Thursday, July 31, 2014

Beth Mason effort to save Carmelo Garcia approaches the hysterical

Old Guard adherents led by a Beth Mason bottom feeding fish are showing frustration as Carmelo Garcia's Hoboken Housing Authority contract faces the prospect of termination at a special meeting in City Hall Monday night.

Angry comments appearing on the Hudson Reporter and The Hudson County View by the same pop up screen name emerged as similarly before the Reform sweep last November on Hoboken Patch. (Confirmation of the bottom feeding fish's sex change however is unknown at this time.)

With no supporting fact whatsoever, the Mason political operative deems any contract termination "illegal." The hysteria has more to do with a prominent uptown based developer with a long history of political influence in Hoboken, the HHA and its buildings in the second ward.

Beth Mason spent over $50,000 in street money to obtain fewer votes in 2011 then her council run in 2007 staving off a runoff by a mere 10 votes. Without that developer backing in the second ward, Beth Mason who lost any semblance of a base years ago is facing the humiliating prospect of losing her council seat in 2015.

Mason can't hope to leverage the tens of thousands of dollars in family contributions to Democratic Party committees in counties all over north and central NJ if she can't show occupancy of even a ward council seat. Without it, she becomes just another housewife with too much time and money on her hands. (Or has that view already taken hold among the NJ political glitterati?)

Following the MSV breaking story on Tuesday, the Hudson Reporter followed oddly voicing uncertainty about the contract termination being legal. No source or reference in any way to Garcia's contract was offered explaining why.

One MSV commenter yesterday smartly asked who was behind that unsupported narrative.

Beth Mason is expected to try to further aid Carmelo Garcia Monday night at the HHA special meeting but her reasons have more to do with political self-preservation then Mister Carmelo. She needs the developer backed votes in the second ward if she has any chance to hold on to any political office, in this case the second ward council seat.

The answer is readily available in the MSV exclusive on the Carmelo Garcia contract:

For those who don't feel compelled to have a read, it's quite simple. Terminate at will. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

BREAKING: HHA SPECIAL MEETING @ CITY HALL MONDAY - CARMELO GARCIA CONTRACT UP FOR TERMINATION

MILE SQUARE VIEW BREAKING NEWS


HHA contract for services of Carmelo Garcia facing termination Monday



The Hoboken City Clerk's Office released the following public notice for a special Hoboken Housing Authority meeting:

PUBLIC NOTICE

In accordance with the requirements of the Open Public Meetings Law, Chapter 231, of the public laws of 1975 of the Laws of New Jersey, the Board of Commissioners of the Housing Authority of the City of Hoboken announces that a Special Board Meeting has been scheduled and will be held on Monday, August 4th, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. in Council Chambers, City Hall, 94 Washington Street, Hoboken, New Jersey, for the following purposes:
Call to order, Chairperson,
  1. Roll Call
  2. Election of Secretary pro tem
  3. Resolution concerning Letter of Need
  4. Resolution terminating the contract of Executive Director Carmelo Garcia
  5. Resolution appointing acting Executive Director
  6. Closed Session
  7. Resolutions from closed Session and other matters that properly come before the Chair
    and Board of Commissioners
The Authority will exercise its powers, duties, and functions of the Authority in normal actions of the above at the meeting.

Dana Wefer
Chairperson of the Hoboken Housing Authority 



The controversial contractor of the HHA, Carmelo Garcia (l) will face the prospect of his services being terminated
when a special meeting of the HHA is held at City Hall on Monday @ 7:30.

Several days ago, Carmelo Garcia posted to twitter foretelling his attitude to the lengthy list of problems he faces accountability for under his watch at the HHA:


Shapeshifter? Carmelo Garcia posted the above twitter release
suggesting he can overcome the numerous problems unveiled
under his watch at the HHA by making this world his and taking action
to "shape it" adding his catch phrase repeated by Carmelitos at public meetings. 



Talking Ed Note: Of importance is obviously resolution number 4 "terminating the contract" of HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia.

Monday in City Council Chambers one can expect the last gasp of the vastly deficient performance of said contractor Carmelo Garcia to be put to a vote.


What noises are made by Garcia who saw a scathing list of audit findings by a third party firm among other numerous problems with his unilateral unauthorized procurement actions in the millions of dollars to vendors who in turn gave him thousands of dollars will be open to the public Monday night.


Expect lots of threats by Garcia and likely from his lawyer Louis Zayas attempting to intimidate and threaten personal "ethnic cleansing" of the HHA Board of Commissioners in numerous ways to stop the the voiding of one Carmelo Garcia's contract.


Who among the Old Guard will be making one last Vision 20/20 hail mary other than Beth "I need those Applied Housing votes" Mason? Some in the Old Guard have been very quiet and one can only wonder who holds some of the generically named contracts in the HHA?


Many truths will come out in the wash if Monday sees justice prove out once and for all.


Related: The Hudson County View also published a story acknowledging the public notice stated here on the HHA special meeting set for Monday and noted Carmelo Garcia is not returning phone calls.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Western Edge to take another shot at redevelopment

City of Hoboken announces:

Western Edge Redevelopment Plan

Western-Edge

Public Meeting

Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Multi Service Center conference room
124 Grand Street, Hoboken, NJ

Survey

Description & History

In 2006, pursuant to the NJ Local Redevelopment and Housing Law and per the direction of the Hoboken City Council, an investigation was prepared and a public hearing was held by the Planning Board, which recommended that the Western Edge study area qualified as an Area in Need of Redevelopment. Based on the findings of the report, adoption of the delineated Redevelopment Area boundaries was effectuated by the City Council in July 2007.
A draft redevelopment plan was prepared for the City in September 2008. The draft plan, however, was met with significant public resistance because it did not incorporate the residents’ concerns. Major criticisms of the plan included the excessive height of the buildings, inadequate amount and location of open space, and the lack of a cohesive plan for a community center. As a result, the draft plan was never adopted. A revised plan, prepared in September 2010, was presented to City Council, but also was not adopted due to concern with the types and square footage of uses proposed.
The City Council, as the redevelopment agency for the municipality, requested the preparation of a market analysis of the uses proposed in the September 2010 draft in order to address the public’s and City Council’s concerns. It was expected that the market analysis would assist the City in revising the Western Edge Redevelopment Plan to ensure the long term success of the development of this area. Although the market analysis was drafted in 2011, due to unanticipated circumstances at the time it was not finalized and the redevelopment plan was not revised.
The City is now in the process of revising and adopting a redevelopment plan for the Western Edge. The planning and engineering firm Maser Consulting was selected to prepare the redevelopment plan in late May 2014 and the consultant started work on the project in June 2014. A public meeting is scheduled for August 20, 2014.

Talking Ed Note: Several years ago, a plan to develop the Western Edge did not get off the ground after an economic study emerged and inertia took hold with the lack of public support. Now another effort is underway requesting public input in the survey link atop the official release. 
The Western Edge of Hoboken is one of three major area facing critical questions on how to move forward. The other two are the continuing discussions with NJ Transit downtown and the northwest, recently in the news where a private plan for a bowling and music entertainment center failed to obtain zoning board approval for a mixed use development with hundreds of residential units.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Finally, Bet is a winnuh!!

No movie short created more laughter in the Mile Square than the cartoon "Downfall of a wannabe shark." Penned back in 2010, the satirical cartoon character has become a cult classic seen tens of thousands of times.

Bet Mazin, checkbook hero of political operatives everywhere, works mightily to stop reform writers and residents who dare to speak out against corruption and trifle with the the political ambitions of Hobroken's Queen of Ethics and Transparency.

Bet was a true to life target, charged in Hudson County Superior Court in a $2 million civil civil action by her alter ego's embittered "friends" not paid for friendship. Our heroic cartoon character triumphed on the initial winning list of defendants in the SLAPP courtesy of Beth Mason and her family checkbook. Also on the initial winner's list: Klaussenfluffer.

Congratulations to both Bet and Klaussenfluffer on their victory. Bet has gone on from cartoon legend to becoming the voice of Siri.

How many cartoon characters do you know who have beaten their depraved real world counterpart's $2 million SLAPP suit?


Downfall of a wannabe shark from Da Horsey on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

72 hours or three days to enjoy a bootless bounty

The boot is dead. Long live the 72 hour boot!



While not quite dead, the boot is making fewer appearances on Hoboken streets. Although there's been no change in the City Council to the parking ordinances, stickers began appearing recently on cars stating said vehicle was parked illegally and had 72 hours to move or be booted.

The days of immediate terror with instant booting are apparently over by executive order. It hasn't taken long for bad habits to filter down from Washington D.C. and the attention on the austere booting policies in Hoboken created lots of bad publicity, bad will and some say a bad business climate.

Not a month ago uptown a friend and Da Horsey were having a chat and remarked of the strange occurrence seeing a parking meter worker out and about on a Saturday evening. An Acura TL sat silently and most definitely illegally near the corner into the danger red stripe zone.

The parking worker observing the lingering asked if we owned the vehicle. Told no, he began to write up a ticket as a young woman walked by who with no inquiry scooted past with a friend pumped her fist in the air and said, "Boot'em!"

True Story.

Talking Ed Note: In typical Hoboken fashion, residents will say the change from the rigid booting practice is a saner, more civilized route to handle the Mile Square's unquenchable desire for parking.

At the same time, it will follow with other residents complaining about how finding parking is now more difficult. And so it goes.

Some comprehensive ideas are going to roll out by September out of the City Council transportation subcommittee. One can only hope it will include changes to the signage using the same color scheme on both sides among other necessary changes.

One outcome is certain. Parking meters will go up in price to narrow the difference with local parking garages. Like it or not, it's on the table along with numerous other changes.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Spiraling down the rabbit hole with Carmelo Garcia

MILE SQUARE VIEW EXCLUSIVE FEATURE



Hoboken is on a ride but many residents don't know it's underway. The descent is speeding up and plummeting to a crash as the Mile Square approaches the fifth anniversary of one time political corruption star in former Mayor Peter Cammarano.

The rise was steady, the tongue always loquacious and the belief he could talk his way through anything supreme. No, not Peter Cammarano - Mister Carmelo.

After being selected in the Vision 20/20 sweepstakes as an appropriate Assembly vehicle for one State Senator Brian Stack, the steady rise of one Carmelo Garcia as he was happy to tell you; he was "destined for greatness."

Then the scam started to come apart at the seams in the Hoboken Housing Authority. Here's where it's headed.


The rest of this feature is for MSV subscribers. Join MSV by hitting the top right link @ $75 or apply the monthly option @ $6 monthly below, no Paypal account is required:


For snail mail options, email smartyjones@me.com.




Vision 20/20 was the biggest NJ snake oil promotion in years. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

HUD wakes from slumber announcing review "sampling" of HHA contracts

A July 15th HUD letter issued by Newark Director Sonia Burgos to Hoboken Housing Authority Chairwoman Dana Wefer says the federal agency plans to review a "sampling" of HHA contracts.

The time period of contracts available for sampling is stated as going back to 2010. Contracts issued outside of federal procurement rules and without any approval by the Hoboken Housing Authority's Board of Commissioners ran in the millions of dollars at the sole direction by its current contracted manager, Carmelo Garcia.

Last week News 12 ran a feature on the May MSV story where Garcia pocketed thousands of dollars from several current HHA vendors, questioning what laws may have been violated. While one state law may hold a loophole on pay to play, numerous other state and federal laws have likely been violated.

After months of revelations showed millions in procurement problems under Executive Director Carmelo Garcia and he pocketed thousands of dollars for his political committee last March, HUD is opting to take a look-see.

HUD recently overlooked these same procurement issues in order to weigh in and reject the HHA board's hiring a special counsel to investigate the procurement issues identified earlier in the millions of dollars.

The suggested HUD sampling comes after a scathing audit report issued last week revealing one among more than a dozen problems identified in its findings stating the HHA is operating outside of procurement laws. 

The complete findings by Fallon & Larson LLP are detailed from the audit report:


Friday, July 18, 2014

Sign of the Times: Ziconic at Lane's End

Ziconic, son of Zenyatta at Lane's End Farm


For more on Ziconic at Lane's end:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Questions swirling around Carmelo Garcia hits the big lights

Yesterday News 12 uncorked a little story putting Hoboken back in the corruption spotlight again featuring a report on the troubling pay to play no bid contracts HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia directed without authorization under federal procurement laws while taking thousands of dollars from several HHA vendors.


HHA ED Carmelo Garcia confers with ally Councilwoman Beth Mason before a recent HHA meeting. Yesterday News 12 spent some time conferring with the public about the emerging pay to play controversy one of many exploding in the HHA. State Senator Brian Stack must be observing with keen interest. The rest of Hoboken is watching with bated breath.


From the report:

HOBOKEN - The executive director of the Hoboken Housing Authority gave out more than $2 million in no-bid contracts to three companies who then donated thousands of dollars to his campaign for the state Legislature...

But state election reports show three of the companies who received those emergency contracts; Hauser Brothers, Haddad Electric and A.M. Construction, then donated money to Garcia’s campaign for the New Jersey Assembly. That has some members of the housing board questioning whether there was a quid pro quo...

“There are a lot of electricians in Hudson County,” says Hoboken Housing Chairwoman Dana Wefer. “There’s a lot of boiler maintenance companies and a lot of construction companies. We don’t need to be going to the ones that contributed money to the executive director-assemblyman’s campaign.”


The complete News 12 story with video is available here.


Talking Ed Note: Sometimes what follows the big lights is the big time. Look at me ma, I'm a star.

Related: The MSV breaking story back in May that brought to light payments to Carmelo Garcia by HHA vendors who were paid millions from the agency with no bid contracts.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

BREAKING ON NEWS 12: POLITICAL HIJINX IN HHA ON MONIES TO CARMELO GARCIA


Cablevision News 12 is blowing the lid off the MSV story broken here last May on the "contributions" to Carmelo Garcia with million dollar no-bid contracts to vendors in the HHA.

News 12 with investigative reporter "Kane in Your Corner." Catch it!


He's a star. Carmelo Garcia is the focus of an investigative corruption report 
on News 12
Are you ready for your close-up Mister Carmelo?


The report says Carmelo gave $2 million in no bid contracts to three firms who then gave him thousands of dollars earlier this year.

Carmelo is sticking to his cover story that it was an "emergency" but Chairwoman Dana Wefer disagrees and says otherwise and the facts are on her side. The audit report just released here earlier this week says the independent third party professionals aren't buying it either.

Garcia says there is "no quid pro quo." Then Garcia says he's being "targeted."

While the "ethnic cleansing" garbage isn't back the it's "a hostile working environment" nonsense is but Wefer says "the numbers" aren't political. The numbers are "cold, hard facts."

Talking Ed Note: Okay, I can't continue anymore. I have to stop laughing. Carmelo Garcia, yeah putting money in his pocket and you know, he's a victim.

The "emergency" story was smashed as a canard long ago. The HHA audit merely the cherry on top of what is clear to many is some very foul malfeasance. Or worse.

News 12 has the link up but they are not quite caught up on the Carmelo Garcia story. For now:
http://newjersey.news12.com/news/kane-in-your-corner-campaign-contributions-for-hoboken-housing-authority-director-1.8825452

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Grist for the Mill: Where in the world is Carmelo Garcia?

MILE SQUARE VIEW EXCLUSIVE

Carmelo Garcia is quite the popular guy these days. Well, he's undoubtedly a fav with certain HHA vendors who kicked in thousands to his political committee last March and certainly he's beloved by more HHA vendors for not making them go through that oh so unnecessary sealed bid process. (See yesterday's story below.)

Word is a certain news group is on the prowl around the Mile Square on the lookout for the whereabouts of a certain contracted Executive Director. Did said news crew catch up to him?

Be on the lookout around Hoboken for the News 12 helicopter. It's rumored to have put out an APB on one
Carmelo Garcia. One can imagine this won't be as friendly as a planted Hudson Reporter story.

Da Horsey hasn't the foggiest but Mister Carmelo may defer for once in his life from publicity after speaking to his lawyer. MSV can't say if it would be his "ethnic cleansing" barrister or a more able  (and subject appropriate) criminal attorney.

The rest of this story is available to MSV members. Sign up top right or send an email to smartyjones@me.com.

Members will see the full issue arrive via email. If for any reason you don't get it, just drop an email.

Monday, July 14, 2014

HHA Audit findings spell TROUBLE for Carmelo Garcia

MILE SQUARE VIEW BREAKING SPECIAL FEATURE


Certified audit findings reveal litany of illicit mismanagement under Carmelo Garcia

If HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia thought the investigation into his procurement woes was over with the odd intervention of the HUD office in Newark, a new publicly released audit report's findings will displace any such notion.

Showing a lengthy list of serious problems, many clearly in violation under state and federal law, the HHA audit findings laid bare the mismanagement and vendor abuses under the controversial contractor heading the agency in Carmelo Garcia.

The release of the audit report for the HHA shows its contracted head Carmelo Garcia
is woefully responsible for massive malfeasance (or worse.) The audit findings listed
numerous problems with procurement and expenditures completely outside of state and federal law.

Among the more than a dozen and a half serious problems delineated in the HHA Audit Report:

  • Five vendors were paid over $26,000 where a bid process is mandatory under law
  • None of the five vendors fulfilled a required sealed bid requirement
  • Two of the five above vendors were paid over $100,000
  • "Questioned costs" totaled over $573,000
  • Payments to numerous vendors was out of compliance with prices authorized by the HHA Board of Commissioners
  • The HHA accounting department was "unable to print a vendors history report" 
  • One vendor overpaid without contract authorization exceeded $753,000
  • The partial period of emergency is no excuse for the excessive unauthorized payments
  • All contracts should be properly reviewed when reaching 70% of approved contract expenditure
  • Fiscal controls relating to HHA procurement are not "as required" by law
  • No emergency procurement reports were filed with the state as required under law
  • The HHA is "not in compliance" with state and federal procurement laws and regulations.
  • Detailed required bills submitted for payment to the HHA examined lacked required vendor certifications in all examples examined.
  • Internal control over aspects of procurement are "ineffective"
  • More than $100,000 in expenditures with the illicit use of a credit or store card
  • Section 8 files contained major problems and are "materially incomplete"
  • Costs deemed problematic connected to Section 8 can't be fully determined due to the lack of required documentation
  • The HHA is "not in compliance" with the Housing Choice Voucher Program and the Low Rent Public Housing Program regulations

In addition, the audit report findings state payments throughout the year to a host of suspect vendors totaled almost $800,000 and the "state of emergency" due to Hurricane Sandy shows most of the expenditures "occurred outside the scope of the emergency."

At a recent meeting HHA commissioner and Councilman Dave Mello marveled at a seven-thousand dollar bill with no itemized details at Home Depot and demanded to see how the store credit card was being used. As it turns out, use of any credit or store card is not permitted. It's unclear how long HHA ED Carmelo Garcia did so.

The report said excuses were made pointing to Hurricane Sandy but this was not deemed acceptable.
No comment was made concerning the revelations of vendors giving thousands of dollars to Carmelo Garcia's political committee.

Talking Ed Note: That's that.

Related: MSV's broke the story on Carmelo Garcia pocketing money from HHA vendors in May at the link:
http://www.hobokenhorse.com/2014/05/blockbuster-carmelo-garcia-pocketed.html

Sunday, July 13, 2014

I believe the Argyles will win



Going against the grain, Da Horsey is not being contrarian in picking the Lionel Messi train to derail conventional wisdom Germany will raise the World Cup trophy today.

Argentina has not demonstrated dominance in the tournament while Germany saw a win for the ages against the Selçåo, an emotional but tactical disaster when Brazil took the field in the semifinal without two of its top players. This was not the Brazil of old which could see a top tier talent take the field when one of its stars had fallen.

No World Cup tournament has held so many surprises and today we may see another. Too many make too much of Brazil's dramatic defeat resembling more the Reggae Boyz of Jamaica than a legacy futbol powerhouse.

Today the key will be the amount of space between midfield and defenders. Germany shows weakness on the wing and the Argyles may be able to exploit it, especially on the right as Algeria amply demonstrated. People have already discounted and forgotten the tactical defensive discipline Los Gauchos (the Cowboys) showed against a powerful offensive side in the Netherlands.

Germany is okay but they like Heidi Klum are overrated. All the dark brunette filly power is in Argentina and those continental vibes will be felt from Buenos Aires to Rio. 

It's  La Albiceleste (the White & Sky Blue) over die Mannschaft (The Team). 

Kickoff @ 3:00 on ABC. 




Germany prevails in a narrow 1-0 win in overtime. Argentine keeper Romero will be haunted for surrendering the OT goal on an angle he should not have surrendered. 

In the end, Germany takes the World Cup against a gallant, game Argentina. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Former councilwoman Carol Marsh appointed replacement for open Zoning Board seat

Last night's July City Council meeting saw a former member approved for an open Zoning Board seat and the irony of earlier actions splitting the council coming full circle.

Carol Marsh, a former councilwoman in Hoboken is returning to public service after her City Council  colleagues voted unanimously to appoint her to an open Hoboken Zoning Board seat. The term is not a full three years but six months as the slot is a replacement. It will be eligible for a full three year term after the six months are completed.

Marsh did not complete her term as a councilwoman resigning in September 2012 as she said personal reasons forced her hand attached to family health issues. Earning sympathy from her council members at the time, she was later attacked by some, notably Councilwoman Terry Castellano who accused her of timing it so a reappointment by the council could name her replacement without an election.

The titanic struggle over the ninth swing seat on the council led to legal "gamesmanship" by the Old Guard council where Beth Mason would spend well into six figures attempting to boot Marsh's replacement, Jim Doyle, in a series of council votes and absences by herself and Councilman Michael Russo: all with an eye on keeping Mayor Zimmer from casting a decisive ninth vote on his appointment.

A months long protracted court battle followed, leading first to Doyle's appointment in the council as Hudson County Superior Court Assignment Judge Peter Bariso ordered the full City Council to vote on the council replacement. He criticized the Old Guard council's "gamesmanship" deadlocking a split council.

The Mason family appealed the county court decision and obtained a successful verdict in the NJ Appellate Court forcing Jim Doyle to step down until he was elected as part of a Reform sweep last November.

The Marsh zoning board appointment while unanimous 9-0 in the end saw an earlier discussion where Councilman Dave Mello requested a vote be delayed until next month so he could reach out to other candidates.

His suggestion did not garner support and in the end, he joined his colleagues in voting the former councilwoman to the six month open seat.

The video of some council comments leading into the vote is shown below. (There's a ten second still delay in the video before starting.)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Zoning Board appointment on tap in City Council @ 7:00



Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream
 There's a regular seat of the zoning board open and up for a possible vote tonight.
Is there a former councilwoman up for the nod? Whispers say it could be but let's wait and see.

Road repair is high on the agenda with the City of Hoboken looking to move on repaving roads after a harsh winter.


Sign of the Times: Das nightmare



The July City Council meeting is set for tonight but the third speck from a sun in the Milky Way is transfixed by a meltdown yesterday in Brazil. For an American audience it's hard to explain what it means but sport is not the context to do so.

As one Brazilian said some years ago failing to win the World Cup, futbol is what Brazil gives to the world. If we don't win, our self-esteem is awful. Or something along those lines.

In 1998, Das Pony was in Paris for the World Cup. Brazil played host France for the prize in what turned out to be the biggest party Paris had seen since World War II. After the win, jogging up the hill on Rue de Monge a few of the French walked about as if nothing had happened at all. But most of France got into the spirit of the moment. It was quite a party and Da Horsey had a birds eye view from atop the Bastille.

I'd venture to say that's the last time you could climb atop and not be arrested. At least a dozen people were aloft on the structure with a view of the square and 2,000 people. What a scene.

If today you don't feel sad some for the Brazilian people, well... you probably have no heart and don't understand. Da Horsey isn't going to try to explain.

Random notes: On a different front in Hoboken, three pathological liars walk into Hudson County Superior Court with certifications.
There's a punch line but I can't talk about it. You can of course trust Da Horsey, it's all true.

photo courtesy: The Telegraph

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

PSE&G to make major infrastructure upgrades in Hoboken


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July 7, 2014

City of Hoboken

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Community: PSE&G To Make Major Hoboken Infrastructure Upgrades To Improve Energy Resiliency


** Paving, Sewer & Water Infrastructure Upgrades to Be Coordinated to Minimize Disruptions **

Starting on or about July 21, 2014, PSE&G will begin a major project to upgrade 60 percent of the gas lines within the City of Hoboken as part of the Energy Strong program. The project is replacing 31,000 linear feet of low pressure old cast iron mains in or near flood areas with new plastic pipe. The new pipes will be upgraded to a higher pressure that prevents water from entering mains, increasing the reliability of gas service.

Also as part of the Energy Strong program, PSE&G will soon begin work to combine Hoboken’s three electrical substations into two and raise the substations to protect them from flooding.

“We advocated strongly for the Energy Strong program and are thrilled that we have this tremendous opportunity to upgrade our infrastructure to be more resilient,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “I also recognize that this will be a major challenge for our community, and we ask for everyone’s cooperation and patience as we coordinate with PSE&G to minimize disruptions and complete these upgrades.”

The gas main work will take place in two phases. In 2014, work will take place to upgrade approximately 1,000 services south of (and including) 6th Street. In 2015, work will take place to upgrade approximately 1,500 services north of 6th Street.

The City of Hoboken is coordinating its planned road resurfacing projects with PSE&G, United Water, and North Hudson Sewerage Authority in order to minimize road openings, construction time and traffic disruptions.

The City plans to repave approximately 50 blocks of roadway, make pedestrian safety improvements to 11 intersections, and upgrade more than 350 handicap-accessible curb ramps later this year. Hudson County has begun resurfacing work on Willow Avenue from 11th Street to 13th Street on June 30. The work is expected to be completed by July 30. North Hudson Sewerage Authority will be replacing three blocks of combined sewer along Jackson Street, from Newark Street to 1st Street. The work is expected to last approximately 8 to 10 weeks.

A map of the planned resurfacing, gas line, and sewer infrastructure upgrades is available atwww.hobokennj.org/docs/env/Hoboken-PSEG-roads.pdf.

In order to shorten the length of the project as much as possible, PSE&G will have three crews working on the project in Hoboken. The work will involve digging trenches in the roadway, which will result in temporary closures and/or detours. If necessary, service lines that bring gas to individual homes and businesses will also be upgraded. This will involve digging in the street, at the meter, and in some cases, along the service line. PSE&G will contact property owners to arrange a date and time to allow access so crews can install new meters where existing meters are scheduled for replacement. Customers will be without gas service for approximately four hours while this work is completed. Upon completion of the project, PSE&G will restore the property to its original condition. Grass areas will be repaired and any concrete or asphalt will be temporarily patched until final restoration work can be scheduled. Customers will have access to their property at all time.

For the first phase of the project, PSE&G will be upgrading gas facilities in Hoboken on the following streets:

• Newark Street between Grand Street and Washington Street
• 1st Street between Adams Avenue and Washington Street
• 2nd Street between Grand Street and Washington Street
• 3rd Street between Willow Avenue and Garden Street
• 4th Street between Madison Street and Grand Street
• 5th Street between Willow Avenue and Frank Sinatra Drive
• 6th Street between Madison Street and Court Street
• Monroe Street between 3rd Street and 6th Street
• Jefferson Street between 4th Street and 5th Street
• Adams Street between 1st Street and 6th Street
• Grand Street between 1st Street and 2nd Street
• Grand Street between 5th Street and 6th Street
• Willow Avenue between 1st Street and 3rd Street
• Park Avenue between Newark Street and 4th Street
• Park Avenue between 5th Street and 6th Street
• Garden Street between 2nd Street and 6th Street
• Bloomfield Street between Newark Street and 2nd Street
• Washington Street between Observer Highway and 6th Street
• Court Street between 4th Street and 6th Street

More information on Energy Strong can be found at www.pseg.com/energystrong. A customer service representative will also be available to answer questions at the PSE&G Customer Service location at 615 Washington Street. An FAQ on the gas main replacement project is available at www.pseg.com/family/pseandg/energy_strong/pdf/faq.pdf. A fact sheet on Energy Strong is available at www.pseg.com/family/pseandg/energy_strong/pdf/factsheet.pdf.For full details, view this message on the web.



Talking Ed Note: Hoboken will likely see further linked efforts with other infrastructure re: water to leverage the improvements discussed above.

The infrastructure efforts will cause a short term inconvenience but much needed long term infrastructure upgrades.

Monday, July 7, 2014

HUD intervention on HHA problems means little in probe





MSV Analysis on the State of the State of the Hoboken Housing Authority

In the video above, courtesy of our colleagues at The Hudson County View, a clash of procedure meets the immovable force in Chairwoman Dana Wefer and the verbally ample ED who is always ready with an excuse or an explanation in HHA ED Carmelo Garcia.

Wefer who refuses to yield during a roll call vote as HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia acting in his role as board secretary opts to ignore that responsibility and make a speech, causing a conflict illustrating perfectly the problems in the agency.

Garcia who in his infamous Wire incident (see above right) spelled out his Hudson County vision of a contractor's role in a Housing Authority, unbridled power with a rubber stamp board is coming up against the irresistible Reform force in a HA chair who takes their 21st century fiduciary responsibility seriously and that of the seven member Board.

The clash however wasn't inevitable and started out innocent enough. Wefer had questioned aspects of policy and requested a handful of contracts for review early on after appointment in January. The questions on initial contracts led to similar in succeeding ones and from this scratch , oozing pus began overflowing out of the Hoboken Housing Authority.

The pus as it were became the size of an out of control river as procurement contracts in the millions of dollars, all lacking approvals within standardized HUD guidelines emerged. Seeing the larger problems compounding, Wefer first expressed surprise, then shock and was confounded each requested contract turned out not to have met any minimal bar of board approval or minimal HUD procurement standards.

Thus the call for a special counsel review, twice affirmed by the HHA Board and unhappily met by Garcia with his usual backbiting complaints to HUD who he has more than once informed others - on audiotape mind you - that he is "revered" by the federal agency.

What more can one conclude after HUD Director Sonia Burgos stepped in to intervene with a less than laugh out loud legal analysis informing the HHA the door to corruption oversight is not open from the agency office in Newark. (How close is that to the US Attorney's Office?)

The HUD letter stopped an investigation where more than three million - $3,500,000 in your federal tax dollars were doled out indiscriminately and at the behest of one Carmelo Garcia without a single HUD required procurement standard met. Oh and some of those HHA vendors splashed thousands of dollars around into Garcia's political committee bank account.

Is the HUD office in Newark also lacking in that information?

Burgos for all intents and purposes is saying it's all hunky-dory.  In the letter, HUD claims it has insufficient information but Wefer has stated publicly much of that information had been provided to them earlier. It doesn't sound like there's been phone calls from Newark inquiring let alone asking for more information on what's been going on in the HHA either.

Where one whiff of corruption rises on so easy a scratch-n-sniff test, another must follow. While HUD may find bureaucratic avenues to clearly create an impasse on this front, it certainly isn't in position to do similar on every other.

In the end, the contracted position of ED serves at the pleasure of the HHA's Board of Commissioners. It's not a federal employee position, it's simply a contractor. As the varied acts of insubordination pile up, there's more than a little rotten wafting out of Denmark Garcia's Housing Authority. The smell isn't going to merely drift away. It's going to fester larger until it infects all of the Mile Square.

Our global cooling summer is about to heat up. With it, more fire on the Hoboken Housing Authority. You smell that smell?


Friday, July 4, 2014

Birthday of the Republic





As one Founding Father, the inimitable Benjamin Franklin once said:

"Half the Truth is often a great Lie"


Be steadfast in defense of freedom, our Constitution and liberty.

France knocked out 1-0 by Germany

Another standing room only crowd at the Pilsner Haus.

An immensely talented French team has been ground down by a systematic German team in a key World Cup Quarterfinal match.



At full gallop with a suspicious Argyle awaiting Messi's next World Cup appearance.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

HHA meeting: Special counsel investigation expansion tabled as HUD stalls investigation

HUD letter places special counsel Hoboken Housing Authority investigation in limbo

Last night's special Hoboken Housing Authority meeting at City Hall saw the one resolution on tap tabled with the late afternoon arrival of a HUD letter from its Newark office calling the special counsel investigation's authorization outside its procurement policy.

The HUD letter rejects approval of the special counsel authorization by its board saying there are "protest procedures," remedies available to be exhausted before appealing outside of the Hoboken Housing Authority and there's no indication presented such "protest procedures" within the HHA exist.

The action comes with the late day arrival of a letter signed by a Newark based HUD administrator, Director Sonia Burgos declaring the special counsel approval outside of procurement bid policies stating, "Noncompetitive procurement is permitted only in limited circumstances."

The special counsel selection in this instance was managed on a RFP exception basis by HHA Chairwoman Dana Wefer. Alternatively, how a RFP procurement selection of a special counsel with Garcia's previous claims to sole appointing powers would be assigned considering his personal conflict on the issue would take place is unclear.

HHA Executive Director Garcia has previously pointed to his uniquely opulent contract that he is the "sole appointing authority," so any service procured in the agency, in this case a special counsel should be, in theory, chosen by him through an RFP process. However, the legality surrounding those powers being surrendered by the HHA Board of Commissioners in the contract is also in question.

Also unclear is how HUD invalidated the special counsel authorization for $30,000, twice approved by the HHA Board of Commissioners while overlooking millions of dollars in expenditures by vendors outside of ANY federal procurement process under Garcia in the HHA. 

Some of those same non-approved or contracted vendors outside of the HUD procurement process gave thousands of dollars to Garcia's political committee last March.

Weeks ago, Garcia's attorney Louis Zayas said he welcomed an investigation into his client but preceding the vote for an appointment of a special counsel at the last regularly scheduled HHA meeting, Carmelo Garcia attempted to dissuade the HHA Board of Commissioners from reaffirming authorization saying HUD did not want them to do so. He offered no documentation to support that claim.

Now the HUD letter arrives weeks after the board approvals and the work of special counsel Joseph Manfredi of Manfredi & Associates was underway and the HUD action means any payment for services rendered is in limbo.

There's been no additional special counsel findings reported on problems within the agency but the recent check fiasco where PNC Bank refused to honor hundreds of agency checks when the simple signature approval for the new chair was stalled raises concern what other problems loom ahead for the HHA.

MSV did not attend the brief HHA meeting last night.

HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia just saw a special counsel investigation into the verified millions of dollars in procurement to vendors declared outside of federal procurement guidelines by a HUD intervention. In a letter, HUD administrator Sonia Burgos declared the HHA board's authorization of a special counsel to investigate the matter failed its procurement policy overlooking millions in contracts Garcia issued outside of the same policy. 

Talking Ed Note: Problems, sabotage, cover-up: something is rotten in Denmark.


Related: The May exclusive MSV story: "Carmelo Garcia pocketed money from at least two firms doing business in the Hoboken Housing Authority."

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Carmelo Garcia issues another false flag operation

MILE SQUARE VIEW EXCLUSIVE



Carmelo Garcia has HHA workman distribute false information on legal HHA meeting tonight

Here's the latest "official" Banana Republic flyer approved and distributed by HHA maintenance men in its building locations.

Apparently, Carmelo Garcia is resting his hopes to confuse residents the special meeting called for tonight is "illegal." Unfortunately, the meeting was noticed properly to the media (although the HHA office is following strict orders not to cooperate with the HHA Chair, among other professionals probing into the agency.)  How's that working out for you Carmelo?

Hey, this is an improvement over the previous lies the last special meeting put HHA residents homes at risk. That was cleared up by the chair at the beginning of the meeting.

Hey, can you defame and lie about the HHA Chair using taxpayer funds?

Good job Mister Carmelo!




HHA Special Meeting @ 7:00 in City Council Chambers

Tonight a short meeting will be held at City Hall with a resolution weighing the addition of  administration to the scope of the special counsel's investigative responsibilities.

The recent fiasco of agency checks not being cleared at PNC Bank turned out to be a simple administrative matter of rotating approvals to the new HHA Chair Dana Wefer.

Wefer publicly announced an unnecessary roadblock was due to HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia refusing to address the issue after a week of her effort to make the administrative change from the prior agency chair.

Garcia who's open insubordination toward the HHA is an ongoing public record back two years ago is already in hot water as he's offered some less than plausible explanation for why he awarded millions in vendor services to firms without HHA Board of Commissioner approvals or within governing federal procurement policy.

MSV exclusively reported some of those same firms gave thousands of dollars to Carmelo Garcia's political committee back in March.

Since this is a federal meeting, the City of Hoboken will not be telecasting the proceedings.

HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia is facing additional scrutiny if a resolution passes tonight at City Hall
in a special HHA meeting expanding the review of an ongoing special counsel investigation into the HHA.

Reform taken to the woodshed?

The Hoboken Housing Authority has a budget of $17 million and feeding at the trough is a Hoboken Soprano pig out specialty. It isn't however the reason a Beth Mason political operative interrupted MSV reporting duties at the regular HHA meeting to tell MSV not once, not twice but four times, "How's your dead brother?"

That action has everything to do with Beth Mason and the "discovery" of her role in the SLAPP suit against Hoboken residents. She heard about it from 25 feet removing a smile from her face.

The rejoinder to Beth Mason's sidekick was on a different topic: about beating up grandmothers at Fox Hills.


The rest of this story is MSV Premium. 



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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Taking on the Belgian Red Devils, it's win or go home

At 4:00 PM, the US Mens National Team takes the field in a Round of 16 elimination match in the World Cup. Recent viewership topped the final San Antonio - Miami NBA final.

That's saying something. Here's a pregame video saying a bit more. The US will need to "flip the script" a bit to move ahead. It may not have the experience but it has something unique and that special ingredient is what can carry them into the Quarterfinals.

This World Cup has been like no other. Defending World Champion Spain saw its several years domination unravel as it was summarily sent home on the first day any team was eliminated. Mighty Italy befell a bizarre bite leading to its ouster. Favored host Brazil barely scrapped by with a game Chile and Germany looked stiff and flat on defense against an engaging speedy Algeria before converting twice in overtime.

In short, this tournament holds more surprises.

Why not us? Realistically, it can go either way and Belgium brings a mix of superb talent challenging anything the US brings to the table.

In the end, the game can turn on anything: a Tim Howard point blank save, a Clint Dempsey turn with the ball in the box or a Jermaine Jones burst down the middle, Fabian Johnson tearing down the right or Demarcus Beasley doing similar down the left.

I believe...




Epilogue:

Tim Howard is beyond valiant in defeat setting a record for saves in World Cup history but the US falls 2-1 in overtime. It wasn't the amount of saves though, it was the quality. Most were absolutely insane.

The depth and technical skill of a superior Belgian team was evident and their talent carried them through although a last second chance gave the US a chance to steal this one in regulation.

The US Team demonstrates promise and losing some key players made it difficult to execute its game plan but injuries are part of the game and more depth will be a focus for years to come.

This is a team to be proud of and this tournament showed the development of the US National Team to be the best its ever been overall.