Saturday, October 31, 2009

To H411: Now serving - PWNAGE by the ton

Yesterday we took a stroll late in the afternoon at the Hoboken forum.  For those readers of the site, it's known as the real Wild West of the east.  And it's been on relatively good behavior of late, a flare up of a long simmering Hudson Shark feud with another popular Hoboken personality heating up now and then.

If you love rumors, political operatives planting same, and a roundhouse kick to the jaw, this is the place for you.  And frankly we love to spar with the stable of combatants who enter.  It provides not much of a challenge but some light entertainment.

And so we came upon the famous Hoboken411 operative Mark Lower.  Not just a dog walker and unofficial photographer of Oscar, but the original voice of censorship on our fair land and an insight into the mind of a control freak.  (You have to actually leave Hoboken411 to gin up a real discussion with differing opinions.)

As one would have it we got into a brief scuffle with "Mark Lower."  He posited the following titled "Keep Dreaming:"

"Brinkman will be lucky to come in fifth.  Patty Waiters has more friends in town that (sic) Nathan.  Even the Republicans are angry at him because he's not on the street for Chris Christie.  Apparently Christie is too liberal for neo-con Nate the Lonegan man."

Okay, he's not getting accolades for his prose but at least he ended with a flourish.  Not thirty minutes later an email came in from the Nathan Brinkman campaign.  Did I know that there was a Chris Christie event with the candidate in Hudson County and that Rudy Guiliani and Nathan Brinkman would both be featured speakers?  Well we could scarcely believe our luck.  And we got the video.  Our jolly green giant friend at the Hoboken Journal has also posted the video.  But he doesn't even yet know how much pain he's heaped in highlighting this too.

To Perry and the whole gang of H411 Mason operatives: sorry, you just got pwned!  As if the Mason commercials and flyers touting a tax increase isn't bad enough. Now this:

There's a fever raging in this town, the fever of an election.  It strikes only a few at first.  You pass them on the street.  Wobbly, but stationary youthful faces rooted to a few square meters of cement.  Circling, always circling, they spin round and round yet never get dizzy and fall down.  Their arms wave out to passersby, attempting to gain attention or a receiving hand.  They are the fevered pamphleteers.

You accept one.  But you have no qualms or concerns.  It's merely a political flyer.  You are immune.  There is no emotion, no feeling and you look for the nearest garbage can.  The first one is already full as your eyes ricochet down the block for the next opportunity.  Then suddenly and with no warning, the fever strikes. You are griped with fear.  What?  Beth Mason is wrong?  There was no tax increase coming?  There's what, a tax decrease!

You stop, sweat beating down your brow, you can't move.  An anger wells up from your stomach.  You want to scream but your voice is frozen with rage.  You didn't even plan on voting or maybe you did, depending on the World Series of course.  But this, this treachery, the utter contempt, the condescending mocking laughter at voter ignorance.  You grab the phone and then say, "Honey, wait till you hear this..."

Welcome to Hoboken election hell.

And the Jersey Journal says....

Posted just minutes ago, the Jersey Journal endorses Dawn Zimmer for mayor.  Citing a number of her accomplishments in her three months as Acting Mayor, the paper felt she brings the best of all skills to the position.

Among the reasons they offered:
  • A road map has been created with state input to end Trenton's supervision of the city's fiscal affairs.
  • Zimmer has also brought City Hall into the modern world by making use of basic computer technology, including shared folders and using an official town e-mail address instead of individual e-mail accounts.
Read the complete endorsement here
Photo courtesy: Johnny Newman - Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer minutes after being sworn in July 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Breaking: Tax Cut will average $400

Amy Sara Clark at Hoboken Now posted the details of the upcoming tax relief for Hoboken taxpayers in an interview with the fiscal state monitor Judy Tripodi.  The news comes the weekend before the election next Tuesday.  Local residents will see their taxes fall on average $400 over two quarters.

Meanwhile, the campaigns have gone into full battle mode with their GOTV (get out the vote) operations.  The Mason campaign continues to run commercials, mail flyers of a tax INCREASE and their youtube commercial, Stophidingthebudget in the face of reality.  Will the false flag operation be successful?

On Tuesday, November 3rd the voters will decide.
We're going to find out how fast word spreads in Hoboken.

Update: The Hudson Reporter reports the Mason Campaign filed a protest against the Frank Raia alleging he handled two absentee ballots.  Frank true to form replies in his open and forward manner.  It's somewhat interesting and also somewhat telling.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Horse Sense: Handicapping the candidates

We're prepping our ponies for the starting gate.  The backside is ablaze with activity gearing up with a call to the post not far off.  With the biggest x factor being turnout, this horse race is not easily handicapped.  We believe there may be at least one, possibly two major surprises.  All odds are to win, since there is no payout for place and show.  It's winner take all!  Here's our editorial summation of the candidates as the voters prepare to head to the polls on Tuesday.

Everton Wilson.  Assured of at least three votes from the bartenders he knows and calls friends. A living example of the cultural values of Jamaica and turning hard work into the American dream.  Needs to translate that effort locally and has yet to do so. Instead he decided to join Patricia Waiters in the theater of the absurd by calling every person in city government a crook at the Stevens debate.  Even the usually austere Councilwoman Beth Mason couldn't control herself from laughing.   Impact: negligible or a natural catastrophe destroying all polling stations and absentee ballots at once.  In short: an act of God.  Odds: 14,997 - 1.  

Patricia Waiters: Other than a hundred or so voters who wish to make a statement, no traction.  Proven volatility and still could be a scratch and endorse someone else before the polls open.  Pleaded for votes with a suggestion we don't want to cry again like when Peter Cammarano was arrested.  (We didn't cry the first time at the news sorry.)  Wild accusations mirror same at City Council meetings.  We still don't know who she's talking about.  Neither does anyone else. Pictured holding an umbrella for Cammarano after his release from jail now a cult classic.  Odds: 14,800 - 1

Nathan Brinkman: For a novice to the Hoboken political scene, his arrival has been strongly felt in the debates.  Impact should substantially appear in an overlap of votes in his campaign and the statewide Governor's race.  Brought a consistent, principled message along with a ton of new ideas to the short election cycle.  Based his ideas on comparison to a real world example: New Brunswick.  Worth repeating, we've never seen anyone do anything remotely as smart in our local elections.  A strong personable personality who should play a future role in the local and statewide electoral scene.  Talented communicator, immensely likable who doesn't shy away from the difficult issues with real world proven solutions.  Could surprise with votes deep in the four figures or fall short as voters evaluate and decide to vote on anything but principle when entering the voting booth.  He's looking for a surprise like his endorser Bret Schundler who shocked Jersey City for mayor in 1993.  The dark horse house favorite could provide one of the night's biggest surprises.  Odds: 8 - 1

Kim Glatt: Emphasized her roots in the old world of Hoboken past, Frank Sinatra way and not her uptown Bloomfield St. or current W Hotel home.  Will the old Hoboken voters turn out for her as they did for Cammarano?  It doesn't look as likely with competition from Frank "Pupie" Raia and his strong field operations, website and commercials.  Appealing to the Cammarano supporters and the "bury and forget it" rubber stamp of former Mayor Robert's hidden accounting that brought Hoboken to its financial knees.  (Dave Roberts keeps her campaign sign in his window.)  Difficult to gain traction with a short race and a website staking out no detailed or breakout positions on issues. Still managed to raise the only real ones of substance in the short campaign: flood grant applications and parking meters at the new theater.  Queen of the status quo, she's in the middle of the pack without a clear means to break out.  Only budget idea is attrition and retiring more safety workers with 150K pensions sure to send Hoboken into Chapter 9 bankruptcy faster than the local hospital.  Husband's law firm partner an undeniable drag for a town exhausted by corruption questions.  Slimed by Hoboken411 on a family home didn't help either. Neither are her fault but it costs a fading operation. Odds: 7-1

Beth Mason: Another well funded family effort and going all out for the gold, the Councilwoman takes no prisoners.  Unfortunately, taking no prisoners leaves a lot of disapproving escapees who vow not to be taken alive.  Attempting to stake ground as a "moderate" between Old and New Hoboken can go either way earning uncommitted voters late, while surrendering permanently the passionate supporters who remember the old reformer.  It failed miserably the last time as the Russo alliance never delivered.  A see saw campaign operation going heavy negative early to knock down support for the Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer and then selling hard on the resume.  Rinse, repeat.  The negative approach did not work; an online petition stunt spawned a rival hilarious imitator and added nothing in public support.  Sought to make some hay on the budget and taxes with wild baseless charges against the Acting Mayor, an issue undercut by the facts offered by state fiscal monitor Judy Tripodi's exclusive interview with Mile Square View.  Fading or gaining, but never leading (unlike in the spring according to her internal polls) depending on who you talk to on any given day. Someone sold her the old Swibinski a negative campaign would work in a short election cycle.  Even a novice pony knows that doesn't work.  Rule #1, don't go to the dance without the people who brought you.  Painful lesson to learn: twice makes it doubly hard.  Odds: 6-1

Frank Raia: picking up momentum and hitting all cylinders as the race has progressed.  Has continued to impress with his passion and a well funded and organized campaign.  Consistently running positive, like his personality, Pupie as he's affectionately called by friends and foe alike has a strong supportive base and may expand beyond it in ways the Mason campaign has only dreamed.  A real threat with a strong absentee ballot operation, he's determined to make a life long dream come true.  Downside in being a successful executive is belief in self over other voices or even voters as he views the Board of Education vote last spring a mistake.  Sensible in the reality of falling real estate values, and rejecting a reval.  His campaign people are true believers, admiring his business experience and his indomitable spirit.  Their sense of purpose comes in seeing a true rags to riches story and someone who still cares enough to do good for his community.  Pupie is taking no contributions which can't hurt his image and promises to accept a mayoral salary of $1 a year and put the rest toward interest on bond measures for the town's flooding hardware.  Will the strengths of his supporters and commitment to Hoboken enlist enough other votes and lead him to victory?  Odds: 2-1

Dawn Zimmer: resilient with an inner fortitude underestimated regularly by her opponents.  Bears a powerful bare bones grass roots campaign of true believers and a common touch with the people. Stakes out a unique claim no other leading candidate can make as the Founding Fathers intended: political office as a temporary role not a career. Doesn't seek higher office.  Lost the spring election technically to the soon arrested Peter Cammarano who got suspicious PAC support, Federal payoff money and absentee ballots approaching almost 10% of his total vote.  She could have pressed the issue but didn't which is often overlooked.  

Follows through on her principles with a strong appeal across political party lines.  Personable, approachable and professional, Zimmer delivered in changing the tone of government as Acting Mayor and has broadened her base showing an ability to reach out to people with her personal style emphasizing consensus. Hired and appointed solid competent professionals with actual relevant experience from among new and old Hoboken far more than recent administrations.  Advocates and practices transparency, but not sufficiently to earn sizable trust from Old Hoboken.  It's a strength and a hindrance as allies see a new Dawn ahead (pardon the pun) but doesn't forestall enemies from undermining and almost constant griping and grandstanding.  Followed through on decentralizing the power of the mayor's office unheard of in political circles.  As a result of fulfilling that promise, even her weaknesses are recast as virtues among her supporters.  She's grown immensely in her time from Councilwoman to Acting Mayor demonstrating an ability to listen.  Lacks the tin ear and transparent acts of self-interest of her opponents, even attempting to achieve consensus on the City Council while holding a majority coalition.  It appears this is her time and three times will indeed be the charm.  The class of the field.  Odds: 2 - 5 (Bet $2.00 to win $2.80)

Hobokenites craving the 21st century have waited for just this moment.  Live free or die.  This is it.

Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer speaks with Hoboken residents after the Hudson River crash.

You really don't need a horse to tell you how to vote do you?  Didn't think so.  

Here's one!

One can guess with the election season drawing to the inevitable finish, endorsement season is in fashion, front and center.  And you'd be right.  Now we're not sure about the impact of Councilwoman's Beth Mason endorsement of Governor Corzine for reelection but we have something a bit more locally flavored.

Bret Shundler, (above) the nationally famous former mayor of our neighbor Jersey City today endorsed Nathan Brinkman for mayor.  Having taken the victory for mayor in a similarly multi-candidate race back in 1992, Schundler was then reelected twice, overwhelmingly demonstrating that innovative solutions coupled with an approach of lower taxes, less regulation and reduced government can work in an urban area.

“In many ways, Nathan Brinkman reminds me of, well, me at that age — he’s not a member of anybody’s political machine, he doesn’t owe any party bosses any favors, he’s free to do what he thinks is best for the people who live in his community,” said Schundler. “He understands that the role of government is to serve its citizens, and not the other way around, and he understands that more often than not, the best answers come not from empowering government, but from empowering people.

“If I lived in Hoboken, rather than Jersey City, I’d be voting for Nathan Brinkman on Tuesday.”

“I’m honored to accept Bret Schundler’s endorsement,” said Brinkman. “The folks I’ve talked to who were living here in Hoboken when Bret was Mayor of Jersey City speak of him with fondness, and respect, and even a bit of envy that they were living in Hoboken while he was making such great strides in Jersey City.

“Bret showed during his time as Mayor of Jersey City that putting people ahead of government bureaucrats, and keeping property taxes down, create a formula for success. We need more of his kind of thinking in Hoboken City Hall, and that’s exactly what I intend to bring to the job as Hoboken’s Mayor.”

Bret Shundler originally took the reins of mayor in a similar heavily Democrat party environment.  His initial victory ended a 75 year Republican losing streak in Jersey City.

News Roundup

We'll be adding more to this today but for those who are interested in the debate held at Stevens yesterday Amy Sara Clark, at Hoboken Now did a live blog of the event.  She captures the essence quite well of the candidate's discussions.  But take a look as it's been broken down into three parts.  Hoboken Now also has their feature on Councilwoman Beth Mason in their candidate series available.

Although it was not groundbreaking in most respects, there was new areas covered and it's worth a look.  On the whole the event was somewhat lackluster as the big news was the Hudson Reporter reposting of a story on the budget's availability.  An earlier story indicated the budget was available but as it turns out that was corrected with Judy Tripodi stating the budget will be available soon.  

The headline in the story initially came out as
"Tripodi says: Taxes are down, but Zimmer should have released budget" 

Then when reposted the story was headlined: 
UPDATE -- Tripodi: Can't release budget! (Don't blame Zimmer)

It's created more of an eruption than the debate probably will. We find ourselves in a unique position as a result.  Since we initially broke the story, we've had several conversations with the Hudson Reporter on this, (both of us interviewed the fiscal monitor the same day) and the last was mere minutes before the candidates began the debate and before the story was reposted under the new headline.  As that conversation was not on the record similar to our recent impromptu meeting with Councilwoman Beth Mason, we want to be measured and fair about it.  It's blown white hot since it was initially published and then recast.  (We covered this earlier and it still remains valid.) Scroll down if you missed that piece, "Taxes are going down."

Can everyone take a step back and please breathe deeply for 30 seconds?  Okay, relax. It's mere days before the voters decide the matter.  

Kim Glatt handed a family smear
Can it possibly get any lower at the Hoboken411 cesspool?  You would think the dirty deed's done on behalf of one campaign is enough, but apparently no, one must pay homage to one's masters and take it to the next level of slime.  (Can we get a pump installed in time before it does us all in?)

The Hudson Reporter did a story on the matter from a different perspective: you know the family smeared.  That's not something you get at all when you descend into the depths at that other blog.  Is this their self-proclaimed "political truth" too?  

The Glatt Campaign responded with a statement from Kim herself, "The Internet smear intimates that foreclosure equates irresponsibility.  I wonder if the politicians behind it would be so bold as to say the same thing to anyone in our community who has lost their job, is caring for a sick and aging parent, and is behind on their mortgage because of the national economy and local taxes that are outside of their control....I will not be deterred by anonymous political attacks that distort the truth."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New Candidate Questionnaire

If you haven't heard enough from the candidates or just would like to see how they have replied to written questions, Hoboken Revolt, the tax reform group in town has updated their candidate questionnaire and posted it on their website.  You can also link directly to the Q&A at your leisure here.

We have submitted inquiries to the Kim Glatt and Beth Mason campaigns as their response(s) appear unavailable at this time.

Update: 3:20 - Hoboken Revolt has confirmed that both the Mason and Glatt campaign have declined to respond to the questionnaire.

Talking Ed Note: Although we've heard like many, the candidates stated positions on the issues, we discovered there is some subtleties in the questionnaire easily overlooked.  Without pointing out those specific areas, we'd say the questionnaire is a valuable read as you do really hear the voice of the candidates.  It comes across strongly and we hope after reading, people will agree.  Highly recommended.

Stevens will be hosting the final candidate debate later today between 5:00 and 7:00 at Burchard Hall, Room 118 off 6th Street and River Terrace.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Taxes are going DOWN!"


In an exclusive interview with vast implications in the final days leading into the Hoboken mayoral election, Judy Tripodi, the state fiscal monitor flatly declared, "Taxes are going down."

Reluctant to speak on the record, Ms. Tripodi at first requested Mile Square View speak to the public information officer.  As a request was made for the extension, she began to express some misgivings about the disinformation coming from "blogs" and requested we "tell the truth."

Indicating that the much awaited budget will in all likelihood be coming after required certifications and appropriate legal counsel review at some time in November, the fiscal monitor guaranteed this budget would be the most transparent to the public.  "As soon as the (Hoboken) counsel clears it, every line item is spelled out, every salary will be available."

In addition, Ms. Tripodi emphasized she is in fact representing the vast interests of Hoboken residents and taxpayers adding, "This will be the most transparent budget cycle they (Hoboken) have ever had."

Update 7:35 - In our earlier impromptu interview, Judy Tripodi, the state fiscal monitor made a number of points.  She emphasized both the budget process, the public's participatory role by statute, re: hearings and the ongoing confidential negotiations with the police and fire unions. She stated the public had a right to information and she was happy to work to provide it but that the information is not available to everyone at all times and a process was required to do the job properly.

Regarding the union negotiations, she wanted it to be understood it's confidential but progressing with both of the unions however neither the mayor, the City Council or the public could participate in the process and that included the tax group, (Hoboken Revolt) who she felt on their homepage were incorrect in asserting a request to have "input" in the confidential process.  While agreeing with her point, we told her of the concern of the public getting a great deal of disinformation from a number of bad sources and we wanted to play a part in dispelling the reckless charges which prompted the call.

"My allegiance is to the taxpayers only" she responded, while praising Nick Trisante, the Finance Director and her whole team who she stated with pride were working very hard to bring this all together.  Judy also remarked she was well aware of who was paying the salaries of her and her team, "We are working on behalf of the taxpayers of Hoboken" she emphasized.

A reference to potential revenue enhancement was mentioned but we don't know what is currently under consideration.  The big news was clearly the tax impact and the budget arriving in November.

Talking Ed Note:  In the end, Ms. Tripodi stated her strong desire to get Hoboken back on track and the efforts her team are currently working on to bring this to fruition.  Without detailing the usual suspects, she was unhappy with the disinformation campaign and hoped Mile Square View would get the true basic facts out.  (We'd like to thank Ms. Tripodi for trusting us to do so.)

Casual readers are aware of the scurrilous charges from the usual places: Hoboken 411, Lane Bajardi and their operatives.  We pointed out the poor behavior in the Mason campaign's own video: Stophidingthebudget, with Lane Bajardi in a previous column last week.

In an earlier press release today, the Mason campaign demanded the Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer present the budget and charged that she was preparing a 15% tax hike.  "At the current rate of spending Zimmer is on pace to spend more money than any previous mayor in city history," said Mason in her statement.

The complete Mason campaign statement follows.  We've spoken to her campaign earlier and asked for a statement.  Mile Square View will update accordingly.

Woop-Woop: Going down!

The death rattle is becoming audibly raspier and it's only a matter of time now. Can you hear it in the distance not far off? Hoboken's albatross and largest employer, The Hoboken University Medical Center, formerly St. Mary's Hospital put forth or rather spit out its "official" financial statement and along with it, some ominous tones coming out of City Hall.  The problem: we're actually not in position to guarantee existing financial problems for the hospital, let alone future ones.

Seems like only yesterday when we saw the splashy promotional piece in the Hudson Reporter for the hospital's new emergency wing and all the pretty pictures with it.  It looked impressive.  So much so, we thought it would be good to go visit and take some pictures.  But who visits an emergency room for fun?

Obviously there's one clear solution here.  Declare victory and announce the hospital is now free.  Who can argue with free?  Free is all the rage these days.  What's the problem in that? You just have to order the hospital to charge x for services and y for hospital beds and z for doctors and nurses.  We don't need two pay scales anyway.  In case you haven't noticed, there's been a lot of chatter about this over the last few months.  Well it didn't work for Nixon and his price controls (consult your history books kids) and it won't work now.

Okay, everyone line up there behind the '74 Delta 88 and the illegal aliens. (Yes they will be eligible, Obama knows, expects it and count on the ACLU to make sure their constitutionally personage "rights" are protected).  By the way, how's your Spanish?  Mine's not bad from high school and soccer in Central Park.  May be able to jump a couple of spots in line that way.  When Washington tells us to queue up, it'll only be a matter of where.  It just may not be here.

Welcome to Hobotopia.

City Hall press release/links follow.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sign of the Times: Beth Mason a lamp post affair

It's Monday and the "Sign of the Times" photo series brings us an odd combination: Beth Mason campaign signs at the NJ Transit 2nd Street Light Rail Station. The photo was provided by a reader, the Bank Robber who was no doubt inspired by the story "Legal Usage or Free Speech" triple Mason poster on Washington St.

Easily out of the reach of most mortal men (or a couple of Donnas) the poster has somehow crawled its way out of reach of most people. Does Beth now have dunking capable high school students performing these super acts of heroism on public property?

Thanks for keeping the kids employed Beth. You should withhold some pay though for them damaging your head.

Update: 2:45 - We have an unconfirmed report one of the two Mason signs has now disappeared from the lamp posts near the second street light rail station.  Please notify Hoboken411 so they can lambast the thief for this hideous crime and rally the Masonite base.  We are asking for the help of the community to return this Mason campaign sign to its rightful place on public property.

Photo courtesy: the Bank Robber, click photo to enlarge.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mason Campaign yanks attack videos

The Mason campaign has apparently pulled two of the three Stophidingthebudget videos posted on youtube.  Three videos posted just a couple of days ago were under the author moniker Stophidingthebudget.  All three featured the camera angles and quality footage from Councilwoman Beth Mason's cameraman shot in City Council chambers last Wednesday.  

Two of the videos yanked were related to the Hoboken flooding issue.  One contained footage with verbal overlays criticizing the Acting Mayor for not executing grant applications with the North Hudson Sewerage Authority.  The other cited waste for a $100,000 proposal for EmNet technology, not yet approved or implemented.

Earlier today Mile Square View broke the story with the complete details including a late breaking note that a meeting will be taking place tomorrow on the EmNet LLC proposal.  Ironically, while walking on Washington St. our story came up when stopping by an outdoor table outside Beth Mason's headquarters in a chance introduction with Inez Garcia-Keim.  

Did someone on the Mason campaign read the story and decide it best to cover their tracks now and pull the videos?  Was there concern the meeting tomorrow would make the videos backfire?  At this time, it's impossible to say.  But we guarantee Da Horsey will certainly try to find out.

The third video also shot from Beth Mason's cameraman in City Council Chambers is still viewable.  We noted in an earlier piece Friday the video ends before Land Bajardi completed his remarks calling the Acting Mayor "a sham."

For those interested in the portion of the City Council meeting referenced in the Stophidingthebudget video, it begins a couple minutes in.  It stars the Hoboken citizen of the hour, yes him again Lane Bajardi.  Has something gone awry with the orchestration?
Paging Paul Swibinski, please report to Da Horsey courtesy phone.


Update: 11:25 pm - We solved at least part of the mystery.  In the Stophidingthebudget Mason attack videos, the two yanked contradict a unanimous vote in the City Council for a resolution to have the North Hudson Sewerage Authority review the latest proposal on the EmNet technology dated August 17th, 2009.  The discussion in the City Council in the video above begins at the 15:25 mark (you can slide it ahead) between Councilwoman Beth Mason and Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer.  A few minutes later, the Council's resolution asking the NHSA to review the $100,000 EmNet proposal passes with all Council members voting yes, including Beth Mason.

The youtube Stophidingthebudget video titled, "Zimmer wastes $100,000" included a note stating, "What's next, a nice fat donation from Em Net (sic) to the Dawn Zimmer campaign?  Right out of the Dave Roberts for mayor playbook.  Please stop wasting taxpayer money, Dawn."

Can you push attack ads against something you just voted for two days earlier?  Well why not; this is Hoboken.  There's an election coming up, haven't you heard?

Related: City Council October 21, 2009 meeting.

Millions for Hoboken Flooding Questioned


Minutes before the start of the City Council meeting Wednesday night, Kim Glatt's campaign released a press release charging Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer with failure to obtain a $4 million grant toward a second pump for Hoboken's flooding problems.  During the City Council meeting, Councilwoman Theresa Castellano made reference to the same issue, inquiring on the issue of an available grant.  Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer stated the opportunity was brought to her attention late and it would still be pursued.  Then Councilman Peter Cunningham added another opportunity to do so would be available in the spring.  This exchange can be viewed in its entirety in Mason campaign footage captured by her cameraman.  We've posted the youtube video in its entirety.  It's also available through the normal City recording online of the Council meetings.   (Talking Ed Note: now posted below the yanked Mason campaign video as well).

In a Friday night interview with Mile Square View, Kathy Stack, campaign manger for the Kim Glatt campaign and one of nine sitting members on the North Hudson Sewerage Authority adamantly stated the opportunity to obtain the grant did not arise days before the deadline.  She outlined a series of events taking place over the summer where the NHSA met with Dawn Zimmer and the information was presented to jointly work toward obtaining the grants.  The $4 million in available grants would come from a combination of federal and state government sources between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP).

"The three additional pumps were agreed by (the) Zimmer, Cammarano and Roberts (administrations) to move ahead in stages.  Hoboken would need to bond or appropriate $2 million for the cost of the second pump.  Dawn Zimmer appeared before the Board...  We would have done it together. We just needed a letter of support and proof of a $2 million bond issue," Stack said Friday night.

City Hall followed up after the City Council meeting with a press release where Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer indicated a desire to have EmNet technology evaluated before consideration for a second pump, "Before I commit to an initial $2 million for a project that could ultimately cost the Hoboken taxpayers as much as $20 to $30 million, I want to make sure that the expenditure is really needed." 

Kathy Stack differed with both the City Hall statement and the viability of the EmNet technology, "I sit on the NHSA Board and I can tell you we have had independent engineers that have looked at the EmNet technology.  It will not work period."  Adding that the recommendation for the plan for Hoboken to get four pumps came after the evaluation of the EmNet technology, Stack said, "She's (Dawn Zimmer) skirting the facts trying to say other technology will fix the problem that she knows doesn't work."

Speaking for the Zimmer campaign spokesman Sam Briggs responded, "We simply disagree.  The state-of-the-art wireless monitoring technology developed by experts at the University of Notre Dame can provide the data we need to see if we can implement a better and more cost-effective solution to our flooding problem saving Hoboken taxpayers millions of dollars."

The Jersey Journal will be posting a video of its Hoboken debate last week.  The flooding issue was raised and the issue of the grants for a second pump came up at some point among the candidates.  Frank "Pupie" Raia did not raise the issue although he also is a sitting member of the NHSA board.  Kathy Stack stated Kim Glatt asked Frank Raia why he had not brought up the issue.  She further questioned if there was a quid pro quo on the 75 parking meters resolution brought before the City Council last Wednesday.  A resolution at the City Council meeting on the meters was later removed although consideration for a vote and approval was sought.  "There's something fishy about this," she added.

Agustin Torres writing for the Political Insider column at the Jersey Journal references an exchange witnessed after the debate between the candidates: "Movies, Parking, Floods" at the Jersey Journal debate.

Related: North Hudson Sewerage Authority announcement on the first pump for Hoboken. 
Hudson Reporter recap on the City Council meeting and parking by the new movie theater.

Talking Ed Note: As we were going to publish, we've learned a meeting is scheduled to take place on EmNet LLC's August 17th, 2009 proposal on Monday.  We will update developments as quickly as possible among all the parties including releasing contents of the EmNet proposal where legally permissible.

Both the Kim Glatt and Dawn Zimmer press release follow at the jump.

Free Speech, part deux

In reply to the Friday editorial, Horse Sense: "Lane Bajardi - You're a sham," we posed a query to the Mason Campaign on the use of the Councilwoman's camera in the City Council Chamber.  Thom Ammirato, Communications Consultant in a statement indicated, "Sometimes the First Amendment has to supersede people's comfort.   I am sure as long as the cameras were not an intrusion -- no one would have a problem."

We contacted the Zimmer Campaign as the Acting Mayor was the recipient of the commercial camerawork and invited comment and they declined.  No other campaign was queried but if they offer a statement, we'll update.

Talking Ed Note: We remain steadfast in our stated concern on the public interest with filming in City Council chambers for strictly commercial purposes in a political campaign.  If the feed provided by the City of Hoboken was used, it would be no issue, as every person and/or campaign has equal access.

We thank the Beth Mason campaign for offering its perspective in the exchange.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Legal usage or Free Speech?

There's more controversy on the use of public property since our Friday editorial.  This time it's Beth Mason's campaign once again garnering the spotlight.  Apparently, a Hoboken resident unsympathetic to the Councilwoman's campaign had a problem with the use of a lamp post being used to prop up the triple Mason sign.

Is it legal to use a lamp post to hold up campaign signs? We're guessing no, but of course we're not getting paid by any campaign to support such an endeavor.  We took this picture on Thursday not long after our man in the street interview with Frank "Pupie" Raia.  The outdoor campaign workers sitting outside (rear left photo) had carried out the sign and placed it against the lamp post, apparently for better viewing on Washington St.  And no it wasn't being put there "temporarily" for loading anywhere as that less than credible blog claimed.  (But you knew that already didn't you?)

Photo: Washington St. outside Councilwoman Beth Mason's campaign office.  A pedestrian looks askance at the triple Mason propped against a lamp post for viewing. Click photo to enlarge.  All rights reserved.  (Yes that means you Perry/H411.)

City Council Meeting - Reader Revulsion

Last week's City Council meeting, the last chance for candidates to make a show of their candidacy in that forum before the November election hasn't escaped the attention or the revulsion of our readers.  One email submittal included their feelings on some behavior with the illustration below:  

Disclaimer: Mile Square View makes no representations on the application, usage, effectiveness of the above pictured product.  Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or a total douche bag is purely coincidental.  Void where prohibited.  Da Horsey makes no claim, accepts no warranty implied or otherwise in regards to the effectiveness of said product and its misapplication now or in any future City Council meeting.  Use only as directed.  Do not use or apply while operating a motor vehicle, heavy equipment or City of Hoboken business.

Inserted douchebaggery is for display purposes only. For recreational use only.  No user-serviceable parts inside.  One size fits all.  Jolly Roger, Monty Python and the Holy Grail not included.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Horse Sense: Lane Bajardi - You're a sham!

There's a line between private citizens and elected officials and one worth considering any time the former comes into the public eye.  It's always best to side with caution and respect the rights of private citizens to remain outside the spotlight given to elected officials.  It's our policy to do so here but we are going to make an exception.  Lane Bajardi, welcome to your own special club.

Hoboken411 once again showing a no holds barred approach to supporting its advertisers, in this case on behalf of the Mason Campaign has posted both comments and video right out of the Swibinski playbook.  We're calling foul for several reasons.

First in the video, it's clear the camera angle used is in fact Councilwoman's Beth Mason's camera and her paid cameraman.  Who obtained the tape and edited it for this political purpose?  We don't know but we're going to strongly suggest it's been forwarded on the authority of Councilwoman Mason.  Now Councilwoman Mason is being permitted the right to film in the City Council Chambers based on the public interest, but is it in the public interest to permit filming on City property for personal political gain?  Are we now allowing candidates to film on city property and in the City Council Chambers for use in their political campaigns?  If so, what are the rules of conduct for such and are other candidates allowed to set up shop and have their own cameras operate for their political benefit as well?  Why should one candidate be allowed to film for their political advantage on city property?  Surely, Kim Glatt, Frank Raia, and Nathan Brinkman would like to have cameras set up in the City Council chambers for later edited application to aid their political campaigns too.  Is Councilwoman Mason offering this tape to all the candidates?   Mr. Swibinski, please provide us a copy?  We promise to distribute it to all the candidates.

Second, Lane has been arguing for transparency but there's quite a bit of smoke swirling around his family on the work done on behalf of the Beth Mason campaign.  Other than family time spent on Hoboken411, we'd like an answer on the question whether the Bajardi clan is on the Mason campaign payroll and what exact forms of compensation are involved?  We're not talking about any promise of future employment in a potential Mason Administration, but actual and exact monetary compensation. If the Mason campaign is making political "commercials" on city property with you as the star, public's right to know and all.

Third, it's become fairly obvious that Lane Bajardi is writing the political commentary on Hoboken411 for Perry Klaussen.  Read the short bullet points with the video.  It's almost a word for word recitation of Lane Bajardi's words in the City Council Chambers.  People have been pointing out this obvious odd circumstance for quite a while now.  Was Lane Bajardi also responsible for the Cammarano hit piece last spring on unpaid child support for a previously unknown child?  In the spirit of transparency Lane, we'd like an answer.

Fourth, of the questionable commenters on Lane Bajardi's diatribes on Hoboken411, how many of them are a Bajardi family effort?  Most on the ever shortening politically censored threads look like the handiwork of the same persons?  In the spirit of transparency, we'd like to get this on the record too.

Now as to raising the questions on the budget, we have no qualms on the matter.  It's absolutely fair to ask questions and make requests as a citizen for more information and question the process as well.  At the same time, everyone is aware the fiscal monitor Judy Tripodi is charged with the task and the acting mayor has input but not overall control in guiding the budget decisions still underway. Can we stop pretending that this reality doesn't exist?

Mr. Bajardi, you are now far outside the bounds of decorum and acting as the loyal opposition.  You have become completely tactless, obnoxious, overbearing and rude in your personal attacks on the Acting Mayor in the City Council and it's absolutely disgraceful.  Have you no shame?

We note the video ends before you finally departed from the microphone where you personally attacked the Acting Mayor calling her "a sham."  When you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, how is it possible you can not recognize your own face?

Talking Ed Note: the above video is an unedited copy from the original Mason for Mayor campaign posted under "Stop Hiding the Budget" on youtube.  This is the only copy we know of as the original was removed in its entirety.

Sign of the Times: Pupie on the town

Yesterday we were on Washington trotting around in the Indian summer conditions late in the day when who came by but none other than Frank "Pupie" Raia.  The candidate was heading south toward Pupie HQ and we stopped him and asked to take a picture.  The man's personality is engaging to say the least.  Our earlier take on Frank was his surprising strong performance at the POG debate where he spoke passionately about Hoboken and his vision for the town.

Frank was extremely gracious in taking time not only for the photo but also for an impromptu Q&A.  Most residents of Hoboken think we're just a beaten down war horse escaped from a barn, but Frank perhaps recognized our pedigree or maybe he just thinks a horse can vote.  The picture doesn't portray our meeting accurately.  Yes, some passersby found it unusual to see a horse taking pictures and stared at Da Horsey but Frank was really the star.  More than once residents came over to say hello and he would stop for a few words before returning to answer questions.  And he was willing to do all of it on the record.

We covered several issues in our on the street interview and he had a strong perspective on all of it.  On how he could apply some innovative ideas to help residents, he cited one twofer example: building senior housing on a parking lot by Church Towers and freeing up apartments there for more Hoboken civil servants.  Feasible?  Not sure, but it's one we liked among several he mentioned.  

On how to address the budget and it's 80% built in employee cost,  Frank went into several innovative approaches and detailed ways to save money.  Questioned on how much savings these ideas could achieve, and if he could do a spreadsheet to help us understand it, he didn't say he would be willing to go that far for a horse but added he's willing to do so on behalf of Hoboken.  (He was more than willing to discuss the aspects in enough detail to make our head spin.)

His time on the Board of Education also came up and he defended the teacher's contract by saying arbitration wouldn't have cost the city less but most likely more.  Since we weren't up on the details of that contract, we mentioned the hard hitting movie, The Cartel and how New Jersey taxpayers are getting creamed every which way.  He replied by stating he had acted to introduce ways to bring in more students to reduce the cost per pupil down.  Da Horsey begged off after that since we just don't usually carry a calculator on the everyday saddle.

Last, Frank spoke about City Hall and the ineffectiveness of the town's officials.  He said he had helped Dawn Zimmer when she first ran against Councilman Chris Campos and now she said she didn't want to accept help from developers.  He framed it along the lines of "What am I chopped liver?" but not in those words.  He added that her support for him running as Freeholder came late and he didn't think the lateness of the endorsement was very useful.  On the Cammarano debacle and the dividing impact on the town he said, he hadn't received one phone call from City Hall.  Speaking on the question of how to unify the town afterwards he added, "Dawn could have invited me to be Deputy Mayor."  Although we didn't think that was constitutionally available, the idea of Frank's contributing to aid the town's budget problems appears worthy.  Da Horsey encouraged him to stay involved no matter the outcome on election day.

We really can't argue with much of Frank's many ideas.  We may be America's most beloved horse, but in the end, we're still a horse.  

Health Fair Rescheduled, +1

The Health, Fitness and Nutrition Fair scheduled for October 25th is now being held on Sunday, November 1st, from 2:00 - 5:00.  With the new Clearview Cinemas opening and family events for their launch coinciding, it's thought best to have both dates available.

The event is still being held at the Multi-Service Center, 124 Grand Street.  There will be a raffle bike give-away as well.

Another organization will be represented as well.  Hopes Community Action Partnership (HOPES) will have a table providing information on education, professional training and other community assistance.  Click on the link to learn more.

Seasonal flu shots will be made available to HHA residents along with a number of activities: biking, bike tips, karate, and more.  Sponsorship for bike giveaways is again a high priority on the list for children.  If you would like to support the event or make a bike donation please contact Jake Stuiver at

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Guidos Americanas

We have the antidote after yet another spellbinding and drawn out City Council meeting.  There's been some developments worth noting but we're holding off.  How much foreboding news can a Hoboken resident take?  So we bring you now some comic relief.  It's temporary, comes with no cost and will not cost you any more tomorrow for the laughs incurred today.

If this doesn't give you a laugh, we owe you a refund.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Protesting America's Fallen

Hoboken's front and center again; this time Fred Phelps and his cult have decided Hoboken is the best place to deliver their message of hatred against our fellow Americans.   First, for those of you who have not heard of the guy, his self-proclaimed "Christian" cult has taken it upon themselves to seek out America's fallen soldiers and protest at their funerals calling the deaths the wrath of God for America's tolerance of homosexuality.  He's made many similar protests at soldier's funerals across the country with signs saying, "Thank God for dead soldiers" and "Thank God for 9-11."

The Hudson Reporter to its credit got the heart of this story correct yesterday and is now reporting on a peaceful counter protest in Jersey City.  Can Hoboken stand by with indifference now and feel ignoring this cult is the best antidote?

If you want a synopsis of the guy's history, here's a story here. The scheduled times of the Fred Phelps family, (most of the church members are apparently related to him) are: Hoboken City Hall, at 4:45 next Tuesday, October 27th, ostensibly to "raise awareness" about the NJ corruption arrests earlier this year.  This is to be followed by a protest outside of the United Synagogue of Hoboken at 7:00 pm.  They call this the "Just Say No to Goyum/Hebrew Criminal Enterprises Tour."  What a witty guy this Fred Phelps.

Jersey City already is forming their own peaceful counter protests with the idea of dwarfing and drowning out Fred Phelps' message of hate.  We think Hoboken residents who are available should consider the same and make signs of tolerance and carry American flags to counter Phelp's hatred and stand up and be heard.  It should be peaceful but it should be numerous.  Well, what do you think?

Update: 6:55

Hoboken Now is reporting a Jersey City group has decided to ignore Fred Phelps and family altogether and cancelled their counter protest.  In addition a late afternoon story has the Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer also advising same, saying the group is "beneath contempt."

While we note the readers comments and email from folks all appear to agree with this approach, we have to wonder if the media will do the same and we doubt it.  What's the difference between "Pastor" Fred Phelps and say "Rev." Al Sharpton, other than the latter was able to achieve "rehabilitation" without ever apologizing for his earlier behavior.

Graphic courtesy of Grafix Avenger.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Highlanders are coming down!

Hudson County pols and their infamous county machine as we all have come to know and love are mobilizing for election day two weeks out on November 3rd. There's been varied speculation it has lost its power to do so with its ready and able foot soldiers indicted, convicted, plea bargaining and arrested by the dozens last summer.  There's one thing we know about a crime mob though, there's always ready and willing but not always as capable foot soldiers ready to take their place.  And even with the election just weeks away, we wonder if Hudson County voters will focus on the dark underbelly revealed in the dozens arrested last summer or the erstwhile efforts of Jon Corzine's money marshaling the automatons to the polls, corruption and sky high taxes be damned.

As the US Attorneys office continues its efforts, the fallen are toppling or plea bargaining as is the case, one after the other.  Even with the protestations of innocence, the body count is piling up with no end in sight.  Jersey City apparently is currently the deepest in the federal mire and its muck can be smelled well over here even with the recent heavy rainfall.

Hoboken thought to be skating in this short election season from external election "forces" appears not to be outside the purview after all and Kim Glatt is looking more and more the lucky recipient.  Brian Stack, the king of the castle on the hill overlooking Hoboken or at least his ex-wife, are solidly behind the judge. (Katia Stack is the campaign manager.)  We witnessed the support firsthand at the debate last week and the only question now is how that stacked army on the hill will be divided come election day between the Governor and the Hoboken mayoral race.  It's taken shape, and the Glatt and Stack efforts are well in the open now, albeit from the wife's side as recounted in the Jersey Journal political insider column.  The support was foreshadowed in our "Grist for the Mill" series.

After listening again to much of the former municipal judges answers at this forum and also the Hudson Reporter, there's a familiar odor oozing out not apparent on first reading as it were.  She's parroting much of the old Peter Camma-RAT-0 lines about the budget, as most recall, the duty to rubber stamp the Roberts' budget scams year after year and also pointing fingers at the City Council, excluding the birthers of course.  If you listen closely, Kim Glatt speaks in the most vague terms about development.  She talks about what the community desires but there's nothing behind it, no process or example of how the community voice would be measured.  She also has a fundraiser tonight at $300 a head over at Dino and Harry's.  At that price, do you think she's gathering the wishes of the average resident?  More likely, she's gathering all the money of local attorneys and realtors and that's the community with the largest voice.

Da Machine ain't dead.  It's just winded.  And it's back off the respirator with the Glatt/Stack/Russo alliance giving it the old college try and looking to make Peter Cammarano proud.

That didn't take long.

Photos from last week's mayoral debate.  The Glatt Army consisted mainly of "the Highlanders" coming down the hill from Union City.  Second photo right is Kim Glatt's sister.  We're pretty sure there must be at least two real Hoboken voters among the dozens of highlanders.

Talking Ed Note: The moderator at last week's debate, Bob Bowdon is getting some well deserved attention for his two year in the making documentary, The Cartel.  The movie is earning accolades for its revelations about the abuse of New Jersey taxpayers and its children by the education mob squandering both money and education in every way possible.  One could call it an education mob, but really The Cartel is perfectly apt.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Your honor, we rest our case

Kim Glatt the former municipal judge for mayor in Hoboken has updated her website and included some new videos. Both refer to corruption, “If you are part of the past,... you can't possibly be part of the solution” or paint others as part of "the problem."

Kim Glatt gets a hug from Councilman Mike Russo at the end of her kickoff.

Guess it all depends on how you define “past."

Your honor, submitted for your approval: Councilman Mike Russo had a campaign manager lead him to election victory in 2007. FYI, his name: Peter Cammarano.
We're also willing to guess this isn't the past Kim Glatt means either. This photo was part of a letter sent by Councilman Nino Giachhi urging support for Peter Cammarano last May. Is Nino part of the problem? Glatt's video only shows Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Councilwoman Beth Mason both pictured together with Peter Cammarano. As anyone with a cent of City Hall knowledge knows, neither Councilwoman could be called allies of Peter Cammarano.

Eat it Up!

Okay, political junkies, in case you haven't had enough of the candidates, here they are in an onsite debate at the Hudson Reporter. We are going to take a look and may also do a review on this one as well.

Click on the link or the title to go to their site for the video.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Instant Replay Replay

Those aficionados of a better Hoboken government are making haste in time for the weekend's viewing replay of the mayoral debate.  If you have a few minutes after watching, please take a closer look at the good work done on our behalf at People for Open Government.  Even better toss a few dollars or better still $25 for annual support.

While we're out doing what we have to do, it's good to know someone is watching the store.  Hit the link and don't make Da Horsey beg for a carrot. Here's their heads up:

Video broadcast should begin on Cablevision Ch78 at about 6:00 pm. The forum will be played in rotation with the last City Council and BOE meeting videos (BOE, Forum, CC, BOE, Forum, CC...etc).
Internet video should be available later today/tomorrow at: 
People for Open Government.

Update: POG's online video is up.  You can watch the whole debate, or any combination of candidate and topic.  Perfect.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Scoring the Debate

There's several ways to score a debate.  Politicians use their own calculus but we'll try to simplify it a bit.  First, debating has a traditional scoring system and you can score it purely on the points made and how opponents do similarly or fail to respond.  You can also score it on weight of argument, a less calculating method but combining the two is usually our favorite.  In the political world, there are other less mathematical values about likability, horse race impact and other ethereal areas easily spun for hours and hours on end wherever a reporter and a microphone is available.

Sometimes a one liner is the gold standard with its easy repetition garnering laughs over and over again.  Most often though, people don't do any of this type of calculus.  It's usually who they think sounded the most effective talking about their issues, or in a nutshell, who sounded more how they think or feel on the issues.  As that is often a dangerous slippery slope in the practical aspects of governing, it has the most appeal to candidates.  Political operatives will literally spend hours and hours training their candidates on how to convince the majority of the audience they in fact think and feel the same while the candidate commits to nothing and actually has said little of substance.

Two masters of this art became recent Presidents: Bill "feel your pain" Clinton and Barack Obama. In fact Obama ran a whole campaign that way taking the early 20th century 1917 Bolshevik campaign: "Peace, land, bread" and reducing it to just two words, "hope, change."  In doing so, the Obama campaign made Ronald Reagan's "Morning in America" re-election campaign look like a three hundred page novel in comparison.

Now that's not a criticism of either man but more a reflection of the overall tenor on debates and campaigns here in the US.  Of course there is the simple problem of what a debate is and yesterday we did not have a debate.  What we had was a group press conference.  Be that as it may, let's try to encapsulate some of the fun and merriment (as there was little) from where we sat in the audience.  We'll score the candidates based on individual performance with a summation on the impact on the race.  That's what you really want right?