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

Hoboken Church Square Park

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

hoboken-councilwoman-beth-mason-headshot.jpgA 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

hoboken-mayor-roberts-city-council-meeting-may-7-2008.jpgWe 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…

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Thursday, May 8, 2008 11:37 pm

[quote comment=”82018″]In the spirit of efficiency, perhaps Mayor Roberts’ plan is to approve both the 2008 AND 2009 budgets at the same time.

Because, as the rest of us know, the 2009 budget will actually be due about 4 weeks after Hoboken finally decides to write up the 2008 “budget”.[/quote]
Don’t fret, da Mayor will be re-elected long before the 2009 budget is presented. 🙄

Thursday, May 8, 2008 11:17 pm

I think H411’s phrase the “Silence Beth Mason Resolution” exactly got to the point. Once you strip away the diversionary posturing by the various politicians and speakers for the HMHA board about who were the “real supporters” of the hospital, you get down to the essence of threatening the right of anyone to publicly question how a government or government-funded agency is being run. I feel remiss in not signing up to speak on this issue at the council meeting, because I think the point should have been made that the issue also went beyond Beth Mason as an individual, and is as much a freedom of speech issue, as it is a “public’s right to know” issue. Those of us who fought against the recent “public decorum” resolution’s attempt to restrict public input (I guess that has been “tabled” for quite a while, huh?) have every reason to look at the anti-Mason resolution in the same light. If a resolution is publicized, backed by the mayor, basically “demanding” that a COUNCIL MEMBER (with apparently enough financial resources to hire a well-paid attorney), “shut up and mind your own business,” what kind of effect does that have on the average person in Hoboken? I submit that it has the effect, and probably the intent, of intimidating everyone in town. Luckily it seemed like a majority of the council realized they would be a laughing stock if they passed this absurd resolution. Or perhaps they just took the political opportunity to… Read more »

Thursday, May 8, 2008 9:59 pm

re: “footing” the bill, if our Hoboken resident the Governor has his way Hoboken Univ Hospital may see more charity care reimbursements. It would behoove the Hospital board to explain their position on State funding, perhaps if only to put the Hoboken taxpayers at ease.

Thursday, May 8, 2008 6:16 pm

In the spirit of efficiency, perhaps Mayor Roberts’ plan is to approve both the 2008 AND 2009 budgets at the same time.

Because, as the rest of us know, the 2009 budget will actually be due about 4 weeks after Hoboken finally decides to write up the 2008 “budget”.

Thursday, May 8, 2008 5:44 pm

[quote comment=”82005″]well, this debate isn’t about whether we need a hospital, but about opening records and all that but since the last few comments were about the hospital, ill say this i’ve used it, stayed overnight, my doctors were on call there and it offers some services that other area hospitals don’t, AND in the last few years, two hospitals closed already in Hudson County. Do we really want to lose one more? I have insurance, but as for the welfare and poor, we DO need to help them, if they get sicker and sicker it impacts our tax dollars worse, finally, i’ve seen enough comments on this board to know that not everyone puts the poor first, but some of us want to make sure there are enough hospitals around that accept charity care (some have different kinds of services than others), medicaid, and not all of them preform the services and tests needed by sick people and elderly, they all have specialties, Sometimes there is only ONE hospital in a county that offers a certain thing to the underinsured, and sometimes that hospital is st mary. if you don’t like the funding, that doesn’t mean shut it down, you could say the same about the Hoboken schools that are complained about often here,, and many other things we need. instead, just make it better! that’s my opnino as a resident (not as a follower of politics!)[/quote] If you mean “we” as in the taxpayers of the STATE of… Read more »

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