Tuesday, September 21, 2010


POG Annual Membership meeting Tuesday October 26th 7:00

People for Open Government, Hoboken's legendary organization for changing the culture on pay-to-play in town is holding its annual meeting next month.  Paying members will be voting for a new board to lead the organization.  

If there's one organization to support in Hoboken for good government, this should be your pick.  

Annual Membership Meeting of POG
Tuesday, October 26, 7 - 9PM, 98 Park #4P
All welcome
Refreshments provided

Bayonne Bridge height change a focus for job creation

From the office of Assemblyman Coutinho:


            (29th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT) – Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Chairman Albert Coutinho (D-Essex) on Tuesday welcomed Gov. Chris Christie’s focus on the Bayonne Bridge clearance problem and job creation, especially considering New Jersey’s continued high unemployment rate.

            New figures out Tuesday showed New Jersey’s unemployment rate at 9.6 percent, with total employment essentially unchanged. New Jersey’s jobless rate continues to be higher than neighboring states Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania.

            “Many people have long recognized the Bayonne Bridge’s vital role as a job creation engine, and have been working to fix this problem for a long time,” Coutinho said. “I hope Gov. Christie continues focusing more on job creation, especially for working class New Jerseyans suffering under his de facto tax increases.”

            The Bayonne Bridge is too low to allow new super-sized cargo ships to reach Port Newark and Port Elizabeth.

            After holding a full hearing on the issue with industry leaders earlier this year, Coutinho sponsored a legislative resolution urging officials to quickly address the concerns. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey then authorized spending up to a $1 billion to address the problem.

            Coutinho noted the ports provide more than 270,000 jobs, but he said 50,000 jobs could be lost if the bridge problem isn’t fixed expeditiously.

            “I am extremely gratified that this agreement will lead to saving those jobs, but we must follow through and get this job done, not toy around with the money and make mistakes as we’ve seen the administration do with other projects,” Coutinho said. “I cannot emphasize enough that we must get this fix done for the good of our economy and our workers.”

High stakes in the fourth ward special election

The fourth ward is gearing up for a decisive battle in a special election November 2nd and the machinations of power are already lining up for war over the fifth and decisive swing vote on the City Council.

The fourth ward is from a political standpoint demographics hell with a mixed cocktail of every interest group with varying economic interests ranging from safety to a wider range of services and needs distinct from the rest of town.  With the past manipulations of a Hoboken Housing Authority population always at the ready for the service of machine plantation owners, the battle always must begin with concerns on street money absentee ballot fraud, so commonplace, one standby candidate for city wide and Board of Ed elections shamelessly proclaims himself, "the king of absentee ballots."

Another prominent monied City Councilwoman followed that handbook to perfection there, dumping thousands of dollars into checks made out to "cash" in her 2009 mayoral runs.  How's that self-investigation on street money going Beth?

In this incendiary backdrop, the question of the day: what's the winning formula in total number of votes?  If recent history is any marker, it's in the ballpark of about 1100 to claim victory.  But how would a 350 vote (or more) head start impact the race, the disproportionate number of absentee ballots from that area of the city alone in the spring BoE race?

Politickernj posted a story claiming an Occhipinti supporter bragged there was over
six-hundred absentee ballots lined up but the actual ballots haven't been printed.  Tim Occhipinti's comment on the matter of absentee ballots though in an earlier Hoboken Patch story was less than reassuring, unless you find his generic disavowal comforting.  Absentee ballot specialist Ryan Yacco, who recently worked on both Peter Cammarano and Beth Mason's 2009 mayoral campaigns is already on board with Team Occhipinti, so it should be interesting how a candidate might pretend the arrival of hundreds of "campaign workers" ballots on election day is some shocking event he has no hand in whatsoever.  (In the mayoral election last year, Peter Cammarano's absentee ballot total exceeded eight percent of his total vote citywide.)

The nasty minions of Hoboken411 following orders from the altar of paymaster Beth Mason ordered the democratic process in Hoboken be ignored along with Republican committee candidate James Sanford.* If you didn't get the memo, Timothy Occhipinti is the unofficial "Council of No" and Old Guard candidate, deemed the man for the job, even if only temporarily to take down fourth ward councilman Mike Lenz.  A rumor floated among Occhipinti backers suggests another more pliable, seasoned candidate could be easily injected for the spring run, by just removing support, financial and otherwise.  A number of people are standing in the wings eager and available for just such an opportunity.

Councilman Mike Lenz at the last City Council meeting.  
With the anti-Zimmer elements aligning if for no other reason than a weariness of recent defeats to reform, the fourth ward Councilman has a real challenge on his hands.  His earlier run for this seat in 2001 failed badly against Chris Campos.  The battle of wills between City Hall and the police unions on reorganizing the top heavy department may inject another area for rancor into what is historically a challenging seat for reform, the banner of the mayor being held up as the top flag in the race.

Former Freeholder Maurice Fitzgibbons is heavily involved running Tim Occhipinti's campaign.  He addressed the issue of who is authorized to speak about absentee ballots generation to Al Sullivan in the Hudson Reporter.  Fitzgibbons is not so fondly remembered among many as the person who laid the groundwork for Peter Cammarano's entry into Hoboken politics and is tied closely to the HCDO.  The HCDO had provided most of the money for his election to Freeholder.

With the backing of the Old Guard such as former council president Richard Del Bochio and still unknown funding sources, Tim Occhipinti just opened new fancy headquarters on Monroe Street Saturday.  He's gearing up to take a shot at Lenz in the political consultant Paul Swibinski stylebook of ex-mayor Peter Cammarano.  Sell youthful appeal to the scant paying attention urban professionals while embracing all the old Hoboken methods, practices and attitudes grabbing as much cash out of their pockets as possible while telling them all the while you are just like them.

Will that formula work? Well it doesn't need to if it damages Lenz enough that he barely makes it across the finish line and he looks ready to teeter over by the required election next May when Terry "that voice" LaBruno and others may lie in wait.  For the Old Guard, that may be good enough but in the interim they are working behind the scenes to raise money to make a run on behalf of Occhipinti.  Maurice Fitzgibbons is the man behind the Cammarano poster child strategy but he doesn't have the money access to get Tim the loot to make a serious challenge.  Who does?

The NJ ELEC report won't be required for a spell and even an earlier report is often inconclusive and can mask funding until a later required filing.  Mike Novak is one notable person in town who has been active in trying to take some big shots at Mayor Dawn Zimmer, first in supporting Kim Glatt's mayoral bid last fall after his close alliance with Peter Cammarano ended with him walking around shellshocked for some time after the FBI's Hoboken visit.  His entry now on behalf of Tim Occhipinti could very well be full throttle.

Of course they say sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words so here's another.

Tim  Occhipinti talking with Ricky Mason after the 9-11 ceremony at Pier A.  Last spring Beth Mason said she was remaining neutral on the BoE race before a check for $5700 eventually showed up for Real Results from her family.  
Money is of course the mother's milk of politics but Michael Lenz has a new quiver in his bow: Sam Briggs.  The former campaign manager in Dawn Zimmer's 2009 mayoral runs, Briggs is back in Hoboken and brings not only superb on the ground execution and day to day message control, but a youthful energy necessary to rekindle support in the reform community.  Some of the support for Lenz's run was stalled when he failed expectations on spearheading long time ally Tony Soares to a second board position on the City Council to the disappointment of many in reform.

For Hoboken the immediate momentum of the future is now weighted by the outcome of the 4th ward November 2nd election.  The first debate is now scheduled for October 13th at the Jubilee Center.  The results there should prove defining.

Talking Ed Note: MSV extended invitations to Tim Occhipinti to submit a written piece for publication on the issue of the surplus earlier.  At the last city council meeting a brief conversation on that topic led to Tim suggesting we revisit that topic later.

* MSV had also wanted to extend a similar invitation to James Sanford but according to the Jersey Journal he's pulling out of the race and reconsidering for the round next spring. According to their story, he directed comments to the 4th ward residents stating:

... "after careful consideration I have concluded that the remaining time before the election is not enough for us to truly learn to get to know each other. The 4th Ward deserves more. Therefore, I've decided that now is not the time to seek a seat on the city council."

Flu shots available next month

City of Hoboken announces:


The City of Hoboken, in conjunction with the Hoboken University Medical Center, announces that it will be providing free seasonal flu vaccines to adult Hoboken residents.

Senior citizens can receive the vaccine on October 12th and 13th, 2010 in the Community Room of each residential building:

Tuesday, October 12 (10:00am – 11:00am): 400 1st Street
Tuesday, October 12 (11:30am – 12:30pm): 221 Jackson Street
Tuesday, October 12 (2:00pm – 3:00pm): 220 Adams Street
Wednesday, October 13 (10:00am – 11:00am): 76 Bloomfield Street
Wednesday, October 13 (11:30am – 12:30pm): 514 Madison Street
Wednesday, October 13 (2:00pm – 3:00pm): 311 13th Street

Please Note: On Thursday, October 14, 2010, vaccines will be administered to adult Hoboken residents at Hoboken University Medical Center’s Assumption Hall.

For additional information, please contact the Hoboken Health Department at (201) 420-2375.

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Today's Zoning Meeting: Up to bat...

A reader submitted this item for tonight's Zoning Board meeting:

Well, it's been 2 months and the variance for 38 Jackson Street is now back on the Zoning Board's agenda.  This Tuesday, the 21st, the Zoning Board will hear the request for the 348-unit variance.  Please see the emails below for a little history on this variance request.

Note that at this meeting, the developer's planner, engineer, and traffic consultant are scheduled to make their presentation to the board.  Members of the public have the right to question each of these individuals, as well as make general statements afterwards during the public portion.

Whether you're for or against this project, I encourage you to come out and have your voices heard.  The mere size of this proposed project makes it very significant to all of us here in the 4th Ward, 2nd District, and I believe the thoughts of the public should be addressed.

The meeting this Tuesday begins at 7pm in the bottom floor of City Hall, directly across from where you pay parking tickets.  The agenda calls for 2 quick votes on some resolutions, followed by a vote for another variance application. I'm guessing the Board will move to the 38 Jackson variance by 7:30pm.