The protest is against the "political hijacking" of the Hoboken Housing Authority's Board according to the story. Reform oriented members currently hold four of the seven seats and under former chairman Jake Stuiver efforts looked to rotate new professionals for legal counsel and auditor.
The attempt to do so outside of Executive Director Carmelo Garcia's insistence no such change occur became an almost year long struggle with current legal counsel Charles Daglian failing to win approval on a new contract after five attempts.
The attempt by the HHA board to exert its authority over its contractor in the form of Garcia has led to wild meetings with screaming and chanting to defend the HHA Executive Director's unilateral powers to appoint - powers negotiated in a contract by Daglian who said he did so on behalf of the HHA board.
The underlying protest appears to be driven by the rejection of the undocumented Vision 20/20 plan. Garcia attempted to ram it through the City Council after midnight last month but was met with resistance by the reform council members who said they had not seen anything presented to them (documentation) in a plan. One council member, Ravi Bhalla called Garcia "a snake oil salesman" stating he didn't even believe there was a written plan.
After recent council meetings where a presentation was permitted, the Old Guard council members Beth Mason, Michael Russo, Terry Castellano and Timmy Occhipinti tried to force through approvals for a "letter of need," and a PILOT (tax abatement) for one of more than a dozen buildings for a new HHA overhaul.
When that failed and reform members departed after midnight, the Hoboken Sopranos took over the meeting and attempted to illegally pass an approval even after being told they had no legal number of council members to do so.
Councilman Michael Russo added in racist charges in both meetings on Vision 20/20 and was challenged for living in a segregated PILOTed building, a series of buildings which is the base of Russo clan support. (Church Towers.) Many observers complain the Russo family controls who moves into the building. Even though the list for entering Church Towers has been closed for years, Russo's in-laws were admitted several years back along with others who sold their homes locally, sometimes for severn figures then jumping to the head of the list.
Garcia according to today's report, says the protest is sponsored by a HHA tenants group. While not directly claiming responsibility for the protest, some observers anticipate that among the thousands of HHA residents, the same small group of rabble rousers dubbed "Carmelitos" will be making much of the noise.
|Greg Lincoln at the last HHA meeting will see a protest at the building|
where his family and Dave Mello's live. The protest is against the reform
members' "political hijacking" in not voting for Carmelo Garcia's choice to retain
HHA counsel Charles Daglain.
At a meeting in February, Garcia told the commissioners any vote against Daglian was "criminal and unethical."
HUD later revoked the vote for Daglian calling Garcia's process "legally flawed."
Talking Ed Note: MSV last Wednesday challenged Beth Mason and her Hoboken Soprano allies to produce a redevelopment plan for Vision 20/20. Also noted at the meeting is the terms laid out in Garcia's own Vision 20/20 brochure had not been followed.
All four of the Old Guard Council members, Ruben Ramos and his council slate along with their political operatives have insisted Vision 20/20 be approved - even without any official plan presented to any major approving authority in the City.
Tonight the Carmelitos will try to make everyone forget that unfortunate fact.
UPDATE: No protest has taken place. Some speculate that Union City Mayor Brian Stack caught wind of it and thought it a disaster ordering Carmelo Garcia to stop it before it happened.
No protestors from the HHA tenant group are protesting at SkyClub.