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:


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 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.

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
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.