Monday, September 20, 2010

City reclaims use of Municipal Garage, executes low cost bond saving $80,000 a month

City of Hoboken announces:


As of September 26, 2010, when the initial 60 day contract with Willow Avenue, LLC expires, the City of Hoboken will be vacating its municipal vehicles from 1714-16 Willow Avenue and relocating operations back to the Public Works Municipal Garage on Observer Highway.

The vehicles needed to be cleared out of the Observer Highway garage as a requirement to complete the planned sale of the property to S. Hekemian Group, but because the developer is in breach of contract and the sale has fallen through, the City has repurchased the garage from NW Financial using the low-interest bond that was previously approved by the City Council. Rather than continue to pay for the use of two locations simultaneously, the City will vacate all of its municipal vehicles from the current 1714-16 Willow Avenue location by September 26, 2010 and resume use of theObserver Highway garage. Under an agreement with the County, some municipal vehicles will temporarily remain under the viaduct.

Discussions are ongoing to pursue alternative shared services at the Observer Highway site.

Willow Avenue, LLC, Hoboken Unleashed -- which had an existing lease on the property -- and the City of Hoboken tried to reach an amicable, reasonable resolution to the legal dispute over the property, but were not able to do so. Today, Interim Corporation Counsel Mark Tabakin wrote to Hoboken Unleashed and Willow Avenue, LLC to inform them that the City will be vacating the property by September 26. Willow Avenue, LLC has agreed to waive the 30 day notice provision on the contract. In addition, Tabakin sent a letter to Judge Thomas Olivieri informing him that there is no longer a need for future court proceedings as the City is vacating the premises as Hoboken Unleashed had requested.

Through a series of “sale leaseback” transactions starting in 2005, a prior Administration borrowed approximately $16 million against the City’s interest in the municipal garage to cover operating expenses. In 2008, the City entered into a contract of sale with the developer, but made no plans for relocating to a new location.

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Hoboken is reclaiming use of the Municipal Garage after an agreement with Hoboken Unleashed at upper Willow St. was not reached.  Executing the new bond will result in substantial savings while the site is in use.

Talking Ed Note: MSV usually doesn't comment on city releases ahead of the readers but notes the new bond executed for ownership of the garage should now costs Hoboken $20,000 a month.  The monthly lease agreement previous was in the $100,000 a month ballpark.  MSV will verify the exact savings with the City.

Mike Lenz poses challenge for clean election

Press release from the Mike Lenz campaign:

And Challenges Opponents to Join Him in a Pledge to Run a Race That
Follows The Law, Respects The Voters, And Won’t Litter Our Neighborhoods With Trash.

Today ends a shameful chapter in Hoboken history with former Mayor Peter Cammarano III entering jail on charges of taking $25,000 in cash bribes in exchange for promises of Zoning variances during the 2009 Mayoral election. 

Although the cash bribes were the most obvious violation of the law by the Cammarano campaign, there were many illegal and unethical activities, from paying for absentee votes, failing to file campaign spending reports, intimidating voters at the polls, distributing unsigned flyers and other dirty tricks.  They even covered our beautiful town in campaign signs on public property and private property without the owner’s permission.

Residents of the 4th Ward deserve better.  We deserve a race run on the issues based on respect for the voters and the law.  To help make that happen, 4th Ward Councilman Mike Lenz is calling on his opponents, Tim Occhipinti and James Sanford, to join him in signing a clean campaign pledge which, if followed, would end the ‘tradition’ of dirty 4th ward elections.  Together we can make this year’s election a model for the city to follow.

NOTE: The Mike Lenz Campaign will have the pledge signed and posted on the website ( by the end of the day on September 20, 2010.

4th Ward Clean Campaign Pledge

In order to run an election that respects the voter and follows the law, I, ______________, pledge to run a Clean Campaign.  Specifically I pledge to:

1.   Promote transparency by making all required Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) submissions, making every effort to meet established deadlines and promptly posting all ELEC submissions on our own website.
2.       Stand behind my message by requiring “Paid For” information to appear on all flyers, videos, and phone messages, including telephone polls and surveys.  Voters deserve to know who is behind all claims or charges.   
3.       Respect others’ property and avoid litter by refusing to post campaign signs, banners, stickers or anything else on public or private property including utility poles, street signs, trees, fences, or parked cars without permission from the owner of the property.  Leaving flyers or materials at or under doors is free speech and allowed.
4.       Maintain accountability by requiring that each member of my team personally meet the same ELEC disclosure standard including submitting all missing ELEC filings from previous elections.  If ‘midnight fliers’, anonymous ‘push polls’, mailings from secret PAC’s or other unsigned materials are put out on my behalf, I will disown the material in public and on camera, and will disassociate my campaign from the distributor of such material if their identity becomes known.
5.       Pay my bills.  If a local business remains unpaid 90 days after the election, make the difference up from my own pocket.
6.       Refuse to pay “Street Money”.  I pledge to make NO cash payments to workers on Election Day for any reason.  All payments to Election Day Workers by my Campaign will be by check and will be fully recorded on ELEC reports.
7.       Avoid voter intimidation by properly training and supervising workers and/or volunteers, by ensuring they strictly obey the rule prohibiting electioneering within 100’ of the entrance to a polling place, and by limiting their number to no more than five (5) within 200’ of any polling location at any one time on Election Day.
8.       Given Hoboken’s history of absentee ballot abuse by those employing paid workers, eliminate the appearance and possibility of buying absentee votes by refusing to hire any able-bodied Election Day workers who are voting absentee, PERIOD.

In addition, we will also post this clean campaign pledge on our own websites once it is signed and dated by the Candidate, Campaign Manager and Campaign Treasurer.

___________________________________                   _________________                                 
                                Candidate                                                            Date                     

___________________________________                   _________________
                                Campaign Manger                                              Date

___________________________________                   _________________
                                Campaign Treasurer                                           Date

Talking Ed Note:  All press releases from Fourth Ward Candidates will be posted without comment and in their entirety unedited.

MSV invites Mike Lenz, Timothy Occhipinti and James Sanford to submit all official campaign communications to for publication.

State asks "best practices" for municipal aid

The State of New Jersey created a best practices checklist for municipalities to fill out and submit as part of annual requests for aid.  The new program scores an 88 point system with a deadline of October 1st.

The checklist covers numerous areas such as administration, personnel, financial management, budget preparation and presentation, public safety, public works, health, energy, and municipal school relations.

Among some of the many interesting questions it asks for:

 Dual efforts with the local Board of Education to save money by sharing services/equipment and doing joint budget presentations.

Absences policy for elected officials and Board Members.

Does your municipality limit health benefits to full-time (35 or more hours weekly), excluding from coverage all part-time employees, elected or appointed officials?

Here is how the state determines the amount of aid given:

State of NJ introduces a scoring system for local aid

This is the first year for such a program and it pays out pretty liberally but you can be sure the State will be tightening up the standards where more than 5% of state aid is at risk.

In the meantime the questionnaire raises many interesting questions.  MSV understands the entire City Council all part time employees are eligible for 100% fully paid benefits for their part time service.  Almost all City Council members hold full time jobs with other health insurance options available to them and their family.  Of course it's doubtful they are paid for 100% by any taxpayer let alone the Hoboken taxpayer.

Why don't we fix that outrageous cost to the taxpayer?  As Councilman Lenz said at a recent City Council meeting "we have real, real problems.  Everybody is going to have to hurt some.  We all need to share the sacrifice."

MSV agrees with the Councilman wholeheartedly.
End health care benefits for all part time employees and government officials.  

"Now take me to jail"

Peter Cammarano leaves Hoboken, for real this time to serve a two year stretch in Club Fed.  His lawyer requested he serve his stretch in Pennsylvania but it's not clear if the request was granted.

Over the weekend upper Bloomfield held an annual block party.  Peter the wonderful neighbor he is came out to see everyone.  He's already lining up support for his mayoral run when he gets out.  If Cammarano ran for mayor again, he'd pretty much could count on his "locked in" supporters to vote for him.  He certainly had his supporters pegged.

A new rumor is out Petey has forestalled execution for two weeks.

Here's some quotes from notable locals on Petey boy's departure today.

Mike "Mikie Squared" Russo, who Cammarano helped in his council run as campaign manager.  "Don't shed no negative light on Hoboken.  Keep quiet.  Do the right thing.  Keep your mouth shut."

Terry Castellano - "Why are you asking me to talk about this?  You are just showing how you hate everyone from Hoboken.  I'm not going to sit here and dignify your hatred by talking about this.  I didn't talk about Cammarano before and I won't now.  Who are you to judge?"

Dave Mello - "He's going to jail?  Oh yeah.  Okay, I get it, I get it."

Nino Giacchi - "I'm reviewing this situation closely and can't comment on this now or at any time in the future.  Please don't ask me again to comment on this again or any loving campaign pictures we took together."

Mike Novak - "Hey did you see my tweet?  After I'm done no one will remember me for my work with Peter Cammarano.  I'm going to be famous for my rumormongering tweets on Mayor Zimmer.  Yeah, I still hate her, so what?"

Ravi Bhalla - "Hopefully he'll learn his lesson and become a productive member of society, just not Hoboken society."

City Clerk Jimmy Farina - "It's a sad day for Hoboken.  Hoboken has never seen such a sad day, well since Anthony Russo had his going away party at Church Towers.  What a party we had."

Peter Cunningham - "At least I don't have to listen to him in City Council any more talking about magic pieces of wood."

PBA President Vince Lombardi - "No matter what Iz do, they are never going to let me forget the Hoboken PBA first ever mayoral endorsement for Cammarano are they?"

Mike Lenz - "It's a sad day for Hoboken.  Hopefully we can all learn from this, register to vote and not let Maurice Fitzgibbons pull another stunt like this again.  Please don't vote for Timmay Occhocinco on the Cammarano Absentee Lite Column."

Carol Marsh - "A statement will be released shortly after review of my attorneys.  Or maybe not."

Dawn Zimmer - "It just really sad Hoboken had to see this day.  But boy was he mean.  Okay strike that second part.  Let's just go with sad day for Hoboken."

Beth Mason - "Hoboken will not tolerate Cammarano condescending anymore.  Only I can condescend to Hoboken.  Did you hear about the $25 million Hoboken lost in one day because the mayor didn't show up to take a check from a developer?  What's wrong with her?  I would never do that.  I should be mayor.

Tim Occhipinti - "Can't say anything bad about him because it's really such a sad day.  Don't quote me though.  Maurice said he's a great guy and if you want a quote from me, just ask him."

Here's a clip of Beth Mason engaging a hilarious discussion with Peter Cammarano before she turned into a pod and was taken over by evil aliens in the yet unreleased version of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers in Hoboken."  It's the real Cammarano: in spades.

Hoboken will stage some events to mark this special day.

Church Towers will hold a funeral mass in the parking lot.  Services will be conducted by the honorable priestess of Hoboken real estate Michelle Russo.  12 noon.

Fox Woods Senior Center - a special bingo game will be held in the community room at 6:00 pm in honor of "that nice boy" who gave members flowers on Mothers Day.

Goodfellas Social Club will be hosting a special dinner at 8:00 for its members to honor the ex-mayor.  The them of the dinner is "Silence is a many splendid thing."

Hoboken411 will host a special symposium: How to take good photos of a great mayor on a trampoline.  The special event will be held at the site of the Municipal Garage fence on lower Park at 3:00.  It will be hosted by Hoboken's self-annointed City Council Channel 78 news anchor.

The theme of the event is "How I learned to sell out all decency and reform and feel nothing when I look in the mirror."  All Mayor Zimmer haters and the unemployed are invited. All three Beth Mason sycophants are urged to attend this important one of a kind event.

Talking Ed Note: Humor and political satire aside, one law enforcement source with friends at the FBI in Newark remarked how Cammarano's ego knew no bounds.  When he was presented with his wrongdoing after his arrest he smugly told the FBI, "I'm going to embarrass you."

True story.

- A rumor is circulating, (yes another one) that Petey Boy has a stay of execution and his date with the Feds is postponed for two weeks.
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