Dawn Zimmer

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Dawn Zimmer
Dawn Zimmer.jpg
38th Mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey
Incumbent
Assumed office
July 31, 2009
(Acting July 31, 2009 - November 6, 2009)
Preceded by Peter Cammarano
Personal details
Born (1968-04-16) April 16, 1968 (age 46)
Towson, Maryland, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Stan Grossbard (2 children)
Alma mater University of New Hampshire
Religion Judaism (originally Unitarian (Christian))

Dawn Zimmer (born April 16,[1] 1968) is the 38th mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey. As president of the Hoboken City Council, she became Acting Mayor after incumbent Peter Cammarano's resignation on July 31, 2009 following his arrest on corruption charges. Zimmer is the first female mayor of Hoboken. She was first elected mayor in a special election for the balance of Cammarano's term on November 6, 2009[2] and was re-elected mayor for another 4 year term in November 2013. In 2012, 2013 and 2014, she was ranked #3, #4 and #5, respectively, on The Hudson Reporter's list of the 50 most influential people in Hudson County, New Jersey.

Early life[edit]

Dawn Zimmer was born in Towson, Maryland, and raised in Laconia, New Hampshire.[3] She is of German and Irish descent.[4] She attended public schools and graduated cum laude in 1990 from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in history.[5]

Early career[edit]

Zimmer taught English at a private language school in Japan from 1990 to 1993.[5] She worked at Sumitomo Corporation of America doing internal and external communications for four years and in public relations specializing in crisis communications at Edelman Worldwide for three years. She has also worked as a family portrait photographer and as marketing director for her husband's jewelry business.[6] She and her family moved to Hoboken from New York City in September 2002.[5]

Political career[edit]

Early civic work[edit]

Zimmer at the swearing-in ceremony of Union City Mayor Brian P. Stack, May 18, 2010.

Zimmer became involved in civic life in Hoboken in 2006 when she joined the Southwest Parks Coalition Steering Committee to advocate for more park space in southwest Hoboken's 4th Ward. She also served as a board member of the Kaplan Cooperative Preschool and as secretary of the Parent Teacher Student Organization for the Elysian Charter School.[6] In 2007, she ran for Hoboken City Council in the 4th Ward against incumbent Christopher Campos. In the first election in May, neither candidate reached 50 percent, necessitating a runoff election. Zimmer outpolled Campos in the June runoff by eight votes, but Campos challenged the results, charging that absentee ballots were improperly handled. Zimmer in turn charged that Campos had received votes from non-residents. A second runoff was called in November, with Zimmer defeating Campos by a margin of 1,070 votes to 956.[7][8]

In October 2007, Zimmer, as Hoboken's 4th Ward Councilwoman, supported a voter referendum to create an Open Space Trust Fund.[9] Originally this fund could have been used to pay maintenance on existing parks but Councilwoman Zimmer and other Councilpeople voted to ensure that it would only be used for the acquisition of new space and the maintenance of new space.[10]

Hoboken Mayor[edit]

Zimmer ran for Mayor of Hoboken in 2009. She lost to Peter Cammarano in the June runoff by 161 votes.[11] On July 1, when Cammarano was sworn in as mayor, the City Council unanimously elected Zimmer as Council President.[12]

On July 23, 2009, Cammarano was arrested by the FBI as part of a major corruption and international money laundering conspiracy probe known as Operation Bid Rig. Cammarano was charged with accepting $25,000 in cash bribes from an undercover cooperating witness.[13] The same witness approached Zimmer's campaign staff and was unsuccessful in setting up a meeting.[14] She joined other local officials in calling for Cammarano's resignation.[11]

On July 31, 2009, Cammarano resigned from office, and Zimmer was immediately sworn in as Acting Mayor.[11] On November 3, 2009, she won a special election to fill the rest of Cammarano's mayoral term. In the special election, Zimmer faced six opponents: City Councilwoman Beth Mason, businessman Frank Raia, former Hoboken Municipal Court judge Kimberly Glatt, Hoboken Republican Club co-founder Nathan Brinkman, management consultant Everton A. Wilson, and former corrections officer Patricia Waiters. She finished with 43% of the vote, with Mason in second place with 23% and Raia in third place with 18%. As it was a special election, no runoff was required.[15] Zimmer was sworn in as Mayor on November 6, 2009, giving up her City Council seat.[16] In 2008, Hoboken City had come under State Supervision due to an 11.7 million dollar budget deficit.[17][18] By the end of her first term, Hoboken had a balanced budget, had cut taxes by 12%,[citation needed] and the city's bond rating had gone from BBB- to AA+, the second highest S&P rating.[19] Zimmer was re-elected as Mayor along with her entire ticket in November 2013.[20][21][22]

Mayor Zimmer played a significant role in privatizing Hoboken University Hospital (formerly St. Mary Hospital), and keeping it from closing in 2011. The hospital—New Jersey's oldest—faced closure due to severe financial problems. The City of Hoboken had guaranteed $52 million of the hospital's debt, so its failure would have had been financially devastating for the city.[23][24]

Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy[edit]

In 2012 Zimmer was widely acclaimed for leadership during the aftermath Hurricane Sandy. On September 9, 2013, she was recognized as "Hero of the Harbor" by the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance for her work "to make her city a national model for preparedness, meeting with FEMA and state officials, urban planners, scientists and many others to create an 'integrated solution'"[25] For her leadership during Hurricane Sandy Mayor Zimmer was appointed to the President's Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force.[26][27]

In November 2013, President Obama named Zimmer to the Presidential Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.[28]

In December 2013, Mayor Zimmer testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship on Thursday, December. She discussed the impact Hurricane Sandy has had on Hoboken and the challenges still faced with the recovery process. She met with Members of Congress to highlight the unmet needs of businesses and residents.[29][30]

She was invited to Geneva, Switzerland to present at UN Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction Conference.[31][32][33]

Same sex marriage[edit]

Zimmer has been a strong proponent of same sex marriage and publicly urged Governor Christie to change his position in opposition.[34] On October 27, 2013 Zimmer performed the first same-sex marriage in Hoboken.[35]

Relationship with Governor Christie[edit]

In May 2010 Zimmer invited Governor Christie to speak in Hoboken in his first of a series of town hall meetings throughout the state supporting the 2% tax levy cap. She supported the property tax cap as the part of a package of legislation that includes changes to the arbitration process, shared services and the disciplinary process. "There is nothing partisan about being smart and responsible with money entrusted [to us] by our citizens", Zimmer said.[36] That September Christie was invited back to the city to speak at Elysian Charter School about his education reform agenda and the role of charter schools. Zimmer, whose two children attend Elysian Charter School, echoed concerns on the feasibility of funding charter schools, in light of the lack of state aid for facility-related expenses.[37]

On August 20, 2013 The Star-Ledger reporter Jenna Portnoy posted on Twitter that Zimmer had stated she would not endorse either major candidate in that November's race pitting Republican Christie against Democratic State Senator Barbara Buono.[38][39]

In January 2014, not long after the Bridgegate scandal erupted, Zimmer publicly stated that top officials of the Christie administration deliberately held back Hurricane Sandy relief funds from the city in order to pressure her to approve a Christie ally's developmental project. She said that in May 2013, during a meeting in a parking lot with Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, Guadagno told her that unless she (Zimmer) approved the deal, the Sandy funds would be held back.[40][41] Christie officials categorically denied the allegations.[42][43][44] Zimmer has stated that she did not come forward earlier because she thought her claims would not be believed.[45] She met with the members of the U.S. Attorney's office on January 19, 2014, turning over undisclosed evidence.[46] A subsequent investigation conducted by Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, a law firm hired by Christie, found no evidence to support Zimmer's accusations, calling them "demonstrably false" and "unbelievable". Zimmer dismissed the report as biased and said she was still willing to repeat her allegations under oath.[47]

Influence[edit]

In 2012 the Hudson Reporter named Zimmer as #3 in its list of Hudson County's 50 most influential people entities, behind North Bergen mayor Nicholas Sacco and Union City mayor Brian P. Stack.[48] She was ranked #4 in 2013,[49] and #5 in 2014.[50]

Personal life[edit]

Zimmer is married to Stan Grossbard, who is President of the RCDC Corporation, a diamond manufacturing and wholesaling company that markets the Original Radiant Cut Diamond, which was invented in 1977 by his father, Henry Grossbard.[51] Zimmer converted from Unitarianism to Judaism.[4][52] Stan Grossbard and Dawn Zimmer have two children.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Happy Birthday Hoboken Mayor Zimmer; Celebration in the Park". TheBoken.com. 2011-04-15. 
  2. ^ Baldwin, Carly (2009-08-04). "Zimmer's busy day: TV, policy chats, and a race". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
  3. ^ Kleinfield, N. R. (2014-01-22). "In New Jersey, Claims Elevate Mayor’s Profile". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-01-23. 
  4. ^ a b "The Dawn you don't know". Hudson Reporter. 2010-02-18. Retrieved 2010-05-17. 
  5. ^ a b c "Meet your 3rd and 4th Ward candidates". Hudson Reporter. 2007-05-01. Retrieved 2010-05-17. 
  6. ^ a b c "About Dawn". Dawn for Council. 2007-02-06. Archived from the original on 2007-09-13. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  7. ^ "The final, final, official numbers". Hoboken Now. 2007-11-12. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  8. ^ "First-Time Campaign Manager Runs Winning Campaign in a Vipers’ Nest". Hoboken 411. 2007-11-12. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  9. ^ "Open space, now and in the future". The Hoboken Reporter. 2007-10-16. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  10. ^ Mullins, Michael D. (2007-09-04). "Open space' tax will now go completely to new parks LaBruno, Ramos team up with Mason, Zimmer, Cunningham to pass resolution". Hoboken Reporter. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  11. ^ a b c "Acting Hoboken mayor sworn in after Cammarano's resignation". The Star-Ledger. 2009-07-31. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  12. ^ "Dawn Zimmer elected as Hoboken's Council president". Hoboken Now. 2007-07-01. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  13. ^ "F.B.I. Arrests Dozens in N.J. Corruption Sweep". The New York Times. 2009-07-23. Retrieved 2009-07-31. [dead link]
  14. ^ "Beth Mason and Dawn Zimmer say they were also approached by a developer asking for special treatment in Hoboken". The Jersey Journal. 2009-07-24. Retrieved 2009-09-07. "Councilwomen Dawn Zimmer and Beth Mason both said today they were each approached by a consultant they now think was trying to facilitate a meeting with Dwek, the FBI informant posing as a wealthy developer who promised campaign cash in return for favored treatment." 
  15. ^ "Hoboken election roundup: Zimmer wins by wide margin, Mason gets second, Raia a close third". The Jersey Journal. 2009-11-03. Retrieved 2009-11-03. 
  16. ^ "Dawn Zimmer sworn in as mayor of Hoboken". Hoboken Now. 2009-11-06. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  17. ^ "Hoboken's budget: The real numbers". NJ.com. 2008-05-29. Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  18. ^ Schweber, Nate (2008-09-10). "Despite Successes, State Takes Reins in Hoboken". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  19. ^ "Credit rating upgrade to save Hoboken estimated $1 million". NJ.com. 2013-12-13. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  20. ^ "Hoboken Election Results – Mayor Dawn Zimmer and City Council Sweep – Kids First Sweeps BOE". TheBoken.com. November 6, 2013.
  21. ^ "Dawn Zimmer re-elected mayor of Hoboken defeating Ruben Ramos, Tim Occhipinti". News 12 New Jersey. November 5, 2013.
  22. ^ "Mayor Dawn Zimmer cruises to re-election in Hoboken despite a tough campaign". Hudson County TV. November 6, 2013.
  23. ^ "Deal Reached To Keep Hoboken University Medical Center Open". CBS 2 New York. October 6, 2011.
  24. ^ Hortillosa, Summer Dawn (October 8, 2011). "Federal judge approves $10.2 million settlement between Hoboken University Medical Center and its creditors". NJ.com; accessed January 24, 2014.
  25. ^ "HAIL THE HEROES OF THE HARBOR". waterfrontalliance.org. 2013-09-09. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  26. ^ "Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy Report". Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force. 2013-08-01. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  27. ^ "About the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force". U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 2013-08-01. Retrieved 2014-01-20. 
  28. ^ Hack, Charles (2013-11-04). "Zimmer named to Obama's national task force on climate change". NJ.com. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  29. ^ "Mayor Zimmer Testifies at US Senate Committee About Sandy’s Impact on Hoboken". Hoboken, NJ. 2012-12-13. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  30. ^ "Mayor Zimmer testifies before Senate on Sandy's impact on Hoboken". Vimeo. 2012-12-13. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  31. ^ "Building Resilience into Urban Planning and Investments". YouTube. 2013-05-23. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  32. ^ Hack, Charles (2013-05-16). "Hoboken Mayor Zimmer heading to UN meeting in Geneva on disaster risk reduction". NJ.com. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  33. ^ "Life After Sandy: Interview with Hoboken, NJ Mayor Dawn Zimmer". United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. 2013-05-17. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  34. ^ "Hoboken Mayor Zimmer urges Gov. Christie to change his mind and support Marriage Equality Act". Hudson Reporter. 2012-01-06. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  35. ^ DeChiaro, Dean (2013-10-27). "Same-sex marriage comes to Hoboken". Hudson Reporter. Retrieved 2014-01-16. 
  36. ^ "N.J. Gov. Christie pushes for property-tax cap at Hoboken town hall meeting". NJ.com. 2010-05-17. Retrieved 2014-01-16. 
  37. ^ "Gov. Christie and Harlem school reformer talk charter schools in Hoboken". NJ.com. 2010-09-30. Retrieved 2014-01-16. 
  38. ^ McDonald, Terrence T. (2013-08-20). "Zimmer: 'don't expect' endorsement in Christie/Buono race". NJ.com. Retrieved 2014-01-16. 
  39. ^ DeChiaro, Dean (2013-08-22). "Zimmer won't endorse in gubernatorial race, says tweet". Hudson Reporter. Retrieved 2014-01-16. 
  40. ^ Kornacki, Steve (January 19, 2014). "Governor Chris Christie responds". Up. MSNBC.
  41. ^ Giambusso, David; Baxter, Chris Baxter (January 18, 2014). "Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer alleges Chris Christie's office withheld Sandy aid over development deal". NJ.com.
  42. ^ Giambusso, David (January 18, 2014). "Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer's Sandy allegations 'categorically false', DCA official says". NJ.com.
  43. ^ Giambusso, David (January 18, 2014). "Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer stands by her allegations against Christie". NJ.com.
  44. ^ Stirling, Stephen (January 18, 2014). "Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer now becomes Chris Christie's foe". NJ.com.
  45. ^ "Dawn Zimmer, Hoboken mayor, says Sandy aid ultimatum came from Chris Christie". Newsday. January 19, 2014. Retrieved January 25, 2014. 
  46. ^ Baxter, Christopher (January 21, 2014). "Experts: Enough evidence to pursue Hoboken mayor's claims against Christie administration". NJ.com. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  47. ^ Hutchins, Ryan (May 27, 2014). "Christie scandal: Hoboken mayor's claims 'demonstrably false,' internal report says". NJ.com
  48. ^ Adriana Rambay Fernández, Stephen LaMarca, Gennarose Pope, Ray Smith, Al Sullivan and E. Assata Wright (2012-01-11). "They've Got the Power". Hudson Reporter. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  49. ^ Cruz, Vanessa; DeChiaro, Dean; Rambay Fernandez, Adriana; Palasciano, Amanda; Sullivan, Al; Wright, E. Assata (January 13, 2013). "Power Surge". The Union City Reporter. pp. 1, 5-7, 10.
  50. ^ DeChiaro, Dean; Sullivan, Al (February 2, 2014). "The 'Power List'". The Union City Reporter. p. 6.
  51. ^ "About Us". RCDC Corporation. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  52. ^ "Odds are next Hoboken mayor will be Jewish". The Jewish State. 2009-05-08. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Dawn Zimmer at Wikimedia Commons