Friday, October 1, 2010

Lenz to Occhipinti on flooding: Not just a "Watch the Weather Channel" solution

Lenz for Council announces:

Lenz to Occhipinti: The 4th Ward needs more than your “Watch The Weather Channel” solution.

Flooding is a big problem, and no one knows this more than Mike Lenz, a resident of the 4th Ward since 1997.  Mike has been a strong supporter of the Mayor's efforts to find flooding solutions from day one.   In response to the Mayor’s advocacy, construction is finally underway for the 100 million gallon/day pumping station that will solve 80-85% of the flooding at no cost to the taxpayer.   Still, Mike recognizes that “the pump is a start, but there is much more to be done.  The sewers need to be fixed and maintained on a regular basis. Sewer monitoring has to be utilized to find out what’s really going on under our feet.  Once we have the facts and the pump is online, we must get action to solve the flooding problem 100%."  Councilman Lenz sponsored the resolution to install state of the art sensor technology -- a key milestone in solving flooding for good.

However, while City Council unanimously passed the resolution sponsored by Mike, Tim spoke against innovative flood solutions. Despite stating in his press release that the City of Hoboken “has dragged its feet on everything from studying the causes to implementing a solution” It was Tim himself who called addressing flooding a "like to have and not a need” to have.  He argued that we have no need to fully understand our sewer system in detail.  He even joked that since high tide plus heavy rain equals flooding “you can kinda get that for free from the weather channel."

As a resident of the 4th Ward for the last 15 years, Mike understands that fixing flooding is not a joking matter. Mike responded at the June 22nd Council Meeting that "It is absolutely necessary to deal with flooding in the SW part of town - it is a disgrace....  the fact that we have flooding at all in 2010 in the City  Hoboken is ridiculous. What the Emnet technology does is it allows figuring out where the water is going in a complex way within the system and find out ways of storing that water within the system that will alleviate the need for future pumps- it is wise money well spent."


Tim claims the "city is dragging its  feet" but really it is Tim himself who didn't want the city to move forward with real time flood monitoring technology that the City Council approved unanimously. Mike knows this technology will help find a flooding solution.  Fixing flooding IS a top priority for the 4th Ward; and it’s long been a priority of Mike’s and it will continue to be until this problem is solved.

Once again, instead of working for solutions to our real issues, Tim is misleading and distracting from his own record of standing up against progress at every turn on critical issues.  Mike Lenz has a track record of his commitment to solving the flooding problem; Tim Occhipinti has a track record mostly consisting of saying nothing on the crucial issues.  When he does speak, he has a record of misunderstanding and misleading 4th Ward residents.

Campaign Manager Sam Briggs added:

“I am glad that Tim could finally take a break from his absentee ballot collection to talk about an important issue in this election, even if he is once again wrong on the facts.

While I’m not surprised that Tim is misleading about the issues and flip-flopped on his pump stance within an hour, I find it despicable that Tim would stoop so low as to make jokes about Councilman Lenz’s weight.  Mike has lost over 170 lbs recently and he is proud of his successful fight against this all too common problem.   For Tim and his spokesman to take the low road with personal attacks just once again shows the true motto of their campaign.  “Occhipinti:  Attacking, Misleading, and Doing Whatever it Takes to Win”.  Tim should disown these low blow tactics, sign the Clean Campaign Pledge, and get back to the Issues that matter to the 4th Ward: Lower taxes, balanced development, REAL flooding solutions, and a Southwest Park.”

Occhipinti and Lenz go head to head on flooding

Back in June the mayor proposed a monitoring system called EmNet designed to offset the need for an additional wet weather pump.  The objective is to use this approach to enhance the effectiveness of the new pump once it goes online.  Although it won't be clear if it can meet a high bar of 85% effectiveness until it's installed, the investment is relatively small in comparison to another pump installation that would run over ten million dollars.

The Friends of Lenz for Council put together this video on the discussion and vote for EmNet last June.  Both Tim Occhipinti and Councilman Mike Lenz spoke on the resolution before the vote.

Confirmed: Cammarano's two week stay ends Monday

Peter Cammarano who MSV confirmed in an earlier exclusive had avoided prison for two weeks on his scheduled date of September 20th will in fact be heading to the clink on Monday.

MSV's exclusive, "Cammarano's neither gone nor forgotten," is confirmed by another story by Andrew Tavani filed today for Hoboken Patch.  The story details the reason for the two week delay - Cammarano filed an appeal not to be put into Brooklyn's Metropolitan Detention Center.  Instead his attorney Joe Hayden filed an appeal Cammarano be sent to the federal facility in Lewisburg, PA, a far more hospitable domain.
Scene from the Monday protest in City Hall after Cammarano refused to resign a day after his arrest.
MSV had earlier noted Hayden sought to have Cammarano do his two year stretch at Lewisburg.  But until the appeal was approved, Cammarano was headed to a dingier and rougher place to do his time in Brooklyn, closer to Hoboken but far less desireable.

Back at the time of his arrest, supporter Perry Belfiore describe the situation this way, "Right now a dream has been put on hold."

On Monday, Cammarano goes to jail.  There are no conjugal visits in Lewisburg.  The "dream" is dead.  Justice even in Club Fed will finally be served.

Related: The Jersey Journal reported the story after Cammarano's arrest focusing on the "locked in" crowd.  The comments offer a particularly insightful view.

Additional statement on flooding from Occhipinti for Council

Occhipinti for Council announces:

What makes 4th Ward residents angry is that while everyone in New Jersey knew that a major storm was on the way, our mayor and Councilman Lenz spent the day yesterday preparing for a political event with an out-of-town politician. In New York, Mayor Bloomberg sent crews out across the city in advance of the storm to clear catch basins and make sure that they were able to function. Meanwhile, Councilman Michael Lenz was making menu selections!

We need to make sure the city is properly maintaining catch basins in our streets. We shouldn’t see them so full of junk and trash that weeds can grow out of them. It’s time they step up and put together a more aggressive action and public education plan to keep our drains clear.

I support  the “Invisible structures” concept. It’s in use under the Pentagon and under major stadium structures. These catch water and distribute it slowly so that the existing systems can handle it. What’s wrong with requiring this of developers?

Pumps alone will not fix the problem. That’s true, but what I don’t support – which Councilman Lenz and the administration did - was to spend $160,000 of taxpayer money to put “sensors” in the ground to monitor flood levels. We don’t need sensors to tell us: high tide + heavy rains = FLOODING. You can get this information for free from or from any mom in the 4th Ward. Had this technology been worth the paper it’s printed on then the North Hudson Sewage Authority would be funding it and endorsing it but they are not.

This technology, which the mayor and Councilman Lenz still stubbornly support, has been discredited by a number of studies, including one from Steven’s Institute, which found that it would “be of no value.”  We are under sea level and this technology simply won’t work to alleviate the problem.

The company called EmNet, which got a no bid contract to “provide proprietary
provisions and professional services to initiate and maintain a real time flood
monitoring system,” got paid $160,000 (no bid), $50,000 of which was for travel and living expenses since the company is located - in INDIANA!

In the end, if Michael Lenz had any fresh ideas, he would be presenting them. “The pumps are coming!” is simply not enough, but he won’t be an independent voice for the 4th Ward because he’s so inextricably tied into the mayor’s failed action plan.

Occhipinti: Lenz feeds his face while the 4th Ward floods

Occhipinti for Council announces:

Occhipinti: Lenz feeds his face while the 4th Ward floods

After surveying the 4th Ward this morning, city council candidate Tim Occhipinti said the chronic flooding in the ward is a further demonstration that the Zimmer administration and its rubber-stamp, unelected councilman, Michael Lenz, are more interested in insider politics than they are in improving city services.

“While the mayor and Michael Lenz were entertaining out-of-town politicians at a political fundraiser, 4th Ward residents were being inundated with flood waters yet again,” said Occhipinti, referring to the mayor’s political insider event at a swank restaurant away from the flood zone. “Residents in the 4th Ward are sick of this business as usual. Lenz feeds his face while the 4th Ward floods.”

Occhipinti said the city has had years to deal with this issue and has dragged its feet on everything from studying the causes to implementing a solution. He said that while other parts of the city get attention and assistance from the administration, the 4th Ward’s current councilman remains silent.

“Today, there is no more important quality of life issue for our residents than this chronic flooding, which costs individual taxpayers hundreds and sometimes thousands on dollars in remediation every time we get a heavy rain,” said Occhipinti. “I spoke to a gentleman this morning who said he would not have parked his car on the corner of 4th and Jackson had he known it was a flood zone. When I asked if a simple warning sign would have helped, he said ‘yes absolutely.” His car was soaked on the interior and smelled really bad. He's livid and has every right to be. He said now he gets to spend his weekend cleaning the mess, and who knows how much it’s going to cost.”

Tomorrow, while residents of the 4th Ward mop up their basements and try to salvage their property, Michael Lenz will be having a barbecue.

Horse Sense: Can we please have some sanity?

Wednesday night the special City Council meeting generated some discussion as always on the issues of the day. Word has gotten out and yes it's true. Da Horsey took to the microphone and for good reason. It was time to press back on the mountain of misinformation repeated as fact over and over, not in any itemized fashion but more for the sake of taking it right to their doorstep - where too much grandstanding of late lives and breathes.

So rather impulsively, with no plan to speak, no notes, outline or bullet points, Da Horsey got up and laid out some points on the general state of affairs of City Council conduct and specifically the multitude of lies surrounding the Municipal Garage among other recent fare.

After the short remarks concluded, Councilwoman Terry Castellano felt compelled to respond to the remarks by noting the city was in a legal wrangle with the developer, S. Hekemian even though that legal equation took up much of Da Horsey's remarks. Although there was no question put to her or the Council, she quickly replied to the request not to take a public position jeopardizing the city's legal case on the matter of the Municipal Garage. "We're being sued. Someone dropped the ball here," she said leaving the innuendo hanging out in the wind and doing the opposite of what was just asked.

Councilwoman Castellano responds but there was no question posed
Councilwoman Castellano inadvertently proves the point. By an impromptu citation of the Hoboken Now story on the matter, the recognition the City of Hoboken was in a legal dispute with the developer, S. Hekemian was distinctly obvious. The point was to emphasize the dispute is not over the substance of the sale price of $25.5 million but the developer's downpayment of $2.55 million and legal fees, nothing more. The developer was never going to put up $25.5 million on a property they now valued at less than $15 million without substantial concessions - those requested concessions were met with deaf ears. Developers are not used to such resolve from Hoboken over recent years.

See the northeast skyline for how developers earlier flummoxed the will of residents. The density and height was proposed to be in line with Edgewater's development. Yet somehow, a bunch of high rises now tower over the water, blocking the sight lines to the Hudson and adding to some interesting smells from the sewer system on the north side of town during the summer.

Back to our "public" portion of the City Council meeting. The ability for the City Council to listen to the public even for a few minutes without them "responding" is a practice that needs to stop. The purpose of public portion is not for them to respond but to listen. It's ironic Councilwoman Castellano felt this unbearable compulsion to remark on the obvious while doing exactly what the council was just requested not to do.

That cancer was particularly bad when Peter Cammarano and company were running the show. There's been a remarkable improvement since that time but there is still an occasional, problematic outburst from the Council when the public is speaking. MSV cited a previous instance recently but the application requires consistency even if flotsam and jetsam is being spewed by John Q. Public pretenders who are political operatives and/or ghostwriting for Hoboken411.

Instead of speaking during the public portion, the Council should be listening. They get to speak over the course of hours, and much of that speech over the last year or more has been voluminous grandstanding, politicization of the most ordinary issues and frankly childish whining.

When you are politely asked to listen, at least try to act like you are capable of doing so.

Talking Ed Note: City Council President Carol Marsh has displayed a disciplined style on running the Council meetings. She's done so by following the council rules and has minimized out of order remarks to her great credit. If she can get this aspect on the public portion to the finish line, that would be yet one more improvement.

Related: Katie Colaneri is relatively new to the Hoboken beat for the Jersey Journal. She posted the exclusive story cited in the public portion on the developer trying to recover their $2.55 million deposit and legal fees. MSV had predicted that would be exactly the case earlier, notwithstanding the white noise from certain quarters in the City Council.

Mayor and Da Mayor

In the local celebrity contest, two big time mayors are better than one.  Capturing the spirit of last night's Teak fundraiser for Mayor Zimmer, pictured for your perusal, two mayors who are taking in all the photographers, taking them in.

Light it up.  More cameras than at Disney World are popping off as Mayor Zimmer is joined by Newark mayor Cory Booker.  Photo courtesy the Hoboken Journal
Related: The Hoboken Journal has video of the event.  Take a look:

Storm Update: Reduced Rate Garage Parking Available Due To Flooding

City of Hoboken announces:
Due to the heavy rains throughout the night and flooding experienced in certain areas of the city, the Hoboken Parking Utility is extending the courtesy to Hoboken residents with Residential parking permits to keep their vehicles in Garage B until 8:00PM today at the reduced Resident rate of $5.00. Other Hoboken residents with Resident parking permits who would like to move their vehicles this morning into Garage B for the day until 8:00PM may do so for the same reduced Resident rate of $5.00.
PSEG advises that power outages can be caused by falling trees and limbs, which bring down power lines. Downed wires should always be considered “live.” STAY AWAY FROM ALL DOWNED LINES. Do not approach or drive over a downed line and do not touch anything that it might be in contact with. To report a downed wire, call 1-800-436-PSEG and tell PSE&G the nearest cross street.
To report a power outage, call PSE&G’s Customer Service line: 1-800-436-PSEG.

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