Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hoboken Watergate smolders in 20/20 Vision

As Hoboken's emerging Watergate scandal smolders, there's competing events in the Mile Square today.  In the northeast part of town Maxwell's will be holding an outdoor party starting at 4:00 saying goodbye to all its friends, fans and family celebrating its cultural contribution, cemented in the region's music history.

On the others side of town back on Marshall Drive, Hoboken Housing Authority Director Carmelo Garcia will be holding his first Vision 20/20 meeting at 6:00 pm when most Hoboken residents are busy at work.

Which do you think will see the better turnout?

For those who don't attend the Marshall Drive dog and pony Carmelo Garcia show, will Mr. Carmelo be making a tape for the 99.9% of non-HHA Hobokenites who won't be there?

There's no comprehensive plan on Vision 20/20 for public review anywhere.

Today is the first Vision 20/20 presentation. For those who don't attend at 6:00 pm will
there be a tape made available by Mr. Carmelo?

The rest of this story is MSV subscriber content.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hoboken's Watergate scandal emerging - the Old Guard edition

Yesterday's traffic was a summertime high with the increased buzz of an emerging yet to be told story about a breaking Watergate style tape becoming public.

The audiotape is believed coupled with a transcript and according to published reports features one prominent public and elected official who is recording others.

While the details are uncertain, a number of people in Hoboken are quite familiar - it's the Mile Square's Old Guard - but they don't want to speak on the record, on background or admit they are worried the orchestrator of the audiography has in fact built a library on everyone, friend and foe.

In truth, the Old Guard are worried - for themselves.  The official involved in the taping is one of their own and the timing of the revelation is aligned with the controversy enveloping the Vision 20/20 plan.  With millions of dollars at stake, the timing couldn't be worse for all involved.

As Patrick Ricciardi is scheduled to be sentenced this Friday, on that front the Old Guard is showing not concern but relief. They believe the Feds will be moving on to more challenging matters such as terrorism and they will all skate.

One former law enforcement official intimate to the Data Theft Ring Conspiracy spoke to MSV months ago and was livid with the lack of action in the two plus year old federal investigation.  "I could have made the one arrest myself," he growled.  Other Hoboken residents working in public safety have complained about the lack of action too, angered by public revelations reflecting on their organization.

But now another scandal is emerging holding another set of keys to the kingdom, a potential library of tapes which could drop the dime on numerous members in the Old Guard. The intent of the taping is clearly to collect information for the purpose of blackmail at a later date.

As the slow drip of information continues to make its way to the public, the Old Guard is individually sweating wondering who's next to go under the bus.

The Old Guard are worried one of their allies may hold secret tapes on them.
They won't talk about it but at least one damning tape has leaked featuring a prominent official 

making them all very nervous if such an audio library finds its way into law enforcement's hands.

Talking Ed Note: One commenter demanded to know why MSV did not have a Sunday story on the Sky Club melee.  Well that's not our beat for one and two, it becomes newsworthy here when it becomes a political football which in Hoboken is almost inevitable.

Here's the pics of the revelry from the Sky Club last weekend:!i=2659886024&k=X2f8SnX

An anonymous comment sounding intimate to law enforcement states the party served abundant amounts of alcohol illegally and says a man was almost killed writing: an event goer was nearly beaten to death by a group of event goers because the victim was dancing with a woman whose boyfriend (was) at the event. The man was brought to the hospital dead and was revived back to life. 10 minutes later the victim flat lined and was once again brought back to life. The victim is currently in the hospital with leaking fluids from his brain and in a coma. Police are searching for the assailants who got away, attempted murder charges will be brought against the assailants once apprehended.

Another incident at the Hoboken Housing Authority involving gun fire and a massive fight was reported yesterday in the Jersey Journal saying 8 arrests were made.  It's unclear if the people in this incident were connected to the Sky Club party earlier.

Arrests reported: Hoboken residents, Curtis A. Brown, 18, of Harrison Street, Jeffrey Ferguson, Jr., 20, of Harrison Street, Derrick T. Delacruz, 20, of Marshall Drive, Hakeem J. High, 22, with a mailing address of Jackson Street, and John B. Smith, 19, of Harrison Street, and Tampa Florida resident Jerod A Stokely, 31.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sign of the Times: Hoboken is wired for sound

Traffic is blowing through the roof today as Hoboken is wired for sound.

Original Hoboken wired for sound graphic courtesy of Jhnny "to the butter" Newman.

Mayor's invitation to the flight deck - cheers!

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Horse Sense: In the week that is...

Lots of concern springing up out of the Ruben Ramos campaign as everyone and anyone has advice for its lack of traction against the popular and effective Mayor Dawn Zimmer.  Even with campaign dollars, almost all of it from outside Hoboken outpacing Mayor Zimmer's fundraising in the quarter confidence is not oozing out. Then Frank "Pupie" Raia is laying in the weeds ready to spring a council ticket headless or with Councilwoman Terry Castellano atop aiming a crushing poison pill at Ramos' campaign.

The claim of 175 "volunteers" signed up at the campaign HQ posited to Augie Torres is fanciful to say the least. Or are they counting all those HHA people who will be "campaigning" at $40 per vote-by-mail ballot?  By the way, how come the going vbm rate at Church Towers is $75 a pop?  Isn't that discriminatory or "racist" as Councilman Michael Russo likes to yell?

If that's not bad enough, the Vision for Hoboken efforts regarding their backing for the undocumented Vision 20/20 plan is causing more agita even with obscure dog and pony meetings scheduled in hostile HHA buildings.

Of course that's exactly what HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia has in mind as he's marshaled his spokespeople, a small HHA group of Carmelitos who hang on his every word even as the rest of Hoboken is less than impressed with the utter lack of documentation on the various descriptions of the Vision 20/20 plan, Vision Money/Money plan.

Is it more than double the size downtown with almost 1900 units as described in Garcia's only Vision 20/20 brochure?  Or is it 806 units replacing the current number in the downtown HHA campus as Old Guard political operative David Liebler claimed in a recent City Council meeting while he hysterically yelled about "scumbag Zimmer bloggers" for pointing to the lack of written verifiable details.

There's only one thing you can be sure of regarding Vision 20/20 and that's there will be no comprehensive documentation provided to the public for scrutiny merely a moving target of whatever is the last thing Carmelo Garcia says.

What anyone else says has Garcia's interest in a different way but unfortunately it has nothing to do with open government and transparency.

Which should make for an entertaining remaining summer even with the heat moderating; the crime, greed and dirty deeds in Hoboken are always at the ready.

That's how they roll.

Hoboken Housing Authority ED Carmelo Garcia (c) shares a happy moment with mayoral candidate Ruben Ramos and
council slate candidate Laura Miani at the spring kickoff.  The Vision 20/20 is under
 equal scrutiny as is the Vision for Hoboken campaign.

On a separate note, Hoboken Patch confirms the sentencing for Patrick Ricciardi has been moved to Friday in Newark Federal court 11:00 am.  MSV's story earlier this month recounts Ricciardi telling others he has a deal and won't be going to federal prison.

Talking Ed Note: Hoboken is about to heat up. 

Are you ready for this?

This Horse Sense editorial is dedicated to the memory of Hoboken resident James (Jimmy) Barry a MSV reader who while fighting a losing battle with cancer encouraged this website's engagement against corruption and spoke highly of his respect and support for Mayor Zimmer.

Back in November, Jimmy wrote this twitter post after SuperStorm Sandy:

Jimmy passed away July 17th.

A Widowed Male 59 years old living in hoboken nj. wife passed 2005 from lung cancer.Im dealing with advanced Prosate cancer. A day at a time. each day is a gift

Jimmy Barry's twitter account spoke of his battle against cancer and to value life as a gift.
Godspeed to the angels in heaven my friend.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Whole lot of secret taping going on in Hoboken?

According to the Al Sullivan column in the weekend paper, Hoboken is seeing a rash of secretly recorded conversations.  The taping is described naming a West New York official but then oddly circles back to Hoboken where the surreptitious activity is described as having "especially" taken hold.

Around the Mile Square, Da Horsey is picking up a current of something resembling a bit more than concern and the Old Guard may be sweating bullets while Masonista online operatives have suspiciously fallen silent.

The column says this cloak-and-dagger skulduggery "differs" from the FBI's Bid Rig III effort.

Since the Feds scooped up Peter Cammarano in 2009 and followed with a City Hall raid after the systematic looting of the mayor's office in 2011, there's lots of finger pointing and yapping going on as ratting has replaced baseball as Hoboken's favorite sport - at least among the Old Guard jockeying amongst themselves with the Feds leading into the local November election.

The weekend Al Sullivan political column points to covert taping of
conversations in Hoboken.  

This story however has a different look and feel.  It names a West New York official who is accused by name of taping others in West New York but there's no one named in Hoboken performing similar extracurricular activities.

Maybe it's an oversight or perhaps it's a little summer gift to give time to the Hoboken Sopranos to make necessary arrangements on "dat tape problem we got."

Talking Ed Note: Is this connected to the long time rumors of a certain flipper in Church Towers who most decidedly did not want to land up like his pal Petey boy?

That's most definitely connected to law enforcement and Sullivan is distancing this taping operation from the Feds.  Meaning this library is a collection among "friends."

Will weekend greetings among the Old Guard riff on a Cammarano line, "I promise you my brother, you're going to be treated like a friend."

For those who need to strike back before it's too late, you can sing a song to the FBI in Newark by calling (973) 792-3000.  Special agents are on duty this weekend ready to help.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sign of the Times: 1600 Park heads to the finish line and is soon to open

1600 Park is getting closer to becoming an active sports field and will soon be ready:

The new field at 1600 Park appears dedicated to Horsey.  Thank you very much.

The field looks like a go; the lines laid down and fencing up.

Let's set up for the corner kick. 

Horse hoof touches the field.  That's illegal!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Campaign contribution story explodes into questions on Hudson Reporter editors

Political operative connections to the Hudson Reporter raises issue of journalistic integrity 

In a Grafix Avenger story on current campaign contributions to Hoboken mayoral candidates, controversy swirling around relationships of political operatives and the Hudson Reporter raises serious questions on the integrity and journalistic practices of its editors.

One major question surrounds the SLAPP suit against more than a dozen Hoboken residents last year including MSV directly pointing to the journalistic practices of its editors.

Yesterday, Grafix Avenger detailed recent NJ ELEC campaign reports highlighting a former HR reporter had briefly worked for the Ruben Ramos mayoral campaign.  GA has been exploring an effort by the Ramos campaign to employ former reporters at the HR in an effort to (further) tilt its coverage in favor of Ruben Ramos and his council slate in the Hoboken November elections.

Last July, Councilwoman Beth Mason issued a threat of a civil lawsuit during a live City Council meeting to MSV never mentioned by the Hudson Reporter.  The SLAPP suit was filed two weeks later and although the Hudson Reporter quotes Beth Mason extensively in its story, it never asked the central question of the Mason family's involvement and if they are underwriting the lawsuit.

Back in the spring of 2012, several inquiries on another Mason political operative's dealings led to odd questions from a former reporter at the Hudson Reporter claiming a Nazi Parody YouTube video was created by MSV.  According to a story last year on Grafix Avenger, the accusations arose as part of a political operation prompted by a meeting at the Hudson Reporter with Councilwoman Beth Mason and James Barracato.

 MSV's inquiries on the unpublished story by phone and email were met with complete silence.

MSV invites the HR editors Caren Lissner (Matzner) and Gene Ritchins to publicly explain the paper's relationship to the plaintiff(s) in the SLAPP suit last year and why it failed in its story to make any disclosure to its readers.

Tim Carroll, a former reporter for the Hudson Reporter issued a statement to MSV referencing internal emails of political operatives of the 2009 Beth Mason campaign filed in court documents in Hudson County Superior Court where he is mentioned writing :

What am I missing? The email shows that I was a reporter who was sent a press release. Is having my email address and knowing my name SPECIAL ACCESS? Both were published on a weekly basis.
What is unfortunate is that Fauxboken residents would spend their time conflating a former employee, a community newspaper, and two VERY DIFFERENT spokes on Hoboken's political wheel.
The reason I came to work in the mayoral campaign as a professional and on an intermim basis was because I know Hoboken inside and out. I have a deep understanding of the issues and the people.
I'm no longer a journalist and my jobs are IN NO WAY a reflection on the Hoboken Reporter or its current staff, nor does my professional activity have any relation to the journalistic standards you numbskulls think you're defending.
If you were so very concerned about Hoboken, wouldn't you surely want an open government advocate, a fan of clean campaigns, and a proponent of solid policy working for ANY CAMPAIGN in your town? Strong competition breeds strong leaders.
If you were so very concerned about Hoboken, wouldn't you surely want a three-time investigative jounalism award winner celebrated for his work? Wouldn't you celebrate and embrace ANY SORT of investigative journalism?
If you were so very concerned about Hoboken, wouldn't you surely want dialogue, civil discourse, and actual investigations which requires interacting with the principals of your story.
Maybe so, maybe not; but this particular story has a problem with its timeline: you are calling for disclosure from the newspaper LAST YEAR for a relationship that a long-gone former employee began THIS YEAR. So I repeat: am I missing something?
Enough nonsense and get back to work on the city. Don't stoop to the level. Later-

Caren Lissner - Matzner is at the center of a controversy as Editor at the Hudson Reporter.
An extensive story on the SLAPP suit against more than a dozen Hoboken residents failed to address its relationship to the plaintiff(s).  Councilwoman Beth Mason however is quoted prominently in the story last year.

Talking Ed Note: After departing the Hudson Reporter, Carroll did a freelance article for Hoboken Patch on the 2010 Fourth Ward Special Election notable in it detailed rampant vote buying.  In the article, Carroll wrote, "Local sources have confirmed that some campaign workers in recent elections were paid $35 or more to cast an absentee ballot."

Later while working for PolitickerNJ, Carroll again wrote about extensive vote buying operation citing the story broken on MSV,  "Inside Hoboken's absentee boom."   The following month, the Hudson Reporter published a story on the issue when Ray Smith detailed the hundreds of paid campaign workers on the Tim Occhipinti campaign.

Earlier this year, MSV saw Tim Carroll at an HHA meeting and had a cordial chat when he briefly worked on the Ruben Ramos mayoral campaign.  While our communications have been infrequent, they've always been exceedingly professional and MSV appreciates his 2010 reporting on the integrity of the vote in Hoboken. We differ however on how campaign work should be evaluated/appreciated by the Hoboken voter.

Grafix Avenger highlights in its comments section, recent less than savory attempts at intimidation which she says have been forwarded to the FBI in Newark.  Carroll may not be aware of any of this after his brief work for the Ramos campaign but Hoboken residents won't find it praiseworthy.  Worse, pro-Ramos bloggers hint at bigotry which once again points to Councilwoman Beth Mason and her paid political operatives; it's the Nazi Truck redux.

Neither Beth Mason nor the Hudson Reporter were contacted for this story.  They are invited to provide a public response.

Photo courtesy by arrangement

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Hoboken Sopranos ready the double cross?

The paint on the new campaign HQ isn't even dry but according to an "Earwitness Report" on Grafix Avenger, a Hoboken Sopranos stab in the back to Ruben Ramos could be in the offing if word of a third slate materializes.

According to the story, a third ticket for Hoboken's November election is real and and could see Councilwoman Terry Castellano atop.  It wouldn't be a complete surprise as Frank "Pupie" Raia who is not fond of the idea of a Ramos mayoralty and has been flirting for some time with fielding a headless at-large council slate.

Castellano, godmother and cousin to Councilman Michael Russo is best known for her role in covering up the $1,000,000 quarters theft or as she is wont to say, "We uncovered it before we tried to cover it up." She only mentions the first part of course to her infamous thrice saying, "It's been cleared up."

In her fourth term as a councilwoman, Castellano is notorious for being provincial re: hating "yuppies" re: newcomers, despising everything and anything Mayor Zimmer (she was a vocal enemy to Corner Cars), voting to prevent the sale of the hospital and is recognized for her sniping chirping in council meetings.

While she may not make the best mayoral candidate, she could drive more votes to a ticket where unseating one at-large chair means more of the same chaos in Hoboken since the Mason legal hi-jinx to remove the fifth seat entirely for reform.

For Castellano, Old Guard corruption no matter how unseemly is merely "a mistake" - no concern to how much it costs or how many crooked enterprises are involved especially when the Russo clan has a hand on the wheel.  Castellano is a staunch apologist for her cousin Anthony Russo, the ex-mayor and felon convicted of extorting 300K from a single Hoboken vendor alone.

If Raia chooses to go with another pick atop his slate, there's the always willing and not so able puppet in Tim Occhipinti who said aloud in a council meeting he'd "love to" run for mayor. While criticizing the reform council members for what he calls no record of accomplishment, it's unclear what Occhipinti would claim as his successes.  He's best known for being a Mason lapdog and a petulant tool who can't show minimal decorum to allow others to speak during council meetings.  As the hours wile by, there's almost always a ritialin waning outburst where he refuses to shut up and allow others to speak.

That's actually his best quality.  As one council meeting observer who is not a resident of Hoboken said, "He's dumber than a box of rocks but I don't want to hurt any of the rocks feelings."

Frank "Pupie" Raia (rear center) holds court outside a 2011 City Council meeting.
He's holding the cards on any possible third slate for Hoboken's November elections.

Talking Ed Note: As the November election clock is ticking, Pupie Power is laying in the weeds. So, in due course we'll see who pulls the trigger.  If a council slate emerges, expect Jamie Cryan the local Democratic chair to have his name appearing on it.  He's been pushed up the ladder by the Old Guard since 2010 when he was named to be campaign manager for the Tim Occhipinti run in the fourth ward. Cryan has yet to run for any office so this would be required.

The Old Guard will be placing side bets to take the ninth swing reform seat on the council and keep Mayor Zimmer in check from advancing a reform agenda.  They've been miserable with her professionalism, tax cuts, budget restraint, ending corrupt fun and games both publicly and sight unseen along with her relentless advocacy for Hoboken.  Then there's how the mayor saved the hospital and kept the City from falling into bankruptcy.

For the Hoboken Sopranos, that was the most unforgivable sin of all. No one thought the hospital could be saved let alone remain open and have the City $52 million bond guarantee removed. They were ready to take the whole city of Hoboken under just to get at Mayor Zimmer and that plan too crumbled.  That sabotage effort led by Beth Mason has left the power hungry councilwoman a wreck ever since.

For now, this is all up in the air and it's Frank "Pupie" Raia holding the steering wheel.  He'll let everyone know what he decides, when he decides.

Sierra Club joint release with Ruben Ramos and Tim Occhipinti

Event organizer announces:

Climate Change is tied to extreme weather and exacerbating destructive & deadly weather events

Photo courtesy by arrangement
(HOBOKEN, NJ) – Today, local leaders and activists gathered for a press conference at the Hoboken PATH Station to highlight the devastating impacts of extreme weather and climate change on Hoboken and throughout the state of New Jersey. They’re calling for action to mitigate the worst impacts of climate-fueled extreme weather.  Today’s press conference comes on the heels of President Barack Obama’s historic national climate change plan announcement on June 25th.
Extreme weather is affecting families all across America - from hurricanes to heat waves and from droughts to devastating blizzards These events take a toll on our families, our communities, and especially our economy. Climate change is causing these natural disasters to increase in frequency and intensity. We cannot afford to wait any longer to address this problem at a national level. Our communities depend on it. That’s why President’s Obama’s climate action plan is so timely and important for New Jersey and every state throughout America.
“The President is showing his personal leadership on climate change, and we need to stand with him.  This is not only about the environment, it is about growing our economy and providing clean energy jobs,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “The President’s plan is even more critical in New Jersey, where some do not recognize climate change and sea level rise. That is why it is so important here for the federal government to step up on these issues.  When I met with the President on May 28th in Asbury Park, he said a climate initiative was coming soon and he kept his word.”
“Our high density urban coastal regions like Hoboken, Weehawken and Jersey City need protection from the next ‘Sandy’,” said Dr. Alan Blumberg, Director of the Davidson Laboratory/Center for Maritime Systems at Stevens Institute of Technology. “Because of the changing climate, the storms of the future, I believe, will be more frequent and more intense.”

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ruben Ramos campaign opens new campaign office on Washington in mayoral bid


Campaign office launch on 8th and Washington shows familiar Old Guard support

The Hoboken mayoral race is officially in swing with the lackluster launch of the Ruben Ramos campaign office at 8th and Washington.

The event reveals some familiar faces in the Old Guard but clearly lacked the cohesion most observers feel is necessary to mount a strong challenge to the popular mayor Dawn Zimmer.

Council slate candidates Eduardo Gonzalez and Laura Miani gave speeches and quickly departed while fellow council candidate Joe Mindak remained for a spell with mayoral challenger Ruben Ramos.

The Vision for Hoboken campaign office officially opened last night at 8th and Washington Street

Among those in attendance: Councilman Michael Russo and his mother, the "Boss" Michele Russo, Mason operative and Vision 20/20 proponent David Liebler, former co-campaign manager of the BoE Move Forward slate Joe Branco, second ward Masonista Ines Garcia Keim, Bayonne resident and former Assembly aide Nick Calicchio and one woman with the surname Corea, a relative of former Hoboken Parking Director John Corea who was demoted by Mayor Zimmer with his salary severely reduced.  Corea was later convicted for looting approximately $1,000,000 in quarters from parking meters and is serving a seven year sentence in state prison.

The decor is described as frat house with lots of couches "not a campaign office" according to one observer with "all the (political) degenerates."  The pizza from points unknown got a thumbs down tasting "like cement."

Among the Old Guard crew clearly missing was Frank "Pupie" Raia who is described as squarely against Ruben Ramos, Anthony "Stick" Romano, the Hudson County Freeholder who considered running for mayor and Beth Mason who maybe sent the pizza or a check to cover it.

Former BoE Move Forward co-campaign manager Joe Branco speaks as Councilman Michael Russo contemplates
the situation with Hoboken moving into election season.

Talking Ed Note: Late this morning a press conference at the PATH station downtown will host NJ Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel, Ruben Ramos and Tim Occhipinti discussing climate change and its impact on the state.  The event is being billed as a press conference but it's unclear what news can possibly come out of it.

Tittel has injected himself into local politics several times this year most recently appearing with gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono at a sparsely attended astroturf event on Pier A and criticizing the mayor's multi-tiered plan for storm protections last February.  Why he's appearing at a "press conference" with only Ruben Ramos and Tim Occhipinti on climate change has people scratching their heads, others among the Hoboken political grapevine are ridiculing it.

Da Horsey isn't expecting much news out of "the presser."

Monday, July 22, 2013


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Monday July 22, 2013

City of Hoboken

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Community: Mayor Zimmer Continues Advocacy for Hoboken in Response to Governor Christie's Announcement of Home Elevation Program

Today, Governor Chris Christie announced $100 million in funds to help New Jersey residents along the shore to elevate their homes. Mayor Zimmer thanked Governor Christie for his advocacy for the State of New Jersey and continued her strong advocacy for Federal, State, and County support for her comprehensive approach to protect Hoboken.

“While this program will be enormously helpful for those with single family homes, in urban areas like Hoboken, it is simply not possible to raise up our buildings, and we need to protect our communities comprehensively rather than creating islands of protection," explained Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “We have developed those plans and are pursuing all options including FEMA grants, loans from the state, and public-private partnerships to implement these initiatives. I will continue to advocate at all levels for an approach that acknowledges the unique challenges of urban areas.”

The City is pursuing a series of initiatives to comprehensively protect Hoboken from the unpredictable and severe impacts of climate change, stronger storms, and rising seas:

Flood pumps
The City has strongly supported and advocated for North Hudson Sewerage Authority’s application for hazard mitigation grant funding from FEMA to construct three additional designed and shovel-ready flood pumps. In addition, in an effort to ensure that the pumps are funded and built, the City also applied for a low-interest loan to build the first of these three pumps, to be located at 11th Street. Finally, as part of a revised Redevelopment Plan for Hoboken Rail Yards that will be introduced this fall, the City plans to include requirements for the developer to pay for the second of the three pumps, which would be located at 5th Street. Hoboken’s first flood pump was completed in early 2012.

Shoreline Protection
To keep high tides and storm surges from breaching Hoboken’s waterfront in the future, the City applied for FEMA funding for the installation of a series of flood barriers along the north and south of the city. As part of this concept, the revised Redevelopment Plan for the Hoboken Rail Yards would incorporate a flood barrier along the southern edge of the development to protect from storm surges from the south.

Energy Resiliency
Hoboken is partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy, Sandia National Laboratories, the N.J. Board of Public Utilities and PSE&G to design a smart grid to protect Hoboken’s critical infrastructure from power outages. Hoboken will be the first non-military application of this technology designed for an entire community. The City also strongly supports PSE&G’s plans to eliminate one of its electrical substations in Hoboken, combine it with one of the others, and elevate the two remaining substations to protect them from future flooding. The proposal is awaiting regulatory approval.

Green Infrastructure
Hoboken was recently chosen in a national competition by the Rockefeller Foundation-funded Re.Invest Initiative to design and fund sustainable and resilient green infrastructure to reduce the effects of climate change and extreme storm events by reducing the amount of rain water that enters the sewer system. The City is moving forward to acquire more open space using the Open Space Trust Fund and a bond passed by the City Council. Various green infrastructure solutions are being explored through this grant and will be incorporated into the park designs.

Hoboken’s full resiliency plan is available online at

Millions for the "taking" makes Vision 20/20 a battle to the bitter end this November

Today Vision 20/20 makes headway or begins spiraling down the highway to hell with the "official" kickoff of the Ruben Ramos Vision for Hoboken slate today.  It's the second kickoff after the initial announcement early this year when it became clear State Senator Brian Stack would go a new route in an Assembly choice making the mayoral chair the object of Ramos' desire.

Real news came over the weekend in Al Sullivan's column the local NAACP head declined to endorse Carmelo Garcia's Vision 20/20.  MSV had heard a week back rumors of those strong concerns.

It's not the boom Vision 20/20's Carmelo Garcia was looking for from his "base" after he announced three obscure meetings for the undocumented plan on weekends in HHA buildings.

Expressing reservations with questions as most all rational observers in Hoboken have exercised, the local NAACP head raised the stakes and lowered the boom on Vision 20/20 putting at risk not the HHA residents but its untold millions for the connected re: those aligned with the Hoboken Sopranos and Old Guard in the massive redevelopment.

Vision 20/20 for Hoboken?  Later today the Ruben Ramos team will make it officially "official."
Is Hoboken ready for the 20/20 vision?

The rest of this story is MSV subscriber content.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Grist for the Mill: Sad and fishy disappearances on Hoboken Patch

Beth Mason's Hoboken internet strategy of political operatives referenced in internal emails filed in Hudson County Superior Court may have taken a turn for the worse this week with the disappearance of screen names posting nasty anti-reform commentary on Hoboken Patch.

The fishy suspects: Dov Arronson, Cindy Goldberg, Daria Gluck aka Dawn's Broomstick, et. al. are believed to have perished in a horrific IP fishing accident on Hoboken Patch.

The screen names all believed to be in the employ of the behind the scenes second ward councilwoman's bottom feeder were reeled in, aka terminated with extreme prejudice after an announcement was posted with vile anti-Semetic inflammatory rhetoric about ovens and the Nazi Holocaust.

The remarks posted on the Patch homepage were actually doctored screenshots, comments falsely attributed to Grafix Avenger.  Back in the spring of 2012, a similar political operation was presented to the Hudson Reporter attributing another false Nazi narrative attempting to smear Grafix Avenger and MSV.

That effort was said by a reliable source to have been promoted by Councilwoman Beth Mason and her political operative pitched to a reporter at the paper.  The story never found its way into print as it was uncovered and led to blistering rebukes on both Grafix Avenger and MSV.

Is this the last Hoboken will see of such vile Nazi baiting tactics? For the last couple of days at least, it is or until a IP masking solution can be deployed.  Until then, a Hoboken Neville Chamberlain can declare peace in our time on the Hoboken blogosphere.

It's guaranteed not to last.

The wannabe shark looks dead in the water on Hoboken Patch.
It's another setback for Beth Mason's internet strategy.

Grist for the Mill is MSV's rumor column.  Got a juicy carrot for Da Horsey?  Send your tips in confidence to
While the submission is held in confidence, publication is not guaranteed.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Carmelo Garcia mobilizes again for Vision 20/20.... and Gov. Christie?

The mobilization for Vision 20/20's public relations outreach to Hoboken is official with three dates announced on Hoboken Patch.

The timing of the limited public meetings in tandem with the locations - all three are HHA buildings -raises questions and Council President Peter Cunningham is quoted illustrating that point.

From the article, Garcia says, "The way you refute (the negative rumors) is by doing all of these things we had already set out to do." A recent op-ed piece by HHA commissioner Jake Stuiver however said his request to hold full meetings for all Hoboken stakeholders was ignored back in February.

Council President Cunningham questioned the lack of forums outside of the HHA saying to Hoboken Patch, "If this is that important to Carmelo Garcia then he should be proactive in reaching out to the community at large."

Here's video of the last meeting held in one of the three named locations last week.  In the video political operatives on the Ruben Ramos campaign, Bayonne resident Nick Calicchio and Perry Belfiore make personal attacks along with Michelle Lessane aka Pokey who is seen screaming at Jake Stuiver at the end of the tape.

At an earlier City Council meeting, Lessane lobbed the race card at Councilman Dave Mello claiming she heard him call HHA residents monkeys at an earlier meeting.  Mello a school teacher in the South Bronx, aghast at the charge calmly replied, "You're slandering me ma'm."

Will the general Hoboken public be coming out on summer weekends for this:

Talking Ed Note: The goal of these three meetings by Carmelo Garcia is not to have the greater Hoboken public show up and ask troubling questions about the lack of a comprehensive plan for review but an attempt to expand his coalition beyond the limited number of HHA residents who are vocally in favor of the sight unseen Vision 20/20 plan.

Snatching a HHA seat for Carmelo Garcia with Gov. Christie deal?

Al Sullivan over the weekend noted he was hearing word from Carmelo Garcia people a deal was hatched exchanging Garcia's support for the Governor for naming someone to a Hoboken Housing Authority seat where Garcia has lost control.  (See MSV's story below and also this Hudson Reporter story where Garcia tried to change the minutes of a meeting among other ethics charges for attempting to hire his brother while President of the BoE.)

For reasons unclear, Carmelo Garcia attempted to walk back the "deal" saying to Sullivan it would be inappropriate. Is it because the rumored "deal" has gotten too public?

If Governor Christie needs to make an appointment in the HHA, there's actually not a vacated seat to do so.  Such an appointment is made for a State seat (Judy Burrell's) or after one is open.  Currently, the only HHA seat contested is Jake Stuiver's who is a holdover and there's some word he is planning a return to Hoboken meaning Stuiver would intend to seek another term as HHA commissioner.

That won't come as sweet music to the ears of Carmelo Garcia or Beth Mason, Michael Russo and Tim Occhipinti.  Stuiver's truth to power consistency has been a persistent thorn in their side.

There's also word of problems emanating from a Garcia phone call to Stuiver last week requesting he resign his seat so more "trouble" brewing doesn't befall him and his family.  Apparently, that trouble has reached multiple law enforcement agencies no thanks to Garcia who's efforts to quell any such problem ended with his phone call asking for Stuiver to resign.

Governor Christie was endorsed by Union City Mayor and State Senator Brian Stack and Carmelo Garcia but Al Sullivan
said there's been a retreat from Garcia's people bragging he exchanged his endorsement for a seat on the HHA.

Related: The 2005 HR story on Carmelo Garcia's ethics problems.  Garcia had a problem on the BoE  attempting to change the meeting minutes illegally and having his brother hired by the agency.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

EMAILGATE BLOWS UP! Terry Castellano's email revealed!


Terry Castellano's confidential legal request substituted James Barracato for Beth Mason!

Councilwoman Terry Castellano wasn't lying when she said she made a mistake on EmailGate. With the actual document obtained exclusively by MSV, the details surrounding how a Mason political operative came to be included on a confidential legal request are revealed.

Castellano's request went out on July 8th, Monday evening to Business Administrator Quentin Wiest and Corporation Counsel Mellissa Longo.

The email request reads like a political operative wish list for confidential and sensitive City information on legal cases and appeals.  The Old Guard Council and its paid political operatives have attempted to highlight Hoboken's legal work for political advantage but the City has countered with its staggering win/settlement rate of 92% including several big cases netting over seven figures.

The cc list is where Castellano's email request becomes problematic.  Listed are council members Michael Russo, Tim Occhipinti but there's one Hoboken Soprano missing: Beth Mason!

Listed in place of Beth Mason is her political operative James Barracato!

Terry Castellano's email asking for confidential legal information contains one odd subtraction and a worse addition.  In place of Beth Mason, it's her political operative James Barracato who is listed on the cc list.

In the body of the email, Castellano writes out a clear list of what she wants and it's the type of information selectively used in talking points by Masonistas and Old Guard adherents for more than a year.  Among the items Castellano requests without making a single "mistake:"

"Cases won, lost, pending, costs of each to date. Appeals: How many cases did we appeal? How many times?  A list of appeals we won.  A list of appeals we lost.  Appeals that are being considered, who makes the decision to appeal?  Cost of each to date, meaning cases and appeals?  Any questions?"

Castellano ends her detailed request saying, "Thanking you in advance, Theresa."

Of note, it's only the corporation counsel email that is typed out in its full email form meaning it had to be exact to reach that office and typed out in full manually.  The names on the cc list are listed by name only meaning these are emails Terry Castellano's computer is familiar with as they are stored in memory and used on a regular basis.

So James Barracato appears written out by name indicative Castellano is communicating with the Mason political operative on a regular basis.

How long has this been going on and what other confidential and sensitive information is being shared with Beth Mason's political operative?

James Barracato aka FinBoy shoots a camera last November to get photos on Washington Street of Da Horsey
as Beth Mason cowers to escape the return photo.  Her political operative appears privy to sensitive Hoboken legal info.

Talking Ed Note: If Hoboken second ward residents wants to know why it has no representation, why phone calls and emails to Beth Mason are repeatedly ignored well here is your answer.  Even among the Hoboken Sopranos themselves, you don't bother contacting Beth Mason - you contact her political operative.

Are Hoboken's unfortunate second ward residents really being represented by... FinBoy!?

The timing of this EmailGate revelation comes as the former IT Manager Patrick Ricciardi is scheduled for sentencing on July 29th in Newark federal court for his admitted crimes stealing confidential emails.

Back in April 2011, Beth Mason and Michael Russo sponsored a resolution seeking all the emails in the mayor's office going back to January 2010 - the exact time the FBI complaint says Ricciardi was systematically looting all emails coming and going to the mayor and two of her senior staff.

Now Hoboken learns its a Beth Mason political operative who looks to be kept in the loop on confidential and sensitive City legal business.

Are the Boys of Summer in Newark getting all this?

Gristle for the Mill: This just in....or maybe not

HHA Ed Carmelo Garcia and BFF Joe Branco are believed to have taken an HOLA bus without permission and are readying a trip to a Philadelphia suburb where they will take housing authority residents to protest outside Jake Stuiver's home.

Garcia and Branco are unhappy with Stuiver who after being lambasted by Ruben Ramos political operatives and Carmelitos asked if a tabulation on how many thousands of dollars he's gifted to the Hoboken Housing Authority be totaled.

"He's trying to make Carmelo look bad," Branco complained.  "Carmelo doesn't give money for events but he gets residents paid for vote-by-mail work like on the Tim Occhipinti campaign."

All Aboard! Let's go get Jake!

"The protest is not about me, it's about the residents," Carmelo Garcia said.  "We've also heard through one of our grapevines that our resident Hector Torres who writes letters to the Hudson Reporter on occasion for Beth Mason believes Jake has his baby, Hector Torres Jr."

Asked for more details on this rumor Garcia responded, "We're going to bring baby Hector home to Vision 20/20 where a pot of gold will be awaiting him."

Asked who is going on the ride, Garcia said many Carmelitos would be joining and perhaps a HHA commissioner or two.  "I've invited Greg Lincoln to reconsider his recent vote for HHA counsel and will be presenting him another opportunity to vote my way," Garcia said.  "I told him reconsidering would be good or something bad might happen to his vote like to Judy Burrell."

The bus is departing in front of the Sky Club at 10:00 am but residents are advised to arrive no later than 12:00 noon for departure after protesting Greg Lincoln and Dave Mello for voting for Vision 20/20 but not surrendering their apartments for Carmelo's spokespeople.

"We want good stuff," Sondra Smythe said adding, "We plan to protest until we get all the good stuff."

Talking Ed Note: This story is political satire. If you want to play a trick on a doofus, give it to Tim Occhipinti and have him read it as a letter in the City Council like when he did here:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

HHA Director Carmelo Garcia in attempted scam on latest HHA counsel vote


Carmelo Garcia looks to subvert the HHA commissioner's vote to reappoint his pick for HHA legal counsel

Hoboken Housing Authority Executive Director Garcia's claim a 4-3 vote recorded in the meeting minutes last month in favor of reappointing HHA Counsel Charles Daglian counsel review is false with conclusive video from the HHA meeting last month.

In the exclusive video, HHA commissioner Judy Burrell clearly is heard on the phone voting "no" at the June meeting.

The Executive Director is claiming a vote at the July meeting approving its minutes with the incorrectly recorded vote is a legal pretext to seeking approval from an outside Hudson County attorney who may then approve the reappointment of Charles Daglian as HHA counsel.

The political gambit however comes before the actual video of the June vote was known to be available.  HHA meetings are not recorded, merely transcribed by a stenographer.

Garcia already a party to controversy in pushing for approval of Vision 20/20 with no comprehensive plan for the City of Hoboken to review is under additional scrutiny for his supporters protesting outside the homes of two HHA commissioners in recent weeks and a call for another protest against a third in Jake Stuiver urged by his close friend Joe Branco.

The vote at last month's meeting for legal counsel was conducted without the benefit of a required HUD mandated bidding process.  At the June meeting, Garcia read a legal opinion from an outside counsel in Hudson County claiming it permitted another vote without a HUD bidding process.

The language of the "legal opinion" which was not given to any HHA commissioners in advance of the meeting described initiating a "motion to reconsider" but no commissioner requested any reconsideration on their previous vote against Charles Daglian as legal counsel for the fifth time in the past year.

Carmelo Garcia himself admits the resolution failed after last month's vote and says immediately after - the RFP process will be restarted again.

In a statement on the process of Garcia's effort to put a back door strategy in place to reappoint Daglian, Stuiver emailed, "I never received a hard copy of this month's agenda book which is where the minutes are printed and the scanned copy I received via email was curiously upside down... I know other commissioners had similar... (and) presumed the upside down scan to be a mistake by our staff but in light of what obviously turned out to be a staged political operation... I have to suspect it was not a mistake at all."

In an interview with Hudson County TV, Garcia outlines a process of review after the minutes were approved with his chosen outside legal counsel.  He talks about the minutes being "made official," even though HHA commissioner Burrell said she voted "no" on Charles Daglian.

The stenographer however recorded Burrell's vote as a "yes." In the first video below Garcia says the special counsel he is appealing to may override the actual vote based on not what the HHA commissioner actually says she voted but what the stenographer says and the approval of the minutes given to commissioners in an upside down, limited format.

He then goes on to complain about "blogs," with false accusations claiming attacks on residents, racist commentary, false audit claims among other fabricated charges.  At the meeting Garcia told the commissioners they should 'denounce' MSV and Grafix Avenger.  (MSV actually spoke at the prior City Council meeting for the first time this year repeatedly denouncing the exploitation of HHA residents.)

Here's Garcia in the Hudson County TV interview:

At the June HHA meeting, Garcia himself is seen admitting the vote to reappoint Daglian failed and no commissioner claims the process won't need to go out to bid again after a 4-3 vote. (Video below.)

Voting in favor to re-appoint Charles Daglian legal counsel in the June meeting: Eduardo Gonzalez, Rob Davis, Jeanne Rodriguez.

Voting against Charles Daglian: Dave Mello, Jake Stuiver, Greg Lincoln and Judy Burrell.

MSV has the exclusive video showing exactly how the vote was taken last June and by Carmelo Garcia's own admission it failed:

The vote of the HHA board members occurs at the five minute mark.  Listen to the vote and commissioner Judy Burrell's vote over the phone.  It's clearly audible and no one questions her vote.

Commissioner Judy Burrell clearly votes "no." The stenographer however records it as a "yes" in the minutes.

After the resolution to re-appoint Charles Daglian fails 4-3, Carmelo Garcia can be heard saying in admission to the resolution's failure, "Therefore, what will happen now, we will go out for RFP on this process."

Meaning the resolution failed and the HUD mandated RFP process must be followed with a new bidding process.

The June HHA minutes also point to the fact Carmelo Garcia himself admits Charles Daglian
was not reappointed by the HHA commissioners.
Even while prevailing 4-3 in the vote, Jake Stuiver nevertheless called the vote illegal.

Talking Ed Note: There's numerous illicit actions involved here beginning with the invalid vote taken in the June HHA meeting.  HUD on review surely can not accept a bid awarded with no bid process.  As Jake Stuiver interjected after the vote (his side prevailed anyway), the vote in and of itself was illegal.

Garcia is guilty of attempted fraud to subvert a democratic vote. It appears another person he mentions in the Hudson County TV video, Barbara Reyes may be in on Garcia's political operation as she vehemently complained the commissioners had not read their "upside down" minutes.  Beth Mason has stated she will be sponsoring a resolution seeking a third vote to see her seated on the HHA.

Carmelo Garcia is invited to submit a written explanation for his actions.  He was contacted for this story but is away until July 24th.

This is a serious offense and needs to be objected to by each HHA commissioner and concerned Hoboken resident.  All of the HHA commissioners were party to the previous vote and none of them other than HHA ED Garcia is on the record claiming Burrell's original vote was a "yes" vote requiring further review by an outside counsel after the staged vote on the minutes.

Garcia's insubordination to the clear will of the HHA commissioners is already problematic on the HHA counsel contract; but quite literally stealing the vote of a commissioner is tantamount to the most outrageous voter fraud.  

The abuse of power by Carmelo Garcia undermining a legal vote is completely unacceptable and is grounds for termination by the HHA commissioners.  

Monday, July 15, 2013

Beth Mason political operative James Barracato identified in EmailGate

Terry Castellano email surrounding confidential legal request connects long time Mason operative James Barracato

A Weehawken based political consultant and long time paid Beth Mason political operative is the individual identified on a sensitive legal email request to the Corporation Counsel office by Councilwoman Terry Castellano.

2015 Update: Barracato confirmed Nazi Truck Mastermind!

Days before the November election, James Barracato was working with Beth Mason on the Move 
Forward BoE campaign hosted by the Mason Civic League office on upper Washington.  That 
BoE slate became notorious for its use of the "Nazi Truck" showing videos of a Nazi swastika all 
over Hoboken with attackson Kids First, Mayor Zimmer, council members Peter Cunningham, 
Jen Giattino, MSV and Grafix Avenger.

Multiple sources confirm the name appearing on the email request is James "FinBoy" Barracato.

Barracato who sits on a board as a founding member of the Mason Civic League is also connected to a number of questionable and controversial Hoboken political activities on behalf of Councilwoman Beth Mason.

Back in the spring of 2012, Barracato was exposed pushing information for a Hudson Reporter story which turned out to be dubious and probably manufactured to generate a negative story against MSV and Grafix Avenger.  Questions to the HR editors on the obvious hit job were met with silence after a weeks long effort to get the story to print before being sent to the scrap heap.

Most recently, sources last November pointed to Barracato as being the mastermind of the Nazi Truck where videos of a Nazi Swastika taken from this website were used as part of an attack on the Kids First BoE slate, other reform elected officials and Mayor Zimmer.  The ugly tactics deploying a swastika on a video truck was covered nationally by the Huffington Post and Hoboken's local rabbis requested an apology but none was forthcoming.

Beth Mason has never commented on the Nazi Truck or her role in funding it while Terry Castellano's son John was listed as a co-campaign manager for the controversial Move Forward campaign tied to five Nazi Truck visits last fall.  He offered weak denials on the Nazi Truck before a commercial aired for Move Forward on election night when the Nazi Truck made its fifth appearance in Hoboken and conclusively linked its work directly to the Move Forward campaign.

Castellano last week called the inclusion of Barracato on the request for sensitive legal information "a mistake" saying she would not breech legal obligations as a council member in the future.  In an exchange on the matter with Council President Peter Cunningham, Castellano grew irritated with the suggestion her credibility was in question and the matter was not of public interest but between her and the Corporation Counsel.  Cunningham refused to accept the email as a simple mistake replying "What do you think I was born yesterday?"

Some political observers suggest it may have been a mistake by Castellano - a mistake she had intended to include Barracato as part of a blind cc.  The Old Guard and Hoboken Sopranos have made legal bills an issue seeking political advantage for more than a year.

The Zimmer Administration has responded to the effort citing its 92% success rate in legal cases and pointed to a recent victory where the City won a settlement of $1.5 million with land in northwest Hoboken.  At the last council meeting, Tim Occhipinti bitterly complained about that victory being cast in a positive light claiming it didn't offset the City's 2013 legal bills.

Negative comments by Occhipinti against the City's legal department directly led to the EmailGate revelation when Corporation Counsel Mellissa Longo exposed it as part of listed concerns including what she described as inappropriate personal attacks on her office and the two other lawyers employed by the City.

The latest email scandal comes on the back of the upcoming sentencing in the Patrick Ricciardi case set for July 29th in Newark after he's admitted to hijacking tens of thousands of emails in the mayor's office.

A Jersey Journal story last fall detailed denials by Old Guard council members who said they hadn't received any information directly from Patrick Ricciardi.  However, the ex-wife of Ricciardi said he spent significant time with Councilman Michael Russo on weekends and Beth Mason has provided contradictory answers on her role surrounding the illicit emails.

MSV earlier described Ricciardi looting emails as "open season" on the mayor and referenced the FBI complaint where two officials "requested" information from emails in the mayor's office.

Many observers would not be surprised another route of confidential City information has illicitly gone astray via the Hoboken Sopranos who have demonstrated a craven political objective to destroy the popular Hoboken mayor since she took over from ex-mayor and convicted felon Peter Cammarano.

Back in 2011, the Old Guard council members made an attempt to sabotage the only viable buyer of the failing Hoboken University Medical Center.  With the hospital's doors days from closing, Terry Castellano dismissed the situation saying, there are "other bidders," and falsely implied the sale under consideration was under investigation.  The process to close the sale to Holdco took almost a year toward completion.

One long time watcher noted Terry Castellano spoke in the exact same terms about her cousin's crimes against the people of Hoboken, the former mayor and convicted felon Anthony Russo.  In council meetings when his crimes were mentioned, Castellano said of her cousin, "He made a mistake."

While Anthony Russo eventually pled to taking $300,000 from one city vendor alone, he's believed to have made far more in illicit gains involving numerous other vendors and Hoboken businesses.

To the Hoboken Sopranos, this is summed up as a singular "mistake."

MSV noted a recent visit last May to this website by the FBI. The search by the Feds involved both Beth Mason's shell company Newton Lao Leonard Locke and her political operative James Barracato.

Back in 2011, the firm was designated a sham in a Grafix Avenger story.

It's been cleared up.

Talking Ed Note: More questions remain. What exactly was the information sought by Terry Castellano from the City's legal office and what value did it have for Beth Mason and her political operative James Barracato?

MSV will be following up on this story and calls on Councilwoman Terry Castellano to provide all the relevant information and details to the public.

The breech of protocol for a council member involving a known political operative on sensitive legal information is certainly an important issue in the public interest.