Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sign of the Times: Mayor Zimmer celebrates birthday with "that Jen Girl"

Mayor Dawn Zimmer celebrating her birthday last Saturday is joined by
6th ward city council candidate Jen "that Jen girl" Giattino at 1 Republik

Talking Ed Note: Who's afraid of a little ole girl that they would want to have her campaign signs taken down?  Who would be so edgy to do such a thing:

MSV will not be posting Good Friday.  A Happy Passover and Blessed Easter to our friends, readers and neighbors!

Rami Pinchevsky - 'corruption only ends when wheeling is stopped'

Rami for Council announces:


Last night, Councilman Peter Cunningham reintroduced a campaign finance ordinance to the Hoboken City Council which would have ended the political practice of wheeling - laundering money to political candidates to circumvent donation limits.

The most recent example of wheeling in Hoboken was in the 2010 November special election for 4th Ward Councilman. In that election, current council president Beth Mason was able to legally give Tim Occhipinti over $13,000 or five times the legal limit for one individual. Her donations made up close to 20% of the total money spent in that election and secured victory for Occhipinti. On his first day as councilperson, Occhipinti set the wheels in motion for Beth Mason to become Council President.

Councilman Cunningham's ordinance was defeated 4-4, with Mason and Occhipinti voting against. Occhipinti's current opponent in the May 10th election for 4th Ward Council, Rami Pinchevsky, was outraged and spoke before the council on the issue.

"The cycle of corruption will only end when our elected officials finally have the courage to do what is right and fight for the best interests of the people of Hoboken. I commend Councilman Peter Cunningham for having the courage to stand up for what is right. But this ordinance, which should have passed if we were to believe the campaign rhetoric of our elected officials, was defeated again by the Obstructionists. Councilman Tim Occhipinti and Councilwoman Beth Mason have shown their true intentions here today: their own self interests come before the public interest," said Pinchevsky.

Hospital authority announces $91.7 million transfer agreement


Agreement Ensures Continued Operation of HUMC as a Full Service Acute Care Community Hospital and Full Payment of Outstanding Balance on Bonds Guaranteed by the City of Hoboken

HOBOKEN, NEW JERSEY – The Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority today announced that it has voted to authorize the execution of an agreement to transfer ownership of Hoboken University Medical Center (HUMC) to HUMC Holdco LLC, an entity whose principals have common ownership with nearby Bayonne Medical Center. The total value of the transaction is approximately $91.7 million, and it ensures that HUMC will remain open as a full-service, acute-care, community hospital for at least seven years while retaining jobs in the City of Hoboken.

Under the authorized agreement, HUMC Holdco will pay in cash the full outstanding balance of the
$52 million bond obligation guaranteed by the City of Hoboken upon closing of the transaction. HUMC Holdco will also assume certain liabilities and has earmarked more than $20 million for investment in HUMC. The City of Hoboken will not receive any funds as part of the transaction.

Following execution of an agreement, and before the transaction can be finalized, certain conditions must be satisfied that include a review by the New Jersey State Department of Health and Senior Services, through the Certificate of Need process, which includes a public hearing process.

“One of my most important priorities when I took office was to ensure that our Hospital would remain a full service acute care facility and to relieve our City of the significant obligations associated with its $52 million bond guarantee,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “This Agreement satisfies both of these important objectives and is a significant milestone for our City.”

“This is a significant milestone,” said Toni Tomarazzo, Chairperson of the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority. “The comprehensive process to identify a potential buyer for the Hospital has been ongoing for almost a year. The Authority's Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued in late July 2010 and set forth the Authority's clear objectives: to maintain the facility as an acute-care hospital, to preserve the jobs, to continue the valuable working relationship with the medical staff of the Hospital, and to relieve the City of Hoboken of its bond guarantee obligations.”

“The Authority has worked diligently since signing a Letter of Intent with the Purchaser in January 2011 to negotiate and finalize the terms of the Agreement,” added Tomarazzo. “There is still much work to be done before the transaction can be finalized, but we are optimistic that we will be able to proceed expeditiously toward a closing.”

“The Hospital, like many stand-alone community-based medical facilities, faced a challenging fiscal position,” said Steven Rofsky, Chair of the Authority’s Finance Committee. “This Agreement will help our Hospital thrive while at the same time relieving our City of the risk associated with the $52 million bond guarantee.”   
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4th ward Council Candidate Rami Pinchevsky comes up spraying lead on wheeling

Last night's council meeting had a different tone, some of it good, much of it bad and it will lead to tears and cheers come May 10th.  This town's future of decent governance is at stake and the forces aligned against it are determined to make a good show of keeping the dark cloud situated over City Hall.

Council candidate Rami Pinchevsky summed up much of the conflict last night on the updated anti-wheeling ordinance sponsored by Councilman Peter Cunningham.  He addressed several of the conflicts in the Beth Mason-Tim Occhipinti relationship namely: money, lots of it.

While the law says a $2,600 individual contribution is the maximum, Councilwoman Beth Mason pumped at least $13,000 or $15,000 perhaps $20,000 via her campaign committee and other illicit avenues.

Da Horsey was so inspired by Rami Pinchevsky's address, there was nothing to do but follow his lead.

There was some bad governance on display again last night with "chicken hawk" attempts to cut further the salary of the mayor and the directors.  Those salaries have already been reduced and attempting to do so again right before the election was political grandstanding at its finest, or worst depending on your defintion. Apparently the Directors are doing too professional a job so the goal is to lower their salaries again to the point where they can't afford to perform in service to Hoboken. (Finally new parking meter hardware was approved expected to add $1,000,000 in revenue to the city when fully implemented.) In short, the Directors who are leading the improvements across town in ways large and small are being targeted for extinction.

MSV now gives you Rami Pinchevsky with a co-starring performance lacking any decorum from the petulant Tim Occhipinti:

Hospital offer of $91.7 million approved by Hospital Authority

The Hoboken University Medical Center moved forward and crossed an important threshold accepting a contract from HUMC Holdco's $91.7 million bid.  The amount if finalized as part of an ongoing public process requiring state approval would relieve the city's $52 million bond obligation while maintaining the institution as an acute care facility.

The commitment by the contract bidder for the hospital also requires as part of the sale a seven year timeframe at a minimum to keep the hospital open and maintain no less than 75% of the existing employees.  The minimum of 75% employee retention is not a set goal but a standard of expectation as a starting point.

The hospital has been operating at a deficit since its sale as St. Mary's in 2007.  Although there have been improvements such as the emergency room and givebacks from the employee unions since, the hospital is still losing money although at a slower rate.

Any finalization of the hospital sale set by a July 31 deadline will also require it maintain equivalent standards of care as others within the county.  A series of public meetings will take place before the end of July.

Last night's hospital authority moved a $90 million potential sale forward but there will be months
of public discussions before any final decision late July.
Talking Ed Note:  The hospital is a big issue with difficult choices faced over the last several years.  It has been losing money at an alarming rate, aided by State funding for the last two years, something unusual by the state standards.

Some will question many aspects of the $91.7 million bid but those details will be fully discussed publicly and CEO Spiros Hatiras has indicated it was the bid he saw the greatest value among those received.  In 2007, the hospital received no bids.

Keeping the hospital for seven years as an acute care facility and one hopes long after, is easily the best remedy we've seen since it was St. Mary's.  It's been in danger of far worse in the interim.

Correction: The offer was not $90 million but $91.7 million.