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Monday, May 8, 2017

Attention Hackensack: Don't forget to vote in Tuesday's crucial City Council election

Vote Column 2 on Tuesday to reelect Mayor John Labrosse and his team to another 4-year term on the Hackensack City Council.

-- HACKENSACK, N.J.

By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

When it comes to local elections -- held in April and May -- Hackensack is known for voter apathy.

But Tuesday's non-partisan election is as important as the one in 2013, when a City Council slate of reformers finally broke the decades-long stranglehold of the Zisa political machine on this city of 44,000 -- half of whom are registered to vote.

Mayor John Labrosse and his team of reformers are facing a challenge from two other slates, including one backed by former four-term Mayor Jack Zisa; his brother, disgraced former Police Chief Ken Zisa; and their cousin, former City Attorney Joseph C. Zisa Jr.


Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.  

In Column 2 on the ballot, the 5-member Labrosse Team includes the mayor, Deputy Mayor Kathleen Canestrino, incumbent Councilmen David Sims and Leonardo "Leo" Battaglia; and Planning Board member Stephanie Von Rudenborg.

They blame Zisa allies, like the ones running in Column 1, for a "city budget with a $31 million hole" and a "Main Street on life support."

Labrosse and other council members accelerated Hackensack's ambitious downtown rehabilitation plan, expanded recreation, and delivered the city's first tax-rate cut in a decade.

One of the apartment projects underway in downtown Hackensack is converting the former United Jersey Bank and Bank of America building, 210-214 Main St., into 127 luxury units and three duplex penthouses, which will be built on a new 11th floor.
The Labrosse Team campaign photo: From left, Deputy Mayor Kathleen Canestrino, David Sims, Mayor John Labrosse, Councilman Leonardo "Leo" Battaglia and Planning Board member Stephanie Von Rudenborg.

The Record

The Record's Local news section on Saturday amounted to a Hackensack municipal election edition, with two long stories about Tuesday's City Council candidates.

One explored "a network of political donors, professional and political associates and family friends" connecting the Zisas to the so-called Hackensack United slate -- exposed on one Facebook page as "Hackensack United for Zisa."

The other reported on challengers to the Labrosse Team, including Councilwoman Deborah Keeling-Geddis, who heads the third slate, Hackensack Strong.

Both stories were by Staff Writer Rodrigo Torrejon.

Today's paper

Did anyone read Staff Writer Abbott Koloff's first and second installments of "UNSOLVED," about the death of a woman whose body was found "on an Oklahoma mountaintop in 2009" (Sunday and today)?

I just had a mid-afternoon cup of coffee, but still can't stifle a yawn.

The only local tie is that the victim, Jody Rilee-Wilson, "grew up in Roxbury," a small Morris County town on the fringe of The Record's circulation area.

Koloff is among the survivors of Gannett's layoffs -- more than 350 employees of North Jersey Media Group were let go in November and March.

Surely, his time could be better spent on real North Jersey news.