Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Debate Kickoff is 7:30 - Hoboken Journal live blog will have all the action live

Thanks to the efforts of the Wiley Coyote, Eric Kurta, tonight's debate will be available via a live stream on the Hoboken Journal and also the People for Open Government.

Time to put the spin aside and see who's who and what's what.  Tune in for all the fun at 7:30 over with the jolly green giant:

or for a quiet view without the chattering masses:

It should be a grand old time.  Spokesman, political operatives, supporters and Cammarano sycophants can do nothing now but wait until after the debate is over before they attempt to spin anew.  Why let them, judge for yourself.

Million of dollars are also at stake in the outcome for developers.  More on that to come.

City announces measures on upper Sinatra Drive

City of Hoboken announces:


Earlier today, both Hudson County and the City of Hoboken announced a state of emergency regarding the Sinatra Drive North road collapse. The City of Hoboken is announcing additional measures regarding Sinatra Drive North in anticipation of a possible major storm predicted to hit the area.

“We are taking a series of proactive steps to ensure the safety of the public,” announced Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “My Administration has been working for the past year to repair our deteriorating waterfront, and our new engineer, Boswell Engineering, is following up on an initiative we started with the previous City engineer to fully evaluate the condition of the entire waterfront. They have also completed a geotechnical investigation of Sinatra Park and the Castle Point Park walkway, and design concepts are being finalized.”

Additional cracks have been observed in the roadway near the collapsed area, and engineers anticipate significant erosion to occur as a result of a major storm predicted to hit our region on Thursday. This erosion could cause further sections of road to collapse and potentially compromise a water main which runs parallel to the sidewalk. The Zimmer Administration has been working with the County on measures to protect the water main. As an additional precaution and with the approval of Fire Chief Richard Blohm, the City coordinated with the water utility to shut off the water to this main and the nearby fire hydrant. Water access for residents, businesses, including a daycare center, and as fire protection will not be impacted. Two additional nearby fire hydrants in the area are available in case of emergencies.

Vehicular traffic will be prohibited along Sinatra Drive North from 13th Street through the 14th Street extension and north-bound traffic will be prohibited between 12th Street and 13th Street. Vehicles will be permitted to enter the final block of 14th Street before the waterfront in order to access buildings and storefronts, but they will need to make a U-turn before reaching Sinatra Drive North. To facilitate turning maneuvers, parking will be temporarily prohibited in the metered parking spaces along the last half of the block. These measures are being taken to ensure public safety, and street and walkway segments will be re-opened as soon as engineers deem them safe.


Talking Ed Note: MSV typically does not comment on press releases but in this instance it's important to note the ongoing effort on Sinatra Park and the design work anticipated.

That's the good news among these problems.

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County declares Sinatra roadway collapse 'state of emergency'

Hudson County Executive’s Office announces:

Declaration will speed repairs of damaged roadway. County and Hoboken officials pledge to work cooperatively to ensure work is done swiftly and safely.

Jersey CityNJ — Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise will issue a state of emergency declaration today regarding the collapse of a section of the Sinatra Drive North roadway in Hoboken.

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer is also issuing a state of emergency in order to ensure the safety and welfare of Hobokenresidents.

Constructed by the County along the Hudson River waterfront in 1997, Sinatra Drive North is a two-block section of road created as part of the effort to extend 14th Street in anticipation of new development in Northeastern Hoboken. It runs from12th Street to the 14th Street Extension north of the ferry terminal.

 Shortly after the completion of the roadway, the Hoboken-based Applied Companies constructed The Shipyard, a residential/retail complex. Applied also constructed the section of Hudson River Waterfront Walkway alongside Sinatra Drive North.

On Friday, a 15x50 foot sinkhole opened in front of the Lua Restaurant, located at 1300 Sinatra Drive North, requiring the closing of the road to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

Under the state of emergency to be declared today, the County administration will be able to bypass the usual rules that would slow down the selection of the engineering and construction professionals who will have to be brought in to assess and repair the roadway.

County Engineering expects to issue a status update on Monday, October 18th regarding the status of the roadway and the underlying roadbed on which it sits. Divers will go into the Hudson to look at the structures below Sinatra Drive North to evaluate their current physical condition and evaluate whether the road north and south of the sinkhole is indeed stable.

“We will work around the clock to get the answers necessary to get Sinatra Drive North fixed swiftly and safely,” said County Executive DeGise. “We will know by Monday what the conditions are beneath this road are so that whatever repairs are done are permanent solutions to this problem.”

County Executive DeGise, County Administrator Abe Antun, County Counsel Donato Batista and staffers from the CountyDivision of Engineering, met this morning with Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer and members of her staff.

“We truly appreciate the County declaring a state of emergency in order to expedite the full evaluation and complete repair of this road,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

As a result of the meeting this morning and the predicted upcoming storm, the City of Hoboken is taking additional precautions and the Mayor’s office will be providing further information today.

War of (Online) words is over, for now

Finally tonight we'll get to hear words directly from the candidates with both on the stage together facing the voters.  Up to this point, people have had mostly a filter of campaigns and other voices speaking for candidates from the mayor on behalf of Mike Lenz to former Freeholder Maurice Fitzgibbons backing Tim Occhipinti.

The debate scheduled for 7:30 at the Jubilee Center on 6th and Jackson is in the heart of where the machine generates its illicit paper ballots.  So be prepared to hear an emotional, vocal, "locked-in" audience getting behind the challenger.  That's how the Old Guard rolls and they will be sure to have their bought and paid voices in attendance.

But how does the debate shape up?  Expectations are always a factor and Councilman Mike Lenz has faced down many a challenge in public forums, most recently in the challenging quagmire of the City Council.  He is expected to not have much trouble distinguishing his record this past year on the Council against Tim Occhipinti's volunteer website.

Occhipinti has studied government and is expected to speak well on the issues even being just a three year resident of Hoboken.  After all, the newcomer sought this position and needs to show why he should be given the right to put his hands on a $100 million budget.  Mike Lenz has demonstrably showed he's a big asset on budget matters with his history as a municipal financial whiz while Tim needs to show some coherence on those issues.

On the other current issues of the day, it will be interesting to see what is presented as new.  Occhipinti claims to be independent but ask anyone where he is independent of the Old Guard and the Russo-Mason faction and you'll draw nothing but a blank.  Funny just the other day when MSV took the photo outside the Russo Civic Association, right above the whiteboard saying "Vote for Occhipinti" was a sign from another campaign for Theresa Castellano proclaiming, you guessed it, independence.

Is that the "brand" of independence we're talking about?

Since the summer we've seen any number of issues brought to the table from the Occhipinti for Council team.  From the pool at the Boys and Girls Club to a soccer field to the Sinatra roadway collapse, nothing has the ring of leadership.  Sadly, it all has the ring of disingenuous "fact" we've seen on too many occasions in City Council grandstanding.  Is this the Occhipinti "brand" we can expect to see on the City Council?  If so, a swing vote in favor of this condescension to the Hoboken voter is going to make for a very bad mixture - for all of Hoboken.

Mike Lenz on the other hand may actually suffer from being as well versed on the issues as anyone in town or being the "smartest guy in the room" in his own mind.  If he trails off into too many tangents and then pummels Occhipinti on the issues without a graceful entry, he may engender sympathy for "the underdog."  He'll need to walk a fine line on his tone and be careful he doesn't loose the audience outside of the room.  Most likely, the candidates will have two minutes to answer questions.  It's not the City Council where five minutes is the typical Mike Lenz timeline for discussion.

No matter what expectations are in this debate, the election may in fact turn on its outcome.  Each side will be looking to declare victory.  In the end, which side will be inspired to GOTV (Get out the vote) after tonight may be the best indicator of who's won.

Talking Ed Note: People for Open Government (POG) is looking to do a live stream and the Hoboken Journal intends to do a live blog from that feed.  If for some reason POG can't, Da Horsey will be stepping up.  MSV exclusively showed Gov. Christie's visit to Hoboken for a tax cap earlier.

The debate at the Jubilee Center is not the candidate's first debate, it will in fact be the second of the day.  The Hudson Reporter is hosting the first debate earlier.  The Jersey Journal debate traditionally held at its location in Jersey City is now off the table.  MSV has heard that Occhipinti for Council declined the request.

An earlier request for a live online debate with MSV, Hoboken Patch, the Hoboken Journal, the Boken was also turned down by the Occhipinti campaign.

Washington Street named on of America's Best

City of Hoboken announces:

Washington Street Named One Of Top 10 Great Streets For 2010 By American Planning Association

The American Planning Association (APA) today announced the designation of Washington Street in Hoboken, NJ as one of 10 Great Streets for 2010 under the organization’s Great Places in America program. APA Great Places exemplify exceptional character and highlight the role planners and planning play in creating communities of lasting value.
APA singled out Washington Street for its affordable housing options and the city’s diligent efforts to preserve the street’s historic character through design guidelines and adaptive reuse. Additionally, the street stands out for its unique sense of place, including views of the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline.
“Washington Street is Hoboken’s historic hub of community activity,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “Unique, independently-owned shops, outdoor caf├ęs, world-class restaurants, and street fairs attract young professionals, families with strollers, joggers, and bicyclists who create a vibrant urban mix of activity and street life.”
“Although Hoboken has transitioned over the centuries from an industrial region into a bustling residential community, Washington Street has thrived by adapting to the community’s evolving needs while preserving its historic character,” the Mayor continued. “The street brings pedestrians directly to retail and commercial businesses and a mix of transportation options and is a great model for similar neighborhoods and communities.”
Through Great Places in America, APA recognizes unique and authentic characteristics found in three essential components of all communities – streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces. APA Great Places offer better choices for where and how people work and live every day and are defined by many things including planning efforts, architectural styles, accessibility, and community involvement.
“We’re very excited today to name Washington Street as one of this year’s Great Streets,” said APA Chief Executive Officer Paul Farmer, FAICP. “The city is to be commended for its planning and foresight to keep Washington Street’s historic character intact and to require affordable housing so residents aren’t displaced because of increased property value,” he added.
Since APA began Great Places in America in 2007, 40 Neighborhoods, 40 Streets and 30 Public Spaces have been designated in 47 states and the District of Columbia.
Once a prosperous rail and water transportation center, Hoboken tumbled into economic decline with the containerization of cargo in the 1970s. The city’s warehouses and lack of open space could not handle the giant containers and hard times ensued.
Washington Street, Hoboken’s main commercial corridor, was on the verge of complete dereliction in the 1980s. A new generation of residents seeking lower housing costs compared to those in Manhattan brought a new sense of liveliness to the street.
In 1981, Washington Street was designated a historic district by the city. Many original buildings were added to the National Register of Historic Places shortly thereafter, including Yellow Flats – home of Hetty Green, the first woman to have a substantial influence on Wall Street.
The street’s historic character is now preserved through design guidelines for any new construction or building alterations. Adding to the historic ambiance and pedestrian experience are 19th-century style lampposts, street clocks and benches.
To help long-time residents from being priced out of their homes, in 1988 Hoboken required affordable housing in the area including 140 units of low- to middle-income housing along Washington Street, with more incorporated just blocks away.
Today Washington Street bustles with activity comparable at times to avenues in Manhattan. The street hosts various festivals each year, including the Spring and Fall Arts and Music Festivals.
The nine other APA 2010 Great Streets are: Bank Street in Wallace, ID; Wydown Boulevard in Clayton, MO; Broadway Street in Red Lodge, MT; 5th Avenue in San Diego, CA; Middle Street in New Bern, NC; Massachusetts Street in Lawrence, KS; Washington Street in Middleburg, VA; Spring Street in Eureka Springs, AR; and Liberty Street in Franklin, PA.
For more information about these streets, as well as lists of the 2010 APA 10 Great Neighborhoods and 10 Great Public Spaces, and designations between 2007 and 2009, visit
This year’s Great Places in America will be celebrated as part of APA’s National Community Planning Month in October 2010; for more about the special month, visit

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