Friday, February 28, 2014

Carmelo Garcia the ethnic cleanser blown out of Court


BREAKING: Carmelo Garcia's second bite out of the apple is a dud!

Meets the same fate as first ethnic cleansing lawsuit 

The second time is not the charm. At least if you are lobbing baseless legal claims in Hudson County Superior Court and your name is Carmelo Garcia.

In a repackaged list of grievances claiming similar victimization as last, ethnic cleansing attorney Louis Zayas saw the same fate as occurred last.

The legal claims didn't hold water.

Six counts with an added discrimination claim against Mayor Zimmer, her husband and former HHA Chair/commissioner Jake Stuiver saw each of the charges fall apart on preliminary legal analysis.

Saying there was "no change in his (Garcia's) employment situation," Judge Lawrence Maron methodically offered similar conclusions in his preliminary findings. Since almost all the claims were given a chance to be amended, it's likely the final legal opinion rendered by the judge will see the entire case tossed out of court.

Zayas attempted to raise argument to change the initial perspective but appeared to not be getting any traction. He sounded more shrill notes on the case on behalf of Garcia, saying he was facing an "open Rice notice" and an organized conspiracy by the defendants.

What he couldn't offer was any visible damages under the law.

In the end, the case is likely to see the same outcome as the first when a final legal opinion is rendered.

Bad news for Hoboken's ethic cleanser Carmelo Garcia. His baseless charges
look heading to the same trash bin as his first "ethnic cleansing" lawsuit.

Talking Ed Note: Is there a lesson here for filing reckless legal action for political purposes to do harm to people you are trying to intimidate? One can hope but you have to be ethical enough to understand it's unconscionable to act that way in the first place.

The charges in and of themselves were scurrilous to begin with and karma has taken hold.

Related: We met a new journalistic colleague today after the hearing who covered the story for Take a look at her in-depth story here:

Horse Sense: The Lepercons are tanking

In the matter of the Hoboken public interest, the Lepercons are a spent force

In Hoboken it's called Year 3, the third round where the interests of the common citizens numbering over 52,000 will see their rights and interests to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness hold over the economic desires of Hoboken bar owners - most of which don't reside in the City.

There are people who sincerely miss the parade but anyone who attended at its demise knows, spectators uptown barely covered one side let alone both sides of the street. The parade had become a symbol or rather a dog whistle up and down the East Coast for mardi gras revelers to set upon the Mile Square and let fly with projectile vomit, urination and random home damage. Crime was a built in feature pushing public safety beyond its limits.

Hoboken homeowners don't need additional wreckage after SuperStorm Sandy.

That doesn't even begin to address the individual terror the day represented to all residents, family and singles alike. Whether you liked the revelry or not, became bored with or not, you were stuck with it, perhaps completely held hostage to it if you had left town for the day in time.

On the other side of this faux Hoboken St. Patrick's Day, the bar owners had historically cowed the legislative body which year to year did next to nothing of substance as the savagery mounted with rumors of violent rapes and muffin tops passing out on sidewalks all over town in less than flattering exposure.

Collector's item. The staple platform issue for Timmy Occhipinti didn't fare so well with Hoboken voters.
Someone may have forgotten to tell Timmy, Hoboken bar flies are not all residents and can't vote.

There's always been voice complaining about the loss of the parade but this year they are more muted since the November election didn't produce much of a result for one candidate: Timmy Occhipinti who ran on all things debauchery - bringing back Hoboken St. Patrick's Day, developer's interest, and good ole Old Guard corruptocrat style governance.

The quiet majority of the Hoboken public had enough years ago and their Irish eyes are smiling if not singing. The parade was a nice event but it was overtaken with drunk teens and Xers on Washington Street by 12 noon (or sooner) and each succeeding year the mayhem and crime statistics scarily climbed with no end in sight.  MSV called it a coming disaster back in 2010 and it was only then serious thought began on curbing or eliminating the event altogether.

There's sincere feelings of loss against a paen of political crybaby voices inescapable in this town competing against the tutelage of reform. The Irish "racism" angle didn't pan out either. That's not going away and the bitterness is less about the event and more about the loss of dictating local outcomes, any and all by the Old Guard.

They'll be moaning in their beer and liquor Saturday night, Hoboken just isn't the same, the yuppies ruined it. Of course no one will be listening and everyone else will be living their lives with a little bit more of a smile on their face Saturday.

It's year three but it was well past time. Have a good time Lepercons. Being conned is good for Hoboken business and that's all fine and well for the Leprecon bar owners.

For once though, the common man has won the day. Enjoy it Hoboken, you deserve it.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Beth Mason, show tune counte$$ sings "I sue you. I sue you"

The following soon to be classic guest cartoon comes courtesy of Hoboken resident Yo Gregory! who penned the following guest piece below with the original cartoon creation.

By way of explanation, let's add that Beth Mason has not sent out a press release for her latest lawsuit but attempted at the last council meeting to sway others on the legislative body speaking from the public's microphone to feed her unquenchable litigious hunger as she seeks to re-engage the prey who got away in the form of Councilman Ravi Bhalla. To her colleagues inquiry where this latest Mason lawsuit is coming from, Beth Mason coyly responded, "It's been out there."

Well Beth Mason knows what lawsuits are out there. She even knows when a lawsuit is "out there" against Hoboken residents weeks before it's filed!

Councilman Bhalla accepted a position last year with law firm Florio Perrucci. Beth Mason who heavily invested in Timmy Occhipinti with developer Frank "Pupie" Raia was humiliated when the Hoboken voting public rejected her support by way of a landslide and re-elected Bhalla in a complete Reform sweep. Leading into the November election, Mason said the Hoboken voter is very discerning. No kidding, get a clue yet?

While Mason orchestrated and slung enough mud to generate the threat of a lawsuit from Councilman Bhalla during the campaign, the Hoboken voters crushed her third try at the Hoboken mayor's chair yielding a mere 17% of the vote. (Her two prior direct attempts came in 2009.)

Who says Beth Mason has no talent. Clearly, Broadway show tunes are her forte. That and of course being a litigious councilwoman focused on suing and destroying anyone she sees as in her way.

Even more bizarre, other media are pretending the latest Mason family lawsuit doesn't exist even as they have failed to ask her the simple question of her role in the 2012 SLAPP suit she personally publicly announced in a live City Council meeting in reply to an inquiry for public information on her suspect Mason Civic League "charity."

For now Da Horsey turns over the wheel - Yo Gregory!

I Sue You!
When your only tool is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail. Such as it is with Hoboken 2nd Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason who is suing the City for the release of documents exchanged between the City and one of the law firms it's contracted in the past. Mason's tool of choice is the lawsuit - a great tool for depleting the resources, both time and finances, of its target. For this reason it's a terrific tool for revenge and obstruction. Of course, it's a terrible tool for carrying out the day-to-day duties of a ward councilperson. But when revenge and obstruction are all your councilperson is interested in, then that's what ward residents have to settle for. For the record, let's take a brief look at Councilwoman Mason's history of lawsuits against Hoboken and its residents.

Most recently, there is the aforementioned lawsuit against the City of Hoboken that some believe is tied to politically motivated attacks against recently re-elected Hoboken Councilman-at-Large Ravi Bhalla.

There is also the lawsuit filed against Hoboken  Councilpersons Bhalla, Cunningham, Giattino and Mello that prevented newly elected Councilman Jim Doyle from serving as interim Councilman after Councilwoman Carol Marsh resigned in October 2012. This lawsuit blocked a reform majority on City Council allowing Mason and her fellow Council plaintiffs to obstruct city progress for more than a year.

Then there is the sordid SLAPP-suit (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) filed against two dozen Hoboken bloggers in August 2012. While Mason's name is not on the complaint, the names of two of her closest supporters are. More damning though is that Councilwoman Mason publicly disclosed the lawsuit's existence prior to its receipt by the targeted bloggers. Needless to say, the bloggers were not, and are not, Mason cheerleaders.

Prior to Councilwoman Mason's failed attempts for election as Mayor in 2008 and 2009, Mason filed at least eleven lawsuits against the city, the school board and the city's now defunct hospital board. Back then, these actions may have been viewed as heroic attempts to shine light on possible corruption. But, as I've written about elsewhere, in light of Mason's behavior after losing these elections, all her actions are now suspect.

In 2008, the New York Times estimated that Mason's lawsuits cost the city about $200,000. Just imagine the total cost to her constituents, our city's bloggers, and the city to date.

The original story and video are available with other knock it out of the park gems at the link:

Hoboken author Alan Skontra: "Legendary locals of Hoboken" - 4:00 pm this Sunday at the Hoboken Historical Museum

Hoboken Historical Museum
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Open Saturdays and Sundays from 12 - 5 pm at 213 Bloomfield St., the Fire Department Museum has something for everyone.Fire Department Museum
Climb onto the seat of an authentic 1932 fire engine, see historic equipment and firefighting gear, or look at tons of photos, including one of Taps, the Dalmation mascot, with her puppies. To learn more, click here .
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It's going to be...Legen- (wait for it) dary!  
Join us this Sunday, March 2, at 4 p.m., to celebrate the launch of a new book by historian John Gomez, "Legendary Locals of Jersey City." 
And on April 13, local writer Alan Skontra visits the Museum for a talk on his new book, "Legendary Locals of Hoboken." Mark your calendars!

Uptown Storytime this month falls onThursday, March 6 and 20, at 10
am. All toddlers age 2 - 5 (with parent or caregiver) are welcome for this free hour of fun story telling by librarian Penny Metsch.

Artist Robert Forman returns to the Museum on Sunday, March 16 for a gallery talk about his unique artworks composed entirely of colored thread and glue. If you haven't seen his Upper Gallery exhibit, hurry in, it closes Mar. 16.  
Dust off your feather boas and shine up your spats -- this year's spring gala is a Swingin' Speakeasyparty! Grab your tickets now -- our last two galas were sold-out affairs. Join us March 22 for dancing, delicious food by AD Catering and Giorgio's, a live auction and entertainment by an award-winning magician. Click here for details. 
We have enjoyed some fascinating discussions during our exhibit-related Sandy Talk series. Our next one takes place on April 27, at 4 pm, when Stevens professors Dr. Alan Blumberg and Dr. Michael Bruno will discuss forecasting and predicting the next big hurricane. All Sandy talks are free. 

Carmelo Garcia celebrates motto of me with county spelling bee champion

Carmelo Garcia who has a hearing on his "ethnic cleansing" redux civil lawsuit Friday in Hudson County Superior Court shared some words with the Hudson County Spelling Bee Champion, Ed Horan of the Hudson School.

From the official release, he shared his motto of me with the students:

"Garcia, also treated the students to a powerful message of inspiration during the presentation, as they recited his creed, "I can, I will, watch me."

It's a sign of the times.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

All politics are... international?

With a rapid flurry of events not seen since the Orange Revolution in 2004, the second largest country in Europe of 46 million, Ukraine has been all over the news as its citizens again took to the streets.

For months though the harsh winter, tens of thousands of citizens took to the center of the capital to protest their government backing out from completing a years long negotiation with the European Union.

What started as a limited protest in the main square of the nation's capital Kiev last fall changed into an entirely different protest with the abuse of peaceful protesters turning the entire saga where it is today into one squarely focused on two major issues: human rights and corruption.

This pulled directly at Da Horsey's heartstrings and this video of a Ukrainian woman from Kiev went viral on YouTube as she asked for international support in their cause seeking freedom against selfish politicians calling them barbarians.

Later her foreshadowing of violence against the people would prove prescient but what wasn't is the fast paced outcome of events overthrowing the president within days of an interim agreement.

The people wouldn't accept a president remaining in office, even on an interim basis who had set loose armed snipers killing dozens in the center of the capital.

To this point, they have won - standing on their own and sacrificing their bodies and lives against a cynical foe.

In her words...

"We want to be free from a dictatorship. We want to be free from the politicians who work only for themselves... just for saving their power... We are civilized people but our government are barbarians.. We want our courts not to be corrupted. We want to be free."

The former president, who within 48 hours went from colluding with state security forces placing snipers around the Maidan where tens of thousands refused to be intimidated from all over the country seeing dozens upon dozens among them killed and hundreds more wounded now has a warrant out for his arrest for his crimes against humanity.

The reforming government in Ukraine is seeking an international court to try the case.

MSV was present in 2004 in the Maidan during the Orange Revolution and saw the spirit of freedom first hand.
It left an indelible mark and appreciation for our freedoms here. Those freedoms must be actively defended.

Talking Ed Note: Hoboken has its own checkered history on abuse of government power. The limited powers of one official on a nine member body with a blank checkbook abusing the town's institutions, its people, and savagely - attempted to destroy the local hospital parallels the global stage in Ukraine today.

A convenient little conspiracy has existed for more than a year attempting to destroy voices who have spoken out against corruption and its major underwriter.

Do you think that's where it ends? It didn't fare so well for another "untouchable" did it?

Related: First hand intimate accounts of citizens and journalists beaten by State Security Forces:

Monday, February 24, 2014

Carmelo Garcia amended "ethnic lawsuit" to face dismissal Friday

Carmelo Garcia, the embattled Executive Director of the Hoboken Housing Authority sees another hearing this Friday in Superior Court on his charges of victimhood in county civil court - this time without the "benefit" of his earlier ethnic cleansing designation.

For this occasion, the estranged Assemblyman (his colleagues reportedly shun him in Trenton) will hope he has added sufficient claims of victimization to withstand the legal complaint being tossed out of court on its face.

The major difference in the allegations amended courtesy of "ethnic cleanser" attorney Louis Zayas substitutes "patronage" for ethnic cleansing, adding an unsubstantiated claim of discrimination.

As the last filing, there's nothing specific pointing to the basis for its claims let alone any discrimination whatsoever which earlier led the court to deem the filing insufficient.

Hudson County TV features a new interview with Garcia and the subject of the lawsuit is mentioned but there's no real discussion on the merits. The interview glances on subjects near and dear to Carmelo Garcia, re: Vision 20/20 the massive land deal he's refused to offer any comprehensive details.

The interview raises some issue with the project but none among them from the detailed letter Mayor Zimmer sent Garcia last spring pointing to troubling questions on the lack of documentation, lack of attention to the existing housing stock and safety hazards ignored. The letter also noted reports of unfairness for resident admission into the HHA highlighting there were numerous complaints to City Hall and a lack of transparency in the process under Garcia.

MSV has previously noted, the "plan" received four eager votes from Council members Beth Mason, Michael Russo, Terry Castellano and Timmy Occhipinti but repeated requests for a Master Plan have been snubbed over months leading into last November's election and since.

The undocumented plan was being bum rushed so eagerly, the Old Guard council attempted to approve it at midnight without a legal quorum. Their action was later ruled invalid.

Here's the interview. Does Carmelo Garcia sound confident about his latest lawsuit?

Talking Ed Note: The video claims in its title, Garcia exposes Mayor Zimmer on Vision 20/20 funding using Sandy funds. There's been versions of this floating around on for the past week and frankly MSV is insufficient on the details but is skeptical or concerned any such claim is close to the truth for two reasons.

First, Sandy aid has seen allegedly misappropriated funds with some odd political expenditures and is/was Hoboken potentially on such a list where no plans would be required before funds would be distributed? If so the question is why?

While Carmelo Garcia endorsed Gov. Christie along with State Senator Stack the HHA vote turned out for Barbara Buono.

Second, there's been an absolute propaganda effort moving against Mayor Zimmer since she came out agains the Rockefeller Group project. It quickly ramped up and you regularly see the same screen names unleashing a torrent of venom towards the mayor. It reminds one of a Hoboken mayoral election and Beth Mason's internet blogging team - o perish the thought.

One obvious hatchet job came way of NJN reporter David Cruz who also contacted MSV requesting an interview. Da Horsey had some less than savory interactions with Cruz when he was communications manager for then fourth ward council candidate Timmy Occhipinti. It didn't improve in the 2011 election when a phone call to the Hoboken Police Department was required to stop his illegal hanging out in the Marine View polling station with Terry Castellano. (Da Horsey was a volunteer election challenger for the Wiley Coyote, Eric Kurta. There was not one problem over 14 hours other than a foul mouthed David Cruz refusing to leave.)

The NJTV outlet should be embarrassed at the clumsy amateurish attempt to carry water for its relationship to the nexus of NJ state government. Absolutely shameful.

This video doesn't make any claim Hoboken City Hall was contacted on the latest Garcia allegation but one can guess the mayor's administration isn't losing any sleep on new claims by Hoboken's "ethic cleanser."

MSV exclusively covered the last court hearing with no other media present to witness first hand the "Ethic Cleanser" getting kicked to the curb.

Update: The story was truncated so corrections were made late.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

MSV comment policy

From time to time MSV posts its policies. Please make note when visiting and follow the golden rule. If you choose to comment, make it matter because it's likely to be seen by everyone from atop government to your neighbors.

Comment Policy


This site is rated R.  You may confess the worst thoughts about yourself.  You can get if off your chest about how good your significant other has been to you and how you still cheat on him or her all the time.  Or that you are not nice to your parents or siblings.  But if the language is in poor taste, it risks being edited or deleted.  It probably won't but why push it.

For future reference, Mile Square View reserves the right to:
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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sue happy Beth Mason launches new lawsuit!


City votes 4-3 to defend itself on Mason lawsuit seeking information of former legal vendor Florio Perrucci

The City Council agenda seemed tranquil but as it turns out contained a bomb. The City requested a legal contract for $20,000 to defend itself against the latest lawsuit by Councilwoman Beth Mason.

Not coming long off the Mason family underwriting a lawsuit to keep Councilman Jim Doyle off the dais for more than a year in a series of legal machinations and appeals, Councilwoman Beth Mason is back doing what she loves most:

"I sue!" Beth Mason is suing Hoboken again but it's an old target in Ravi Bhalla she's pursuing.
She was refused documents the City says fall under attorney-client privilege.
Mason has never denied she's suing approximately two dozen Hoboken residents in a SLAPP suit.
Then again, she made an open threat in advance of its filing but it's gone unreported in over a year.

In the surprising development during last night's meeting, the Corporation Counsel discussed the latest Mason lawsuit had been initiated due to a request made by Beth Mason for legal documents in an OPRA request between a former vendor and the City.

The original request for the legal documentation came last fall.  (There was vague discussion about billing.) Later it surfaced the former legal vendor for the City is the current law firm Councilman Ravi Bhalla joined, Florio Perrucci Steinhardt & Fader.

Mason has been on a less than obvious vendetta against Bhalla, a central figure in Hoboken's successful reform movement for several years. Most recently Mason invested funds in what she and her political operatives claimed Bhalla had not withdrawn from voting on business before the City.

Last fall Mason attempted to leverage Councilman Bhalla being hired with the prestigious law firm of former New Jersey Governor Jim Florio making wild accusations he had voted on matters of the firm before he began abstaining due to consideration of joining the firm.

As it turned out, Bhalla had recused himself in the summer months PRIOR to his acceptance to join the firm. In addition, the law firm Florio Perrucci accepted and agreed it would no longer seek new business with the City of Hoobken, making clear it valued Bhalla's services more.

But Mason ramped up personal attacks, her trademark she's known for leading into the November election with nasty attack ads and unleashing her political operatives in the Hoboken blogosphere in the hope of seeing Bhalla's re-election thwarted.

Some of the nasty attacks appeared in comments here on MSV and the barely there former AOL owned website Hoboken Patch under names believed by many a political operative underwritten by Beth Mason deploying her long time bottom feeding fish, Finboy.

The efforts were a massive fail and Bhalla was easily re-elected.

Later in last night's meeting, Councilman Dave Mello would remark he'd be willing to give a heads up notice to colleagues if he would ever contemplate litigating against Hoboken asking others to do the same.

Councilwoman Terry Castellano who used to beseech Beth Mason not to sue the City of Hoboken for public records on phone records and similar, showed no such desire this time but asked for a period of calm discussion in the hope no legal contract would be required.

But City Council President Jen Giattino indicated the rubicon had been crossed as Mason had already filed legal action against the City and a defense had to be mounted.

Councilman Jim Doyle questioned Beth Mason who attempted to lobby the council from the public microphone or as former member Peter Cammarano ridiculed that dividing line, "a magic piece of wood," saying she had a personal interest in her lawsuit and lobbying from the public microphone was a conflict of interest.

Mason who did not announce her latest lawsuit publicly to anyone including council colleagues was promptly stopped from further participation. (It's unclear if her Old Guard colleagues knew.)

The occupant of the fourth ward seat, Timmy Occhipinti argued against the City hiring a lawyer to litigate and fight Mason's lawsuit. He stated as he has on many occasions regarding legal work, no outside legal contract was required and the City should use internal counsel.

In the end, the Old Guard council members aligned to stop the City from protecting itself in a party line vote where the contract passed in a 4-3-1 vote.

Voting in favor of engaging a legal contract to defend against Beth Mason's latest litigation: Council members Peter Cunningham, Dave Mello, Jim Doyle and City Council President Jen Giattino.

Voting against the City defending itself: Council members Michael Russo, Terry Castellano and Timmy Occhipinti.

Abstaining: Councilman Ravi Bhalla.

Standing behind "the magic wood" suing: Beth Mason

The last Mason family lawsuit achieved a modicum of success when an appeals court agreed a vote ordered by the Hudson Superior Court of the council to fill an empty seat was not required.

After more than a year of a logjam due to the open council seat, the people of Hoboken took the matter into their own hands and promptly put Councilman Jim Doyle back into the seat with a Reform sweep last November.

Talking Ed Note: The vastly unpopular litigious councilwoman (polling last year showed her completely upside down in favorable ratings) is believed by many including senior Hudson County and Hoboken political observers to be suing approximately two dozen Hoboken residents who irked her by complaining online about corruption and her behavior in a SLAPP suit.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hoboken City Council noise pollution control on tap @ 7:00

An updated noise control ordinance is on tap but the Mile Square City could use other controls considering the diseases running rampant from the Old Guard and their operatives who think the civil courts are their little plaything and nothing they do will ever see them held accountable.

Well Hoboken will at least try to tackle a certain noise.
Hey Beth, can you hear me now? Keep trying, you will.

The full agenda for tonight's City Council meeting:

Hoboken election integrity withstands legal challenge on rent control vote


Legal election challenge withdrawn will not change narrow victory on rent control

After two consecutive years of legal challenges in Hudson County Superior Court, the rent control issue driving the most votes in two consecutive November elections with over twenty five thousand tabulated in 2012 and 2013 will see its victory at the polls upheld.

The end to the latest legal challenge on rent control, ballot question no. 1 in last November's Hoboken election came after the court ruled more than 180 Vote by Mail voters would be compelled to testify in person on their respective votes using the controversial Vote by Mail paper ballots.

Their ballots were thrown out of election tallies based on a Hudson County Board of Elections ruling they were improperly handled.

The majority of almost 290 ballots not making the final election certification were never mailed - instead the majority of those contested ballots were handled by "bearers" of the Let the People Decide political committee.

The end to the legal election challenge means there will be no undoing of the narrow 122 vote victory among almost 10,000 cast after the legal complaint was voluntarily dismissed by Charles Gormally, Director of Litigation for Brach Eichler.

That firm represented Hoboken petitioners in the legal complaint put before Judge Francis Schultz in Hudson County Superior Court. Among the group of petitioners, Frank "Pupie" Raia who also heads the Let the People Decide political committee.

Renee Steinhagen, Executive Director of New Jersey Appleseed Public Interest Law Center,  intervening on behalf of the Hoboken Fair Housing Authority expressed satisfaction the integrity of the election was preserved with the majority respected but added strong reservations on what had transpired leading into the court case saying, "It became apparent inconsistencies with rejected Vote by Mail ballots by the Let the People Decide campaign were mounting where irregularities and unlawful conduct were evident."

Steinhagen pointed to two ballot bearers, those who collected and carried ballots to the Hudson County Board of Elections working for Raia: Dio Braxton and Lizaida Camis. Describing their roles as being both troubling and problematic, she added concern over the Beth Mason connected political firm Bluewater Operations saying, "(These) individual operators faced documentary subpoenas and the handwriting was on the wall if petitioners had chosen to continue their misguided crusade."

Bluewater Operations in NJ ELEC documents accepted more than $20,000 in funding from the Let the People Decide Committee and was subpoenaed for its records on the matter of how those monies were handled and ultimately their purpose.

Steinhagen described the testimony heard in court as an "unlawful vote by mail scheme... that we all know has been in effect for at least the past four years, primarily in the fourth ward."

Ron Simoncini of MSTA is unhappy with the outcome
on ballot question no. 1, re: rent control.
The contentiousness of the rent control issue and the extremely close outcome this year and last lent itself to a correspondingly polar opposite perspective. In a statement to MSV, Ron Simoncini, executive director of Mile Square Taxpayers Association (MSTA) and a regular speaker at City Council meeting on rent control differed sharply writing, "This is an incredible moment of bias. None of these voters was under trial - the decision by the County Board of Elections was."

Charles Gormally in a written statement echoed Simoncini, complaining about the number of Vote by Mail voters who would be placed under a court microscope writing, "This is an unprecedented and unexpected application of election law that results in freezing Hoboken's divisive and unrewarding rent control ordinance."

But the Hudson County Board of Elections maintained a decidedly more favorable view of the outcome. Michael Harper, Clerk for the Board was unequivocal with his pleasure with the withdrawal saying, "It was clear throughout these (court) proceedings that the Board made proper use of it's discretion to reject ballots that were improperly handled or displayed questionable chain-of-custody."

Harper said the court result means the county plans applying a standard where it will "do everything in our power to ensure that elections are administered in a fair and impartial manner," which can be expected in the future.

The close election outcome and running court battles means the rent control question resolved at the polls promises to continue in both rancor and a contention of unfairness. Simoncini sounded a sour note concluding, "Under the court's ruling, each of more than 180 voters would have had to appear in court, violating their right to anonymously vote while suffering inconvenience and loss of work time."

This MSV editor was called as a witness and testified for more than a day to the outlandish proportion of Vote by Mail numbers coming out of Hoboken in comparison to the rest of Hudson County, especially in the fourth ward going back to the 2010 special election where Timmy Occhipinti was declared the victor.

That testimony also spoke to what was described by one anonymous witness outside the Frank Raia Civic Association the day after the election as payment for votes.  SmartyJones' testimony was challenged before it began with Gormally trying to prevent it when called but the judge differed.

The issue of the Shield law or reporter's privilege during a day and a half of testifying came up dozens of times. Each time it was asserted, Judge Schultz upheld its application dismaying Gormally who aggressively cross-examined Da Horsey in an attempt to undermine the Hoboken war horse's credibility.

The political overtones in the case were not lost with additional testimony from Hoboken rent control advocate Dan Tumpson and Councilman Ravi Bhalla, who has been a staunch defender of a balanced view on rent control. Bhalla recently sponsored an ordinance just passed with City Council President Jen Giattino to allow decontrol of condominiums in Hoboken where owners have resided for two years. Tumpson offered comparative data analysis on the application of Vote by Mail in Hoboken over several recent elections.

Via email, Bhalla submitted, "Routine abuse of the Vote by Mail process is a cancer in Hoboken that impacts the integrity of elections in our city. Those who shined a ray of light upon these abuses by raising the issue in the context of this litigation should be commended for their efforts."

But Simoncini added another discordant note concluding, "We feel that this ruling is a complete miscarriage of justice, especially in that it was overtly won through uncorroborated testimony by politically-motivated witnesses."

In the end however, that complaint about testimony wasn't decisive in the case as the legal action was withdrawn and not due to witnesses, individual or collective. Contention over parts of testimony was never finalized by the judge and in the end, he was not called upon to decide the case.

The burden of prepping dozens of voters who submitted Vote by Mail and would need to withstand withering cross examination in the manner of how they voted may have been the final straw but it's not clear if additional subpoenas of VBM soldiers would have led to a bigger disaster with criminal referrals.

It's also uncertain what role if any the subpoena to Bluewater Operations may have played in seeing the plaintiffs pulling the plug on the case.

Rent control in Hoboken will continue to hold a residual taste dramatically different on both sides of the razor sharp divided question.  It won't however be decided in a courtroom near term but will continue to see additional modifications considered piecemeal in the City Council.

Talking Ed Note: Frank Raia was unavailable for comment due to what he described as a late evening meeting in New Brunswick.

Beth Mason did not respond to an inquiry on a subpoena being sent to the political consulting firm closely aligned with her -Bluewater Operations which managed her 2011 council campaign and distributed over $50,000 in "street money."

This story was updated with a requested comment from Councilman Ravi Bhalla.

For the record, MSV did not discuss testifying with any elected officials or similar nor receive any compensation for doing so.  We'll have more on that firsthand experience and wish to thank Judge Schultz for the gracious patience shown during the day and a half a horse sat in the witness box.

Hoboken owes much gratitude to Renee Steinhagen who took on this election case pro bono, especially since it looked like it would continue for more than a month.  How does one calculate value in defending the integrity of the vote?

This story was assisted with a tomahawk dunk from Jhnny Newman, cub reporter and ace photographer.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Grist for the Mill: Raia solider sounds off: "Shit rolls downhill"

A Pupie soldier is spreading word on the impact from the Hudson County Superior Court trial on ballot question numero uno and it wasn't full of good cheer.

The legal challenge to the rent control November results is not officially over but the fallout is already underway.

Apparently the Vote by Mail foot soldier in the Hoboken Housing Authority was taken aback the scheme had exploded with a trial putting hundreds of the paper ballots front and center in the court's investigation. Expressing concern, the Vote by Mail trooper was even more taken aback at where the investigation was leading. Asked what was going on, the answer came, "they investigated my whole family."

The VBM warrior added further illumination on the situation saying they admitted working for Raia and follow orders. The heat with a trial centered on the Vote by Mail fraud created friction and thoughts of self-preservation. Summing up their feelings on the matter the reported quote concluding on the matter was, "Shit rolls downhill" before adding "I'm not a stupid ni%%#r."

Sounds like someone is ready to talk if the long arm of the law takes the civil case to a criminal jurisdiction.

Tuesday morning the case brought to Superior Court in Jersey City challenging the rent control ballot results is expected to go quietly into the night when MSTA (Mile Square Taxpayers Association) pulls the plug. Among the petitioners is Frank "Pupie" Raia who runs the political committee "Let the People Decide."

Is that where the case ends? In the famous words of Penelope Cruz, "I dun thinnk so."

Trenton post it notes for Carmelo Garcia, "The wire is here."

On another HHA front, the embattled Executive Director Carmelo Garcia reached out to a housing matriarch who is a steadfast supporter. Asking her advice on his situation she bluntly told him, "Your career is dead, sue for whatever you can get."

The reference to a lawsuit however isn't the one amended against the HHA, Hoboken and the mayor. This time the antagonism is toward people in Trenton.  

Word on the street is the new Assemblyman Mr. Carmelo is not receiving a warm welcome.  Before taking office, a blanket broadcast to all legislators in the State Senate and Assembly went out urging its members to beware of Carmelo Garcia as he's known to wear a wire. 

Post it notes are finding their way on a regular basis to the door of Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia saying, "the wire is here." Assembly members are also reportedly walking away declining to speak with Garcia apparently in protest to his recording a former respected state leader on a PATH ride both to, from and during a Manhattan restaurant lunch with former Senate majority leader Bernie Kenny.

Which way is that flow going again? Senator Brian Stack better keep a safe distance. Sounds like pretty much everyone should or they will be subjected to reckless civil litigation from the "Ethic Cleanser."

Last, a weekend commenter is not pleased with the MSV grist story about former Parking Utility Director John Corea being out on work release. Da Horsey didn't confirm the complete details throwing a bone to the local napping media. They marshaled all their resources to ignore the story, least they offend their Old Guard friends.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

BREAKING: Rent control challenge expected to be withdrawn Tuesday

A major challenge to the election results last November on rent control appears to be over.  

Reliable sources in the case indicate the controversial court action seeking to overturn the slim 122 vote victory on the rent control ballot question will be withdrawn Tuesday in Jersey City Superior Court after the holiday weekend.

The election challenge posed central issues concerning the use of Vote by Mail ballots in Hoboken. The Mile Square Taxpayers Association (MSTA) brought the case to court seeking to have enough of the suspicious ballots thrown out by the Hudson County Board of Elections reintroduced into the vote totals.

The Hoboken Fair Housing Association (HFHA), a rent control advocacy opposed the action successfully intervening in the case.

The court ordered direct testimony would be required by Vote by Mail voters desiring their ballots reintroduced for consideration into the case.

The end of the case also means a subpoena for the Beth Mason connected political firm Bluewater Operations will not see the firm take the stand and testify under oath for its part in the election. The firm which passed through over $50,000 in street money for Councilwoman Beth Mason's 2011 council election and headed her campaign also received over $20,000 from Frank "Pupie" Raia's political committee, "Let the People Decide."

Talking Ed Note: Da Horsey spent more than a day testifying on the case specifically on the problematic areas of Hoboken's Vote by Mail usage in recent elections.  

More next week on the breaking story. MSV was first to cover the story late January. (below)

January 27, 2014

Hoboken Vote By Mail voter fraud on the ropes in rent control election dispute?

A brief report on the Hoboken rent control ballot case

The election challenge to the rent control ballot question may be hitting the fan with key testimony at the Brennan Court House in Jersey City revolving around the controversial collection of Vote by Mail ballots in the last election.

A foot soldier connected to those organized efforts gathering the paper ballots, mostly in the back end of town in the Hoboken Housing Authority testified on the stand today.

Dio Braxton, a long time campaign worker in various Hoboken campaigns reportedly admitted he acted in the employ of Frank "Pupie" Raia.

Answering questions on his "bearing" of votes in numerous past Hoboken elections and for the Timmy Occhipinti for mayor campaign last November, the campaign worker admitted to numerous inconsistencies. 

Cross examination underscored numerous voting problems in Braxton's handling of approximately 80 Vote by Mail ballots.

It's an open question now whether those voters who saw their ballots borne by Dio Braxton may need to come to court and testify themselves.

There's dual importance in the case with both the Vote by Mail factory and the election results on rent control weighing in the balance.

The razor thin margin of 122 votes the difference between winning and losing in a contest where more than 10,000 Hoboken residents cast their votes.

The war to reinsert enough questionable Vote by Mail ballots thrown out by the Hudson County Board of Elections is the subject of court hearings at the Brennan Court House in Jersey City.  The look inside the underbelly of the Hoboken Vote by Mail factory is featured in the contest between MSTA and the HFHA on rent control.

Talking Ed Note: The hearings are continuing in Jersey City this week.  Will the media be covering this?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Hoboken Valentine: a political operative love story

The Mile Square City has seen a reprieve from the ides of February and rain decimated a fine bunch of the fluffy stuff yesterday meaning the slop outside will be more frightening and a bunch of guys aren't off the hook from going to Jared's or dealing with an immeasurably inequitable patron saint's day.

As a result, more episodes of divorce court will be born today in bad expectations but one love story will survive.

A love supreme? Councilwoman Beth Mason keeps Matt Calicchio on the Mason family payroll even with his numerous
unsavory "activities." The latest is a court case where he's alleged to have menaced a Hoboken senior, a woman who lives
in Fox Hills being heard in Union City Municipal Court. The case was moved out of town to eliminate any potential
conflict as Calicchio works for Beth Mason.

Although he's facing multiple charges of menacing re: thug activities alleged by a woman who is a Hoboken senior at the Fox Hills building in uptown Hoboken, fourth ward Democratic Committeeman Matt Calicchio serves at the behest of counte$$, known to others as the second ward councilwoman, Beth Mason.

Calicchio himself has been known to pitch a less than impeachable fabrication he's not a full time political operative for Beth Mason. He's claimed he works "for the family" at an "Art Gallery' in open court for which he makes regular visits.  (His current case of menacing a senior woman is ongoing in Union City Municipal Court but has yet to find its way in local news reports for some odd reason.)

Was that conflict borne out of the fact he's illegally living in the Fox Hills building? HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia says it isn't true but everyone else in the know says otherwise.

There's an endearing love between Beth and Matt even with reports alleging Calicchio attempting to convince (or purchase) phone sex from an unwilling Albany woman and other less than savory activities too numerous to mention on this religious feast day of love.

A year ago, Greg Bond took this telling video at a Hoboken Housing meeting. He appears to be fleeing from thuggish activity by the one and the same Matt Calicchio.  The only question some have is does Calicchio get extra bonus pay or paid vacation to wrestling matches around the county for his "extra effort" to derail reform transparency efforts filming a governmental meeting?

Last Valentine's Day, Mr. Bond took away time from being part of a dynamic Hoboken couple enjoying the evening to filming this insightful masterpiece on Hoboken politics.

Some may say the "song remains the same," but there's new dance partners on the scene.

(Click on the full size button on the lower right of the video. You'll be glad you did.)

Talking Ed Note: Who says Beth Mason doesn't pay to make Hoboken better? Maybe she can start reforming her cancerous assault on Hoboken by paying a wage to Matt Calicchio so he can live other than what many suspect is illegally with his grandmother at the Fox Hills senior building. Officially, Calicchio has a fourth ward Marshall Drive address in the Hoboken Housing Authority.

Just put more money there Beth instead of lawsuits attempting to silence the First Amendment rights of Hoboken residents. It may not feed your ravenous vindictiveness but it won't add to the weight of the hell you've created for yourself. Happy Valentine's Day.

Related: An Albany woman explains how she tried to "warn women" about Beth Mason's employee.

Greg Bond's original 2013 Valentine's story:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Advisory: Discounted Parking Extended & Parking Meters Suspended; Drivers Urged to Stay Off Roads

City of Hoboken announces:

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Thursday February 13, 2014

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Advisory: Discounted Parking Extended & Parking Meters Suspended; Drivers Urged to Stay Off Roads

Due to the snow and ice which has made parking more difficult than usual, the City of Hoboken is taking steps to help residents with parking.

The discounted rate of $5/day in municipal garages for residents with valid permits is extended through Sunday 8:00pm in order to keep as many cars as possible off the street.

Parking meters are suspended through the end of Sunday to provide additional parking options for residents. Please note that Washington Street is a snow emergency route. Parking will be permitted on Washington Street once the snow has ended and the street has been deemed sufficiently cleared. An announcement will be made at that time.

Due to the extreme weather and road conditions, the Hoboken Office of Emergency Management urges everyone except first responders and those in medical and transportation fields to remain off the roads unless absolutely necessary. Drivers who get stuck will impede plowing operations and first responders.

For full details, view this message on the web.

Sherman braves the snow

Former councilman Tony Soares sent in a photo of his friend Sherman taking on the elements.
This my friends is a real snowfall so man your shovels and dig ye neighbors out while you're at it.

Earlier, Da Horsey saw one lithe woman jogging in the snow and wondered why would you be doing that right now? This is one sticky snowfall befitting cross country skis.

Full disclosure, former councilman Tony Soares has advertised on MSV but this photo is timely and Sherman actually enjoys taking on the elements.

If anyone spies the Wiley Coyote in the wild, please send it to

Sign of the Times: Hoboken public snubs Beth Mason again

Free Coffee and Donuts can't overcome Beth Mason's pariah status in Hoboken

Beth Mason spent lavishly publicizing free coffee and donuts earlier this week at a wildly popular reopened eatery on upper Washington Street. But from a public Facebook photo, other than Mason's paid staff and those working at the restaurant, the public showed its disdain for the councilwoman who has long ago lost support in the second ward. (We're not counting the Applied Housing votes paid with over $50,000 in street money putting her actual votes in 2011 at a cost near $200 per vote.)

Ironically, the Beth Mason permanent mayoralty-in-exile campaign continues to be an outright bust. This time she invaded the turf of the popular fifth ward Councilman Peter Cunningham.

There's toxic and then there's Beth Mason toxic.

Ghost town - Beth Mason hosted a free coffee and donut event at a wildly popular reopened eatery on upper Washington St. 
earlier this week but the public chose breakfast elsewhere.