Council members are not suing Hoboken
Letter: Setting the record straight in Hoboken, NJ
The following is a Hoboken411 letter to the editor from 1st Ward Councilwoman Terry Castellano, who wants to set the record straight on several points, including that the Independent Council members are not suing the City.
I would like to take this opportunity to counter some misleading information generated from Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s propaganda machine: a small group of zealots charged with disseminating misleading information by placing unfounded letters and spin throughout local media.
Let me address three simple facts which have been misrepresented regarding the true independent members of the City Council, Beth Mason, Tim Occhipinti, Michael Russo and myself.
Fact 1: Zimmer’s 5th “rubber stamp” vote Jim Doyle
Let’s begin with Zimmer’s appointment of Jim Doyle to the City Council last fall. We had no problem with the selection, only the process. Zimmer chose to usurp the democratic process by not allowing the voters to make the decision. Furthermore, there were a few key facts omitted from Mr. Doyle’s public resume that would shed some light on his independence, namely the fact that Jim was the emcee at Zimmer’s inauguration and that he was chosen by the Governor, at the request of Zimmer, as the mayor’s appointee to the Hospital Board. All facts that were not included in his resume, facts he was not sharing unless questioned. What else was not disclosed?
If an election had been scheduled in 30 days of the appointment, Jim would have gotten a unanimous vote to remain on the council until that date. The elimination of the election process deprived the public of being represented by the person of choice. That fact was the driving force behind the original court case for his removal which we independent council members have financed ourselves.
Ask yourselves, why would Zimmer not want an election? The answer, they want that fifth and deciding vote to push through their agenda, with no discussion or opposition. The fact that the rubber stamp is out of ink, frustrates the Zimmer faction, which is evident by their behavior as the Council meetings get more contentious.
Fact 2: Unbalanced budget and tax increases
A 4-4 Council is a breath of fresh air, a fact never more evident as we go through the Budget process. As our questioning has disclosed, the proposed budget has been underfunded, not balanced. To make up the difference, the Zimmer faction purposed a tax levy increase. We independents purposed nine amendments to the spending plan to avert a tax levy increase, which drives the budget’s bottom line.
We are aware that the 10% County Increase, the 4% Zimmer Board of Education budget increase and the looming increases as a result of the Zimmer-driven property revaluation will financially devastate our taxpayers. We, on the other hand, are committed to doing whatever it takes to keep expenses down and finding ways to decrease spending.
Fact 3: Desperate appeal costing property taxpayers in Hoboken
As I said earlier, council members, Mason, Occhipinti, Russo and myself are paying for the legal effort to maintain a council vacancy ourselves which means not one penny of taxpayers money is being spent by us. As you may be aware, during the first court hearing, county Assignment Judge Bariso ruled that the Doyle appointment was illegal and the “Zimmer Administration screwed up.” Subsequently, Zimmer levied an appeal, as she always does when she does not get her way, hired a high priced, politically connected Norcross law firm. The city estimates the cost of the appeal at $30,000 and counting.
Another benefit for Zimmer by keeping the appeal active is to make friends with political power brokers for the benefit of back room deals and political contributions. ( Nice “green reformer” you turned out to be Dawn.)
I hope these facts shed some light on how we independent stand. When anyone writes a letter of truth, you can expect a Zimmer tool to respond in an effort to mask and divert discussion. With this I have no problem, All it does if give me the opportunity to say yet again, the independents are paying for their own defense, shame on those who are lying to the public. And, yes, there will be another letter from me as countless residents have commented, saying that I am articulating what everyone is thinking.
Remember, that much overused, abused word from the distant past: transparency.
Look it up again, refresh your memories.”
First Ward Councilwoman