By HOBOKEN MAYOR DAWN ZIMMER Yesterday, I received an extremely troubling telephone call from Union City Mayor Brian Stack, who is also Hoboken’s State Senator.
Senator/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. Apparently, Mayor Stack was angry that Politickernj.com 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 that Councilman Michael Russo had agreed to accept illegal campaign contributions while offering to expedite development projects.
I was particularly disappointed by the brazen and inappropriate behavior of our party leaders, who are better described perhaps as “political bosses.” Sadly, their actions put machine politics over the important ideals of the Democratic Party that I proudly support. In fact, last Friday during a breakfast gathering, I had the pleasure of hearing Senator Menendez speak directly from the front lines regarding our Country’s budget negotiations. During his briefing he highlighted the fact that while the debate may appear 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. His talk sparked a commitment in me to work as hard as I can to support him on women’s and environmental issues in particular.
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, to say the least. Mayor Smith did not tell the truth about the reason for his endorsement of the Russo family slate, as the politickernj.com 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 am determined to work with the true Democrats of Hoboken to take our local party back to its core values and end, once and for all, the cancer of machine politics that is trying to keep our City from moving forward.
Thank you for listening.
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer