Friday, October 15, 2010

Lenz to Occhipinti on State AG coming to Hoboken: 'Bring it!'

Lenz for Council announces:


First of all, we welcome Tim Occhipinti to the Clean Campaign discussion. For nearly a month we have been talking about the importance of signing a Pledge promising a clean campaign that respects the voters. Tim Occhipinti has continually refused to sign and has described our call for a clean campaign as “silliness” that “doesn't deserve a response.” The reasons given by Mr. Occhipinti for his request that the AG’s office supervise the election are inaccurate and misleading. He is apparently troubled that Hoboken’s Mayor Dawn Zimmer has endorsed Mike Lenz, claiming this will somehow make the election unfair. Mayors routinely endorse candidates in local elections and special elections are run entirely through the Hudson County Board of Elections and not through City Hall.

Nevertheless, for far different and more compelling reasons, we fully support oversight by the Attorney General's office of the upcoming 4th ward election.

The Mike Lenz for City Council campaign is also sending a letter to the Attorney General's Office to encourage their involvement in the 4th Ward Election. In the 2007 4th Ward race between Dawn Zimmer and Chris Campos, Attorney General oversight prevented numerous non-4th ward residents from voting illegally and it is important to ensure that non-residents are not permitted to illegally vote in this Election. Additionally, since 2 of our last 3 mayors have been convicted of corruption and our last Mayor, Peter Cammarano, recently plead guilty to taking bribes as part of his campaign, the voters of the 4th Ward deserve an Election without even the appearance of illegal activities.

We also call on the AG to expand the investigation to cover the tactics used by the Occhipinti campaign in the solicitation of Vote by Mail ballots, including an investigation into reports of the widespread use of forged signatures on Vote by Mail request forms, payment of workers connected to whether they vote or not, payment of workers connected to whether they turn over their VBM to campaign workers sealed or unsealed, payment of election workers by outside groups not reported on ELEC forms, voter intimidation to 'collect' the VBM ballot from voters without proper use of bearers, voter intimidation by having the voter fill out the VBM ballot in the presence of campaign staff, and widespread chain of custody issues once the Occhipinti campaign has the VBM ballot in their possession.

Once again, we are glad that maintaining a free and fair election has finally become an interest of the Occhipinti campaign and we call on them to sign the clean campaign pledge. The voters of the 4th Ward deserve to have a fair and open election and Mr. Occhipinti can demonstrate his commitment by signing the pledge.

A letter from Mike Lenz follows:

October 15, 2010
Paula Dow
Attorney General
25 Market Street
Trenton, NJ 08625

Dear Ms. Dow,

I am currently the City Councilman representing Hoboken’s 4th Ward, and I am running for re-election in a special election on November 2nd. My opponent in that election, Tim Occhipinti, has sent you a letter requesting that your office intervene to oversee the election process. The reasons given by Mr. Occhipinti for his request – including the fact that Hoboken’s Mayor Dawn Zimmer has endorsed my candidacy – border on the absurd. Nevertheless, for far different and more compelling reasons, I fully support oversight by your office of the upcoming 4th ward election.

Over the years, Hoboken’s 4th Ward has been plagued by allegations of election fraud. At the polls, numerous non-residents are believed to cast illegal ballots. As many as 600 voters are typically hired as paid Election Day workers for an election in which less than 2000 votes are cast, raising questions as to whether people are being paid for their votes. Throughout many previous elections, large numbers of what was once called Absentee and now are Vote by Mail (VBM) ballot applications have been requested with signatures that do not match the voter’s. Organized VBM ballot campaigns have raised questions about whether the VBM process has been abused. We respectfully ask for your office to investigate solicitation of VBM ballots, including an investigation into reports of the widespread use of forged signatures on VBM request forms, payment of workers connected to whether they vote of not, payment of workers connected to whether they turn in their VBM sealed or unsealed, payment of election workers by outside groups not reported on ELEC forms, voter intimidation to 'collect' the VBM ballot from voters without proper use of bearers, voter intimidation by having the voter fill out the VBM ballot in the presence of campaign staff, and widespread chain of custody issues once the Occhipinti campaign has the VBM ballot in their possession.

There is reason to believe that these tactics are being employed by Mr. Occhipinti’s campaign. Perry Belfiore, a well known Occhipinti supporter and organizer was even quoted in the press as saying that Vote by Mail ballots were necessary in November elections because voters needed help navigating the “noise” on the ballot. Needless to say, it is not legal for a campaign worker to help a voter ‘navigate’ the ballot to ensure that the vote is cast the ‘right’ way.

In November 2007, a special election was held under the supervision of your office, and it is widely considered to be the most honest election held in Hoboken’s 4th Ward in a long time. I strongly urge that your office step forward once again to ensure that the voters of Hoboken’s 4th Ward receive the honest and fair election to which they are entitled.

Respectfully Submitted,

Mike Lenz

City of Hoboken

Occhipinti - 'Lenz campaign targets voters with bounties and intimidation tactics'

Occhipinti for Council announces:

Hoboken 4th Ward City Council candidate Tim Occhipinti called on the state’s Attorney General to oversee the November 2 city council election in Hoboken to ensure equal access to the polls and to guard against intimidation of voters.

“We are concerned about the Lenz campaign targeting first-time voters and anyone who they have identified as opponents,” said Occhipinti. “They say they want to run a clean campaign but they are targeting voters who vote by mail with ‘bounties’ and intimidation tactics intended to suppress new voters and minorities.”

Occhipinti said ensuring fair elections is the cornerstone of a strong democracy. He called on Lenz to join him in renouncing the intimidation tactics and the suppression of voters. He said Mayor Zimmer

“With the mayor so clearly on one side of this election, it’s important to have an unbiased outside source come in to make sure that everyone who wants to vote gets an opportunity to vote,” he said.

The following letter from the Occhipinti for Council campaign follows:

October 13, 2010
Paula Dow
Attorney General
25 Market Street
Trenton, NJ 08625

Dear Ms. Dow:

I am writing to express my concern about the upcoming special city council election in Hoboken on November 2.  The inalienable right to vote is the bedrock of our democracy, and I am committed to fighting for fair elections for the people of Hoboken.

We are concerned about the Michael Lenz campaign targeting first-time voters and anyone they have identified as opponents. The Lenz campaign and a number of blog surrogates are targeting residents by paying “bounties” for names of those who vote by mail, and using intimidation tactics intended to suppress new voters and those in minority communities.

To complicate matters further, Mayor Zimmer has thrown her full support behind the Lenz campaign, using her office and its inherent authority in political coordination with the Lenz campaign. This calls into question the mayor’s ability to be an honest broker if issues of voting or ballot irregularities arise, or if public safety becomes an issue during this hotly contested election. In addition, Mr. Lenz’s position within the county administration political structure creates at least the potential for the appearance of a conflict.

We believe your office provides the best opportunity for a fair election overseen by an honest arbiter with no vested interest. I urge you to make the presence of your good office felt in order to ensure that our state’s elections meet the highest standards of honesty and integrity.  I stand ready to assist in any way possible.

Thank you for your attention.

Tim Occhipinti
Candidate, Hoboken 4th ward city council

Guest of the Stable: Jake Stuiver

I am writing as an active and concerned Fourth Ward resident to call
on all Hobokenites who care about reform to do anything and everything
they can toward electing Mike Lenz on Nov. 2.

This is an absolutely critical election. I'm very concerned that
election fatigue after a recent string of reform victories is
distracting many people from the unbelievably high stakes we have
before us. This is not just a ward race, this is a citywide election
whose outcome will have repercussions for each and every member of our
community for years to come.

Mike Lenz is an extraordinarily talented and knowledgeable councilman
who has brought enormously valuable skills and insights to the
position over the past year. He has been attentive and responsive to
concerns in the ward. What’s more, Mike is the fifth and deciding vote
in Mayor Zimmer's five-vote majority, and the importance of that role
cannot be overstated. Walking the streets of the ward in recent
months, I've seen and heard how much the mayor's supporters appreciate
the changes that are under way.

For example, we're seeing the installation of a downtown flood pump
that is expected to alleviate flooding by 80%. Taxes are going down -
not yet by enough, but we're finally headed in the right direction.
Smart development is being planned that respects the desires of the
community for reasonable-size buildings and a long-needed southwest
park. And we're getting improved public transportation and innovative
parking solutions.

Dawn Zimmer is truly delivering “change that works,” and Mike Lenz is
a necessary part of her team. Maintaining a council majority is
absolutely essential to continuing the progress.

Each and every Hobokenite who cares about reform and believes in the
mayor’s agenda must fight tooth and nail to win this election. We are
facing an opposition that is highly motivated, hungry and energized
for a return to the ways of the past that created so many of the
problems we now face. We cannot allow them to roll back the progress
we have made. The choice is very simple -- continued progress or a
sharp, swift reversal of everything we’ve accomplished.

Please come to the headquarters at 60 Madison Street and volunteer, as
often and energetically as possible. Send a donation, as large as
possible (within the $2,600 legal limit, of course). And if you live
in the Fourth Ward, please make sure you come out and vote for Mike on
Nov. 2.

Mike’s longtime service to this community has helped bring us to a
place we never would have reached without him. In order to keep moving
forward, we need to pull out all the stops and win the election on
Nov. 2. This is our shared responsibility as a community, and I am
personally imploring you to stand up and help fight this very
important battle for all of us.

Jake Stuiver is the campaign treasurer for Lenz for Council.
MSV anticipates a submission shortly from Occhipinti for Council.

Save water requested by United Water

City of Hoboken announces:


On Monday, October 18, 2010 United Water Jersey City maintenance crews will shut down the water supply aqueduct for the City of Jersey City to perform maintenance and repairs at both the water treatment plant and aqueduct. The aqueduct will be out of service until Friday, October 29, 2010.

United Water has made arrangements with other water suppliers in the area to supply Jersey City and Hoboken customers with water during the shutdown.

United Water is asking all customers to conserve water during this period. That means using water only for essential purposes such as taking quicker showers in the morning and washing only full loads of dishes and clothes at night.

Customers may experience some discolored water while the system is shut down. Should there be any discoloration, it poses no health threat, but can be aesthetically unpleasant. Customers should, however, let it run clear before washing clothes.

Customers with questions can call the United Water customer service center at 800-575-4433.

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EatDrinkHoboken: Join a shindig at the Elks on Saturday for charity

EatDrinkHoboken announces:

EATDRINKHOBOKEN FANS we are teaming up with Hoboken Volunteers to support Project Play and the Hoboken Homeless Shelter. This is going to be a very fun afternoon event of German Music, Helmers food, Hoboken Bar and Grill sponsored German Beer, Vision Vodka-all new ultra premium Vodka & BullDogg Gin will be on hand serving you your favorite cocktails.

Please join this fundraising event for two great Hoboken charities, starts at 12:00pm. No cover, food and drink tickets will be inexpensive, food and music will be great! Expecting over a 100 people already...see you there.

Talking Ed Note: EatDrinkHoboken is an advertiser on MSV, but this is a good cause for Project Play and the Hoboken Homeless Shelter, so its welcome.

Voices and Pictures from the debate

With the first ever Hoboken debate made available in real time, there's no 48 hour blackout period after a debate where others tell you the results, sometimes in contradictory ways.  MSV feels making the information available and allowing the public time to digest it as their schedule dictates is more important that pumping out insta-analysis.  In April, the BoE video was presented in the exact same way, without editorial comment.

Here's some pictures from the event and select quotes from some in attendance:

The candidates sat on opposite sides and were on opposite ends on many issues.  
Occhipinti Campaign Manager Jamie Cryan

"Tim came prepared and Michael came ready to attack. This election should be about issues, and a sitting councilman, with the full weight of the mayors office and a county patronage position, should have accomplishments to speak of rather than personal attacks and sideshows. It's time for an independent voice and new energy in the 4th Ward."

Jamie Cryan statement on behalf of Occhipinti for Council

Some of the crowd in attendance.  For an event of such importance, there was plenty of seating still available
Sam Briggs, campaign manager for the Lenz for Council offered this statement:
The 4th Ward Candidates Forum was last night and the difference between Mike Lenz and Tim Occhipinti couldn't have been more clear.  

Last night's debate proved what we have been saying for this entire campaign.  Tim is not ready for prime time and will impede progress.  He has a dangerous lack of knowledge on the issues and during this pivotal point in Hoboken's history, we can't afford to let Tim have "on the job training."

Mike doesn't need to convene a panel to know where he stands on the issues.  Mike has been listening to his neighbors and standing up for the 4th Ward for years.  4th Ward Councilman Mike Lenz is standing for the residents of the ward and bringing straight talk on how to lower taxes, fight overdevelopment, end flooding, and finally bring a park to the 4th Ward.

Councilman Mike Lenz

4th ward candidate Tim Occhipinti

2nd ward residents Patricia Waiters and Tom Greaney posed after the event
Councilmen Lenz demonstrated a strong and thoughtful grasp of the issues facing the 4th Ward and the entire city of Hoboken. He is clearly the most qualified person for council.  
2nd ward resident Tom Greaney

After the debate, Grafix Avenger took on a new investigation, Perry Belfiore's hair.  
Given the build up to the event, the only hair raising moment occurred when I first met Nancy. 
Perry Belfiore

Picture this: far left Councilman Dave Mello, center Occhipinti Communications Director David Cruz and far right Perry Belfiore listened closely to the candidates
Councilman Mike Russo stood near the entrance for a spell