Every vote counts
Tuesday election to decide next mayor, new council
by Timothy J. Carroll
Reporter staff writer
Jun 07, 2009 | 3094 views | 6 6 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
STANDING UP FOR HOBOKEN – Both mayoral candidates stood before a crowd at the Monroe Center for the Arts last week. Voter will decide on Tuesday whether Peter Cammarano (left) or Dawn Zimmer (right) will be the 37th mayor of Hoboken. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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Hoboken will elect its 37th mayor this week, and voters will choose three new members to the nine-member City Council.

Polls are open on Tuesday, June 9 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at polling locations throughout the city.

Mayoral candidates Peter Cammarano and Dawn Zimmer are locked in a battle for the executive seat. Six council candidates are vying for three at-large seats that represent the whole city rather than individual wards.

Less than 100 votes separated the two mayoral candidates in the May 12 election, so the runoff results may be very close.

The last debate

Zimmer’s slate of Ravi Bhalla, Carol Marsh, and Dave Mello offered several times to debate Cammarano’s re-composed slate of Angel Alicea, Vinnie Addeo, and Raul Morales II over the last few weeks.

Morales and Addeo were originally part of mayoral candidate Beth Mason’s slate until Mason lost in the May 12 election. Morales and Addeo sided with Cammarano.

Mason has endorsed her two former running mates in the runoff, but not Cammarano. She opted to side with Zimmer and Bhalla.

Cammarano’s team declined the invitation to debate. When Cammarano and Zimmer engaged voters at another mayoral debate last week – this one centered on artistic, cultural, and small business needs – at the Monroe Center for the Arts, Zimmer stood before the crowd with two of her running mates, apparently trying to make the point that they were ready to discuss the issues.

Zimmer accused the Cammarano team of dodging her council candidates, but Cammarano said that no actual organization or group had invited his candidates to debate. He said the “stunt-esque” offers from Zimmer’s crew weren’t even substantiated with where-and-when particulars.

Looking for support in different places

Cammarano rolled out the carpet for another week of high-end political endorsements and support from public safety workers, while Zimmer tried to expand her local circle of committed volunteers and supporters and fight a statewide network of power brokers that she said are aligning against her.

Cammarano received backing from Senator Frank Lautenberg, a personal visit from State Senate President Richard Codey, endorsement from former mayoral reform candidate Ira Karasick, and the support of the city firefighters unions.

Codey, who served as governor briefly and is well-respected throughout the state, said Cammarano is a “young, energetic star of the Democratic party.”

Zimmer said that each state endorsement that Cammarano gets is more proof that he is being controlled from above. Cammarano said these endorsements show that successful political leaders think he will succeed as mayor.

She is convinced that state-level projects like the proposed massive N.J. Transit redevelopment are of dire concern to state political heads, who are depending on Cammarano to usher them along.

Zimmer said she is proud to have the backing of several local leaders, including Mason, Councilman Peter Cunningham, and the newly-elected “Kids First” slate of school trustees, as well as the support of several grassroots mom-and-dad groups.

Financial reports not filed

The Cammarano campaign said their Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) reports detailing campaign funding were never submitted, according to campaign spokesman Paul Swibinski, who said the campaign just did not have enough time to compile the reports.

The reports detail who is contributing to the campaign, both with monetary contributions and other “in-kind” contributions like goods or services. The reports also show who Cammarano’s team is paying for services to the campaign.

The pre-election reports, the last of which are due 11 days before the election, are the last chance for voters to see who is behind each candidate.

Swibinski said the campaign was granted an extension by the state commission to submit the reports by 5 p.m. on Friday, June 5.

The state posts copies of the reports on their website for interested voters and the press to view before Election Day. Swibinski said he expects the state will have their report up for voters to see sometime on Monday before the Tuesday election.

That web address is www.elec.state.nj.us.

The campaign was asked to provide a copy of the reports to the Reporter /i>on Friday, but they were not ready by press time.

“[The report] has things in there that he doesn’t want people to see,” Zimmer said. “It doesn’t surprise me.”

“Transparency doesn’t come in a bottle of water,” she said, simultaneously criticizing his early campaign stunt of giving out bottles of water by the PATH station – claiming the transparent bottles were a symbol of his commitment to government transparency – and his lack of attention to ELEC reports.

Layoffs as politics

Cammarano has staunchly been opposed to layoffs, especially public safety layoffs.

The city is prepared to layoff 20 employees from police and fire on June 20, and Cammarano said the public will be less safe on June 21. Not to mention, Cammarano said, on July 4 when thousands of people will descend on Hoboken to view the Macy’s fireworks show on the Hudson River.

He asked the city, if they cannot avoid the layoffs, to at least delay until after the celebration, but has not heard a response.

Zimmer said she is interested in seeing audits done by the state – even in draft form since they were not finished – before making any layoff decisions. Nonetheless, she is interested in reducing personnel and believes the almost two-to-one officer-to-patrolman ratio in the police department is unnecessary.

Leader of the PAC?

Political action committees (PACs) from Washington, D.C. have also found their way to Hoboken in the form of attack ads against Zimmer in mailboxes and on television, but Cammarano’s campaign said they are actively trying to find out who is behind the messages so that they can put them to a stop.

If voters have any questions on Election Day, they can call the City Clerk’s Office at (201) 420-2074.

It is very possible that Cammarano had no knowledge at all of the PAC ads, according to a source.

Zimmer said someone in the state is spending upwards of $100,000 to make sure Cammarano is elected.

Election Day information

If voters have any questions on Election Day, they can call the City Clerk’s Office at (201) 420-2074.

Anyone who has problems with conduct at the polls or malfunctioning voting machines can call the Hudson County Supervisor of Elections office at (201) 795-6555. Anyone with problems with polling stations not opening on time can call the Hudson County Board of Elections Clerk’s office at (201) 795-6030. And those who feel their voting rights are being threatened can call the New Jersey Division of Elections 24-hour hotline at 1-877-NJVOTER.

Timothy J. Carroll may be reached at tcarroll@hudsonreporter.com.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
June 15, 2009
Cammarano filed every ELEC report on time.
June 08, 2009
Vote tomorrow or hold your peace for four years.
June 08, 2009
Apparently, Cammarano still has not filed his ELEC report, which is required by the law. How can we trust him to govern our city if he can't even be trusted to follow election law. And he claims to be an election lawyer!
June 08, 2009
It's down to the wire, and Hoboken residents, young and old alike, face a pivotal decision that has not confronted us in all my memories living in this incredible city. What people need are facts that speak for themselves, not opinion. So here they are:

1. Dawn Zimmer's campaign, from the very beginning, has been run locally as a compact, local grassroots effort powered by energetic, concerned, and passionate residents from all backgrounds and ages. Peter Cammarano's campaign has been organized by national-level strategic consultants, and has consistently piled on more and more outside supporters, heavily invested contributors and organizations, and a slew of politicians from beyond our city's limits rallying to keep the Old Guard and Status Quo in place. If this stark contrast between Dawn Zimmer's small-government-style, independent-minded local effort and the enormous, hurtling momentum of Peter Cammarano's political Machine doesn't speak volumes about how each candidate will conduct themselves as Mayor, I don't know what does.

2. Peter Cammarano is a smart, capable, and articulate young man, and a joy listening to explain facets of our community in the public forum setting. Dawn Zimmer on the other hand is not rehearsed or practised in the art of public, political speaking, and her message in large forums gets diluted. Regardless, the importance is in the conistency of information and facts, and this is where the tables turn. Where Peter Cammarano has developed a set of talking points and metaphors that sound nice and allow him to avoid committing to policies that may cost votes, Dawn Zimmer has shown the gumption and honesty to state what she believes in, rather than what is convenient for election day. Fortunately, she believes in trimming our bloated budget and government, which is what our City desperately needs.

3. They say all politics is local, yet Peter Cammarano has managed to bring in slew of outside money, organizations, and politicians to endorse him. Local residents of Hoboken have to ask themselves why so many people, and so much money, have been pouring in over the past two weeks to support a very young candidate in a mayoral election for a small city of less than 50,000 residents. Hoboken needs to focus on its own problems without the interference of so many outside interests. Peter Cammarano has said many times that he wants to take control of the city back from the State as soon as possible because he thinks Hoboken should control its own destiny. How does that rhetoric compare to the host of outside endorsements and contributions he has gained this past week?

Whether it's taxes, jobs, public safety, new development, parking, or flooding, we don't have the luxury of taking into consideration the desires and needs of so many outside parties, and we cannot forfeit our control to the Machine that has already plowed our city into the ground. We need a fresh new start with a clean slate and a leader who has the energy and the sincerity to stand off the Old Guard's pressure for Status Quo. Please join me in voting for the woman who will deliver us from the clutches of inefficiency and incompetence. Please vote for Dawn Zimmer and her council slate on Tuesday!
June 08, 2009
Does that really surprise you HobokenReformer? Why would Cammarano hold a debate when he can have cowards like Citizens for the Future and Building America sling mud and lies on his behalf?

That is not leadership...plain and simple. Unfortunately, the election will not come down to just plain and simple. Chances are if your bread is buttered directly or indirectly by the town or if you are a Good 'Ol Boy in local politics you will vote Cammarano. If you are the one paying for that with your taxes you will vote Zimmer. We will just have to see if there are enough of the latter who are motivated to stop by the polls while going to or coming from work on Tuesday. Hopefully we will vote like California and just say no to out of control government and spending! There are too many parallels already and I do not relish the idea of living in Hoboken, CA.
June 07, 2009
So let me get this straight, Cammarano's slate does not have the guts to face Zimmer's slate in a debate, but they have no hesitations to ask us for our vote? Yeah, right, that's going to happen - NOT!