Hoboken City Council Election – 2011

2011 Hoboken City Council Election Recap:

Zimmer regains majority; gains no ground with the voters at large

City council candidates endorsed by Mayor Dawn Zimmer lost four out of six races, but winning just one more seat means Zimmer will regain a majority of 5 on the governing body.

Already people are already wondering how long it will last. Why? Because the more things change in Hoboken, the more they stay the same.

In November 2009, Zimmer won the Mayor’s seat with only 42% of the vote. This week the six candidates she endorsed for City Council got 43% of the vote. That means after nearly two years in office Zimmer still hasn’t convinced a majority of Hoboken voters she’s up for the job. Statistically, she hasn’t budged.

While some of the amateurs who blindly worship the Mayor continue to tout this week’s results as a “Great Victory,” her smarter and more experienced political advisors see big trouble ahead for her 2013 re-election. Zimmer hasn’t grown her tent one bit. The “You’re either with us, or you’re corrupt” line might work in the 5th ward, but it’s not playing citywide.

1st Ward: Castellano 57%, Kurta 43%

In the end, it wasn’t close. Veteran First ward Councilwoman Theresa Castellano comfortably defeated challenger Eric Kurta with over 160 votes to spare. Kurta’s campaign got off to an early start, but the more he talked, the angrier he got. His “Vote for me because her cousin went to jail” stump speech failed to carry the day. Kurta’s turn as a lapdog for Mayor Dawn Zimmer has been far less successful than his previous role as an advocate for open government.

Former allies are disappointed he went “all in” with the Mayor, who does not practice what he once preached.

2nd Ward: Mason 51%, Greaney 41%

Second ward Councilwoman Beth Mason prevailed despite a relentless barrage of negative campaigning from Mayor Dawn Zimmer and her political operatives. All of Mason’s campaign mailers were positive while Zimmer’s people worked the mud hard in an effort to prop up challenger Tom Greaney, who trailed her by 10 points and failed to force a runoff in a 4-way race. Independent Franz Paetzold scored votes from friends and neighbors, as well as people turned off by Greaney’s financial troubles and mudslinging. As predicted, Patricia Waiters’ candidacy was not a factor, garnering only 26 votes (and had nothing to do with her campaign signs in which her own last name was misspelled…)

3rd Ward: Russo 67%, Lincoln 33%

411 told you this wouldn’t be close, and it wasn’t.

Mike Russo won a third term by a two-to-one margin.

Even the release of an embarrassing FBI tape couldn’t lift the fortunes of sad sack candidate Greg Lincoln, who can now return to his old assignment with the team of malcontents spreading lies and hate for Zimmer on the internet.

4th Ward: Occhipinti 60%, Pinchevsky 40%

Despite only being in office for six months, Tim Occhipinti ran on his record and stayed positive. That was enough to easily defeat the relentless and often bizarre attacks from challenger Rami Pinchevsky, who followed the Lenz/Zimmer playbook of smears and lies.

Occhipinti had an easier time defeating the new face of Pinchevsky than he did with the baggage-laden Lenz, easily taking Rami on the machines alone by over 100 votes.

5th Ward: Cunningham 52%, ABC 48%

Nobody in the Fifth ward race was more passionate about removing Peter Cunningham from office than Lenny Luizzi. Ironically, Luizzi may also be the reason why Cunningham was allowed to escape without a runoff. The City Historian’s campaign garnered a mere 70 votes, but managed to take oxygen from the efforts of rivals Perry Belfiore and Scott Delea. Anybody But Cunningham turned into Nobody But Cunningham because three’s company, and four’s a crowd in the Fifth.

6th Ward: Giattino 54%, Giacchi 46%

Jennifer Giattino has never spoken at a Hoboken City Council meeting. On July 1st, she will become a voting member.

Giattino ran a race focused on connecting through her network of friends and neighbors, many of whom don’t follow local politics. While Giattino had financial support from the Mayor and her allegedly illegally operating PAC, Nino Giacchi ran a modest, self-funded campaign that got a later start. The race never got dirty (compared to bucketloads of mud thrown in the rest of the city) and people voted based on personal relationships more than political experience. How will this part-time Real Estate agent perform as a City Councilperson? Time will tell if she’ll be the rubber stamp vote Zimmer is counting on, or something more.

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Unofficial Hoboken City Council Election Results

As of 9pm (unofficial): 1st: Castellano — 2nd: Mason — 3rd: Russo — 4th: Occhipinti — 5th: Cunningham — 6th: Giattino.

Back with final numbers later.

City Council Election TODAY!

Nearly two months ago, Hoboken411 brought you the quintessential preview of the 2011 City Council elections. Much has happened since, but very little which significantly changed the original analysis. Nearly every ward rides on strong Get-Out-The-Vote efforts to win, but the pendulum has continued to swing away from the Mayor and her allies.

5th ward battle cry is ABC: Anybody But Cunningham

Councilman Peter “You’re either with me or you’re corrupt” Cunningham is facing strong challenges from three opponents who focused like a laser on the incumbent. A runoff is practically guaranteed, but few dare to predict which two men will be in it.

Perry Belfiore and Scott Delea each faced Cunningham four years ago before he had a record to run on. Belfiore easily edged out Delea to face Cunningham head-to-head last time, and has stayed involved while Delea has upped his game.

Peter pummeled by Belfiore, Delea and Luizzi

Cunningham has run the most disorganized campaign of the candidates on Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s slate. Instead of strong endorsements, Cunningham has faced rebukes from people who supported him 4 years ago. The latest comes from The Hoboken Republican Club, noting Cunningham vowed in 2007 he wouldn’t dump his lifelong GOP registration if elected, but switched his affiliation to join the Hudson County Democratic Organization in 2009.

The bad news for Cunningham is Republican enrollment is up in the 5th ward, where Henrietta Dwyer nearly defeated incumbent Congressman Albio Sires last November. Delea has inroads to the Republicans, while Belfiore has won back support from friends who voted for Cunningham four years ago. City Historian Lenny Luizzi is seen as the least likely candidate to make a runoff, as Belfiore and Delea appear to have wrapped up most of the ABC vote.

Advantage: Anybody But Cunningham (but who?)

Kurta vs. Castellano in the 1st Ward

Eric Kurta has been running a negative campaign against Councilwoman Theresa Castellano, who has been busy standing up for constituents.

At last Wednesday’s meeting Kurta was nowhere to be found while Castellano was fighting Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s proposal to allow a 24/7 Impound Lot to open in the 1st Ward. Both candidates have been campaigning hard. As a local business owner Castellano makes it a point never to ask a fellow business owner to hang her campaign sign in their window. In contrast, Kurta campaign manager Frances Jennings has been on a downtown campaign sign jihad. A clerk at one local business says,

“We keep telling that woman to stop putting signs in our windows. She comes in here and puts them up even though our boss told her we don’t want them. We don’t take sides in Hoboken elections because we don’t want to alienate customers, but that woman just keeps coming back every time her signs come down. Enough!”

– a 1st ward store clerk who wishes to remain anonymous

Castellano is a Public Safety candidate while Kurta denies crime is up in the ward despite vicious robberies in his own neighborhood.

Advantage: Castellano and her base

Greaney vs. Mason in the 2nd Ward

Tom Greaney is only the main challenger to Councilwoman Beth Mason because he has the rubber-stamp of approval from Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

Without that endorsement Greaney’s candidacy would have shriveled away from the effects of his no-longer-hidden bankruptcy and lies about how long he’s lived in Hoboken.

If not for Zimmer’s blessing, Greaney would likely come in third to unknown (and un-financed) challenger Franz Paetzold, who did a much better job than Greaney during the debates. Though Zimmer’s candidates have been running negative campaigns in every ward, this one has been the dirtiest. Zimmer took the fight to Mason, and in response she’s run a strong campaign which stresses the need to give back the surplus and stop the Zimmer patronage and perks mill at City Hall.

Advantage: Mason, and her opponent’s moving company

Lincoln vs. Russo in the 3rd Ward

No need to waste any more time on this race.

Michael Russo has his faults, but nobody disputes he’s going to walk away with a victory.

Zimmer looked for a credible candidate, but ended up running an asshat named Greg Lincoln who calls Hoboken411 readers “Neo-Nazis.” The truth hurts.

Advantage: still Russo, videotape and all

Pinchevsky vs. Occhipinti in the 4th Ward

Only about six months ago, Tim Occhipinti upended incumbent Councilman Michael Lenz by over 400 votes. Since then, Occhipinti worked hard to grow his base by doing something most politicians only talk about: getting things done for his ward.

That’s been a problem for first-time candidate Rami Pinchevsky, who prior to the election was best known for playing on Dawn Zimmer’s kickball team.

Occhipinti kept his campaign on the high road while an increasingly desperate Pinchevsky has damaged his own reputation by getting deeper into the gutter with occasionally ridiculous attacks. Zimmer’s own people concede they will likely lose the 4th, again.

Advantage: It’s with Tim.

Giattino vs. Giacchi in the 6th Ward

The sleepy 6th ward has never been an easy one to gauge. It all depends on turnout, and usually the 6th has the lowest in the city.

Zimmer-backed newcomer Jennifer Giattino hasn’t caught incumbent Nino Giacchi off guard, though. If elected, Giattino’s swearing in would be the first time she’s ever spoken at a City Council meeting. While she has her friends, other 6th ward voters who just met her say, “There’s no there, there.” She’s also made quite a few enemies of dog owners in her neighborhood, following stories like this one, from a neighbor who isn’t real fond of his Councilman, but would vote for him 1000 times over Giattino.

Advantage: Swings to Giacchi, but Giattino gets name recognition up for her Real Estate listings, so everybody wins.

Finally: A friendly Mile Square reminder

Hoboken411 is only predicting who has “The Advantage” here on the eve of the election, not who is going to win.

That all depends on turnout, which thanks to the excruciatingly negative campaigns launched by the Zimmer slate will very likely be low.

Zimmer’s expectations have also been lowered following the abysmal results for her Board of Education candidates last month, and that was before one of her choices was arrested last Friday morning.

Continue reading below for details of the candidates’ debates, and Hoboken411’s pre- and post-filing deadline previews.

Candidates Forum Day 2: Uptown Throwdown!


As expected, the candidates for the 2nd and 5th Ward City Council seats came ready to dance. Well, most of them anyway. Patricia Waiters – who filed to run for both Board of Ed and 2nd ward this spring – excused herself at the beginning of the forum and did not participate.

Let’s start with the main battleground: The 5th ward.

Incumbent Peter Cunningham: Trying hard not to be himself

After being introduced to the audience by the moderator, Peter Cunningham replied: “Good Evening. I’m Councilman Cunningham.” This announcement did nothing to change the common perception that Peter is aloof and arrogant.

Cunningham took it from all sides as three challengers took him to task for his record.

After suffering blow after blow for his lack of attention to constituent service and inability to deliver on campaign promises he made four years ago, Cunningham predictably returned to his City Council form and called his opponents “gutless” for not following the Lenz/Zimmer party line.

Challenger #1A: Lenny Luizzi

If City Historian Lenny Luizzi had a lawn, you might imagine him yelling at kids to get off of it. Actually, that’s a little unfair since Luizzi has been instrumental in helping generations of Hoboken Boy Scouts and has been active in the community his whole life.

He just happens to be the guy most obviously motivated to run against Cunningham because of how unhappy he is with his Councilman’s job performance.

Luizzi repeatedly blamed Cunningham for causing the recent tax increases by not doing his job and adopting a budget, which brought the state in to oversee Hoboken.

Challenger #1B: Perry Belfiore

Perry Belfiore made the point he can use his 2007 campaign literature again this year because the issues are the same and Cunningham has done nothing to follow through on his campaign promises.

The loquacious former member of the Planning, School and Housing Authority boards was often the comic relief of the night, noting at one point he came for a debate, “but a City Council meeting broke out.”

Belfiore sliced through Cunningham’s arguments to outline the true amount of over-taxation, which caused a budget surplus Cunningham and the Mayor want to keep. Belfiore wants the surplus returned and new parks built in the 5th ward.

Challenger #1D: Scott Delea

Scott Delea is also back for another try at the 5th ward seat. His reputation for being heavy on style and light on details became a memory as Delea repeatedly landed well thought-out arguments Cunningham didn’t see coming.

Delea likened his councilman to an “absentee landord” who neglects his constituents. When asked about parking he said he knows Cunningham knows it’s a problem, “because he frequently gets tickets for parking in the crosswalk.” Delea described the Mayor’s order to move the St. Patrick’s Parade to a Wednesday a “rash decision” that reeked of “dictatorship.”

When Cunningham reminded the audience Delea endorsed Dave Roberts in 2005, Delea shot back that Cunningham conveniently neglected to note his support of Zimmer in 2009.

Cunningham seemed ready to battle the old 2007 Scott Delea, and instead found himself facing a man four years older and wiser.

Second Ward

In the 2nd ward, incumbent Beth Mason faced independent Franz Paetzold, and Michael Lenz’s choice for the seat, Thomas Greaney. The surprise of the night was the Vassar-educated Paetzold, who few knew much about before he filed his petitions.

Paetzold (pictured to the right) demonstrated knowledge of the issues, and stressed he wouldn’t be beholden to anyone if elected.

Though still a longshot, Paetzold showed a sense of purpose for his candidacy that the City Hall-backed Greaney lacked.

Greaney drones as Paetzold makes his case

Greaney seemed lost at times as he tried to segue from his own personal thoughts to the scripted attacks on Mason prepared for him by the Lenz/Zimmer team. Moments after Greaney lamented about how “vicious” politics in Hoboken had become, he practiced what he claimed to abhor by calling Mason “The First Lady of Corruption” in Hoboken.

That was the only comment of the night that received widespread audience boos and hisses.

Greaney continued the central theme of all the Zimmer-backed candidates this year, which can perhaps be best summarized as, “If you’re not with us, you’re corrupt!”

Mason fights back, wants surplus returned to residents

The Council President stressed she wants to cut taxes by cutting spending on the Mayor’s patronage hires in the Executive and Finance departments, among others. She also stressed how important it is to return the surplus to the taxpayers who were overcharged for the last two years. Mason called for a strong police department and expressed concern that the recent rash of crime has been exacerbated by the Mayor’s efforts to cut the police department using a report generated with outdated population figures. Mason also stressed her leadership on government transparency issues as a founding member of POG and the NJ Foundation for Open Government.

Oddball question gets interesting answers

The off-topic question of the evening was “Which Living Person do you most admire?” and the person could not be a family member.

Perry Belfiore couldn’t think of a living person who fit the description, so he went with John Lennon. Scott Delea had the same problem, and mentioned the late Arthur Ashe. For Lenny Luizzi it was former New York Mayor Ed Koch. Peter Cunningham said it was his boss at work.

Just minutes after trying to score political points by mentioning his Irish heritage, Greaney went with former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. You could hear a pin drop after Franz Paetzold said he most admired the Fukishima 50 who are selflessly working to stop a nuclear catastrophe at a tsunami-ravaged nuclear power plant in Japan.

Beth Mason said the living person she most admires is Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was shot in an assassination attempt by a gunman who killed six people in a political rage. Mason compared the event to the hate-filled political smears she’s faced at the hands of Zimmer’s core supporters, including Zoning Board Member Nancy Pincus, who’s Nazi-themed attacks on Mason and Councilman Tim Occhipinti received national attention, but were never denounced by the Mayor herself.

Forum: Four wards last night, two more tonight at OLG


There’s a City Council election ahead on May 10th. Apparently most people have either made up their minds already or just didn’t bother to turn out on a rainy Tuesday night to hear from candidates in the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 6th wards. The crowd was made up of the usual political suspects and try – as many did – there was no sign of a single undecided voter in the audience. Watch it for yourself on Channel 78 to come to your own conclusions, but here’s the low-down on last night’s event:

1st Ward:

GRRR!!! Challenger Eric Kurta is very angry! Corruption is his #1 issue (not taxes, development or parking) and he wants you to know how very, very mad he is about it. He’s also annoyed about the Hospital, but doesn’t want to tell you exactly why because he’s on the Hospital Board trying to hide details of the deal to sell it! GRRR!! Kurta angry! Want more angry-cookies!

The 1st Ward must be a pretty high-strung place, because incumbent Theresa Castellano also showed some emotion defending herself. For the most part Castellano calmly discussed her record on the issues, stressing she owes nothing to anyone because she self-funds her campaigns. On a question about small business she pointed out she has operated a storefront on “The Avenue” for over 40 years. It’s a contrast between a lifelong Hoboken resident and a challenger who seems to have issues with lifelong Hoboken residents, especially those who work for the City.

3rd Ward:

Heard anything new about Councilman Michael Russo lately? (hahah) The opposition took a lot of shots at him, but his star turn on an FBI video wasn’t as big of an issue at the debate as some thought (and others hoped) it would be. Russo wants to give the budget surplus back to the taxpayers, and build a park on the Pino Site. Russo fought the Mayor’s plan to move the Municipal Garage to the Pino site while his opponent did nothing to stop it. On style points Russo was probably the smoothest of the eight candidates.

Challenger Greg Lincoln was nervous and seemed out of place. Lincoln loves the Mayor.

Really, really loves the Mayor. Borderline obsession. He has his official “Zimmer Lincolnlogger Blogger Card” in his wallet and gets all googly-eyed when he talks about her. Lincoln also thinks the $25 per-kid, per-sport recreation fee is the greatest idea since sliced bread. If Lincoln still had any momentum left from the Russo FBI video he probably lost it all in the debate.

4th Ward:

Councilman Tim Occhipinti seems genuinely excited about how much he’s been able to get done in just five months on the job. Re-routing buses to relieve traffic, bonding to improve existing parks and buy land for new ones. He’s an easygoing guy happy to make his case for re-election.

This annoys Challenger Rami Pinchevsky, who gets the award for tossing the most unsubstantiated attacks. Instead of using his closing statement to sell himself, Pinchevsky took a swipe at Occhipinti for renting an apartment and campaign headquarters from a mid level employee of one of the largest employers in the city. In Pinchevsky’s world this means Occhipinti – who voted to bond for parks – is against parks. He knew his opponent wouldn’t get to respond, so he took a classless cheap shot. Pinchevsky shouldn’t have been surprised when some people booed him for it.

6th Ward:

Zzzzzzz…. Huh? Hello? What?

The candidates in the 6th ward were there, too? Jen Giattino and Nino Giacchi took a back seat to the other players. Challenger Giattino seems like someone who might be fun to talk American Idol with at the park while your kids are playing together, but this “gubberment stuff” doesn’t seem to be her bag of chips. Giattino dutifully searched her City Hall-prepared scripts for the “right” answers to each question, but the prepared attacks on Giacchi fell flat because they were obviously someone else’s words coming out of her mouth. As a first-timer she can be forgiven for repeatedly forgetting to use the microphone, but her use of the word “hugest” in a sentence led to some groans. 10-year Incumbent Nino Giacchi brought the extemporaneous institutional knowledge of municipal details that Giattino lacked, but came off a little dry at times. He’s a lawyer, and not the flashy kind you see on TV. The bell you heard was not the timer, but an alarm to wake you up in time to hear the next candidate.

The bottom line

This was the first time POG, QLC and OLG tried to do a full-on candidates forum with hopefuls from multiple wards. No ward-specific questions were asked because so many wards were represented.

Counter-intuitive? Yeah, well, just a little bit. Maybe this won’t be as big of a problem tonight when the candidates in only two wards will be onstage. Lenny Luizzi, Perry Belfiore and Scott Delea will be taking aim at 5th ward councilman Peter Cunningham on one side of the stage. On the other side 2nd ward councilwoman Beth Mason will be facing Ravi Bhalla’s handpicked challenger Thomas Greaney. Independent Franz Paetzold will also have his first opportunity to introduce himself, and make the case why he feels he’s a viable alternative. Perennial candidate Patricia Waiters will also get to share her unique perspective.

The 2nd and 5th ward forum is tonight at 7:30 at the Our Lady of Grace building on the northwest corner of 5th and Willow.

3/15/2011 Update:

Hoboken Council filing deadline recap

In the 5th ward, Chris Meyerink secured enough signed petitions to run but ultimately decided to sit the race out. Embattled incumbent Peter Cunningham will still have three other challengers to deal with. Perry Belfiore, Scott Delea and Lenny Luizzi are in as of today. I’m hearing there are ongoing efforts to convince at least one of the challengers to get out of the race before the deadline to print the ballots.

Waiters in for Council & Board of Ed, will probably lose both

Meanwhile, a mild surprise in the 2nd ward as perennial candidate Patricia Waiters showed up a few minutes before the deadline to file petitions to challenge incumbent Beth Mason.

Waiters also filed to run for Board of Education last week, but has little shot of winning either race.

Waiters got a whopping 16 votes from her 2nd ward neighbors when she ran for Mayor in the November 2009 special election, and is perhaps best known for holding the umbrella that kept Peter Cammarano dry as he left his arraignment on corruption charges.

Mason: 883 petitions, doubling the next closest total

Councilwoman Mason filed 883 petitions, which is more than 15 times the amount required to be placed on the ballot.

Back in 2007, Mason was elected with 693 votes. Her effort to secure petition support from nearly 200 more voters this time around is a rebuke to certain loudmouths in the Lenz/Bhalla camp who claim Mason has lost support in her ward.

Moments before the announcement of Mason’s 883 number, the Zimmer spin team was promoting Rami Pinchevsky’s 433 petition total in the 4th ward as a “great achievement.” 433 petitions may not seem quite so intimidating to Councilman Tim Occhipinti, who secured 1231 votes in his victory over the Pinchevsky-endorsed Michael Lenz just a few months ago.

All the other predicted candidates also filed their petitions.


Hoboken Candidates gather as filing deadline looms

Hoboken411 is not a fly-by-night site about Hoboken politics. If it was, it wouldn’t get the millions of pageviews it does each month. What it is – and has been for the past five years – is a complete community website about being honest about all things Hoboken.

Like it or not, politics is a part of Hoboken life, so political coverage is a part of Hoboken411. Because you have better things to do with your life – 411 hasn’t inundated you with the daily “he said, she said” dopiness and pre-election melodramas leading up to today: the deadline to file petitions to run for City Council.

However, this is a good day to check in on what the political types are doing to gear up for another fight.

(Not sure what ward you live in? See this map to find out)

As many as 16 people may file to run for City Council today

In May, elections will be held to choose six people to represent the city’s wards on the City Council for new four-year terms that begin in July. Yes, elections is plural because every ward is different, and different people will be on the ballot in different wards. Six of those people have something in common: they pledged to be a loyal vote for Mayor Dawn Zimmer in exchange for her endorsement and financial and/or organizational support.

The others believe ward council people are elected to independently represent their neighborhoods, not be a rubber stamp for the Mayor. The deadline to file nominating petitions to run is 4pm. No more than 61 valid signatures are needed to get on the ballot. A lot more than that is needed to get elected.

Battleground #1 is the 5th ward

Peter Cunningham has a problem. The demographics of the 5th ward should have made him an easy candidate for re-election.

His attitude and job performance changed that.

Constituents criticize Cunningham as “aloof” and “non-responsive.” His divisive comments about “Old Hoboken” being corrupt alienated long time residents who were among his supporters four years ago.

At least three (perhaps even four) people will file to challenge Cunningham today, setting the 5th ward up for a runoff election in June.

Cunningham will face attacks from all sides

Peter “Perry” Belfiore came within 100 votes of defeating the better-funded Cunningham in the 2007 runoff.

Scott Delea also ran, but failed to secure the votes needed to go head to head in June. Both Belfiore and Delea appear ready for another run. Belfiore has been a fixture of the opposition, while Delea only seems to appear when New York City TV cameras are staking out City Hall.

Lenny Luizzi was the first candidate to announce his intention to challenge Cunningham. He holds the ceremonial title of “City Historian” and has served on many civic boards.

Then, there’s also a “Draft Chris Meyerink” campaign underway with an effort to get him on the 5th ward ballot. Meyerink was a key supporter of Cunningham four years ago, but is among the many people unhappy with his divisive, ineffective performance since.

1st Ward: Castellano vs. Kurta

First Ward Councilwoman Theresa Castellano opposed former Mayor David Roberts for 8 years. Now she’s part of the council opposition to Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who botched the $25.5 million dollar sale and redevelopment of the Municipal Garage in Castellano’s ward.

Her challenger this time is former POG President and ex-Hoboken411 contributor Eric Kurta, who exchanged his non-partisan “City Hall watchdog” outfit for a Zimmer t-shirt and green and yellow pom-poms once she took office.

Kurta is a Zimmer-appointed member of the non-transparent Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority Board, which is in controversial secret negotiations with a single bidder to sell the hospital.

Advantage: Castellano, but this one may be closer than people think.

2nd Ward: Mason vs. Greaney (and maybe Paetzold)

Second Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason is seeking a second term in one of the fastest growing wards in the city. Mason failed in her bid for Mayor, but succeeded in rising to City Council President.

Now Michael Lenz and Ravi Bhalla are organizing the effort to challenge Mason in the form of candidate Tom Greaney.

Have you ever worked one of those corporate jobs where the Human Resources rep smiles at you insincerely before he happily throws you to the wolves? That’s Greaney, who is a VP of HR at Guardian Life Insurance.

Also gathering petitions is independent Franz Paetzold, who has yet to tell anybody who he is and why he might get into the race.

Advantage: Mason, but Lenz and Bhalla will push this one deep into the mud.

3rd Ward: Russo vs. Lincoln

Councilman Michael Russo calls the Third Ward the “heart of Hoboken.”

It has one of the largest populations of born-and-raised residents and public servants.

His opponent’s name is Greg Lincoln, and he thinks you’re a “Neo-Nazi.”

Yes, believe it or not, Mr. Lincoln posted his feelings about you, the Hoboken411 reader, under his Lincolnlogger screen name on another website. Lincoln is being advised by toxic former Councilman Tony Soares, who actually endorsed Russo for council in 2003 in his never-ending string of political bed hopping. You want further irony? If not for a deal he made with Russo, Soares wouldn’t have been appointed to the North Hudson Sewerage Authority Board seat with it’s $5000 stipend and health benefits.

Lincoln and Soares will often invoke the name of Russo’s father, former Mayor – and convicted felon – Anthony Russo during their campaign. Actually, that is their campaign, and it hasn’t worked when stronger candidates tried it in 2003 and 2007.

Advantage: Russo, and it won’t be close.

4th Ward: Occhipinti vs. Pinchevsky

Just days after being completely shellacked by challenger Tim Occhipinti, former 4th ward Councilman Michael Lenz was calling around for support for another run for the seat in May. He didn’t find it. Lenz’s new goal? Restoring a Zimmer-supporting majority on the City Council so he can be in the running for the $130k a year Finance Director job at City Hall.

Occhipinti has hit the ground running as a councilman focused on constituent service. He’ll face a challenge from Rami Pinchevsky, a young actuary and devoted FOD (Friend of Dawn) who is literally salivating at the opportunity to be her newest ally on the City Council. Pinchevsky is energetic and doesn’t have the huge negatives that Lenz’s decades of political dealing brought to the last campaign. He also doesn’t have a record or a base to work from beyond what remains of Zimmer’s rapidly waning support in her own ward.

Advantage: Occhipinti (and Ramos, Raia) over Pinchevsky (and Lenz, Zimmer)

6th Ward: Giacchi vs. Giattino

Sixth Ward Councilman Angelo “Nino” Giacchi calls himself Hoboken’s Voice of Reason. Giacchi has seen a lot of people come and go during his decade on the council. The Hoboken born-and-raised attorney also made a point of maintaining civility in the public discourse, but civility doesn’t get headlines in this town.

Jennifer Giattino is a young stay-at-home mother and staple of the Church Square Park scene. Lenz and Zimmer think she’s the type of candidate who could most likely beat Giacchi by appealing to voters that normally don’t bother to take part in sleepy 6th ward elections. In effect, they see her as “Zimmer-lite.” A mom with a fresh face and little political experience beyond wearing green Zimmer t-shirts, Giattino is not a staple of the City Council Meeting scene. That could be to her benefit – and detriment – as the race rolls on.

Advantage: too close to call

So that’s how it looks today. Again, the filing deadline is 4pm and Hoboken411 will let you know if there are any surprises.

What do you think of how things are shaping up so far? Do you even care?

Whatever your feelings, post them below on the most read website about all things Hoboken…

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83 Comments on "Hoboken City Council Election – 2011"

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The voices of the Ward voters have been heard. There was much spin to persuade, stimulate, motivate, inspire, influence and even incite one to vote to their candidate. Of course, many registered voters did not vote. Now, is the real litmus test for Hoboken’s Administration and the assessment of the entire governing body: Will they try to work together on the big issues – the budget, waterfront repairs, public safety, ethics,hospital sale, development, open space and property taxes. Stop!… of course, who will be planning to be run for Mayor in 2 years – Mason, Ramos, Raia, Novak, Glatt and I recently heard many way-out comments about Tim Occupinti. Of course, one has to have broad appeal to run city wide….. It’s sure good to be part of the Hoboken scene ❗


Will be interesting to watch how *far* Giattino will get in her anti-dog campaign with all the dog owners and lovers sitting near her at the council table.

Maybe she should target folks who actually make a mess in this town, as in those who come in from out of town.


Just goes to show you. You can agree to take a bribe and trash your constituents on tape and they’ll still vote for you.

kooky kat

You know why? Because people in his ward (and the 4th) know that Queen Z and her people don’t give a sh*t about them and really wish they’d just go away.

[quote comment=”206922″]Just goes to show you. You can agree to take a bribe and trash your constituents on tape and they’ll still vote for you.[/quote]


And you can be an incompetent, unethical Mayor with a nefarious voter fraud past in the 4th ward, and still have people who accept your endorsements of equally lame candidates.
[quote comment=”206922″]Just goes to show you. You can agree to take a bribe and trash your constituents on tape and they’ll still vote for you.[/quote]

kooky kat

Although I am annoyed by the blatant arrogance of Mike Russo and the signage that is all over my neighborhood, I wonder how the spin from Zimmer’s camp will be how it’s okay that Cunningham did the EXACT same thing in his ward, but whow Russo broke the law!

Also, I love how Zimmer’s people just treated Greg Lincoln, who is probably a perfectly nice guy, like a leper. I wonder how he feels about that? Instead focusing all of their energy on Giattino, Kurta, and Greaney.

So disgusted with Hoboken politics!!!

After looking over the results of yesterday’s council race, at first glance it seems that Mayor Zimmer has picked up a seat and now has a 5-4 majority. But, if you look a bit further you see that the opposition candidates may have lost a seat but beat the Mayor city wide. It was 4100 to 3500 votes in favor of the opposition, without counting almost 300 votes received by Belfiore and Luzzi and the 100 + received by the two in the second which are clearly Anti-Zimmer votes. That puts the Mayor behind 1000 votes going into the Mayoral Race. Keep in mind, when the Anti-Russo (Mayor) ticket headed by then Councilman Roberts ran 6 candidates versus the Russo slate, Roberts only picked up one seat, Ruben Ramos and they already had the vote of the Little Person. They had 3 council votes and crushed Russo in the Mayoral Race. Also, when Roberts and Ramos won their two council seats the total of votes received by their six candidates was almost 700 less the Russo’s six. So, Former Mayor Russo going into his bid for a third term against Roberts was seemingly up by 700 votes City wide and took a shellacking, Zimmer is already down almost 1000. It seems as Zimmer is “Keeping that seat warm” for whom ever the unified opposition decides on. That being said, I have spoken to Jennifer Giattino and know all four of Zimmers councilmen, none are stupid, foolish maybe but they ALL… Read more »
leo pell get real..this Giattino is another rubber stamp that came out of no where.. If cunningham had a valid person running against him, ????????????. It was written in one of the posts or papers dont quote me that if SELDA gave the contract to an company in North Bergen at 32 2nd streed ,He could care less if people had to go to nyc to retrieve their vehicles..Yet b b eyes won ..why take a look at how many people ran against him..Keep in mind we only need one council men girl at large..That other expence can reinstated demoted PD personal..btw did we need that many people running in the 5th ward??? perry got hosed again..signs do not vote… [quote comment=”206914″]After looking over the results of yesterday’s council race, at first glance it seems that Mayor Zimmer has picked up a seat and now has a 5-4 majority. But, if you look a bit further you see that the opposition candidates may have lost a seat but beat the Mayor city wide. It was 4100 to 3500 votes in favor of the opposition, without counting almost 300 votes received by Belfiore and Luzzi and the 100 + received by the two in the second which are clearly Anti-Zimmer votes. That puts the Mayor behind 1000 votes going into the Mayoral Race. Keep in mind, when the Anti-Russo (Mayor) ticket headed by then Councilman Roberts ran 6 candidates versus the Russo slate, Roberts only picked up one seat, Ruben Ramos… Read more »