Monday, June 14, 2010

Michael Shaffer follows Cammarano: "I'm guilty" too

The Jersey Journal posted a story stating Michael Shaffer is pleading guilty today as noted in a press release from US Attorney Paul Fishman.

As part of an agreement Schaffer pled to one count of crimminal information, charging him with criminal extortion although he acted as a bag man for ex-mayor Peter Cammarano four times including once soon after Cammarano had taken the oath of office and been sworn-in as mayor of Hoboken.

Schaffer will be sentenced on September 15th.  Maximum penalty is 15 years and a $250,000 fine.

He's served as a commissioner on the North Hudson Sewage Authority and his name still appears on the website.

Talking Ed Note: A source told Da Horsey last week of a conversation concerning this matter.  After Peter Cammarano went down, it was expected Michael Schaffer would soon follow.  In this case, there was an expectation there was no other recourse but to take a hit and do some time.

The big question making its way around the Mile Square is what may have Cammarano given up to only get a sentence of about two years?  Da Horsey has some ideas but ain't talk'in.

Related: Hoboken Patch has a detailed story up too.

Photo: Courtesy the Jersey Journal

Which party do I crash?

Both Hoboken party organizations are holding their big reorganization meetings tonight.  Clearly we have one party much larger than the other but hey, what about drink specials?  And what to do if you didn't get an invite but still want to see the new make nice coalition building Ines Garcia Keim looking to upset Councilman Ravi Bhalla for the prestigious role of Chair?

One thing you can be sure, this reorg for both parties is akin to rounding up the children.  Are they all present and accounted for is the question when it begins?  Knowing Ravi's organizational skills, (he's been remarkably effective in working with the reform team in Hoboken for a good long stretch) so Ines better put out her best Beth Mason politician smile saying, "Hey, how about me for Vice Chair?"

As for the Republicans, Scott Siegel's new grassroots approach is about to topple the status quo with the Republicans of Hoboken taking strong control over the party mantle in the Mile Square City.  ROH President Diana Davis takes on Peter Morgan but this is not as exciting as the ROH looks to have built a solid winning advantage of almost two dozen supporters in the districts all over town.  Peter's colleague and fellow co-founder of the Hoboken Republicans, Nathan Brinkman was defeated earlier at the polls in a narrow 4-3 vote.

What does this mean? Well the Republicans are still the junior operation with their numbers a mere fraction of Democrats in Hoboken.  Ironically, their impact could be bigger than their local rivals on the County side.  Will the ROH push to end the go along to get along standard of patronage in Hudson County?  One can hope and Da Horsey hopes they act first on principle than accept scraps tossed from the table.

On the other side, the Hoboken Democrats are a minority voice saddled on one side with the powerful machine of State Senator and mayor of Union City, Brian Stack and the Los Angeles like sprawl of Jersey City on the other.  Then you have Mayor Richard Turner in Weehawken who word said was happy to have planted a flag in Hoboken via a former fiscal appointee.  True?  Da Horsey would rather not say because there's some nasty political operatives swimming on the bottom of our nearby waters.  Their lies are paid by the letter apparently and targets have been acquired in the Mile Square.  Which Hoboken checkbook do you think has kept one bottom feeder going on a full kushy stomach?

Have Hobokenites spotted this pale, soft bottom feeder?

Tonight: Republicans gather at Nine on Washington at 6:30 for their big pow wow and Room 84 will be hosting the Hoboken Democrats with the Jolly Green Giant, Kurt Gardiner of the Hoboken Journal holding court at the bar with a live blog at the more friendly drinking time of 8:00.

Kurt is bound to get some juicy stuff down in that basement.  

Beth Mason: I'm a victim

Below is a release from Councilwoman Beth Mason this morning:

Tony Soares Attacks Mason’s Daughters and Our Neighborhoods

Dear Friend,

Last week I wrote to you expressing my opposition to relocating the Hoboken Public Works Garage in any residential neighborhood.  Id like to thank you for taking the time to call, email, and even talk to me outside your front door to express your support for protecting our neighborhoods.  This week I plan to again be out at various times and locations so we can continue to discuss this important matter and work together to protect our neighborhoods.  

As you may be aware, the Chairman of the Hoboken Zoning Board (and former Councilman) Tony Soares recently stated that he is not opposed to placing the Public Works Garage in a residential neighborhood.   He believes the right to select the location belongs to the Mayor and her allies on the City Council, instead of the people of Hoboken.  Again it is widely believed that City Administration and Stevens Institute of Technology intend to place this garage on either the corner of 8th and Hudson Streets or on valuable waterfront property directly across from Frank Sinatra Park that would be better used to provide more open space for our residents.

When I stood up for our right to protect our neighborhoods, Chairman Soares and many of his political supporters personally attacked my two young daughters, my husband, and me, both under their real names and behind assumed screen names on the internet. It is completely unacceptable and unconscionable that Soares and his political allies are spreading lies and dragging my two young girls into the middle of an important community issue.  However, I know that the people of Hoboken will see this for what is truly is: a desperate attempt by those who continue to divide our city and put Hoboken on the wrong track to avoid a real discussion about the issues that matter most to our community.     

In the end Chairman Soares must chose whose interests he represents, the politicians and developers who support destroying the small town feel of our neighborhoods for political and monetary gain or the people of Hoboken who want to make our city a better place to live and raise a family.  My family always supported Tony Soares when he ran for public office because we believed that he was a man with integrity and character who put people first.  Sadly he has now reduced himself to launching personal attacks instead of standing up for the people of Hoboken.  

No matter how nasty the attacks or how outrageous the statements that Soares and his allies spread about my family and me, I will continue to be a fighter for all of us.  Please join me in not only protecting our neighborhoods, but putting an end to the politics of personal destruction that have plagued our City for far too long.  Together we will stand up for your family and mine and get Hoboken back on the right track. 

Councilwoman Beth Mason at last night's City Council meeting.

Talking Ed Note:  This is just beyond cynical.  Councilwoman Mason doesn't appear to have much concern for the "discourse" on Hoboken411.

Mr. Mason appeared posting several remarks over the weekend here on MSV and is welcome to do so as anyone.  Many of his posted points also appear in this release.  

The Showdown and the low down on the Municipal Garage

UPDATE: Monday - Last night some 3rd ward residents helped fill up Council Chambers on a Sunday evening.  Many of them have discovered things were not as they had thought.  About half of them were visibly backing the city contingency to protect Hoboken and possibly keep the Municipal Garage in its current location.  

What's the cost for this possibility?  Zero.  Was there a vote?  No.  

Petty local politics is firmly rooted in Hoboken.  Even with hundreds of thousands in interest costs in the balance as of June 23rd and millions at stake on July 1, the moment for placing the town first has not reached critical mass.  But it's coming and in short order.

A few people are actually enjoying this.  They see it as a victory not for Hoboken but in keeping the mayor from advancing this option for the Municipal Garage, at least on a Sunday leading into a July 1 default deadline.  Yes, that's not an error: DEFAULT on the Municipal Garage.

Although most residents who commented voiced their support for this no cost option for the city, no required sixth vote could be found.  It wasn't going to be.  Councilman Nino Giacchi goes on vacation and the meeting was held on Sunday to accommodate that timing.  He followed through as stated to Hoboken Patch not to support the bond with a vote last night.

Wednesday the Municipal Garage repurchase contingency will be repeated all over again with only the city defaulting/losing the chance to repurchase the Municipal Garage at stake.  The dance of the flowers will continue. At least while personal petty politics is viewed as more important than Hoboken.

Talking Ed Note: Councilman Nino Giacchi responding to MSV the sixth ward would have no representation on this critical issue as he goes on vacation differed.  He stated that although he'll be away, the sixth ward would be represented and the bond ordinance would pass.

The open question of course is when?  It's obvious there's people that don't want to let go of this opportunity for more grandstanding.  It was a fine display of bad government: complaining, whining, Monday morning quarterbacking, changing the subject, grandstanding and yet more complaining.  Rinse, repeat: more of it to come Wednesday.  

Will Hoboken get a vote Wednesday on this no cost option to maybe keep the Municipal Garage where is is now? 

Related: Hoboken resident Richard Tremitiedi led a chorus of residents mostly advocating the city protect its interests and approve the bond ordinance for the Municipal Garage.  
The Hoboken Journal posted a copy of his remarks.  

Mr. Tremitiedi is a retired Hoboken fire chief.

Hoboken has posted the news story on the evening's events.  It's a definitive review on the meeting and what's at stake.

June 13

The biggest vote in Hoboken since citizens took to the polls in the mayoral elections last November will take place tonight in the City Council at City Hall on a proposed bond ordinance for the Municipal Garage.  How large are the stakes?  How about the very property where the garage sits.

Not only is Capital One, the bank holding the loan on the property sitting in the driver's seat if the city fails to deliver on their expectation to establish the contingency of the bond, they can move to take the property outright July 1.  Instead of the city potentially protecting its right to buy back the property, and then retaining the Municipal Garage where it is, - it would lose everything!

Even worse, Capital One could then sell the property to anyone even for a $1 and the city would have to pay the loan difference of the two!  Is Da Horsey overstating the case?  See the point made in the legal opinion rendered by Corporation Counsel Michael Kates for yourself:

For the entire explanation from the Mayor's office and the Corporation Counsel:

Who would risk such a consequence?  Councilman Mike Russo has been the most vocal in opposition, saying any bonding could be done later.  He's reported in Hoboken Patch as continuing to tell residents this untenable financial theory.  Does he have any financial professional or other considerable legal opinion supporting his claim?  Or are we to take his word on the matter it won't cost the city hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars at a minimum?!  

Councilwoman Beth Mason in an article by Hoboken Patch says her understanding of the information is "insufficient" but she won't support the bond ordinance unless she knows the garage's new location.  RFPs for any potential location are not even completed yet, a process required by law.  Following through on that basis would constitute a prescription for handing over the garage to the bank.  Worse, it would mean a potential bill of millions to the city as the bank could sell the property for far less than the loan and hand the bill to the city.

The city would get nothing, nothing but a bill for millions, even over 10 million!

The $16 million bond is needed to keep the Municipal Garage in its current location if the developer is unable to close August 13th.