Sunday, January 31, 2010

Get Out...!

Anyone one doesn't have the proper genetics re: birther credentials in Hoboken has heard those popular words at one time or another, sometimes even from our elected leaders in the City Council.  Here's another in the classic series brought to you by the Wile E. Coyote, Eric Kurta.  His summary follows this 1993 video on a Board of Education outcome not pleasing to then Mayor Anthony Russo and the Birthers.

And yes, that is the now Councilman Mike Lenz adjourning the meeting after the vote.
Now who else can you spot of note in the video?

In November 1993, the Choice for Change reform majority on the Hoboken Board of Education voted to hire an individual from outside the district to become the new principal of the Demarest Middle School (I only remember that his last name was Diaz). Back then, most of the kids at Demarest were Latino and many had parents who spoke little or no English. Conferences between parents and the principal often had to be held with the school janitor translating (he was supposedly the only employee that could translate). Mr. Diaz came with great qualifications and was highly recommended as someone who had turned problem schools around. He was also Spanish-speaking, an added bonus given the school population.


Many locals took offense, however, at his hiring. Larry Sciancalepore was the favorite in-district candidate of the Hoboken born-and-raised crew led by the recently-elected mayor, Anthony Russo. Seconds after the Board voted to hire Diaz (00:26), Sciancalepore’s son let it all hang out, espousing the sentiment that was quite common then - and still is, to some extent - among Hoboken’s born-and-raised community.


“This is OUR town! Get out of our goddamn town!”


Diaz was hired, but Anthony Russo would gain control of the Board of Ed the following April and Diaz was let go. Sciancalepore took the position, but had difficulty performing and eventually stepped down after suffering a heart attack.
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Emerging Art

This clip is from a European show, a version of the "Got Talent" series popular in many countries now. This artist from the southern region of Ukraine took up artistic expression with the use of sand instead of a paintbrush. What became an original means of creation expanded into storytelling, and moving art as she moves from one scene to another.

In this clip, she tells the story of Nazi Germany's invasion and destruction of the lives of ordinary people in World War II. Civilian losses were estimated in the three million range not even a decade after Stalin's man made famine in Ukraine killed 7-10 million.

For this performance, Kseniya Simonova earned first prize of $70,000.

Related: Harvest of Sorrow, the definitive work by Robert Conquest on the Soviet man made famine to break resistance to his efforts to impose socialism on farmers.

Dynamo: Defending the Honour of Kiev - the story of a famous soccer club and its game against a hand picked Nazi team during occupation.  The book is a historical view on the severity the city suffered and the inspiration for the movie "Victory" starring Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine and Pele.
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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jersey City corruption noose tightening, nearing

Just across the way in Jersey City, things are steaming up and the pressure must be building with our neighbors under the corruption trial spotlight.  The noose is tightening without a doubt, in methodical fashion the Feds are squeezing the lemons and will be moving on Hoboken soon enough.


Here's our kitten, Leona Beldini who purred herself all the way to the Burlesque Hall of fame, inducted in 1995 as Hope Diamond:
Someone get Bill Clinton on the line to reminisce about a diamond called Hope.

Photo courtesy of the Hoboken Journal

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Beth Mason's challenge

Second Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason made a public call for financial documents from the Hoboken University Medical Center late this afternoon in a video production posted at Hoboken Now.  We're not sure which ones she's looking for but there's been an ongoing request.  Most recently MSV attended a meeting in late 2009 and the hospital indicated it would cost $3,000 for duplication but they would be made available.  It's unclear if it's related to this request.  One thing Da Horsey does know, it's not the mayor controlling the financial records of the hospital.

Talking Ed Note: Full disclosure MSV has a specific outstanding request for financial documentation from the Hospital Board and agreed on timing for its production.  We will be following up and make this information available to all interested parties including the Councilwoman.

Here's Councilwoman Mason's request in her video announcement:

Here are your starting lineups

Office of Public Information announced:


COUNCIL BUDGET WORKSHOP SET FOR SATURDAY, 9:30 AM

The Hoboken City Council will hold a day-long workshop on the proposed 2010 municipal budget on Saturday, January 30th beginning at 9:30 am in the Council Chamber in City Hall. The session will conclude at 5 pm.

The entire workshop will be streamed live at hobokennj.org and supporting documents can be downloaded from the site. Tomorrow morning a video of the workshop will be aired on Channel 78. The public is invited, but questions will not be taken during the meeting.

The schedule is as follows: 9:45am to 10:30am – Public Safety, 10:30 am to11:15 am – Environmental Services, 11:15 am to 12:30 pm – Health and Human Services, 1:30 pm to 2:15 pm – Community Development, 2:15pm to 3 pm - Transportation and Parking Utility,  3 pm to 4:30 pm – Finance/Administration/Corporation Council/Courts, 4:30 pm to 4:45 pm - Office of Emergency Management, and 4:45 pm to 5 pm Administration (continued). There will be a lunch break between 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm.

Each department director, along with Finance Director Nick Trasente, will lead their respective workshop.

Budget Workshop Dog & Pony Show

Tomorrow the Budget Workshop is going to be held at City Hall from 9:30 to 5:00.  The public is invited to listen but can not ask questions.  You are required to submit questions in advance of the meeting to three Council people.  Why?  We have no idea.  Why a Hoboken resident can't attend and submit questions onsite is sorta like having a dog & pony show with no pony.  And frankly it's pissing this pony off.

So go on submit your questions.  But if you forget one or two or something comes to mind and you happen to be sitting through this seven hour budget fest just know, you have the right to remain silent.  Oh, they'll be excuses about this and claims of how questions by the public can be voiced later but this is obviously not the most transparent approach for the public to interface with their local government.  There's no need for such buffering MSV can see.  You'd be better off splitting up the Budget Workshop over two days in order to accommodate the public than doing it this way IDHHO (In Da Horsey's Humble Opinion).

Now we have no doubts the various department heads are going to be thorough (and hopefully uniform) in presenting the various details of their respective budgets but for a town of our size, we all know it's the most concerned citizens who will show up for this and yet they are not being accommodated at all.

Update: Councilman Mike Lenz in a phone interview stated, "This is a first step.  We got what we could get and it's better than what we had before.  And we'll do more if it's needed.  I think it'll be a positive experience."

Talking Ed Note: The jolly green vegetable at The Hoboken Journal hopes to do a live blog but isn't sure it'll be possible if there's no live video stream.  Sources indicate that decision as the format of the workshop itself remains in the hands of the fiscal state monitor, Judy Tripodi.  MSV did contact Ms. Tripodi who is attending the Budget Workshop tomorrow but she is not in the office today.

Update: 5:45 - A City Hall source confirmed the live stream.
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Bookends upended at Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble is going out of business leaving Hoboken with only Symposia a used bookstore when it closes March 31st.  The Jersey Journal has the complete story.

Andrew Tavani has an excellent piece up now too over at Hoboken.patch.com.
On the right, we've added some noteworthy books, almost all are available in the kindle format for far less than the tree killing hardcopy versions.  Even if you don't have a kindle device, you can read a book on your pc, and there's a free kindle application available for the iPhone.  Amazon is rolling out an application so Mac users can read books on their platform although we're not sure when it's expected.  The cool thing about the digital downloads is you can get samples of books before you buy often the first chapter or two.  It's a compelling mechanism leading to a purchase, often in the $10 range or less.  "Left Illusions: An Intellectual Odyssey" by David Horowitz is available for under five dollars as an example versus thirteen bucks in paperback.  And you don't have to pay or wait for shipping.

Of course many people have heard about Apple's newest release: the iPad.  It's going to move more books via the digital download domain among other things.


The departure of Barnes & Noble is a loss for Hoboken but it's not as bad with the digital alternatives in place and more alternatives looming larger in the near future.
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

State of the Union: now more about me, myself, I

There's only one way to watch an Obama speech whether it's State of the Union, (sound off all 57 Islamic or American states now) or any other, with yet another 400 plus speeches surely lined up for this year.  As it's apparent he believes you and most Americans don't understand how to listen to his teachable moments, he's planning to give you more of the same with a few marginal colorations, suggesting a freeze on around 10% of the budget for a spell before declaring victory on the war on spending.  But not yet, maybe next year.

Now it took Da Horsey all of two weeks last year to recognize it's not really worth listening to anything Obama says, just watch what he does.  This is a guy spawned of The Chicago Way, off Route 66 by Blaggo-Farrakhan Drive after all.  What did you think you'd get with that blend and a little Rev. Wright, Billy the Bomber Ayers, and a heaping dose of Frank the pedophile tossed in?  So many suffered from a new tingle in the vicinity of a leg; apparently a lot of guys were getting in touch with their gay side and the one thing they have in common is they watch lots of MSDNC: all 500 of them at any given time.

Other than Obama's pastime of condescending to the American people, there's the magic etched in our memory of the Cambridge-White House Beer Garden and if that didn't clue you in sufficiently, the Supreme Court sitting quietly before him while being scolded on a hundred years of constitutional error will have to do.   But what really gets Obama wee weed up is how much love he can generate for himself.  Oh he'll say he's doing this or that for you the Middle Class, but in the end a narcissist always reverts back to form.  (By the way, anyone see the new Johnny "Silky Pony" Edwards sex tape yet?)  After all, this is a guy who toured the world putting America down just to be loved by foreigners who hate democracy, freedom and anything remotely challenging despotic rule.  Iranians have been actually taped in the streets protesting and chanting, "Obama, Obama are you with the regime or with us?"  Well what Obama really enjoys most, other than spending other people's money is to talk about himself.

So this calls for a drinking game.  And here are your drinking rules. Whenever:

Obama says "let me be clear" Do one shot
Obama says "change isn't easy" Do one shot
Obama says "make no mistake" Do one shot
Obama says "Let me be clear, change isn't easy, make no mistake." He's screwing with you to get you drunk, so do five shots
Obama says "jobs" Do one shot, two if you're unemployed
Obama says "health care" do not drink, you will not be given a replacement liver
Obama mentions Bo put beer in your dog's water bowl
Obama says he's "fighting for you" Do one shot, two if you believe him
Obama says voters voted for the Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown to protest George Bush, finish the whole bottle.  Blackout.  Repeat if you hear it again.
Obama says me, my, I, yell at your spouse, kids, the dog each time and they'll stay out of your hair for about a month thinking you're a stark raving lunatic.  (You can thank me later.)

If you missed the longest speech by Obama ever last night, well there's always repeats on C-SPAN.  They don't have much footage of health care reform to show so that'll have to do.

Oh yeah, and be sure to have sufficient booze on hand.

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HUMC - "We're not closing"


Last night's Hoboken University Medical Center's monthly board meeting opened 2010 with a State transition report for Gov. Christie all but present in the room, stating it would close even with a $7 million dollar injection.  That report was denied vociferously by CEO Spiros Hatiras and Assemblywoman Joan Quigley who handles external communications leading into last night's meeting.

CEO Hatiras provided more financial detail on the projections for 2010 and a year end surplus along with reassurances the red ink slowed last year would turn around with the hospital being in the black by year's end.

Claire Moses, the reporter for Hoboken's newest full time website in Hoboken, Hoboken.patch.com covered the story.  Her excellent summary of the meeting can be viewed here.

Related: Hoboken Revolt's Dave Kaplan offers another perspective with his report.
2010 HUMC Draft Budget

Be sure to read Hoboken.patch.com's exclusive story of the Tuesday afternoon meeting held by Mayor Zimmer and members of the City Council with the Hoboken business community on the St. Patrick's Day Parade.  The Parade claims to be a moneymaker for the town as stated by the Parade's Committe co-chairman Bill Noonan in the Hudson Reporter, but the town generates only $20,000 in parking revenue and unknown tax proceeds from the day's events falling clearly short of its six figure cost.

The Mayor stated at that meeting the city expected the business community to volunteer towards its cost and if this Parade fares as badly as last year or worse, it's going to be its last.


Where are Andriani's friends?


Seems like all you have to do these days to become a target is get suspended with pay for a couple of years and everyone is out to get you.  The wheels of justice move very slowly in New Jersey and this case most recently came up in the City Council when Mayor Zimmer was its President.  The frustration was evident by all but it seemed outside the scope of the City's ability to influence or hasten the outcome.  A lot of people in the Hoboken community are frustrated by the absurdity of being suspended with pay for two years.  In this circumstance, it's the State rules driving the process and it's clearly an uninspiring one.  More to come.

Lt. Andriani offers gun instruction

In the meantime, where are all Angelo's friends?  No one is stepping up here in Hoboken and Hooter's girls are being defamed at a rapid clip, pardon the pun. It's all very unfair and Da Horsey expects that blonde Hooters girls will not be subjected to these repeated assaults.

Okay, here's some more blasts from the past.  And we note, if the Facebook page is in fact for the same Angelo Andriani, he's a pretty lonely guy.  There's no friends there either.



Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Officer to be Swatted?


Lt. Andriani to be swatted?

City of Hoboken's Public Information Office announced today:


Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer Calls For Suspension
Without Pay of Hoboken Police Lieutenant

City of Hoboken, January 27, 2010 – Mayor Dawn Zimmer is calling for the suspension without pay of Lieutenant Angelo Andriani of the Hoboken Police Department pending a Hoboken Police Department Internal Affairs Bureau investigation resulting from an incident involving Lt. Andriani with the Tampa International Airport Police Department. The incident occurred on the morning of Monday, January 18th in which Lt. Andriani was involved in a “passenger causing disturbance” according to TSA Supervisor Taylor Johnson. 

 “Lt. Andriani must be suspended without pay pending the IA investigation,” Mayor Zimmer said. “This type of behavior can not and will not be tolerated and we are taking swift and decisive measures to remedy the actions of this individual.”

Lt. Andriani is currently suspended (with pay) by the City of Hoboken as the result of an alleged incident which occurred approximately two years ago. The incident at the Tampa International Airport is being investigated separately as a violation of administrative policies related to Lt. Andriani’s current suspension.

In light of the recent incident, Mayor Zimmer is also calling on all parties to expedite the process involving the outstanding investigation involving Lt. Andriani. The alleged incident involved the Hoboken SWAT team which was subsequently disbanded. Mayor Zimmer has been and continues to demand a resolution to the outstanding SWAT team investigation. The public has waited long enough for a resolution of this case.

Talking Ed Note:  Although the two incidents are not linked, one can certainly say this most recent one is lending itself to spillage from the first.  MSV is not sure about the requirements required to be satisfied in a suspension without pay in this more recent incident.  We'll be following it closely to see how it develops.

This calls for emergency video from the Wile E. Coyote:


Related: The Jersey Journal posts on the Tampa incident.
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HUMC - the turnaround?


The true test of the Hoboken University Medical Center lies directly ahead starting with the first Board meeting tonight at 7:00.  After getting $7 million as an outgoing present from ex-Gov. Corzine before Christmas, they are now challenged to show they can make this institution work.

Since our town avoided the dagger to the eye at least for now, being $62 million on the hook in bonds in 2007, (thanks again to the Old Guard: Dave Roberts, Peter Cammarano, Mike Russo, Theresa Castellano and fellow council people) the challenge remains if HUMC executes their $12 million in annualized reductions in a faltering, staggering economy will change the tide and stave off red ink.

If anyone is interested, the meeting is in Assumption Hall, in the rear of the first floor at the main entrance on Willow Street.

Stacks Pancake House: Launch Party


Stacks Pancake House & Cafe took a few hours last night to have a launch party for some select lucky guests thanking Hoboken for its warm welcome and sampling its menu for a group of family, friends, local business owners, journalists and bloggers among others. The pancakes and french toast were super, and the strawberry pancake version was absolutely divine and the blueberry didn't come far behind with a fruity consistency through and through.  (Owner Andrew Cohen pictured left holds a tray of the strawberry version with oh uhm, real maple syrup!)

Of the several dozen people on the invite list for the private party, Da Horsey was fortunate enough to sample their signature pancakes and also their Philly Cheese Steak (off the hook) but we avoided the sliders as we didn't think we'd make it out ever.  Comfort food?  This menu defines it every which direction and there's mercy if you are seeking it with lighter and healthy fare too: whole wheat options, salads, sandwiches, etc.

It doesn't end there.  Adding an around the clock eating alternative to Hoboken next month is a huge addition to the heart of the Mile Square City, and this place is already a smash hit on weekends.  On New Year's Day we noted a line was formed outside well into the middle of the afternoon and with good reason.  Great food at great prices with flexible hours is going to be a really big hit for a long time to come.

Here's the toast by a gracious owner, (of the three here pictured), Elliot Cohen, clearly thrilled with Hoboken's warm welcome and their initial big success.

“Our vision for Stacks is to become a staple household name in Hoboken,” said Cohen.  “We also want to provide our customers with a feel-good dining experience, a place where they can stop to get a great meal, socialize with family and friends and hopefully leave with a smile on their face – not to mention stuffed!”

The Cake Boss made a contribution with a terrific depiction of the restaurant and its signature dish. Could Stacks Pancake House have asked for better? No, it's perfect!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Are you ready to Rock? Maxwell's this Sunday!


Hoboken throws some of the best gatherings and this Sunday the town is throwing a big concert at Maxwell's: Hoboken for Haiti Relief.  A full day lineup splitting an afternoon and evening affair is all set and ready to light it up.  The nominal cost of $10 for individual and $20 for family means it's easily accessible and how can you beat a full afternoon and evening of live music?

The event is a group effort with WFMU, Maxwell's and The Guitar Bar with a family event running from 2:00 to 4:00 pm and a full late day/evening lineup beginning at 5:30 running to 11:00 pm.

Checks made out to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund are strongly urged with the suggested minimum donation of $10.

The early lineup includes:
Students from Be Vocal Music School
Garden Street Children's Choir
Puppetonia
Big Jeff & the Bouncy People
The Fuzzy Lemons

The evening lineup co-sponsored by radio station WFMU, Maxwell's and the Guitar Bar kicks off at 5:30 includes:
Glenn Mercer of The Feelies
Schocholautte
Smokey's Round-Up
Sputnik
Shrubs
Dakota Davenport & Dan McLoughlin
Abbe Rivers
Jennifer Lampert

...and more

Hoboken for Haiti will also offer raffles, a 50/50, silent bid auctions and more.
See you on Sunday at Maxwell's - 1039 Washington Street on Sunday!

For more information, please email Geri Fallo at hoboculturalaffairs@gmail.com

Photo: Glen Mercer of The Feelies

Judy Tripodi - Attending Budget Workshop Saturday

THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED


In response to MSV inquiries, Judy Tripodi announced she will be attending the Budget Workshop scheduled to begin at 9:00 am on Saturday at City Hall.


The Budget Workshop will have each of the town's departments make a presentation on their plans for the upcoming fiscal year.  Councilman Mike Lenz who heads the Finance Subcommittee is leading the process.


In addition, while on vacation last week, details of a police union agreement were detailed by Timothy Carroll at the Hudson Reporter.  Responding to the veracity of this, the fiscal state monitor for Hoboken emailed, "This will all play out and the truth will win out!"


Correction: The comment above by the fiscal state monitor relates to the open issues between Hoboken and the Fire Fire Fighters Association in the letter by the Local 1037.  


Update 3:30: Sources confirm the details of the Hudson Reporter's story on the agreement with the Police union.  Those numbers over the two years previous: increases of 3.9% retroactive and 2.3% this year and next over the four years.


Since this isn't official, it's unclear what the town has achieved on the other side of the ledger other than the change of the insurance carrier and unknown savings.  We'll be looking to confirm and all those details.

Apple Tablet

Let's take the edge off the breaking news for a moment and break a story of a different variety.  Tomorrow Apple will be unveiling their much rumored tablet and speculation has run rampant about it.  Well here's a shot of the little devil.  Or is it?

This little guy would be much easier to lug to a City Council meeting.  Hmmnn.


Related: Other than our lovely photo, Computerworld has the best guesstimate of features.  There's going to be something off the hook about this gizmo though.  Maybe it'll be how you interact with multiple hand gestures and the like but it's going to be pretty feature packed taking advantage of the 100,000 applications now available on the iPhone. And it will smash Amazon's Kindle and other simple e-readers.  It's what Apple does.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Fire Union fires back

As requested, MSV is printing in its entirety a letter just received from the Hoboken Uniformed Fire Fighters Association, Local 1078:

Ms. Tripodi is lying right through her teeth with that statement!!!!!  The fire dept is scheduled to meet within a couple of days and we were just advised that she is on vacation in Puerto Rico.  When seeking to see if she was back, no one could confirm that.  We attempted to meet with the city several times as the letter in the Reporter states and it has been the city who has cancelled.  The union was even willing to meet under difficult circumstances (death to union members immediate family)  a few weeks ago and she cancelled anyway.  FURTHERMORE, a couple of years ago, the city and its powers to be switched Prescription Plans for all city employees through a broker agreement with Brown and Brown.  That resulted in massive problems and employees paying full price for they're prescriptions and those which were on long term care pharmaceuticals had their health care jeopardized.  All this because the city NEVER sent a letter, memorandum or anything to notify the city employees the prescription plan they had is changing.  Today, I received in the mail notification from our NEW company, NOT THE CITY.  It seems the city again changed the plan with out any prior warning to its employees.    I called the new company and a representative had stated she has received NUMEROUS calls from individuals who were unaware of the change, which according to the contract must be equal to or better.  The representative stated many of the callers had many questions which were surprising to him/her because a general practice is most covered members are aware of changes to the health plans from  the respective towns.  The city of Hoboken would like to change health care plans (which the Fire Department is still open to) for all its employees going forward, yet, when the unions are apprehensible to do so, they wonder why.  Maybe this is a wake up call for the city.  Try to communicate better with the people who depend on such things as health care, long term care with prescriptions, etc etc. and perhaps there wouldn't be so many problems or costs associated by not advising the work force you are changing plans and creating panic and mounting questions.    

THIS WILL BE THE ONLY TIME THE FD LOCAL WILL MAKE A RESPONSE VIA A BLOG.  ANY FUTURE COMMENTS WILL BE ADDRESSED TO THE MEDIA VIA THE LOCAL PAPERS SO RESIDENTS WILL SEE HOW THIS CITY OPERATES BEHIND DOORS LEAVING ITS EMPLOYEES IN THE DARK.

Respectfully,
Vincent Depinto, President Local 1078
Andrew Frey, State Delegate Local 1078

Education Battle

There's been some fire on both sides of a contract issue but here's the complaint filed by Mr. Petrosino submitted by a reader.  We're not going to conclude anything on either side, since MSV is not sure on the status of the complaint or its possible conclusion.  So we consider this informational:

Hoboken Fire: Let's go to arbitration

Mile Square Exclusive

The Hudson Reporter published a letter making it official what had been circling about for a spell: Hoboken's Fire union has tossed its hat for arbitration stating in part:

Dear Hoboken residents:
Recently, the Hoboken Fire Department and its local bargaining union have attempted to negotiate a fair deal to benefit our members and also put forth a substantial savings for the city. In the last couple of attempts to meet and put forth an honest effort to secure such a deal, the city has canceled on us with no reason given. In fact, several “good faith” letters have been sent to the City of Hoboken in order to secure a date and time to no avail.



Judy Tripodi, the state fiscal monitor for Hoboken countered via email to MSV stating: "We had several dates planned, but the fire cancelled several times...No union was or is forced.  We never really started the negotiation off the ground.  I'd be willing to discuss a fair contract with them as I did the police."


MSV will update as this develops. 

And then there were two...


The Jersey Journal reports the search for a superintendent is now down to two candidates:

School board member James Farina, also the city clerk, said a search that started with 21 or 22 candidates has come down to Frank Romano of the Fort Lee school district and Gayle Griffin of the Newark school district. 


The finalists will participate in a Q&A with Hoboken citizens tomorrow at 7:00 pm in the auditorium at Hoboken High School at Ninth and Clinton Streets.


All residents of Hoboken are invited to interact with the two finalists for the position of Superintendent of the Hoboken Schools. Each candidate will spend approximately 45 minutes with the public, and after giving some background information will respond to questions. NJSBA Search Consultant, Susan McCusker, will facilitate the meeting.
Those in attendance will be able to share their impressions of the candidates with the board, which has the responsibility for making the final decision.


Handing over the loot to Midtown Authentic


Haiti contributions after the devastating earthquake in the troubled nation is a noteworthy cause and the Hoboken community is certainly coming together to provide aid.  One particular effort noted by Hoboken Patch is raising eyebrows.  Although the process may have been improved, the initial call to give money to Rory Chadwick of Midtown Authentic drew some strong concerns among readers at MSV.  We received more than one email questioning the very concept of handing over cash to a third party when direct aid via the efforts of many well known organizations was easily available via the internet and your mobile phone.  We noted such efforts by President Clinton and encouraged such as the need to get money into the pipeline was essential in saving lives.

With that, we're not sure how individuals track their taxable contributions giving cash to a third party.  We're going out on a limb that City Hall won't be encouraging such an unregulated enterprise.

By all means support local businesses making direct donations from their sales, but in terms of individual contributions, do what you can directly and indirectly where appropriate.

Godspeed to all our reader's efforts on behalf of Haiti.

Photo: Recent fundraiser at the MLK celebration All Saints on Washington Street.
Courtesy Claire Moses / Hoboken.Patch.com

Update: Some of the exchange with Rory Chadwick over at Patch.
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The green and white


Amid the gloom unbeknownst to those who retain memory far less than the fallen at the hands of Elway and Mile High Stadium; there is yet a clearing sky in yonder distance. In its touch of glory repeateth the downfall of the second half, know ye the beacons and truest holders of the green and white, the flag still flies across the swamp, looking toward the future of a new stadium rising.  There lies the dreams of Ryan future, the green and white still prevails through the mist.

Verily, I say peace be upon you, the Jets shall rise again!


Photos: Hoboken last night after the valiant Jets lost to the Indianapolis Colts.
All rights reserved.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Night at the Fights

This classic old style rabble rousing political ad for the old Hoboken machine is brought to you by: the Wile E. Coyote, Eric Kurta.   In this, episode 10, rise of the Evil Empire, Mayor Anthony Russo takes on a reform majority coalition, Choice for Change, on the Board of Education in 1994.  The Board of Education had moved to suspend Edwin Duroy, school superintendent for a variety of issues.  This did not sit well with Mayor Russo.

In the video Mayor Russo takes the microphone to target the reform members and predict their downfall in front of a vocal crowd.  Note the concern for the taxpayers as it's an impressive sleight of hand while the mayor was receiving kickbacks from the city auditor, one of multiple schemes suspected during his tenure as mayor.

Gee, don't you just miss the good old days?

Related: Details of the FBI indictment of Mayor Russo by the now Governor Chris Christie in 2003 for mail fraud and extortion.  Ironically one count was related to the same Board of Education: "soliciting and taking approximately $1500 from an attorney in 1998, in connection with the awarding of a Hoboken Board of Education contract for legal services."

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Property taxes: How N.J. citizens can take up the fight

The Citizen's Campaign, a group focused on practical steps New Jersey residents can take to impact their local community launched its first round of 10 ready for adoption ways to give citizens a grass roots way to counter rising property taxes.  Among them;

 joining or forming a regional emergency dispatch service; eliminating benefits for part-time elected officials and professionals; sharing computer administration between the municipality and school board and the performance of energy audits for government buildings.
Also included is a Salary Sunshine Online model law by which municipalities would place on their website the top five salaries for each department, their overtime costs and all labor contracts A report released by the State Commission on Investigation in late November documented wasteful personnel practices that exist in many municipalities. Salary Sunshine Online will give citizens the information they need to examine the practices in their own hometowns and to fight for changes if they are needed.
Hoboken has already actually begun one with the energy audits announcing some substantial savings well into six figures when fully implemented.  But there's clearly much more that can be done.  Here's the video discussing in detail the approach and methods for implementing the improvement(s).

For more on how this is being accomplished in other municipalities in New Jersey, please check out the Citizen's Campaign website.  Other local websites may wish to highlight it too.
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Judy Tripodi - Public Safety, medical costs and the future of Hoboken (pt. 5)

In this final segment of the audio interview MSV inquires on the January 30th Budget Workshop and any role Judy's team is playing in that upcoming event.  The next item is the earlier planned police personnel adjustments, and Judy explains why it never happened.

Concerns from the public about public safety being top heavy is the next topic.  The fiscal state monitor addresses this in detail and her desire to get management adjustments put into place via the existing civil service system.

The big ticket item of medical costs is then discussed and how the City is looking to implement some remedies against the most expensive old style health care plans and update it to the more current state model.

Last, Judy offers her overall assessment on the town's future while eliminating the "ghosts" of the past.

MSV wishes to thank Judy Tripodi for all the time discussing the questions of the day on the Hoboken budget.  She did not limit any questions or follow ups at all and in total the interview went for a full hour.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sign of the Times: Flying in Formation

Although the air traffic of helicopters over Hoboken had tailed off some of late, it's picked up again.  Here's today's formation going up and down the length of the town.

The UK announced yesterday a terrorist "severe" alert and a new book released by a former speechwriter in the Bush Administration is challenging the current administration on the policy of allowing terrorists to lawyer up and not answer questions.  The book details an insider's view on the enormous amounts of information obtained from captured terrorists and the numerous attacks halted.  On another front, the policy of giving the Islamic Nigerian terrorist full rights as an American citizen was questioned in a Washington hearing and not one of the administration people present including National Intelligence Chief Dennis Blair Head or Homeland Security could say who made that decision.  Attorney General Eric Holder has not been interviewed on the matter and has still not explained what rationale terrorists are being selectively given American citizenship rights for trial in the US.  Maybe he's busy building a case to prosecute the very people who are working to protect the US.

Scott Brown the newly elected Senator last Tuesday made this issue one of the centerpieces in his campaign along with his opposition to the government takeover plan of health care.

Where this is heading just can't be good.

Three helicopters fly over Hoboken Saturday morning.  All rights reserved.

Friday, January 22, 2010

HUMC CEO Hatiras "Baffled" with a $3MM Surplus!


Mark Maurer at the Jersey Journal is updating the HUMC story with more comments from the hospital CEO, Spiros Hatiras stating "Frankly, we're baffled."  The hospital administration then spent time today speaking to employees to respond directly to the suggestion in the report the hospital was closing.

The biggest news in the story is almost buried by the response to the State transition report.  Although it won't be official until Wednesday, the hospital's budget is stated to forecast a $3 million surplus!

Of course year end forecasts can't be readily believed when the red ink has piled up so high in recent years.  Let's hope the corner is turning in the hospital's favor.

Related: More background and quotes from Claire Moses at Hoboken Patch.com.
And more quotes and questions about the transition report by Timothy J. Carroll at the Hudson Reporter.

Photo: CEO Spiros Hatiras at a recent HUMC Board Meeting  All rights reserved.
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Mayor's Office: Statement on HUMC

Office of the Mayor announced:

Mayor Zimmer’s Response to Governor Christie’s Transition Team’s Memorandum on Health
                “I am in the process of reaching out to Governor Christie to personally express my Administration’s commitment to working with them to develop a Hudson County regional hospital plan,” Mayor Zimmer commented in response to news of the transition memo on health. 
“The hospital provides an essential service to our community, and my administration is fully committed to giving the austerity measures recently implemented, such as a 10% wage cut, an opportunity to succeed," Mayor Zimmer stated. “I am committed to working with the HUMC Administration, and the board of the hospital, including newly appointed commissioners, to improve financial oversight, implement an austerity budget, and coordinate with the State to work towards a regional county hospital plan.”
Soon after getting into office, Mayor Zimmer learned the hospital’s financial situation was considerably more challenging than previously disclosed.  “The $7 million award from the Health Care Stabilization Fund provides the City with time to evaluate all options and develop a long term plan,” Zimmer noted.  “The operation of the Hospital and the potential liability of the City remains a primary focus of my Administration while we evaluate the financial and operational issues inherited from prior years,” she added.

Update: Mayor Zimmer spoke with the new Gov's Administration today:
 Mayor Zimmer was very pleased with her conversation with new Governor Chris Christie’s Administration late this afternoon regarding Hoboken University Medical Center and other matters.  “I look forward to working with the Christie Administration on the challenges facing our City,” she said. 
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HUMC Heart Attack or Palpitation

The Jersey Journal gave Hoboken a heart attack or maybe the semblance of one with heart palpitations in a shocking report from Gov. Christie's transition subcommittee report on health.  The punch line that bowled this horse over, not a month after $7 million came in a grant from the state for the Hoboken University Medical Center is on page 5:

On December 22, 2009, the Corzine Administration announced $40 million in Health Care Stabilization awards to 9 hospitals. While many of the hospitals receiving aid met the above criteria, at least one hospital, Hoboken University Medical Center, will close in the next few months even given this grant funding. We view this as a misuse of limited state resources for health care stabilization. Additionally, NJDHSS allocated the entire stabilization pool instead of prudently holding back some funds to address additional fiscal crises that will arise.

Joan Quigly who is both a state Assemblywoman and a head of external communications at the hospital has denied it this morning, telling the Jersey Journal, 
""It is certainly not going to close," HUMC spokeswoman Joan Quigley said this morning. "They're wrong. They were undoubtedly unaware that we had our employees take 10 percent pay cuts."


Water, Da Horsey needs water.  

Thursday, January 21, 2010

OK let's eat!

The Cablevision feud with the Food Network and HGTVappears to be over.  The BankRobber who happens to be on the road got off a plane and fired over the news of the settlement.

Okay, time to eat and does that mean we get to see Giada again?  Rock'in good news.

Dealing with the cards dealt


Councilwoman Beth Mason in an off the cuff interview on break before the City Council's closed session last night spoke about the complex issues facing the city with the upcoming St. Patrick's Day Parade.  She described the problems as weekend generated with drunken activity starting early in the morning, unruly house parties and the Port Authority providing additional trains into Hoboken all exacerbating a difficult management problem.

"The Parade isn't the problem.  There's drinking going on in the morning before the Parade... The Port Authority doesn't help by scheduling more trains coming into Hoboken. The problem is the thousands of people (organizing) on Facebook.  And the house parties are a big problem."

Although we differed on the scale of the last point, the Councilwoman described the additional police and fire efforts to handle the house parties throughout the town and a hope this would tone down some of the excessive "mob behavior" that arises when alcohol is mixed with such large groups of people.  At another point she asked what ideas Da Horsey would suggest to try to get the situation under control.  

Offering that the problem begins with the lack of seriousness by the town and its government combined with the scale of ever increasing crowds, versus the numerous "house parties" Da Horsey noted there's just no way Hoboken's Police and Fire can manage the increasing scale before something very bad happens.

After sleeping on it, we posted our piece earlier today and noted we've yet to hear anyone in government at any level discuss arrests, jail or lockup.  We have to wonder if a few well placed batons or arrests would spread the word better than a summons.  That may sound harsh but is it a better alternative than if a resident(s) gets into a physical battle when drunken revelers are caught urinating on their home.  One such incident occurred just recently with a family member of Councilwoman Castellano leading to serious injuries.  What happens if you multiply those incidents on a wider scale or worse?

MSV would like to thank Councilwoman Mason for the impromptu interview.

Photo: Councilwoman Beth Mason at last night's City Council meeting.  All rights reserved.
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Judy Tripodi - "Surplus to almost double in 2010-11"

Judy Tripodi, fiscal state monitor speaks on a police organizational evaluation before the announcement of the police audit being approved by the State and is due later this month.  Forensic auditing is the next big topic reviewed and the concerns due to corruption is also part of it and Judy mentions the backend research efforts by Finance Director Nick Trasente.  There's some additional discussion about forensic accounting completed in the Parking Authority leading up to the corruption uncovered on that front.

In this segment, Judy also talks about the $4.4 million surplus in 2009 and it almost doubling for fiscal year 2010 beginning July 1.


Related: The Hudson Reporter posted a piece just earlier on raises retroactive two years for the Police union totaling over 10% for three years, and a 2.3% increase for the fourth year.  A change in medical providers offers savings but the figure is not mentioned.  The story by Timothy J. Carroll suggests the City Council and the Mayor are not happy about the deal on the table.  Apparently, this has been leaked from the police union as Judy Tripodi is on vacation and unavailable for comment.

In an earlier interview with Mile Square View, Judy Tripodi said funds were budgeted for the retroactive costs as public safety unions had operated without a new agreement over the last two years.

Earlier MSV had shared with some readers horse sense about arbitration.  It appears that may in fact be the case in regards to the fire unions.
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'bout last nite - City Council Meeting recap

If you missed the City Council meeting, you probably picked the best one in a long while.  It was short and lacked the intensity along with a big crowd to spur on the old Hoboken style showmanship we have come to expect.  Even when it's been fairly unrealistic, its entertainment value is better than most TV fare these days.  No, we are not proclaiming our love for any of it.

Our new colleague at Hoboken.patch.com, Claire Moses actually has an excellent summary of the events in one comprehensive story.  If we could have saved those hours, we might have gotten in some exercise last night.  Oh well check it out and also see Mark Mauer's detailed effort over at Hoboken Now.

Our take is the discussion by Nino Giacchi on St. Patrick's Day was most interesting, as in the trepidation in watching an approaching train wreck.  Everyone on the City Council received a copy of the  editorial, "St. Patrick's Coming Titanic Disaster" and nothing came back but the sound of crickets.  When you watch the anxiety of Nino Giacchi in the video here, it's obvious as to why.  No one really knows what's going to happen and it's clear everyone feels powerless should something bad occur.  (Note the references about planning changes for next year; where have we heard that before?)  Councilwoman Beth Mason chatted with MSV before closed session and expressed legitimate concerns and also asked for our suggestion(s).  (We'll post a piece on our discussion later.)  We do know Councilman Giacchi is working with Mayor Zimmer.  Whether it's effective or not remains to be seen.  Pray for bad weather.  Otherwise it looks like we're heading for some trouble, maybe big trouble.  And we should note, the heavy usage of the words "Zero Tolerance" never seems to go hand in hand with any discussion, past, present or future with the word "Arrest" and/or "Jail."

If you were a drunken amateur lout, would you be worried about going nuts in Hoboken?
Oh you are going to give me a ticket?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Good Ole Days

The Wile E. Coyote, Eric Kurta submitted this classic purview to Old Hoboken.  The funny part is how people talk about the good ole days in Hoboken.  Well watch this and tell me what was so great about it.  Without further adieu here's Mayor Russo, Councilman Amato and Councilman David Roberts in a 1993 City Council meeting.  Enjoy.

Horse Sense: It's dead Jim


Not much beats repeats of the original Star Trek.  The story lines were pretty original and offered some social commentary without beating you over the head with it like much of the heavy handed rabble coming out of Hollywood today.  Avatar is just the latest example but TV has been steadily providing the same lousy diet too.

One person called their Congressman, in this case it's Barney Frank who offered the bleak assessment on the damage wrought from yesterday's tsunami.  Looks like the breakdown is occurring on multiple fronts and the bravado about passing the government's total control and regulation of the health care industry yesterday is dead, for now anyway.  As most Americans actually are for real health care reform, it's frankly astonishing this farce made it this far but the power grab is what it certainly was and Scott Brown articulated consistent opposition to it riding a liberal Democratic state to a shocking victory.  Even with Obama's visit on Sunday, the tide was not halted and the freight train of the voters seeking real change came to the forefront.

The Raw Story has the details on the first hand account of the call to Barney Frank who apparently just decided to take the call.  It's definitely worth a read.  Reality striking has a funny ring to it.  We don't think we'll be hearing much about teabagging now.  The second Boston Tea Party just hit, in a big you know what way.  Funny how history repeats itself.

Related: Sen. Menendez discusses the loss of independent voters and the need to recapture the "change" mantra.  We note it's odd to proclaim yourself change agents when you have been running Congress since the end of 2006.  Hey, good luck with that!

More of the same at TPM.  Let the kvetching commence.
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Guest of the Stable: A Hoboken Mom


Here's a Hoboken mom's notes on last night's BOE meeting.   Claire Moses, our new colleague doing professional and original reporting on all things Hoboken also has a story up at Hoboken.patch.com

Three Hoboken High Students were presented Certificates by Superintendent Carter for their hard work in being awarded the Blaustein scholarship. The Bloustein Scholarships are awarded to students throughout New Jersey ranking top in their class.


The new Interim BA, Mr. Davis, presented some preliminary budget information for next year in anticipation of releasing the Draft Budget in a week or two. Mr. Davis indicated the new budget may included a 4% decrease with no increase in the tax levy. The Draft Budget will include an Executive Summary, detailing data with supporting documentation and a  ten year history. The Board will have two months to work on the budget and hold public workhsops.


Ms. Tremiditi gave a presentation on the recent State Test scores. Not all schools have made AYP (annual yearly progress), some made Safe Harbor (some improvement on AYP). Two schools are in SINI (school in need of improvement). Ms. Tremiditi noted that three Education Specialists have been hired to provide support and professional developemnt to the teaching staff in the areas of Langauge Arts, Math and Special Education and that this appears to be well reviced.


Both the Superintendent's agenda and the School Administrator's agenda passed, including the transfer or reassignment of about 60 or so employees,  previously misallocated administrative items etc. (as per the audit and Corrective Action Plan) and /or employees charged to state/federal grants.


The Board accepted the Ms. Cella's resignation (live item).


Student population was discussed.  Wallace = 788 students, Demarest= 71, HHS=530, Connors=372, Calabro=173, Brandt=446 PK-k(80 or so K students), 84=St Francis-rented space (pk).


Public Speakers included Patricia Waiters, who requested information on the Superintendent search believing that the public would not be told the names of the candidates until February 9th. Ms. Waiters indicated that as a former Mayoral candidate, she would keep a close eye on the process to discourage any political patronage.


The Board reiterated that the Open Public Forum for the Superintendent Search will be held on Tuesday, January 26th at 7pm at Hoboken High School and that public notification would be given as is standard practice.


The Board further explained the process used by the Board as determined by the New Jersey School Board Association. The process included the acceptance of 21 applications, which were checked to determine  stated criteria (education, years of experience, certification etc..). Interviews were held by the full Board of the remaining candidates. Second round interviews were held by the full Board to determine the remaining top two candidates. For reason of privacy and to protect the candidates that do not receive an offer of employment, no names of persective candidates are ever released until the top two candiates remain in any Superintendent search.


Other public speakers included Alumni of Hoboken High School wishing to work with the Board and Superintendent to establish a Hoboken High School Alumin Association for the benfit of the current HHS students. Mr. Carter enthusiatically accepted their offer and information was exchanged.


There were many new faces in attendance. Hopefully, they will continue to attend. 
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Hoboken411 vileness to resurface soon?

Who let the dogs out?  There was a rare public appearance by Hoboken411 at City Hall last night.  This is Perry Klaussen's first appearance since his threat to City Hall and its employees for his humiliation in being denied automatic distribution status on government updates.  Well that's too bad.  Hoboken411 didn't stay at the Hoboken Zoning Board for any of the actual business.  Just showed up taking pictures and then left.

As we had stated in an earlier piece, Hoboken411 would be attacking private citizens.  Not even minutes later, an attack piece appeared targeting Hoboken Revolt's Richard Pasquarelli with some empty, twisted attacks of the variety we've come to expect from the bowels of the vile.  It's seems the bitterness for broadcasting his king maker status over the course of the mayoral elections last year has popped a screw loose, or two.  Hoboken411 has now been wrong in backing Beth Mason in the spring election, Peter Cammarano, (his trampoline jumping pal) in the runoff and Beth Mason again in the special election.

Shouldn't there be a statute of limitations on being a three time loser in a year?  Well the bitterness of being a loser is clearly not over, not by a long shot.  Expect the vile, personal attacks on all things concerning the current mayor's administration to reach deeper into the gutter.

It's all Hoboken411 knows.  And it's apparently all he lives for now.  The only question left is if there is anyone commissioning the dirty work of the unleashed dog.  Hoboken411 is once again on the loose.  Expect the dirtiest, slimiest attacks on Hoboken citizens yet.
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City Council - Live Blogging with the Hoboken Journal

Tonight's City Council meeting kicks off at 7:00 and we'll be teaming up again with the jolly green giant for the live blog bringing onsite reporting, pictures, and maybe some live interviews.



     

Hoboken Zoning Board's 2010 Reorg


Hoboken's Zoning Board had its first meeting for 2010 last night and as the first order of business, the revamped membership went ahead and made their executive selections.

Former Hoboken City Councilman Tony Soares is now Chair replacing Dominic Lisa.
Jim Aibel who moved up to regular member in November is now Vice Chair replacing Murray Fusco.

In addition, tonight's City Council will look to fill the position vacated by Alex Corrado.  We reported on that at the turn of the year in a MSV exclusive.  Alternates Phil Cohen and Mike Evers will probably be under consideration to move up to regular member.

Pictured:  Tony Soares (l) and Jim Aibel.
Photo courtesy: Amy Sara Clark / Hoboken Now

Somewhere Soros, a DC Lobbyist and a Goldman exec are crying...

A reader just sent us this and well it's sure to become an all time classic.  False idols have a tendency to shatter when falling.

Anniversary of the Fall

No we're not going back to review the Berlin Wall's fall but quite another, as it's actually a year into the Obama administration and the shockwaves felt yesterday are still coming harder than a typical aftershock to a major earthquake following a tsunami.  If anyone had any doubts the American people could be rolled and fooled indefinitely, that answer came back with a resounding "No!"  Never again do we want to see attacks on ordinary Americans who take to the streets to petition their government.  Never again do we wish to see self-proclaimed "journalists" slur the American people with sexual innuendo and insults for using their Constitutional and might we add God given rights.  Most importantly, never again do we want to see in this 21st century where technology on public opinion is now always available at hand, the will of the American people ignored so brazenly with no regard for their concerns.

With that, let's take a video review of where we were a year ago.  And with that, excellent analysis by historian Victor Davis Hanson, "Why the growing backlash" and the good doctor, Charles Krauthammer on the fall.  It's also important to note, this isn't a state victory, a Republican victory, or a victory of ideology but the People's victory.

We're reminded of the saying by the famous 20th century writer G.K. Chesterton,
"When a man ceases to believe in God, he does not believe in nothing. He believes in everything."