A proud moment in Hoboken

The administration of Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer is so humble it didn’t even take credit when the administration-controlled City Council voted to appoint Hovie Foreman to the Hoboken Housing Authority.
Although his family resided on Bloomfield Street for years and was sometimes associated with “the Old Guard” or “born-and-raised” old Hoboken political faction, Forman became a diehard Zimmer supporter early on. He led political fights on her behalf behind the scenes, including one of the earliest efforts to get a Zimmer-aligned slate elected to the Board of Education. Later he worked diligently to help get Zimmer-aligned candidates elected to municipal and even county offices.
Forman helped Phil Cohen’s failed attempt to unseat Anthony Romano in the Democratic primary two years ago. Forman also helped Michael DeFusco win a Hoboken council seat last year.
So it was only a matter of time before the Zimmer administration rewarded him for his political favors. The Zimmer administration tends to pick one of its own often over the best qualified for board positions, and usually has some political agenda – in particular in the federally-funded Housing Authority.
Over the years, a significant amount of opposition to Zimmer came out of housing project buildings.
While Zimmer-aligned people claim otherwise, many believe it was tamping down this opposition vote that was the real reason behind taking control of the Housing Authority and removing Carmelo Garcia as its executive director.
Forman, a diehard supporter of Donald Trump, tends to support many of the ideas that are popular among contemporary Republicans, although he tends to avoid the Republican label.
This alignment with Trump ideology may not sit well in the public housing community that has a significant Latino population.
Critics claim Forman’s appointment signals a much more political conservative approach to housing the city’s poorest residents.
Foreman’s appointment, however, could have some unintended political consequences, and could help galvanize the anti-Zimmer camp.
At one point, Forman had a close relationship with Frank Raia, a former candidate and former trustee on the North Hudson Sewerage Authority. But over the years, they had a falling out. Raia has been seen by the anti-Zimmer faction as cozying up to Zimmer in order to regain his seat on the sewerage authority. Some even blame Raia for deliberately creating a third ticket in 2013 that cut into the anti-Zimmer vote and thus allowed Zimmer to get re-elected.
As a reward for the effort, the Zimmer-aligned council was supposed to give Raia the sewerage authority seat. But this fell apart at the last minute, leaving Raia as a man without a political place to hang his hat.
The appointment of Forman could be the last straw for Raia, and some speculate that he might once more return to the anti-Zimmer camp.
This, of course, may be wishful thinking, since Raia rarely does what people expect him to do.

Applications being taken for a council seat?

The process for replacing councilman Khemraj ‘Chico’ Ramchal on the Jersey City Council has begun in earnest.
Ramchal resigned his council seat as part of a plea bargain that allowed him to avoid jail time. He pleaded guilty in charges related to an accident in March 2015, in which he was also charged with DWI.
In a move that gives new meaning to running government as a business, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop has opened up the application process that will lead to the selection of an interim Ward B council person. Those interested should send a resume and cover letter.
Although not specified in the mayor’s announcement, applicants might well be aided by having references closely associated with Fulop or one of his allies.
An appointment is expected to be made before the end of June with a special election set up for the seat in November for the rest of Ramchal’s term, which expires in June 2017, unless, of course, a referendum moves the municipal elections to November 2017. Then the term would end in January 2018. To be eligible for the seat, one must be a registered voter in Ward B and must have lived in the ward for at least one year prior to the appointment.
“Jersey City and Ward B have an active civic community and we want to hear from all of those interested candidates on why they would like to serve their community,” said Fulop. “This will provide a clear and transparent process for selecting an interim council person.”
Interested candidates should send a cover letter and their resume to: wardbcouncil@jcnj.org.

Born on the wrong side of the tracks?

Part of the recall movement going on in Bayonne is aimed at removing 2nd Ward Councilman Sal Gullace, an ally of Mayor James Davis.
The group which filed the papers with the city clerk earlier in May claims a significant portion of the 2nd Ward has been ignored.
The three members of the recall committee are Ryan Walker, Josephine Force, and Mary Curtis. The law calls for a committee of three.
While they have other claims against Gullace, the group also has at least one valid point in that a section of the east side of Bayonne has seen little or no improvement despite significant development nearby.
The 2nd Ward is largely made up of a portion of the city east of Broadway. Massive development has already taken place along Route 440. Additional development had taken place along Avenue E – which runs along the Hudson Bergen Light Rail line. Still more development is planned for the former Military Ocean Terminal. But there is a swath of land between the light rail on the east side and Route 440 that has been overlooked historically, an area that has not benefited from the high way or the rail line. Much of the dissatisfaction with the current administration comes from this section of city.

Al Sullivan may be reached at asullivan@hudsonreporter.com.

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