Another One for the Grinder


With heavy heart, GA mourns the passing of another great public official.

No, he's not dead (thank goodness).  He's passed through the Hoboken GRINDER and come out the other side...

...which leads outta town.

I am talking about today's announced departure of Hoboken Public School Superintendent Mark Toback.

Whatever his reasons may be for leaving, there are unavoidable realities to Reform-minded public servants and members or allies of this administration.

That is, the weapons of Hoboken's Dark Side are especially malevolent. Ginned-up police reports, lawsuits, leaks of confidential information in blog comments and  'friendly' media,  thugs to make noise at public meetings, dispatching camera-wielding political operatives to intimidate municipal board members and then... just when you think you've seen everything...

We find morally and ethically compromised elected officials who EMAIL confidential City information DIRECTLY to political operatives...

Wine-Gate: Castellano BUSTED

Oh, wait... there was a reason why Mason political operative James Barracato was on the email distribution instead of his boss, Beth Mason: Terry was shit-faced!

That's what she said.


Who doesn't get drunk and email confidential information to political operatives?  I'll bet YOU do it all the time.

And then there are elected officials who post confidential School Board contract negotiations on discussion threads...

 Leaky leaky...and more where that came from...

It worked!

This School Board Trustee's one-woman jihad against the Board majority's choice for school Superintendent (Dr. Romanohounded him out of Hoboken, leaving us with an interim Superintendent until we found the terrific and capable Dr. Mark Toback.

Corp. Counsel Michael Kates ground up
In Toback's case, he was unsupported by some who were supposed to be friends.

But public school parents and many members of the public recognize what a terrific job he was doing for our kids and in our schools.  GA is truly saddened.

Here is an email GA wrote to some friends sharing thoughts  on why Toback was leaving:
The Dark Side aim is to grind up all good people- at city hall and the boe- so that Hoboken can only attract hacks and scumbags who’ll play ball. They couldn’t chase out Dr. Romano fast enough. The fact is this environment is incredibly abusive to good and decent people who work with and for reform. 

That is the truth. 

The Dark Side strategy is to make public service so miserable and difficult for their opponents, their opponents will eventually tire and GO. Remember how the City Council refused to pay our legal bills?  Corporation Counsel Mark Tabakin wasn't 'having it' and got the hell out.

Who remembers this?  Back in November  2011,  Team Dark Side voted down BA Arch Liston's ability to move budget line items- money already in the budget simply moved to another line.

During Wednesday night's meeting, the transfer of funds failed in a 5-4 vote. Six votes are needed to move line items, which would have meant that at least one member of the minority council had to vote "yes."

If the council doesn't allow line item transfers—which means that the money that is already in the budget is moved to another line so it can be used for something else—Liston said, "I can't operate my budget."

Members of the minority council said they didn't have all the information they needed to approve the transfer. Councilman Michael Russo spent some time during the meeting, asking Liston about the different line items.  
Where is the talented and no-nonsense BA Arch Liston today? Not in Hoboken. He got the hell out, too.   

 Hoboken BA Arch Liston ground up
Former Director of Parking and transportation Ian Sacs was another one put in the grinder.  The Dark Siders had him arrested- a travesty which eventually got thrown out of Court. Sacs left Hoboken for personal reasons.

That is what it is all about, people.

Discouraging talented people who play by the rules, until the only ones answering  'Want Ads' are 'friends', hacks or baby lambs.

Hoboken has managed to find talent, in spite of it.

KEEPING our talent here is another story. 

GA respects the work and effort of Superintendent Toback.  I hope we can find another one like him.


  1. he was a stand up guy and always for the kids. He will be missed for sure.

  2. This is how the Old Guard rolls and Toback was their latest target, but we are all their victims. They did the same thing to a library director under Russo, they prevented Romano's hiring, though that credit goes to the homophobic Sullivan and Liston as you pointed out too. Though I loved him giving as good as he got when that insane bitch Mason would screech for "more information", showing up countless times unprepared.


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