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