Wednesday, November 17, 2010

4th ward election fraud allegations: the whole kit and kaboodle moves on to the Prosecutor!

Here's a short synopsis of today's hearing on the 4th ward election investigation: the Board of Elections did not eliminate one problem, not one iota of issues brought to bear in the 4th ward special election.  Instead the Superintendent wrote a report on the Board's investigation but declined to comment on the specific criminal matters sent on to the prosecutor's office.

The whole package of problems including the totality of complaints from the Lenz for Council campaign moves on as well.

MSV was prepared to show the meeting live but had to settle for the audio, as we were told we could not shoot the video.  We pressed hard on the issue but BoE's Clerk Michael Harper insisted advance notice for the request was needed, even though the open meeting law applies.  He said a request would need to come sooner for a lawyer to approve.  We asked him to call the lawyer.  He said there was no time with the meeting about to begin.

Here is the key part of the meeting with the public portion starting with Scott Siegel.  He was followed by Council members Dave Mello and Ravi Bhalla. Stan Grossbard, the mayor's husband also spoke as did Da Horsey raising issues where Hoboken needs help in advance of future elections next spring.

What roused our interest in speaking was a comment this was a not unusual 2,000 vote 4th ward election.  That got our interest in bringing to light a number of facts showing it was anything but the case.  Although the Board made some comments to others, no one addressed a single point Da Horsey made.

Lane Bajardi showed up in typical cult of personality Masonite fashion asking that any investigation into the special election also include Dawn Zimmer's 2007 campaign.  He was halted from his typical character assassination of individuals and told to stop making accusations of people by name at the meeting.

He neglected to bring up last November's mayoral election.  Councilwoman Beth Mason's street money was all over the Hoboken Housing Authority.  Somehow that didn't get a mention.  Mason told the Hudson Reporter earlier this year she would conduct a self-investigation on the matter but hasn't said a word publicly about it since.

Related: Claire Moses at Hoboken Patch filed confirming more details of how the criminal referrals have grown from the initial four items to the whole 'kit and kaboodle.'

Katie Colaneri at the Jersey Journal adds her first hand report quoting Councilman Ravi Bhalla on the criminal developments, "It really allows law enforcement professionals to act as a fresh set of eyes."

Beth Mason supporter, Mike Novak attack Grafix Avenger

Following Councilman Mike Russo's declaration of war calling Nancy Pincus, a Jewish local resident anti Semitic and "using anti Semitic imagery," for a graphic with only a vague similarity to a 1934 pro-Nazi movie poster, the battle to clear an additional zoning board position depicting Councilwoman Beth Mason as a victim of "hate" as Russo says is escalating, moving ahead on multiple fronts.

A known Beth Mason supporter and financial backer, Larry Stempler sits on the board of a national Jewish organization, that is also attacking Nancy Pincus, a sitting Zoning Board member who lost family in the Holocaust - this posted just earlier on her website Grafix Avenger.

Although Beth Mason still has avoided comment publicly, a blitzkrieg like assault is underway on her behalf, with the initially staged presentation by her ubermensch "friend," Lane Bajardi. At the City Council meeting Monday, Bajardi unleashed a prepared speech with a screed of denunciations accusing Nancy Pincus of calling Beth Mason "a Nazi," and was almost screaming about Pincus' "fascism" in a tirade that surpassed his earlier attacks.

At an earlier April Board of Education meeting where the school attorney interjected during Bajardi's comments, stating the police could throw him out for his out of order behavior, he insisted on attacking Pincus for another graphic he railed incessantly against to any reporter who would listen during the Board of Education race. *

Plenty of shilling but not one Nazi insignia anywhere
No Nazi insignia of any kind appears in the graphic Bajardi and Councilman Russo have declared intolerable for her to remain in her current seat on the Hoboken Zoning Board. The only similarity in the graphic is gothic style lettering. The attacks are being waged many local political observers suggest to obtain a decisive Zoning Board tilt in favor of a big pro-development camp.

Mike Novak, a Hoboken resident who ran with ex-mayor Peter Cammarano for a City Council seat and supporter and fund raiser for Councilman Tim Occhipinti has also entered the fray attacking Nancy Pincus as a mayoral appointment and in two twitter posts:

Mike Novak was corrected for his misstatement Zoning Board appointees are made by the mayor. Dan Bryan, the mayor's confidential aide replied in a twitter to Novak, "When you finish drinking, look up the law. Council appoints zoning board not mayor."

The City Council does make all appointments in a vote since in one of her first actions, Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer surrendered the appointment powers to the City Council fulfilling a campaign pledge out of the gate.

Mike Novak is a former zoning board member known for giving out numerous variances developers typically seek in their proposals. One current member of the Hoboken Zoning Board who requested anonymity described his actions doing so as similar to "handing out candy." Novak is believed to be again seeking a zoning board slot and and possibly considering another run for the City Council in the First Ward seat currently occupied by Terry Castellano.

Talking Ed Note: Councilwoman Beth Mason was contacted for this story. She has typically not responded to email requests but if she does, this story will be updated.

Earlier today at the Board of Elections, Lane Bajardi insinuated support for the big pro-developer Zoning Board nominations the Russo's have been known to favor telling reporters Ray Smith from the Hudson Reporter and Claire Moses of Hoboken Patch, "The pendulum has swung too far the other way."

Although the evidence of the Zoning Board actually doesn't support that dubious claim, it's clear the party line is established and the fight to bring back the old guard big pro-developer candidates to the Hoboken Zoning Board should be expected.

Lane Bajardi who turned his back on reform led by the mayor's coalition is currently allied with the Russo clan and not only following that party line, he's advancing it even before a single person has been officially put into nomination for the upcoming open Zoning Board positions.

In the interim, the escalation to try to free up another critical swing seat looks to be the immediate focus of the new Russo-Mason council majority.  That and wielding anti Semitism charges against a woman who runs a small website with mostly light hearted satire and family stories.  The same woman, Nancy Pincus lost family in the Holocaust but the craven lust for power and money trumps all for this majority out of the gate.  If the politics of personal destruction serve that end, so much the better to intimidate others, using the same tactics among a very small group of character assassins.


Tim Occhipinti who declared his integrity and "independence" saying he would work with Mayor Zimmer has already voted against the Corner Cars parking spots continuation in his first council meeting, one of the most popularly praised new transportation programs in the United States. He's expected to vote against initiatives advancing the mayor's agenda and vote to rubber stamp pro-developer zoning nominations the Russo family favors. Michelle Russo profited handsomely from real estate fees acting as the exclusive agent on many large scale properties in the past.

* The out of order behavior at the BoE meeting followed Bajardi's assault and robbery on your host here at the BoE Stevens forum just a day earlier. After a complaint was filed, Bajardi filed a cross complaint claiming he was the victim of assault and knocked into the auditorium seating injuring his hip.

He was seen the very next day quite ambulatory pacing rapidly all over the BoE conference room handing out his pre-printed flyers

The more you know...

Alleged crimes anticipated for handoff at Board of Elections in Jersey City today

With all the posturing and shilling going on this week to seize control of the Hoboken Zoning Board, it's easy to forget there's a big show in Jersey City later today at 4:00.

On tap, the Tim Occhipinti campaign will be facing the music on what is expected to be multiple criminal referrals to the County prosecutor.

MSV believes there is going to be something more than technical difficulties.  At the City Council meeting Monday night, one person very actively working on Tim Occhipinti's campaign came over complaining about our taking pictures during the meeting saying "I had a bad day."

Is it connected to what transpires later today?  Horse Sense believes it very well may be.

MSV intends to attend the Wednesday Board of Elections meeting in Jersey City and encourages other concerned Hoboken residents to do so.

When: Wednesday at 4:00 pm

Where: Hudson County Board of Elections, Hudson County Plaza, 257 Cornelison Ave. 4th floor - Jersey City

Why: The subject of fraud in Hoboken's 4th ward special election earlier this month

For those who can't attend, MSV plans to tape the entire proceedings.
It will also be broadcast live here.

Above is the video taken of the Tim Occhipinti campaign's midnight meeting after  word began spreading electoral fraud investigators were seen asking questions earlier that day in the Hoboken Housing Authority.

MSV just saw earlier the video was missing from YouTube and apparently, the Occhipinti people don't want more people watching it.  So, here it is for your viewing pleasure starring, Tim Occhipinti, Councilman Mike Russo, Michelle "five-dollars-a-tow" Russo, Beth Mason political operative James Barracato of Weehawken aka Fin Boy, campaign manager Jamie Cryan and Lane Bajardi.

Guest of the Stable: InfotainMe

A few thoughts for those seeking kinder, gentler reform in the wake of this latest round of council theatre…

I first heard the expression in my early teens from my friend Bruce’s uncle, the cool one who was an inventor and sometimes drove us to concerts in Chicago.  Well, cool to us maybe, not so much to the rest of Bruce’s abundantly self-conscious Swedish immigrant family who thought Keith a ne’er-do-well and a standing reproach to the propriety of the entire clan.  They were tormented by his lack of a ‘real’ profession not to mention a wife, and also by the massive re-imagined peach Chrysler in which he had logged a somehow indecent 200,000 miles.

Describing one of his failed attempts at humor at a family gathering, he told Bruce and me that it went over “like a turd in a punchbowl.”  A what?

I simply could not stop laughing.  Racking, helpless laughter, the kind that makes you need to hold onto something.  Anyone who has read anything of mine knows I have a childish and gratuitous sense of humor.  But I was no match for that one.  A turd in a punchbowl.  The very awfulness of it in the face of all that we associated with punchbowls.  I don’t think my family even had a punchbowl.  Not in our $8000 GI Bill tract house.

Sometime after that incident I remember an interview with the then-edgy young comic Eddie Murphy, who was in the PC cross-hairs for making fun of Stevie Wonder.  He was asked, “How will you know when you’ve gone too far.”  He thought for a moment and said, “Because it won’t be funny.”  Perfect answer. 

This is the baggage I bring to the Hoboken’s prolonged swirl over a graphic depiction of this triumphantly low-brow metaphor during the school board race. 

At the time the graphic was a response to the Real Results ticket kvetching over an elsewise well-received budget reduction that was achieved despite state cut-backs.  Real Results was the proverbial buzz-kill, party-pooper, aka, turd in the punchbowl. 

Let me pause here and ask if anyone didn’t understand that to begin with?  Had you not heard that admittedly coarse turn of phrase before and understood how it was being applied to the case of Real Results (must think of expression other than pooh-poohing…) …dismissing… dismissing the budget feat of Kids First? 

The reason I’m asking is that we allowed that incident be re-defined as something hateful and exploited by a small cadre of agenda-driven Zimmer-hating cynics, figure-headed as always, by Lane Bajardi.  And here we are, later in the same year, sitting back and letting Mr. Bajardi lecture us on human decency, the holocaust, Nazis, and Hitler.  Lane Bajardi.  Lane effing Bajardi.

Had you, at other times in life, felt you needed his moral compass to guide you?  Were you helped by his notion that appointees to non-salaried board positions forfeit their rights to free speech?  You can visit 411 just now and discover that they also forfeit their rights to keep their home address and phone number unpublished.  On the blogs I note the tireless refrain about public officials “being held to a higher standard.”  I haven’t heard a word, though, about GA’s actual performance as a public official.  Should I wait?  Will you need to hear from Mr. Bajardi first before you weigh in?

And to what “higher standard” are we referring?  Is there something more GA should do for the community?  Should she give more time, energy, imagination, or passion?  More gratis support?  Oh, please say – you all seem so certain. 

And didn’t the council seem to welcome Mr. Bajardi’s …guidance.  Perhaps it will become a regular feature.  Maybe we can have a new segment called Saved by Lane, where Mr. Bajardi in flowing clerical robes explains the fine points of upright living to a rapt and shrinking council minority.  What did we ever do without him….  Oh why can’t all websites deal only in truth and the fair treatment of citizens like 411 which has never been thus dragged before the council…

No, I am not my usual jokey self today.   I’m pretty disgusted.  This is about what you’d expect from Bajardi and Mason - ambushes and character assassination.  The breathtaking hypocrisy of Hoboken 411 is likewise a known quantity.  It is up to this lost tribe called reform to expect it and deal with it.  More importantly, it is up to this lost tribe called reform not to let its own be ground into powder for sport by people who lack any ethics beyond what they can get away with from one minute to the next.

This woman gives us her all.  And you sit there behind your desks and judge the font.  Screw you.

I have few ties to reform beyond a shared sense of direction, and this is why when push comes to shove, you’ll let appearances dictate and principles wait.  And cede the floor to two people who care about nothing beyond the appearance of being principled.  And you already knew that.  And still you watched, listened, found ways to agree, committed to look into it more fully later.

Yes, you do that.  Here’s something else you can look into, though you don’t have to. 

I do not have a dime or a calorie of effort to spend on a candidate who does not offer a full-throated denunciation of this attack on Ms Pincus, free speech, and common sense.

My advice to my dear friend was simple.  Mail them a picture of your middle finger and resign.  Hopefully for your sakes, she’s less pissed off than I am. 

Enjoy the punch, I made it special.

Talking Ed Note: InfotainMe is a keen observer of Hoboken's scene and someone who loves his town but has declined to make available his identity for this guest of the stable piece. As such, his name, address and phone number will not be available for posting/targeting by the boys of hate, Perry Lame at Hoboken411.

The video above is taken from the April BoE meeting where Lane Bajardi first goes jihad on Nancy Pincus. It's notable this appearance was just a day after the BoE conference at Stevens where people witnessed his surprise assault and robbery of a camera on your host here at MSV.

Sadly, there's not much respect for the free speech of others.  Note Bajardi's closing remarks before the cops are called in by the BoE attorney to throw him out: "Congratulations on silencing speech."

Proving once again, truth is stranger than fiction or in this case hypocrisy.