City Council + Protest Rally
The Regional News Network did a story about this week’s Hoboken Revolt rally in front of City Hall.
See ALL previous updates after the jump!!
Here are some more photos from last night’s rally of angry taxpayers.
High drama at city hall
Hundreds turned out to hear the speakers before moving into City Hall for the council’s public hearing on the $121 million dollar budget. It was a capacity crowd in the courtroom with many of the protesters locked out of the meeting due to capacity issues. Once the meeting started Mayor David Roberts gave one of his “This whole budget mess is only about politics” speeches, which didn’t go over well with the standing room only crowd or the council. Tempers flared and emotions were high as speaker after speaker ripped apart the Mayor’s budget, his tax and spend policies, and the many fat contracts given to the police and fire departments by Roberts that have more than doubled spending since Roberts took office.
The drama was high as well informed taxpayers took to the microphone and gave Roberts a dressing down. Don’t miss the drama on Channel 78, especially the red face on the Mayor as Donna Antonucci runs through exactly what is wrong with the way the public safety departments are overloaded with brass.
PHOTO GALLERY (HOLD MOUSE OVER IMAGE TO NAVIGATE – 19 PHOTOS IN THIS SET)
** Another note about the rally and our earlier story about Hoboken Revolt. First, the group has changed it’s site to allow anyone to read postings without signing up with their personal info. Good call. Second, as I pointed out before, their steering committee includes many people besides the two we told you about yesterday. Apparently some of them (cough – Rich Pasquarelli – cough) are particularly annoyed at the ongoing focus on two of their more controversial members.
So, I happily point out (again) that several people who have been on the right side of these issues for years are involved in this group, including Rich, Gary Holtzman, Gretchen Brigden and Bo Dziman, among others.
Congratulations to all of them for a great turnout at the rally, which was also attended by Citizens Against Mismanagement, HRTC, Citizens Budget Committee, and Lower Hoboken Taxes. One of the key themes of the night was for people to STAY INVOLVED by attending council meetings and VOTING in May for Mayor and three council-at-large seats.
A couple videos related to the rally before the city council meeting tonight at City Hall:
The 6pm rally organized by Hoboken Revolt started 15 minutes late because of the “pre-game” interviews with TV news channels. About 200 people observed.
Here is steering committee member Richard Pasquarelli (who spoke quite passionately, despite having butterflies about speaking to the public):
Additionally, here is an interview Gary Holtzman did with Cablevision news yesterday:
City Council Preview
It’s all about the budget again tonight, as a public hearing gets underway on the $121 million dollar spending plan. Every couple of years a topic comes up that gets people so riled up that they form a group and plan a protest in front of City Hall. The time has come again thanks to the massive tax increase that came as the result of years of bad budgeting and hidden expenditures by Mayor Roberts and the many City Council members that “rubber stamped” his budgets over the last 7 years.
At Hoboken411 here we’ve spent years trying to bring the truth about Hoboken’s tax and spend policies to the masses. Now with the masses paying attention, people are standing up in outrage to “Revolt.”
“Hoboken Revolt” plans protest rally tonight
A group that claims to be a “non-partisan, apolitical group focusing on tax and budget issues” will hold a rally an hour before tonight’s city council meeting.
The Hoboken Tax Reform Coalition is a new group being run by some old and new faces. You may have seen the front page coverage they got in the weekly paper (after buying a full page ad in said paper, though I’m s-u-r-e there is no connection.) I know many of the people involved here.
Most of them have good and honest intentions, but some others involved also have their own political ambitions in mind as well. You should know this, because the only way you can get information about this group from their website is to register as a “member,” including offering private information about yourself.
Community activism, or data mining?
The Revolt site has not been set up as open information to all, but as a proprietary social networking site. It’s built in the same fashion as another site pushing for “Lower Hoboken Taxes” that seems designed to build a database of email addresses. I’m told the format of both is being administered by two-time city council candidate Scott Delea. This may set off some alarm bells for some who remember how he ran an “independent” race for council-at-large in 2005, only to endorse the machine ticket of Roberts, Ramos, Cammarano and Labruno in the runoff election.
Since then, Delea ran for 5th ward councilman, but didn’t make the runoff. He’s also hosted political events with Cammarano and has resurfaced lately at city council meetings “just in time” for the spring 2009 election season. If you sign up for Revolt or LowerHobokenTaxes, don’t be surprised to get emails from Delea (and maybe even Cammarano) come election time. Just sayin’….
Who is Jonathan Metsch?
Dr. Jonathan Metsch is a spokesman for Hoboken Revolt who was previously spearheading the “Hoboken Revaluation Team” seeking a citywide reassessment.
Metsch is said to be close to Senator Robert Menendez, who propped up (the now politically doomed) Dave Roberts to be Mayor. Metsch’s political connections got him appointed by Governor Corzine to a state “Health Care and Policy Group” before he abruptly resigned his position as president and CEO of the troubled Jersey City Medical Center in September of 2006. His resignation followed the presentation of audit findings at the hospital, which found the facility drowning in red ink, kind of like Hoboken’s city government.
Some say Metsch is simply tired of being one of thousands of Hoboken’s over-taxed condo owners. Others wonder whether the good doctor is being deftly positioned by the political machine as “an outsider” who could run to replace Roberts. What’s the truth? I guess we’ll find out in a few months, but I thought you should know what people are saying on the street.
And the rest of them?
Most other members of Hoboken Revolt’s “Steering Committee” are long standing advocates for positive change in town, so it wouldn’t kill you to let off a little steam at their 6pm rally tonight before the council meeting.
In fact, the more people who are truly outraged and do not have political reasons for attending the rally, the better! The truth is, some of the best public servants are brought into office for the right reasons. Just watch for those who will try to use a budget crisis as a means to advance their political careers. My intention is not to scare you away from the Hoboken Tax Reform Coalition/Revolt, but to ensure that you go into it with eyes wide open about some of it’s key members. If you are looking to send a message about your outrage, the rally may be a good place to do it, but its all for naught if you don’t also bring your outrage into the voting booth next spring.
The rally gets underway at 6pm, following by the city council meeting and public hearing on the budget at 7pm, all at City Hall.