Peter Cammarano Resigns
Update: added a few more photos so you could see what council chambers looked like, and who attended.
Charles Lamont sent in these pictures taken from the inauguration of temporary Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer this afternoon. Thanks, Chuck!
See other videos, pictures, and updates after the jump…
Video of Swearing-in
For those that missed the live stream:
7/31/2009 9:29am Update:
Cammarano submits letter of resignation
WABC-TV reports that Cammarano finally submitted his letter of resignation.
Dawn Zimmer issues statement
“I commend Peter Cammarano on making the right decision for Hoboken and resigning as Mayor. The charges facing him go right to the heart of the integrity of Hoboken government and it has become clear that he was not going to be able to govern.
Now, it is time to move forward and do the hard work of restoring confidence in City government and tackling the difficult problems that face Hoboken. Together, with my City Council colleagues, that is just what I intend to do.”
(Background note: As Council President, Dawn Zimmer now becomes Acting Mayor. A special election for Mayor will be held on Tuesday, November 3. She will sworn in at 12 PM today in the City Council chambers)..
7/31/2009 3am Update:
Chaos before the storm
Politics make strange bedfellows, and in Hoboken today’s friends are often tomorrow’s political enemies. Alliances that appeared strong a month ago could disintegrate in an instant as a new race gears up.
The rumor mill is burning with stories of infighting and misinformation. Expect the unexpected, because the impending (or is it?) resignation of Mayor Peter Cammarano has a lot of sugarplums dancing in the heads of the political class. Here are the morning headlines ahead of what could be a very interesting day…
Will he or won’t he? Pondering Peter’s problems
As you know, early yesterday afternoon PolitickerNJ.com reported Cammarano was going to resign today. The story came from the office of Governor Jon Corzine.
Every day that the Mayor of Corzine’s “home city” faces calls to resign in a gubernatorial election year is a day the underdog incumbent doesn’t need. Everybody knows Corzine came to Cammarano’s inauguration but the state press has yet to report something the Governor doesn’t want you to know: Corzine had a party at his Maxwell Place condo to watch the Macy’s fireworks and Cammarano was his guest of honor.
Corzine needs Cammarano gone
Every day Peter is in power (and on TV) Corzine slides further behind corruption-fighting Republican Chris Christie. Corzine’s crew was negotiating with Cammarano defense attorney Joseph Haydan concerning terms for the resignation. The Mayor declared his innocence and said he won’t step down. Corzine gave him a big push in that direction with his statement yesterday that Peter was packing his bags.
Haydan threw cold water on that while Cammarano went zooming around Hoboken in acting Public Safety Director Angel Alicea’s shiny new taxpayer-funded Ford Explorer, complete with light bar and municipal plates. Alicea shuffled Cammarano from City Hall to his uptown row house, where he holed up with Corporation Counsel Steve Kleinman. TV crews caught video of Cammarano making his getaway after the meeting.
Will he stay or will he go now?
Corzine has everything to gain and Cammarano has everything to lose if and when he steps down. Peter may be in no hurry, since a deal with the Governor’s office is not going to help him with the U.S. Attorney. Will he step down today? Probably. Some reports had the move at noon, while others now say it could happen as early as 9am. What can the Governor give Peter to step down? Well, he could start with a promise to raise money for his legal defense.
Enter “acting” Mayor Dawn Zimmer, but for how long?
(Cammarano Conundrum, continued…)
Enter Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer, but for how long?
Simply by virtue of holding the title of City Council President, Fourth Ward councilwoman Dawn Zimmer will automatically be made Acting Mayor upon Cammarano’s expected resignation. But for how long?
Sources are telling 411 that all is not well in so-called-reform land. Tim Carroll of the weekly paper reported “several council members are involved in a negotiation with Cammarano about how the transition will go,” and apparently not all of them are on the same page.
Zimmer will serve as Acting Mayor only until the City Council can meet to select an “Interim Mayor” who would serve through the winner-take-all Special Election in November. Will Zimmer be that Interim Mayor? Maybe not. You don’t even have to be an elected official to be Interim Mayor. You just need to be a registered voter in Hoboken who has five votes on the council. There’s talk Carol Marsh would be chosen for the job instead. Why? Well, it depends on whom you talk to.
The Marsh for Mayor Strategy: Version #1
Coming off her 161-vote loss to Cammarano, some longtime observers of Hoboken politics look at the final numbers – with Zimmer losing but her ticket winning – and think that the Mayor’s office might also have been won if Marsh had topped the ticket. The story goes that Marsh would have held her own better in the debates with Cammarano, where part-time photographer Zimmer stumbled and lost votes.
Others don’t buy that, saying Zimmer deserves credit for motivating her troops in a way that Marsh didn’t come close to doing in 2005. Still, the nay-sayers and second-guessers are real, and they also aren’t crazy about Zimmer’s husband Stan Grossbard becoming the shadow Mayor of Hoboken. Grossbard – known for finishing Zimmer’s sentences — has been taking every opportunity he can to mug in front of the camera or share the story of his near meeting with Solomon Dwek with reporters.
But back to Marsh. Because the two-time HCDO co-chair (under Jersey City Mayor Jerry Healy) has already shown she is willing to play ball with the county political establishment when they want her (running with Dave Roberts in 2001, and then as the HCDO candidate for Assembly in 2007) the power brokers may be leaning Marsh’s way. Zimmer is no stranger to the HCDO of course, after she accepted $6000 from Chairman Healy and County Executive Tom DeGise along with lots of campaign assistance in 2007.
The Marsh for Mayor Strategy: Version #2
The other story making it’s way through the political chattering class has Marsh getting the votes to become Interim Mayor by way of negotiation with multiple council members. This scenario has Zimmer supporting Marsh for the interim gig if Marsh agrees not to run for the permanent job in November. As part of the deal if Zimmer is elected Marsh will resign from her Council-at-Large seat and take the Deputy City Clerk job that opened up when John DePalma passed away.
This will put Marsh in line for the job she has been positioning herself for years: City Clerk (at well over $100k) once Jim Farina retires. Zimmer would then be able to pick people to fill Marsh’s seat, as well as her own in the Fourth Ward – who would then run to retain those seats in a spring special election. If Zimmer lost, Marsh would still retain her Council-at-Large seat and Zimmer would remain fourth ward Councilwoman. Marsh may also be angling for Michael Lenz to be named Business Administrator, though that job won’t open until Tripodi leaves town.
How would Zimmer save face under Marsh?
If Marsh gets the votes to be Interim Mayor, but agrees not to run for the top job, watch for Zimmer to claim that she agreed to the move because “The rigors of mounting a full-time campaign for Mayor would get in the way of serving as Interim Mayor, and the people of Hoboken deserve better.” Marsh watching the store would allow Zimmer to focus on the election. There is a precedent in Hudson County.
Back in 2007 When Bayonne Mayor Joe Doria resigned to become Corzine’s Director of Community Affairs, City Council President Vincent Lo Re became Acting Mayor until the council could agree on who would hold the position until a special election. Since Lo Re didn’t have the votes to keep the job, a caretaker was chosen in the form of Business Administrator Terrence Malloy, who did not seek the permanent job in November. The HCDO rallied around Police Director Mark Smith, who won the special election with less than half the votes tallied… which is important when you realize – again – that unlike a June runoff where 50% plus 1 vote is needed to win, a simple plurality will win the November race.
Of course, Marsh may not be the only one in the “Zimmer Majority” who might be thinking of a Mayoral run. Ravi Bhalla is a pretty ambitious guy, and his relationship with Zimmer has always been a marriage of convenience. Could Zimmer, Marsh, and Bhalla jump into a race that may also include Beth Mason? If so, it could split the newcomer vote and deliver the election to a Hoboken Knight who would only have to secure the born-and-raised vote to achieve a winning plurality. That could be anyone from Mike Russo to Frank Raia, or one of many well B’nRs who may not currently be in the mix. This could be a very crowded field.
So, while today we may have an end, we also have a beginning of yet another ridiculous election season.
7/30/2009 5:45pm Update:
Refusing to let Cammarano news disrupt my day’s plans entirely once again – I was out of the office for the past couple hours (Nice day today!) Here are some updates (courtesy of WABC-TV):
Final decision to be reached Friday
Cammarano’s lawyer Joseph Haydan, however, said this afternoon that his client may step down Friday, but no final decision has been made. Hayden acknowledged the 32-year-old mayor is strongly considering resigning out of a concern the storm of publicity over his arrest has “interfered with his ability to run the city.”
“He is concerned with the fact that the publicity about this case has become a distraction to him and a distraction to the functioning of government,” the lawyer said. “He will decide by tomorrow.”
Here’s what NJ Governor Jon Corzine had to say (
poor audio – turn up volume Audio fixed):
Cammarano calling it quits
According to PolitickerNJ – their sources indicate that Peter Cammarano will finally step down from office on Friday, July 31, 2009.
The site goes on to say that Council President Dawn Zimmer will become acting Mayor until a special “winner take all” election in November.
This gives me an opportunity to borrow one of the Cammarano Photoshops for tomorrow!
I’m betting it was the canine protests from the other day that “broke the camel’s back…”