Tuesday medley: unscientific poll, the origin of "Old Guard" in Hoboken lexicon

This week GA blogs with a tortured internet connection;  I can hear each byte scream as it squeezes through the intertubes. Nevertheless, here goes...

The above July 29 Twitter poll was forwarded last night by a reader.

Internet poll results are wildly unscientific.  For one reason, internet polls are so easy to game- send them to all your friends!  GA finds this one worth mentioning because @HiddenHoboken has  9,654 followers.  I don't  know who this is, but one can assume this poll (and results) have been viewed by many eyeballs.  For what that's worth. 

From a great distance,  I see the alleged Balkanization of the mayoral race reported at a place with dwindling relevance (and dwindling political influence) in Hoboken.

Well, instead of metaphors of war, resistance, military operations against Al Qaeda ("Able Danger"), GA believes the correct metaphor is The Dinner Table.   

So, whether you are a left-wing Democrat or a conservative Republican, this Thanksgiving may have been difficult for you.  For example, if you are a left-leaning Dem (like GA), did you pass the turkey to a Trump-voting cousin and have to make small talk?  Did you have to overcome your thoughts of 'what the hell is wrong with you?'   But, do you love them any less for their (screwy) political alignment?


Hoboken's election has devolved into our  (Reform's) Dinner Table. We are related by common cause, common values and shared history - that is a lot. We are divided now simply by who we think is the best person to lead us.

GAs advice: at our Dinner Table, remember common cause- we do not have to "fight" or "resist" each other, but remember the most important thing is maintaining our collective vision for the future of Hoboken.

This is a contest, not a war.  

It is weird how demagoguery has infected those who once mocked it.  

GA remembers a hilarious episode in 2015, where Anthony 'Stick' Romano declared, "This is a war!" in the basement kick-off of 2nd Ward Council candidate Peter Biancamano. 

Romano made love, not war, with the CoOunty when he jacked up Hoboken taxes

Phil Cohen blasted 'War-Stick' in a scathing 2014 letter to the Hoboken Reporter ";  Reform  mocked this notion of a democratic ward election framed as "war"- including a prolific Hoboken horse.  

So why go there in 2017? 

In a humorous bit of irony, the above "RTR" logo used at the 'barn' to brand Jen Giattino's "Reform Resistance" movement is the intellectual property of a Christian alternative rock band, "Reform the Resistance".

Apparently, RTR's logo was co-opted at the barn without attribution.

credit: "Reform the Resistance"

RTR's  song "Kill Lies" is about redemption- not war:
Where do they say I lost my mind
somewhere far I crossed the line
going nowhere  
now I pray
save me from myself today
Another logo recently posted at the barn seems to be original artwork filched from a band called "Able Danger."  It's not clear whether their logo is under copyright (probably not). 

credit: "Able Danger"

In the case of the Hoboken lexicon, origin is harder to prove.  

Hence, the vigorous, ongoing debate over who coined the term "Old Guard" at the barn, which began here:

Over the years, GA has always politely listened to this verifiably untrue claim.

Examples where the term "Old Guard" was used in the past can be found if one digs for them- such as this 2008 column by political reporter Al Sullivan. 

GA consulted a local archive of Hoboken political history to find out when the term "Old Guard" entered our local lexicon:
"Reformers" came first in '85 with [Mayor] Vezzetti. "Old Guard" was a reaction to that over time. It began in earnest around 2005 in the Roberts/Marsh election. Roberts' theme song in '05 was "Small Town" by John Mellancamp... Stick wasn't around...

Well I was born in a small town
And I live in a small town
Probably die in a small town
Oh, those small communities

So, the term "Old Guard" was used by the 2005 Old Guard- about themselves, marketing their coalition as protectors of 'old' Hoboken against those upstart "reformers"!

Have we got that straight?

Just remember: play nice at the Dinner Table.  You can throw food, but no "warfare" because we will be friends when its over.


  1. I really like the Mellencamp ditty. . .

  2. Geez I vote NasonforMayor every time folks!!! Service over Ambition!!!! Like Mellencamp too!!

  3. If Al Gore can take credit for inventing the internet then Horsey can certainly take credit for coining the term Old Guard. And the rest of us can sit back and laugh at them both.

    Seriously, Horsey has contributed much to our little town. If he wants to claim credit for the term let him. Who cares? In the world of Fake News that's pretty small potatoes.

    And way less interesting than the nutty outrage over an innocuous resolution weighing in on a proposed state law that would cede new Jersey's right to regulate concealed weapons within it's own borders to other states.

    Ain't no federal issue there - just a Hoboken town weighing in on a proposed NJ law, like lots of other NJ towns, demanding that NJ not voluntarily cede it's constitutional right to make and enforce it's own constitutionally permitted gun licensing laws within it's own borders to states like Texas that choose to have basically no regulation at all. And here I thought the Trumpeters were all about making sure borders meant something!

  4. Let's be honest. Her campaign is not catching fire. Shes got no traction. Except for that nut Brice. Aside from Aibel, who's got sterling Reform cred, the other two could have wandered in off the street. Roman B calls her a "resistance" candidate. At least he's honest about it. That's the essence of her campaign- anger, insult and ego. Jen's intent and purpose is to "resist" Mayor Zimmer's choice to succeed her. How selfish. She's not different enough from Ravi to justify throwing the election to Romano or DeFusco. Yes, she is the spoiler candidate. And once she wrecks Reform's chance to hold on to the mayor's seat, Jen, Tiffanie and Peter are DONE in 2019. DONE.

  5. Don't agree. However this ends we need to put it behind us after election day and work together. We all owe it to Hoboken and we do not have the luxury of seeking payback. We need to let bygones be bygones. Too much is at stake to choose any other course.

  6. Interesting responses to this post GA. Wonder if this went in the direction you may have expected. As usual, I have few thoughts.

    First, I really appreciate the reform dinner table metaphor and would like to lift that point up here. Angry Roman is obsessed with war imagery. It's terrible. We're not at war with each other. As you said, from a values and objectives perspective we are aligned. Sometimes there are disagreements as to specific policy but they are disagreements where reasonable reform minds may diverge and have. I'd venture to say that the disagreements, as a matter of voting record, are in the 5% to 10% category. Since that's the case, the dinner table metaphor as opposed to the war and resistance metaphor really is more apt. We are part of the same family and Ravi and Jen to their credit have refrained from attacking each other and instead are positively communicating their message and commitment.

    Second, speaking of war and anger, GA you need to be you, but I'll just say that I'm not too enamored by the anger with which you and Roman go after each other here, in his blog, and on Facebook. It's not a good look to me (maybe others love it). Two cents but you can easily raise legitimate points strongly without going that hard. I think Melissa Elaine is quite good at it, as was Forde Prigot back in 2009. Ok semi-lecture over. I love your work and spirit. Take this for what it is, 2 cents.

    Third, the last angry post about revenge runs in 2019 is not a good look either. I also don't think it's nuanced enough because it places Jen, Tiffanie, Peter in the same category. Personally, I think there is a principled reason to say, Peter, for example, has had his turn for 12 years and that a fourth term is over the top and not necessarily justified by anything extraordinary he's done in 12 years. I'd also say a bedrock reform principle should be term limits. With regard to Tiffanie, you've already heard me here. Regardless of what happens in this election - Ravi win, Romano win, Jen, DeFusco, etc., - her time as Dem chair should be over, on principle. What an embarrassment and lapse of judgment and/or hubris to think one could hold two conflicting positions. This also makes me open to another 2nd ward reformer. Tiffanie after a year and a half as an elected has not earned the right to wreak to much havoc. With regard to Jen... sigh, I like her, despite the fact that unlike other Republicans she remains silent as our democracy and traditions are attacked everyday by the President.

    At the end of the day, we need to get it together. This is all goofy since we agree with each other on principle. If we can't let's be civilized and at least lose for a period of a few not so pleasant years gracefully. The Roman model of war etc., for engagement is self-defeating.

    1. Thanks, All Hoboken. Re: Paragraph 2. Yes, I agree with you. Believe me, I have had a hard time with all of this, and occasionally emote (as Mike DeFusco would say) "vibrantly." Yes, I vibrantly emote in a vibrant way due to the vibrancy of this Reform split, and my personal disappointment in, what I see, are self-defeating attacks against our own. I will try to restrain my vibrancy. Thanks again, All Hoboken.

  7. AH, I don't think the critique of MSV is about MSV. It's about whether Giattino (and Fisher) wants this to be her NY Post/FoxNews. Does she want to own the politically tone-deaf reference to AbleDanger when the "enemy" is a candidate who wears a turban? Does she want the demagoguery about an unenforceable anti-gun resolution being an attack on civil rights? Does she want the metaphor of "resistance" and all that comes with it rather than difference of opinion? Does she want to own the difference of opinion as defined by MSV? Does she want all that scorched earth even if she wins? I don't expect MSV to be moved one way or the other. As with Trump the question is not when does Trump change. It's when do republicans, not democrats, decide they've seen enough.


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