Council Meeting tonight: Massive attendance
Note: See four part video archive of 9/15/2010 Council Meeting after the break…
Mayhem at City Hall expected!
The Hoboken City Council meets tonight at 7pm with the appointment of an Interim Corporation Counsel and a resolution calling on the Mayor to rescind layoff notices to 18 young police officers at the top of the agenda.
A huge crowd is expected, but as you see below, a request to relocate the meeting to a larger venue so those both for and against the police layoffs could offer their thoughts to the council was rejected for political reasons.
See Video Archives of meeting, more on Carol Marsh – plus original letter from PBA President Lombardi after the jump…
9/15/2010 Video Archives:
City Council Meeting 9/15/2010 Part I
City Council Meeting 9/15/2010 Part II
City Council Meeting 9/15/2010 Part III
City Council Meeting 9/15/2010 Part IV
Hoboken PBA requests council venue change
Carol Marsh to Public: Go scratch!
(Hypocritical Council President rejects call for larger meeting venue)
One of the government’s most effective tactics for squelching public participation is to limit the time and space for the public to appear and comment.
Councilwoman Carol Marsh knew this back in April of 2005 when she supported a move to relocate a City Council meeting to the Wallace School auditorium.
A large crowd of downtown residents, artists, activists and small business owners were expected to turn out in opposition to Mayor David Roberts’ plan to up-zone the Municipal Garage property and Neumann Leather complex for 14-story high-rise buildings. Marsh was running for Mayor at the time and wanted the biggest crowd of opposition possible to embarrass Roberts and his allies on the council, so she also wanted the biggest room possible to hold the meeting.
When it suited her agenda, Marsh was all for a change of venue to a larger meeting location.
Marsh says “No!” to public and Hoboken PBA
Marsh is singing a different tune now that she’s the Council President facing a major backlash for Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s plan to lay off Police Officers.
Instead of following her own advice from 5 years ago and agreeing to relocate the meeting to a venue that can house the expected crowd of hundreds, Marsh is rejecting the request. Here’s how Marsh responded today to PBA President Vince Lombardi’s call to accommodate the expected crowd:
“We have received a request that our next council meeting be held in a venue to accommodate up to 500 people. While it is appropriate and important that we listen to the public, we must balance the need to hear from members of the public against the need to conduct the City’s business. As a result, in consultation with Mayor Zimmer, we plan to provide an overflow room in City Hall to accommodate additional members of the public who may wish to attend the upcoming meeting.”– Council President (and hypocrite) Carol Marsh
An overflow room (most likely the small basement meeting room) won’t come close to accommodating the expected overflow crowd. This tactic is designed to squelch public comment and make the crowd strength against the layoffs appear smaller than it is. Whether a person supports or opposes the Zimmer police layoffs their right to speak, be seen and heard by their government will be effected by the lack of proper meeting accommodations. Marsh apparently doesn’t believe every member of the public has the right to see his or her elected representatives in action at a public meeting.
“In order to balance the need for community input while conducting the City’s business, we plan to allow a reasonable period of time at the beginning of the meeting for the public to speak on the resolution which was tabled at the last council meeting.”
Marsh doesn’t explain what she feels is a “reasonable period of time”, but she has shown from experience she is very willing to change the council rules to cut the amount of public comment.
“As always, additional community input can be provided during the public portion of the meeting. We will work closely with Police Chief Falco, and we are confident in his department’s ability to maintain a safe environment for everyone as they did at the prior meeting.”
Anyone who has seen the video of the last meeting can tell the room was filled well beyond legal capacity and could have been closed down by the Fire Department at any time. Chief Falco was instrumental in keeping things under control, but a much larger crowd in the same space may be more difficult to handle. A larger crowd in a larger venue is a much easier task to control when you remove the issues of overcrowding, high temperatures, and the occasionally baiting of officers that was attempted by some of Zimmer’s closest allies at the last meeting.
“Council meetings are just one way for the public to provide input to their elected officials… all members of the council can be contacted via the email addresses which are published on the city website, www.hobokennj.org.”
Translation: Carol Marsh doesn’t want to see or hear from you if you want to air your concerns directly to the council under your Open Public Meetings Act rights. She wants you to send an e-mail that can be easily ignored and deleted.
For more on Carol Marsh’s flip-flopping, take a look at this retrospective on her political career decisions.
Seeking out larger space to accommodate up to 500
The Hoboken PBA today requested that the next City Council meeting venue get changed to allow the expected 500 extra people to attend.
The following letter was sent by PBA President Vince Lombardi to City Clerk Jimmy Farina, Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Council President Carol Marsh.
Re: Request for Location Change for 09-15-10 City Council Meeting.
Dear Mr. City Clerk:
I am respectfully requesting that the City of Hoboken move the regular Hoboken City Council meeting scheduled for Wednesday, September 15, 2010 from the usual City Hall Municipal Court Chambers to a larger venue to better accommodate members of the public.
I am expecting approximately 400 ~ 500 members of the community, especially senior citizens, who have contacted me-wanting to attend this upcoming meeting.
It is within the best interest of both the community and the city to change the location of this meeting to accommodate all persons wishing to attend in a facility that has adequate space, ventilation, air-conditioning for safety and health reasons.
My recommendation for a location that would best suit the public’s health and safety needs would be that of the Wallace Primary School auditorium gymnasium.