Friday, December 19, 2014

h-mag relaunches and hits out at the Mile Square's lifestyle

Hoboken's blogosphere is about to get another big shot in the arm with the relaunch of h-mag, the Mile Square's biggest lifestyle online magazine.

The retooled vision will come courtesy of Chris Halloran, a well known man about town who has infiltrated many aspects of Hoboken's lifestyle, much of it from his intimate, personal experience.

That first hand experience will come in handy along with his vast editorial background inside and outside the Mile Square.

A new feature on the website speaks to his fashion sense which he describes as a spacklersexual: his fashion sense like a 72-year old Irish pig farmer.

What does a spacklersexual dress like? Well you'll have to venture there to the story to see.

There's lots of literary Irish there which is bound to surface readily and often to much hilarity.
Best of luck to Hal and the new, shiny toy for Hoboken - hmag.com


http://hmag.com

Administrative law judge overruled with technical ethics violation ruling against Ravi Bhalla

State Finance Board overrules law judge's decision tossing ethics complaint against Councilman Bhalla who promises another appeal of the years long saga

The saga of what constitutes an ethical violation in Hoboken is again back in the news with an almost five year old saga of a continuing contract involving Councilman Ravi Bhalla and a former office mate, Paul Condon who ran independent law practices.

The ruling by the NJ Local Finance Board overruling an administrative law judge tossing the allegation out is part of a four year plus ethics complaint questioning Bhalla's vote on a unanimous approved continuation of a contract in the Andriani case by attorney Paul Condon.

In early 2010, Councilman Ravi Bhalla conferred with Corporation Counsel Michael Kates before a City Council meeting on the question of whether he should vote on a continuing contract for Paul Condon. The two had a shared office space and much of the back and forth follows about the terms of space shared with their respective independent law practices and a lease for the office.

Perry Belfiore seen at a 2010 City Council meeting sees his years long
ethics complaint advance as a judge's ruling tossing the matter
as "frivolous and unwarranted" is overruled by the NJ Local Finance Board.
Councilman Bhalla says he will again appeal the latest ruling.

Hoboken politico Perry Belfiore filed the ethics complaint and has pursued the case even as he was recently criticized by the NJ Administrative judge who was very dismissive of the entire matter and motivations behind its filing.

The decision reverses the earlier legal opinion by Administrative Law Judge James Geraghty who called the ethical violation allegations "frivolous" and "unwarranted" and declared the matter "wildly speculative."

Councilman Ravi Bhalla promised he's already started another appeal of the latest ruling which falls under the authority of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA). Via email, Bhalla wrote questioning the board's "perplexing decision" rejecting the judge's decision of a "politically motivated ethics complaint."

"Just three months ago, these same charges were dismissed by a judge, found to be "frivolous and unwarranted," Bhalla wrote in his statement quoting the judge they came from "someone who has a history of making 'malicious, bigoted' personal attacks against me."

Bhalla also questioned the process in how the DCA board made the ruling. A 45 day timeline to appeal saw two meetings of the Local Finance Board held and he said both did not take up the issue in any public process. He condemned the ruling being made behind closed doors by unknown state officials.

Belfiore offered his statement pleased with the latest finding by the NJ board writing, "that the appearance of a conflict of interest constitutes a conflict of interest is a quote in the finding that I stated to Ravi at the meeting," back in 2010. He concluded, "the appearance is a standard every elected official should live by."

Some sources suggest the NJ board approval is an extension of partisan politics due to the lack of any public record how they overturned Judge Geraghty's decision and would be a basis for Bhalla's appeal. Another source noted the problems with the issue appeared last September in the midst of election season in Hoboken.

Hoboken's election ran at the same time as the governor's race. Sources say Councilman Bhalla was like some other Hudson County elected officials asked to endorse Gov. Chris Christie's re-election. Bhalla who maintained good relations with the governor politely declined and did not endorse anyone for any statewide office choosing to focus on his own race in Hoboken which is nonpartisan.

The latest decision in the ethics complaint waives the $100 technical violation cost. That fee is apparently not the cost Bhalla is focused on as he noted his "reputation in the (Hoboken) community is paramount" and he'd work toward "again clearing my name so I can continue to advance Hoboken" versus being dragged into a "political fight which wastes taxpayer money."

Related: The NJ Administrative Law judge made his ruling last fall and was reported here in early October. 


Talking Ed Note: MSV attended this 2010 City Council meeting and personally observed Councilman Ravi Bhalla have a brief meeting with then Corporation Counsel Michael Kates on the issue of whether he should recuse himself on a vote for a continuation of a contract with Paul Condon. After conferring, Bhalla went ahead and joined the City Council in a unanimous vote approving the contract extension. 

Hoboken has elected officials walking the streets who requested $5,000 checks be made out to their political committees and another accepting thousands of dollars by vendors they had direct connection in selecting. 

MSV has noted at least one ongoing federal investigation continues in the Hoboken Housing Authority.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Das Pump to pump you out; ta ta ta two timez


City of Hoboken announces:

CITY MOVES FORWARD ON NEW PUMP TO ALLEVIATE FLOODING IN WESTERN HOBOKEN

State Issues Action Plan for $230 Million Rebuild by Design Comprehensive Flood Strategy

On Tuesday, December 16, 2014, the Hoboken City Council voted unanimously to fund the construction of Hoboken’s second flood pump. The 40 million gallon per day H-5 wet weather pump station with emergency generator will alleviate flooding in western Hoboken, including the area around ShopRite.

“This flood pump is part of the ‘Discharge’ component of the comprehensive ‘Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge’ strategy to make Hoboken more resilient to flooding,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “I thank members of the community and all City Council members for their support for this project. While the City implements the Delay, Store and Discharge elements of the plan through pumps, rain gardens, green roofs, and new parks designed to absorb and hold stormwater, we look forward to working with the State to create coastal defense by implementing the ‘Resist’ strategy with the $230 million won through the Rebuild by Design competition.”

The pump, along with a pilot City Hall green infrastructure project featuring large cisterns and rain gardens to reduce stormwater runoff, will be financed by an $11.9 million low-interest loan from the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust which includes 19% principal forgiveness.

State Action Plan for 3rd Round of Federal Sandy Recovery Funds
Yesterday, the State of New Jersey announced its Action Plan for the third round of Sandy funding which includes $230 million for the first phase of a comprehensive flood protection plan for Hoboken, Weehawken, and northern Jersey City awarded as part of the Rebuild by Design competition. The Action Plan Amendment related to the Rebuild by Design plan can be viewed at: www.renewjerseystronger.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/APA-12-English-RBD-Amendment_FINAL.pdf.

According to the proposed Action Plan, feasibility studies will take 1 to 2 years, followed by approximately 2 years for the design phase, followed by construction. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection will receive the $230 million in funding and manage the project.

Public comments will be accepted through January 15, 2015 at 5:00 pm. Comments can be submitted at two public hearings, via email tosandy.publiccomment@dca.state.nj.us  and via U.S. mail to Jamie Saults, Constituent Services Manager, Sandy Recovery Division, NJ Department of Community Affairs, 101 South Broad Street, Post Office Box 800, Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0800. The City of Hoboken asks that written comments also be copied tofloodplan@hobokennj.gov so that the City can incorporate community input into its formal feedback on the action plan.

Two public hearings will be held during the comment period:

·         January 6, 2015: Ocean County College, Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Performing Arts, 1 College Drive, Building 12, Toms River, New Jersey, 08754 (4-7 pm)
·         January 7, 2015: Bergen Community College, Moses Center, 400 Paramus Road, Paramus, New Jersey 07652 (4-7 pm)

Hoboken Yard Redevelopment Plan
The Hoboken City Council also voted 8-1 to adopt the Hoboken Yard Redevelopment Plan. The Redevelopment Plan supports the ‘Resist’ strategy in addition to requiring the separation of the stormwater and sanitary sewer system, installation of pumps, and green roofs, rain gardens, and other flood mitigation strategies consistent with the comprehensive flood resiliency strategy.


Horse Sense: "Big" Government returns to Hoboken

When Mayor Zimmer faced with a personal dilemma about the future of Hoboken and skyscrapers backed by the power of Big Government, with one mighty voice she stood tall and said "no."

That was facing down the Rockefeller Group, a Japan-owned consortium eyeing a magnificent tower 40 stories high and backed it appears by the most powerful levers of government in the State. As the Lt. Governor would later say, she would not apologize for jobs and economic growth re: progress.

Progress is the watchword as Hoboken stares down another government backed monolith but this one  far more powerful in NJ Transit. The City of Hoboken dared for some time to reverse course from the prior administration and argue against a proposed 70 story building surrounded by towers. To date, there's been some success with Mayor Dawn Zimmer, she the willing fighter in court on behalf of Hoboken who says go ahead make my day. This time not everyone thinks the courts would ultimately be the place for Hoboken to place all its bets. Trenton could enter and ease the way at any time.

Hoboken is trying to make the best of an imposing would be partner in NJ Transit with the template passed
Wednesday night at the City Council. Others are unhappy and don't want to see any change or development.
Is that a viable plan for Hoboken's future? That debate will go on for some time.

Not all local residents however see scaling back the owners of the southern edge, NJ Transit from their proposed nine million square foot monstrosity dominating the southern skies around the Mile Square to a more balanced two million square foot concept plan as both a viable compromise and progress.

The southern entrance way to Hoboken, the blighted warehouse views landscaped on one side with industrial rails on the other side is described as "historic" and beautifully "industrial" worth preserving. Well, that's one perspective and perhaps a sincere one. Other Hoboken residents say, if we must succumb to change, that's the place to do it and why not take the benefits of millions in tax revenues, affordable housing set asides and the economic engine downtown which can come with it?

If Hoboken doesn't find an economic engine to cover mounting public safety, health benefits and other costs who exactly is going to pay the weight of that increased freight? The Western Edge plan kicked around some years ago spoke to the concept of having commercial space to support the residential population on that side of town. The concept turned out to be less than economically viable.

So where is the commercial engine for Hoboken to come? The city has tried to present itself as a Manhattan alternative, encouraging tech firms to come and incubate here but it's not happening and won't lend itself to the revenues required for the local government appetite for tax dollars. For a primer on this, please see the total costs of public safety alone to the annual budget. (Hint: it's well over 50%.)

The Rockefeller Group promised much if they were given the right to transform the Hoboken landscape with a 40 story building and surrounding towers in a $1.1 billion project. The City and its mayor made clear no capitulation was coming even if a powerful governor gave it his blessing.

NJ Transit however is a beast of a different order - and magnitude. They hold not only ownership rights on the southern edge of town; they have the political muscle and worse, the political capital to align influence with NJ legislators. As some of you recall, NJ has a bit of a problem with corruption in all its forms when it comes to elected officials. 

While there's been unanimity among residents and political factions to stop NJ Transit's nine million square foot monstrosity proposed, there's not universal agreement what should be done with the opportunity to partner in its place. Some residents complain the proposed plan represents if not over development in its current form, it's wrong for the City. Others say Hoboken has an opportunity to take something bad and turn it into something good. Who's right?

That all depends on how you interpret realism and Hoboken's future. If you are an armchair quarterback who has your slice of the Mile Square, you can sit back and urge not another stone be turned. Ever. Are you willing to see significant municipal taxes increases as a result? If not, then doesn't it require at least listening to the grown-ups attempt to find a way to maintain the stability Hoboken has seen in its municipal taxes under the Zimmer administration?

It's easy to throw bombs, bark at the clouds and demand no stone be added atop another in Hoboken. Does it solve any of the funding issues at present and into the future? It says here, it doesn't. A traffic study comes first and then the real negotiation with NJ Transit will begin. As it stands, rush hour traffic on the southern end is a mess and even a reduced development downtown will only add to those woes.

Perhaps it's better to look to economic vitality, seek out the options how Hoboken can cover its built-in costs and work with the opportunity posed directly in front of it. Further, take the opportunity to overhaul and improve the necessary infrastructure and some roadways with alternatives satisfying the congestion on the southern end.

Or you can make a fist and yell at the clouds screaming not one more brick. When the inevitable, far higher municipal tax bill comes, you can tell your neighbor how you fought the good fight, stood down progress and how sorry you are they will be moving as you too pack your own bags for departure.

If you don't have a real world solution, perhaps you might try delving into the details and spell out where's the alternative? If not, then your friend Big Government, courtesy of NJ Transit will come and impose the solution for you.

Don't you just love Big Government solutions as they cascade all around you? In the end, it very well could.

Liberty Housekeeping - Win a free house cleaning in Hoboken!

sponsored



MSV is pleased to announce a drawing for a free 2-hour home cleaning from Liberty Housekeeping. 
Everyone is facing an end of year rush with the yuletide holiday parties as we head into the New Year.

So here's your chance to lighten your burden and enter the drawing for a little help from our friends at Liberty Housekeeping.

Along with the winner announced on January 9th, everyone else wins a discounted coupon, good for 5-15% off. To qualify all you need is a Hudson County residence.

So give it a whirl and sign up. You could win an early New Year bonus out of the gate.
Winners will be notified via email.





Liberty Housekeeping - a local maid service in Hoboken.

Call us! 201-984-3512

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hoboken Housing Authority Chair Dana Wefer addresses new efforts with HPD, generators installation and ED search



Courtesy of John Heinis, The Hudson County View:

In the absence of Hoboken Housing Authority Acting Executive Director Robert DiVincent, HHA Chairwoman Dana Wefer spoke about improving cooperative effort between the HHA and the Hoboken police department, the long-awaited installation of six new generators and the ongoing executive director search.

For the complete story see:

http://hudsoncountyview.com/hha-chair-wefer-talks-improved-security-generators-ed-search/

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

City Council Live - Rail Yards Development on tap




Note: The council meeting is captured here mid-meeting on the topic of NJ Transit and the City's alternative plan.

Better late than never. Timmy Occhipinti is speaking on behalf why the City's plan to work with NJ Transit's development idea scaled back is a winner. He's on fire, speaking strongly in favor of the revenue and other changes explaining why the plan is positive for Hoboken stating, "It's substantially consistent with the City's master plan."  He's opposed by members of the public in attendance advocating for nada.

This is a Timmy Occhipinti never seen.  "I ask for your patience... on these issues...they will be addressed," referring to open ended issues and an upcoming traffic study, one issue among others to be determined but he advocated strongly for the affordable housing component and the revenues aiding the City and public safety costs.

(Seen in pt. 2 available here: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/56558164

The measure passed easily 8-1 with only Beth Mason voting no saying the scaled back version of the plan from over 9 million square feet and towers dozens of stories high to a scaled back version of over two million square feet is still too big.

Previously, NJ Transit's LCORE, its master developer since 2005 made various attempts to bypass the City of Hoboken and pitch their massive plan directly to Hoboken residents, it would host the pitch at various locales along Washington Street just last year.

Among those hosting LCORE in Hoboken to pitch the biggest, baddest development in downtown: 
Beth "Develop or Die" Mason.


The second flood pump for Hoboken was approved in an unanimous vote. The project is anticipated to take approximately 18 months to complete and is slated to begin early next year.

Up the Republic!

Related: Gotham & Hudson filed this take which is a very good, detailed read:
http://gothamhudson.com/hoboken-city-council-votes-8-1-to-approve-hoboken-yards-redevelopment-plan/

Community: Memo from Mayor Zimmer to City Council Regarding Flood Pump & Hoboken Yard Redevelopment Plan

Office of the Mayor announces:


Community: Memo from Mayor Zimmer to City Council Regarding Flood Pump & Hoboken Yard Redevelopment Plan



Dear Horsey & MSV readers,

Mayor Dawn Zimmer sent the following memo to the Hoboken City Council regarding the H-5 wet weather pump and the Hoboken Yard Redevelopment Plan. The memo and attachment can also be downloaded at the following link: http://www.hobokennj.org/docs/mayor/12-16-14-Memo-Zimmer-Council.pdf 




December 16, 2014 

Dear City Council Members: 

I am writing to ask for your support for two important items on the agenda that both support our City's effort to comprehensively protect Hoboken from flooding and help to support our transportation system. 

Flood pump: 
As the attached photo shows, the western side of our City flooded just last week, and has flooded significantly several times since Sandy. Funding for the flood pump on the agenda will help the entire western side of our City during major rain events as well as in the event of another storm surge. 

The City has secured a low interest loan from the State that offers interest rates below 1 percent, and we have been advised by the DEP that it will include 19 percent principal forgiveness on the total $11.9 million loan as part of a Sandy funding opportunity. 

The State has authorized NHSA to go to bid, but the funding bond must be approved in order to move forward. 

The portion of the loan related to the City Hall green infrastructure project offers 50 percent loan forgiveness. (This portion of the project is estimated at about $220,000 of the total $11.9 million loan). The City Hall green infrastructure pilot project is important to demonstrate to property owners and developers what can be done with existing buildings to reduce stormwater run-off and flooding in our city.

Last month, we held a community meeting with residents of Maxwell Place to address their questions and concerns. We provided a Q&A and also revised the interlocal agreement with NHSA for the project to include air quality monitoring. The Q&A can be found on the NHSA website at www.nhudsonsa.com/Public/H-5_WWPS/FAQs.pdf

This pump is a crucial component of the comprehensive Resist, Delay, Store and Discharge Strategy to protect our entire City from flooding. In fact, the Resist strategy that will protect our waterfront from future storm surges will need the flood pump as a protective measure. The pump will also help alleviate flooding during increasingly prevalent flash flood events. 

Mayor Turner and I have met with DEP Commissioner Martin and will meet with him again at 5:00pm today to advocate for the State to move ahead as expeditiously as possible with the Resist strategy to protect North and South Hoboken with the $230 million grant awarded from the HUD Rebuild by Design competition. 

Hoboken Yard Redevelopment Plan: 
Hoboken has a long history of community activism helping to transform proposed projects for the better, with our waterfront being the prime example. This project has similarly been transformed by City Council and community input. The original proposal supported by both NJ Transit and the past Administration was for 9.2 million square feet. This included a seventy story commercial tower, and would have added approximately 7,300 new residents to our community with several 40-story residential towers. 

Hoboken residents, some of whom are now City Council members, along with several of my Council colleagues at the time, raised their voices, and that project, which was on track to become a reality, was stopped and has been completely transformed. 

The original plan was not only supported by both NJ Transit and the previous Administration, but both took the position that NJ Transit had the legal right to build it even if Hoboken objected. In 2008, as a City Councilwoman, I, together with Councilwoman Mason, Councilman Russo, Councilwoman Castellano, and Councilman Cunningham, forcefully disagreed with this conclusion. In response, legislation was crafted in Trenton in 2009 to remove any ambiguity and permit NJ Transit to move forward with their own plans. Together, local officials successfully lobbied against this legislation. We then worked hard to create a completely new plan that would benefit the City of Hoboken rather than just represent the interests of NJ Transit and their developer. 

The new proposed redevelopment plan will revitalize our transit hub, bring jobs to Hoboken, add affordable housing, and provide funding for open space. It is also an important part of the flood mitigation plan that has received $230 million of federal funding. All of this will be accomplished while limiting residential development to approximately 950 new residents, a scale consistent with that area of Hoboken. 

Thank you to the City Council development subcommittee and the Council as a whole for working with my Administration on this redevelopment plan. Your leadership has and will continue to enable the City to shape this project in the best interests of Hoboken residents. Here are some of the reasons why I believe that it is important to move forward tonight with this plan: 

1. This project offers the opportunity to transform our transit hub. Given the fact that 56 percent of our residents take public transportation to work every day, more than any place in the nation, I hope that you will seriously consider the needs of our residents who commute on a daily basis. 

2. This plan offers the opportunity to bring jobs and create new jobs in Hoboken. Providing residents with more opportunities to work near where they live is one way to make our city less reliant on cars in the long-term. In addition, research shows that commercial development has much less of a financial impact on City resources because it does not expand the need for police, fire, and schools, as residential development does (For this very reason, I appreciate that the subcommittee stood strong and did not expand residential development despite pressure from the developer to do so). 

3. This plan offers the opportunity to require the developer to be a part of the flood protection system to comprehensively protect our City from flooding. It would require the separation of the stormwater and sanitary system, installation of pumps, and green roofs, rain gardens, and other flood mitigation strategies. 

4. Through the redevelopment agreement process, an analysis will determine a fair contribution to the open space trust fund. This funding could go towards funding a larger park in southwest Hoboken, the neighborhood that could be most impacted by this development. The plan would also require at least 4.5 total acres of street level public space and would create pedestrian plazas at Hudson Place and Warrington Plaza with a safe pedestrian zone, connections to various modes of transit, bicycle lanes and bicycle storage and shower facilities. 

5. The plan would create indoor public space that could be designated as performing arts space, accelerator space to support startup businesses, 3 bedroom units for our growing families, and at least 10% of units for affordable housing. 

As members of the Council subcommittee know, the City has to have an economically feasible plan that will stand the test of a legal challenge. While I respect the voices of our citizen activists, we as elected officials have an obligation to look at all the factors and understand that a plan that is not economically feasible will put the City at risk in any possible legal or legislative challenge. I want to thank you for funding our careful economic analysis performed by an experienced NYC firm to ensure a fair agreement for the City of Hoboken. 

The next step in the process, if the City Council passes the plan and if NJ Transit is interested in moving this forward, would be to enter into an interim cost agreement. Under this agreement, NJ Transit and/or their designated developer would be responsible for the costs of conducting future analysis needed to finalize the plan. Most importantly, NJ Transit and/or their designated developer would be required to fund a traffic study and traffic modeling analysis, to be conducted by a firm of the City’s choosing. This modeling would include an analysis of the traffic impact and the proposed changes such as the two-way service road connected to Marin Boulevard. 

Adjustments to the plan could be made based on the results of the analysis. This study can only be conducted once we know what the City Council will approve as a level of development. As you know, the plan proposed by NJ Transit has ranged from over 9 million square feet to 5 million square feet to 3.5 million square feet to 3 million square feet, with more than 40 percent residential and all of the residential located by the PATH. The City Council has settled on a very different approach, with the commercial located near the PATH and a much lower level of density, in particular for the residential development. Once the plan is passed, then it will be time to conduct this important and thorough traffic analysis. 

Given that the City of Hoboken has spent close to $300,000 on the legal, planning, and financial analysis for the plan, I hope you agree that it is now time for NJ Transit and/or their designated developer to fund the traffic study, which can only happen once a plan is passed and we have entered into an interim cost agreement. 

Please feel free to call me if you would like to discuss this further or if you have any questions in advance of the Council meeting tonight. 

Best regards, 

Dawn Zimmer

The Hudson Reporter and their friends

The holidays are upon us but the buzz yesterday rolled through here like an old diesel freight train with the whistle blowing down Washington St. the whole way. It was quite a ride all the way from up on 14th street where fascinating tales are woven with not sugar plums in the Hudson Reporter editor's heads but a Mile Square City where developers rule the land with a mayor sleeping at the wheel or on the take, no matter which. Are we having fun yet?

After a full month snooze when the story broke, the Hudson Reporter finally did a story on Los Federales investigating the Hoboken Housing Authority. The story was an odd mish-mash of old news and a battery of old "Carmelo Garcia said" excuses.

Where was the ever loquacious Carmelo Garcia's comment today on the investigation looking into the reign of his former Banana Republic? Suddenly your best bud (after Bethy's pet fish of course) is not available for comment? It wasn't even noted in the story. Asking the question wouldn't yield a threat of a criminal complaint against you like the editor here. Speaking of which...

Also, why was a reference to the New York City Housing Authority tossed into the story? Is that the only excuse FOG (friends of Garcia) could muster? Pretty weak sauce there. Aren't you guys suppose to maintain minimum journalistic norms?

Months ago back in the summer, a litany of serious issue were featured in the HHA's audit report. It's another area of emphasis in the Carmelo Garcia "ethnic cleansing" sagas which has been completely ignored for inexplicable reasons at the Hudson Reporter. Hey, journalistic reasons now, not  FOG or FOH - Friends of HudCo reasons.

Can the editors explain to the readers why the Hudson Reporter completely ignored the findings of the agency's own audit report? The story was handed on a silver platter and not only by a horse. That would have been one to hijack with no credit and no complaint here whatsoever.

Back in July, we're pretty sure you saw this big MSV headline:

HHA Audit findings spell TROUBLE for Carmelo Garcia



Among the audit findings never mentioned by the Hudson Reporter:
  • Two of five... vendors were paid over $100,000
  • "Questioned costs" totaled over $573,000
  • Payments to numerous vendors was out of compliance with prices authorized by the HHA Board of Commissioners
  • The HHA accounting department was "unable to print a vendors history report" 
  • One vendor overpaid without contract authorization exceeded $753,000
  • No emergency procurement reports were filed with the state as required under law
  • More than $100,000 in expenditures with the illicit use of a credit or store card
  • Section 8 files contained major problems and are "materially incomplete"
  • Costs deemed problematic connected to Section 8 can't be fully determined due to the lack of required documentation
  • The HHA is "not in compliance" with the Housing Choice Voucher Program and the Low Rent Public Housing Program regulations

In addition, the original MSV July story noted: "the audit report findings state payments throughout the year to a host of suspect vendors totaled almost $800,000 and the "state of emergency" due to Hurricane Sandy shows most of the expenditures "occurred outside the scope of the emergency."

Does any of this have an iota to do with New York City's Housing Authority?
So MSV invites the HR editors to explain. We're all ears.



Talking Ed Note: Da Horsey has more questions for the Hudson Reporter. This isn't the time but the time is coming when those questions can be posed.

See, I got these emails and their effin golden.

                                  

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hudson Reporter: Mayor Dawn Zimmer to resign Reason: No reason

Hudson Reporter political column speculates on hearsay Mayor Dawn Zimmer to resign; offers no reason for it.

Analysis on the bizarre Hudson Reporter column last weekend 

The Hudson Reporter's political column, penned by Al Sullivan took Hoboken for a ride over the weekend. For those who read such tales, this one was a doozy. Speculating on a "rumor" of Mayor Dawn's Zimmer unannounced but upcoming resignation, Sully journeyed on an odyssey at length who would follow her.

Lots of sellers in that rumor market and Sully indulged them - all of them.

Al Sullivan in some downtime performing a reading in Jersey City.
His political column last weekend took Hoboken for a ride last weekend.


The short answer to the question posed by the Hudson Reporter comes with Betteridge's law of headlines in an adage that states, "Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word NO."

A bemused mayor, used to hearing such tall tales about herself is said to have responded to the wild speculation inquiring what would be the reason this time for her resignation. None is offered in the column but at least one wannabe Old Guard mayoral candidate is said to be telling anyone who'll listen the mayor will be indicted before year's end.

Stop laughing. The Old Guard has sounded that alarm to anyone in Old Hoboken who'll listen more than once since the popular reform mayor took office. It's a rumor used only slightly less than the one about a former construction official which said on a bi-weekly basis, "Al's coming back next Monday."

The Sully column goes on to splash many more column inches with a "theory" to what follows in a hoped for mayor's resignation. The candidates benefitting being named under that wild scenario are Freeholder Anthony Romano and the current sitting Assemblyman Carmelo "Dead Man Walking" Garcia.

Romano just came off an unopposed re-election victory for Freeholder last month but he's been seen photobombing at light speed at every local event possible in recent months. His hunger to run for mayor may be stronger than the calendar's four year election cycle. Mayor Zimmer was re-elected easily in a three way race in 2013.

The other Old Guard named candidate is someone who fits convicted felon Peter Cammarano's roadmap to victory. The ex-mayor and disbarred attorney recorded on FBI surveillance tape at the Malibu with a campaign mantra starting with, "I could be indicted..." and win an election to be Hoboken mayor may have appeal for this Hudson Reporter named candidate-in-waiting who is fond of using recording devices himself.

 The divisive and controversial Carmelo Garcia, he of multiple civil lawsuits and "ethnic cleansing" fame who left the Hoboken Housing Authority a train wreck is the other favorite Old Guard son mentioned. Garcia however, is more likely to face really being indicted before elected in any imagined special election next November. (The federal investigation at the HHA is speeding along and not a word breathed about it by what many residents call the Hudson Distorter.)

Lots more column inches expended on a wild scenario on "behalf" of reform and who would replace the mayor. Some see all this noise as part of what's been described as "Team Jabberwock," a small insider group of disgruntled former reform supporters who have Sully's and likely Augie Torres' ear.

Before any retaking of the mayor's seat, their immediate requirement is to overthrow the existing working five seat reform majority on the City Council. A poison pill scenario could be hatched seizing one pivotal seat in the second ward while sabotaging reform's chances of anti-corruption champion Peter Cunningham in the fifth ward.

Anti-corruption champion Peter Cunningham may find himself
the target of a plan to upend the mayor's working five member majority.

Behind the scenes, a further step toward an Old Guard alliance in the fourth ward replacing Timmy Occhipinti with Ruben Ramos would make that swing seat influence instrumental and Councilman Michael Russo a very relevant voice again.

As MSV said recently, the election for the six City Council ward seats has begun. The recent Augie Torres and Al Sullivan columns shows you how much.

Happy Holidays!

Correction: The Hudson Reporter did finally get a mention in with a feature on the federal investigation at the HHA in this last issue. So hat tip to Carlo Davis for getting that in!

The story broke more than a month ago with a video report at the Hudson County View and featured on MSV.

Councilman Ravi Bhalla: NJ Transit redevelopment, reval legislation, pump no. 2

Councilman Ravi Bhalla announces:



Dear friends and neighbors,

I hope this you are enjoying the holiday season with family, friends and loved ones. I write to provide you with an update on several important items the City Council will be considering at our next and final meeting of 2014, this Tuesday, December 16th.

New Jersey Transit Railyards Redevelopment Plan

The City Council will be voting to adopt a Redevelopment Plan for the New Jersey Transit Railyards site, which extends west from the Hoboken Train Terminal along the southern border of Hoboken. The City Council's subcommittee on community development-south, working together with the Administration, residents and all stakeholders, has presented a mixed use plan incorporating commercial, retail and residential development. This project has the potential to transform the southern border of Hoboken in a positive way for generations, so I urge everyone to attend the Council meeting and make your voice and opinions known about the plan.

In my role as a Commissioner on the Planning Board, we thoroughly vetted the plan and offered 13 recommendations for the City Council to consider. The City Council held a special meeting of the whole on December 10th and heard from many members of the public regarding various issues, opinions and concerns about the plan. We have also heard from various stakeholders and many members of the public who have written or called us to offer their thoughts and opinions about the plan. So far, the most prominent concerns about the plans have been the height of certain buildings near the train terminal, traffic circulation and flow, and making sure the development does not erode the unique charm and character of Hoboken.

I share all of those concerns and more. The adoption of this plan is part of a larger process where residents will continue to play a role in what is ultimately developed at this site through a redevelopment agreement. The input from residents thus far has and will continue to be helpful in helping us fine tune the details of this development in the future, so I urge you to make your voice heard as we continue with the process in the days, months and weeks to come. Finally, I want you to know that I am considering this plan in the larger context of the prospective Neumann Leathers rehabilitation plan, the plan for a Southwest Park, and the Rebuild By Design Plan for protecting Hoboken from flooding and severe weather events.

The Hoboken Railyards Redevelopment Plan and additional documents can be downloaded at the following links.


Wet Weather Flood Pump in northern Hoboken

Another critical item on Tuesday's City Council agenda is the consideration of a bond ordinance for the construction of a wet weather flood pump on the eastern edge of 11th Street in Hoboken. The Administration has been working closely with the North Hudson Sewerage Authority for the installation of this flood pump. This bond ordinance, if adopted, will allow for the construction of a flood pump which will have a substantial impact on reducing flooding in the western area of Hoboken. A PSE&G electricity substation also resides in this area of Hoboken and provides energy to other areas of Hoboken, so it is critical to ensure flood mitigation measures are put in place in this area for the benefit of other areas of Hoboken as well. To this end, it is encouraging to see that the residents of the Maxwell Place residential community have been engaged in this process and will continue to in the future. I am very hopeful we have the support from the community and City Council to adopt this ordinance.

Six Year Property Tax Revaluation Ordinance

Finally, we will be considering an ordinance that mandates the City of Hoboken to conduct a revaluation of property taxes every six years. Previously, the City Council and Administration had unanimously agreed to a yearly rolling reassessment of 25% of the property in Hoboken. As a result of concerns from residents about the impact and possible instability of this program, we are now considering mandating a revaluation every 6 years at a minimum. In the larger context, it is important for property taxpayers to know that there is equity in the process - that they are not being over assessed or under assessed relative to the market value of their properties. For this reason, mandating a revaluation at a minimum of every six years is a preventative measure from the shock many taxpayers felt from the first revaluation we conducted in 25 years in 2013. I hope this measure is supported by the public and adopted by the Council.

Thank you for your time in reading this update! If you have any questions, concerns or need assistance with anything, feel free to call me at 201-647-6090 or email me at councilmanbhalla@gmail.com 

Best wishes to you and your family for a happy holiday season and a happy new year!

Sincerely,
Ravinder S. Bhalla
Councilman-at-Large
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