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: