Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Greg Lincoln to Mike Russo - 'Explain the illegal taxpayer paid benefits'

Greg Lincoln for Council announces:


Greg Lincoln, Hoboken 3rd Ward City Council candidate, demands an explanation for why Councilman Michael Russo overlooked the health benefits that his father, former Hoboken Mayor and convicted felon Anthony Russo, has been illegally collecting from the City. These benefits were supposed to have been cancelled following former Mayor Russo's conviction and imprisonment for taking bribes and illegal cash payments.    On March 11, 2011, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer released a letter to City Council stating that a recent audit uncovered that former Mayor Russo was still receiving health benefits on the City health care plan even though he was not qualified to receive them.

“It is outrageous that at a time when people are struggling to pay their own health care costs the Russo family is caught yet again taking care of themselves at the expense of the Hoboken taxpayer,”  says Greg Lincoln. 

Does Councilman Russo expect the residents and taxpayers of Hoboken to believe he had no knowledge that his father was illegally receiving health benefits from the City of Hoboken? In the December 3, 2008 City Council meeting, Councilman Russo boasted that “it was very simple to calculate” the former employees who were illegally receiving health benefits from the City. If it was so easy, how did Councilman Russo overlook the name of his father on the list of those illegally receiving health benefits?

“Third Ward residents and Hoboken taxpayers have had enough of Councilman Russo constantly putting his family’s interests ahead of the City’s. It’s time for the dishonesty and hypocrisy to end,” says Greg Lincoln.

Campaign Press photos: http://bit.ly/fuTwuy Campaign website: http://LincolnForCouncil.com Campaign phone: 201-468-0605 Campaign email: LincolnForCouncil@gmail.com

Mayor Zimmer’s letter to City Council, March 11, 2011, stating termination of former Mayor Russo’s health benefits, in “Ethics Ordinance” on page 2 of: http://www.hobokennj.org/docs/council/respack11/respac-3-16-11.pdf

Video of Dec. 3, 2008 Hoboken City Council meeting where Councilman Russo claims to have uncovered evidence of employees illegally receiving health benefits: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ps4CmBwRuGE

Hudson Reporter article, March 2, 2006, by Tom Jennemann, stating former Mayor Russo’s termination of health benefits: http://hudsonreporter.com/view/full_stories_home/2408422/article-Russo-s-pension-cut-in-half-Jailed-former-mayor-receives-no-credit-for-time-spent-as-chief-executive

Hudson Reporter article, January 25, 2009, by Tim Carroll, explaining Councilman Russo’s confusion over the number of employees illegally receiving health benefits: http://hudsonreporter.com/view/full_story/1821809/article-City--It-was-a-mistake-Five-not-qualified-but-receiving-city-benefits--two-others-under-review-

UPDATE: The logjam of silence on this Russo taxpayer ripoff in Hoboken outside of MSV and the Hoboken Journal has finally ended with a story up now at the Hudson Reporter, usually slower and more geared to their weekend paper.

Nothing though on the Jersey Journal or Hoboken Patch.


The Reform movement's City Council candidate coalition announces unified unqualified support for Mayor Zimmer's open space bond ordinance up for vote tomorrow at Wednesday's City Council meeting:

In anticipation of tomorrow's City Council meeting, the 6 candidates running with Mayor Zimmer's endorsement have come out strong for her Parks plan.

"The people of Hoboken want more parks, they need more parks, and there is no excuse for standing in the way of the Mayor's $20M parks proposal," said 1st Ward Candidate Eric Kurta. In Hoboken's first State of the City address, Mayor Dawn Zimmer outlined an ambitious plan to acquire more park space with a concentration on the underserved western neighborhoods through bonding, but Councilmembers Theresa Castellano, Mike Russo, Tim Occhipinti, and Nino Giacchi voted against it.

The dissenting councilmembers have been claiming there are leftover funds that need to be returned to taxpayers, a claim which seems hypocritical considering the need for additional park space. "So long as kids have to practice soccer at night, we need more parks and playing fields for our children" said 2nd ward candidate Tom Greaney. "We need to ensure that all residents of Hoboken have access to open space and are able to enjoy our city". "Parks are an important quality of life issue for Hoboken residents. Making the city more family friendly is part of the reason I'm running," said 6th Ward Candidate Jennifer Giattino.

"The City Council behaved like a circus at the last meeting. Trying to table the bill so that the majority could wait on their poll results shows a lack of real leadership and vision," said 3rd Ward candidate Greg Lincoln.

The bond ordinance comes up for another vote at Wednesday's council meeting, and council majority members have indicated they will switch their votes to pass it. "I am glad the Mayor's Parks plan will pass, but if our councilmembers had been more knowledgeable about the law and their responsibilities, they would have supported the ordinance from the beginning," said 4th Ward candidate Rami Pinchevsky.

The ordinance passed the first reading, but not with the 6 votes necessary to pass it at tomorrow's second reading. Mayor Zimmer recently met with the council majority to talk about her proposed Parks ordinance. "I spoke to them about what the law requires for bonding and the legislation as it was proposed. When they realized that this ordinance was a necessary step before specific park sites could be brought before the council, they came around," said Mayor Zimmer.

Talking Ed Note:  The Hudson Reporter today did a story where Tim Occhipinti announced he will now vote in favor of the introduced open space bond of $20 million.  As MSV noted earlier, he seemed stunned when several other motions all related were tabled until Beth Mason voted not to table the final related item.

Now the Hudson Reporter does an interview where Tim Occhipinti claims it was changes in the Mayor's position for him switching his vote.  As if.

No word on why the Hudson Reporter only featured quotes exclusively by Tim Occhipinti never explaining why he voted not once but twice to kill the bond ordinance for open space right out of the gate.  The more you know...

Councilman Peter Cunningham: we can cut taxes and protect our fiscal position

From the desk of Councilman Peter Cunningham early today:

Good morning...

Budget meetings held last night – Environmental Services, Community Development and Health & Human Services.  I pushed for continued use of new technologies, shared service arrangements and career development to support efficiencies; and we are moving in the right direction.

Another 5% in this year's 2011 Calendar Year budget as proposed brings taxes down by at least 10% in the last 12 months, as we are all focused on LOWER TAXES.

My concern is that we need to maintain at least 5% in cash surplus for prudent fiscal stability.  It’s amazing how far we have come in two years for what appears to be plotting by the council majority to throw it all away in an election year.  They don’t seem to understand the correct level of the City's CASH surplus.  Check the City’s website and look at Sheet 21 of the Annual Financial Statement TY2010.  It’s $14 million, not $27 million.  The $13 million difference is the Roberts/Russo over spending of the budget over the last 10 years!  Statutorily, this is not available as we have several more years of paying for reckless spending and financial gimmicks from the past.

Now on the other hand, if there are services you wish for us to propose cutting, please reach out to discuss.  The City will provide the council on statutory budget items shortly, and then we can collectively decide what eligible city services may be cut for further tax relief.  Thanks for listening, and as always, please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.

Peter Cunningham

Mayor hosts home event for support in battle for the City Council in May

Dear Friends,
It’s time for a celebration of Hoboken and all that it can be
in the future, with your help.

Come join the party/fundraiser this Thursday at our house for fun
with old and new friends who care about our town.

If you can’t make it, then please consider making a donation to
help ensure a positive future for our City.
The details: 
A party/fundraiser for Hoboken’s Future 
Thursday, March 17th,
7 – 11 pm
59 Madison Street, Apt. #2  (Dawn & Stan’s house)

Suggested minimum contribution to citywide effort:  $250.00
RSVPs appreciated but not required.  (Just respond to this email)
The crucial reasons:  
If you care about balanced developed and lower taxes,
then this party really is for you. 
Signs of overdevelopment with the current Council
are all around –This week Councilwoman Castellano even did a
1st Ward mailing with a supportive message and photo of the
previous 70-story NJ Transit plan that we all fought AGAINST!  
(That NJ Transit plan would bring the 1st Ward 50-story
residential towers all along Observer Highway). 

Her mailing and their vote to kill anti-wheeling legislation,
illustrate that we have a Council majority tied to developers,
and make it clear that this election is really all about the
future of development in our town.    
With your help we can win these Council elections. 

Together, let’s keep moving Hoboken ahead!    



Meet 4th ward candidate Rami Pinchevsky

Dear Neighbor,

Please join me on Tuesday March 22nd from 7-9pm at my home for a 4th ward get together with special guest 
Rami Pinchevsky, 4th Ward City Council Candidate.
Here's a chance to ask the candidate questions, concerns and discuss issues related to out neighborhood.

When: Tuesday March 22, 2011
Time 7-9pm
Where: 551Observer  apt 7b (Skyline Condo)
Host: Tony Soares

Appetizers and drinks 

Together we can make our neighborhood even greater!

For more information please call Tony at 201-320-0642
Brian at Rami's Headquarters at :201-706-8080

Paid for by Rami Pinchevsky for 4th Hoboken City Council

Rami Pinchevsky: hellooooo in the 4th ward

Rami for council announces:

Fourth Ward Hoboken City Council Candidate Rami Pinchevsky has been extremely busy these past few weeks. He just filed over four hundred petitions for his city council candidacy with Municipal Clerk James Farina. It is the most signatures anyone has ever filed for Hoboken's Fourth Ward.

I walked the streets of the Fourth Ward for weeks talking to voters, but all of the credit goes to my friends and neighbors in the Fourth Ward who gave up their mornings and weekends to join me,” said Rami Pinchevsky. “This whole campaign is a real community effort with real passion to make our neighborhood a better place for all of us. That is why so many people have volunteered and why even more people signed the petitions.”

Hearing my neighbors' stories and listening to their concerns about flooding, parks, and taxes has been my favorite part of this campaign,” Rami added.

In a district where only 2,000 votes were cast last time around, 433 petition signatures is a tremendous advantage.

Salvation: Parking Utility announces Saturday hours!

City of Hoboken announces


The Hoboken Parking Utility is expanding its customer service hours to Saturdays and most government holidays. Effective Saturday, March 19, the Parking Utility will be open on Saturdays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm as well as on government holidays except for New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

“We’ve received multiple requests, so I’m very pleased that we are now able to improve customer service hours to match residents’ busy lives,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

The Parking Utility, which is located in the ground floor of City Hall, 94 Washington Street, is also open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 9:30 pm.

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Councilman Mike Russo claim: dozens collecting illegal health benefits

Yesterday's MSV story noting the illegal health benefits paid out to former mayor and convicted felon Anthony Russo is creating rumblings throughout our mile square, but there's more to this story even looking in the rear view mirror.

Back in 2008 as Fiscal State Monitor Judy Tripodi was at the helm, Councilman Mike Russo put in one of his fanciful claims there were over 90 people ineligible but receiving city paid health benefits.  Steve Kleinman who was the Corporation Counsel at that time disputed the figure and asked for his information saying he was aware of a far, far lower number.

Through the magic of the internets, here is Councilman Mike Russo claiming he went through a list of city employees and also a broker list cross referencing the two.  No one believes Mike Russo did that of course, but someone say an Uncle George may have handed off the task to an underling to do on the city's dime and passed it on to him.  Then again, the word on the street is napkins are passed between the two over dinner, sometimes including temporary budgets written on them.

And now courtesy of estevens aka the Wiley Coyote re: 1st ward Council Candidate Eric Kurta, here is the complete video from 2008 with Mike Russo forgetting to mention dear old dad is on the dole collecting illegal health benefits:

Talking Ed Note: Free bonus crackerjack prize:  Councilwoman Beth Mason concludes the video by asking, "How long has this been going on?"  Will Beth Mason ask that question Wednesday night?  How about Tim Occhipinti who loves to brag how he doesn't use the available benefits (since he gets it from his job).  

MSV can not verify the details on how long Anthony Russo was collecting on a benefit of city paid health insurance but an earlier Hudson Reporter story suggests he was no longer eligible back in 2006.