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.