Sunday, February 17, 2013

Yo Gregory on HHA thuggery courtesy of Beth Mason's "art gallery" employee and 4th ward committeeman Matt Calicchio

The following guest piece is courtesy of the "Yo Gregory" website with a funny valentine, Beth Mason chocolate "treat" not included.

My Funny Valentine

On Valentine's Day 2013, I was present at the Hoboken Housing Authority public meeting to video the proceedings. Minutes after I had set up my equipment, Hoboken Democratic Committee-person Matt Calicchio, who is also an employee of Hoboken Second Ward Councilperson Beth Mason, began an evening-long campaign to obstruct my camera. When he wasn't blocking my camera he was handing out Valentine's Day chocolates to meeting attendees (but not me, unfortunately). The chocolates included a "Love Your Neighborhood" message from Councilwoman Mason. Mr. Calicchio's antics were no surprise to me. He has a well-known reputation for dirty-politics, the "low-lights" including alleged public harassment of a Hoboken School Board member and her young daughter last year, and alleged harassment of Hoboken Mayor Zimmer in 2007.

Who's Your Mama?

As I've written in the past, Councilwoman Mason once spent her ample personal funds bringing transparency to Hoboken politics, ironically including paying for videoing Hoboken City Council and Hoboken School Board meetings. Now that her attempts to become Hoboken's mayor have been thwarted, she hires the likes of Mr. Calicchio who intimidates those who seek transparency and good government in Hoboken.

Why the Interest in the HHA?

The Councilwoman's interest in the HHA would seem peculiar at first. Most HHA buildings are located outside of her ward. But the HHA is known to be a guaranteed block of votes and Councilwoman Mason, now having given up on becoming Hoboken's Mayor, is rumored to have set her sights on a seat in New Jersey's State Assembly. Since Hurricane Sandy, Councilwoman Mason has paid virtually no attention to Hoboken, and focused her attention on currying favor with New Jersey State Senator, and Union City Mayor, Brian Stack, who has a reputation for delivering votes himself. With her checkbook and her HHA votes, it is thought that Councilwoman Mason may convince Senator Stack that she is worthy of receiving his support (and his block of votes). This would explain Mr. Calicchio's presence at the HHA meeting, the Councilwoman's chocolates for HHA residents, and the fact that Councilwoman Mason also employs a relative of HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia. As for interfering with my right to video the HHA meeting, this was probably nothing more than Mr. Calicchio improvising in a way he thought might please his boss, since anything to obstruct progress in Hoboken is bound to please her.

Click the full screen symbol above to the right of HD for best viewing.


A nice summary of Matt Calicchio's history with lawsuits, political dirty tricks, and Councilwoman Beth Mason:
"This is dirty Hudson County politics." 

Bring in the Feds!

"Bring in the Feds" story update: February 17th:

Below HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia makes a statement on the elevator repairs at last week's HHA meeting claiming misinformation has appeared both here on MSV and Grafix Avenger.

Garcia outlined a series of elevator cab floors stating it was not for one or two elevators but ten.  MSV did not detail any number of cab floors updated only showing the invoice below, the actual Hoboken Housing Authority document.

Putting that sleight of hand aside, Garcia calls the reporting on the elevator charges "divisive" and suggests nothing good can from such public scrutiny.

Talking Ed Note:
Da Horsey would agree nothing good can come from misinformation and divisive tactics.  MSV strives to keep its information accurate at all times, encourages public comment and invites same from all quarters insisting on accountability for all institutions in Hoboken: governmental, judicial and media.

In that framework, Garica's remarks appear to be nothing but a smokescreen.  Our concerns remain outstanding and the cost to renovate two community rooms and a laundry facility in the amount of $656,100 is very much in question.

MSV sees no reason to change its call for an investigation.  Bring in the Feds!

Related: Grafix Avenger offers some new insights into the costs of the elevator repairs per "Mr. Carmelo" as Joe Branco calls him.

Update: February 10th -

Reader Kingpin offered some insights into the questionable HHA spending document in the comments section added here:

What is quite telling is that all line items are equal, that they budgeted for the exact to the penny every line. 

I do budgets all the time and I see here are that nothing went over budget or under budget at all. How often does that happen? Maybe a few bucks over here and a few hundred under there. That is honest accounting, I just produced a show in which I overspent my catering budget by a few hundred bucks and saved over $1000 on travel expenses....

Secondly how did every line item round to .00? 

When I tally all expenses, receipts, payments, even contingency and the last second "oh, by the way"... Never does a line item round to .00. 

And if it does, maybe once not on every line... 
I do my own taxes and when I was young, my accountant called me out as making it up since every line I put a round number.. He said that red flags an audit. From his lips to the FBI...

Thank you very much Kingpin!

Concerns about the "Replacement of Elevator Cab Floors" for the princely sum of $385,000 have been raised before but the issue is beginning to bubble up since it originally was reported on Grafix Avenger last summer where the bellowing Old Guard insider Deep Uvula cried his little fleshy vibrato out mocking the cost saying the take is nothing compared to the looting planned in the tear down of the existing HHA buildings.

"You thought 300k for new floors in the elevators was wild, that is peanuts compared to what people are planning to take out of the tear down of the HHA."

Note the itemized chart above the cost to renovate two community rooms and a laundry facility to the tune of $656,100.

For that kind of money, you can build a brand new building!

Talking Ed Note: One Hoboken contractor hearing about the elevator cab expenditure at the HHA ridiculed the absurdity of such a price tag saying, "That comes to $800 per tile."

Bring in the Feds!