Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Last call for a 6 acre park in Hoboken?

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

If there wasn't enough already swimming in the Hoboken ether with the council candidate faceoffs this November, the series of legal discussions in multiple City Council sessions on the six acres in northwest Hoboken is up for a vote tonight using eminent domain.

That's not the only big legal issue looming before the City Council.

On the agenda, three votes will take place related to the BASF Cognos-Henkel site.

The mayor in a released statement earlier this week said, "This six-acre property is the City's last remaining option for acquiring such a large amount of contiguous land for open space, and it would provide Hoboken with a unique opportunity to address three of our most pressing challenges - flooding, open space and parking."

Unrelated, Grafix Avenger exploded today with a legal bomb on the four consecutive missed City Council meetings by Beth Mason. The report suggests in Mason's doing so without a legitimate reason, under NJ law she's automatically vacated the seat.

Mason had gone to ground after the Hudson Superior Court's final legal verdict on the Bajardi v Pincus civil case. The verdict declared the venomous litigation against a dozen Hoboken residents a frivolous SLAPP-suit and ordered sanctions against Lane Bajardi and Kimberly Cardinal Bajardi and three of their attorneys for over $276,000.

The City of Hoboken must review the NJ statute on the lengthy, unexplained absences by Beth Mason and protect its interests. Any participation or vote by Beth Mason may place Hoboken in legal jeopardy.

Hoboken's City Council meeting is slated to begin @ 7:00.

Beth Mason returned to discover a legally required closed session of the council was needed to manage the fallout from her blowing off eights weeks and four City Council meetings since July 8th. She was required to stay outside the Council Chambers and overheard yelling at someone on the phone while awaiting the council's action. She disappeared after the July 8th decision of Judge Patrick Arre in Hudson Superior Court slamming her pals Lane Bajardi and Kimberly Cardinal Bajardi with $280,000 in sanctions for a frivolous litigation. Mason announced the SLAPP in the July 2012 City Council meeting 15 days before it was filed against a dozen Hoboken residents although that's gone unreported in other local media for years.

Update: First reading of ordinances related to the six acres in a potential acquisition by the City of Hoboken possibly using eminent domain on land owned by BASF passed 6-3.

Voting in favor: Councilmembers Peter Cunningham, Jen Giattino, Dave Mello,  Jim Doyle and Council President Ravi Bhalla. The key sixth required vote came once again from Timmy Occhipinti. (If the same six votes vote similarly in two weeks, the action will pass.)

Voting against acquisition: Terry Castellano, Michael Russo and Beth Mason.
Next reading in two weeks with public comment and a second and final vote.

Earlier an unplanned closed session of the City Council to deal with the vacated second ward council seat previously occupied by Beth Mason. Since July 8th, she has missed eight weeks without explanation in council activities including four straight meetings into the September meeting.

Under NJ law, a council members automatically vacates the council seat when they are MIA for unexplained lack of participation as here.

An unread resolution allowed Beth Mason to be reinstated to finish her term obtaining approval from all the council members who were forced  under NJ law to consider what possible reason Mason had for the unexplained absences. 

It's unclear what excuse after the fact Beth Mason offered.

Grist for the Mill: Giving'em the Old Guard Push

When negotiations break down and the old methods of keeping candidates off a Hoboken election ballot fail, there's always daylight in advance of "withdrawal" day.

It's the designated date filed candidates can withdraw their petitions and not appear on the ballot. This year, it's thought to be 60 days before the election which would officially be September 4th. That date is confirmed for Board of Eduction candidates.

It's unclear however if that's the case for non-partisan municipal NJ elections this year.

More added pressure for related efforts to give the ole heave-ho to candidates who could get in the way. In the second ward, there's focus on Bonnie Murray, the wife of often failed BoE candidate Brian Murray.

Bonnie Murray made an appearance at Ruben Ramos' fourth ward council kickoff held at his home last week and is unofficially the Carmelo Ticket candidate in the second ward.

There isn't exactly many second ward votes clear across the Mile Square at the Ramos household but ticket loyalty even unofficial ticket loyalty goes a long way toward mutual unity efforts.

In this case it's the Applied Housing votes in the second ward all the rage between Old Guard camps. Second ward candidate Peter Biancamano would love to scoop up those votes but first someone has to give a nudge to Bonnie Murray.

Back in the day, the nudge could be more akin to a tightening squeeze around the neck. Problematically, the Carmelo Ticket wants to return the favor to Biancamano and Frank "Pupie" Raia who were council tickets in a late 2013 slate bid with Timmy Occhipinti atop for mayor reducing the chances of Ruben Ramos toppling Mayor Zimmer.

If the three candidates in the second ward hold past the official withdrawal date, expect the Carmelo Ticket to seize the day in Applied Housing making Bonnie Murray more than a nuisance but a legitimate candidate.

There's a sizable Hispanic vote in the Applied Housing buildings, one historically pliable to arm twisting and other forms of encouragement. Ruben Ramos received strong backing there in 2013 and that influence is transferable to Bonnie Murray.

In 2011, the Applied Housing vote was the last bastion of votes for Beth Mason who had all but squandered any base as a reformer when she threw in with the Russo Clan in her first failed bid for mayor in 2009.

The open question: is a Vote-by-Mail war going to extend beyond the third and fourth wards into the second?

If Bonnie Murray remains a candidate past the withdrawal date, there could be.

Related: One City Council candidate is already publicly volunteering to withdraw if certain conditions are met. Melissa Blanco, a virulent hater of Mayor Zimmer and the Reform Movement offered as much in an interview on filing day outside City Hall with John Heinis at the Hudson County View.

The Carmelo Ticket will insist she do so in order to not detract votes from Eduardo Gonzalez in his bid to unseat Reform's anti-corruption champion Councilman Peter Cunningham.

Blanco who's allegedly unleashed numerous screeds on various sites from PolitickerNJ to the Hudson Reporter and on occasion maybe even MSV also spoke to the mob trying to prevent a hearing and vote terminating Carmelo Garcia's contract last summer.

Unsubstantiated accusations on various issues including corruption have allegedly erupted regularly under various screen names but since the scathing audit report along with the millions of dollars in unapproved spending by Carmelo Garcia in the Hoboken Housing Authority, not a single word by Blanco.

Alleged attacks on corruption instead are posed against HHA Chair Dana Wefer.

Blanco was seen in the charming Garcia contract termination video last summer, "The Fracas."

Grist for the Mill is MSV's rumor column. Got a tasty carrot for Da Horsey? Send it to All email is kept confidential until mutual agreement and is protected by Da Horsey's proven Reporter Privilege upheld under the NJ Shield Law.

In the Mile Square, Local Teacher and Former Students Produce Feature Film

Art is a subjective creation that captures a person’s heart or inflames their soul.  The first prospect is the goal set by D. H. MacAulay and his former media students.  MacAulay and his team of young video/film makers are currently preparing their upcoming feature digital video production, In My Own Mind, a project that is to be shot in Hoboken and Hudson County during the summer of 2016.

In My Own Mind is about a young man whose actions show a positive, well-intentioned artist, who is looking for a woman who shares his romantic interest in having a ‘happy” family. 

Sam Rodriguez’s life includes two low paying jobs, as a guard at a gallery and as a customer service representative at a bookstore. It is at the bookstore where he meets his new friends, Ross, and his son, Eric. Sam helps Eric pick out a book for his Dad and helps him with the price of the book, without his father suspecting.

Sam, Ross, and Eric will meet again, but in the local park where Sam sketches in. Sam is inspired by Eric to write and illustrate a book which is titled, “The daily life of being a Dad.”

The art and literary world come together for Sam, as he sells one of his park paintings at the gallery and the bookstore owner, Mr. Cohen, introduces Sam to a publisher who wants to publish his book. But like all surprises in life, Sam’s success is darkened when Eric is found to have sickle cell anemia.

Sam discovers the ups and downs of parenthood, as he tries to help Ross by giving him his residual check. The next book that Sam and Eric work on as he is recuperating in the hospital is titled, “The daily life of being a patient.” While visiting Eric in the hospital, he is introduced to one of his biggest book fans, Dr. Rachel Friedlander, Eric’s doctor and Sam’s future wife. 

MacAulay has been working in film and digital video since 1990 and began his teaching career as a media production teacher in 2001, first with the Hudson County Schools of Technology and later with Hoboken High School, where he is currently still teaching.  He became a teacher because he wasn’t happy with the self-indulgence he saw in the film industry. He says that he decided then, “If you get a rotten apple, don’t go back to the barrel, but pick them fresh off the tree.” He continues, “I decided to work my own orchard so I could make better apples.”

MacAulay and his students have produced short digital videos, commercials, music videos and current event videos.  In 2004, he and students Ingrid Uribe and Jerri Siro won the NJ Young Film and Video Makers Festival, which is a part of New Jersey’s Black Maria.  In 2010, his Hoboken Media Production class won a Telly award for a music video they shot and produced.

In 2010, MacAulay wrote the first draft of the screenplay, In My Own Mind, at the urging of a student. It languished on his computer until 2012, when MacAulay suggested to one of his Hoboken High School senior students that he might be good for the lead.  He gave the student a copy of the screenplay and they decided to produce the project.  However, as they were in the beginning stages of fundraising, with the goal of shooting by the summer of 2013, Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey.  MacAulay decided to put the project on hold. “I didn’t think it was ethically or morally the right thing to ask our friends and neighbors for money for our project when so many had lost so much during the storm.”

This past spring, MacAulay’s advanced class Media Production 2, asked about creating a more ambitious production than a short film. “I told them the story of In My Own Mind, and explained that we could continue raising money for this production or create a new project.”  Three students opted for In My Own Mind and the pre-production process has begun.

Alumni from both HCST and Hoboken High School have been working with MacAulay to raise the $230K budgeted for this project.  They have set up a Creative District listing, Gofundme page, and Facebook page for this project.  

Breaking into the world of independent cinema is no small feat.  That is why Hoboken cinephiles and arts integration advocates should consider lending their support to this exciting new venture.

On October 14 and 21, Johnny Rockets in Hoboken will be donating 20% of their total receipts (not including tax) toward the project.  Interested in participating?  Johnny Rockets will provide a fundraising flyer beforehand to keep track of patrons interested in donating.  

MacAulay and his Director of Videography, John F. Cole (HCST Class of 2004), have started the “shooting script,” which adds shots and angles to the existing screenplay.  Dylan Irizarry has signed on as the Assistant Director.  Current students and future graduates of the Class of 2016, Baltazar Gonzalez and Bryant Vega, are both the producers on the project, Arturo Liranzo is head camera operator, and William Ithier III is 2nd operator.

For further information, please go to If you’d like to help this ambitious team of artists reach their goal:  Plans are in motion to begin production on July 6, 2016 and wrap by August 15, 2016.