Monday, October 31, 2011

Was today election day?

One prominent member of the Reform movement in a conversation earlier this evening remarked, "It feels like we won an election."

"It certainly feels like an election except this time there's no joy with a win or sadness in defeat.  It's more like relief," Da Horsey replied.

Which leads to some initial reflections on last night...

An overflowing packed Council Chambers saw a strong turnout of Hoboken and Reform with many new face and new voices.  Mayor Dawn Zimmer did what many though impossible in leading Hoboken University Medical Center back from what looked like certain closure.  The audience would burst into spontaneous sustained applause when her leadership was mentioned by HMHA Chairwoman Toni Tomarazzo. 

What I saw at the Reformalution

Last night I saw Hoboken fight for a hospital in a battle that had already been waged and won.
Last night I saw a packed City Council room show it's fed up with the politrickin from MORTe.
Last night I saw my fellow citizens embrace each other in a united cause where justice was clear to all.
Last night I saw Reform arise from its slumber in Hoboken's critical hour.
Last night I fell in love with Hoboken and Reform. Again.

Thanks to all of you for your unwavering strength to fight for Hoboken. 
Thanks to all of you who have and continue to support MSV and let others know there is an alternative in Hoboken for news and information.  People continue to come here week in and week out by the thousands.  Email your Hoboken friends and neighbors.  They need to be engaged in Our Community.

Today was like election day.  But this time all of Hoboken won.  

Thank you Hoboken.  And thank you Reform.  You have shown you are mighty again.  

Stay vigilant!

Sign of the Halloween Times: The Beth Russo embrace

Before the City Council meeting, a hasty sidebar strategy session was shared by Council members Beth Mason and Mike Russo.  Apparently, the collapse of the opposition did not permit them sufficient time to fully prepare a plausible narrative to feed the public.

The political stunt of releasing a "council minority agreement" with new HUMC owners Holdco went out right before the City Council meeting.  It was posted on two local news sites without any scrutiny.  Got journalism?
Let's see it then.  If your print such,  you are required now to explain it.

Here Beth Mason is embracing Mike Russo to share some tidbit of strategy for their political theater soon to follow.  The audience was having none of it and was at times downright hostile pricking their narrative almost from the very start.

Mike Russo would later whimsically comment on the booing he received when he tried to make that sale.
You could almost hear him thinking, "Hey this is what we do, why are you booing me for it now?"

Talking Ed Note: Of the numerous problems and fallout for MORTe is the utter collapse of their position sabotaging the hospital sale over months.  What did their self-proclaimed and utterly unenforceable "agreement" have to do with allowing the hospital sale to go through?

Even worse, they bragged about a so called back room deal they claimed the public process was guilty of and saw no contradiction in doing so.

MSV would like to dedicate this piece of photo journalism to one member of the amazing Hoboken Municipal Hospital Board: Steve Rafsky.  Thank you for your tireless service on behalf of Hoboken.

Victory for HUMC & Hoboken - the video

Here's a segmented video showing comments by HMHA Chairwoman Toni Tomarazzo and Mayor Dawn Zimmer along with the council vote.  A spontaneous moment is captured when the audience burst in applause to thank the mayor for her efforts.

The following video was made by Hoboken resident Greg Bond who attended the City Council meeting last night.  The video begins outside City Hall when hospital employees are greeted with applause by the public, many of whom were part of Hoboken's reform movement.

MSV is pleased to provide it in its entirety.  It's a beautiful summation.

The art or artless selling of the lie, "a political stunt" undone

The startling collapse of the opposition to making immediate the parking agreement allowing the hospital to move its sale to completion will be remembered for what Council President Ravi Bhalla aptly called an "11th hour political stunt."

Councilwoman Beth Mason attempted to hijack the meeting at the beginning to announce a non-binding "deal" with Holdco but was stopped by the Council President.  The public's response was overwhelmingly negative to its messengers Beth Mason and Mike Russo.

Face saving attempt: Councilwoman Beth Mason tried repeatedly to have read a "deal" she said was made with the new owners of the hospital but could not hijack the meeting and do so.  She would make attempts to have it read by Assemblywoman Joan Quigley and Freeholder Anthony Romano.  Those attempts also failed.

The public spoke first per the council rules and Council President Ravi Bhalla once again demonstrated a mastery of the proceedings by any measure.  He maintained decorum for the benefit of all involved and continues to impress with both his skill and acumen through a high pressure situation that could have degenerated into a circus.

A senior executive in a conversation with MSV at the hospital less than an hour before the council meeting expressed optimism the vote would be unanimous.  

The mayor played a critical role behind the scenes bringing this to fruition.  

Here's the complete statement that was released to the Jersey Journal, the Hudson Reporter and also coordinated with Beth Mason's political operation at Hoboken411 right before the meeting:

The Hoboken City Council Minority, composed of Council Members Theresa Castellano, Beth Mason, Michael Russo, and Tim Occhipinti, and HUMC Holdco, the proposed buyer of the Hoboken hospital, have reached an agreement to enact HUMC Holdco’s parking access agreement immediately in exchange for a written agreement to keep the

Hoboken hospital open for at least seven years, a designee on the new Hospital board, and the establishment of several important community health programs. This will allow the sale of the Hoboken hospital to proceed immediately.

These Council members repeatedly attempted to meet with Mayor Zimmer to address the community’s concerns with the sale. However, the Mayor refused, even stating the new owners would not negotiate any aspects of the transaction.

The agreement between these City Council

members and HUMC Holdco, negotiated through the evening last night and today, flies in the face of the Mayor’s claims. It also demonstrates HUMC Holdco’s willingness to work with all members of Hoboken’s government and its commitment to ensure the concerns of all residents are addressed...
Two of the main parts of the minority's agreement include:

"An agreement to allow the City Council Minority to designate an appointee to the new hospital board. This appointment shows the buyer’s commitment to increasing community participation in the future of the hospital and allows all residents to have a voice."

"The establishment of several community health programs as a give back in exchange for the 99-year parking agreement. These programs include pro bono medical services for low-income residents, a women’s healthcare center, a sports and alternative medicine program, and a senior citizen services program. The parking agreement allows the new owners to save approximately $12 million in costs since they will not have to pay to construct their own parking facility. These programs will compensate the community for this subsidy being provided to the new hospital owner. "

After the sale’s completion Hoboken taxpayers will be relieved of the $52 million bond guarantee the city agreed to in 2007 to purchase the hospital.

Beth Mason placed this document in front of Anthony Romano .
She was attempting to have it introduced as a second "council minority deal."  

Talking Ed Note: It's clear a face saving measure was quickly hatched as the pressure from the public was overwhelming along with additional pressures from all sides within and outside of Hoboken itself.  There's more to all of this and in the future MSV will be updating the saga, for this was a saga and it put Hoboken through some turmoil for political reasons having nothing to do with the best interests of the hospital and its residents.

Some commenters question this "additional seat," but MSV will say there is nothing at all binding in the presentation of this political document by Councilwoman Beth Mason.  Holdco is a private entity and if they choose to add a seat at their table, they certainly can do so.  

Later MSV would introduce in public portion its appendix to the Holdco deal.  Da Horsey announced part of the deal would include the hospital being renamed "Horse Farms" and noted one floor of the midtown garage would be taken over and the hospital would report to Da Horsey, SmartyJones.

....and about that seat.  The word is who will get that "seat" and Holdco decides to play along:

Beth Mason.

Sign of the Times: Landmark victory for Hoboken and Mayor Zimmer saving hospital

After the big turnaround with a unanimous vote in favor of making the parking agreement official for the sale of Hoboken University Medical Center, Dr. Abby Jacobs enveloped Mayor Dawn Zimmer in a joyful embrace as a packed council chamber applauds celebrating a miracle for the hospital.

There's little to say as MSV will have video saying it all!  The council majority sat on an embarrassment of riches when their opposition crumbled in the face of a huge turnout of Hoboken residents and hospital employees.

An attempt to present an illegal side deal by the council minority as being conclusive to the Hoboken victory was met with derision by the majority of the audience in attendance.  That minority "deal" is an unenforceable farce meaning nothing.  MSV understands some will attempt to sell that "smell."

Congratulations to Mayor Zimmer, the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority, especially Chairwoman Toni Tomarazzo and the City Council majority who stood up for Hoboken.

Finally the overdue victory for Hoboken, HUMC and its long suffering employees.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Victory for Hoboken!

Hoboken Superheroes Batman and Robin both showed up and showed strong support to say yes to the resolution.

With recriminations both overt and covert flying and an audience cheering for Hoboken Reform council members, Mayor Dawn Zimmer along with HMHA Chairwoman Toni Tomarzzo graciously spoke of the anticipated victory for seeing Hoboken University Medical Center saved with a unanimous 8-0 vote to make the earlier passed parking agreement immediately effective.

The vote ensures the smooth transition of HUMC to the new owners Holdco. Mayor Dawn Zimmer said a closing on the sale is expected by Tuesday.

MSV will have video clips this week on the big victory for Hoboken!

Councilwoman Jennifer Giattino had short, direct words for the
harmful actions prior to saving the hospital.

- Posted at full gallop

Multiple sources: Parking agreement made official today paving way for hospital sale

Multiple sources both inside and outside the hospital indicate the parking agreement will be made effective today paving the way for the sale of the hospital on Tuesday.

One independent source in City Hall stated "the wheeling and dealing has been struck."

The Council Chambers is packed with Hoboken residents and hospital employees. A strong turnout is in attendance from Reform as called by the de facto leader, Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

- Posted at full gallop

City Council Special: "Always do the right thing" @ 6:00

It's all been said.  The stakes are clear.  Let the People be heard.

Sign of the Times: Hoboken's Superheroes weigh in

From the desk of Hoboken's superheroes:

Tim Occhipinti admits: Holdco contracted to keep HUMC open seven years, will finally consider allowing sale to complete

In an interview with Hoboken Patch reporter Amanda Staub released just earlier, a member of MORTe finally has spoken publicly on the mayor's call to allow the hospital sale to close this week by allowing the immediate approval of the previously passed parking agreement.

The parking agreement requires 20 days to become effective unless six votes roll it back in the council.

"I am considering everything," Occhipinti said in the interview on tonight's meeting.  He added the mayor was scaring people and said the hospital's closure could be paid off in $4.5 million annual payments.

However, Occhipinti did not say why such a negative outcome was preferred.  A simple vote of yes from six council members allows the parking agreement for the hospital's potential new owners to go into effect immediately with the hospital sale closing next week.

Occhipinti repeated the longstanding Beth Mason talking points in the article but finally admitted Holdco is contractually required to keep HUMC open for seven years.  The admission is a first for any member of MORTe - as they have refused to concede Holdco made the best bid meeting all the conditions set out by the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority.

Keeping the hospital open as an acute care facility for seven years was a key HMHA provision.

One simple yes vote for Hoboken by Tim Occhipinti saves the hospital and Hoboken from disaster.
It costs the City nothing.  On the other side it's tens of millions with thousands of jobs and tax hikes at risk.

At previous meetings, Tim Occhipinti has stated he was opposed to Holdco buying HUMC.  While the City Council had no vote on the bidders, responsibility solely held by the HMHA, several items including the essential portion of the hospital sale - the parking access was opposed by MORTe.

Earlier MSV reported Council members Terry Castellano and Mike Russo would not be attending tonight's meeting.  Councilwoman Beth Mason has been in hiding and is believed to be receiving a strong public outcry for blocking the last step to the hospital's sale.

Many suspect Councilwoman Beth Mason will not face the public's ire for her actions.  Based on Tim Occhipinti's comment, it appears he will be attending tonight's City Council meeting.

One yes vote is all that's required with the other five reform minded council members to allow the hospital's parking agreement to be effective immediately.

If six votes authorize the parking agreement already scheduled to go into effect 20 days from last Wednesday, the sale can occur as soon as Tuesday the mayor said Friday at HUMC.

Talking Ed Note: Tonight's emergency resolution requires six affirmative votes.
Members can vote in person or call in and place their votes by phone.

Councilmen Dave Mello and Peter Cunningham: Raise your voice for Hoboken tonight

From the desk of Councilman Dave Mello:

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

This evening, at 6:00 PM, the Hoboken City Council will be holding a Special Meeting, called by Mayor Zimmer.  I am requesting your attendance at and participation in this emergency meeting - WE SINCERELY NEED YOUR HELP!  During this meeting, we will be voting on a parking agreement that needs to be passed in order for the City of Hoboken to sell our hospital: Hoboken University Medical Center.  This sale will have a number of beneficial effects on your families, your community, and your wallet, including:
Please understand, the parking garage that we wish to enter into an agreement with the hospital purchasers regarding only exists because the old hospital owners deeded land to the City of Hoboken over a decade ago to construct it.  This garage was a win-win for the City of Hoboken and the then St. Mary's Hospital because it:
  • Created sufficient parking for the hospital employees and patients.
  • Allowed the hospitals then surface parking lot property to be used for the construction of the hospital's new emergency room.
  • Allowed Hoboken to build and OWN a centrally located garage, massive in size, with the majority of its spots serving residents of Hoboken.
Please read this quoted section from an August 23, 2002 article printed in the Hoboken Reporter for more on this history of this garage:
New spaces
The other large-scale construction project that the HPA is currently undertaking is the St. Mary Midtown Garage. The new 740-space garage is being built adjacent to the St. Mary Hospital between Third and Fourth streets on Clinton Street. The garage is scheduled to open as early as October.
The lease signing, which was held last Dec. 21, [2001] is a public-private partnership in which the hospital donated the bulk of land to the Hoboken Parking Authority under a 99-year lease arrangement. In turn, the Authority will build, own and operate the facility. [emphasis added]
Under the terms of the agreement, the hospital will lease 300 of the 740 spaces for the nurses, doctors and staff, and operate the ground floor professional medical office space. The remaining 440 spaces will be set aside for hospital visitors and Hoboken residents.
To enter into a parking agreement with the new hospital owners will simply replace the already existing agreement (referenced above) with the current hospital (also a 99 year agreement and already in existence).  This updated agreement is a necessary step required for the closing of the hospital sale to go through.

This hospital has been losing money for years.  We were exceptionally fortunate, as a city, to locate a buyer.  Yes, this is a private buyer.  Yes, this buyer and it's partners in this transaction are conducting themselves like business people; business people who will not finalize a sale to acquire an asset that could potentially be fatally degraded in value.  This is why the parking agreement calls for parking access to still be licensed to the property owners should the hospital someday stop operating as a hospital.  This is not to say that the owners first choice, goal, or priority is not to operate this building as a hospital into perpetuity.  That is their goal - to operate a hospital for decades to come.  However, any business must maintain the value of its assets across as many potential scenarios as possible.  Hence the 99 year term of the parking agreement we will be voting on, and its clauses that address multiple long-term license scenarios.

Please understand that, should this building ever prove inoperable as a hospital, the parking spaces would have to be leased by the property owner AT MARKET RATE.  No non-hospital parking consumers will ever receive a discount under this agreement.  Also, this market rate will be paid per licensed transponder, the moment the building ceases to exist as a hospital, if such a situation ever occurs.  There will be no grace period for years of zoning applications.  There will be no grace period until certificates of occupancy are awarded.  Market rate would be due for every license from day number one, or the agreement is voided.

It is my hope and expectation that this hospital will be a hospital for decades to come.  I sincerely believe this is the same hope, expectation and goal of the proposed new owner.  

Our city must no longer be the owner of this hospital.  We CANNOT be the owner of this hospital, make payroll, or otherwise operate this institution any longer.  If this sale fails to go through, the hospital will close, hundreds of jobs will be lost, and we taxpayers will be on the hook for $52 million dollars due to the bondholders of the bond that was taken out by our city, on this hospital's behalf, years ago.


Please also consider attending the 5:00 PM rally in front of and march to City Hall in support of a yes vote, which begins at 308 Willow Ave.

Thank you for taking the time to read this plea.

Sincerely, your friend and neighbor,

David Mello

David Mello
City Councilman At-Large
The City of Hoboken, NJ  07030

twitter: djmello

Councilman Peter Cunningham at the tax relief event with Gov. Chris Christe in Hoboken last year.  Is MORTe about to do a no show and open the door for the Big Man to come in and stop their destruction of HUMC and Hoboken?  Cunningham raises the question in his note to constituents below.

From the desk of 5th ward Councilman Peter Cunningham

At 5 pm TODAY, there will be a RALLY to save Hoboken University
Medical Center and the Hoboken Tax Payer from a potential financial
and economic disaster, and/or possible state takeover, in Hoboken.

Please forward this message around.  
Thanks, Peter

Peter Cunningham

Horse Sense: Hey MORTe - Get Out of the Way!

The vote to allow HUMC its independence will be held at the City Council later today.  In a previous story on Hoboken Patch, Mike Russo says he needs to look at the short and long term of what's best for Hoboken.  Beth Mason in the same story says she is not standing in the way of the sale of the hospital.

They are both wrong.  As part of MORTe, they voted no to the hospital's freedom.

Today another vote will take place in City Council after 6:00 pm.  That vote should be unanimous 9-0 to allow Hoboken to get out of the hospital business and allow HUMC to move forward as an independent entity with an opportunity to build a new future.

Today either by phone or in person they must vote yes.

Mason - Stop sabotaging the hospital.  It's over - GET OUT OF THE WAY!
Occhipinti - Man up and take responsibility for YOUR vote!
Russo - There is no better short and long term option for Hoboken, period!
Terry Castellano - you voted for the hospital before, this is your last such vote.
e is for error and MORTe can fix theirs later today.

Vote yes, wish the hospital well and end this potential disaster once and for all.

Talking Ed Note: MORTe has voted down everything before them on the hospital in recent weeks.  They voted against the parking agreement and it's a matter of record.

There's no need to stop the hospital now from moving ahead and helping all of Hoboken.  They must vote yes or accept the consequences and the responsibility.

Graphic courtesy of Grafix Avenger

Hospital Rally March confirmed to City Hall at 5:00 from HUMC

HUMC Employees and Hoboken residents' message to MORTe

Hospital Rally March confirmed for 5:00 to City Hall @ 308 Willow Ave.

A rally led by the employees of Hoboken University Medical Center, first reported yesterday on MSV has been confirmed for 5:00 pm from the hospital to City Hall today.

The march is unlike any in recent memory - it's not a group asking for financial support, higher wages, or benefits - it's a group of employees merely asking a parking agreement already passed and essential to the hospital's commerce be made immediate.

The parking agreement, a required component for the livelihood of the hospital will permit completion of a sale to Holdco on Tuesday, almost a week later than originally scheduled.  The licensing for the parking agreement already passed but the City Council is being asked to come up with a required sixth vote to allow the agreement to become effective.

One of the four Council members who voted no and may not have understood the ramifications when doing so must change their vote.  All four

The City Council meeting today at 6:00 promises to be unique in these and other aspects as the employees will be joined by Hoboken citizens who are stakeholders with a huge financial interest as well.  Finalizing a sale of HUMC to Holdco removes the $52 million bond guarantee the City signed on to back in 2007.  Two current City Council members Terry Castellano and Mike Russo voted to approve the controversial move - they've been sabotaging the sale whenever a vote on fixing it ever since.

This City Council meeting promises to be hearing a petition like no other.  The hospital employees and Hoboken residents are asking for something remarkably simple: vote yes and let us get on with our lives serving the people of Hoboken with a hospital.

At least two of the four City Council members will likely not be in attendance.  Council members Terry Castellano and Mike Russo are attending the same wedding.  Neither has indicated they will make themselves available to vote by phone.

Tim Occhipinti taking instructions from Beth Mason before a City Council meeting earlier this year.  Will he finally step up and vote to let the hospital, its employees and the City of Hoboken move ahead or will he follow marching orders putting everyone at risk of disaster?

Councilman Tim Occhipinti's voicemail has been full but people have been texting him at  (917) 721-3826.

Councilwoman Beth Mason's mobile number can be reached for texting and phone at  (201) 916-8244.

It's unknown if either of them will be attending.  If all four members of MORTe - Beth Mason, Tim Occhipinti, Mike Russo and Terry Castellano fail to attend or vote no via phone, the crisis for Hoboken University Medical Center and all of Hoboken continues.

The hospital's parking agreement becomes effective 20 days from passage last Tuesday but it does not have the necessary funds to operate and achieve that objective Mayor Zimmer said.

MORTe has voted down everything place before them to allow the hospital to move ahead as an independent entity.  Last week they may not have understood the ramifications of not merely getting out of the way.  There is no such excuse later today.  

Talking Ed Note: Hospital employees and Hoboken taxpayers are not the only ones with something to lose. The creditors stand to see their hard fought settlement be vaporized.

Creditors anticipated receiving about one-third after the hospital declared bankruptcy but that's also in jeopardy in part or whole since the City Council failed to get out of the way last Tuesday and allow the hospital sale to go through on Wednesday.

JNESO one of the hospital unions has been working with Beth Mason and stands to also earn proceeds from the settlement.  The hospital's settlement pie is now shrinking daily meaning the creditors will be likely getting more bad news no matter what happens today.

They can make their thank you calls to Beth Mason too.

MORTe graphic courtesy of Grafix Avenger.  Read GA's story on the Russo haunted house and the politics of hatred that can cost Hoboken tens of millions:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Councilwoman Jen Giattino: The stakes are high tomorrow for the hospital and here is the truth

If you're having trouble viewing this email, you may see it online.
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Greetings from Jen Giattino for City Council
Please attend the Council Meeting tomorrow at 6pm. 

Email and call your councilperson and ask that they support making
Ordinance  Z-139 immediately effective.

Tomorrow night is our chance to close the transaction of the sale
of the Hospital. 

There has been much talk about the great deal HUMC OPCO,LLC
is getting.

The Facts
  • the cost for a monthly residential parking at the midtown garage
    is $185 a month
  • HUMC OPCO,LLC will have access to 400 transponders NOT SPOTS
    at the midtown garage for $45 a month for the first 3 years
  • HUMC OPCO,LLC will have access to 400 transponders NOT SPOTS
    at the midtown garage for $65 a month after that.
The real breakdown
  • Cost per hour of a monthly residential spot 26 cents
  • Cost per hour of a HUMC OPCO,LLC spot during the
    first 3 years  26 cents
  • Cost per hour of a HUMC OPCO,LLC spot after the first
    3 years  37 cents
If the Hospital no longer operates as a Hospital or healthcare facility
the rates of the transponders become whatever the current market rate
of a monthly parking is and all 400 transponders must be paid for.

Even if they only want 100 transponders they must pay for 400.

This is a great deal for the City of Hoboken and its' taxpayers. 
  • saves The Hospital and over 1000 jobs there
  • saves the taxpayers from another tax increase
  • saves city employees jobs.
Please attend the Council meeting. Please urge your council
person to VOTE YES!

Thank You,
Jen Giattino

Grist for the Mill: MORTe to Hospital & Hoboken: Go to Hell!

Anyone aware of the situation in town is cognizant of the fight between the forces to see through the hospital's sale and the enormous efforts made by so many people to achieve this objective - including the hospital employees themselves who have sacrificed greatly including financially to save the hospital versus the forces of sabotage, destruction and moral corruption, re: MORTe.

While MORTe: Mason-Occhipinti-Russo and Terry Castellano have voted down every opportunity to assist the sale of the hospital, they have shown strong resolve to do whatever they can to undo the hospital sale even when the matter was in fact over after the parking agreement licensing was approved Tuesday night.

A commercial for Tim Occhipinti seen here with Assemblyman Ruben Ramos spoke about his "personal integrity."  You see any integrity?  He's in hiding not taking calls.
His phone is already filled with voicemail but you can text him at  (917) 721-3826.

MSV is picking up word of MORTe's continued resistance.  Terry Castellano does not plan on attending the meeting and will be at a wedding.  The same is being said of Mike Russo who is making it clear leading into the meeting he could care less.  If there was no wedding to attend, he is bragging he'd find something else to do.

It's not clear if either of the Russo's will make themselves available by phone to actually vote.  They both will have that ability to do so if they choose.  Making themselves unavailable is the same as a no vote.

So that leaves Beth Mason and Tim Occhipinti as the other two members of MORTe.  Will Mason show up if her Russo allies are not present?  It's not know that she will.

One source close to some of the Old Guard's inner circle told MSV that MORTe has no intention of moving now adding they don't feel the hospital will in fact close.  It's difficult to say if this is also part of the propaganda they've been pumping out to anyone who will listen.

The bottom line: MORTe takes no responsibility for the hospital's situation and THEY WON'T LIFT A FINGER TO AID THE HOSPITAL.
Beth Mason won't want to hear from you but you can also reach her mobile at (201) 916-8244.

Beth Mason was reported in a Hoboken Patch article by reporter Amanda Staub saying she is not standing in the way of the sale of the hospital.  That's another way of saying she will not lift a finger to say yes and allow the parking agreement she voted against to take effect immediately.

Mike Russo in the same article is quoted as saying, "I need to make sure I am looking out for the long term, as well as the short term." He then adds a canard about Holdco holding parking rights for 99 years.  The truth is laid out in the article that Holdco would only hold a licensing agreement for 400 spaces and would have to pay the full market rate whatever that price is at the time after seven years if the hospital's status would change.

Russo of course knows all this.

MORTe is now in full out passive aggressive destroy Hoboken mode.  They aren't even interested in gathering around the patient to watch it die.  At least some prefer to live it up and party down instead.

On Sunday we'll see what they in fact do.

MORTE's revenge is at hand and it's Ma Russo getting back for having free health benefits removed for her and her husband ex-mayor and convict Anthony Russo.  Here's she's seen huddling with MORTE's political operative Lane Bajardi at a City Council meeting last year.  Sunday Hoboken will likely witness MORTE's most deadly political sabotage against the hospital and Hoboken.

Talking Ed Note: MORTe has a strategy and is following through on it.  They have to destroy Hoboken in order to save it (for their own personal gain).

Since Ma "five-bucks-a-tow" Russo can't seem to land a government job with taxpayer paid benefits, she's decided Hoboken will pay.  Michele Russo and her husband were removed from their illicit receipt of Hoboken taxpayer paid health benefits last March after a City Hall audit discovered the oddity last December.

Some are already calling the latest MORTe sabotage of Hoboken Ma Russo's Revenge.

Update: 1:45 pm - Rumors of a rally before the City Council meeting are going around.  One says hospital employees may be leading one and another says it may involve Hoboken residents with some city workers.

Council VP Cunningham: Make your feelings known on saving the hospital & with it Hoboken

From the desk of 5th ward Councilman Peter Cunningham:

Friends, Family and Neighbors,

And yes again, we are at a very critical juncture in Hoboken's
history. Tomorrow night at 6pm, City Council Chambers, the minority
council will have another opportunity (and perhaps last) to favor the
immediate approval of the necessary parking agreement so the new
entity can USE the mid town garage for it's employees and patients.
It is the final piece to close the hospital financing to save
Hoboken's hospital and relieve the City of it's $52 million bond
guarantee. It is a condition to close the transaction which should
have happened Wednesday, but the minority council of Mason, Russo,
Castellano and Occipiniti voted no!

As many of you know, the process for the City to divest itself of
Hoboken Univ Medical Center has been on going since the Mayor
appointed (and the Council confirmed) a series of highly qualified
individuals tasked with this goal in mind - sell the hospital under
our conditions (set forth in the Request for Proposal) that would keep
this valuable and historic healthcare entity to serve Hoboken and the
Hudson County region, AND relieve the City and it's taxpayers from the
$52 million bond guarantee.

This action tomorrow night is our last chance to save our hospital and
relieve us of the guarantee that surely will be exercised if we cannot
close this transaction. Please attend this meeting and/or write your
councilperson/s to demand that they support this measure. It is our
last hope.

The following piece was provided by one of the Board members, which
provides a bit of history and understanding on this very important

Please circulate as well. Thanks, Peter

The Case for Selling the Hospital

On October 7th a federal bankruptcy judge in Newark approved both the
settlement agreement between all interested parties, and the sale of the

On October 21st, New Jersey's Commissioner of Health and Senior Services
issued a Certificate of Need for the transaction, the final necessary
regulatory approval to transfer ownership of the Hospital.

The transaction's path to closing has been undermined by the City Council
minority, where four members have ignored a public policy imperative to get
the sale done, and turned the process into a political confrontation focused
simply on undermining the Mayor - even if it triggers a the fiscal calamity,
that is, an immediate call on the $52 million in City guaranteed bonds.

The City took over the failing Saint Mary Hospital in 2007 using a
convoluted governance/ management structure that in large part has led to
the current problem. Councilman Russo voted for the City takeover, which was
meant to be a short term bridging plan.

A few weeks ago Council members Russo and Mason orchestrated a plan to
defeat a self-funding $5 million bond ordinance which was part of the
Mayor's exit strategy to privatize the hospital and assure its

Last week the same Council members blocked immediate implementation of an
ordinance allowing the buyer to lease parking transponders, so the new
hospital owners could continue to using the parking garage. Now, the sale
cannot be closed until the twenty day clock expires.

As a for-profit entity the Hospital will pay property taxes of well over
$500,000 per year!

With the recent public disclosure of three other bids it is important to
note that the mythology that Council members Mason and Russo planted about
the viability of other offers was just political shenanigans. It was easy
for the other bidders to "reinvent" their bids after the selected buyers
proposal was posted on the Authority and City web-sites. But they were still
deficient proposals.

Nonetheless we are right on the finish line. Governor Christie provided $5
million to add to the amount to be distributed to creditors, additional
payments were made by the buyer, and numerous other small steps were
identified to fill in the funding gap.

In 2007 after Bon Secours signaled its intention to walk-away from Saint
Mary Hospital in Hoboken, and a merger strategy failed to identify a
partner, the City of Hoboken, enabled by special state legislation,
established the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority which became the owner
and governing Board of the hospital. As part of the change of ownership the
City guaranteed $52 million in bonds to be used for capital projects. The
hospital was renamed Hoboken University Medical Center. (H.U.M.C.)

When the '07 Audited Financial Statement was finally issued in September '09
it showed a $23 million loss, followed by a $10 million loss in '08, both
bottom lines further adversely exacerbated by significant increases in
accounts payable. The hospital was in a "zone of insolvency."

Mayor Zimmer recognized the challenges facing H.U.M.C. and took immediate
action beginning in November 2009 when elected Mayor of Hoboken and became a
Commissioner on the Authority.

Immediate actions were taken to stabilize the hospital including:

-       New Commissioners were nominated including a former New Jersey
health system CEO, a regulatory/ compliance attorney, a municipal bond
underwriter, a bond insurance executive with extensive restructuring
experience, and a health care company in-house counsel - all residents of

-       Where previously there had been only a Finance Committee (which did
not publish minutes), and a Quality Committee with only one outside Board
member on it (chaired by an ex-officio physician member), two new committees
were immediately establish - Audit and Compliance, and Strategic Planning.

-       Playing catch-up to industry "best practices" an operations/
financial performance/ quality dashboard was put in place.

-       Having missed the opportunity in '09, an application was made for
Health Care Stabilization funding and the State awarded the hospital $7
million in 2010.

Then Mayor/ Commissioner Zimmer established the following goals for the

-       Ensuring that H.U.M.C. remains open as a full service, acute Care
hospital providing access to quality medical care for all Hoboken residents
and neighboring communities

-       Maintaining the almost 1200 jobs of our valued hospital staff

-       Respecting the commitment of the Hospital's medical staff to the
Hospital over the recent challenging years.

-       Addressing the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services
regionalization objectives of reducing excess capacity and Hudson County
hospitals' reliance on extraordinary State financial subsidies

-       Relieving the City of Hoboken from the financial obligation of the
bond guarantee while,

-       Achieving Hospital sustainability by "privatization," that is
finding a new owner with access to capital so the Hospital is able to
consider new program development, acquire advanced technology, and maintain
the facility.

Next, the Hospital Authority chose a financial advisor and special counsel,
an RFP Process was established and implemented, proposals were evaluated,
and a "buyer" was selected by a unanimous vote of the Authority.

Mayor Zimmer established a close working relationship with the Governor's
Office, the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, the NJHCFFA, and

Despite overwhelming legacy issues we are on the cusp of guarantying that
H.U.M.C. remains an acute care hospital  for all residents of Hoboken, those
who work in Hoboken's bustling business community, the thousands of
commuters who pass through Hoboken every day, the residents of neighboring
communities, and maintains its critical role in emergency preparedness.

"Re-Privatizing" the Hospital will bring it stability, access to capital,
and the ability to compete in the hospital marketplace without dependency on
state subsidies and cash advances. It will also relieve the City of the bond
guarantee, freeing up bond capacity for other necessary and immediate
infrastructure improvements.

This Essential Safety-Net Hospital management transformation initiative -
hospital sustainability through privatization - will be a "self-sufficiency"
model for replication elsewhere in New Jersey.

Under the Mayor's leadership H.U.M.C.'s finances were stabilized,
sustainability goals were established, an RFP process for the sale was
managed, an Asset Purchase Agreement was negotiated with the buyer, and the
transaction was successfully moved through bankruptcy proceedings and the
Certificate of Need process.

Although the Hospital is a "third-rail" of Hoboken politics Mayor Zimmer had
the courage to tell Hobokenites that the Hospital is on the verge of closure
unless this sale is consummated immediately.

The choice is simple. Support the Mayor's actions to navigate around the
Council minority's obstructionist tactics.

Or Hoboken will no longer have an acute care hospital but a financial
meltdown instead.

Peter Cunningham

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mayor Zimmer: Hospital and City on critical list leading into Sunday City Council vote

Mayor Dawn Zimmer expressed to all members of Hoboken's community the necessity to impress on the minority City Council members the need to cooperate on a Sunday vote to make immediate the parking agreement passed on Tuesday so the hospital sale can close.

Councilman Mike Russo expressed his belief such a vote was not necessary in a conversation with the City's Corporation Counsel.  The next day Hoboken learned the sale had not closed as the Corporation Counsel stated.

The hospital is currently running on fumes and has taken extraordinary steps to make its payroll but can not make it 20 days from Wednesday when the parking agreement's passage becomes effective.  As a result, a special City Council meeting will be held on Sunday night at 6:00 pm.

The City Council will again be asked to make the parking agreement effective so the hospital can close this Tuesday and save the hospital and the "financial interests of the City of Hoboken," the mayor emphasized.

Adding the City would be responsible within 60 days to come up with $63 million on the original bond guarantee and the mayor said in stark terms the credit rating of Hoboken "would be destroyed."

City council members have said they oppose the parking agreement and can not support its terms.  The consequences of further obstruction far exceed their stated concerns and the mayor indicated the City may be forced to declare bankruptcy.

The mayor asked the hospital and City employees along with concerned residents of Hoboken to express their support to vote and see the hospital sale completed.

The mayor added the Council members have "an obligation to support the City of Hoboken" and indicated she would be reaching out each of the four members who have not permitted the parking agreement to become effective and allow the completion of the hospital sale.

The mayor left the hospital for a meeting with City employees back at City Hall to inform them massive layoffs are in the works should the City Council force the hospital to close by rejecting the immediate viability of the parking agreement by next week.

Talking Ed Note: Unlike the earlier press conferences, the employees were quite animated.  This unexpected "news" was not to their liking.

At the eight minute mark the mayor asks the HMHA Chairwoman Toni Tomarazzo to say a few words.  The crowd makes their feelings known loud and clear.

The original top line emergency resolution is all that stands of the original three on the Sunday agenda.  The mayor stated the other two resolutions did not meet an independent evaluation by the bond counsel and were being removed.

With one vote on the one matter requiring action on Sunday, once again the City Council is asked to do the right thing for Hoboken.  In each of the several related votes on the hospital presented, Mike Russo, Terry Castellano, Tim Occhipinti and Beth Mason voted no.

Mayor Zimmer Press Conference on saving HUMC

The mayor held a press conference earlier today saying although time is running out and the hospital missed the opportunity to conclude being saved in a sale Wednesday, Hoboken still has a chance if four members of the City Council will "do the right thing for all of Hoboken," and pass the emergency resolution on the final component needed for the hospital - the parking agreement.

In front of an emotional audience of hospital employees and Hoboken residents, chants of "Save Our Hospital" interrupted the mayor and the Hospital Authority members who spoke with strong applause.  The mayor urged everyone with the welfare of Hoboken in mind to reach out to the four council minority members - Michael Russo, Beth Mason, Terry Castellano and Tim Occhipinti and tell them they can be "heroes of Hoboken" if they vote to allow the sale to go forward by making the already passed parking agreement immediately effective.

There's no hiding on this one this time for Mike Russo.  It's prosperity or destruction, yay or nay.

The mayor made it very clear much is in the balance including the City of Hoboken being declared bankrupt.  According to the mayor,  the City would be facing a $63 million dollar bill if the hospital closed on a $100 million annual budget and the impact to the City of Hoboken would be catastrophic.

The mayor was scheduled to leave the hospital to inform City employees the dire situation both the hospital and the City faced. The mayor added massive layoffs would be in store for Hoboken if the hospital sale that was already completed less the parking agreement is not wrapped up with at least one more yes vote on Sunday.  Large tax increases would also be required due to the enormity of the impact.

Later in an interview one nurse noted no hospital in Hoboken can possibly operate successfully without parking. The parking garage was created for the hospital and is an essential piece to the closing of the sale.

Should one of the four council minority members vote yes, the closing would be able to conclude Tuesday of next week.

The consequences for intransigence are extremely dire to the hospital, almost 1200 employees, City workers including public safety and the taxpayers of Hoboken.

In 2007, Council members Terry Castellano and Mike Russo both voted to keep the hospital by making Hoboken taxpayers the guarantors of a $52 million bond. They have both voted against every single hospital related legislation that has come before them in recent weeks that would defease the bond and keep the hospital contractually open for seven years.

Complete and unedited video will be posted later today.

- Posted at full gallop

HUMC Press Conference - Council vote critical in hospital survival

The press conference today is running late unlike the previous two. Not altogether surprising considering the people that have been working from midnight Tuesday after the City Council's action by MORTe to stop the essential parking agreement licensing from taking effect with the closing Wednesday.

The hospital employees are now assembling in the lobby. There's a sense of deja vu but not the good kind. This was not suppose to happen.

Thank you Beth Mason for hating Hoboken.

- Posted at full gallop

Hoboken and HUMC with back to the wall, one resident says call MORTe

One concerned resident sent in this information requesting it be posted announcing:

The Council Minority (Mason, Russo, Castellano and Occhipinti) are set to bankrupt Hoboken.

Your taxes may triple because of their political grandstanding.

Call Beth Mason at 646-339-2991 today to tell her to vote "Yes" on Sunday. If that box is full, call 201-656-7549

Call Tim Occhipinti at 917-721-3926 today to tell him to vote "Yes" on Sunday

Michael Russo is at 201-401-9687

Theresa Castellano is at - (201) 656-9449

We also need you to show up on Sunday at 6:00PM at City Hall to urge them to Vote "YES" on the Hospital Parking Agreement.

Please go to the mic and make a statement that they are destroying Hoboken and to stop.

Make it clear you are ready to hold them personally responsible for the damage.

- Posted at full gallop

Thursday, October 27, 2011

City Council Special meeting Sunday moved to 6:00 PM

UPDATE: Mayor Zimmer will be holding a press conference this morning at Hoboken University Medical Center.  MSV will be covering it.

The City Council special meeting this Sunday concerning the urgent matter of the Hoboken University Medical Center will be held Sunday evening in City Council Chambers at 6:00 in the evening.

The meeting had earlier been planned for Sunday 9:00 am.

Timmy the voting zombie Occhipinti votes mindlessly as a zombie.  He takes no responsibility for the impact of his votes be it to City workers or the Hoboken University Medical Center.  He's been "educated" in the Russo school of politics where it's all politics all the time and lying to the public's face is standard practice.  How will he explain his vote on Sunday after he's already jeopardized both City workers and the hospital in less than a month for no good reason.  In fact, like a zombie - no reason at all.

MSV does not normally urge people to come out to meetings.  While we think its important for civic participation to vote and at least see one or two meetings in person to obtain true clarity on what is transpiring in our mile square, this meeting may be the most important for the City Council in years.

The stakes could not be higher.  The hospital sale scheduled for transaction Wednesday is now in an open ended 20 day situation with next to no funds to operate.  The City Council will again have an opportunity to remove that jeopardy and allow the sale to close.

The Council members responsible for this needless blockage of Hoboken's hospital are:
Michael Russo, Beth Mason, Terry Castellano and Tim Occhipinti.

They need to be made accountable.  They need to be held accountable.

Your homes are now at stake, not just the hospital.  If you have never spoken your mind, now is certainly the time to do so.  Although it's the weekend, there's a lot more weighing in the balance than that one day.

Talking Ed Note: MORTe is intentionally destroying the economic freedoms of this town by putting the City and the hospital in a continuous state of jeopardy.

Your liberties are at stake as without economic liberty no other may be enjoyed.

The Mile Square Taxpayers Associations urge participation on rent control ballot question

MSTA announces:

Time to show you care about Hoboken!  Please pass this on to your colleagues and contacts.  

Get the facts on Public Question #2.  Submit your questions prior to the debate at Quality of Life Coalition to Host Rent Control Debate The issue is on the ballot on Nov. 8 in a public referendum. 
By Claire Moses Before the people of Hoboken get to decide on rent control in a public referendum on Tuesday Nov. 8, they'll get a chance to understand the issue further by attending a debate about it on Friday night.

Tenant advocates have been fighting to get the issue on the ballot , and the Hoboken public will be able to vote on election day on Nov. 8.

The debate, which is being organized by Hoboken's Quality of Life Coalition, will take place at 7:30 at the Our Lady of Grace School Hall on Willow Avenue at 5th Street and moderated by Hoboken Reporter staff writer Ray Smith.

The two organizations will be represented respectively by Cheryl Fallick and Dan Tumpson for Hoboken Fair Housing, and Ron Simoncini and Joe Murray for Mile Square Taxpayers Association.

The issue of rent control has come up, after the city council amended the decades-old law last winter.
Tenant advocates have been worried about the issue, among other reasons, because the new law institutes a two-year period of repose,
no matter how long rent has been overcharged.

The general public is encouraged to submit questions in advance of the event by e-mailing A panel of Quality of Life board members will select the questions. Unlike previous Quality of Life events of this type, no questions will be taken from the audience the evening of the debate. 
Admission is free; all are invited to attend.

Melissa A. Honohan
On behalf of Mile Squared Taxpayers Association
Click this link to unsubscribe:

Rent Control Debate Friday night at OLG

The Hoboken Quality of Life Coalition presents:

Debate to Discuss Rent Control Question on November 8 Ballot
Submit Your Questions Prior to Debate – Hoboken, NJ

The Hoboken Quality of Life Coalition to sponsor a debate on the issues concerning rent control legislation that will appear as a question on the November 8, 2011 ballot. The debate between Hoboken Fair Housing and Mile Square Taxpayers Association will take place on Friday, October 28, 2011 starting at 7:30 p.m. in the Our Lady of Grace School Hall on Willow Avenue at 5th Street.

The two organizations will be represented respectively by Cheryl Fallick and Dan Tumpson for Hoboken Fair Housing, and Ron Simoncini and Joe Murray for Mile Square Taxpayers Association. Ms. Fallick and Mr. Tumpson are both long term supporters of Rent Control laws, going back as far as 1981. Their latest public outreach obtained the signatures of 3,158 Hoboken voters on a petition protesting the recent amendments to the Rent Control law which ultimately led to the issue being placed on the November ballot. Mile Square Taxpayers will be represented by its Executive Director Ron Simoncini and Joe Murray, a resident of Hoboken since 1982 and an owner of rent controlled property.

The event will be moderated by Ray Smith who covers the city for The Hoboken Reporter. He has reported on the rent control issue since October 2010. 

The general public is encouraged to submit questions in advance of the event by e-mailing A panel of Quality of Life board members will select the questions. Unlike previous Quality of Life events of this type, no questions will be taken from the audience the evening of the debate. Admission is free; all are invited to attend.

Pro-rent control group hosting screening of 'Delivered Vacant'

The Hoboken Fair Housing Association announces:

Death Match 2011: Mayor Zimmer vs MORTe with the hospital's life and Hoboken's financial health the stakes

With a call for yet another special City Council meeting this Sunday, the Zimmer Administration takes another turn to stave off the Beth Russo hydra in what can only be accurately described as a full on death match over the hospital and Hoboken's very financial health the stakes.

The latest move to get Hoboken University Medical Center to the finish line - and alive - involves a deft maneuver shifting to a special meeting where five votes via resolution scores a win.

Corporation Counsel Mark Tabakin stated Wednesday night the hospital could not meet its payroll and an emergency resolution was required to align the hospital's closing on the sale the next day.  The emergency resolution requiring six votes promptly failed 5-4 vote along party lines.

Beth Mason's still aims to kill the hospital.  She's doing it she says, "for the taxpayers."

The hospital sale stands in a deteriorating satellite position, unable to maintain its orbit and slowly crashing to earth with each passing second.  The closing of the sale to Holdco scheduled yesterday was cancelled due to the question of the "enforceability" of the parking agreement - as stated in a letter by Holdco released earlier yesterday.  (Available on page 3 of City Hall's release below.)

Wednesday night the City Council majority discovered the emergency resolution requesting a waiver of the 20 days normally needed to make the parking agreement effective immediately required six votes.

The Beth Russo hydra or MORTe quickly acted to oppose the move that would cost Hoboken zero and everything to gain.  One simple yay vote among MORTe would have put the whole hospital matter to rest, saving the 150 year institution and with it defease a $52 million bond guarantee hanging over Hoboken resident's heads.  It's unknown if they knew their votes would keep alive their consistent effort to sabotage the hospital's sale.

Regardless of who knew what on the emergency resolution vote, the latest legal tactic by the Zimmer Administration is sure to enflame the City Council further with the supporters of the mayor likely to back the latest resolutions Sunday while MORTe (Mason, Occhipinti, Russo and Terry Castellano) will once again look to undermine the hospital and attempt to finish it off by running out the clock.  A millisecond won't pass before they then point the finger and blame the mayor.

The sabotage of Hoboken isn't over with the artificially created $4.5 million deficit courtesy of MORTe.  They could have easily chose to save the city $50,000 annually in a refinance of the midtown garage.  Instead they choose to harm Hoboken as a cynical ploy to regain power putting City workers in the line of fire with layoffs.  The hospital is yet in their sights.

As if the stakes are not already sufficiently high, the City is not certain the legislation's passage on Sunday will finally end the matter.  Councilwoman Beth Mason who verbally stood behind the mountains of misinformation she has been feeding the public over months on the hospital sale at the last meeting, may now take the next step and put together an army of lawyers to take on the City in yet a new front in a war where her ultimate objective is the death and shuttering of Hoboken University Medical Center.

Beth Mason and her MORTe allies say they take these actions such as voting down the refinancing of the midtown garage "for the taxpayers" even as their actions tell a completely different story.

The City just failed to obtain approval for an emergency appropriation to cover various legal costs for the bankruptcy on the hospital and related rent control snafus that are an outgrowth an almost continuous fight between rent control tenants and small homeowners.

The request for first $600,000 upped to $700,000 at the meeting was immediately denounced by Beth Mason.  Considering the failure to get those  legal bills paid, Corporation Counsel Mark Tabakin said he would advise those performing legal services for the City to cease the next day.

How that affront to the legal community will empower the City to retain assistance and enter into a blood and guts legal battle with Beth Mason is completely unknown.  Law firms do initial work on appropriation and anticipate good will for the extra man hours required to fulfill the due diligence necessary to get the work done.  But the City's standing in the legal community is not faring well after the rejection on paying its legal beagle bill Wednesday night.

Yesterday, a letter from Holdco's attorney confirmed the veracity of Corporation Counsel Mark Tabakin's urging the City Council to vote to make effective immediately the passed parking agreement so the hospital could close Wednesday.  The letter stated the closing did not take place as the terms were not met based on the action the previous evening by the City Council - actually the Beth Russo hydra.

MORTe stood united once again to shoot down the resolution that required a two-thirds approval of six votes.  That unity gave life to Beth Mason's year long effort to see the hospital sale undone.

Actions for weeks leading into the closing left the Hoboken Hospital Authority no room to maneuver.  The hospital sale to Holdco is either completed or the hospital is closed.  Even with this stated repeatedly, MORTe has acted at best cavalierly and at worst with conspiratorial contempt to bring about the worst outcome.

If anyone doubted their bad intentions on the hospital and Hoboken overall, within the span of a just two weeks, MORTe voted down a bond refinance for the midtown garage even with advanced warning doing so would cause City layoffs while sucking the oxygen out of the hospital sale since.

Alternatively, MORTe also sneered at the refinance adding $50,000 annually to the City, embracing destruction for the workers they claim to represent. Their verbal denials on culpability are just a snippet of their plans to come.

With the latest showdown set, the Zimmer Administration must be already searching for a way to put together an army of lawyers after Sunday's special council meeting.  Awaiting them on the other side will be an equally strong or stronger team of lawyers ready to do battle paid for by Beth Mason's husband Ricky.

Talking Ed Note: Are you ready for a war?  There's nothing less at stake than the hospital and the City's very financial health.