Monday, March 1, 2010

Hudsonshark off the Mason payroll

With the smell of a Beth Mason paycheck in the Hudson or down in the lower depths of the sewer, Hudsonshark had been on hiatus since the election but has returned to take a few shots at MSV.

Hudsonshark was captured belly up rolling around like a lost catfish off Pier A.  Maybe Hudsonshark's gills got clogged as he seems to be suffering from some confusion thinking it's an election year.  He just kept saying over and over, "Beth pay me, not Paul.  I'll make you mayor."

Shark steak is now served.

Related: The Hudson Reporter has updated the Beth Mason series of accusations now with a PART 2.  And what do you know, the Maestro of her failed mayoral campaign in November, Paul Swibinski is back on the payroll issuing statements.  (They call him Phil but we know better.)

The Hudson Reporter must be really excited about these developments.  They've posted two stories on this in one day.  Hey, what are you trying to do over there, be a blog?  Way to go guys.

Update: A poster notes there really is a Phil Swibinski and he's on the Beth Mason payroll too.  Well add in Paul and what do you have: the full Swibinski.

Graphic: Courtesy of Grafix Avenger
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"Real Results" BoE Release

Here's the official press release from the Real Results slate:

MARKEVITCH TO LEAD SCHOOL BOARD SLATE PROMISING REAL RESULTS
Running under the banner Real Results, a new slate of candidates for the Hoboken school board filed its petitions Monday and launched its campaign for the April 20 election. The slate is led by long-time Hoboken activist Elizabeth Markevitch and includes Perry LinKathleen Tucker and John Forsman. Markevitch, Lin and Tucker are running for three-year terms and Forsman is running for a one-year term.   
Real Results promises quick and effective action to improve Hoboken's schools and get the system's bloated budget under control. Markevitch, Lin, Tucker and Forsman say Hoboken's traditionally low expectations for its schools must be dramatically raised, so each student has a chance to reach his or her full potential. At the same time, the Real Results team will tackle the school system's enormous amount of waste--money that never reaches a classroom but instead goes to employees with little or nothing to do, outrageous benefits that are far out of line with the real world and even a junket for a board member next month. At nearly $25,000, Hoboken spends the second-highest amount of money per student of any K-12 district in the state (behind Asbury Park), and almost twice the state average. 
Markevitch, Lin, Tucker and Forsman all would bring a wealth of business and management experience to a board that's now woefully short of real-world knowhow. Hiring executives, negotiating multi-million-dollar contracts, and supervising top management are what a school board does, and the current board has virtually no one with the skills for these crucial tasks.  


All four candidates supported the Kids First slate that last year won control of the board. But as the year wore on, Markevitch, Lin, Tucker and Forsman lost confidence in Kids First as some members lost interest in keeping their campaign promises. For example, Kids First missed countless opportunities to cut costs, they shut the public out of an important meeting in December in an apparent violation of the state Sunshine Law, they failed to move quickly against highly paid administrators who they knew were double-dipping and/or incompetent, and they teamed up with the board's minority faction to ram through the appointment of a new superintendent without giving the public any notice. 


Most important, the board has not focused on making any meaningful budget cuts for next year and is not planning any tax cut, despite the huge amount of fat in the school budget. Last year's tax levy--the amount of tax revenue raised from Hoboken property owners--was $36,764,796. The planned tax levy for this year: $36,761,743. That's right--the expected tax levy is only $3,053 less than last year's. Real Results promises to cut more than $3,000 out of a $60 million budget. 


With the election approaching, Markevitch, Lin, Tucker and Forsman feared that no reformers would decide to run this year. The Kids First slate is led by two incumbents who haven't stepped up and made the tough decisions that equal reform. So Real Results expects to be the only slate in the race intent on making real changes in the schools and paying real attention to the budget. Markevitch, Lin, Tucker and Forsman expect to have the reform field to themselves in the election while the Kids First slate and other candidates battle for supporters of the status quo and the way things have always been done. Voters deserve a choice and Real Results will give them that choice.  

THE CANDIDATES

Elizabeth Markevitch has lived in Hoboken for 20 years and has attended school board meetings since 1995. Her daughter attends Elysian Charter School and will go to Hoboken High in September. Liz comes from a family steeped in education--her mother is a retired teacher and her sister is a teacher. She's also a former director of the Boys and Girls Club of Hoboken. A graduate of Bucknell University, Liz is the founder and president of a firm that recruits staff to fill technical jobs and provides career guidance, and has 18 years of business-management experience. "My mission is matching the right people to the right position, something that the school board has often not been good at," she says. 


Perry Lin moved to Hoboken in 2004 and purchased his home here in 2005. He's a product of the Millburn public schools and graduated from Washington University in St. Louis. Perry serves as the Northeast regional manager of a publicly traded medical-device company and has 10 years of experience in sales and management jobs in health care and technology. "I so wanted Kids First to work out last year but they really disappointed me," he says. "It's unbelievable that after all their criticism of the budget a year ago, all they did was nip and tuck around the edges. They not only avoided the hard decisions, they avoided many of the easy ones. Their hearts may have been in the right place, but that wasn't good enough. This ticket will show much more backbone."  


Kathleen Tucker has been a Hoboken resident since 2004; she and her husband purchased their home here in 2007. She works as a designer for a marketing and media agency in New York, where she focuses on how customers interact with health care industry websites. Kathleen grew up in Chester and still regards her high school history teacher as an important role model. A graduate of the University of Scranton with a degree in international relations and German, she's long had a keen interest in how students learn and what they learn. "I got an excellent education in New Jersey public schools and that's an opportunity every child deserves," she says. "There's so much more we can do to make sure every child here gets that opportunity."  


John Forsman has called Hoboken home for five years. He and his wife became homeowners three years ago and plan to raise their family here. John belongs to St. Francis R.C. Church and the Hoboken Rotary Club, and will soon begin serving as club secretary. He's helped organize the Rotary's Spelling Bee for Hoboken fourth-graders and he's also been a Big Brother. A native of Monmouth County and a graduate of St. Joseph's University, John has worked in health care administration and now works for a major financial institution as a financial adviser and health care specialist. He aims to apply this background to the schools' ballooning medical costs. "Our insurance costs are jumping 16-22% in the new budget," he points out. "We're spending $6.6 million on insurance premiums for probably only 500 full-time employees. It's amazing. With some smart adjustments, we could cut that substantially and still provide virtually the same care."  


Real Results promises a full-blown campaign that will point out where the schools can do better, suggest innovative solutions, and challenge its opponents to defend their records and provide better answers. Markevitch, Lin, Tucker and Forsman encourage every Hoboken voter who wants real results to support this ticket.

Three slates and three blind mice

MSV is announcing there will be three full slates for the April BoE election.  Frank Raia recently out of the hospital is said ready to field another slate to avenge his loss last year and should be available to make a run himself. He suffered a gallbladder problem but it should not prevent him from taking another shot if he wishes.


Kids First is also coming to bat and they have a shocker on their ticket: there's a member of Hoboken Revolt joining the slate.

Last a rumored "Maureen First" ticket of mostly first time BoE election participants will field a full slate of candidates as well.  Last month, Maureen Sullivan loudly proclaimed her "resignation" from Kids First calling her former colleagues "the machine" and citing spending disagreements.  No one has been able to interview Maureen Sullivan to answer questions on any of her complaints.  MSV tried for nine days to no avail with private emails and public invitations.

We'll be back later to give the details on the slates and what this may mean for Hoboken.
The slates have an idea on who may be running where, but for the moment are blind.

Update:  There are three tickets and one independent running.  Note that one of the four seats is for one year and the other three are for full three year terms.

Kids First
Rose Marie Markle
Irene Korman Sobolov
Leon Gold
Jean Marie Mitchell - One Year

"Maureen First"*
Liz Markevitz
Kathleen Tucker
Perry Lin
John A Forsman - One Year

Team Raia

Frank Raia
Keila Colon
Patricia Waiters
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Independents
John Madigan

Ken Howitt - One year

* Slate is not identified by an official name.  Nathan Brinkman, mayoral candidate last November filed these petitions.


Update: The new slate is officially called "Real Results."
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Update 11:05 - We've received two emails concerning "Team Raia" and they may not be an official team.  One poster states Ken Howitt is independent.  Okay fair enough, and Ken has been moved into the Independent column.

MSV would like to apologize to Ken Howitt for the error.
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City prepares for St. Pat's invasion

City of Hoboken Announces St Patrick's Day Information Resources For Residents And Visitors

City of Hoboken, March 1, 2010- In anticipation of the tens of thousands of visitors expected to converge on Hoboken for the 23rd annual St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 6th, the City of Hoboken is taking steps to inform residents and visitors about what to expect.

A special page on the City's website was launched containing important information including a map of Port-O-John locations, advice for those traveling from out of town, and law enforcement-related information.

This year the City doubled maximum fines to $2,000 plus community service for certain violations including consumption of alcohol and urinating in public. To raise awareness of these new fines and the zero tolerance enforcement policy, the City created a Facebook page titled "I'd rather be down the shore than cleaning up Hoboken."

“We have taken the necessary safeguards, which you can review on the City’s website, to benefit the vast majority of celebrants who are planning to honor the traditions of St. Patrick’s Day and Irish culture," Mayor Zimmer said. “I hope you will join me next Saturday on Washington Street for the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.”

Please visit the City's St. P
atrick's Day information page (http://www.hobokennj.org/stpatricksday) and Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Id-rather-be-down-the-shore-than-cleaning-up-Hoboken/364467771056) for additional information.
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Beth Mason charge "Most Blatant Conflict" Ever

The Hudson Reporter picked up on Mile Square View's story Saturday and posted a story with vociferous complaints by Councilwoman Beth Mason on the Condon contract approved in the last City Council meeting.

Describing the "conflict" of Councilman Bhalla and Mr. Condon renting the same office, she's quoted, they "rent the same law office on River Street and share operating expenses totaling tens of thousands of dollars.  If Mr. Condon can't pay his share of those expenses, this directly affects Councilman Bhalla's personal finances."

She's also quoted describing the situation as "one of the most blatant conflicts of interest I have ever seen."

Councilwoman Mason also takes a shot at Peter Cunningham's wife, noting a relationship with Mr. Condon's wife in a real estate company where both reportedly work.  The Cunninghams were in Florida and were not available for comment due to the reported death of Mrs. Cunningham's mother.

Read the whole story in the Hudson Reporter.
Councilwoman Beth Mason - never seen a conflict so blatant


Talking Ed Note: This is an interesting development coming so soon after the expose of Hoboken411's most recent hatchet job.  Councilwoman Mason it appears has come to Perry Klaussen's aid but how does she know what operating expense costs are shared between office mates?


If Mr. Condon can't afford his share of the rent based on this contract, doesn't he have a problem?  Why does Councilwoman Mason translate that into an automatic conflict and a problem for Councilman Bhalla's "finances?"  No one has ever replaced a roommate?


For the record, MSV has not contacted Councilwoman Beth Mason for this story so these questions have not been asked.  She's welcome to do so at her convenience.  Several earlier attempts to communicate with the Councilwoman both via email and phone received no reply.
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