Monday, February 28, 2011

1st ward candidate Eric Kurta at the new office launch - 'Pitch in as much as you can'



Here is Eric Kurta - the long time community activist and good government fighter who has tossed his hat into the ring for Hoboken's 1st ward race in May.

Eric's role in People for Open Government and most recently as a board member on the Hoboken University Hospital Authority only begins to tell a story of doing big things to make Hoboken a better place.

The crowd here lets you know it.  Eric asks for people to do everything they can.  He has.
Begin by stopping by Eric's facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/KurtaForCouncil

Then dive in: http://www.kurtaforcouncil.com/index.php?page=display&id=1

Stop in  and learn more about the 1st and 4th ward  candidates at the new office located on 1st and Willow Street.

4th Ward Candidate Rami Pinchevsky kicks off new office opening - 'We need your help'



Rami Pinchevsky sounds the official kickoff for Hoboken's 4th ward City Council seat with the two would be officeholders, the other being Eric Kurta welcoming a big crowd at their new campaign office of First and Willow St.

The office opening was extremely energetic with a strong crowd of supporters enthusiastic to take on the challenge of winning this May.

You can tell from the crowd response; there's a clear groundswell of energy to take the 4th ward seat.  Rami Pinchevsky hits a lot of the right notes here and asks for support to make it happen.

Rami's website is available now: Ramiforcouncil.com

City reminders and updates...

UPDATES AND REMINDERS FROM CITY HALL

Light Poles
In response to an incident with a dog in Church Square Park, the City has checked all light poles in the park and is working with PSE&G to check all light poles in the City. Unfortunately, numerous plates from the light poles have been stolen, and the City is working to have new plates made with a locking system for the protection of allHoboken residents and pets. Caution tape has been placed on light poles with open plates which are of concern and will be fully repaired as soon as possible. If residents see light poles with open plates, please report them to Environmental Services at 201-420-2049.

Property Tax Reminder
Residents are reminded that in the fall of 2010, they received a tax bill for three quarters along with the corresponding due dates. This was due to the change from a fiscal year budget to a calendar year budget. In addition to the tax bill for the 4th quarter of 2010, there is also a stub for February 1st, 2011 due on or before February 10, 2011 and another for May 1st, 2011 due on or before May 10th, 2011. Residents may check their tax calculations online at http://www.hobokennj.org/proptaxes. The last day to pay before the tax sale is April 7, 2011.

Sidewalk Café Opening
April 1st will be the first day of sidewalk café seating. The Administration had hoped to have a new Ordinance in place that would have allowed a mid-March opening, but it has not been adopted by the City Council. Therefore, the dates and times of operation will remain as they were last year.

Applications for 2011 café licenses will be available from the Zoning Office for restaurant and food establishment owners and operators beginning March 1, 2011.

St. Patrick’s Day
Law enforcement will again be enforcing a zero tolerance policy on various violations including consumption of alcohol/open container in public, urinating in public, maintaining a nuisance (disorderly and unsafe house parties), disorderly conduct & improper behavior. Fines of up to $2,000 plus community service will be issued.

Residents may download and post a zero-tolerance flyer and a letter from Chief Falco from the City website:


Additional information for residents and visitors is available on the City website at http://www.hobokennj.org/stpatricksday.


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City announces meeting for Observer Highway Upgrades

OBSERVER HIGHWAY COMPLETE STREET RE-DESIGN COMMUNITY MEETING SCHEDULED FOR MARCH 3rd



Illustration credit: Sravya Garladenne

The public is invited to the second community meeting to provide input on the redesign of Observer Highway. The meeting will take place on Thursday, March 3rd from 6-8pm in the conference room in the basement of City Hall, 94 Washington Street.

The City of Hoboken has $2 million in federal funding to improve Observer Highway which was secured by Senator Robert Menendez.

“With this funding, we have an opportunity to transform Observer Highway into ‘Observer Boulevard’ and create a more welcoming gateway to our City and a safer street for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

On August 17th, 2010, the first “Observer Highway Safety Re-Design Community Workshop” was held where the public provided input on the redesign for Observer Highway. Based on that feedback, engineers and planners have developed three alternative designs which will be presented for additional public input at the upcoming meeting.


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Grist for the Mill: BoE's Carmelo Garcia and Maureen Sullivan in political romance?

Last week at the downtown Dunkin Donuts two people not of ideological breakfast and educational purity were spotted sharing sweet nothings over coffee.  Both are elected officials on the Hoboken Board of Education: Maureen Sullivan and Carmelo Garcia the latter also doubles as the Executive Director of the Hoboken Housing Authority.

What was the topic of discussion?  At post time, a call was not returned from Carmelo Garcia and Maureen Sullivan is persona non grata in these parts for her unfortunate position leading into last year's BoE election -"No interviews or questions, please see my 2:00 am blog posts for all you need to know."

Were the two discussing a unified ticket to take down the BoE led moms of Kids First?  As odd as that may appear to some, the Maureen Sullivan brand of Real Results fared badly in a three ticket race last year and would not do much better this year considering their leader voted with Kids First well over 95% of the time and as a minority BoE member has brought no detailed vision to the table to present as a platform.

Last spring Maureen Sullivan articulated slashing costs while consistently refusing to state an amount let alone where cuts should be made through an entire election cycle.  Nothing changed from that blank rhetorical platform this past year while her small band of Lonegan Republicans crow she is the next coming of Ronald Reagan.  Those who fell for the pitch, some Hoboken Revolt folks among them failed to see the local parallel to Beth Mason's exact repetitive song on the City Council: talk big on budgets/cost reductions, never roll up your sleeves and do the real work and never put anything significantly tangible on the table in the way of cuts.  (One outsourcing custodian proposal is not significant.)

The Academy Awards were last night and last year Councilwoman Beth Mason said Council people should stay out and not politicize the BoE race, a policy she repeated from the previous year.  Then not dissimilar to last November's 4th ward council race, a late check arrives unbeknownst to the public.  In Maureen Sullivan's case, it was a perfectly legal family donation to Real Results for $5,700.  Will a local reporter get Beth Mason to repeat her stated "policy" again on staying out of the BoE race?  MSV received that word last year but didn't issue Beth her 2010 award for Best Campaign Funding Fib in a Lonegan BoE Performance.

Back to our Dunkin Donuts breakfast romance, what would a Maureen-Carmelo ticket exactly look like?  One big arena of chatter - aligning the charter schools is all the rage, but uniting them under a Maureen-Carmelo ticket wouldn't be so simple considering a rather large annoyance of disparate rents paid among those schools.  Hoboken Charter pays a real one and HoLa has a sweetheart deal at the Boys & Girls club with a rumored paltry $50,000 annual rent.  Who owns the Boys & Girls Club cutting such a deal again?  (Surely Tim Occhipinti would fix that meager sum to obtain needed funds to keep the pool open longer in the summer? He's probably correcting that oversight right now.  Okay stop laughing.)

Perhaps what Sullivan and Garica have in mind is to join forces in a non-agression pact against Kids First if they don't pull off one ticket.  Let's see what the next 2:00 am blogging cycle brings.  We're sure Maureen is dying to tell us.

Tim Occhipinti, occupier of the 4th ward council seat who deemed it criminal for street money to appear on an ELEC report showed his true colors later setting a record for it himself.  Along with his Hudson County leading avalanche and Hoboken ward record of paper ballots, Tim Occho-corrupto is far from done showing his political brand of continuous flagrant hypocrisy.  He's seeking "re-election" and using an interesting source to identify new sources of green: Jersey City's Steve Fulop.  A mailing list appears to have gone out to all local businesses and contributors from the perennial Jersey City "reformer" who happens to work in the same company in Manhattan as Mason-Russo's rubber stamp.  (Yes that would be "independent" Tim Occhipinti.)

Fulop's address book appears to be the source of a recent mailer where Tim Occhipinti asks for a PAC contributions of up to $8,200.  Hey why ask for a lowly $2,600 individual contribution limit when the PACman is dying to fulfill your wishes for a mere $8,200.  The good thing about selling out your family name (and the Hoboken community) is you only have to do it once.  Then it's just rinse, repeat.  Just follow the instructions written out for you word for word in your binder Tim.

People may want to consider sending a love note to "reformer" Steve Fulop, the Hoboken interloper who brought this plague on Hoboken flipping the 5-4 council majority and will of the people.  Maybe Hobokenites should fund a similar paper ballot "invisible army" of 'campaign workers' against him when he runs for mayor in Jersey City.  A karmic thank you being the best retort of all.  From all of us here in Hoboken, Fhank you Fulop.

The Jersey Journal's Augie Torres posted a puff piece on Councilman Mike Russo and his new softer, nicer rebranding pr campaign image.  Nothing of substance appears in the story on the goings on of Russo in the City Council where he's terrorized Hoboken people (and his colleagues) in countless ways with almost every appearance.

One of Mike Russo's most memorable moments was his fight against an investigation (and the truth) of the almost seven figures in missing quarters in the Parking Utility coming out.  Councilman Peter Cunningham's lament - "For God's sake... there's money going out the back door," was met with steely indifference and worse by Russo, his cousin councilwoman Terry Castellano among other Old Guard council members.  They couldn't have done it though without the Russo clan but hey that's history.  As Councilwoman Terry said THREE times to a public inquiry on the matter, "It's been resolved," no need to look there.  The mob connected NJ arcade vendor specializing in Hoboken quarters collection wishes to give a big shout out of thanks to Mike and Terry.  With their aid, they almost got away with it.

Russo has made up for his quarters suppressing effort since.  His attacks on the superb professional efforts of Director Ian Sacs over months have been so nasty, it was obvious he wanted to bully him into quitting.  He must really miss old pal former Parking Utility Director John Corea.  Speaking of criminals, anyone hear from Corea lately?  If only his theft (and its revelation) remained a Mike Russo finance committee on paper only "mistake," as the Councilman called it, nothing more would have happened and John Corea might still be Hoboken's Parking Utility Director.  (Mayor Zimmer got in the way of that though before law enforcement came on the scene.)

Russo can expect ironclad support from his Church Towers neighbors who admire the Soprano State antics along with their rent subsidies in the 3rd ward election this May.  But what about all those new 3rd ward residents?



6th ward council candidate Jen Giattino was feted at a local meet and greet Sunday of local moms.  Councilman Nino Giacchi, the long time 6th ward incumbent has nothing to fear from some Hoboken moms.  He's family friendly, always gentlemanly and beloved by ward residents who don't have a clue how he votes in lockstep with the Mason-Russo cabal.  They forgave him for supporting Peter Cammarano and never publicly saying a critical word about the scandal a long time ago.  Or have they?

On to 5th Ward Council race news: The final entries are not in for the ward as incumbent Councilman Peter Cunningham seeks another term.  City historian Lenny Luizzi announced his intention to run and others are not declared but at least one if not two are most definitely jumping into the fray.  An inquiry to one candidate led to a non-denial on MSV's sources.  The field is not complete.  Is the past about to repeat itself?

Video clip based on a compilation via EdMecka.com

Grist for the Mill is a rumor column but it meets an even higher standard than some news in these parts.  Got a juicy carrot for Da Horsey?  Send it to smartyjones@me.com.  

City offers free parking for residents in flood areas

Free Garage Parking For Residents In Flood Prone Areas

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for our area. As a result of the forecast for heavy rain and potential flooding, the City of Hoboken is providing free parking in a municipal Garage B (located on 2nd Street between Hudson and River streets) through Monday, February 28 at 8pm for residents who reside in flood prone areas and have a valid Resident parking permit or Temporary parking permit placard.

Residents who wish to extend their stay in the garage and who have a parking permit decal or Temporary parking permit placard are reminded that overnight parking (8pm to 8am) is available at a rate of $5.00. This rate is available in Garages B, D and Midtown every day of the year.

A map of flood-prone areas is available on the City website: http://www.hobokennj.org/departments/environmental-services/storm-flood-zones/

Sunday, February 27, 2011

WSJ columnist John Fund returns to Hoboken as honored guest at ROH dinner

Beth Takes Hoboken - by checkbook

Mason killed real campaign finance reform


Dear Editor:

Last week, the Hoboken City Council considered two proposed ordinances relating to our city’s campaign finance laws. The first was sponsored by Councilman Peter Cunningham and his colleague, Councilman Ravi Bhalla. It was designed to strengthen and fine-tune the existing Pay to Play law, making it far more effective in stopping the unethical practice known as “wheeling.”

(Wheeling refers to the laundering of campaign contributions through political committees to circumvent the very intent of the Pay to Play and campaign finance laws. Currently, a loophole exists that allows a shrewd political opportunist bent on buying influence to donate five times more than the legal limit of $2,600 to a candidate, and still “technically” not break the law.)

Strangely enough, Council President Mason, who has long claimed to be an advocate of transparency in government and campaign finance reform, actually prevented Councilman Cunningham from taking the floor to explain the need to close this loophole, and prohibited him from speaking on behalf of more openness in government. Beth Mason personally spearheaded the defeat of this strong “anti-wheeling” ordinance, which was rejected through her strident efforts by a margin of 5 - 4, with Mason herself responsible for casting the deciding vote against this crucial good government measure.

Only then, as Council President, did she allow her colleagues to consider a weakened version that did not contain the tough anti-wheeling revisions.

Even more questionable, Mason then brazenly sent an E-mail to constituents and paid for an ad in the Hoboken Reporter to try to take personal credit for the passage of the uncontroversial Pay to Play provisions that were actually based on the outstanding work of People for Open Government, and had the support of everyone on the City Council, as well as the strong endorsement of the Zimmer Administration. Mason made no mention whatsoever about the anti-wheeling legislation that she worked so hard to keep from passing.

True transparency is being open and honest about who you are, who you are really allied with, and what you really believe. Actions speak louder than words. And Ms. Mason’s actions make it appear that while she is fond of using such words as “transparency” she does not apply the same standards to herself that she demands of others.

Transparency means openness, communication, accountability, and being able to clearly see through something. Like seeing through cellophane. Apparently though, Mason’s idea of transparency is like looking through linoleum. And while it is impossible to see through linoleum, anyone following last week’s proceedings of the City Council can easily see through the self-serving machinations of Beth Mason.

The people of Hoboken deserve a Council President, and the residents of the Second Ward deserve a Council Member who will respect basic democratic principles and follow a protocol of fairness towards all of their colleagues, as well as towards all citizens, who chose to speak up on behalf of good government and political reform.

Tom Greaney,
Second Ward Council Candidate


The above letter originally appears in the Hudson Reporter

Friday, February 25, 2011

6th ward candidate Jen Giattino launches new campaign website

Jen Giattino the 6th ward City Council candidate challenging long time incumbent Nino Giacchi launched her new campaign website.


Here's a bit from the website on Jen:

Entrepreneur and local businesswoman Jen Giattino today announced that she is running to represent Hoboken’s 6th Ward.
“Hoboken has made a lot of progress in the past year and a half but there is much more work to be done. I look forward to working constructively as a member of the Council and focusing on solutions, not politics,” Giattino said.
A former specialist at a major brokerage firm and current real estate sales associate, Giattino is the founder and President of Fun Well Done, a web-based business that markets education arts and crafts projects for kids.
She was instrumental in creating the uptown Farmer’s Market and the Community Supported Agriculture program at the United Synagogue of Hoboken. She also spearheaded a free goods exchange program that allows local organizations to recycle items and thereby reduce waste.
A dedicated mother of three, Giattino coordinated the after-school Arts and Open Play Program at Calabro Primary School and for the past three summers she has run Hoboken’s popular Art in the Park Program.
Committed to helping Hoboken’s residents in need and promoting the importance of volunteerism in our schools and among our youth, Giattino helped create LOTS (Lunch on Thursday) which encourages parents to send their children to school with an extra lunch every Thursday. The extra lunch is then donated to neighbors at the Hoboken Homeless Shelter. LOTS now provides more than 100 lunches each week and involves three schools and St. Peter and Paul’s CCD camp.
“As someone who spent years in the business world, I know firsthand the importance of fiscal responsibility and holding the line on taxes,” Giattino said. “My goal is to ensure that Hoboken remains a great place to raise a family.”
The new website can be found at: http://jenforcitycouncil.com/

BREAKING: Mayor Zimmer announces additional 5% tax cut, savings on agreement with police unions

Mayor Dawn Zimmer issued a letter to the Hoboken City Council announcing her budget proposal with an additional tax cut of 5% for this fiscal year.

In addition, an agreement with the Police Unions will save an additional $700,000 over the previous plan proposed by Fiscal Monitor Judy Tripodi.  Compared to the fiscal monitor's proposed collective bargaining agreement, an additional savings of $200,000 annually is expected moving forward.  The savings are a comparison including the necessary retroactive pay to the police who have operated without a contract the last several years.

A political battle has been brewing for months on how to treat the budget surplus, even as the figure was politicized with an inaccurate $20 million figure being stated by Council members Beth Mason and Tim Occhipinti in the last budget.  The budget surplus in this fiscal year reached $14.7 million and last year's totaled $10 million after two million was returned as part of Mayor Zimmer's initial 5% tax cut.

As Hoboken heads into council ward elections this May, a game of chicken was being played out with the Mayor asking the Council what figure they had in mind to retain.  Beth Mason refused to answer saying in an earlier letter the mayor was charged with presenting a budget.

Mayor Zimmer is now looking to deliver a full 10% tax cut to Hoboken taxpayers while finalizing a union agreement with the police unions.

Now that budget is on the table for the next Council meeting Wednesday night, Hoboken will see what value the City Council can bring.  Two workshops are scheduled for March but there's been no discussion or proposal of additional cuts to provide any substantial savings.

The letter and City Council documents for next Wednesday's meeting are available at the City of Hoboken website:
http://www.hobokennj.org/council/council-documents-2011/


Mayor's Budget Letter 2-25-11

BREAKING: Hoboken Democratic Party assails illegal fundraiser, points to Maurice Fitzgibbons

 The Hoboken Democratic Party announces:

HOBOKEN DEMOCRATIC PARTY
DISAPPOINTED IN PLANNED
ILLEGAL FUNDRAISING EVENT COORDINATED
BY THE FORMER CHAIR OF THE HOBOKEN DEMOCRATIC PARTY


The Hoboken Democratic Party is surprised to learn that an unregistered PAC, known as the “Real Democrats of Hoboken”, has scheduled a fundraiser on Monday February 28th at 7:00 p.m. at the Clinton Social, honoring the previous Chair of the Hoboken Democratic Party, Assemblyman Ruben Ramos.  This event, which is being actively promoted by Maurice Fitzgibbons, another prior Chair of the Hoboken Democratic Party and a former Freeholder, is intended to raise money from developers to support candidates running against the incumbent committeemen and committeewomen who presently serve the Hoboken Democratic Party.

“It is surprising and disappointing that Maurice Fitzgibbons, who was recently found by ELEC to have violated ELEC’s campaign finance disclosure requirements, resulting in a fine of several thousand dollars against Mr. Fitzgibbons, is at it again.  Hoboken has seen what happens when its politicians fail to abide by the letter of the law when it comes to campaign fundraising,”  said Gary Holtzman, Treasurer of the Hoboken Democratic Party.

Photo of the original illegal fundraiser by a group not registered to do so.  The Old Guard is back to its old tricks.
It is against New Jersey state law for an unregistered PAC, like the “Real Democrats for Hoboken” to spend money or raise money in support of candidates for political campaigns, such as the event that the “Real Democrats for Hoboken” is advertising for Monday February 28th.

Vice Chair of the Hoboken Democratic Party, and Chair of the By-Laws Subcommittee, Phil Cohen, added, “We are proud of the changes that the Hoboken Democratic Party have made, instituting by-laws that prohibit the funneling of funds through the Hoboken Democratic Party to support candidates for non-partisan elections, like Hoboken City Council races or Hoboken Mayoral Races.  Back when Mayor Russo and Mayor Roberts controlled the Hoboken Democratic Party, developers funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars through the Hoboken Democratic Party to support their Mayoral campaigns.  We don’t ever want to return to those bad old days.”

Today, the Hoboken Democratic Party’s reformed by-laws are used as a model for other Democratic Party Organizations throughout the State of New Jersey and promoted by good government organizations.

Talking Ed Note: Freeholder Anthony "Stick" Romano noted the Lincoln Dinner was originally a prestigious, non-partisan event, "If I'm well enough I'll present Ruben with an award.  That's it,"  He added he had been under the weather and just learned about the event the other day.

Maurice Fitzgibbons may be facing questions on his role surrounding the problems in arranging such an event without following the required ELEC procedures.  Then again, he's had these kind of problems before and he was the person who brought you Tim Occhipinti.

Some habits die hard.

Rami Pinchevsky Kickoff draws 80 supporters - resistance in the 4th ward begins

Last night, 4th ward candidate Rami Pinchevsky kicked off his campaign at Northern Soul and 80 people turned up to get behind the battle for the ward election this May.

A good enthusiastic crowd for Rami Pinchevsky's kickoff

Pinchevsky an active resident years before Tim Occhipinti showed up in Hoboken clearly energized a strong resistance as the election campaign is heating up.  Someone forgot to tell these people about yesterday's Hudson Reporter story.  Beth Mason is proud of her monies circumventing campaign finance law and she's happy to fund Tim Occhipinti and his 550-575 invisible army of 'campaign workers,' - re: voters.

For some reason, all these people along with Rami Pinchevsky still think they can win.
Are there enough people in the 4th ward available to vote and overcome those selling their vote for $40?

Yup.

Rami Pinchevsky at Northern Soul Thursday night
Related: The Hoboken Journal attended and covered the event.
Photos courtesy the Hoboken Journal

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Beth Mason on handing out Occhipinti loot: 'I bought a City Council seat. I liked it!'

Councilwoman Beth Mason sent a letter to the Hudson Reporter admitting her intent to break the spirit if not the actual law itself, exceeding the individual maximum contribution limit of $2,600 to Tim Occhipinti.

$8,200 of her still unknown final tally of more than $13,000 was given in stealth-like fashion via her 2007 council campaign committee mere days before the 4th ward election.  On election day, hundreds and hundreds of Tim Occhipinti's invisible army of 'campaign workers,' re: voters lined up to be paid mostly in $40 checks, after handing in evidence of their paper vote by mail ballots.  His campaign attempted to push through over 500 paper ballots in an election where he tallied just over 1200 votes!

It's notable that Beth Mason's letter is an obvious admission she unethically sought and then evaded the law on individual maximum contributions.  MSV broke the story of Tim Occhipinti's ELEC campaign report before the election showing 'the anomaly,' (see top) - a mathematical improbability unknown in any voter pattern in the history of the US where 'campaign workers' by the dozens all voted by paper ballot and days later almost every single one of them, 79 of 80 were paid!

Beth Mason saw the same ELEC report and could not conclude anything else other than exactly that.  Indeed Beth Mason aided and abetted the massive voter fraud by Tim Occhipinti that soon followed.  Or to put it succinctly, she bought a City Council seat and liked it in an election still under review with multiple criminal referrals. The package was forwarded by the Hudson County prosecutor to the NJ Attorney General's office shortly after the November election.

Beth Mason's letter fails to distinguish her spending for her own campaign and circumventing campaign contribution limits to others, which is not the point of the wheeling legislation.

She's crying victim (again) but it's the Hoboken people being victimized and as resident Patricia Waiters said at the last City Council meeting - exploited. (The local media ignored Ms. Waiters account of voter fraud at the polls even as the election may still be investigated.)

Beth Mason - proud of wheeling money from her campaign committee for an election not her own.  She calls her family's contribution evading the law on maximum individual contributions good for Hoboken.  Wheely?  Wheely Mason?

Dear Editor,

Please allow me to respond to last week’s story regarding Councilman Cunningham’s and Councilman Bhalla’s resolution, which was tacked on at the last minute to an ordinance I co-sponsored to strengthen our campaign finance laws. The Cunningham-Bhalla ordinance is not “anti-wheeling”, it’s just “anti-Beth”. As reported this resolution specifically targeted me and my ability to use my own money when running for office. Why? Because in last November’s election I supported Councilman Tim Occhipinti over their and Mayor Zimmer’s ally, Michael Lenz, for City Council.

I supported Tim because he is a bright new leader who represents a philosophical and generational change from the politics of old. Mr. Lenz on the other hand exemplified anything but good government ... Reducing the burden on Hoboken’s taxpayers, in the Second Ward and elsewhere, is my number one goal, which Mr. Lenz obviously did not share.

My family and I were proud to contribute $13,000 of our hard-earned money to Councilman Occhipinti’s campaign, as were others; in fact, he raised almost six times the amount we contributed, from other people. Councilman Bhalla called my contribution the catalyst for his ordinance but in 2009 Mayor Zimmer contributed ... her own money to Council members Bhalla, Marsh, and Mello during their Council-at-Large campaign. That was not illegal and was the Mayor’s right to do so with her own money, but it underscores the double standard on display.

Mayor Zimmer announced her support of the Cunningham-Bhalla ordinance by saying that it will limit the influence of outside contributors on Hoboken political races. But, among its other faults, this is exactly the opposite of what the ordinance actually says. The ordinance prohibits self-funding Hoboken candidate committees, such as mine, from contributing more than $500 to other candidates. But it leaves a gaping hole for developers and other outsiders to donate thousands of dollars to Hoboken candidate committees such as hers, with no corresponding $500 limit on her committee’s ability to contribute to the people she favors. This is the very essence of “wheeling”, which the Cunningham-Bhalla ordinance does nothing to stop. Instead, it targets people like me, who are willing to use our own resources to fight for Hoboken residents and taxpayers, and magnifies the influence of non-Hoboken money.

When crafting legislation there must be a higher standard than “how can I hurt people I disagree with today?” If Councilmen Cunningham and Bhalla are serious about campaign finance reform, an issue that they seem to have come to only recently, then I am happy to sit down and work with them on legislation that works for the entire community, and does not just target my family and other Hoboken residents who are not their best friends.

Councilwoman Beth Mason

Mike Russo searches for items to criticize in the State of the City address

Councilman Mike Russo is circulating his editorial on the State of the City address.  Notably, both he and his cousin Councilwoman Terry Castellano did not attend the event.  


This commentary frankly sounds particularly hollow, fails to even address the major points of the address in any serious way and has some old tepid arguments regurgitated by Beth Mason's ghostwriting Mason411 attack dog.


Frankly, it's somewhat sad to see this.  Mike Russo could have contacted me and I could give him some rational, coherent points to offer a real useful critique. 


With all the budget reductions the mayor has done in her limited time at the helm, this is frankly an astoundingly bad rebuttal, if one can even call it that.  It's notable that the first point submitted originally sent to the Jersey Journal has been deleted.  In that editorial, Mike Russo said the event was not available in a webcast.  


Not only did the City broadcast the SOTC live on ustream.com, Mile Square View used that feed to broadcast the address live as well.


An independent observer on the Hoboken scene of standing, the NY Times noted in a feature recently it was Mike Russo's father, Anthony Russo who as mayor ignored the advice of engineers and refused to replace wood pilings at the waterfront leading to another massive bill today of $20 million.


The Russo family's cost to the city of Hoboken is a tally that never seems to end.


To the editor:

I hope you’ll give me an opportunity to respond to a few of Mayor Zimmer’s comments at her recent State of the City Address. As is often the case with Mayor Zimmer, what she chooses to say isn’t always as revealing as what she chooses to leave out. For instance:

The mayor says: "Personnel costs represent the vast majority of our operating budget, and we cannot cut spending without addressing salaries and staffing levels."

The mayor failed to mention that on the very day she announced the police layoffs, she handed out raises to her public relations man and her personal aide. She has also increased the number of directors and increased the salaries of several others, making the city more top heavy.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer pauses during an interruption of applause at the SOTC address.  Mike Russo didn't like the speech and offers some rather shallow criticisms in his re-edited rebuttal.

The mayor says: "Going forward, we must avoid being penny wise and dollar foolish. If the City Council works with me to maintain a responsible level of Cash Surplus, we can improve our bond rating and achieve even more savings in the future. Our surplus is not a luxury, it’s a necessity if we’re going to be able meet the future needs of our City."

The mayor fails to mention what the actual surplus is. The mayor’s so-called fiscal responsibility is easy to accomplish when you have millions of dollars in taxpayer money set aside for pet projects and politically convenient “tax relief” come election time. It’s not her money. It belongs to taxpayers, and Mayor Zimmer should give it back.

The mayor says: "Our crumbling waterfront clearly demonstrates that it is just as irresponsible to not spend money on the things that you need as it is to spend money on things that you don’t need … I cannot take back the decisions of the past, but it is my job to solve the problems for the future."

The mayor seems to think that our waterfront was always the jewel of North Jersey. Before she even moved to town, many residents from all across Hoboken fought for the open space that we all enjoy today. When it suits her purposes, the mayor will take credit for waterfront accomplishments, like Pier C Park and the park at Maxwell Place. But when it’s not politically convenient, she pushes the blame on every administration that preceded hers.

Then, she says: "With shipworms eating our waterfront, termites at City Hall, and flooding, I sometimes feel like I am taking on the plagues of Hoboken."  This line is especially offensive to me and to many residents of Hoboken. It reveals a great deal about the mayor’s point of view. There are no plagues in Hoboken, Mayor Zimmer. This is a beautiful city with wonderful people. I hope one day you’ll consider it a blessing to serve her citizens.

I believe Mayor Zimmer when she says she wants to work with the council, and that she wants what’s best for Hoboken. I look forward to hearing from her again when she presents her municipal budget next week. Maybe the mayor can renew a time-honored Hoboken tradition when the mayor attended all city council meetings. She’d be most welcome.

Sincerely,
Michael Russo

Third Ward Councilman

Talking Ed Note: Mason411, re: Hoboken411's ghostwriting minion did not appear at the SOTC.  Instead it appears he stayed away working on the official Mike Russo "response."  Unfortunately his penchant for pathological lying was what began right out of the gate:


 Mason411 carried her ally Mike Russo's "response,' immediately the next day which began with a lie so obvious it was deleted before being resent to Hoboken Patch.

Perry Klaussen showed up in the balcony at Stevens, not to record the event, but to take photos of people he could attack and later photoshop in the brand of hate journalism he and Beth Mason's other minion employ on a regular basis.

On arrival MSV heard from a member of the public Perry Klaussen was taking pictures of people in the balcony.  MSV went upstairs to see and took a few pictures too.  Not a word was exchanged as another reporter witnessed the intellectual response by Hoboken's censoring, free speech hating website owner.

The photos are now part of a story on The Hoboken Journal detailing Perry Klaussen's annual attack on dwarfism and Tony Soares.

No word if Beth Mason will go on a condemnation shopping tour to the Anti-Defamation League and other organizations to direct criticism to her Boys of Hate at Mason411.

Link: http://thehobokenjournal.blogspot.com/2010/08/perry-klaussen-close-encounter-of.html
Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority Statement 
on Bayonne Medical Center Transaction

The Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority (the “Authority”) is steadfast in its commitment to ensuring that Hoboken University Medical Center (HUMC) remains open as a full-service, acute-care, community hospital serving the Hoboken community.

The Authority is aware of the recent transaction announced by Bayonne Medical Center (BMC). According to BMC’s announcement: “Bayonne Medical Center (BMC) has recently entered into a long-term real estate agreement with Medical Properties Trust (MPT), a major U.S. real estate investment trust headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. Under the terms of the agreement, BMC refinanced its existing debt and in addition has access to a significant amount of capital for continued improvements in its infrastructure, and essential projects including a major remodeling of its Emergency Department. … MPT has now purchased the buildings and property in which Bayonne Medical Center is located for $58 million and the hospital has a minimum operating lease of 45 years.”

As the Authority announced previously, it has signed a Letter of Intent with HUMC Holdco LLC, an entity having common ownership with BMC, and is continuing negotiations in good faith to reach a final Asset Purchase Agreement. Despite the common ownership, the potential Hoboken transaction is entirely independent from the Bayonne transaction, and the Authority will only enter into a final agreement with HUMC Holdco that meets the Authority’s key goals of maintaining HUMC as a full-service, acute-care, community hospital; preserving relationships with our outstanding employees and medical staff; and relieving the City’s taxpayers of the bond guarantee obligations made to save the Hospital in 2007.



Talking Ed Note: MSV will interrupt its policy on no editorializing on press releases of elected officials (technically the HUMC is an entity but) to add this is clearly designed to address concerns in the Hoboken community as a bid is being fully explored to purchase Hoboken University Medical Center.

Councilman Mike Russo who was one of the people who originally put Hoboken taxpayers on the hook with a $52 million bond to keep the hospital open is now doing what he can to stop the sale.  At the announcement of the selected bidder, he falsely claimed the HUMC did not have the legal authority to even sell the hospital.

Now he's put out a statement trying to muddy the waters raising generic concerns about complications doing what he does best, using demagoguery to incite both the hard working employees of the hospital and fear in Hoboken residents the institution will not remain an acute care facility.

Mike Russo at Hoboken's City Council - in his element, always pleased with his politrickin

Councilman Russo should stick to his strength: politrickin in the City Council where he can say just about anything on any issue or person, contradicting his own statements in less than 30 seconds.  In that respect, he's an absolute marvel.

Planning Firm for Rail Yards met with Task Force Approval

Hoboken Rail Yards Task Force Applauds City’s Approval of a
 Planning Firm for Phase 1 of Rail Yards Redevelopment Zone

Hoboken, NJ – Feb. 23, 2011 – The Hoboken Rail Yards Task Force, a group of concerned residents working together to help ensure an open and community-based approach to developing the rail yards redevelopment zone, applauds Hoboken City Council for its unanimous approval of a planning firm, Wallace Roberts & Todd, LLC, to create a redevelopment plan for Phase One, a two-acre portion of the 52-acre New Jersey Transit property.
The firm was selected through a competitive bid process by a review team composed of the City Council’s Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Subcommittee; the city’s Community Development Director, Brandy Forbes; a member of the Quality of Life Coalition; and a member of the Hoboken Rail Yards Task Force.
WRT has been tasked with the first phase of the project, developing a detailed plan for a two-acre parcel covering the site of the current bus depot and a former maintenance building. The second phase will address the rest of the 52-acre redevelopment zone. WRT’s scope of work includes building consensus among the multiple stakeholders in the site through one-on-one interviews and conducting public outreach to keep local residents informed.
The Hoboken Rail Yards Task Force will monitor the planning process and encourage local residents to provide input whenever possible.
“The Rail Yards represent 8% of the city’s territory and serve as a key entrance point to the city from the east, south and west,” says task force member Diana Davis. “They will set a tone for Hoboken’s quality of life. The Rail Yards could be Hoboken’s next great neighborhood, but only if the planning incorporates community input and complies with the appropriate redevelopment process.”
Feedback on NJTransit’s Latest Proposal A two-phased approach was necessitated by a proposal made late last year by New Jersey Transit and a major developer to accommodate a commercial tenant in a new 500,000-square-foot building that would house the unnamed commercial client, as well as a new bus depot. [A photo of NJT’s proposed design is attached. More photos from the Dec. 14 event are available online at: www.thehobokenjournal.blogspot.com/p/nj-transit-rail-yards-slideshow-2-from.html]
The Hoboken Rail Yards Task Force reviewed NJ Transit’s proposal and provided feedback to the Mayor, City Council and the City’s Planning Director last month. The group’s chief concerns with NJ Transit’s plans are:
  • Piecemeal plan undermines holistic approach: NJT should wait until a city-appointed planner has a chance to complete a thorough, thoughtful plan for the entire 52-acre site, with public input. Also, by New Jersey land-use law, an official developer first needs to be approved by Hoboken’s City Council, the official redevelopment agency.
  • Height rivals the W Hotel, looms over Terminal clock tower: The height of the proposed building—260 feet—is 35 feet taller than the historic terminal’s iconic clock tower, and nearly as high as the tallest building on the waterfront, the W Hotel. In addition, it is much more massive than the W and threatens to obscure many street views of the historic terminal building.
  • Building mass is out of scale: At a half-million square feet, the building’s bulk is out of scale with the surrounding neighborhood. Public input should guide the allowable height and density of any development there. A 3-D computer-generated model would help citizens understand the real impact of various building sizes.
  • Infrastructure impacts ignored: NJT’s plan doesn’t address concerns about infrastructure improvements that have been raised by city officials and many residents at the previous meetings. Fully occupied, such a massive building might severely strain current sewer, power, roadway and parking resources. NJT didn’t address the complexity of building over existing PATH train platform and rails.
  • Transportation impacts: While the new plan addresses concerns raised by the previous proposal about rerouting bus traffic, NJT didn’t provide details about parking and car circulation on the site for the commercial tenants.
About the Hoboken Rail Yards Task ForceThe Task Force was formed in the wake of a series of public meetings held by Hoboken’s Planning Department in 2008 to present the NJ Transit Rail Yards redevelopment plan.  When it was clear by the third meeting that NJT’s designated planners, FXFOWLE, had incorporated none of the feedback expressed by members of the community at the first two meetings, the group convened to advocate development of the rail yards in a scale and manner that complements the larger community it will be joining.
The rail yards along the southern edge of Hoboken have served as a highly efficient transportation nexus for more than a century. The terminal itself is on the National Register of Historic Places. New development at this crucial gateway to Hoboken will impact the city for many generations. For more information, contact Diana Davis at 201-927-8395.



Meeting set for Master Plan Reexamination

City of Hoboken announces:


PLANNING BOARD UPDATE ON MASTER PLAN REEXAMINATION / MEETING ANNOUNCEMENT

The Hoboken Planning Board has released a final draft of the 2010 Master Plan Reexamination Report on the city’s website. The Board will hold a Special Meeting on Monday, March 7th at 7pm in the Council Chambers of City Hall, 94 Washington Street to give the public an opportunity to comment on the report.

The Reexamination Report evaluates the community’s planning and development regulation documents, identifies whether the community’s policies or objectives have changed since the completion of the last Master Plan, and makes recommendations accordingly.

The meeting is an informational meeting only, and no formal action will be taken.

The current Master Plan (2004) is available online at: http://hobokennj.org/docs/communitydev/HobokenFinalMasterlist.pdf

The Master Plan Reexamination Report (2010) final draft is available online at: http://hobokennj.org/docs/communitydev/Hoboken-Reex-2010-2-21-11.pdf

Residents with questions can send feedback to rex2010@hobokennj.org

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hoboken Dog Association's first 2011 meeting set for Monday


The Hoboken Dog Association Members Meeting
BOW-WOW POW-WOW!


Please join us for our first Member Meeting of 2011!  During this meeting, we will share the details of our opening dialogue with Hoboken Environmental Services Director Jennifer Wenson-Maier, highlight opportunities available for getting more involved in the organization and have an opportunity for everyone to talk to one and other. 

Agenda:  
  •  Welcome & Meet the new Board of Directors 


  • Overview of the opening dialogue with Hoboken Environmental Services

     * Dog Run Maintenance
     * Dog owner responsibility
     * Trash Cans and Bags
     * Dogs on the Grass at Parks

  • Opportunities to get involved  

     * Join the Event Planning Committee
     * Join the Community Advocacy Committee
     * Join the Community Education Committee

  • Meet and Greet 


Date: Monday, February 28, 2011 

Time: 7:00 - 9:00 pm  

Location: Willie McBride's 616 Grand Street 
(sorry, no dogs)
 

If you have any questions or would like to know more, please contact us at info@hobokendogs.org
.  


The Hoboken Dog Association, Inc. www.hobokendogs.org

City presents master plan for pedestrians and bikes

CITY OF HOBOKEN RELEASES FINAL BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN MASTER PLAN

The City of Hoboken today released the final Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, funded by NJDOT and prepared by transportation consultants The RBA Group. The plan sets the bar for advanced efforts to make Hoboken even more friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists.

Highly respected transportation news source Streetsblog recently lauded the plan as "a liveable streets coup," saying: "Hoboken is pulling out in front of every other New York City suburb. In some ways, the one-square-mile town is even lapping New York City. The latest in a string of envy-inducing projects under Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Parking and Transportation Director Ian Sacs is the city’s new bike and pedestrian plan.”

Highlights from the Plan include clear recommendations for education, outreach, and enforcement operations to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, reconfiguration of critical intersections where pedestrian volumes trump vehicles (such as locations around Hoboken Terminal), installing pedestrian countdown signals at intersections with heavy pedestrian crossing volumes (such as along Washington Street), and expanded bicycle lanes and parking throughout the city to further encourage the human-scale safety benefits of a bicycle-friendly city.

Top 10 Pedestrian Safety Recommendations from Bike/Ped Master Plan

  1. Safe Routes to School + “Walking School Bus” Programs
  2. Install pedestrian countdown signal heads (especially along Washington Street)
  3. Redesign Observer Highway to function more like a boulevard than a thru-highway
  4. Add high-visibility/ergonomic crosswalks throughout the city
  5. Pedestrian Scramble aka “Barnes Dance” (all-direction/diagonal pedestrian crossing at high-volume downtown intersections near Hoboken Terminal)
  6. Painted crosswalks (at high-volume downtown intersections near Hoboken Terminal)
  7. Raised intersections (along 15th Street between Garden St and Hudson Street)
  8. “Pedestrian Decoy” operations
  9. School Zone speed limit signage
  10. Comprehensive citywide wayfinding system

The City of Hoboken, in collaboration with the Sweet Streets pedestrian and bicycle community advocacy group, was selected to be part of the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s Office of Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs Local Technical Assistance Program. The purpose of this program is to assist municipalities in the development of a Municipal Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan by providing technical assistance and professional services that address concerns for walking and bicycling.

To download the plan, or for more information about the plan and the public process the City followed to prepare it, please visit the City's website: http://www.hobokennj.org/bikepedplan


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