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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Showdown: "War of the Budget Amendments" in City Council @ 7:00


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Tonight Hoboken's budget war will continue since the City is denied the ninth vote in Jim Doyle who is sidelined due to the Mason family appeals on behalf of the Hoboken Sopranos.

So the fun and games will continue with budget amendments from the Finance Chair Jen Giattino and for MORTe Timmy Occhipinti.

Later a non-binding resolution on the BoE and its 4% tax increase will see much grandstanding by its sponsor Michael Russo and his allies.  There won't be any calls for layoffs of teachers or budget specifics (heaven forbid) in the City Council let alone at the BoE itself, that's not in the grandstanding playbook.  Kvetching is and tonight, they will kvetch.  A lot.

The BoE had a flat budget with no tax increase for several years but expect to hear about the injustice of the 4% increase and how State law allowed it to go through without a public referendum.  (Keep in mind no BoE budget was ever voted down in Hoboken, but let's not get caught up in facts.)

The irony shouldn't be lost on anyone paying the freight in town that the people who want taxpayer jobs on the municipal rolls will be yelling loudest tonight claiming they are their greatest defender.

Sadly, they do this as if no one really knows otherwise.  Go talk to the people in the 3rd ward and see if they know the real deal.  More do and are hip to the grift.

Here's the complete resolutions: http://www.hobokennj.org/docs/council/respack13/final-respac-6.19.13.pdf

Correction: According to one longtime resident and MSV reader, back in the 80s and 90s there were occasions when the BoE budgets were rejected.  The State allowed the BoE to exceed its 2% cap this time as there was no increases in prior years.

City prevails seeing rent control class action suit dismissed

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Wednesday June 19, 2013

City of Hoboken

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Community: City of Hoboken Prevails in Dismissing Class Action Lawsuit

Superior Court Judge Mary K. Costello, the Presiding Judge of the Civil Division in Hudson County, has dismissed a class action lawsuit against the City surrounding the administration of its rent control ordinance.

The suit was brought in 2010 by Gina DeNardo who alleged that the City misapplied the ordinance over a number of years to the detriment of landlords. The City has vigorously defended against this class action lawsuit for the last three years and steadfastly held to its position that the City and its officers have followed and administered the rent control ordinance in good faith for all resident landlords and tenants alike.

Over the last two decades, rent control in the City has been the subject of numerous court cases. Accordingly, the City argued in its summary judgment motion that it had faithfully applied the ordinance in light of the outcomes of those lawsuits. Judge Costello agreed with Hoboken that the Mayor and Rent Regulation Officer faithfully administered the ordinance in light of the lawsuits that have guided its application. She dismissed the class action lawsuit in its entirety based upon qualified immunity grounds stemming from the City’s good faith reliance on court decisions that guided the scope of the ordinance.

"I am very pleased with this decision that confirms that the City has acted properly with regard to the administration of our rent control laws,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “This latest court victory demonstrates once again the importance of making the necessary investment to vigorously defend the City’s interests.”

The City was represented by Victor A. Afanador and Jeffrey A. Shooman of Lite DePalma Greenberg, LLC in Newark.

Deconstructing the Hoboken411 by Terry Castellano

Councilwoman Terry Castellano signs on to screed of fabrications and inaccuracies on Hoboken411

Hoboken411 the cybersewer where politics is guided by Beth Mason's iron fisted seal of censorship is the vehicle for pumping out massive fabrications once again - apparently in the hope to knock down Mayor Dawn Zimmer's high approval ratings leading into the November election.

It's the second time in recent months Castellano has a "letter" attached to her name appearing on Beth Mason's notorious vehicle attacking anyone seen in the way of  her power and agenda.  Even the manager of Hoboken's temporary post Sandy resource center was attacked in recent months in a hateful screed of lies by the notorious Masonista website.

Councilwoman Terry Castellano signed on to a screed of misinformation 
on Mason backed Hoboken411.  The website is known for attacking anyone
seen as contrary to Beth Mason's agenda.  Even a long time resident
managing Hoboken's Sandy resource center was slimed by Hoboken411's lies.


Let's deconstruct the items one by one with a fair use journalistic critique beginning with a claim the Old Guard council is "independent."

If the Hoboken Sopranos are independent then Tony Soprano should be elected pope.  
The crew has been working as a monolithic block against Hoboken's interests (even the City's solvency) since Timmy Occhipinti's campaign stole a special election with a record setting hundreds of paper ballots courtesy of the exploitation of the people in the HHA.

Prior to that, then Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer who led the City Council saw all her attempts at consensus dismissed in an effort to destroy her reform agenda mayoralty out of the gate.  The FBI complaint against Patrick Ricciardi described a "schism" with several council members and in the Hoboken blogosphere.

Fact 1: Zimmer’s 5th “rubber stamp” vote Jim Doyle

Let’s begin with Zimmer’s appointment of Jim Doyle to the City Council last fall. We had no problem with the selection, only the process. Zimmer chose to usurp the democratic process by not allowing the voters to make the decision. Furthermore, there were a few key facts omitted from Mr. Doyle’s public resume that would shed some light on his independence, namely the fact that Jim was the emcee at Zimmer’s inauguration and that he was chosen by the Governor, at the request of Zimmer, as the mayor’s appointee to the Hospital Board. All facts that were not included in his resume, facts he was not sharing unless questioned. What else was not disclosed?
If an election had been scheduled in 30 days of the appointment, Jim would have gotten a unanimous vote to remain on the council until that date. The elimination of the election process deprived the public of being represented by the person of choice. That fact was the driving force behind the original court case for his removal which we independent council members have financed ourselves.
Ask yourselves, why would Zimmer not want an election? The answer, they want that fifth and deciding vote to push through their agenda, with no discussion or opposition. The fact that the rubber stamp is out of ink, frustrates the Zimmer faction, which is evident by their behavior as the Council meetings get more contentious.

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Okay first things first.  The Hoboken Sopranos never held this seat since 2009.  The ruse they want to fix it through an election is as one commenter slipped past the goalie - completely made up.  Jim Doyle is well known in Hoboken over decades. The Old Guard and Hoboken Sopranos know he can't be bought, isn't looking to cash in and won't sell out Hoboken period, so he's useless to them, end of story.  What they claim is a need for "independence" is they would like to have a reliable puppet re: Occhipinti in the role and if not, an empty council seat will do.

The idea Doyle's resume failed to add some social engagement is frankly silly as it was hardly a secret he worked at the public mayoral inauguration event.  There's the typical low grade Hoboken411 lies about the Governor being involved; other than signing off on the appointment this will surely be news to Jim Doyle.  Serving on a public board in Hoboken is hardly a secret.

The fallacy NJ law allowed for an election to the council vacancy is an easily disproved lie.  It's one Beth Mason has been using and no accident here, that party line found its way into Terry Castellano's version.  Castellano's and her colleagues are no doubt convinced the seat was filled with the idea of leading into the next election but that's entirely legal and actually not the case.  The seat was vacated by former councilwoman Carol Marsh who resigned due to a family tragedy impacting its livelihood.

The goal since Jim Doyle's appointment was ruled a valid process at the direction of the Hudson County Superior Court is to take away a fifth vote for reliable good governance.  That's why they continue suing the PEOPLE OF HOBOKEN for what Judge Bariso called the Hoboken Sopranos' "gamesmanship."

The Hoboken Sopranos are not suing to have a special election. They know this is a pure canard.

Fact 2: Unbalanced budget and tax increases

A 4-4 Council is a breath of fresh air, a fact never more evident as we go through the Budget process. As our questioning has disclosed, the proposed budget has been underfunded, not balanced. To make up the difference, the Zimmer faction purposed a tax levy increase. We independents purposed nine amendments to the spending plan to avert a tax levy increase, which drives the budget’s bottom line.
We are aware that the 10% County Increase, the 4% Zimmer Board of Education budget increase and the looming increases as a result of the Zimmer-driven property revaluation will financially devastate our taxpayers. We, on the other hand, are committed to doing whatever it takes to keep expenses down and finding ways to decrease spending.

=====

Patting yourself on the back for suing the people to advance obstruction is one thing but the lies on the budget will surely never end with the Hoboken Sopranos.  Here's the fact on the budget and the ongoing war: Mayor Zimmer presented a perfectly balanced budget as she has for several years and the proposed budget this years included a modest 2% tax decrease.  This is pure fallacy and a weak attempt to tie the mayor's timely tax cutting budgets in recent years to failures of the past.

On taxes, the mayor has no control over the County or BoE although the Russo clan is looking to play politics with that in a resolution Wednesday night.  What they don't do is go to the school board and suggest an alternative to the 4% increase there.  (The last time the Hoboken Sopranos crew went to the BoE was to stop November elections and it not only passed in the BoE here (and most of NJ) but was supported overwhelmingly by the public for its local municipal elections last fall.

The reval is going to be an issue for taxpayers: with some taxes going up, some going down and others not changing much as anticipated.  The reval is driven not by the mayor but county and state law.  Again, that's not something the Hoboken Sopranos want you to know and blaming the mayor for county and state law is rather pedestrian.

If Ms. Castellano is concerned on the reval's tax impact on Hoboken residents, then why is both she and her council allies trying to shove down the throats of Hoboken a tax abatement (PILOT) for an undocumented massive building overhaul and expansion in the Hoboken Housing Authority with Vision 20/20?

Vision 20/20 no matter the final size (uncertain currently) will add to the cost of public safety and education and deprive Hoboken of revenue in taxes with the tax abatement Councilwoman Castellano and the Old Guard council tried to ram through in a recent council meeting past midnight.
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Fact 3: Desperate appeal costing property taxpayers in Hoboken

As I said earlier, council members, Mason, Occhipinti, Russo and myself are paying for the legal effort to maintain a council vacancy ourselves which means not one penny of taxpayers money is being spent by us. As you may be aware, during the first court hearing, county Assignment Judge Bariso ruled that the Doyle appointment was illegal and the “Zimmer Administration screwed up.” Subsequently, Zimmer levied an appeal, as she always does when she does not get her way, hired a high priced, politically connected Norcross law firm. The city estimates the cost of the appeal at $30,000 and counting.
Another benefit for Zimmer by keeping the appeal active is to make friends with political power brokers for the benefit of back room deals and political contributions. ( Nice “green reformer” you turned out to be Dawn.)
I hope these facts shed some light on how we independent stand. When anyone writes a letter of truth, you can expect a Zimmer tool to respond in an effort to mask and divert discussion. With this I have no problem, All it does if give me the opportunity to say yet again, the independents are paying for their own defense, shame on those who are lying to the public. And, yes, there will be another letter from me as countless residents have commented, saying that I am articulating what everyone is thinking.
Remember, that much overused, abused word from the distant past: transparency.
Look it up again, refresh your memories.”
====

This is touching how the Hoboken Sopranos are sticking together suing the people of Hoboken.  There's a hilarious truth here that the Hoboken Sopranos saying "not one penny of taxpayers money is being spent by us."  

100% true - it's their legal action and appeals suing Hoboken people that is costing taxpayers more than $30,000 (and counting).

What Castellano is not saying is that the judge ordered her crew to attend and vote on the council appointment and then explained to them what the vote meant.  The lie of omission of course is that there's no admission that - THE HOBOKEN SOPRANOS ALREADY LOST THEIR LAWSUIT EARLY THIS YEAR!

The only reason the case continues to cost Hoboken, time, council votes (cast by Jim Doyle) and money is because the Mason family continues to file appeals.  No one has said anyone is paying for pursuing this lawsuit other than the Mason family which is underwriting.

The lawsuit is not to see any special election take place as Mason and her Hoboken Soprano allies state.  The Hoboken Sopranos are appealing to keep Jim Doyle off the council from voting; they hope right into the November election!

That's the true 411.

Related: The actual legal decision early this year approving Jim Doyle's appointment and decrying the Old Guard council's gamesmanship: http://www.hobokenhorse.com/2013/02/court-approves-jim-doyle-appointment.html