In what largely resembles a pre-school playground fight over who should fill the vacated seat of former Councilwoman Carol Marsh, those who opposed the appointment of James Doyle have won a temporary victory – proving almost nothing, except that no one appears to know what they are doing, and that things won’t likely get any better in Hoboken until the November, 2013 municipal election, and perhaps not even then.
Those opposed to the appointment of Doyle claimed that the council needed five votes to appoint him, and without Marsh, the eight remaining members are evenly split politically.
Normally, a four-four vote would allow Mayor Dawn Zimmer to step in and cast the deciding and thus fifth vote. But normal is not a word frequently used in Hoboken, where political maneuvering is treated like sport, and scoring points on the opposition is more important than actually running the city.
For some reason, Doyle-opponent Councilwoman Beth Mason was conveniently absent when the vote was cast in October, and in the confusion, the remaining council members voted to approve the Doyle appointment. Zimmer even voted, although her vote was voided afterwards as her supporters claimed a simple majority of four was enough. It took a court decision last week to make it clear that the appointment most certainly needed five votes.
All this is cast against the backdrop of an apparent move by the Zimmer side to avoid having a special election. While this column reported in August that Marsh could not likely seek reelection because of her new job elsewhere in the state, some insiders must have known that she intended to resign, yet she waited until after the legal deadline that would have required a special election, on the presumption apparently that the Zimmer-controlled City Council could hand pick her replacement – which it had 30 days to do, and did it wrong.
Now with the 30-day deadline for appointment passed, a new fight begins as to whether or not the council still has the legal authority to appoint a replacement, or must hold a special election, or must leave the seat vacant until next November’s election, creating an even more insane circus in which Zimmer will be required to regularly cast deciding votes on an otherwise-deadlocked council.
If the council does have the authority to appoint a replacement, will opponents simply repeat what happened when Mason did not show up, perhaps taking turns to keep the council from ever reaching a point where Zimmer could legally cast a vote? In this case, Zimmer people have already indicated they will take the case to court and force the opponents to show up for a vote.
You have to love Hoboken, where the political hacks rant while the rest of the city drowns in the foul waters of Hurricane Sandy.
Poll allegedly shows strong numbers for Cunningham – for mayor
In Jersey City, everyone is now waiting on a different Sandy – state Sen. Sandra Cunningham – to decide if she will run for mayor or run on an anti-Hudson County Democratic Organization ticket for some other office.
State Senator and Union City Mayor Brian Stack supposedly authorized a poll to determine how each of the main candidates might do in non-African American areas of the city. Most people take for granted that Cunningham, who is African American, will do well in her own district, just as they believe that Steven Fulop will do well in areas near downtown where he is currently a councilman.
The poll supposedly showed that Mayor Jeramiah Healy had the most name recognition, but he also had high negatives, whereas Cunningham and Fulop had nearly no negatives. But Cunningham apparently outpolled Fulop throughout the city. The question is: will she run?
Busing issue in Secaucus?
When people talk about busing students, there are usually racial overtones.
However, for many of the students that would be bused under a proposal currently being debated in Secaucus the issue appears to be more one of class than color. Students from a relatively new development apparently must go to a neighborhood school by bus because area residents believe the short walk would be too dangerous. A police report said it would be too expensive to make safe.
This comes a decade after the sales pitch for the project had said the new development was within walking distance of a school, and before residents asked the gate be closed to keep traffic from using it as a shortcut from the highway and into a long-insular part of the town.
The gate has since been opened, but the walk is apparently too treacherous for elementary students to trek. So Secaucus apparently intends to help global warming by bussing the students instead.
Of course, with new developments being built at the fringes of the town and in areas that have previously not had residential development, the demand – and thus cost – of operating buses will rise. Secaucus has proposed charging some residents for the service while apparently not others – and it should be interesting how this plays out politically with those who must pay for bus service, and how the cost of operating these buses with driver and aide stacks up against making those improvements to make safe those areas where kids might walk.