Giving the bloggers what they want

When federal authorities charged a Hoboken official with allegedly obtaining confidential city communications meant for Mayor Dawn Zimmer, federal authorities gave Hoboken bloggers an early gift for Christmas: three unnamed co-conspirators.
Despite the heavy hints federal authorities put into the indictment that these three people are different from the people whom the pro-Zimmer Hoboken bloggers have been crucifying for months, the bloggers have had a field day putting their own names in the blank spaces.
Many of the most prominent bloggers have blatantly and unfairly accused Councilman Michael Russo, Councilwoman Beth Mason, and political activist (and Mason friend) Lane Bajardi of being connected with the scandal.
Apparently, some city officials grew concerned when information contained in e-mails began to appear on what is seen as an anti-Zimmer website. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when the details of the settlement between the city and former members of the police SWAT team were published on the website prior to the City Council voting on what was then considered a confidential document.
The fact that the administration was asking council members to vote on the settlement without public input is not a surprise, since the Zimmer administration does many things in this manner.
Three unnamed figures, however, are most likely someone from the Office of Emergency Management, the public safety director’s office, and the fire department, not the public enemies’ whom the pro-Zimmer bloggers want.
The spread of confidential e-mails appears to have been done for political purposes, not for monetary gain – giving that much for pro-Zimmer bloggers to chew on.
Allegedly, information was being spread in order to undermine the political standing of the Zimmer administration, but not by those whom the bloggers have been slamming.
You have to wonder how Angel Alicea, who is suing the city, got access to the confidential medical records he used in his investigation of steroid use by city workers.
Mason, of course, has been persistent in trying to obtain e-mails from the city that would tie some of the pro-Zimmer bloggers to public officials in the Zimmer administration, hoping to find a record of Zimmer aides bashing political opponents through the city’s official channels.
Mason pushed a council resolution in June for the Zimmer administration to release all e-mails between her aides and the press. She was hoping to determine if the aides were politicking on city time, perhaps releasing information to pro-Zimmer bloggers in order to get a positive spin on stories before less biased press reported on them.
When a pro-Zimmer council took control in July, their first action was to end the pursuit of these e-mails. They said that releasing all of these communications would cost thousands of dollars.
The matter is currently in the U.S. Attorney’s Office to determine if releasing these internal documents will somehow compromise their investigation, as the documents can be made available by an Open Public Records request if the USAO says it won’t interfere.
Sometimes labeled “Zimmergate,” the withholding of the e-mails seems more problematic than what anyone might find when they actually read them.
Zimmer is nowhere nearly as political as those who oppose her, but the lack of transparency in her administration and her clear distrust of the press leaves people to question what goes on behind the scenes.

Can you say Congressman Ramos?

State Sen. Nicholas Sacco has come out on the attack lately. In the past, Sacco has always been a behind-the-scenes kind of guy, someone who helped build an organization but did not stand out in front of it.
But lately, his moves have been open and transparent. To get Assemblyman Vincent Prieto named as chair of the Assembly finance committee, Sacco apparently even met with South Jersey political boss George Norcross.
The latest move is to apparently ask Assemblyman Ruben Ramos to consider a run for U.S. House of Representatives in the 13th District, a seat that is currently occupied by Rep. Albio Sires.
This comes at a time when there was supposed peace between Hudson County Democrats after Sacco, Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith, and others met with Sires’ chief of staff, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, to smooth over the ruffled feathers left after the West New York election unseated Sacco’s close associate, former Mayor Sal Vega.

Talking turkey

Ramos has apparently decided to give away turkeys for Thanksgiving, treading a little on state Sen. and Union City Mayor Brian Stack’s turf.
Part of Stack’s lasting legacy will be his holiday tradition of giving away turkeys this time of year, harkening back to an older style of politics that has largely been lost in the new age of consultants and machine-like GOTV (get out the vote) efforts.

Gov. Christie comes to town

Gov. Christopher Christie paid Secaucus a visit on Nov. 17, in part to meet with local school children, but mostly to lay out his agenda for tenure and other educational reforms. Tenure is a concept designed to help stop the hiring and firing of teachers based on whom they support politically. Over the years, it has become a shield that some less than competent teachers have used to keep their jobs when in the private sector they might have been replaced.
The challenge for the clearly political Christie is how to keep politics out of the classroom while still giving managers the ability to provide quality teachers.
Christie recently snubbed Hudson County Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell by holding a photo op in which Christie posed with an infant who has been saved thanks to a law introduced by O’Donnell last year. Based on his own experiences with his own child, O’Donnell pushed to require hospitals to do an inexpensive heart test – which saved the life of another child recently. This prompted Christie to pose for a picture with the child, neglecting to invite or even notify O’Donnell about the affair.

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