Fist Fight at City Hall

3/31/2007 Update:

Hoboken had a big presence in today’s “Political Insider” column in the Jersey Journal. I still find that Taiwanese political nutjob in the photo hilarious. I was considering photoshopping someone elses face on it, but will leave that for someone else to do.. hint hint…

When push comes to shove, you’re in Hoboken

Saturday, March 31, 2007

taiwan-parliment-fist-fight-in-hoboken.jpg“Hey, you wanna hear my philosophy of life? Do it to him before he does it to you.”

There’s a bit of Hoboken in this column, so it’s appropriate that we allow Terry Malloy, the protagonist in the classic flick “On the Waterfront,” to start things off with his outlook on things – a famous quote that could very well be the slogan of the Hudson County Democrats.

The day after the Hudson County Democratic Organization names and introduces its slate of candidates, the pressure cooker that is Hoboken politics explodes.

Everyone is still talking about the dustup in Hoboken City Hall – you know, the one that the administration denies ever happened on Wednesday. Perhaps denial is the wrong way to put it. What do you call it when the response is “there’s no proof” that it happened.

We’re getting ahead of ourselves. What they say did not happen, and what several sources claim did occur, was a fist-swinging fight between Mayor Dave Roberts and City Clerk James Farina. The alleged chair-throwing, body-slamming, furniture-rearranging, secretary-refereeing tussle ended with the arrival of police and the ushering out of the building of both officials. The only thing the city would officially admit was that two patrol cars were sent to the municipal building.

As one of the HCDO spokespeople said: “It never happened. Did anyone file a police compliant? Anyone admitting it happened?”

Later, the spin was simply that Farina could not lift a chair, it is a plot of Councilman Michael Russo, and that they have no idea how some furniture was cracked. Later in the day, it was brushed off with a report that Roberts and Farina were in a bar having a drink and patching up differences. One is inclined to believe the last one because, after all, this is Hudson County.

Such a deplorable incident seemed inevitable. Roberts has been under a great deal of stress.

The state is conducting a criminal investigation of the city’s top construction official, Al Arezzo. Then came the embarrassing revelation of how city inspectors did little about violations by Garden Street landlord and property owner Esmat Zaklama. On top of all this, the mayor lost the backing of most City Council.

In an action befitting an angry Samurai, Roberts lopped off the head, figuratively speaking, of Corporation Counsel Joe Sherman. Sherman and Roberts have not been on the best of terms for some time and the execution of Sherman was considered a lesson for other city directors.

Continue the rest of this story at

Read more about this alleged debacle below:

sopranos-hoboken-2007.gif3/29/2007 it continues…

Can you believe this day? Unreal. Jersey Journal is now reporting Farina went postal on Roberts because the Mayor won’t back him for School Board. Not too convinced yet, but they are going with it. It may be more likely Farina is annoyed Roberts may not back Wanda Alicea and Maggie Porrata for School Board. Those two are in with Carmelo Garcia, Ramos and Campos. What a nutty nightmare this is becoming!

A reader also wrote in:

Have you heard about School Board President Jimmy Farina, today? Farina allegedly showed up at his city clerk job today drunk as a skunk pissed that Mayor Roberts is backing Carol Marsh’s Assemblyman for District 33 against Rubin Ramos and the Stack ticket. He was so drunk that he trashed his office and was reported to have even thrown or hit the Mayor with a chair!

The other candidate paired with Carol, Nicole Garcia of Union City is well respected and her husband is pretty well known in Union City. But this morning he and 100 others were busted by the FBI for gambling online in a website they have been monitoring. Now it sounds like it Nicole might have to step down….plus a buddy of Stack that runs the jersey city Journal is about to run a pretty viscous article tomorrow am.

If it were not true I would swear it was on Soparano’s.

Another Update 4:15pm:
Here’s what you could consider today’s City Hall theme song:

From Charles Hack, over at I love the quote from Campos: “everyday nuances”… what kind of statement is that?

Fight at Hoboken City Hall?

Two police cars were dispatched to Hoboken City Hall this afternoon responding to reports of a scuffle but nobody wanted to make any statements, according to police sources.

No charges were filed.

Several callers to The Jersey Journal and others, said the fight involved Mayor David Roberts.

Bill Campbell, a spokesman for Roberts, said he would not comment.

One woman who works at City Hall, said she saw City Clerk and School Board President James Farina being escorted downstairs shouting “backstabber” over his shoulder.

Asked if he knew what had happened, Councilman Christopher Campos, said he did not want to go into details.

“We are not going to get caught in the everyday nuances in City Hall,” said Campos. “The fractures and the fissures are not our concern . . . Whatever happened today is not furthering policy.”

Charles Hack

Update: Rumor has it that Mayor Roberts and another city official went at it in the Mayor’s conference room (fight club?). Chairs were thrown and a table was damaged. It was broken up before police arrived. More on who the other person was once it’s confirmed.

Those listening to the live police scanner would have just heard reported that there was a fist fight going on inside in the last five minutes.

No word on who or what about… but the police checked it out and found nothing. Maybe the bitch-slapping ended and they went back to their offices.

Man, if it were true, that place is falling apart!

If this were Taiwan, I’d imagine it’d look something like this:

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Monday, April 2, 2007 1:18 pm

You always know an election’s near when Swibinski reappears. I just can’t make sense of it though – is the HCDO really that scared of losing it’s stranglehold on Hoboken that Swibinski is working on orchestrating all of these maneuvers of late? “We’re losing Hoboken. Quick, lets cut a couple off so it looks like we’re serious about this ‘reform’ nonsense. We’ll take care of them later. What’s that? There’s some backlash from Farina? There was a fistfight? Dammit Davey you’re not going to win elections with headlines like that. Quick, throw the spin machine into 5th gear. Happy news – happy news- hey Davey, quick, settle up with Farina. Let’s do a cheesy photo-op. That’s what belongs on the front page. What’s that? We have no viable candidates for council? Let’s cuddle up with some of these ‘reformers’. Hey, it tricked the people into getting us elected last time. Once we’re in again we can lose them.”
I really hate to think that’s really what’s going on, but a small part of me says sadly it’s probably not too far off the mark.

Monday, April 2, 2007 12:48 pm

Did Roberts tell the so-called “political insider” that Beth was there? Is this guy on the Mayor’s payroll too? I noticed he has a new spokesperson other than Bill Campbell.

Sunday, April 1, 2007 11:34 pm

Did anyone see the LAME-O photo opp in the paper of the two of them with punching gloves on jokingly pretending to hit each other as they playfully smile to the camera? ugh…and y’know for a minute there, I thought it was really serious. Those pranksters.

Sunday, April 1, 2007 9:01 am

You go Beth!

Beth Mason
Beth Mason
Saturday, March 31, 2007 6:17 pm

I would like to take this opportunity to correct a glaring error in the Jersey Journal Political Insider column referenced above. Mr. Torres wrote that I attended an HCDO rally with Mayor Roberts. I am demanding a retraction of this false report.

As one of the most persistant critics fighting the Roberts administration over the last several years, it is ridiculous to think that I would attend any HCDO event with the Mayor.

I have spent countless hours fighting the mismanagement of this administration. I do not seek nor would I accept any support from the Mayor or the HCDO. I stand on my own two feet as an independent candidate for Second Ward Council.

Beth Mason

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