Last Tuesday, I received an extremely troubling telephone call from State Senator and Union City Mayor Brian Stack. Mayor Stack, who over the past year has almost never returned my phone calls relating to important governmental matters like our hospital, was calling to threaten me politically. Mayor Stack was angry that the Politickernj web site had reported on the backroom deal through which he and Hudson County Democratic Party Chairman Mark Smith agreed to try to turn over the Hoboken Democratic Party to the Russo family. This occurred just one week after an FBI surveillance tape revealed Councilman Michael Russo discussing an illegal potential campaign contribution while appearing to agree to expedite development projects.
Mayor Stack, who I believe has a history of interfering in Hoboken politics by funneling large sums of money into the campaigns of the developer friendly candidates who do his bidding, threatened to get involved in Hoboken politics once again if I continued to tell the truth about the shady deal that was struck at the expense of the honest Democrats of Hoboken. The Hoboken candidates who Mayor Stack would presumably support are Councilman Russo and his allies. This is the same group that recently voted down anti-wheeling legislation that would have stopped developers and out of town politicos like Mayor Stack from interfering in Hoboken elections for their own personal gain.
I proudly support the ideals of the Democratic Party, but not the machinations of any political machine. Last Friday, I had the pleasure of hearing Senator Menendez speak directly from the front lines regarding our country’s budget negotiations. He emphasized that while the debate appeared on the surface to be about money, it is really about our commitment to women’s issues, senior and children’s issues, environmental issues and other core Democratic values.
It is ironic, that as the only woman among Hudson County’s 12 Mayors, the leaders of our County party have elected not to give me the respect that has always been accorded by the party to Hudson County Mayors. I don’t know whether my gender was a factor in Mayor Stack and Chairman Smith’s decision to treat me differently than other Mayors have always been treated, but their behavior has been both odd and disconcerting. Mayor Smith did not tell the truth about the reason for his endorsement of the Russo family slate, as the politicker article makes clear. Instead he chose to launch personal attacks against Hoboken’s Democratic Party Chair Ravi Bhalla. Mayor Stack’s threatening phone call to me makes it clear that he, like Chairman Smith, has something to fear from the truth. The dishonesty and old time machine politics is a discredit to our Party and does not help advance the ideals that our party represents.
I will work with the true Democrats of Hoboken to return our local party to its core values and end the cancer of machine politics that threatens to keep our City from moving forward.
Thank you for listening.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer