Talk about having your cake and eating it, too.
Newly elected Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop appears to have pulled a fast one of the unsuspecting public, having promised to do away with the city’s revaluation even when he should have known that the mayor and City Council do not have power to stop the process.
The tax assessor must make the request from the County Tax Board, which in turn must ask the state for permission to delay a revaluation.
Since the City Council did this process last year, it seems logical that Fulop must have known he could not do away with the process with a wave of his mayoral wand.
Ironically, many of Fulop’s more ardent supporters would actually benefit from the tax adjustment. So it seemed strange that he would oppose it, unless, of course, he was seeking to erode support for his opponent former Mayor Jeramiah Healy during the election, and then later, when unable to fulfill his campaign promise, could blame the adjustment on Healy.
This allows Fulop to get credit for lowering taxes for his core supporters, while the rest of the city blames Healy for the increases.
The Hoboken mess
Sources say that at least four polls in Hoboken show Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer with a substantial lead over opponent Assemblyman Ruben Ramos – and yet those opposed to Zimmer dispute the outcome.
A developer poll conducted about three months ago showed Zimmer with support of more than 60 percent of those polled with support for Ramos in the mid-20s.
Since then at least three other polls have been conducted – one apparently by Zimmer, and others by interested parties.
Three of the more reliable polls appear to show similar numbers for Zimmer, although only the Zimmer poll apparently tabulates the impact of a three-way race.
One poll whose numbers are available shows Zimmer in a head to head against Ramos, leading 61 percent to 25 percent. The same poll appears to show Zimmer leading Freeholder Anthony Romano 62 to 23 percent.
One of the polls apparently has also thrown in Councilwoman Theresa Castellano as a possible candidate, who could well run at the top of a ticket backed by real estate developer and former school board president Frank Raia.
“Mayor Zimmer is beatable,” Castellano said.
Ramos supporters or those leaning to support him are not discouraged, saying this reflects soft support for Zimmer, and believe that these numbers – if they are accurate – sharply change as the election grows near.
“Voters in Hoboken are intelligent voters,” said Councilwoman Beth Mason, who is still undecided. “They will vote on the issues.”
The problem for Ramos is that he will need the old coalition to support him, but at this point, it is fractured, with a number of people still unwilling to commit to him.
Doyle decision helps Romano
Romano may be breathing a sigh of relief after a court decided that a vote to seat Jim Doyle on the Hoboken council was invalid. The council voted to name Doyle to fill the seat left vacant by the resignation of Carol Marsh last year. The problem is that Zimmer’s side only has four votes, and needs five to name Doyle to the seat. With the council deadlocked with 4 in favor and 4 against, normally, Zimmer would become the tie-breaking vote. But one of the opposition council members abstained. Zimmer’s people challenged this, saying this was a “no” vote that would allow Zimmer to cast the fifth vote. The court disagreed.
The seat will remain vacant until the November election – when Zimmer, if her numbers are as powerful as the polls indicate, could carry in all of her council candidates and win a 5-4 majority again.
The problem comes next year. Councilman Ravi Bhalla was rumored to be seeking to replace Romano as freeholder. If elected, Bhalla would have to resign from the council, creating the same situation next year that exists currently, only in a special election next year without Zimmer on top of the ticket. The opposition would likely be poised to re-take control of the council.
For this reason, Bhalla will likely remain on the council, giving Romano a chance to retain his freeholder seat.
Thunderstorm at fault for change of time in water park ribbon cutting
Hoboken Housing Authority Executive Director Carmelo Garcia said fear of pending thunderstorms, not a faulty watch, was the reason for change of time for the ribbon cutting on the Housing Authority’s latest water park. He said all parties were notified of the change in advance, although apparently several key public officials, including Mayor Zimmer, apparently never got the message.
Garcia also disavowed claims circulated by people associated with him that he traded his endorsement for the reelection of Gov. Christopher Christie in exchange for naming someone as the governor’s appointee to the Housing Authority.
“That would be inappropriate,” he said, although several people close to him have apparently been spreading this tale, people who were denied seats on the housing board by Zimmer and previous administrations.
Meanwhile, some Zimmer supporters are sharpening their legal pencils to file a challenge to unseat Garcia as executive director once he is elected to state Assembly on the ticket with state Sen. Brian Stack. Garcia won a court decision saying he did not violate the federal Hatch Act or the state rules which are modeled after the Hatch Act by running, but some are ready the challenge him again, saying that he cannot be seated as a state representative and retain his Housing Authority role – something that could go all the way to the state Supreme Court.
The Hatch Act says that an official cannot hold a state office while in the employ of a federally-funded entity. But this act was modified in January to loosen the restrictions and to allow people whose income only gets a small portion of federal funding to hold office.
Roque court date delayed again
Earlier this year, West New York Mayor Felix Roque predicted that the charge against him and his son for allegedly hacking into the website of a political enemy would not get heard until September.
After three postponements, Roque’s prediction turned out to be right.
But it is difficult to tell whether this is a good or bad thing, and whether or not this only stretches out the uncertainty some city workers feel, or if this gives Roque more time to make his case for his innocence.
Roque has been seen everywhere lately, attending every political function he can, and singing the praises of political people he once vilified. He apparently believes that the charges against him are politically based and if he extends enough olive branches, he may come out on the other side of his legal woes whole again.
Meanwhile, Mario Blanch, who was hired earlier this year as an assistant West New York city attorney, was released. City officials had no comment on the matter.
Blanch, who is also a member of the Concerned Citizens of North Bergen and a critic of Mayor Nicholas Sacco, apparently recently showed up after a long hiatus at a North Bergen Commissioners meeting to question a state report concerning legal services – leading some to question if there is a connection between the two events.