham has chosen to serve his political master and characterize any opposition and dissenting view as “obstructionism.”
Mr. Cunningham sites the council minority’s questioning and criticisms of the mayor’s negotiations to sell Hoboken University Medical Center as “unrelenting obstructionism.” I beg to differ. The sale was negotiated by the mayor and her associates with her hand-picked buyer with no transparency. I repeatedly asked for a City Council review of the process to no avail, but was expected to follow the mayor’s lead on blind faith. That is not how open government is intended to function. Recently, the Reporter published a story of a citizen activist who filed a lawsuit recently to obtain meeting minutes and other information relating to the sale. Typically, the mayor characterized this effort, after the fact, as “politically motivated.”
The common denominator is clear that anyone, whether a minority member of the City Council or an open-minded resident, who opposes or questions the administration’s policy is subject to ridicule or name-calling by the mayor and her blogger disciples.
At the April 18 City Council meeting, I called on my colleagues to exercise civility in our conduct at public meetings. The polarizing tactics of the mayor need not allow our meetings deteriorate into name calling sessions or permeate the letters pages of newspapers.
The residents of Hoboken deserve representatives who will question those in power, and that is why I am proud to be an independent voice for the 1st Ward and entire city.
1st Ward Councilwoman