Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hoboken City Council at-large candidates forum

Courtesy of QLC:

Part 1: please skip to 50 minute mark.

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(Part IV)

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Segments are part of a live effort by QLC. Apologies for minor separation and spliced segments.

It's all about Ravi

It's almost showtime for the City Council at-large candidates forum but just in case you thought there was any plan to do anything BUT go after Ravi Bhalla in this election cycle, two important updates for your consideration.

First last night MSV reader Indie sent over an automated two question poll.  It says:

Press 1 if you are going to vote for Dawn Zimmer
Press 2 if you are going to vote for Ruben Ramos
Press 3 if you are going to vote for Tim Occhipinti

Press 1 if you are going to vote for Frank Raia
Press 2 if you are going to vote for Ravi Bhalla

Is there any doubt what the Hoboken municipal race is boiling down to November 5th?

If you are still uncertain, here's Beth Mason's political operative Barry Brendel, a seasoned professional across New Jersey elections who returned to Hoboken Wednesday night for one expressed purpose: shoot Ravi!

That's right, camera in hand the Mason operative was spending an inordinate amount of time filming Ravi Bhalla and ONLY Ravi Bhalla.

Here's a photo of him filming Ravi Bhalla exclusively as Ramos campaigner David Liebler unleashed a volley against Timmy Occhipinti complaining about buying votes illegally with vote-by-mail.

Public speaker for the Ramos campaign David Liebler is laying into Timmy Occhipinti but Mason political operative
Barry Brendel only has eyes for Councilman Ravi Bhalla. Expect a late breaking commercial on Hoboken411!

Talking Ed Note: Previously, Tim Brendel has also filmed at City Council, Hoboken Zoning Board and BoE meetings for Councilwoman Beth Mason where footage in commercials would find their way to Hoboken411.

None dare call that "blogger" problematic even with its iron-fisted censorship backed to the hilt by Beth Mason and the Old Guard!

Will Hoboken be seeing a cable commercial on TV and aired at the cybersewer Hoboken411?
Wait and see!

Hudson County Building Trades 22 Unions Endorse Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Zimmer Team Council Slate

The Re-elect Mayor Dawn Zimmer campaign announces:

Hudson County Building Trades 22 Unions Endorse Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Zimmer Team Council Slate

Hoboken, New Jersey—Today the Hudson County Building Trade, comprised of 22 local unions, announced it is endorsing Mayor Dawn Zimmer and the Zimmer Team Council Slate of David Mello, Ravi Bhalla and James Doyle in the November 5th election.

The Hudson County Building Trades (HCBT) cited Mayor Zimmer’s proven track record of accomplishments and her commitment to improving infrastructure and creating jobs for working families as some of the reasons that union members are supporting Mayor Zimmer and her council slate.

President of HCBT Patrick Kelleher stated: “Mayor Zimmer and her council team have shown extraordinary leadership in the course of four years. From walking into a City Hall in the middle of serious financial trouble, to Hurricane Sandy, the Mayor and her team have proven time and time again that they are the real deal when it comes to addressing the major concerns of the working families in Hoboken."

He went on to note, “This team has an innovative and comprehensive plan to protect Hoboken from future storms and reduce flooding. They are also rolling up their sleeves and tackling Hoboken’s infrastructure challenges. This proactive approach will improve the quality of life in Hoboken and create needed jobs."

“My team and I are honored to have the endorsement of the Hudson County Building Trades," said Mayor Zimmer. "In four years, the Zimmer Team and I have worked hard to get Hoboken back on the right path. We are working to make sure we have smart development, are protected from flooding, are creating jobs, and improving overall quality of life for all of Hoboken. This endorsement highlights that the people of Hoboken know we are working to lead this city forward.”

The HCBT includes 22 local building trades (complete list is below). This major union endorsement for Mayor Zimmer and her team significantly adds to an already impressive amount of union support for the Zimmer Team. The IUOE Local 825 and New Jersey Laborers endorsed Mayor Zimmer and her Council slate on October 15th and October 7th respectively. All of the endorsements highlighted the Mayor’s response to Sandy and her work to stabilize a City in crisis as reasons for support.

Complete List of Hudson County Building Trades

ELEVATOR CONSTRUCTORS LOCAL 1                                     
4724 27th STREET                                                                     
718-383-0068 (Fax)

ADMIN DISTRICT COUNCIL of NJ LOCAL 4                                        
14 PLOG ROAD                                                                             
FAIRFIELD, NJ 07004                                                                     
973-244-9963 (Fax)
Web-site: www.bacnj.com

CARPENTERS LOCAL #253                                                       
36 BERGEN STREET                                                                     
HACKENSACK, NEW JERSEY 07601                                           
201-457-9195 (Fax)
E-mail:  gschreck@njcarpenters.org                                        
E-mail:  abuttino@njcarpenters.org                                        

For the complete list, please see the jump:

The Wiley Coyote deconstructs legal costs under Mayor Zimmer

The Wiley Coyote weighs in with an analysis on Hoboken legal costs

Good people of Hoboken,

We’ve heard about skyrocketing legal costs ad nauseam from the enemies of Zimmer, and will likely hear more at tonight’s debate.

I thought I’d have a look at past years expenditures for comparison. It is important to remember that one cannot simply look at dollar amounts year to year, but must at least allow for inflationary pressures or, better yet, to look at line item spending as a percentage of total spending. This way, you can see if indeed spending in one area is increasing relative to other areas.

In the matter of legal expenditures, that line item averaged 1.5% for the ten years preceding Mayor Zimmer’s term. In her first four budget years, it has averaged 1.6%. The highest percentage of spending on legal costs, 2.1% in 2011 (largely the result of huge costs incurred by the hospital bankruptcy), was only slightly higher than that of the Russo administration in 2000 (1.9%).

The takeaway is twofold: relative to total spending, legal expenditures under the Zimmer administration are in line with previous administrations over the prior decade, and – perhaps more importantly – are a relatively small percentage of total spending, certainly not worth so much attention  when so much more is spent elsewhere. In fact, were the city to spend NOTHING on any legal representation whatsoever (and that, of course, is entirely unrealistic), the city’s tax levy would drop less than 4%, and the property owner’s total tax bill, which includes school and county taxes, would drop about 1%. All this noise about legal spending is pure nonsense, and is evidently the best the Mayor’s opposition can do in light of her multi-year tax decreases.

[Year 2010 appears twice, as there was a fiscal year 2010 budget and a six-month, transitional year 2010 budget]

Eric Kurta, aka estevens aka Wiley Coyote 

Council candidates debate tonight at Elks and Ramos campaign on the attack

The re-elect Mayor Zimmer campaign announces:

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Dear Horsey and MSV readers --

In four short years, the Zimmer Team with our Mayor Dawn Zimmer leading the way has reduced taxes, improved our parks, and successfully saved our hospital from bankruptcy - preserving more than 1,200 jobs and relieving our taxpayers of a $52 million bond guarantee.

Like what you hear so far? Now it’s time to show your support as we face off against our opponents in the Quality of Life Coalition Council and Mayoral Debates. Our team will be highlighting our accomplishments, but more importantly, we will be discussing how we plan toLead Hoboken Forward!
Here are the debate dates and times:

Tuesday, October 22nd7pm-9pm Quality of Life Coalition City Council Debate @ Elks Club, 1005 Washington St.
Show your support in person, RSVP: www.dawnzimmer.com/councildebate

Wednesday, October 23rd7pm-9pm Quality of Life Coalition Mayoral Debate @ Elks Club, 1005 Washington St.

Show your support in person, RSVP: www.dawnzimmer.com/mayoraldebate
Can’t attend the debate? No problem. There is still time to get involved. After all, we know that we can’t win this election without you, and we are really counting on your support during the final days of this campaign.
Help us talk to voters about our slate and the issues that matter in this election - join us Thursday for an afternoon canvass of our neighborhoods to spread the word.
Together, we will continue to lead Hoboken forward. 

Mollie Binotto
Campaign Manager

P.S. - Green T-shirts are back! Stay tuned to find out how you can get yours!

The Ruben Ramos for mayor campaign announces:
Zimmer Condones, Supports
Ethical and Legal Transgressions
Expects Supporters to apply a different set of rules for Team Zimmer

In a shocking email to supporters, Mayor Dawn Zimmer downplays, and asks Hobokenites to ignore, the multiple ethical and legal violations of Councilman Ravi Bhalla.  Calling allegations about Bhalla’s multiple ethical lapses “false” and “nonsense”, Zimmer asserts that Bhalla has an “outstanding reputation” and that it is essential to re-elect Bhalla, who is part of Team Zimmer.  The facts, however, demonstrate that it is Zimmer who is attempting to mislead the public.  Disturbingly, in his four years on the Hoboken City Council, Bhalla has been found by a myriad of law enforcement and regulatory agencies to flout professional, governmental, and legal standards a shocking number of times.  For example:
  • In 2010, the Jersey Journal revealed that Bhalla flouted state laws meant to discourage the insidious practice of pay-to-play by failing to file legally mandated disclosures that would have revealed that he made thousands of dollars in political contributions while receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in public contracts. http://bit.ly/aeJkOw
  • In 2011, the Office of Attorney Ethics, which regulates all lawyers licensed to practice law in New Jersey, disciplined Bhalla for irregularities involving his attorney-trust account. http://bit.ly/1ca4Bsg
  • In 2012, Councilman Bhalla was issued four (4) citations , including driving with an expired and suspended license. http://bit.ly/181RJfE
  • In 2013, Bhalla was issued a NOTICE OF VIOLATION by the Local Finance Board, the state entity that oversees municipal governments and officials, for voting on a public contract in which he had a financial interest. http://bit.ly/GYo29c
Unfortunately, Mayor Zimmer overlooking Ravi’s repeated violation of ethical and legal mandates is not surprising. Under her leadership, the City’s spending on outside legal counsel, including contracts to Ravi’s law firm, has more than tripled and legal contracts have gone to firms that have contributed to her re-election campaign in excess of the pay to play limits. This is simply unacceptable.

As Mayor, I will expect and demand only the highest ethical behavior from members of my Administration and from the City Council.

Thank you for your support.