City Council 5/7/2008 – Quick Recap
It was a standing room only crowd at the City Council meeting last night. It started shortly after 7pm and ran to almost one o’clock in the morning, Most of the time was spent on two issues: a resolution concerning the fate of new trees in Church Square Park, and Mayor David Roberts’ resolution demanding Councilwoman Beth Mason drop her lawsuit to open records at the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority. A full writeup on this epic meeting is coming later, but for now a quick rundown:
Church Square Park Tree Debate
A resolution to bring a resolution to the continuing battle over the haphazard way facilities and trees have been popping up in Church Square park the last several years was approved. Many people spoke on both sides of the issue (to move the trees or to not move the trees) and all were unhappy with the “Divide and Conquer” tactics the Mayor used in the debate. Throughout the discussion Mayor Roberts piped in, and ultimately said it didn’t matter what the council did or what resolutions they passed, he would not move the trees.
Silence Beth Mason Resolution
A contentious and heated debate about the accuracy and nature of the obviously political attack on Mason and her lawsuit to open records at the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority ended with the defeat of the resolution promoted by Mayor Roberts and the two Council-at-Large members most likely to be on his 2009 ticket — Ruben Ramos and Terry LaBruno. The vast majority of the public comment opposed the resolution and called for transparency at the hospital that is running on a $52 million dollar taxpayer bond guarantee. The final vote was 6-2-1, with only Ramos and LaBruno voting yes, and Mason voting “present” due to the nature of the resolution.
City Government Shutdown Averted
We are now in May with less than two months to go before the end of the fiscal year no adopted City Budget. Temporary Emergency Appropriations failed at first by a vote of 5-4 (a super majority of 6 is need to pass them). After discussion over who would be most impacted by that move, and a lot of scolding of the Mayor’s inability to bring a spending plan to the council earlier than this (a classic Roberts tactic) Councilwoman Beth Mason agreed to make a motion to reconsider the resolution, which then passed. Council members Mason, Cunningham, Cammarano and Zimmer had voted no on the first vote.
That’s a quick synopsis of the top three issues from last night’s marathon. More to come later…