Monday, April 16, 2007

Hoboken checks in

Two members of the Hoboken City Council have answered our question (posed here and here): What legitimate purpose is there for members of the Hobken City Council to carry badges?

Why did we ask the question? Well, it was a Hoboken City Council badge that led a New York City police officer to call the Hoboken Police department to inquire whether City Councilman Chris Campos should receive special treatment when pulled over on the West Side Highway for drunk driving.

So what did we hear?

First, "Terry LaBruno" (who we believe to be the same person as City Councilwoman Theresa Castellano) wrote to us directly and said the following:
"Why the badges? I ran for CIty Counicl in 1988, 1993, 2001 and lost. I did not know than [sic] nor did I know when I was elected in 2005 that I would receive a City Council badge. When I received it I was honored, because it is an honor to serve."

We appreciate hearing from Ms. LaBruno. We in no way think that any member of the City Council sought their office in order to secure a badge. Indeed, we have faith that each member of the City Council had nothing but good and honest intentions when they sought their office. With that said, we don't believe that Ms. LaBruno has answered the question. Is there a legitimate purpose for having the badge?

Second, Councilman Peter Cammarano answered the question as follows (thanks to reader Justin for passing this along):
"The badge is a glorified form of identification. In a word, there is no legitimate purpose for the badges beyond 'identification.' Of course, this doesn’t answer the question of whether the badges should be issued in the first place."

We're not surprised by Mr. Cammarano's answer. But we do think that his response does answer the question of whether the badges should be issued in the first place. If there is no legitimate purpose for them, they shouldn't be issued in the first place. To avoid even the appearance of impropriety, the badges should be returned to the City and the practice of handing them out to members of the City Council should end.

Many thanks to Ms. LaBruno and Mr. Cammarano for answering the question.

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