Four Days Later: Mob Protests at Hoboken City Hall

UPDATE TO ORIGINAL POST (July 31, 2009) – As the New York Times reports, Peter Cammarano III has resigned his post as Mayor of the City of Hoboken.   City Council President, Dawn Zimmer, takes his place as Acting Mayor until a special election is held this November.  Original post follows:

I’ve spent so much time over the years writing about all things good in Hoboken, it wouldn’t be fair to not comment on the latest political hoopla that has graced our city.

Four days after the FBI’s largest single-day public corruption takedown, which left many New Jersey public officials in handcuffs, a mob gathered outside of Hoboken City Hall calling for the resignation of the city’s mayor, Peter Cammarano.

Who doesn’t like a good protest from time to time?  Certainly not me.

So I figured I’d take some time to snap a few photos of the whole scene.  I wish I could say that this type of thing was unusual in Hoboken, but corruption is old news in this town.  A local website replaced its homepage with the amusing declaration:

“Welcome to Hoboken:  Where 33% of our Last 3 Mayors Have NOT been Arrested by the FBI”

Sad, but true.

Two days earlier, the head of the City’s housing authority was also indicted on (unrelated) public corruption charges and, in an unfortunately-timed press conference, Mayor Cammarano declared:

These are serious allegations which are currently proceeding through the judicial system. This Administration has a clear-cut, zero tolerance policy against any violation of the public trust and I am calling for Housing Authority Commissioner Claveria to resign his position with the Hoboken Housing Authority immediately.

Five days later, however, after being arrested himself, Cammarano has refused to resign from his own post – despite the recommendation of his entire election transition team, the county Democratic Party and the Governor of New Jersey, among others.

The investigation and arrests have made national print and television headlines, yet again, embarrassing the town on a national-level for the second time in two years.   Some of you may recall the the debacle last year when it was leaked that the police department unnecessarily started its own SWAT team, traveled to Lousiana and allowed Hooters girls to pose with their machine guns.  Classy:

Hoboken Hooters Girls

Here’s a short video of the crowd in front of City Hall today, which was quite large, despite the rain:

I really found some of the signs at today’s protest quite amusing:

Hoboken City Hall Protests

Hoboken City Hall Protests

Hoboken City Hall Protests

And here are some additional pictures of the crowd:

Hoboken City Hall Protests

Hoboken City Hall Protests

Hoboken City Hall Protests

I have written many times about how great it is to live in Hoboken.  Corruption and skyrocketing taxes aside, I still think it is the best place to live in the New York City area if you don’t want to be in the suburbs.  But the public corruption, back room deals and years of mismanagement by the city’s public officials has made Hoboken the “richest poor town in America” – a city where $12,000 per year taxes on a two-bedroom condominium isn’t enough to keep the city solvent, causing its finances to be taken over by the State. One can only hope that incidents like this will continue to weed out old-school politics and bring some real change to the city’s government.

But I’m certainly not holding my breath…

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