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Raising Political Awareness, Hobokenite Runs for County Freeholder

Kurt Gardiner, 44, is running for Hudson County Freeholder.

Most people don't really know what a County Freeholder is.

And that is exactly why Kurt Gardiner is running in Tuesday's election to become one of nine Hudson County Freeholders, a legislative county board that decides on the county's budget and many projects in and around Hoboken. 

"People don't know what that actually means," Gardiner, 44, said in a recent phone interview. "That's another reason why I should run." Another reason, he said, is to challenge incumbent Anthony Romano, who otherwise would have ran unopposed. With a little competition, Gardiner said, "things seem to happen a little better."

Gardiner was also inspired to run because he said he believes that Hobokenites pay too much county taxes without getting the services back they deserve.

Gardiner said he considers himself a long shot to win. Romano, the incumbent, is backed by the Hudson County Democratic Organization and is running on the same slate as Democratic incumbent Assemblyman Ruben Ramos, County Executive Tom DeGise and Assemblyman candidate from Jersey City Sean Connors.

Gardiner is running as an independent in Column C.

And although Gardiner may not expect to win, the point of his campaign, he said, is to raise awareness. "At least we have an election this time," he said.

Gardiner, originally from Saratoga Springs, NY, moved to Hoboken in 2003 from Astoria, Queens. A Hoboken home owner since 2005, he said has found his home in Hoboken and couldn't imagine leaving and said he wants to "fight" for the town. 

One of the ways Gardiner has tried to make himself known around town is as a political blogger and commenter on multiple web sites and forums in the Mile Square as Gardiner is known to be a supporter of Mayor Dawn Zimmer, and has expressed that on his blog The Hoboken Journal.

Zimmer—who'd have to pick between the incumbent and a political supporter—hasn't endorsed anybody in the freeholder race. "The mayor has a lot of battles to fight," Gardiner said. "Staying neutral makes sense."

Gardiner works for an insurance company in Manhattan and commutes to the city every day. As Freeholder, he said, "I won't take the company car." He said that if he goes to meetings he'll rent a car or take public transit.

If elected, Gardiner said, he wants to fight to make Washington Street a county-owned road, and have the county pay for the re-paving of Hoboken's main drag. "Most people who use Washington Street aren't from Hoboken," Gardiner said. It's also on that street where Gardiner has done most of his campaigning, walking up and down, talking to people. He said he's hoping to get some volunteers to help distribute "low-cost" flyers this weekend and help get the word out about the election.

Gardiner's campaign is completely self-funded, he said. He said he'd plan to spend about $2,500 of his own money.

Besides victory, Gardiner is hoping for a lot of people to come out and vote on Tuesday. "A good turn out, win or lose," Gardiner said, "sends a strong message to the county."

greenhaven November 09, 2011 at 12:36 AM
Only obsession I have is with honesty and good government. Ms. Keim, defending her support of Roman dissembled about accusing him of fraud 3 years ago and lied about finishing 2nd in hoboken (she finished 350 votes behind 2nd place romano in Hoboken. She also lied about being a reformer getting me, as well as many others to cast votes we regretted. Kurt is the real thing -an honest reformer who will represents the interests of the citizens of our city. I've pointed out 2 lies told by Keim in just one blog post. To be better than our choices in this election and the last, all he has to do is tell the truth most of the time. Kurt's candidacy stands high on its own two feet but the bar to be better than Romano, Keim and Raia is pretty low.
Redrider765 November 09, 2011 at 12:39 AM
Keim is a mouthpiece for candidates now. I think she realizes that politically, her image as a Mason Marionette makes her practically unelectable unless she can convince someone to write some big fat checks. But she is still a public figure and she still is held accountable for her truthiness or lack of truthiness. Apparently, someone up above thinks she is being less than honest which is why her name came up. Personally I think she is barely worth paying attention like most other puppets. I worry more about those that pull the strings.
Bob R November 09, 2011 at 12:41 AM
Oh, welcome back Hoboken Questioner! Do you think as your busy election day winds down you might find some time to share your thoughts on a few questions? I stand in tremendous deference to your keen insight into Hoboken politics and intellectual perspective on various occurrences. Do you find it problematic in any way that Freeholder Romano has the official support of a Councilwoman who has been widely rumored to be a "person of interest" in an ongoing federal probe into improper leakage of confidential city information and meddling with city information-technology services? Do you have any knowledge of whether in this FBI investigation, in which Mr. Romano's "Italian Woman of the Year" may be a target, any operative efforts perpetrated by this Lane Bajardi fellow have led to the interest in Elizabeth Mason? Has Mr. Bajardi been interviewed by any FBI agents? Have his activities been the subject of any FBI interviews? Is it true that Mr. Bajardi and his wife Kim sought to parlay their support for Elizabeth Mason and Peter Cammarano into City Hall employment? Have either of them collected any monetary compensation for any of their political-operative efforts? Thank you very much, Hoboken Questioner.
HOBO87 November 09, 2011 at 01:31 AM
The HCDO Democrats are all too typical of the true nature of the Democratic Party around the country. I hope you sooner or later realize that Kurt, because you seem a smart guy, and well intentioned for sure. And honest too, so I'm sure you are a registered Democrat if you say you are, misguided as that may be. And I voted for you, Good luck.
Redrider765 November 09, 2011 at 01:42 AM
There are plenty of honest Democrats out there just like there are plenty of dishonest ones. Same for the Republican Party. I would like to think the honest Dems now just barely control this town. They are certainly light years ahead of the people they replaced and the people who oppose them at every turn which is why I will continue to support them until they give me a very good reason why not to. We may not always like their policies or beliefs, but at least they don't lie, cheat, steal or enable the previous 3 activities. I'd like to think we could find more honest people like them too to run for office here and elsewhere in NJ. Just won't happen as long as we need to put up w/ the likes of Russo, Mason, Occhipinti, Castellano or any of their very crooked enablers, associates and the people who are perfectly willing to vote for these unethical SOBs.

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