Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sign of the Times: 'Move Forward' illegally blocking a crosswalk

Yesterday Da Horsey trotting on Washington St. noted the door to the Mason Civic League "art gallery" door was ajar with full time picture hanger and Beth Mason political operative Matt Calicchio manning the door.

Seconds later, Da Horsey was spotted standing across the street and the door promptly closed.   Not minutes after, out came BoE Move Forward co-campaign manager Joe Branco.  Some chatter about picture taking ensued from across the entirety of Washington Street with a request for photos from Thursday night's Room 84's MF kickoff.

Branco then entered his truck illegally parked right smack in the crosswalk on Washington and 12th and drove off.

Last month, Branco spoke at a City Council meeting complaining about Council President Peter Cunningham's parking his car inappropriately.

Joe Branco pictured leaving a political meeting at Beth Mason's "art gallery" Saturday.  
After a brief chat across the way, he departed with his illegally parked truck lodged in the crosswalk on Washington and 12th.

It's just another sign of the times in Hoboken.  Hey Joe, nice truck. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hey Horsey show us the juice?

Well since you asked, there's a City Council meeting on Wednesday and the first item on the agenda is resolution #1 - appointing a replacement to fill the open at-large Council seat!

There's been much whispering, questioning and jockeying on who will be standing up for the Hoboken community, but no one in the know is saying.

Da Horsey has a good idea but we're not going to tell you and we're staying below the radar.  If someone wants a horse's opinion they'd ask and no one did.  No issue here, we're open to organic carrots and dark chestnut fillies.

The Council pick is not any of the top selections forwarded to you by Al Sullivan in the Hudson Reporter.  In our first ever conversation this week, Al and I had a friendly chat about journalistic norms but I'll keep views on mine to myself as we didn't speak on the record.  I did however send a lovely on the record quote via email.  Maybe next week Al you can let folks the truth about where Da Horsey spends summer vacation!  Stop being spun by paid political operatives and speak to the source and by all means make a timely correction.

So now to address Sullivan's "Between the Lines choices.  None of the top names listed made a serious shortlist from MSV's perspective including any former elected officials such as previously serving council members Michael Lenz and Tony Soares.

Hoboken Housing Chairman Jake Stuiver also mentioned in Sullivan's column had posted a comment on MSV just earlier this week he was not even considering himself a candidate but both long time activists Jim Doyle and Eric Kurta were mentioned by readers as great picks.

MSV doesn't expect any of those names other than Jim Doyle or another strong candidate to be sworn in Wednesday night.

HHA Chair Jake Stuiver at the City Hall Michael Russo protest is not a candidate to backfill the at-large council seat.
He has a big job on his plate and quashed the idea in a comment on MSV earlier this week.

At Monday's City Council meeting, five votes are needed to backfill the council seat.  The mayor will certainly be there in case there's need for a tie-breaker.

Here's what we'll say about the appointment.  It will be a choice highly respected in the community who has served Hoboken over many years in more ways than one with both honor and distinction.  It will probably be no surprise to many this person has stepped into the fire leading into 2013 municipal elections.  It's not beyond the pale they will receive more than four votes if the council minority doesn't put forward a sacrificial lamb to go down in flames immediately thereafter.

On Monday Grist for the Mill is back examining a whole host of juicy tidbits from the Old Guard's BoE slate kickoff in the reoccupied Room 84 underground to the Michael Russo-FBI-Solomon Dwek saga of the missing deposits in his Russo for Hoboken campaign account.

Guess who is aiding and abetting in that cover-up?  It's the same editors who have been refusing to mention anything about the real story for weeks!

While the years late Michael Russo ELEC reports are filed, the public doesn't get to view the deposits telling all in the bank statements of Russo for Hoboken.  The Hudson Reporter isn't providing them to the public while telling us there's nothing to see there.

As if.

Michael Russo makes lots of noise and much of it barely qualifies as more than that.  You can hear the desperation reading his statements.

We'll have more on that next week.

Mayor Zimmer invite: 'See you Sunday at the festival or Wednesday night for the presidential debate'

 
Dear Friends,
 
I'd love to see you at the Arts & Music Festival.

Where: Washington Street between First & Second Streets

When: This Sunday, 11-6

Why: A chance to catch up on all that’s happening in Hoboken, including:
>  new parks
>  sustainable development
>  new election locations  
>  and...important questions on the ballot this November

Stop by to chat!



Debate Watch Party Invite:  

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012
8 -11 at Marty O'Brien’s
94 Bloomfield St., Hoboken

Everyone is welcome no matter who you support!
Come and enjoy a lively debate on the issues.
 

I hope to see you this Sunday,
 Regards,

Dawn

Friday, September 28, 2012

FBI informant Solomon Dwek faces sentencing next month

Solomon Dwek, the FBI informant who became the linchpin in the government's biggest corruption sting in New Jersey history will be facing the music for his own misdeeds next month when he is sentenced at US District Court in Newark.

Back in 2006, Dwek ran a real estate ponzi scheme and was caught depositing a fraudulent $25 million check at a drive by bank window.  The next day he returned depositing another fraudulent check for the same amount as he was wiring money out.

FBI informant Solomon Dwek at the 2010 trial
of Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini


An excerpt from from the Star Ledger story:

After his arrest, Dwek secretly entered into a cooperation deal with the U.S. Attorney and became an undercover informant. He spent three years wearing a wire for the FBI as part of a sweeping corruption and money-laundering sting that targeted politicians, candidates for office, religious figures in his Orthodox community, and ultimately a man who arranged black market kidney transplants.
Posing as a corrupt developer, he offered cash bribes to dozens of elected officials and candidates for office to expedite phony real estate projects. At the same time, he set up former business partners, rabbis and others who helped him launder millions more through religious charities and organizations.
The sting became public in July 2009, when three mayors, two legislators, five Orthodox rabbis and dozens of others were arrested in a case that made national headlines.

Dwek hopes his three year efforts on behalf of the government will see a reduced sentence from his plea deal of nine to eleven years.

It's also been three years since Dwek made his rounds in Hoboken and Hudson County.
Ted Sherman's, a co-author of "The Jersey Sting" has filed the full story for the Star Ledger:

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/09/fbi_informant_solomon_dwek_to.html

Talking Ed Note: Horse Sense gets the feeling that as one door closes, another opens.

Photo courtesy NJ.com by arrangement

Guest of the Stable: Scott Siegel redux on Michael Russo: Did he or didn't he?




Michael Russo, Did He Or Didn't He?

At the recent council meeting there was one councilperson absent- Michael Russo. Perhaps it is a coincidence, perhaps not. Time will tell. The minority in a recent Hoboken Reporter oped accused Councilman Ravi Bhalla of committing an ethics violation by representing Mayor Zimmer on a personal matter, the leaky roof in her home. Elected officials are forbidden from enriching themselves via public contracts. However, what happens in someone's home is a private matter not a public one. Once again they have shown themselves to be legally incompetent.

This is not an isolated incident. The minority attempted to illegally and unilaterally break the contracts of our city's Directors. They did illegally breach the contract of our Corporate Counsel. They enforced parking (Corner Cars) by resolution, rather than by ordinance, which is required by state law.  Now the incompetent officials can't understand the difference between someone's public and private life.

This is known as “deflection”. Deflection from their own sordid side on legal matters. Michael Russo's father was convicted of bribery and went to jail. His mother was named by US Attorney Ricardo Soloano of receiving a $5 kickback on towed cars. Note: I originally said she admitted the charges. She was named, but denied themI apologize for the error.

They both illegally and improperly received health benefits from Hoboken taxpayers for several years before finally getting caught. There was one councilman who had the courage to look into the matter: Michael Russo. Somehow he didn't recognize his own parent's names? Where is Michelle Russo now? Amazingly, she snared a patronage job from our State Senator Brian Stack of Union City.

Parking Director John Corea and his mob partner have gone to prison for stealing $1 million plus in parking meter quarters.  Former Councilman and Sewage Authority board member, Michael Schaeffer went away for acting as the bagman for Peter Camaranno who also served time for bribery. We have Michael Russo and Councilwoman Beth Mason demanding to see emails from the administration while at the same time their ally Patrick Riccardi was indicted for hacking City Hall emails (3 others were also indicted).

There are also unresolved concerns such as former Mayoral Candidate and BOE President Frank Raia and a political operative employed by Beth Mason over 5 criminal affidavits regarding VBM ballots in Tim Occhipinti's run for the 4th Ward seat. Oh, what a tangled web we weave.

In the book “The Jersey Sting” the authors describe how Michael Russo agreed to receive an initial $5,000 bribe from “developer” Solomon Dwek. Russo denied that the incident ever took place. That was a big mistake. The authors subsequently released the video confirming that it was in fact true. Upon seeing egg on his face, Russo then did his best mea culpa, admitting it was true. At that time, the matter seemed to be resolved and he easily won reelection in the 3rd Ward.
Then he came out with the above false accusation over Mayor Zimmer and her leaky roof. Mayor Zimmer shot back over Russo's shaky ELEC campaign reports. 

On the Reform side, we obsess with handing in ELEC reports on time to Hoboken's new Pay to Play officer. Our side has a 100% compliance with this rule. Yet, Beth Mason is habitually late and Michael Russo's effort is even worse.

His failure to report is stated by Dawn Zimmer: “No ELEC reports for Russo for Hoboken have been filed since September 2008, meaning that no filings have been made covering the period when the offered payment would have been deposited. The last filing for Russo for Hoboken shows a cash balance of $18,420.81 as of July 15, 2008 – funds that have never been accounted for. The Russo for Hoboken account seems to have just disappeared, together with the $18,420.81 cash balance. Councilman Russo later formed a brand new account with a zero balance, with no mention of the prior Russo for Hoboken account or the missing $18,420.81”.

As I stated earlier it appeared that Michael Russo did not consummate the bribe. However, his failure to file and his recent absence at the council meeting are raising new questions. I call on Michael or his treasurer John Castellano (son of 1st Ward Councilwoman Theresa Castellano and the current treasurer for the above mentioned Frank Raia new BOE slate) to release updated ELEC reports and accompany those with bank statements so that we can finally learn whether or not Michael Russo ever cashed checks from Dwek.

Michael Russo was accompanied by former Jersey City Zoning Board member Maher Khalil, who pled guilty in Operation Big Rig III. Khalil used “straw” donors to mask the true nature of the bribe. Maybe the reason Michael Russo has not updated his reports are because the same names would appear. This is why the reports and bank statements must be released. If the bribe was consummated then what deal did Michael Russo make with the feds to avoid prison? His constituents deserve to know the truth.

Talking Ed Note: The above guest piece appeared originally on Hoboken Patch last Monday before being removed Wednesday with one significant change as noted above.

To date, no indictments have been made in the City Hall Data Theft Conspiracy.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Russo FBI Dwek controversy boils over as Hoboken Patch yanks "bribe" column

MILE SQUARE VIEW EXCLUSIVE





Hoboken Patch yanks column discussing Michael Russo's FBI Dwek problem citing "false statements"

Hoboken Patch days after publishing a column asking if Councilman Mike Russo did in fact take a bribe from an FBI informant in 2009 yanked the feature yesterday without warning.

The post written by Scott Siegel stems from missing campaign finance records in the "Russo for Hoboken" account and was titled, "Did he or didn't he?" As in did Councilman Mike Russo in fact take a $5,000 bribe and deposit it into his "Russo for Hoboken" account?

MSV had linked to the post in yesterday's story and later discovered it had been pulled. Questions immediately began swirling why the column was taken down.

Scott Siegel, an unpaid Hoboken Patch blogger had the original story published days ago and it was unusual in respect to comments as Old Guard backers and political operatives typically appearing there look to be operating under orders not to engage the re-emergence of Councilman Michael Russo's FBI Solomon Dwek problem.

Russo's 2009 campaign reports are incomplete and missing transactions cover the time period when FBI informant Solomon Dwek handed out monies all over Hudson County, the same time as a lunch was captured on a hidden surveillance camera in Jersey City.  The lunch was attended by Councilman Mike Russo, Solomon Dwek, Denis Jaslow and Maher Khalil discussing support for a Hoboken development.

Unlike Mike Russo's completed 2011 council campaign, there's been no explanation why there's been no filing.  New Jersey has strict laws on reporting campaign finances and the "Russo for Hoboken" account is under investigation.

Siegel's attempts to find out why his column was suddenly pulled haven't been answered beyond a stand-in editor's communication "false statements" appeared and he should take it up with the Regional Editor.

An excerpt of the column hit on what MSV wrote a week back Monday concerning Mike Russo:

His failure to report is stated by Dawn Zimmer: “No ELEC reports for Russo for Hoboken have been filed since September 2008, meaning that no filings have been made covering the period when the offered payment would have been deposited. The last filing for Russo for Hoboken shows a cash balance of $18,420.81 as of July 15, 2008 – funds that have never been accounted for. The Russo for Hoboken account seems to have just disappeared, together with the $18,420.81 cash balance. Councilman Russo later formed a brand new account with a zero balance, with no mention of the prior Russo for Hoboken account or the missing $18,420.81”.

As I stated earlier it appeared that Michael Russo did not consummate the bribe. However, his failure to file and his recent absence at the council meeting are raising new questions. I call on Michael or his treasurer John Castellano (son of 1st Ward Councilwoman Theresa Castellano and the current treasurer for the above mentioned Frank Raia new BOE slate) to release updated ELEC reports and accompany those with bank statements so that we can finally learn whether or not Michael Russo ever cashed checks from Dwek.

Councilman Mike Russo before a recent Council meeting shares a moment with Hoboken Patch editor Claire Moses.

Scott Siegel has been a regular speaker at City Council meetings especially on areas of finance.  He's been especially critical of the council minority and Councilwoman Beth Mason's efforts to leave the city with no surplus in its operations.

Most recently, he moved from Hoboken for family reasons. A political activist over many years, Siegel has participated on many reform oriented campaigns and is a supporter of Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

MSV has sought comment from Hoboken Patch editor Claire Moses and also the regional editor but has received no reply.

Talking Ed Note: Questions are swirling if the Russo family threatened Hoboken Patch with a lawsuit or if the Feds intervened but no one has the answer.
Banner Logo
        We Need Your Help to Make Sure Hoboken Votes! 
          
Dear Friends,

As we approach the November 6th Presidential election and the voter registration deadline of October 16th to vote in this election, we need as many volunteers as possible to help register new residents at this Sunday's Hoboken Fall Arts & Music Festival.  Here are the details:

When: This Sunday, September 30, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
What: Voter Registration, Outreach and Education
Where: Washington Street -- look out for the Hoboken Votes! table
Why: To make our voice heard as a community!


Can you volunteer 2 hours of your time this Sunday to help us register new Hoboken residents? If so, email me at councilmanbhalla@gmail.com  or call at 201-647-6090 and let me know when you can join us!

If you cannot volunteer this Sunday, but want to register voters at your condominium/apartment building, neighborhood, or an event, please contact me and we'll be there to give you everything you need to make sure everyone in your building and neighorhood is registered to vote!

Thank you and see you this Sunday!

Ravi S. Bhalla
Councilman-at-Large

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

SLAPP forces first slap back with Hoboken Free Speech Legal Defense Fund

Update: Thanks to everyone who has supported this effort to protect the right of Hoboken citizens to speak truth to power.  For those who prefer to use Paypal, you may do so anonymously using a credit or debit card.

Contributions are confidential and are not tax deductible.  No tax penalty is incurred for any contributions less than $13,000.

Again, thanks kindly to everyone who is extending generous support.  The battle is being waged for the right to criticize those connected to power in Hoboken and as one pundit noted, this political attack on speech in the Mile Square comes with big elections ahead.

This in the end this is about seeking to silence voices exposing the Old Guard and its adherents.

The First Amendment says government shall not infringe on the freedom of speech.  
In Hoboken, speech is under attack leading into election season.  That's no coincidence.


August 2012

Our society has sadly become litigious and it was at a City Council meeting where former Corporation Counsel Michael Kates, an ethics and municipal government expert marveled at the extent of litigation directed at the City of Hoboken.

At $2 million, this SLAPP would fit right in with the City.

MSV in operation for more than three years never foresaw becoming party to a SLAPP - Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation but we're not alone.  In this case, we are simply one of 12 with the threat made of more being added.

As a result, we're forced to reach out to the community for assistance and announce the Hoboken Free Speech Legal Defense Fund, a non-tax deductible entity to mount a rigorous defense.

Please make out the check or money order to the Hoboken Free Speech Legal Defense Fund.




       


You may also send a check or money order (for those who prefer to contribute anonymously that way) to:


Hoboken Free Speech LDF
c/o Roman Brice
1032 Hudson Street
Apt. 1S
Hoboken, NJ 07030



Thank you kindly in advance for any and all support!

Beth Mason to Ian Sacs: 'No one gets out of here alive'

The midnight flier distributed in the second ward this week has all the earmarks of a distraction manufactured to keep Hoboken from focusing on an uncomfortable issue; the investigation into Mike Russo's missing campaign information at the time FBI informant Solomon Dwek handed out candy to every Hudson County crook in sight.

The questions remain outstanding and Mike Russo has dropped out of sight conveniently missing the last council meeting and there's an obvious "stand down" order not to talk about it at all.  Scott Siegel, a good government Hoboken activist for years must be scratching his head why the political operatives have dropped out of sight on his Hoboken Patch page.  Typically, they hijack whatever story he prints and change the subject to any number of political attacks. Not this time.

It's complete radio silence over there as throughout the Hoboken blogosphere.  On NJ.com a concerted effort to delete references to Mike Russo's uncomfortable FBI informant Solomon Dwek problems has been ongoing there since the story broke here a week back.  Only one link MSV posted remains and that happens when the comment has been up for a period of time where requests emailed to take it down are no longer done automatically.

When this rarity of silence happens as it did after the FBI swept into City Hall in May last year, the orders have come down from on high in the Old Guard camp: no talking and STAY OFF THE INTERNET!

In this case the order would come from "the boss" and that's Ma Russo.  Last year the silence continued over weeks and then into months as the Old Guard sought to withstand an assault by the FBI who was actively knocking on doors.  Everyone connected to the Old Guard was afraid to talk or say anything to anyone, especially on the phone, well other than spreading the meme the FBI had come for Mayor Zimmer.

Stop laughing.

The silence at present has exactly the same telltale signs as then.  Old Guard stalwart Perry Belfiore, the champion of all things political has disappeared from Hoboken Patch and he avoids commenting here for fear of being taken to task by the vigorous sometimes exuberant commenters in these parts.  Is that another tell?

At the last City Council meeting, Beth Mason complained Ian Sacs was being given consulting work as he transitions from his Parking & Transportation director role and moving his family to Europe. This from the councilwoman who has an army of consultants and multiple political consulting companies on the payroll not to mention what some estimate to be more than half a dozen lawyers in multiple states seeking to prosecute more than a dozen members of the Hoboken public's use of the First Amendment.

Mason's complaint fell flat in the council meeting and the media rolled their eyes, yawned and tried to keep from falling asleep in another typical attack screed she delivers with regularity.

Enter this Prince of Darkness style midnight flier with all the earmarks of a Vision Media - Paul Swibinski operation minus the comic book garish colors.

Add some cheesy colors and this has Beth Mason's fingerprints all over it.
It was also distributed in the second ward, re: "the waterfront area" as the Hudson Reporter
described it.  They definitely got another Mason political operative phone call.

With municipal elections very likely more than a year off after the November referendum, this is clearly geared to making some headlines changing the narrative.

The Hudson Reporter decided to "cover" the story meaning they got the call from a Beth Mason political operative and agreed to get "the message" out.  In their fine journalistic tradition, it doesn't look like they tried to reach the person being attacked - Ian Sacs - to hear his comment about what consulting work he may possibly do for the city in the transition as he departs.  (MSV knows how that works with them from experience more than once in recent weeks.)

The City communications manager said there was no consulting agreement in place with Sacs. No matter, the Hudson Reporter was given its orders and is getting the Mason message out.  Call them the new Hoboken411 with Mason ad space published almost every week on page 3 this year!

The real question isn't if the story will germinate into something more, it won't.  The question at hand is will it remove the heat from Mike Russo who is under investigation for hiding required campaign transactions from his Russo for Hoboken campaign.

That same information would reveal once and for all whether he deposited thousands of dollars into the campaign account he directed over a lunch in Jersey City in the spring of 2009.  Those funds transactions would reveal if Mike Russo did in fact deposit monies from the bribe agreed upon over lunch.

Let's repeat for the obtuse who think it's merely a request from a bunch of citizens who Russo doesn't have to answer to at the end of the day if he doesn't feel like it.  This isn't about any citizens' request, it's about...

An investigation.

An investigation.

An investigation by a legally mandated government authority.

Will Mike Russo continue to ignore that too?

One last embrace?  Beth Mason embraces Michael Russo before a special City Council meeting last fall.  
Is the midnight flier effort one last distraction among allies or is it for other reasons?

As for Director Ian Sacs, he departs after implementing a long list of notable accomplishments in Hoboken leaving a legacy of renewal with other cities looking at Hoboken as a model.  One who did among others is San Antonio.

He replaced a criminal in the form of his predecessor who looted a cool million from the parking meters and for his efforts Sacs received regular abuse from Michael Russo and the Old Guard at City Council meetings.

Now Beth Mason wants him to know he can't just walk away in glory.

No one gets out of here alive.


Talking Ed Note: Grafix Avenger has more on this and some insights on Beth Mason's plans to bypass the local laws on filling the open at-large council seat nominating a Mason political operative for the position.

The court decision: Andriani vs. City of Hoboken

Complete legal document:


Andriani Decision

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

City: Arezzo removal final; Andriani loses federal case

City of Hoboken announces:


CITY OF HOBOKEN PREVAILS ON AREZZO REMOVAL AND ANDRIANI FEDERAL CASES

The New Jersey Civil Service Commission issued a Final Administrative Action upholding the City of Hoboken’s decision to terminate Alfred Arezzo as Construction Code Official.

“We are continuing with our search for a permanent construction code official and invite applications from all qualified individuals,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “While the process can be lengthy and costly, the City will continue to vigorously defend itself to protect the interests of our community.”

Arezzo, who had served as City Construction Official, had been suspended following his refusal to attend mandatory sexual harassment training, interference with his subordinates’ attendance at the training and insubordinate behavior towards the City’s Business Administrator. Arezzo was terminated shortly after his suspension following his retaliatory destruction of City owned property, including the destruction of a laptop hard drive which contained information regarding public matters. Charged with insubordination, conduct unbecoming a public employee, misuse of public property and other sufficient cause, Arezzo’s termination was a result of the City’s continued efforts to ensure that all employees act in accordance with the high standards and expectations of both the City’s administration and its residents. 

In upholding Arezzo’s termination, the Civil Service Commission noted his highly insubordinate behavior towards the City’s Business Administrator as well as the seriousness of destroying City-owned property.  Echoing the City’s own concerns, the Commission concluded that “such an egregious act by a long term employee in a position of public trust cannot be tolerated and is worthy of removal.”


In addition, the Honorable William J. Martini, United States District Court Judge for the District of New Jersey, yesterday dismissed the federal case filed by former Police Lieutenant Angelo Andriani against the City of Hoboken, the Hoboken Police Department, Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Police Chief Anthony Falco, and Police Captain Edimiro Garcia. The Judge dismissed all claims of discrimination and retaliation asserted by Andriani.

The court order is available on the City website: www.hobokennj.org/docs/corpcounsel/Andriani-v-Hoboken-Order.pdf

Mr. Arezzo and Mr. Andriani are each involved in additional ongoing litigation with the City.

Kids First Kickoff introduces its BoE candidate slate

Sunday the Kids First launched their bid for the November Boe election at the Turtle Club.

 

As excerpted from Hoboken Now story: http://www.nj.com/hobokennow/index.ssf/2012/09/post_104.html

Three candidates running on the Kids First 2012 slate launched their campaign yesterday afternoon for the Hoboken school board elections in November. The lineup of three candidates, Ruth McAllister (incumbent), Jean Marie Mitchell (a board member in 2010-11) and Tom Kluepfel attended the crowded fundraiser at the Turtle Club on Park Avenue yesterday. "This election is about maintaining and improving on the gains that the Kids First campaign achieved in 2009 and supporting the amazing work of Superintendent. Dr. Mark Toback," Kids First campaign manager Deidre Wall said yesterday.

Talking Ed Note: This is the first Hoboken Board of Education election in November since the elections were moved from April to November as in the vast majority of New Jersey BoEs when legislation allowed communities to consider the move.

The Kids First coalition has held the line on spending routing money to school programs and the classroom while holding the line on the tax levy for three consecutive years.  It's been benchmarked at the mandated state minimum for most of that time.

Ruth McAllister says, "The money is going where it belongs... to help our kids learn."

When Kids First took over the BoE majority there were dozens of audit violations.  A tape for local broadcast detailing those violations disappeared from the recording.  The technician shooting the video will be familiar to the public.  It was Patrick Ricciardi, the former City IT Manager who was arrested last November by the FBI for the massive looting of communications in the mayor's office.

He denied any knowledge how the select portion of the violations went missing.

After the video disappeared, the superintendent promptly fired him.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Turn out the lights, the Al Arezzo party's over


MILE SQUARE VIEW EXCLUSIVE



State's Civil Service Commission upholds Construction Official's removal


The NJ Civil Service Commission on September 5th published the following action:

A-7      ALFRED N. AREZZO

Alfred N. Arezzo, Construction Official, City of Hoboken, Administration Department, 30 working day suspension and removal effective February 17, 2011, on charges of insubordination, conduct unbecoming a public employee, misuse of public property and other sufficient cause.

Recommendation of the Administrative Law Judge - Modify the 30 working day suspension to a six-month suspension and modify the removal to a six-month suspension.

            ACTION:       The Civil Service Commission modified the recommendation of the Administrative Law Judge and modified the 30 working day suspension to a six-month suspension and upheld the removal.


MSV was first to break the story the State of NJ had revoked his license.  (We're not sure the Hudson Reporter even reported Arezzo's license was revoked.  Maybe it was buried on page 14 with available apartments.)


Talking Ed Note: Arezzo will be long remembered as a legend of the dark "On the Waterfront" ways of Hoboken government.  A time when arbitrary and capricious action was the order of the day and the whim of the individual who held authority ruled a fiefdom.

The Construction Office can join the rest of City Hall in learning to accept it's operating in the 21st century.  Start liking it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hudson Reporter shows no interest in corruption other than abetting it


This week's Hudson Reporter again made no mention of the problematic missing financial transactions re: the deposits into Councilman Michael Russo's campaign account "Russo for Hoboken."

Those bank transactions are definitive in showing whether Michael Russo told the truth when he said he did not accept $5,000 as agreed over a Jersey City lunch with Solomon Dwek back in the spring of 2009.

Of similar importance, the Hudson Reporter editors: Caren Matzner and Gene Ritchings see a different problem: bloggers.  Well not paid political operatives feeding them weekly narratives and/or writing on Hoboken Patch, their website and elsewhere but the anti-corruption, pro-reform bloggers.

Their repeated efforts working with paid political operatives attacking Reform directly and indirectly is a scandal in and of itself.  They shouldn't wonder why any honest official or citizen would be wary of speaking to them.  They repeatedly write about you as they have MSV; they just won't contact you or allow you an adequate opportunity to do so.  Speaking to paid political operatives is sufficient "journalism," objectively getting all sides.

Does anyone remotely believe a story on a bloggers lawsuit has the Hudson Reporter completely unaware of the political operative(s) they have direct and indirect dealings with at present and over years?

Unlike Augie Torres, the Hudson Reporter hid that information from the public in its story.

The Hudson Reporter knows exactly who the political operatives are in Hoboken, knows exactly who is paying them and is well aware of who is underwriting the effort and to what ends it serves.

There is only one word to describe their lies of commission and ommission: corruption.

Anti-corruption, pro-reform bloggers are the enemy.  Using paid political operatives flagrantly making up phony stories about Nazi parody videos gets their editors ginned up.  Hiding the truth on political operatives they've had DIRECT DEALINGS while doing lengthy feature stories about million dollar lawsuits is opportunity for more fun and games.

Meanwhile the political operatives' paymasters skate along with some very large questions looming about Michael Russo and Solomon Dwek.

Here's just one obvious example from last fall showing the bias at the Hudson Reporter with commentary on the massive Data Theft Ring conspiracy at City Hall where tens of thousands of emails into and out of the mayor's office on every sensitive communication and document imaginable.

Not one word appeared on the pages of the Hudson Reporter mentioning the damage to Hoboken, the taxpayers and its citizens.

The arrest of the IT manager Patrick Ricciardi caught looting communications for approximately a year and a half - the exact same time period both Michael Russo and Beth Mason LATER attempted to see the same emails released en masse to the public hasn't ever raised the hackles of the Hudson Reporter.

Dishonestly working with the underwriters of political operatives targeting reform oriented citizens is far more fun.

Hoboken has no fourth estate of merit.  It's quite literally naked in the face of corruption.  Worse, the Hudson Reporter goes far beyond just looking the other way.  It's actively abetting it.

Below is a link to the MSV Horse Sense editorial from last year detailing the reaction of the Hudson Reporter to the arrest of IT Manager Patrick Ricciardi and the massive Data Theft Conspiracy at City Hall.

Hudson Reporter scorecard after the FBI arrest:
Blogger mentions: 9  Patrick Ricciardi mentions: 0
What else needs to be said?

http://www.hobokenhorse.com/2011/11/horse-sense-fbi-data-theft-conspiracy.html

Michael Russo at his final Hoboken Housing Authority meeting in April.  The Hudson Reporter has failed to mention the issue of unascertained deposits in his "Russo for Hoboken" campaign.  The pro-Old Guard rag didn't have anything bad to say about Russo trading on his office with ex-commissioner Hector Claveria captured on FBI surveillance video either.  So in their editorial style, at least the HR's consistent.

Talking Ed Note: The Mason Civic League office on 12th and Washington doesn't look like its going away before an election. There's a notice on the door referencing an upcoming event for Hoboken Charter. No doubt it will be used politically to advance the Frank Raia BoE slate no matter what "banner" the space is officially under. 

MSV has added a poll on the top right of the page asking, 

"Does the Hudson Reporter support corruption?"

Mile Square Theater Saturday matinee in support of Hoboken Charter School

The Mile Square Theater announces:


Go, Kids, Go to Mile Square Theatre’s Production of Go, Dog. Go!



Big dogs, little dogs and dogs of all shapes, sizes and colors will fill the stage in Mile Square Theatre’s upcoming production of P.D. Eastman’s timeless children’s book, Go, Dog. Go!  It is a fast-moving, comical adaptation by Steven Deitz and Allison Gregory, with music by Michael Koerner.  Performances run weekends starting September 29th through October 14th at Monroe Theatrespace in Hoboken.

This latest production from Mile Square Theatre (MST) brings the classic children’s picture book to life with the kind of inventive staging of plays for young people for which the company is known.  Both Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse in 2009 and The Garden of Rikki Tikki Tavi in 2011 received critical acclaim for their excellent acting and beautiful design.  Go, Dog.  Go! Continues this tradition of quality family productions.

“Every year, we dedicate a main stage slot to a play for kids”, say Chris O’Connor, MST’s Artistic Director. “We feel it’s important to offer good quality theatre to young people to let them gain an appreciation for theatre at a young age.  To go to the theatre as a family is such a great experience, too.”

Performances are Saturdays at 2pm and 5pm, and Sundays at 11am and 3pm at Monroe Theatrespace, 720 Monroe Street in Hoboken. Tickets are available online at (www.milesquaretheatre.org) or before each performance. Reservations are recommended. Tickets are $22 for adults and $12 for children and seniors.  Parking is available behind the theatre.
About Mile Square Theatre

Mile Square Theatre (MST) is the leading professional Equity theatre in Hudson County. Since 2003, MST has presented full-scale productions for adults and children, in addition to providing theatre education programs. Chris O’Connor is artistic director.  MST receives support from The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the Hudson County Division of Cultural Affairs. For company information, please visit www.milesquaretheatre.org.

Assemblyman Ruben Ramos on Port Authority Audit of Capital Costs

NJ Assembly Democrats announce:

Ramos Statement on Port Authority Audit of Capital Costs

(HOBOKEN, NJ) – Following the release of two independent auditing agent reports of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Assemblyman Ruben Ramos Jr., a member of the Assembly Transportation Committee, released the following statement:

“An audit of Port Authority finances was a crucial step towards curbing waste, fraud and abuse. The best disinfectant for this agency remains sunlight, which is why it’s unfortunate that the Governor vetoed the Port Authority Transparency and Accountability Act. Anything less than permanent, statutory requirements for transparency will only help perpetuate the culture of waste that previous audits of the Port Authority have discovered.

“This report may paint a rosy picture at the Port Authority, but let us not forget the recent dismissal of two politically-appointed employees for abusing their position and exaggerating their resume. The point is: more work needs to be done. As a member of the Assembly Transportation Committee, I am eager to analyze the results of this report and pledge to continue my efforts to hold this authority accountable for its spending and hiring.”

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fire Chief Richard Blohm on grant to hire firefighters




Fire Chief Richard Blohm spoke Wednesday night before the City Council on a grant opportunity to hire more firefighters. He noted the Table of Organization is short one firefighter and he believes two fire captain and five firefighters have submitted paperwork for retirement and that there could be others eligible who may do so in short order in 2013.

The vote to approve the grant to hire more firefighters passed unanimously 8-0. In the video, MSV highlights the empty chair several times where the absent Councilman Michael Russo would typically be sitting.


The location of the Mason Civic League kaput?  

Talking Ed Note: Grafix Avenger has a story the Mason Gallery 1200 is going away.  MSV has heard this rumor but has not confirmed it.  The location of 12th and Washington has been split between a mostly closed public space of rarely shown art exhibits and a political office on the northern side going back to the 2011 Mason council campaign.

MSV has covered the Mason Civic League extensively noting the odd circumstance of numerous political operatives being on the payroll of the "charity," and asked in a July City Council meeting about that oddity and "Where is the charity?"

In June MSV extended a public invitation to Beth Mason to answer questions on the matter.  In July, the issue questioned at its City Council meeting led to Mason's reply MSV was on the verge of legal action.  Two weeks to the day, a million dollar civil suit hit MSV, Grafix Avenger and double digits of local anonymous commenters in the Hoboken blogosphere.

A related story on the issue appears atop MSV: Beth Mason's Civic League "charity."

If true the Washington St. location is about to be shuttered, what of the no show jobs for the political operatives who "work" there?  Do they now punch a timecard at City Council and BoE meetings?

Da Horsey has been dueling with Grafix Avenger and her super sleuth One-Eye over months but it was Hoboken's best political satirist who got the ball rolling and extensively showed the problematic duality of the odd interchanging of the unregistered Mason Civic League in NJ and the non-existent Mason Family Civic League appearing in print.  For most of 2012, weekly page three advertisements showed up in the Hudson Reporter and also the website of Ricky Mason at Wachtell Lipton.

http://grafixavenger.blogspot.com/2012/09/breaking-earwitness-news.html

There is no registered 501(c) charity called the Mason Family Civic League from what MSV has seen in earlier research but it continues to appear on the bio of Ricky Mason: http://www.wlrk.com/rgmason/

Now it appears the Mason Civic League may be kaput, for reasons unknown.

Next Saturday: Long Island wine tour roundtrip from Hoboken


CELEBRATE THE FALL HARVEST
WITH THE HOBOKEN-NORTH HUDSON YMCA’s
Wine Tour



We will visit three of the best vineyards on Long Island’s north fork. Aboard our luxury coaches, you will learn about the wines we will be sampling from sommelier GIANINA ARTURO of New York Vintners




Saturday, September 29th
Departure 9am, rain or shine, from the Y, 1301 Washington Street, Hoboken. Estimated return time 8pm

$ 150 ($65.00 tax deductible) includes a box lunch prepared by the chefs at 
Anthony David’s and a stop at a local farmers’ market.
Tickets: http://winetourymca.brownpapertickets.com/ or at the Y

Friday, September 21, 2012

Silence of an empty chair

The news of an investigation into the blank spaces of Michael Russo's "Russo for Hoboken," campaign account back to 2009 when FBI Solomon Dwek was in these parts echoed into the City Council chambers Wednesday and the typical Russo bombast did not reach the public's ears.

The Russo clan's reply to the problems of the missing deposits and withdrawals was this:

Councilman Michael Russo's chair was empty Wednesday

There's been no press release from the Old Guard 
No TV press conference called 
No public proclamations it will be "cleared up." 

Oddly, there's been nothing but silence 
(and lots of deletions from NJ.com's Hoboken forum).  
Which may speak loudest of all.

Kids First - Kicks off Sunday at the Turtle Club




Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mayor Zimmer thanks Councilwoman Marsh for her service to Hoboken

Office of the Mayor announces:



MAYOR ZIMMER THANKS COUNCILWOMAN MARSH

Mayor Zimmer issued the following statement after At-Large Councilwoman Carol Marsh announced yesterday that she would be resigning from the City Council:

“I want to thank Councilwoman Marsh for the enormous contributions that she has made to our City in her many years of public service.  She has been a powerful voice for good government and an inspiration for many, including myself.  It has been an honor to have worked with her and served with her.

Few people understand how challenging elected office is and the commitment and sacrifice it requires not just by the elected official but by their entire family. Councilwoman Marsh’s leadership on the Council will be sorely missed.

I wish her and her family the very best.”

Councilwoman Carol Marsh in a City Council meeting