Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tim spreads his $40 cash and carry message in the Hoboken Housing Authority

This submittal came way by reader Raiser who was obviously inspired by the Weehawken fishy special: "James B, downfall of a wannabe shark."

This is more chum for the waters. We're now entering GOTV time. It's going to be necessary for the 4-2 to out duel the 4-4's paper weighted output. Do what you can to get out the word there's an election in the fourth ward.

If you haven't seen it, Griswell has returned from the shadows and has a hilarious look at some imagined local elections over on Grafix Avenger:

Board of Elections to hear VBM challenges - on election day!

The review today with the Board of Elections turned out to be anti-climatic when no challenges were made surrounding 'The Anomaly' of Tim Occhipinti's initial 79 vote by mail ballots.  The decision made by the Lenz campaign allows further time for gathering and building its case of organized voter fraud to be heard election day.

The process to present the evidence of ballot by ballot fraud will be put before a Board of Elections panel of four people, two Democrats and two Republicans.  A tie vote is required to move the matter along before a judge, a decision of 4-0 or 3-1 opposing ends the matter.

Those results will determine if the next step presenting evidence of voter fraud for Judge Gallipoli's evaluation occurs.  A case may then be presented showing sufficient evidence "on the merits" warranting vote by mail ballots be set aside for additional review and investigation.  On Friday, the judge indicated it was premature as there was insufficient evidence and another avenue for review available via the board of elections.

Start up the carousel on election day, but know nothing happens without the Hudson County Board of Elections agreeing.  

Talking Ed Note: Representing the Occhipinti campaign today on possible challenges was counsel Michael Goldberg and Michelle Russo.

An additional anomaly has arisen: Frank Raia who stated in an interview earlier this week he had no role "knocking on one door," in the vote by mail Occhipinti campaign is listed as a bearer on a number of ballots.  A bearer is given permission to messenger ballots but can not handle more than ten.  Raia's name is believed to already appear on at least five.

Most of the vote by mail ballots have been returned in the mail but a number of "bearers" people who have played a role handling them from voters before arriving to the Hudson County Board of Elections also appear.  And there's problems.

Amy Sara Clark at the Jersey Journal posted her story.  She quotes Lenz campaign manager Sam Briggs on more of Tim's anomalies.  "The Occhipinti side submitted more than a dozen votes from people "who are dead" and those that have moved away," he's reported saying.

More to come on Election Day.

Guest of the Stable: Scott Siegel

Mike Lenz Vs. Tim Occhipinti
The Battle For Hoboken’s Future

I am one of the few people in Hoboken who are a friend of both Mike Lenz and Tim Occhipinti. If James Sanford had stayed in I would probably be the only one to be friends of all 3.  I am disappointed when people such as KHoboken (who I agree with 99% of the time) use words like TIMMAY. Reformers should leave name calling to the machine and stick to the issues, which is our strongpoint. So let’s compare the issues.

1)    The Budget:
Mike: Mike is the foremost budget expert I have ever known. His knowledge on details and structure is amazing. He understands that Hudson County taxes are set by an “equalization rate” formula and not by political fiat. Mike comprehends that a surplus is not just a “rainy day fund” but is mandatory to achieve a solid bond rating so we can prudently finance our debt by matching assets to liabilities. A 5-10% reserve is what experts recommend for such action. For example a paved road should last 7 years. Therefore you bond the cost over 7 years, not annually. Hoboken finally has a true, fully funded budget.
Tim: His repetition of the Mason camp’s false $20mm surplus shows that budgets are clearly not his strong point. His lack of understanding on the equalization rate is appalling. Can you imagine if Tim’s world existed? Jersey City would slash their tax rate and sock it to affluent Hoboken in a heartbeat.  Tim once again parodies the Mason/Russo line of reckless financing through the Hudson County note pool. Notes are 1 year instruments. It’s akin to financing a home with a one year adjustable mortgage instead of prudently financing it over 25-30 years. Think about all the homeowners who faced foreclosure by doing exactly this.
2)    Taxes:
Mike: Mike and his team have reduced the municipal levy (the only thing we can control) from $60mm to $57mm a drop of 5%. On December 2nd when demotions and police retirements take effect we should see another decrease of approximately $1.5mm (annualized), or a net  9.25% decrease. They have also prudently reserved $8.5mm for potential expenses such as retro pay, health care increases, tax appeals, lawsuit liability, etc. Mike bravely stood by our Mayor and giving the police a choice- retirements or layoffs. Despite the massive intimidation the Mayor and Mike would not roll over and that’s why taxpayers will see substantial tax relief while almost no one else in NJ will. Mike’s team also supports Mayor Zimmer and Governor Christie’s “tool kit” which has limited a tax rise to 2% (with 5 exceptions, vs. the prior 4% with 13).
Tim: If Tim and the Mason/Russo alliance had their way there would have been no layoffs. He does not seem to understand that over 75% of our budget is personnel. You can’t provide the kind of tax relief cited without addressing this area. By siding with the police over taxpayers Tim has shown that he is not serious about providing meaningful tax relief. By returning the surplus to the taxpayers Tim and his allies will force an equivalent tax rise next year via the factors cited above. Tim criticized Mayor Zimmer for bravely crossing the partisan divide and for siding with taxpayers over unions.
3)    Development:
Mike: Mike has consistently sided with the sensible development crowd. Even if you didn’t like the Mayor’s plan for the NW Edge, it significantly reduced the height and density form the Roberts plan supported by Tim’s team.  Mike opposed Fire Chief Casessa’s plan for a 12 story project on Observer Highway. His opponents supported it. The only thing his opponents can conjure up of is Kyle Engler receiving a one story variance (from 3 to 4 stories). Not exactly a skyscraper. I Tim: Since Tim has never publically spoken of his ideas on development, except to say he is in favor of “smart development” I can only guess. His allies have consistently backed the skyscrapers that we see on Observer Highway and my neighborhood. I would not be surprised if developers such as Mr. Cassesa strongly back Tim. Tim did speak in favor of Peter Camaranno maintaining sole power of zoning board appointments. With 3 zoning positions expiring in December, this is clearly an important reason to vote for Mike.
4)    Ethics:
Mike: For too long the reform movement played the same game with absentees for paid workers. The opposition keeps referring to past elections, but not this one. Mike put forward a “clean campaign pledge” repudiating past actions.
Tim: Tim has not only refused to sign the pledge but is employing the same tactics seen in years past. His Elec form lists 80 individuals who coincidently reside in Housing Authority. Amazingly, all have also Voted By Mail! Expect that list to grow exponentially by November 2nd.
5)    Flooding:
Mike: Mike and Mayor Zimmer led the charge to place the first wet water pump in the 4th Ward, sponsored by Mike. It was slated to go there last. Recognizing that we have limited funds Mike also backed the Emnet sensor technology which will identify exactly where the biggest problems lie so we can use our scarce funds wisely to reduce the flooding even further.
Tim: Tim has given no credit to Mike for the pump and opposed the Emnet project. He does support catch basins as do I, but this would have only a marginal effect vs. the pump.
6)    The Proxy Battle:
Mike: Mike is clearly a supporter of Mayor Zimmer and her team. They have cut the budget, stood against over development and are trying to control spiraling labor costs. A vote for Mike will keep Mayor Zimmer’s agenda in place.
Tim: Tim is essentially backed by the same team that supported Peter Camaranno, better known as the “machine”.  This is not to say that Tim and the others are corrupt like Peter. It is clearly a different vision for Hoboken than what reformers believe in and will return council control to prior majority with Michael Russo most likely becoming the next City Council President.

Trick or treat - give me vote by mail ballots to eat

Although much of Hoboken will be focused on Halloween fun with kid's activities the centerpiece of much time and energy this weekend, another trick or treat will be under the microscope today at the Hudson County Board of Elections - vote by mail ballots.

Although an all encompassing suit from the Lenz for Council campaign seeking to sequester the vote by mail ballots was not granted, the claim of the suit being "bogus" as stated by Occhipinti's lawyer is inaccurate on its face.

If true, there wouldn't be a very interested gathering today at the Board of Elections to review The Anomaly - a near mathematical impossibility of how Tim Occhipinti managed to get dozens and dozens of his 'campaign workers' to mysteriously all request and return to a person vote by mail ballots.  The work required fits the description of a no show job or in this case a no vote at the poll job.

The rather sticky situation was punted in some respects by the judge who said insufficient evidence was presented to grant the Lenz campaign request "at this time" while another mechanism is available - the Elections Board review.

While much of Hoboken is preparing for weekend activities, a war will be going on around the 79 ballots between the two campaigns.  If it was as bogus as Occhipinti's legal counsel claimed, everyone would be out trick or treating, not examining paper ballots. 

For some, the trick or treating has come early.  

Related: Katie Colaneri provided a good local picture (overlooking the headline editors) with her story yesterday for the Jersey Journal with the key quote:

"Right now it's in the hands of the superintendent of elections...," Judge Maurice Gallipoli said in court this afternoon. "Certainly the ballots should not be sequestered... at this point in time."

Talking Ed Note: the bomb thrown by the Lenz for Council campaign is incomplete but the battle is hardly over.  This is going to be contested and fought on the individual level of ballots, and it begins today between 8-10 am.

As MSV had stated leading into this election, several hundred votes by one candidate or another in absentees, now called vote by mail might prove to be a hill too high to overcome.  The skirmish over the Occhipinti 'worker's' ballots today is only a precursor to the hundreds more of his to come.  There's 569 vote by mail ballot applications made, an absurdly high amount by historical standards in this fourth ward election.

Expect a battle of public words to emerge. One side will be saying in effect "look at this" and the other will be saying to even do so is an act of "voter suppression."  Some of them will even have once been part of the reform movement in Hoboken.  They will see no irony now in the company they keep.  They are all "with Tim."

Councilman Mike Russo (c) and Hoboken411 ghostwriter Lane Bajardi hug it out. 

A source close to the Lenz campaign indicated this legal battle would be costly and those who wished to take on the fight should do so with financial support to Lenz for Council.