Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mike Russo goes Politrickin

With the news of the State rejecting the Hoboken Board of Education's proposed Superintendent salary of $175,000 per year revealed earlier, questions arise concerning some dubious statements made at the end of the December 1st City Council meeting by Councilman Mike Russo on the subject of the salary.

Here is Mike Russo in all his politrickin glory throwing chum out to the "budget hawks," as he describes himself.  There's only one problem - none of it is true.

I hate when that happens.

Happy New Politrickin Year Mike Russo!  We're sure this is only the beginning of what is in store for Hoboken with your ally Beth Mason set to seize the crown of Council President.

Politrickin, it's all politrickin friends as Mike Russo would say.

Hospital Board meeting rescheduled to January 4th in the new year

The HMHA announces:

Delays in Public Notice Advertising Due to Weather Causes
Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority Meeting to be Rescheduled for January 4, 2011

Hoboken, New Jersey – The Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority ("HMHA") has rescheduled its meeting that was previously planned for Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. The new date for the meeting is Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. The meeting will take place at the Hoboken University Medical Center ("Hospital") in Assumption Hall.

Public notice advertisements were submitted to the Star-Ledger and the Jersey Journal by the appropriate deadlines to have public notice published 48 hours prior to the December 30, 2010 meeting date, and the public notice did successfully run in the Star-Ledger. A public notice did not appear in the Jersey Journal as scheduled, due to logistical issues potentially resulting from the snowstorm.

The HMHA decided to postpone the meeting to ensure all interested parties receive proper public notice and to ensure the widest participation in the HMHA's ongoing process to privatize the Hospital. Accordingly, the HMHA elected to reschedule the meeting for Tuesday, January 4, 2011.

Towing operation on Willow St. - residents advised to move vehicles

City of Hoboken announces:


Residents are advised that towing to remove vehicles parked along Willow Avenue between 4th Street and 11th Street will begin at 6:30pm on Wednesday, December 29th. The decision to tow vehicles was made jointly between Police Chief Falco, Fire Chief Blohm, and Mayor Zimmer to ensure that the emergency route leading to the Hoboken University Medical Center is clear.

The City will be looking up the license plates of all parked vehicles and attempting to contact all affected residents.

In addition to providing discounted garage parking in Municipal Garages B & D, Mayor Dawn Zimmer has been working to arrange other parking options to permit residents to park off-street in order to facilitate the removal of snow along parking lanes.

The parking lot at the Connors School (201 Monroe Street) is available for resident parking on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 5:30 pm. A Parking Utility employee will be directing cars.

Also, after 5:00 pm, residents may park overnight until 8:00 am in the parking lot of the CVS located at 811 Clinton Street.

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Mayor Zimmer: Blizzard talk

City of Hoboken announces:


I am incredibly thankful to all the City employees who worked so hard to get our City moving again after we were hit by one of the worst storms in 100 years. For days on end they’ve been working long shifts and overnight hours, and for that I especially want to thank Environmental Services, the Police Department, the Fire Department, the Parking Utility, and the Office of Emergency Management. I also want to thank our residents -- all the Good Samaritans who helped a neighbor dig out, who helped push a stranger’s car, or who directed traffic when other cars got stuck in the road. This may have been one of the worst storms in recent Hoboken history, but it brought out the very best in our community.

Cleanup Continues
The process to clean up our City continues, and while that is happening, I will also be evaluating what went right and what changes we need to make in order to make sure that we respond as quickly as possible in the future. I recognize that parking is an incredibly difficult situation. We have had crews working overnight to clear snow from the sides of the street for parking, including the south half of Washington Streetand 14th Street. We are bringing in more heavy equipment to continue that process throughout the night. Crews will be cleaning up areas throughout the City where there are empty spaces in order to provide more parking spaces, and residents can help in this process by parking off the street in garages or private lots if possible.

Parking Arrangements for Residents
Under these extenuating circumstances, residents with a valid resident parking permit may park in Garages B (28 2nd Street) and D (215 Hudson Street) on a first-come first served-basis for the discounted rate of $5 through 8am on Monday morning. Additional parking alternatives for residents are currently being arranged which will shortly be announced on the City website, and through the press. Finally, I ask that residents who have information that may help us as we evaluate the response to the blizzard to contact me by emailing Thank you for your patience during this challenging time.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer

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Guest of the Stable: The Jolly Green Giant on the Blizzard

With all the pixels spilled on the blizzard's impact on Hoboken, MSV decided to hijack the points posted in the comments here by the Jolly Green Giant - Kurt Gardiner of the Hoboken Journal as he methodically balances out first hand accounts with additional background.

In fact, MSV doesn't know anyone who invested as much time out on the streets as THJ and it shows with the excellent photo essay he posted yesterday.  When not taking pictures, the giant was working with other Hoboken residents pushing out dozens of cars stuck in all points of town.  A City Hall source indicated dozens of vehicles were stuck all over town and creating a logjam of problems for the plows to clear the streets.  THJ noted one problem of a vehicle on upper Park in his pictorial as well with Councilman Peter Cunningham working to get it removed.

Based on the reports in Jersey City and the problems in NYC, it appears the people driving were a major factor in making things far more difficult as cars were stuck and then abandoned all over the place.  The State of Emergency called in Hoboken was ignored by those drivers who expected their vehicles would get through the snow.

Hoboken fared far better overall with operational normalcy within 24 hours.  The best comparable storm - 1996, shut down Hoboken over days.  Back then, Mayor Anthony Russo prevented cars from even driving into town while snow was removed from the streets and dumped into the Hudson River, an EPA violation.

The Jolly Green Giant offers some Paul Bunyanesque insights and suggestion on the  blizzard.

I gave the City a C minus on Hoboken Patch for its snow removal efforts. The best possible grade any city could get would be a B anyway given the amount of snow that fell and the wind. The timing of the storm being on a holiday weekend did not help either. 

Sure the City could do better. Should we hire more people back to sit around and wait for the big storm every 15 years? Most tax payers would not like that option. 

Areas for improvement: 

1) More plows sooner 
There intially was a subcontractor for plowing and they could not keep up due to the heavy volume. The solution was to bring in more plows with another contractor and the City did but perhaps not soon enough. Had the storm been only 12 inches they probably would have been able to keep up. Bam, one area that can be improved. 

2) Fire Mile Square Towing 
This vendor was not up to the job and did not have their plows running fast enough. In one case they showed up with the wrong kind of truck. The performance of Mile Square Towing appears to be a breach of contract and that led clogged up many sections of Park Avenue as well as between 8th and 9th and Bloomfield. Say bye bye to Mikie Squared Towing Company and results will be better next time. 

3) Get businesses to cooperate rather than have Mike Novak using his position of Chamber of Commerce President to slam Zimmer. 

While Mike Novak was twittering away some businesses were doing a great job removing snow from the sidewalks and others were not or could not. Understandable. Mike Novak didn't offer anything but negative twittering and Facebooking. Other business leaders need to step up and work with the City to help clean the sidewalks better next time. Mike Novak's leadership is not up to snuff and a bunch of stiff drinks won't improve that situation any either. 

And finally 4) Get people to not drive in the first 24 hours. Jersey City ambulances did their part to clog Hoboken streets. At least 4 emergency vehicles were stuck from JC and none had snow tires. Many other drivers without 4WD and even with 4WD got stuck. Juan Melli wasn't bullshitting that this caused problems with snow removal. I saw it first hand and either single handedly or with help pushed out dozens of cars that were stuck. I may not agree with Carmelo Garcia on politics but he was helping push cars out too rather than twittering negativity and offering no solutions like Mike Novak. Many other fine Hoboken and non-Hoboken residents helped as well but the sheer number of cars getting stuck was really hindering plowing efforts. I saw this first hand.  Trying to get to Carlos bakery is not essential transport. Those people should have not been on the road. 
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NJ rejects Hoboken BoE Superintendent contract

After weeks of catch-22 wrangling, the State rejected the Superintendent contract proposed between the Hoboken Board of Education and Dr. Mark Toback.

New regulations come into place in February but the Hoboken Board of Education attempted to sign Dr. Toback to a maximum length contract of more than four years beyond the established guideline of $155,000.  For more than a month a cat and mouse game with legal maneuvering took place with the State not providing a clear answer of any kind on the contract extended to fill the Hoboken Superintendent position.

Although the amount of the contract on an annual basis has not been made public, Claire Moses of Hoboken Patch references one unnamed source the contract does exceed the $155,000 threshold for Hoboken.  The amount however is nowhere near the amount stated by Councilman Mike Russo at a City Council meeting earlier this month.   A BoE source close to the negotiation rejected his assertion as false without disclosing the actual proposed contact.  To Russo's urging the BoE contract should be opposed as it was excessive with an annual salary of $225,000, no one inside or outside of the Hoboken BoE has put forward information making such a suggestion.

Previous to the State ruling, Mayor Zimmer wrote a letter to Gov. Christie asking for assistance in Hoboken's unique situation to fill the open Superintendent position.

Dr. Mark Toback is currently discussing terms with the Hoboken BoE apparently in the hopes to reach an agreement by the January 11th BoE meeting.

The Hoboken BoE is not considering further legal action at the moment.

Comment requested from two BoE members was not available at the time of publication.

For the full story: 

Related: Katie Colaneri posted her story this morning for the Jersey Journal.  Notable in the article is the BoE attorney praising Dr. Mark Toback for continuing to work with the district through the state impasse.

Update: One commenter notes he was told the contract was for $250,000 per year.  MSV will have to go back and check the City Council tape as Councilman Russo definitely claimed it was over $200,000.  He did not name any source to his claim.

Update 2: Claire Moses sent out a twitter noting the contract presented to Mark Taback and the NJ Department of Education was for $175,000, far lower than claimed by Councilman Mike Russo.