Monday, June 30, 2014

On tap: Special Meeting of the HHA Wednesday @ City Hall - 7:00 pm

A special meeting of the Hoboken Housing Authority is called for this Wednesday at 7:00 pm in City Council chambers at City Hall. 

On the agenda is a single resolution to expand the current special counsel contract. 

The special counsel is charged with investigating issues uncovered in the HHA procurement process. A public portion and closed session is listed on the meeting agenda and was noticed last Saturday and today in local media satisfying the requirement of the Public Open Meetings Act.

MSV exclusively reported previously millions had been spent on vendors not in any federally approved and mandated process and some of the vendors have made political contributions to HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia last March in the thousands of dollars.

Rebuild Hoboken Relief Fund issues grants to local charities

Rebuild Hoboken announces:

Rebuild Hoboken Relief Fund Issues Grants to Hoboken Charities
Organization raises and distributes over one million dollars
At a ceremony on Tuesday evening in Hoboken’s Pier A Park, Rebuild Hoboken Relief Fund presented grants to local charities with lingering needs caused by Hurricane Sandy.  Nine Hoboken-based nonprofits each received a check for $7500.  Charities qualifying for aid were:  The American Legion, Hoboken Homeless Shelter, Hoboken YMCA, Jubilee Center and Hoboken Emergency Response Team.  Also, four churches qualified for grants:  Mt Olive, St. Ann’s, Our Lady of Grace and Saints Peter and Paul. This second round of funding brings the total of money raised and distributed by the relief organization to over one million dollars.
Each organization made an application for aid when Rebuild Hoboken Relief Fund announced in March that it had additional money to distribute.  Though the original round of aid was distributed in February 2013, money continued to come into the fund, according to Larry Henriques, chairman of Rebuild Hoboken Relief Fund.  The board once again enlisted the Hoboken Clergy Coalition to independently review applications to determine whether all criteria for aid had been met.
“We are so pleased to be able to assist these charities that suffered loss and damage,” said Henriques.   “This aid, donated to Rebuild Hoboken by people from around the country, works to restore the vitality of Hoboken.”
The 501(3)(c) charitable organization sprang up immediately after Hurricane Sandy, and within days its website,, became a central source of information for those seeking assistance and for those desiring to make contributions to the Fund. The mission of Rebuild Hoboken Relief Fund was to help fill the gap between FEMA assistance and insurance reimbursement.  The seven-person board of Rebuild Hoboken Relief Fund represents all facets of the Hoboken community:  residents, business owners, government officials and clergy.  In addition to Henriques, other members of the board are Chris Mackin, Toni Tomarazzo, Eugene Flinn, Monsignor Robert Meyer, Barbara Bravo and Jackie Burton.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Hoboken smashed with 14.5% tax hike by Hudson County

The saying "elections have consequences" applies and a spring election for an office too many voters don't know or understand with the title of Freeholder delivered a disaster for Hoboken taxpayers as the county legislative body last night approved a half a billion plus budget with a 14.5% tax hike for the Mile Square City.

This makes your HudCo tax bill the largest of the three two years running. At this rate, it will continue to pull away and within some undetermined years time exceed your local municipal and school taxes combined.

Hoboken's Phil Cohen attended the meeting and wrote last night via his Facebook page:

Tonight, the Hudson County Board of Freeholders approved a $512 million dollar budget that will raise Hoboken's County taxes by 14.5% and Jersey City's County taxes by 5.8%! The biggest piece of the Hoboken tax bill is about to go up 14.5%.

During the public session, I took the microphone and spoke out against this budget as unfair to Hoboken and Jersey City residents. I believe the Freeholders need better tools at their disposal in order to get county spending under control. I called for a top-to-bottom independent performance audit of all county operations to give us a road map to cut county spending. Enough is enough.

Earlier this month, Freeholder Anthony "Stick" Romano won the primary against Cohen and will coast to victory against an unknown Republican candidate in November. He's making appearances as if he's running for something but is it Freeholder?

Hoboken homeowners should whip out this calculator as their stiff Hudson County taxes will see a double digit increase.
The Hudson County Board of Freeholders, the county legislative body just approved a 14.5% tax hike.

Talking Ed Note: 600 votes would have made the difference in Hoboken in June's low turnout Freeholder Democratic Primary. If a better effort to educate and get out the vote had taken place perhaps the brakes may have at least been tapped. As it stands now, Hoboken can expect to be pillaged by HudCo for the next three years.

In other news, an emergency Hoboken Housing Authority meeting was held last night to take action on the block of the new HHA chair Dana Wefer who was not authorized with the agency's bank to sign checks. Her week long effort to resolve the simple matter with the contracted Executive Director Carmelo Garcia precipitated a crisis as he refused to administer the easy change done annually with the HHA's Board of Commissioners vote for a new chair.  Then he left on vacation putting everyone in the lurch and leaving the Chairwoman with hundreds of checks the bank refused to honor.

The latest sabotage on the agency is the most visible sign of insubordination by Carmelo Garcia who is currently facing a special counsel investigation after millions in contracts were discovered approved completely outside federal law and required procurement procedures.

Some of the those same vendors were revealed in an exclusive MSV story contributing thousands of dollars to Carmelo Garcia's political committee.

MSV did not attend the emergency meeting but one HHA resident who normally doesn't did. Jessica Coco who has been beleaguered with crimes against her home and car since she was discovered less than enthused with Garcia's massive redevelopment proposal Vision 20/20 showed up. According to one report, the Hoboken Police Department promptly intervened when she was beset with unhappy Carmelitos who apparently wish to see more harm come to her.

This is what happens when a HHA resident who is not "of the Banana Republic" merely showed up - at a public meeting.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Narrow loss to Germany doesn't stop US from advancing to Round of 16 in World Cup

Downtown Hoboken is littered with US fans who saw a 1-0 defeat to Germany but a resilient US national team fought and came close late to equalizing in a gallant effort.

As one person said passing on the street to a thumbs up, "We're through!"

Trending now on twitter: "I believe" that we will win.

The Beautiful Game takes over America

On Sunday, a fever took over America. If you were at any public venue with a TV, the cheers, the groans told you something important was going on. Over 24 million people in these United States stopped and looked to Brazil watching the US Mens National Team take a major step toward getting out of the Group of Death.

In the final seconds of injury time, the party ended when a goal was surrendered yielding a tie. So today the US faces perennial power Germany, most likely needing a win or tie to advance into the Round of 16.

We're going to have our hands full.

At 12 noon, the US will be kicking off meaning there will be a lot of people disappearing from the office and not returning until about 2:00 PM. Don't bother calling anyone with your customer service complaint, don't call any company and think you will have their full attention when you talk about the lack of quality in such a such a product.

You're wasting your time. Don't fight it. Don't be a nincompoop and try to find someone to blather how this is not an American sport, it is. We have a national team to be proud of win, lose or draw today.

Learn the beauty of how the ball moves, the chess game and art combined together in a song where national pride is on the line and the defining moment comes with the emotional surge toward the final effort with a goal.

Let us run rampant down the right wing. Let Captain Clint Dempsey find space and Michael Bradley regain his form and the always beyond reliable Tim Howard be there in the right place as the inevitable flood comes flying toward goal.

No matter what happens today, put aside your work, your troubles and your heartache and embrace the biggest stage in sport: the World Cup.

Be proud today. This is the beautiful game and America is shining on the big stage.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hoboken411's attack on council members at Pilsner Haus explodes in his face

Hoboken411 raised its head out of the bunker Monday to launch a zany attack against two council members who were at a packed Pilsner Haus for the World Cup US - Portugal match Sunday.

The only problem as has been the case with Hoboken411's local political "coverage" is it had no bearing on reality and the "evidence" actually proved opposite of the screed. The days of its notorious iron fisted censored attacks on Hoboken residents, city employees and officials combining lunatic fringe conspiracies, half-truths, distortions and elaborate smears blocking victims from responding has been largely relegated to the past along with his fellow Masonista minions.

It came to an abrupt end late May 2011 when the FBI blew into town investigating the massive Data Theft Conspiracy putting the heat full square on the Old Guard and its soldiers who illicitly trafficked in confidential emails and data out of the mayor's office. Sensitive union negotiations with public safety were the backdrop during the year and half pillaging of electronic communications coming and going to the mayor's office.

But here's some summer fun with fair critique of the lunacy published at what Councilwoman Beth Mason has called her favorite "news site."

Here's an unedited pic of what appeared so devoid of reality, it had to be completely yanked:
On Monday a reader emailed asking if MSV had seen the Hoboken411 "story" and said it was published with a video of Portugal's late goal. The video was promoted as evidence that Councilmen Ravi Bhalla and Dave Mello were rooting for Portugal. Hoboken411 suggested they should export themselves there. MSV video taken at the event proves it untrue.

Ravi Bhalla went so bananas when the US scored his head almost hit the ceiling cheering with the Pilsner Haus crowd. David Mello was low key posting on his Facebook before the game he "wore red, white and blue (but there is a small green and yellow striping)" in his shorts to honor Portuguese heritage and he was fine with any eventuality.

MSV was on site covering the event and saw it firsthand. The lunatic fringe low carb promoting website continued to go on lambasting the targets of his hatred saying they should go to Portugal among other zany things more welcome in Bellevue then Hoboken.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Kingpin: More personal observations on the state of the Mile Square City


Did I get your attention?  I said I have a flair for the dramatic.  “Haters gonna hate”.  If I’m not pissing someone off, I’m not doing it right.  I found it astonishing that as the theme of my first column was about Reform not respecting other viewpoints within reform, most if not all of the negative comments were exactly that.  Where did I represent myself as being an “insider?  My observations were exactly that, my observations.  You have a right to disagree. And things may present themselves, in which I am flat out wrong, but opinions and observations belong to individuals and these are simply mine.  I again thank the Horsey for allowing me to express mine in this forum.  I do feel bad about the way it came across that I was bashing Phil Cohen.  Phil is not a loser.  He was listed on my loser column in regards to the election he lost.  I also said Phil is a pioneer for reform, but those words did not resonate with the readers as much as the negative.  Phil, if you are reading this, I apologize if my words came across too negative.  You constantly stick your neck out for reform and spent time campaigning that took time away from being with your family.  I commend you on your efforts.  Don’t stop fighting the good fight. 

I appreciate the majority of the positive feedback and the majority of the comments sparked dialogue and conversation, which is exactly my goal with this column.  I want all voices heard, not just a select few who feel they have earned that right.  You don’t have to attend City Council meetings to earn that right, you don’t have to campaign or run for office, you just have to have the passion to care.  I have that passion and I assume all of you reading do as well. 

“Hoboken Reform is very diverse and we share this wonderful place we call home with other reformers that may not necessarily be in the same place in life.  It’s their home too, their businesses, their livelihood. We can not agree on everything, but we have to get past the point that if you disagree with anything of the current administration and create a voice of dissention, you must be a paid operative of Mason.”

I reiterate this.

I’m trying to create dialogue and throughout the course of my column my viewpoints will become quite apparent, but there isn’t a checklist to make sure I qualify for reform.  Reform is diverse.  We are Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and Independents.  We are 3rd generation business owners, newly weds expecting their first-born child and artists who have studio space in Newman-Leather for 20 years.   I believe in good, honest government, the kind of government that Dawn Zimmer and her council allies and Kids First have brought to Hoboken.  My credentials are simple.  The Horsey vouches for me.  You have put your trust in him and now please trust he has done his diligence prior to allowing me to contribute to MSV. 

After 100 comments on the first attempt, I’ve spent time wondering what I should write about next?  Should I discuss my thoughts on rent control, on parking or why I had a problem with Phil Cohen as the freeholder candidate?  There were tons of comments on who I am, what I stand for, what do I believe in?  Am I a reformer if I have a relationship with bar owners or can have a civil conversation with Terry Castillano?  Carmelo Garcia’s actions trouble me as much as the rest of you, but do I dare criticize the current administration? I know the current culture is instant gratification or if you are not with us, you are against us, but it is because of these conclusions that I write this column.  Reform is built on anti-corruption, good government and a belief that Hoboken can be everything we believe it can be.  Reform is not about public vs. charter schools, rent control vs. fair market value or pro vs. anti development.  These are important topics in which legitimate arguments can form from both sides.  But where is that debate?  Is it fair to say HOLA is a very successful program, but it sucks that in order to get off the ground they had to involve Frank Raia?  It’s a shame that Garcia and Ramos have a presence within HOLA, but some of the parents there don’t care about Hoboken politics, they just know that their child is speaking better Spanish at 9 than they ever did. 

Is all reform against the St. Paddy’s Parade?  Could it be on a Sunday, could it be on Sinatra Drive, could the bars agree to start serving alcohol at a later hour?  As long as there is no discussion, there will be no compromise.  Is it possible to create an “event tax” in which a portion of alcohol sales help pay towards safety, security and sanitation?  There is a whole group of Irish Hobokenites wanting to form their own Parade committee and don’t know or care who Helen Cunning is.   What about Rent Control?  I have friends in town who have lived in Hoboken forever and are in rent control apartments.  I don’t want to see them displaced.  Low-income housing is what the HHA is for, or what it should be for.  Unfortunately in Hoboken, the HHA is exploited and there are many who live in Church Towers and Marine View who do not need affordable housing.  Let’s tackle that and I bet that diffuses the rent control hot topic a bit.  But, there is enough dialogue about Rent Control; I’ll leave that to another thread.  Since I mentioned the HHA, is anyone else concerned that the $230 Million for Rebuild By Design came from HUD?  Our only HUD employee in town is Carmelo Garcia.  What involvement will he have in the handling of those funds?  Keep up the good work Dana.  Seems like last weeks HHA meeting continues to move things in the right direction. 

All I hear from this administration is quality of life.  But whose?  Do you not care about the 25-year-old renter?  Did you live in Hoboken when you were 25?  Did you dance on barstools, stay out till 2AM?  How about a 40-year-old single homeowner?  Are they not part of reform because they don’t have kids and have priorities other than more parks and playgrounds?  Being involved with reform as a property owner caring about property value is no less noble than being part of reform because you want a new park for your kids.  The families of Hoboken use several parks and fields including a beautifully renovated Sinatra Field and several updates to the Little League field.  The single community of Hoboken uses the bars and nightlife.  I see many Facebook likes when there is a Top 10 in Hoboken involving singles and the nightlife, but so many anti-bar comments when it comes to “Quality of Life” issues.  Councilwoman Giattino was able to draft an ordinance for the outdoor caf├ęs that took in consideration bar owners and residents.  At the end, most people found the legislation appropriate.

It is quite apparent from the comments of my first post that some of you are too self-righteous to ever agree with me.  That is your choice and we will still stand together against corruption in Hoboken and Hudson County.  I write this for those of you who will not be intimidated by those few voices who question ANYBODY or ANYTHING that is not their view of what reform is.  Reform is anti-corruption.  If Reform is going to continue to win elections we need to embrace the ideas of new Hobokenites looking to join reform, not criticizing them because they have not been in reform as long as some others and don’t completely agree with the Mayor’s handling of all issues.

I’m excited to hear about the PSE&G upgrades.  Obviously looking forward to the flooding solutions.  The designs for the SW Park that include parking and water storage look fantastic.  I still hope Capt. Pasculli gets the Police Chief job.   Now with Dr. Tobak’s resignation, there is another huge role to fill and trust that Leon Gold and the rest of the school board will make the right hire.  While I mention Leon, sure he made a stupid comment, but I don’t believe he should be ostracized for it.  Everybody is always looking for people’s gaffes, their gotcha moments.

Issues do not have to be black and white.  I want open-minded conversations.    That’s the path change.  This is not an old guard vs. reform issue.   I disagree with some of the ideas of the new master-parking plan.  I heard the talking point that we are leaving revenue on the table but cutting off meter parking at 9PM.  Should people have to leave their house at 11PM to feed the meter?  What about the bartender who loses track of time because the bar is packed at 11:45 on a Friday night?  Is it fair to them to miss it by 3 minutes and end up with a boot?   We share this square mile with many others who are not in the same place in life as you.  If a bartender parks his or her car on the street and 5 nights a week remembers to feed the meter, but the 6th night loses track of time because the Rangers are in the Stanley Cup Finals and the bar is packed, that one boot could cost more than an entire week of tips and now they can’t pay the rent.  We all don’t’ work 9-5s and come home to dinner with the family but we all share this 1 square mile as our home.

I disagree with the handling of Arts & Entertainment.  The Arts & Music Festival is a city initiative, not one of the Hoboken business community.  Do you think business owners really want out-of-town vendors setting up kiosks in front of their stores?   The City should take pride in the success of both the Spring and Fall Festival but it’s not a successful day for the retail stores on Washington.  The Chamber of Commerce can certainly do a better job, but it doesn’t seem that the administration makes small business a priority.  There are way too many open storefronts on Washington St.  A vibrant Washington St needs small business success and it’s a shared responsibility between business owners, the Chamber and the Administration, but they all seem to want to just blame each other.

I thought the Mumford & Sons concert was a step in the right direction, Dylan took a step backwards and this year there is no concert at this point.  The promoter, Bowery, cited difficulty working with the administration and when Live Nation was approached they declined as well.  Word gets around.  I’ve been made aware of several huge opportunities with massive marketing budgets lost because of a lack of understanding logistics by members of the administration.  I am hoping John P. Cary fills that void. It’s not productive to just bash the administration; my goal is to get the administration to be more open and active with members of the community and their initiatives.  What ever happened to The Pier Sessions?  From what I remember they were promoting local musicians, local artists and raising money for The Hoboken Shelter.  H-Mag is bringing back the Lackawanna Music Festival this year.  I hope it is a great success and it is certainly a step in the right direction.

So comment away… discuss my gender, what is my ulterior motive, with whom do I have a bone to pick?  I assure you solving the mystery of me will be anti-climatic.  Stop insulting the Horsey by implying that I am a mole for the Old Guard.  This isn’t about me.  It’s about us, it’s about our town and making sure our voices are heard, all of ours whether you attend City Council meetings, been part of reform well before I moved into town or feel that the current administration can do better.  Everybody can do better, if you think you are perfect, well then your arrogance will make you unable to listen to those around you and then you are no longer suited to represent a city of 50,000+ people.  I don’t want the mindset to be us identifying someone in the 2nd Ward to run against Mason.  My hope is that someone emerges through their own actions and initiatives.  We need to speak up, speak out.  We need to get out the vote before we need to vote.  My ideas may not be the same as yours, but don’t let that stop us from finding solutions together.

Monday, June 23, 2014

HHA Chairwoman: 'Carmelo Garcia will again attempt to hijack board's check signing authority'


HHA ED Carmelo Garcia to attempt another power grab to use HHA Board's check signing authority at special meeting

Chairwoman Dana Wefer commented on the recent issue of checks issued in the HHA and the problems created by HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia. It's been moved here to a more prominent position for the public.

I know there is a lot of confusion and misinformation about what is going on with the checks at the HHA, so I hope that this comment will clarify what is going on and the steps the Board is taking, and has taken, to rectify this situation. 

When the Board reorganized in May and I was elected Chair, we should have been presented with a resolution to change the signatories on the HHA's accounts. However, the Executive Director did not present such a resolution to us in May. 

In June, the Director put a resolution on our agenda concerning the signatories on the accounts. However, that resolution provided that the bank would honor all checks "regardless of by whom or by what means the above facsimile signature(s) thereon may have been affixed thereto." There was no dollar limit on the checks that could use facsimile signatures. In addition, the entire resolution concerned only facsimile signatures. Commissioner Mello and I were uncomfortable giving carte blanche to the Director to affix our signatures to any and all checks. At the meeting, we asked Mr. Wenzel, the attorney, if we could amend the Resolution to get rid of the troubling language. He advised that the resolution was so riddled with the word "facsimile" that the best route would be to vote on an entirely new resolution. The Director had left the meeting early, so the Board was not able to ask him questions about the resolution. Accordingly, the Board tabled the Resolu tion. 

The very next morning, June 13th, I emailed the Director and asked him for: 1) prior HHA resolutions concerning bank signatories and 2) for the contact information of our account executive at PNC. He did not respond with that information. I followed up on this request in writing on June 17th and again on June 19th. On June 20th, I drafted an email to the Director, and copied the entire Board, concerning the fact that he had failed to respond to any my requests for information so that we could move forward and that we needed to call a Special Meeting to deal with this issue. 

At that point, he finally responded with the PNC bank rep's information, but he still has not provided any prior resolutions. Requests to the Director to forward the email where PNC originally sent the Resolution and all other correspondence with PNC has gone unanswered. The Director informed the Board that all of his contact with PNC has been over the phone. PNC has refused to discuss the matter with me thus far because I am not part of the "business structure." 

Late Friday I received a phone call from the Hoboken Reporter saying that they had received a press release issued by Teamsters Local 97. The press release apparently stated that the Director had told them that I was holding the checks. I don't know if the bank accounts have been frozen. If that is the case, the Board has not been informed. It is difficult to imagine why the bank accounts would be frozen for nonpayment just a week after the Board had approved payment. 

I am in possession of the checks. In my capacity as a volunteer Board member, I analyzed and signed several hundred checks in 6 days. Last Thursday I emailed the Director and told him that the checks were ready to be picked up and asking for clarifications on a few checks. I emailed the Director again on Friday telling him the checks were ready for pick up. He has not even acknowledged that I said the checks are ready. 

I'm flabbergasted at what is happening with the check and bills at the HHA. I reached out to the Director all last week so we could work towards resolving this situation and I have gone above and beyond trying to reach out to the Bank and get a template resolution so we can move forward. Though the Director is now on vacation, we are working to put together a Special Meeting so we can change the bank signatories. Unfortunately, the Director has written to the Board and informed them that he will present the same resolution at the Special Meeting, which would give him carte blanche to use my and Commissioner Mello's signatures on checks. I have asked Mr. Daglian to draft a resolution that would not authorize the Director to use our facsimile signatures on all checks. 

That is where we stand now. I and other members of the Board are working hard on getting this situation resolved, but it's been difficult. We will endeavor to keep the public, HHA employees, and HHA vendors apprised of what's going on as it unfolds. 

Problems created with the HHA's bank are now front and center as HHA ED Carmelo Garcia (l) will again attempt to circumvent the checking signing authority of the HHA Board and take those powers himself in a second attempted resolution granting him additional powers. Is that even legal? Does a Banana Republic have to follow federal law?
Carmelo Garcia apparently thinks he's the sole authority in his contracted position so why not the purse too.

Jessica Coco suffers another break-in, robbery and car vandalism

Disabled woman in HHA once again targeted with criminal acts

Another day and more criminal acts against Jessica Coco is the word in the HHA with the latest attacks coming simultaneously on both her home and car.

Last Thursday, a break-in and robbery at Coco's lower Jackson Street apartment in the HHA left her more upset than similar incidents previous as items of sentimental value were taken.

Coco is an activist within the HHA who voiced skepticism then opposition to the controversial undocumented massive redevelopment plan downtown proposed by HHA Executive Developer Carmelo Garcia called Vision 20/20. No Master Plan has ever been presented to the public.

A police report has been filed recording family jewelry stolen, valued at $5,000. Her car was simultaneously vandalized but in a limited way Coco said, once again sending a "message."

The word on the street says the targeting is part of a scheme to further direct hostility and worse to the disabled woman who suffers from a pulmonary condition. "This is intolerable," Coco said and pointed to HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia encouraging the continued criminal actions against her. Garcia however has denied ANY criminality has occurred against Coco in ALL the previous incidents, even as numerous police reports were filed.

Coco said the rumors being circulated inside the HHA about her are that she is a "pawn" of the mayor and is "hoping" to tear down the projects on the mayor's behalf. "It wasn't enough to threaten to shoot me," Coco said before adding that people in the HHA are saying Garcia "plans to make my life miserable for the rest of my life," or until he "forces me to get out, even if he's not here," as HHA Executive Director.

Beth Mason could not be reached for comment. Carmelo Garcia who also is an Assemblyman under State Senator Brian Stack's tutelage is reportedly away on vacation. He typically responds to a written question seeking comment threatening to file harassment charges.

Councilwoman Beth Mason and HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia at his fundraiser earlier this year are both allies in the undocumented massive redevelopment he's proposed called Vision 20/20. Neither has much to say about the continued abuse and criminality HHA resident Jessica Coco has suffered including last Thursday. Coco has publicly opposed Vision 20/20 and once identified has been the target of crimes on a regular basis inside the HHA at her lower Jackson St. apartment.

Talking Ed Note: Another clash with Garcia and the HHA Board of Commissioners in a week ending report HHA employees could not be paid because the new Chair had not been properly set up on the agency's bank account.

Garcia, who regularly cultivates media publicity promoting himself would not comment on his role in the matter. Chairwoman Dana Wefer was sitting on a pile of checks awaiting her signature as Garcia refused to respond for a week on the issue in the latest blatant act of insubordination.

At the last HHA meeting, Garcia attempted to assume the role of the HHA Chair and obtain her signatory authority using a facsimile of her signature. He left before that proposed resolution was tabled claiming illness.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Last second goal salvages a tie for Portugal against US

Seconds away from a huge victory taking then into the next round, the US came within moments from a huge comeback victory in the second half against Portugal.

At full gallop from the Pilsner Haus in Hoboken.

Portugal 1 - nil Halftime

US showing well and Tim Howard with the save of the World Cup. 

Crowd roaring on every big play. The atmosphere here: hot like The Amazon and tremendous!

Full Haus @ the Pilsner Haus

Minus three hours...


Tonight at 6:00 the US Men's National Team will take on Portugal in a key World Cup match.
A victory will advance the US out of the Group of Death but a loss would send them up against highly favored Germany in their third round robin match.

Portugal is dangerous coming off a disastrous loss against Germany. Some of their players are banged up including top international Cristiano Ronaldo. If suited, he can change a match in one second but he appears to be suffering with some damaged wheels.

US Captain Clint Dempsey who suffered a broken nose in the last match is expected to play and will lead the team with New Brunswick native and Premier League Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard.

So the US, a young but talented team will attempt to take down a European power featuring one of the best players in the world.

ESPN - 6:00 pm

Friday, June 20, 2014

City: Survey for Hoboken Parking Master Plan open through Monday

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City of Hoboken

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Community: Community Invited to Submit Input On Hoboken Parking Master Plan Through Online Survey

The City of Hoboken has hired Arup, a nationally recognized planning firm, to analyze and evaluate the City’s parking situation and prepare a city-wide parking master plan. A public workshop was held on June 11, 2014.

The City is seeking additional input from the public and invites all members of the community to complete the online survey which can be found

Nearly 500 survey responses have been submitted to date. The survey will remain open through Monday, June 23, 2014.

New media news outlet to focus on Hudson County

The Hudson County View announces:

The Hudson County View Launches Official Website
New online media news outlet aims to keep government honest

A new media outlet, The Hudson County View, has officially launched their website after a brief teaser campaign on Facebook over the past week-and-a-half.

The Hudson County View will focus on breaking news and investigative reporting in Hudson County and aims to report the news as it happens, when it happens, without compromising the facts in any way, shape or form.

The website is available at:

“I am absolutely thrilled to undertake this new business venture to do what I believe I do best: reporting the news,” said Hudson County View owner and political correspondent, John Heinis.

“I would like to thank everyone at The Jersey Journal and Hudson County TV for giving me an opportunity to showcase my talents in one of the most unique political atmospheres in the world.”

“With that said I look forward to keeping local government honest and keeping the public educated on as many pressing, thought-provoking issues as humanly possible.”

Heinis, a 27-year-old Rutgers University alumnus, is a former Jersey Journal intern and was the Chief Investigative Reporter for upstart news outlet Hudson County TV in his most recent journalistic gigs.

The Hudson County View has also brought on board Michael Shurin, also 27, a St. Peter’s University graduate who will initially focus on running the politics and policy page of the website. has gone live just moments ago and can be liked on Facebook (“Hudson County View”) and/or followed on Twitter @HudsonCoView.

All questions, new tips, media inquiries, etc. can be sent to

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hoboken budget finalized with 1.8% annual increase

The Hoboken municipal budget passed last night on a party line 5-3 vote resulting in a nominal tax increase of 1.8%.

The increase, the first since a state takeover back before the turn of the decade under the late fiscal monitor Judy Tripodi represents the first shift from consistent reduced taxes in the last five years. 

Hoboken overall is the beneficiary of a tax reduction of 10% in that timeframe putting it in very small company compared to over 500 New Jersey municipalities in the last five years.

This is Hoboken's first tax increase since Mayor Dawn Zimmer took office in 2009. The decision is partly due to a desire to finally achieve a surplus in range where financing is achieved at lower rates for same. Employee related costs in health care benefits is also a driver in the final budget figures.

Last year's budge surplus was a miserly 3% versus the minimum target of 5% finance agencies have typically sought for municipalities to obtain favorable borrowing rates.

Hoboken's credit rating has seen a boost with the most recent change seeing an AA+ rating from Standard and Poors last December. 

The dramatic improvement from one level above junk bond status back in 2008 is one of the City's biggest achievements in recent years.

Hudson County taxes have hammered Hoboken in recent years and make up the largest portion of resident's tax bill seeing double digit increases. The Hoboken BoE earlier this year announced an increase of 3.9% making the City of Hoboken's small increase the lowest across a bleak board.

Penny pinchers - Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Finance Director Solomon Steplight
saw a small tax increase of 1.8% approved in the City Council Wednesday night.
The increase represents the first tax hike in municipal taxes since Mayor Zimmer took
office in August 2009 versus a 10% decrease overall since she became mayor.

Talking Ed Note: The Old Guard council typically votes against the budget no matter what so this year's vote comes as no surprise. They however also typically fail to show up for spring budget hearings nor propose any budget amendments at all.

They do lots of squawking. Savings for squawking come in annually at $0 each year.

Disappointment on northwest project rejection surfaces in the City Council

Last night's City Council meeting saw discussion from the public on the 5-2 rejection of the Hoboken Zoning Board. One of the developers on the project, Hoboken resident Hany Ahmed spoke of his disappointment in the two year undertaking to bring the project before the board for approval. He said the process isn't working and that the City Council should step up and re-examine it.

It doesn't appear the project can be revisited however at the City Council. By regulation, only an approval can be appealed and a denial can not.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Multi-use bowling, entertainment center with residences shot down on Hoboken Zoning Board 5-2

UPDATE: Lots of discussion on many aspects yesterday in comments. It bears restating the mayor and City Council have no direct authority in the vote on this project. No PILOT was on the table in the proposed development in northwest Hoboken.

Those who follow Hoboken's political scene will recall a discussion in 2009 at the City Council where the policy question of who should hold the appointing powers to the Hoboken Zoning Board. After some argued on behalf of then Mayor Peter Cammarano, who had already taken a downpayment on his $25,000 zoning variances from a federal informant would be developer, the reform City Council members voted the powers be restored to the legislative body.

The Hoboken Zoning Board acts independently and does not answer to the mayor or anyone for that matter. In the end, the community is represented on these decisions outside of the political lens or its "On the Waterfront" past.

Which means Hoboken has seen sufficient progress to have a public discussion on the merits of whether a proposed project is worthy or not. In the past, no such policy discussion was needed, as the decision was made on behalf of the public.

2009 City Council where the legislative body debated the appointing powers of the Hoboken Zoning Board. Wonder who wrote this little speech?

The Hoboken Zoning Board voted down a mixed use plan requiring two variances for northwest Hoboken last night.

One person voicing dissent over that decision penned his thoughts and has been a long time supporter of the reform movement.

It's not clear what position the City holds, if any on the proposal but the revamped Hoboken Zoning Board stood down a number of residents who thought it was a good idea voting 5-2 against the project.

Here's the linked column below questioning that decision, although it may be misdirected in terms of how the legislative and executive body plays into the decision by the Zoning Board representatives last night.

When Hoboken Reform started, we all we united under the idea of a "better" Hoboken. We didn't want Hoboken to become like Newport in Jersey City (and still don't), with high rise buildings dominating the Hoboken skyline. We didn't want corruption and back room deals by people who had connections in the city. We didn't want special rules for those who had a hand in someone's pocket.

Hoboken uniting against NJ Transit and the Rockefeller Group's plans for Hobken
was easy for the reform movement. But what about ideas people like
that require support from local boards to duplicate successes like the Pilsner Haus?
Last night a mixed use entertainment-residence was voted down 5-2 on the zoning board.