With all politics being proverbially local, it’s little wonder horribly overpoliticized Hoboken parallels so much of the global geopolitical turmoil. Just take a quick, bug-eyed look around you:
Civil war spilling over into the Heights – no, not the Golan Heights via Lebanon or Palestine; that’s Jersey City (JC) Heights via Hoboken and Hudson County in general. The Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) led by JC Mayor Jerry Healy and the Other, Lesser Hudson County machine led by Union City Mayor Brian Stack have dragged preponderantly Democrat Hudson County through its own civil war for over a year now. The hot and pivotal battle at the moment is over who gets the JC Heights/Hoboken Freeholder seat in this June’s primary – and an inchoate truce hangs in the balance. But even though the viceroy Freeholder has yet to be named, one thing has been decided without getting a single Hoboken voter’s opinion: Hoboken will be slapped down like so much sauerbraten on Stack’s plate. The Great Game plays out above our heads.
Pre-emptive strike leads to dominoes falling throughout the region – no, that’s not the Roosevelt-idolatrous Bush 43, ‘fit as a bull moose in a china shop’, and the Ass-kiss of Evil, Donald Rumsfeld, swashbuckling their way across the Middle East. It’s current Freeholder Maurice Fitzgibbons and Hoboken Councilman Peter Cammarano crashing noisily through one political career after another. Stack will own the Freeholder: HCDO and Stack have to agree on which lifeless pawn he uses – BUT it can’t be born-idiot Maurice Fitzgibbons anymore, their erstwhile joint endorsee for Freeholder. Fitzgibbons has made several political gaffes lately, ones so excruciatingly quotidian and uninspired that the suitable words fail us until there has been time to invent them for the next column. This all along, and even more so in the immediate future, complicates the Hoboken mayoral race next year as Hoboken is three-quarters of the freeholder’s polity and 100% of the mayor’s. Potential Freeholder/Hoboken Mayor alliances abound; Ines Garcia-Keim/Beth Mason, Frank Raia/Michael Russo and the ‘indescribably malicious’ Fitzgibbons/Cammarano are all trying to get the jump on each other way in advance. Listen carefully as the latter pair bring down the house – of cards.
Social-conservative political leader caught in immorality play – no, that’s not Republicans on the take, on the make, without a break (yet again). That’s just Hoboken’s old-school political machine and its DINOs (Democrats In Name Only) arrogantly breaking every rule of law as if they had God-given right to. Start with the Old Hoboken mayoral/freeholder teams above. Cammarano, an election lawyer on the side, is now under investigation by the State for serious campaign-finance and election law violations; Fitzgibbons, the self-proclaimed Hoboken Uniter, has engendered total mutiny within the Hoboken Democratic Organization to the tune of having the Party in debt late in its fiscal year – with gross irregularities in the Party books to boot. Both show the distinct promise for other election finance violations in the near future as well as tenderizing the whole old-boy network for ruin. Fitzgibbons received kickbacks from the now-censured school-board member Carmelo Garcia, who’s running for school board again anyway. City Clerk Jimmy Farina and Anthony Romano leverage their own school-board seats and multiple hats into numerous election and fundraising violations that could have them censured as well or removed from office. And now the Hoboken Police Chief steps down after a raft of scandal washes by his desk: sex-tinged SWAT teams, departmental racism, money games of all kinds, even election law violations are alleged to the fore.
LaBruno, Cammarano, Farina and Romano – the sound of it is enough to curdle your mutz, not just one’s Italian blood. (Mine slogs through my turgid veins in fist-sized knots.) No wonder we hear of a "Hoboken Mafia" - the legendary network of low-brow political-finance gamesters who scud about like so many cockroaches fleeing our flooding cellars here. But why be surprised? None of this is truly new - and like any good salami, history repeats itself. We’ll hear much more of such shenanigans in the near future. The redeeming virtue of the coming stories is this time we’ll be hearing them in the media and from the authorities instead of just on the benches in front of City Hall.
Stay tuned here – the Great Game in all its Hudson Co. shame is about to become its own reality show. Mangia!