Newly-elected Hoboken Democratic Chairman Anthony Romano isn’t having the best of starts for his two-year term in office. Elected in a tumultuous reorganization meeting on June 9, Romano is caught in the middle of political bickering that just won’t stop.
The most contentious part is over the supposedly promised appointment of Councilwoman Beth Mason as honorary co-chair.
While the position is largely ceremonial, political figures inside and outside of Hoboken are up in arms over Mason getting anything that she can remotely use as a political platform.
Depending on whom you talk to, she was either promised the appointment or was told that the Democratic Committee is working hard to make it happen. It hasn’t happened yet.
That apparent slight will have repercussions in the future. Mason is apparently very upset.
This could mean a full-scale war in Hoboken in November. Previous assumptions that she might not run for reelection in the 2nd Ward are no longer valid. The co-chair controversy not only seems to have pushed her back into reelection mode, but may result in a repeat of the 2013 election in which she backed a third ticket.
If she runs, she may run with a full slate of candidates in each ward, challenging not only candidates supported by Mayor Dawn Zimmer, but also fellow anti-Zimmer candidates such as Councilman Michael Russo.
This poses serious problems for Romano, who is trying to pull all the pieces of the fractured anti-Zimmer forces back together.
The war in Hoboken could see the well-heeled Mason hooking up again with developer Frank Raia. This means a lot of money will be flowing into the election, forcing Zimmer and anti-Zimmer candidates to raise a higher amount just to keep up.
Mason’s re-election bid may actually scare off potential candidates in the 2nd Ward, partly because of the cost of running an election.
Adding insult to injury, Romano recently ran into an odd bit of red tape when he attempted to change the names of the new leadership at a local bank. Bank accounts for the Democratic Committee usually require signatures of chairman and treasurer. But when they went to change the names, the bank asked for them to show proof of the change of leadership. This was a mere formality. The newly elected officers might have used the minutes of the June 9 meeting, except there was so much fighting going on, apparently no minutes were taken. One Zimmer supporter suggested maybe they could show the bank the video tape – if anyone could make out anything over the screaming and yelling. Romano said later the bank was able to make the change when he presented a letter with official letterhead.
Romano said the committee would hold a new vote to replace Councilman Michael Russo as vice chairman, as committee bylaws require that chairman and vice chair must be split between a man and woman.
“I didn’t have a copy of the bylaws during the reorganization meeting,” Romano said. “We will take nominations for the position.”
Ines Garcia Keim is rumored to be frontrunner.
Wainstein wants an apology
North Bergen Freeholder Anthony Vainieri incurred the wrath of Larry Wainstein after posting a photo and caption on his personal Facebook page. Vainieri was gloating over the recent victory of Mayor Nicholas Sacco’s ticket over one Wainstein had supported.
While this stuff generally is safe in election ads, it is somewhat risky after the election. The insult did not name Wainstein by name; however, it aroused the rage of the losing ticket. This will likely heat up anti-Sacco rhetoric that had cooled down after the election. Most political observers believe this was an unnecessary provocation and may create even deeper bad feelings as a result.
Troyer gets another shot
The Secaucus Board of Education is still split over who they will name to replace Gary Riebesell, who resigned in April.
The board originally had five people apply to be considered, among whom was former trustee Tom Troyer. The board members split between two of these names. Unable to come to a consensus, the board asked the county superintendent to review the situation and perhaps choose. The county kicked the ball back to the Secaucus board, which still split its votes. So they once more petitioned the county to deal with the situation. Unfortunately for the board, the county apparently is considering all five of the original candidate including Troyer.
“I like my chances,” Troyer said. “If the county looks at my resume, then I would be the one to be picked.”
But knowing the way things work in Hudson County politics, the county will likely bend to the wishes of Mayor Michael Gonnelli.
Troyer and Gonnelli are not on the best of terms.
So don’t hold your breath, Tommy.
Vision Media celebrates 30 years in business
Vision Media is by far the best known political consulting firm in Hudson County, rivaled perhaps only by upcoming Pablo Fosenca’s firm, Fonseca Consulting Group LLC, in West New York.
Vision Media has been in the forefront of nearly every election from North Bergen to Bayonne, and beyond. Vision Media was founded in 1985 by Paul Swibinski and Jean Swibinski, who continue to direct the firm. Its leadership team includes their son Philip Swibinski, who joined the company in 2008, and Michael Makarski, who joined in 2009
“Like so many successful businesses, Vision Media began as a small side venture and I am so proud to have seen it grow over time into a respected, well-known firm with a great staff and many outstanding clients,” said Swibinski.
Holding a party at the Waterside restaurant in North Bergen, Vision Media invited some of its longtime clients and political friends, including Sacco, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, Assemblyman Jamel Holley, Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez, East Hanover Mayor Joe Pannullo, Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari, Hudson County Clerk Barbara Netchert, Hudson County Surrogate Joe Ryglicki, Hudson County Freeholders Vainieri and Anthony “Stick” Romano, Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, former Assemblyman Ruben Ramos, Hudson County Schools of Technology Board of Education President Craig Guy, North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue Director Mike DeOrio, Hudson County Improvement Authority Chief Financial Officer Kurt Cherry and director of Environmental Programs Mary Ellen Gilpin, Verizon New Jersey Vice-President Ulises Diaz, Hudson County Democratic Organization Executive Director John Minella, Advocacy and Management Group Lobbyist Charles Burton, chief of staff to Senator Richard Codey Jon Boguchwal, Legislative Director to Assemblyman Joe Lagana Michael DeLamater, chief of staff to Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri-Huttle, Andrea Katz, and many more.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.