Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Mason and Castellano look to strike Hoboken small businesses proposing mandatory sick pay

A MSV reader submitted the following guest piece upon learning about a resolution on the agenda for Wednesday night's City Council meeting forcing all Hoboken businesses with ten or more employees to institute mandatory sick pay. 

The resolution sponsored by Beth Mason and First ward councilwoman Terry Castellano appears word for word to be lifted from one recently passed in Jersey City.

A resolution proposed by Councilwoman Beth Mason and Councilwoman Teresa Castellano proposes to enforce mandatory sick pay for businesses employing 10 or more in Hoboken.

This is an egregious overreach of municipal government—one that, at a glance, seems squarely targeted at Hoboken’s bar and restaurant owners.

The hospitality industry is not an office job—if someone calls in sick you don’t just sit there all day and look at an empty chair, you have to fill that spot with someone who can get the job done. The premise behind this legislation would essentially require bar and restaurant owners to pay twice for the same amount of work—once for the person who did the job, and another for the person who couldn’t make it.

Meanwhile the hospitality industry is typically self-correcting. If a person misses a shift, someone covers it—then the person whose shift was covered returns the favor. Everyone gets paid for the work they do, and no one gets screwed over.

In a town where the median age is increasing, bar stools are being replaced by highchairs, liquor licenses cost upwards of half a million dollars and customers can’t park, this is just another swift kick to the bottom line for Hoboken’s small businesses. Perhaps the city misses the revenue it used to get fining bars for the mess from St. Patrick’s Day house parties, so they need to make up the difference by getting into the books of an already taxed hospitality industry.

In the end, what this will ultimately mean is that the 10th guy hired in a Hoboken kitchen will probably start having to look for another job—not because bar and restaurant owners are necessarily heartless, they simply can’t run their business in the face of such invasive, predatory bureaucracy.


Beth Mason is preparing to stick it to Hoboken small business. A resolution she's sponsored with Councilwoman Terry Castellano mandates sick pay for all local businesses with ten or more employees. 

Talking Ed Note: This is classic government over regulation of the worst kind: local. It's bad enough when remote government bureaucrats gin up business killing regulations. In this instance, Hoboken council members should be looking to identify ways to help promote Hoboken business not kill it.

Unrelated, any attempt to obtain information on guest submissions to MSV has been and will be thwarted under the substantial strength of the NJ reporter's privilege, re: the Shield Law. Abuse of process, using the NJ courts to obtain the identities of anonymous guest submissions will be legally blocked by MSV.

If you wish to send a guest submission, either published in your name or anonymously feel free to do so at smartyjones@me.com. Guest pieces should focus on an area of interest to Hoboken readers and consist of 1,000 words or less.

Sign of the Times: Beth Mason leaves court after filing allegation against MSV

Beth Mason leaves Hoboken Municipal Court today following her harassment allegation against MSV.
The case exits Hoboken on a change of venue by the court.

MSV saw a change of venue in the latest action by Hoboken's litigious councilwoman from the second ward, Beth Mason, who filed a harassment charge against the editor the week of September 15th.

Beth Mason is anticipated to seek retaining the second ward council seat up for election next November, one of nine on the Hoboken City council. She's been mentioned in media reports as trying to obtain a coveted spot on a potential State Senator Steve Sweeney ticket for Lt. Governor.  The State Senator is thought to be a candidate in waiting for New Jersey governor bringing a south Jersey base in a possible match up against Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop.

MSV issued two related stories on the action by Beth Mason in a story here and a prophetic one in advance at the link below:

MSV stands by its story and looks forward to both the truth and full transparency coming to light. 

You can support the fight for Constitutional and Civil Rights:

Monday, September 29, 2014

Analysis: Economic impact the major upside in Washington Street overhaul

Economic impact the focus of new website evaluating Washington St. overhaul

Hoboken's plan to upgrade Washington Street is a hot topic. The City's earlier final design announcement led to well over 100 comments, much of it heated on what should or should not be done.

The layers of improvements not ground up but below ground seemed lost with individual focus on one aspect or another of the City's proposed design. Funding will come from a variety of sources: federal, state and private to leverage the final redesign.

The Washington Street redesign will require six votes in the City Council as an unknown amount of funds will come from Hoboken itself. (MSV will update with the breakdown when possible.) The last attempt to upgrade Washington Street in 2012 was defeated when the Old Guard council: Michael Russo, Theresa Castellano, Timmy Occhipinti and Beth Mason refused to offer one vote among themselves to see passage.

City Hall is finalizing a proposed plan to overhaul Washington Street. A detailed plan will require approval
from six of nine members of the City Council.

With the vote on upgrading Washington Street ahead, there's a plethora of details to evaluate. A new website Gotham & Hudson focusing on development and urbanism outlined the proposed changes on Washington Street. 

The article notes the combined financial backing stating the proposed improvements are expected to cost $14 million, taking about 12 months to complete and Hoboken will coordinate the upgrades with "utility upgrades already planned by PSE&G and United Water."

The economic impact is directly addressed in the article concluding:

As it currently stands, Washington Street is a civic and commercial success not because of its design, but in spite of it. Anyone opposing these improvements has clearly shown they don’t understand, or are not willing to accept that reality. Washington street is too important to the city’s economic, social, and civic health to continue to prioritize the needs of drivers over all other users of the street, and the idea that reducing or reconfiguring parking would hurt businesses is an urban legend. A 2008 NYCDOT redesign of 9th Avenue between 23rd-31st Streets that has many similar elements to the proposal for Washington Street resulted in a 49% increase in retail sales over the three years following the redesign, significantly outpacing the 26% average growth over the same three-year period elsewhere in NYC. This project is essential to the economic, social, and cultural vitality of Washington Street, and will help Hoboken continue to be a leading destination in the NYC metro area for residents, businesses, and visitors.

The complete article is available at the link:

Talking Ed Note: The comprehensive economic impact to Hobokens's main economic thoroughfare has to be a focus in any final vote on the plan.

Washington Street upgrades will need 12 months to complete but approval in the City Council is required first.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Trolls R Us? Fear and Loathing in the land of trolls is ovah!

Hoboken knows Da Horsey loves a good conversation. Trolls however know that it's easy to overrun and turn any discussion into a troll fest and often do.

Free speech lives here; it's not an extreme endeavor but policy discussions and real critique are often lost with nothing more than trolling.

So, let's put the brakes on and see how that goes for a spell. Commenting is handled solely through the third party software Intense Debate. You'll need an account there or with Wordpress meaning  choosing an actual name and comment under it. The days of two dozen people or more arguing with each other as "guest" is kaput.

On the up side, MSV held the line in over two years of an attack on speech in Hoboken. Concern about the cynical attempts to obtain your personal information for the amusement of counte$$ is over too.

So, you are protected on two fronts. First, the third party commenting system you register with collects your information, not MSV. You may choose to take an extra measure of protection by creating and registering through a third party email you create solely for that purpose, re: yahoo, gmail, etc. If you are really concerned about the evil forces one day succeeding, you can also deploy third party software to shield your IP address.

Bottom line, let's see how quickly the trolling ends and who has a voice with a "reputation" they wish to value. There are regulars, Hoboken Owl is known as a long time righteous dude, but hey the bird is getting kinda lonely.

Important sidebar: Do not under any circumstances register a name with intensedebate that you have ever registered at Hoboken411. MSV is aware private information was compromised and shared with the worst fascist elements who seek to do harm to others for merely using their First Amendment rights. Similarly, MSV can not guarantee your anonymity is preserved if you use a similar screen name as on the Hudson Reporter. Act accordingly.

So here's the place to pick a name. Choose one and have a good time. Hoboken is listening and so is City Hall.

From time to time, MSV also posts its commenting and copyright policy. For those of inquiring mind, dive in and take a read there too.

Be a commenter speaking out to Hoboken, not a troll. 

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 boyfriend has been to you and how you still cheat on him 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.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

If Truman gave them "hell" in Hoboken

"I never give them hell. I just tell the truth and they think it's hell.”
            President Harry Truman

If Harry Truman wasn’t a midwestern take no guff kind of guy and found himself making noise in the political sphere of Hoboken, he’d be surprised how true his words applied today.

Hoboken has a unique mixture of narcissistic political entitlement. Truth is often ignored or flatly condemned as lies. The arrogance of some in the Old Guard repeatedly leads them down the road of excess. Whether there’s an election in sight or not, it’s money and power always lighting up their eyes and their decadent souls. You can't convince them otherwise. 

The levers of government are viewed as mere formality to enrichment, by hook or by crook. There's no interest to discuss policy with you, earn your vote or support. They'd sooner see you ignorantly write a check asking why taxes are so high and retreat back into the solitude of your life than argue why. Are Hoboken taxpayers remotely aware Hudson County taxes are now the largest local government bill two years running? 

Who do you think has been holding the line here in Hoboken the last five years? The double digit decrease puts Hoboken in a select group of a handful in the entire state of over 500 municipalities.

When it comes to speech in Hoboken, there's some well heeled people with a totalitarian streak a mile square large.
The democratization via "the internets" has driven them to crassly using the courts to level the playing field. 

The rest of this story is MSV premium. Sign up for the dish with a $75 contribution below.
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City of Hoboken announces:

Bird’s-Eye View Rendering of Washington Street (Downtown)

The City of Hoboken has completed a conceptual design for the “complete street” redesign of Washington Street. The design was presented at the final public meeting on September 23, 2014.

“I thank the community for providing their input on this important project through public meetings, focus groups, and surveys,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “This plan builds on our award-winning main street by improving pedestrian safety and traffic flow, enhancing mobility for all users, and supporting local businesses. Now that we have community consensus, I look forward to working with the City Council and hope they will fully support this important project so it can be completed as quickly as possible.”

Complete streets are roadways designed for safe, attractive, and comfortable travel by users of all ages and abilities. The City’s plan proposes upgrading Washington Street with safety improvements and enhancements to get around safely on foot, bicycle, car, or public transportation. By providing safe and equitable travel for everyone—including children, families, older adults, and people with disabilities—complete streets stimulate active, healthy behavior, reduce automotive traffic and pollution, encourage more foot traffic to businesses, and enhance interaction on Hoboken’s vital main street.

Highlights of the final concept plan include:
Improved Road Operations & Traffic Flow
·         Roadway resurfacing for entire corridor
·         Designated commercial loading zones with time restrictions
·         Short-term parking for quick errands
·         Numbered parking spaces for quicker & easier parking and payment
·         New traffic signals and timing increase corridor average speed from 6-8mph to 8-12mph
·         Parallel and angled parking maintained on both sides of the street
·         Back-in angled parking for safer parking

Improved Pedestrian Safety & Lighting
·         State of the art signal design to ensure visibility for all users of the street
·         Pedestrian countdown signal heads
·         Improved lighting at intersections
·         Refurbish or replace existing street lighting to better illuminate sidewalk and reduce glare upwards
·         Concrete curb extensions at corners reduce crossing distances by almost 50% (from 50 ft to 26 ft) and provide additional space for pedestrian amenities
·         New high visibility, skid-resistant, retro-reflective crosswalks
·         Reconstructed curb ramps for improved ADA accessibility

 Streetscape Improvements for Aesthetics, Livability & Economic Vitality
·         New concrete sidewalks
·         New light poles and fixtures for improved street lighting
·         New benches and solar/smart trash receptacles, street trees
·         City-wide wayfinding signage

Increased Mobility & Transit Access
·         Redesigned "portal" style bus shelters
·         Protected bicycle lanes physically separated from motor vehicle traffic to accommodate all skill levels currently riding on sidewalk
·         New custom bicycle racks

Landscaping & Stormwater Management
·         Replacement of damaged and missing street trees
·         Improved street tree pit design for tree health and aesthetics
·         Green infrastructure to capture stormwater runoff: rain gardens at corners and expanded street tree pits

The plan will be presented to the City Council in October. The preliminary estimate for the complete plan is $14 million, and the City will seek State and Federal grants combined with bond funding to finance the project. Funding is already in place for completing the final engineering design and construction plans. The next steps in the project include:

·         Pre-Design Phase: coordination with utility upgrades, PSE&G lighting coordination, geotechnical investigations, stormwater/drainage analysis): (est: 3-4 months)
·         Final Survey/Preliminary & Final Engineering Design & Construction Plans (est: additional 6-8 months)
·         Construction (est: additional 12 months)

Additional project information is available at www.hobokennj.org/washingtonstreet.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hudson County View: "Discord" on Freeholder vote with its legal counsel

Hudson County View provided this exclusive video below of the meeting and the Freeholder counsel's reasons leading to the recusal of two Freeholders from any vote last night including Anthony "Stick" Romano.

For the complete Hudson County View story, please see the link:

Reprieve on the Monarch as Freeholders lack quorum to vote

Hearing on important Monarch Project vote by Freeholders back on the table October 28th

A vote by the county legislature - the Hudson County Freeholders didn't occur last night on the controversial Monarch Project towers due to a lack of minimally required votes (quorum) on the nine member body.

One source is cautiously optimistic the County Freeholders may not be willing to overturn the Hudson County Planning Board's denial for the Monarch Project giving a green light to IronState, re: (The Shipyard) Applied which reneged on an original agreement to build tennis courts at the pier location.

Last night almost two dozen Hoboken residents showed up on opposition including from the Hoboken Tea Building. Freedholders Dorren DiDenico and Anthony "Stick" Romano recused themselves having voted previously as members of the county planning board.

NJ Advance Media detailed at the meeting:

Freeholders Anthony Romano and Doreen DiDomenico had to recuse themselves from the vote, since they are members of the county planning board. Vice-Chairman Thomas Liggio was absent from the meeting, and Albert J. Cifelli attended via conference call.

A vote is expected back on the agenda at the October 28th Freeholders meeting.

(MSV was not in attendance at the Jersey City meeting.)

Freeholder Anthony Romano with Lt. Gov.
Kim Guardagno back in 2011.
He's recused on the Monarch Project vote.
There's eight other votes he can lobby for Hoboken.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Beth Mason claims harassment in charges against MSV


Councilwoman Beth Mason files harassment charge in apparent attempt to prevent being served a legal subpoena

Beth Mason, Hoboken's litigious councilwoman is back using the courts!  In a phone call, the Hoboken Police Department confirmed Friday a harassment charge was filed against MSV by Councilwoman Beth Mason.

According to the mailed court notice, the charge stems from September 15th, the date an attempt was made by MSV Monday evening to serve civil subpoenas on Councilwoman Beth Mason and her husband, Richard Mason of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.

Partial actual court notice following Beth Mason's harassment filing.

Both subpoenas are related to the well known civil case involving this editor and a dozen other Hoboken residents.

Beth Mason declined to answer the doorbell and her husband Richard Mason refused to open the door and accept an announced delivery of legal documents.

Both subpoenas were later successfully delivered: Tuesday morning on Hudson Street between ninth and tenth street to Richard Mason and Wednesday at City Hall before the City Council meeting to Beth Mason.

Last Thursday, an announcement here pointed to any further violence and additional phony charges filed with the police against this reporter would result in Beth Mason being held responsible.

Councilwoman Beth Mason filed a harassment claim against MSV with the Hoboken Police Department last week.
Apparently, the latest Mason legal maneuver intended to prevent her being served with a civil subpoena. It failed.

Talking Ed Note: MSV stands by its Thursday announcement.

Monday, September 22, 2014

City of Hoboken vs. Shipyard (Monarch Project) battle lines continues apace

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Monday September 22, 2014, 2:49 PM

City of Hoboken

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Community: Update on Monarch Lawsuit & County Freeholder Meeting

Dear Horsey and MSV readers:

The City of Hoboken is continuing to oppose, through a variety of means, Shipyard Associate's attempts to develop residential buildings on a waterfront pier, known as the Monarch project, in place of promised recreation amenities. In particular, the City is highly concerned about public safety issues associated with waterfront pier development from the well-documented flood hazard threats posed by major storm events such as Superstorm Sandy.

The City of Hoboken is legally challenging the Monarch project on several fronts:

1. The City is appealing to the appellate court the decision by New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to approve a permit for the Monarch project.

2. The City is appealing the Superior Court’s decision regarding the Hoboken Planning Board, which rejected Shipyard’s application to amend a prior Development Agreement until all legal issues were resolved.

3. The City is fighting a lawsuit in federal court filed by Shipyard challenging the City’s flood hazard protection ordinance which bans the development of commercial and residential development on waterfront piers.

“Hoboken’s flood protection ordinance and our opposition to this project are in line with Governor Christie’s veto of state legislation that would have allowed new construction on existing piers in the Hudson River,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “We will continue to vigorously defend the City’s interests and hold developers accountable for their promises.”

County Freeholder Meeting on Monarch – Tuesday, September 23rd
Separate from the City’s legal challenge, the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders will hold a special meeting at 6:00pm on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 and vote on whether or not to uphold the Hudson County Planning Board’s denial of Shipyard’s application for the Monarch project. The meeting will take place on the 3rd floor of the Administration Building Annex located at 567 Pavonia Avenue in Jersey City. Concerned members of the community are urged to attend and voice their opinions.

Background on Monarch Lawsuit
The City of Hoboken filed suit in 2012 in order to enforce the 1997 Developer's Agreement between Shipyard, the Planning Board and the City that provided for the construction of a multi-phased, mixed use project along the waterfront, including over 1,000 residential units. According to the Agreement, Shipyard agreed to construct three tennis courts on a waterfront pier as the last phase of the development. Shipyard has financially benefited from development of more than 1,000 residential units, however in 2012, the developer unilaterally decided to abandon the public recreation improvements and replace it with two 11 story residential buildings, known as the Monarch project.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Defining Freeholders meeting Tuesday on the controversial Monarch Project

UPDATE: September 22nd - Independent sources agree Hoboken does not have the votes to beat Ironstate re: the Barry's and Applied tomorrow night.

While Anthony "Stick" Romano will vote no, it's under the proviso a majority of the nine member body will not be joining him to vote down the Monarch Project.

Expect a little dog and pony show if Hoboken residents show up but this is where sources believe the vote is headed at the county.

One county source reportedly is pointing the finger at Mayor Dawn Zimmer saying she would not "negotiate" the Monarch project's twin buildings. That political barb fails to address the reneging on building tennis courts and parking at that location originally agreed upon.

Others will look to Councilwoman Beth Mason and ask what she did? As some may recall, when a second ward resident first raised the issue to both her and City Hall, Mason ignored the communication and it led to further questions about her political behavior and actions.  Expect to see her make a release showing solidarity with the residents of the Hudson Tea Building and the second ward.

But what is she actually doing? In City Council, Mason has politicized legal work for the City and even voted against legal action to stop the Monarch (before switching her vote). In the end, she's not going to bite the hand that feeds her votes (in Applied Housing) in the second ward, which largely explains her continued support for the ousted Hoboken Housing Authority's Executive Director.

The rest of the Old Guard has quietly moved on from that fiasco.

No matter what Beth Masons says, her actions on the Monarch Project
initially showed her allegiance to Ironstate Applied. She needs them
to again turn out votes in the second ward in 2015 as she has no base. 

Talking Ed Note: Beth Mason and Applied have an arrangement. She has no base and the superintendents of their buildings in the second ward will tell residents to vote for her likely using her ample street money campaign as in 2011.


A reliable source tells MSV a major meeting of the Hudson County Board of Freeholders is scheduled to occur Tuesday night on the controversial Monarch Project.

The source indicates Tuesday night the controversy over the Monarch Project's status in northeast Hoboken will return to the Hudson County Board of Freeholders and there is insufficient support to see the reneged agreement with Ironstate, re: Applied Housing stopped.

Local activists opposing the Monarch project building two huge buildings out over the pier area next to the Hudson Tea Building see this as a crucial meeting lacking the County legislators nine member body's (Freeholders) support.

MSV will publish more details on the slated Tuesday night meeting at the Board of Freedholders in Jersey City.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Take the Sinatra Drive Design Alternatives Survey

City of Hoboken announces:


One of Three Typical Complete Street Section Alternatives

On Monday, September 15, 2014, the 2nd public workshop was held as part of developing a community vision for the redesign of Sinatra Drive.

Members of the community are invited to visit www.hobokennj.org/sinatradrive to review project materials and complete an online survey to provide their feedback on various design alternatives.

The survey will be open through Friday, October 3, 2014.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Horse Sense: Public call on Beth Mason to 'control her animals'

Mason political operative Matt Calicchio stopped by two OEM Public Safety Officials from attacking  MSV in City Hall

Before last night's City Council, much was serene. Mayor Dawn Zimmer arrived with Director Leo Pellegrini loaded with not one but three citizen commendations. Citizens who risked much diving into cold waters to save a person jumping into the Hudson was the believed reason.

Prior to the meeting, MSV dropped off paperwork and walked to the rear of the council chambers abuzz with a bigger than usual audience in recent months. Fourth ward Democratic committeeman and Beth Mason political operative Matt Calicchio circled past and immediately let fly, "You better get the fuck out of here."

The meeting was only minutes from start. Calicchio then took a place near the rear door and directed comments from about 15 feet away to again inquire, "how's your dead brother?" That followed with a threat implying use of the police as a political tool for an arrest, (apparently on behalf of Beth Mason).

The plan to watch the early part of the meeting was jettisoned for other work and upon exit through Council Chambers and the metal detector who followed but the same Matt Callichio, who began yelling some fanciful tale. 

Not 20 feet from the entrance to City Hall, MSV stopped and observed as two OEM public safety officials sprang into action to stop Matt Calicchio on his trek as he issued another public threat inviting violence. 

This latest incident has a different sinister flavor from past assaults by Beth Mason's staff.

Fourth ward Democratic Committeeman Matt Calicchio and his boss, Beth Mason.

In the infamous words of our fourth ward on safari colleague Perry, 

Ms. Mason:


Should any violence or additional phony police charges occur, Beth Mason will be held responsible. 
MSV will defend itself under the fullest extent of the law.

Each assault on MSV over years, often in full view in broad daylight of other witnesses (including Beth Mason) involves her people.

It's completely unacceptable. I publicly call on Beth Mason and her staff to cease and desist.

Talking Ed Note: After more than five years attending and reporting on government meetings, one might think it's inappropriate for thuggish behavior to interfere with doing so.

Ironically, the rough and tumble history in Hoboken has never seen any similar antics with threats and physical attacks against MSV from within the Russo faction. In one minor verbal (seated) incident at a council meeting years back, corrective action was taken immediately with an apology, handshakes and professionalism. (No names needed.) MSV is not one for drama but enough is enough.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

NJSC: Peter Cammarano disbarred from practicing law in NJ

The New Jersey Supreme Court barred former Hoboken mayor Peter Cammarano from practicing law in the State writing in a unanimous opinion he had broken "a solemn public trust."

Cammarano served less than two years in Lewisburg, PA after pleading guilty in early 2010 to accepting bribes of $25,000 from FBI informant Solomon Dwek who posed as a developer seeking Hoboken variances.

Former mayor and convicted felon Peter Cammarano
won't be applauding today's SC decision.
NJ's highest court disbarred Cammarano from practicing law.

Cammarano who served for less than a month as mayor in 2009 was seeking a second chance to regain his law license.  At the time of his arrest, Cammarano was working for NJ election law powerhouse Genova Burns.

That firm is currently embroiled in another hot Hoboken election law controversy for its clients Beth and Richard Mason of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.  Last March the firm stated it sought a speedy resolution to the millions in potential fines the Mason family faced for hundreds of campaign violations. NJ ELEC however has not announced a final verdict.

According to today's story at the Jersey Journal, the NJ Office of Attorney Ethics suggested disbarment while an opposing majority on a disciplinary board favored suspension.

"This form of corruption is corrosive to our democracy and undermines public confidence in honest government, and its ripping pernicious effects are incalculable," NJ Supreme Court Justice Barry Albin wrote for the Court.

The NJ Supreme Court decision noted Cammarano had made efforts to right his life but that punishment short of disbarment could lessen the public's confidence in the NJ legal system.

The full legal decision can be found at:

HoLa variance expansion request in City Council @ 7:00

Tonight the City Council will switch into fall mode and the agenda is transitioning with some high profile items of interest with one charged zoning variance up for consideration.

Zoning variances are usually a high point of interest in Hoboken, especially since former mayor Peter Cammarano offered to sell two of them for $25,000 back in 2009 to federal informant Solomon Dwek who was posing as a developer.

"I promise you, you'll be treated as a friend," Cammarano told him for the ill begotten gains.

Tonight we have a variance of the legal variety up for consideration.

A zoning board application for HolA, the Boys and Girls Club aligned with the City of Hoboken seeks a zoning variance to expand facilities for the school. The subject is touchy with the legal differences in the HoLa school's 7th and 8th grade expansion approved by the State of NJ Dept. of Education and the regular Hoboken School District which recently saw cuts last year.

The expansion of the charter school has led to legal action by the district which lost its request to stop the seventh and eighth grade expansion. An appeal has been made to the Appellate Court.

Rarely do issues related to the Hoboken Board of Education surface in the Hoboken City Council as each has its own elected representatives. With the bump of financial resources in the wider school district, the contentious relationship with Hoboken's multiple charter schools entered a new phase around funding and the limited resources competing with one another.

The BoE most recently led by Superintendent Mark Toback said the expansion of charters was harming the regular school district. The charters argue they receive less funding and do more with less.

Hoboken finds itself in a unique position with a regular School District and four competing charter schools in a one square mile area. HoLa has been more polarized in the conversation as several Old Guard members and backers send their children to the school and have attempted to use the charter school as a linchpin to divide reform forces and a base of professional parent led families.

An article delineating concerns about the "segregative effect" showed in the recent school year there was progress in the income levels of parents across all the Hoboken schools with one exception: Connors.

The Connors school is in close proximity to the HoLa school and serves a 95% minority student population. HoLa with approximately a third or so minority enrollment remains in sharp contrast to its neighbor.  Last weekend, Carlo Davis broke down some data in his story here.

The competition for State resources and funding is likely to be a big agenda item in this November's Board of Education race.

Tonight's City Council agenda is available at the link.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Turnabout is fair play...

Yesterday's story hit a nerve. Traffic was the highest since the unofficial end of summer. Oh what the craven will do to usurp from our Mile Square neighbors and seek to inflict mayhem on the Hoboken People.

As Councilwoman Beth Mason's plan is to instruct Hoboken residents how to sue the City in large enough numbers to raise taxes for all the Mile Square taxpayers, the effort is likely to do more damage politically adding to her vast unpopularity.

The idea originally hatched in the aftermath of the November 2009 mayoral election is not likely to see much traction. Most property owners in town are aware they were doing fine since the late 80s on their tax assessment. Appeals are likely to see sporadic approval at best and the reval firm set out clear options on how to do so.

On another discordant note:

Monday, September 15, 2014

Beth Mason in new poll to Hoboken residents: 'Sue the City of Hoboken'


A Beth Mason poll politicizing the  long overdue reval as reported on MSV last week took a new ugly turn with the litigious councilwoman urging Hoboken property owners sue the City of Hoboken.

A reval under State law is required every ten years. (Correction: The standard is effective to real property in the municipality being assessed at somewhere between 85% and 115% of the average, then no reval is necessary.) But in recent decades ten years or less would exceed this required average in Hoboken. Recently, property values have again surged in the Mile Square.

 Hoboken took almost three decades to finally begin and execute a revaluation of all property values in town. While some homeowners saw a stable outcome to their tax bill, others saw a decrease with other residents seeing substantial increases.

The latest twist by the Mason family's army of political operatives can be interpreted as an escalation in the never ending Russo faction war on the popular Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer and the reform oriented majority on the City Council. The Mason family is the underwriter of the Russo Faction's political operations.

Independent reports state the live poll blamed the mayor for "initiating" the long overdue reval in town. Now the paid Mason poll operators are urging residents to sue the City of Hoboken if they are unhappy with the increase in their property taxes.

One reliable source said the paid Mason poll operator indicates Beth Mason will host workshops at her Mason Civic League "charity" office on Washington and 12th street offering detailed advice on how to sue Hoboken taxpayers.

The Mason Civic League has been controversial almost from its start. Filed as a 501(c)(3), it's required to file publicly each year when its expenditures exceed 50,000. To date, it's not clear if Beth Mason and her husband Ricky Mason have ever done so.

It's unknown if the latest Mason family political operation is part of a strategy to restart a new operation to undermine reform which currently holds the mayor's chair and a five working votes on the nine member City Council.

Beth Mason herself is facing re-election in ward races in November 2015.  At least one potential candidate is expressing interest in taking on Beth Mason in the second ward.

Beth Mason not to be outdone by her solitary joy suing Hoboken residents and the City hired
live pollsters calling Hoboken residents offering a workshops on how to sue Hoboken after the long overdue reval took effect. 

The Mason plan calls for Hoboken residents to sue the City. 
A success for Mason's latest political operation would mean higher taxes across the board for Hoboken taxpayers.

Talking Ed Note: MSV has verified indisputable proof Beth Mason political operatives were planning on using the long overdue reval to attack Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer back in November 2009.

In point of fact, Mason's senior political operative outlined the plan after her second successive defeat to Mayor Zimmer in the fall 2009 mayoral election. The full email detailing the planned Beth Mason political operation will be published upon legal approval. There's quite a bit more along those lines.

What the reval means for residents who saw increases is they benefited from Hoboken not holding a reval for decades. As a result, annual taxes were substantially lower for a period of years when no adjustments were made.

Beth Mason political operatives have waited years in the hopes to exploit this. So there's no turning back now. But it stinks really bad: all the way to Weehawken.

A correction is added into the story prominently. The full 2005 NJ report showing the requirement is available here.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Now served... but more importantly: protected

This week MSV passed another milestone and with thanks to you the Hoboken People, a statement on behalf of one of our most cherished freedoms is made. The millions come faster and faster but what's most important is the First Amendment remains alive and breathing in the Mile Square.

People here, especially here must know they are free to express their views, whatever their views, in anonymity or not without fear of cynical SLAPP suits backed by vindictive losers and a family checkbook failing to elevate a flagging political "career."

New Jersey has an especially vigorous standard for the protection of speech. The New Jersey Supreme Court has stated that the State's Constitution offers protections "more sweeping in scope than the language of the First Amendment and has supported broader free speech rights than its federal counterpart." In addition, closer to home, Hudson County Superior Court recently stated political speech "lies at the core of our constitutional free speech protections."

Corruption rears its head in varied forms as the Mile Square City remains in a tussle with its "tradition" of entitlement reaping the spoils of power, legal and as so often been the case not. That factional battle between its "On the Waterfront" past vs. professional 21st century governance must not fall way to the underhanded use of the civil court system. Hoboken politics cast at times as a battlefield must remain first and foremost a sanctuary for the open discourse of ideas, in the political square, town hall and on its local blogosphere.

In Hoboken after the FBI came to City Hall in 2011 (and revealed a conspiracy of looting electronic communications out of the mayor's office), the Beth Mason sponsored smear site attempting to control and censor all political discourse saw its ghostwritten efforts cower into the shadows before retching one final tirade of lies then descending into the bowels of our city.

What has emerged is numerous places for residents to read about and discuss Hoboken government and politics. A chill struck in 2012 when a bitter vindictive political failure applied the family checkbook seeking to destroy the the town square.
In the face of this utter depravity, MSV continues to see the most comments of any Hoboken website. Repeated attempts using the civil courts to obtain any information of our users, in any shape or form here has been rebuffed although coming at tremendous cost.

So with thanks, MSV wishes to share a few words from Thomas Paine, with a grateful eye especially to those who join the fight for speech in this Mile Square we call home. Most of you who support "the experiment" as it was originally deemed, only know MSV by the work here. Thanks especially to you all.

"The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow." - Thomas Paine.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Saying goodbye to Lane's End

The bite in the air signifies summer's over even if the calendar doesn't quite agree. So too for SmartyJones' cousin, Zenyatta and her team saying goodbye to summer at Lane's End.

Zenyatta one of the most successful racehorses since SmartyJones nuzzles with her daughter Princess
at Lane's End Farm. Team Z is off to greener pastures. 

Zenyatta's official Facebook with this and more photos is available here.

The full Team Zenyatta page is available here.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9-11 thirteen years out, terrorism is very much with us

The following article was originally published here on the ten year anniversary. Christopher Hitchens saw clearly the true nature of the threat and did not quibble about moral equivalence. He passed away shortly after the ten year anniversary but his original article then is linked below and is a must read.

Each year this day brings one further removed from the ultimate moments of sadness.  With it, a faint hope as the day approaches it will be further removed from memory, less memorable, distant with less feeling.  When the day arrives, those hopes are dashed.

The first anniversary was the worst.  Midday in downtown Hoboken the air was carrying the vibrations of loss from across the river.  It wasn't a feeling, it wasn't a passing thought - it was palpable.

Everyone has a story that day.  Like so many, I had worked in the shadow of the World Trade Center for four years leading in never thinking of the dangers that would arrive.  People perished murdered at the hands of terrorists convinced of their religious rectitude. Their victims were people I had worked with, done business with, gone to school with and some among the 57 neighbors here in Hoboken murdered that day.

 In 1993, my first reaction working in Tribeca to the news of the buildings being bombed was denial. Eight years later, I saw the second airliner hit and instantly knew the reality: terrorism.

The people responsible for the 1993 attack were said by those who knew better they would be back to finish the job.*  They were right.  This time the murders were multiplied many times over, the damage seemingly incalculable in rubble from where the the two monoliths once stood.

Words are inadequate.  More important, it's necessary to do so anyway if nothing more than to not allow the remembrance to become too distant.

Honor them.

* One of the 1993 WTC bombers escaped to Iraq where he lived a comfortable life with a government home and check.  His colleague Ramzi Yousef was captured and confident the job would be finished.  Eight years later, Yousef's uncle, Khalid Shaikh Mohamed did.

Related: Christopher Hitchens facing his own mortality reflects on the inherent nature of what America faced that day.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Grist for the Mill: The cost of corruption strikes home in Hoboken

Corruption is at present a living breathing organism in Hoboken. Back in 2009, at the time of the arrest of then mayor Peter Cammarano, division between the Russo Faction and the rise of Reform was an emerging battle line temporarily abated.

Other than a few discordant voices who said with straight faces, "Don't hate the playa, hate the game," an unsaid rule of thumb prevailed. Let the dust settle and the decks (and bodies) be cleared away then it will be business as usual for the Old Guard again.

It was at best a tip of the hat to corruption in the salty "On the Waterfront" veiny past in the Mile Square City. It isn't quite a novella for the history books though. Let's examine how it may have played out in recent events.

The Hoboken Housing Authority is reeling with revelations of misdeeds, incompetence and financial strangulation. Finger pointing isn't going to solve those problems but MSV can state without final confirmation, a list continues to be unwound and the unraveling will become more a public issue. Transparency and all that jazz being a real deal for reform.

Among the emerging gristy chewables:

Numerous HHA residents unbelievably did not have any "normal" security in their homes. Quite literally, they had no locks on their apartment doors. The reason was a vendor agreement with a local locksmith was not paid and the outstanding bill, in the thousands of dollars stopped all work orders. Buildings also were not secured with no working entrance locks putting some residents in double jeopardy.

How is it that problem never came to the fore? It was never mentioned by any HHA resident at any meeting. What does that tell you about the iron fisted fear they lived under?

Early on this year when the financial irregularities were surfacing, MSV clearly saw the echoes of finger pointing at one HHA officer. It was obvious this person was going to be thrown under the bus should/when the need arise. Once the full weight of financial issues began to surface due largely to the strong investigative efforts of HHA Chair Dana Wefer, right under the bus this officer went. A suspension was thrust upon them and only after the termination of the former Executive Director took place was that wrong righted.

Reports of misuse of HHA authorized vehicles has been whispered about for weeks. There's more than one vehicle involved. One vehicle was in the sights for personal usage but the authorization of use is an open issue too. Unfortunately, a clearer explanation isn't possible for the moment.

There's additional word from the County level of some political shenanigans tied to unnecessary and completely unjustified political spending using HHA vendors. More investigative work is required. 

When trouble began surfacing in the HHA, one official was tossed
right under the bus. More problems are coming to light and will not
be so easily whitewashed, part of the Hoboken "On the Waterfront" tradition.

With the fear of talking removed in the HHA, residents have begun stepping forward asking if they can speak to issues and problems of a personal and legal variety. It's in the early beginnings but it's a positive sign. What emerges will be more than a little interesting.

Corruption rears its head in many forms and the nexus of corruption is very much in our midst and ready to strike, perjure, cheat and steal to advance itself and no gutter is too low to go. As cited here, it's Hoboken's most vulnerable who recently were paying the highest price. 

Grist for the Mill is MSV's rumor column. Have a juicy carrot for Da Horsey? Send it to smartyjones@me.com. Confidentiality is ensured but publication is not. 

Morning Sidebar: Be on the lookout for another in a series of Beth Mason sponsored phone calls to Hoboken residents urging anger over the legally required reval.

Multiple reports are coming in already and the Mason family money is on the warpath. The latest in a fishy smelling political operation on behalf of Beth Mason is an attempt try and blame the reval, decades overdue, on Mayor Zimmer.

A reader emailed MSV saying a caller speaking for Beth Mason was blaming the reveal on the mayor saying she initiated it.

At the spaghetti dinner, the usual jovial Freeholder Anthony Romano was heard by this horse saying similar. When asked why he was saying that which he must know is untrue, he pointed to resistance to the law in a neighboring municipality.

Mr. Freeholder, is the race for Hoboken mayor already underway? 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

We remember

City of Hoboken announces:


The Hoboken community will come together to share in its annual September 11th Interfaith Memorial Service for the victims, their families, the City of Hoboken, and the entire nation. Fifty seven Hoboken residents were lost on September 11, 2001.

The service will take place on Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. on the southeast corner of Hoboken’s Pier A Park. All are invited to attend.