Pick of the litter

With 17 candidates vying for two at-large City Council seats in the Jersey City special election, you would think voters might have a clear choice.
But that’s not true if you look at the ballot, which has candidates spread out onto three rows with some linked and others left out on their own like unwanted orphans.
This is no political ploy to confuse people into making unwise choices – merely the luck of the draw, the order of which was decided by lottery. Candidates supported by Mayor Jerramiah Healy have been cast into the center of a confusion of names you would need an Excel spreadsheet to keep straight.

Reading the fine print

When it comes to the purchase of Hoboken University Medical Center, you really need to read the fine print – provided, of course, you can actually get your hands on a copy of the proposal from Holdco to buy it.
Two of the six bids made for the purchase are still not available for review, and the city can’t release them because of non-disclosure agreements.
This is an interesting situation. When taxpayers are the ones who are gambling their money that the city will make the best deal possible to save the hospital, how does the average person know for certain that one of the undisclosed offers did not provide a better bang for the taxpayer’s buck?
They don’t. And it would seem that taxpayers and other interested parties such as the creditors to whom the current hospital owes a fortune will have to take the word that the Zimmer administration is acting in everybody’s best interest.
We know now that Christ Hospital made an offer, but just didn’t compete with the offer made by HUMC Holdco, the company that co-owns Bayonne Medical Center. While there is a lot of hoopla about offers made by JCMC and a Connecticut company called P3, it becomes clearer that HUMC Holdco is the best offer to date.
But then Mayor Dawn Zimmer has some very powerful allies, such as Gov. Christopher Christie, who managed to squeeze out of the state budget an extra $5 million to close the gap between the bankrupt hospital and its creditors and reach the agreement the city needed to make its current deal with HUMC work. (A bankruptcy settlement was approved on Wednesday that will allow the sale to move forward.)
Christie’s gesture just shows how a few well-placed campaign contributions by those related to Holdco could pay off in the end.

Christie is looking like Reagan

Christie apparently has made up his mind that he will not run for president, despite the heavy lobbying from national Republicans, who see him as a compromise candidate. This is bad news for teachers’ unions in the state which might have breathed a heavy sigh of relief if he had moved on. But in a year in which the national Tea Party holds massive sway, this move by Christie seems wise, since he is considered a moderate Republican.
This move will only increase Christie’s rising popularity among many taxpayers in the state even if he is opposed by state’s unions. Christie is looking more and more like former Pres. Ronald Reagan in his ability to appeal to working class voters despite union leadership opposition.

Dr. Roque impresses people by being ‘real’

North Hudson remains an unsettled political world, partly because many do not yet know where West New York Mayor Dr. Felix Roque will end up. One South Hudson political person recently met Roque for the first time and was duly impressed.
“I can understand how Dr. Roque beat Sal Vega,” this person said, referring to the commissioner race in which a ticket headed by Dr. Roque swept out the incumbents, including then-Mayor Vega, this past May. “Dr. Roque is really down to earth. He may not be a polished politician, but when he talks, he seems to talk to you in a way that you feel is very real.”

Politics in Secaucus could affect school board elections

Bad feelings still exist over the cuts made in the Secaucus school budget after voters rejected it last April.
Some Board of Education members feel that Mayor Michael Gonnelli and his council cut too deeply. This has left bad feelings between the two governmental bodies, which some hope to exploit by using it as a recruitment tool for an anti-Gonnelli ticket in 2013.
The problem is that the school board comes up for reelection twice before then, and there are likely to be some stiff challenges against the board’s loudest Gonnelli critics next April.

Ramos fundraiser shows strong HCDO support

Assemblyman Ruben Ramos raised about $20,000 from a fundraiser held in Hoboken last week. He is up for re-election this November.
Organized by former Freeholder Maurice Fitzgibbons, the fundraiser had a theme “Raise your glasses for Ruben Ramos,” which state Sen. and North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco took literally when he hoisted a beer mug to Ramos in tribute.
And Ramos isn’t even on Sacco’s ticket; he’s on a slate with State Sen. and Union City Mayor Brian Stack.
Ramos’ running mate for the state Assembly, Sean Connors, was also among the 125 who attended the event.
Perhaps the most noteworthy guest was powerful Bergen County Assemblywoman Loretta Weinberg. Also attending the fundraiser were Bayonne Mayor and Hudson County Democratic Chairman Mark Smith, Assembly members Jason O’Donnell and Vincent Prieto, Hoboken Freeholder Anthony Romano, and Hoboken Democratic Committee Chairman Jamie Cryan.

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