Monday, January 30, 2017

Mayor Zimmer's State of the City Address

Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s State of the City Address— as prepared for delivery, via the City of Hoboken:

Thank you to Stevens for hosting us today and to Provost Dr. Christophe Pierre for the warm welcome. I understand he couldn’t be here tonight, but I also want to thank President Farvardin for his friendship and partnership with me and the City of Hoboken. I truly appreciate that he came to our country as an immigrant from Iran, contributed so much innovation over his career, and has done a fantastic job over the last five years leading Stevens Institute of Technology.
Thank you to Assemblywoman Chaparro for your introduction and for your terrific job advocating for the people of Hoboken and the 33rd District. Thank you to the Garden Street performers, and congratulations to Finn Douglas on your 52 performances in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular as a 9-year old! Thank you to our Police and Fire Department honor guard, to Father Bob, Detective Quinones, and to Jeanne Cummins for your beautiful rendition of our National Anthem.
Thank you to Hoboken Housing Authority Executive Director Mark Recko and North Hudson Sewerage Authority Executive Director Richard Wolff. Thank you to Freeholder Romano, Council members, School Board members, and all of our board and commission members for being here.
I also want to recognize Dr. Christine Johnson, our superintendent of schools, who has done an amazing job improving our public schools. Under her leadership, Hoboken now offers a fantastic curriculum in science, technology, engineering, and math for grades K through 12 as part of a program called Project Lead the Way. I encourage everyone to find out more so you can better understand the important academic changes that are happening right now in our public schools. This year the district also added a great after school program called Passport to Learning which provides 17 different programs to learn in a fun way from engineering to Mandarin to computer science. Children and parents love it and I want to applaud Superintendent Johnson and the School Board for implementing these programs. I also want to congratulate the kids at Hoboken High School, where over 90 percent of seniors have completed the college application process, and academic scholarships offered to our graduates have more than quadrupled in the last two years to over $7 million.
I want to welcome Library Board President Allen Kratz who is here. A big congratulations to the Library on nearing completion of the preservation of the fa├žade and rehabilitation of the basement into new, flood-resilient program rooms. We were glad to both financially support the project and provide space in the Multi Service Center during temporary closings.
Most importantly, thank you to all the members of our community who are here tonight. Hoboken is filled with incredibly dedicated, caring, and resilient people, and I want to recognize the efforts of some of our residents that make Hoboken such a special place.
I was inspired by the story of Stephanie and Matt Cohen who are here with us tonight. They took on a role they never imagined just one year ago when their daughter, Madison, was born with a congenital heart defect called Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome. Stephanie and Matt spent each day by Madison’s side as she endured surgeries and medical procedures, but sadly she passed away after two months. Rather than let tragedy overcome them, they made it their mission to raise awareness and funds for congenital heart defect through Hayden’s Heart Foundation to support the children and adults now battling with CHD the way their daughter Madison did. I invite you to learn more about Stephanie and Matt’s efforts to raise awareness on the Little Hoboken blog, where Stephanie now serves as a contributing writer. Stephanie and Matt’s mission to keep Madison’s memory alive serves as an inspiration to us all, and I ask you to please join me in giving them a big round of applause.
On Saturday, I joined with the Boyd family to commemorate the life of Charles Boyd Sr., known as “TC” the superhero. His dedication and commitment to his community was boundless as he worked every day to engage young people and make sure that they stayed on track in their lives. He was an inspiration for the community, and it was wonderful to join the Boyd family, Housing Authority residents, and elected officials to name a building in Mr. Boyd’s honor and memory. His spirit will live on as a model for our community. Please give a round of applause for Mr. Boyd and the Boyd family.
I also want to recognize the resilient character of our veterans from American Legion Post 107 who are here with us tonight. Not only did they each fight to protect the core values of liberty and justice for our country, but every year they stand together and work hard to make sure that our veterans are recognized during all the national veteran holidays. When their Post headquarters was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, not only did they not give up, they worked with my Administration, the County, and members of our community to develop a plan and funding for a new post and to provide affordable housing for our veterans in need. They are still working toward a fundraising goal, and I ask everyone to consider giving what you can at Please stand and recognize our veterans, led by Post Commander John Carey, who are here with us, for their service to our country and ongoing commitment to helping veterans in need.
And finally, I want to acknowledge that, sadly, last week we lost Sada Fretz, a beloved member of our community who fought against overdevelopment of our waterfront and advocated for public parks. Many of the things we enjoy about Hoboken today are because of committed citizens like her.
For all these reasons and many more, it is an incredible honor to serve the people of Hoboken as mayor of our beautiful, vibrant city. I also want to thank my husband Stan and my sons, Jacob and Alex, who have all been my bedrock of support throughout my time as an elected official.
Together, as a community, we are making our great City stronger and stronger. Over the last year, we’ve made incredible progress to improve the quality of life for our residents.
The City invested $11 million in a new, second flood pump, and thanks to a partnership with North Hudson Sewerage Authority, we have made real progress in solving our flooding problem from typical rain storms. News crews were here to try and cover the flooding in our City last week, but all they saw was wet pavement. We are no longer the go-to place for footage of flooding! For three consecutive rain events, when neighborhoods in the western side of our City would otherwise have been under water, our two flood pumps kept our streets from flooding.
But our flooding challenges are far from over. We must continue working to protect from another kind of flooding – flooding from storm surge like what occurred during Superstorm Sandy.
Last week, during a storm that was hardly reminiscent of Sandy, the storm surge brought the Hudson River to mere inches from the top of the bulkhead – not very far from bringing the river flowing into our City. This provided a strong reminder that we still have a lot of work to do to protect Hoboken.
The risk for Hoboken is very, very real. We cannot live in fear that our City will be devastated again every time a major storm is predicted, and we all know that we cannot rely on flood insurance to pay the costs suffered by our residents and businesses.
That’s why our Rebuild by Design project is so critically important. This vital infrastructure project, funded by a $230 million federal grant, will give our community the protection and peace of mind that we deserve with beautifully designed new urban amenities.

Public Invited to Hoboken State of the City Address by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer


Hoboken, NJ - Thursday, January 19th, 2017

Mayor Dawn Zimmer invites all members of the community to attend her seventh State of the City address. A performance by the Garden Street School of Performing Arts will precede the address. The event will take place on Monday, January 30, 2017 at 7:00 pm at the DeBaun Auditorium in Edwin A. Stevens Hall on the campus of Stevens Institute of Technology.
Seating is open to the public and tickets are not needed to attend.
The main entrance is on 5th Street directly across from Stevens Park. The wheelchair entrance is located in the rear entrance of the building on River Street with handicapped parking located behind the two buildings (McLean & Babbio) located directly across the street from the ramp. For additional information, visit:

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Hoboken elections, peace in our time?

There's two major offices up for election this year in the Mile Square City. First, the county freeholder seat with a critical June Democrat Primary and then the mayor's seat in November. Based on MSV's exclusive investigative report, the paths of the two senior elected officials are not likely to meet in any head to head face-off.

Some suggest it's an unofficial but higher power, re: HudCo organized nonaggression pact while others say it's a more Vulcan-like mind meld of the minds to take the more scenic road less traveled.

Current incumbent Freeholder Anthony "Stick" Romano is gearing up for his re-election bid for another three year term. His endless campaign after his last successful re-election saw the county freeholder appear the default Old Guard candidate in a mayoral bid this year.

To many observers, Romano's bid for mayor seemed inevitable as he slogged his way through every conceivable photo op in Hoboken and his Facebook supporters foreshadowed, "Stick is everywhere." His early retirement at the Hoboken Police Department lent some motivation as he felt corralled by Mayor Zimmer's police reorganization plan. His brief tenure as a captain eyed a shot at police chief but the reorg forced his hand and he chose retirement. From the county freeholder position, he bidded his time and a chance at payback.

Late last year, MSV reported in premium an armada of political operatives were lined up to work for Romano and one, Pablo Fonseca, connected to former Newark mayor and NJ Senator Corey Booker was slated to be among his new army. Another campaign manager type expected to get on board included Ryan Yacco who headed the 2011 council campaign for the odious Beth Mason.

Fonseca was plugged in and given a taste of earnings through the Board of Education slate Parents United campaign last fall. Romano worked heavily the past two years to replace the reform oriented 'Kids First' majority on the BoE. The failures didn't make for a stronger stomach to take on the mayoral incumbent leaving a motley minority of three rudderless on the BoE.

With heavy campaign artillery lined up, it looked like the order to "fire" on the second floor of City Hall was about to commence in 2017 even with a crushing beat down sweep on the BoE.  Previously, Romano lined up with big developer interests appearing as a guest speaker before the 2015 council races at a seminar sponsored by MSTA.  Seeing MSV in attendance, Romano went off his usual polite public script urging the attendees, "Don't read the blogs," code for MSV and Grafix Avenger. The latter satirical Mile Square website drives Old Guard candidates into a tizzy with her sharp-witted graphics.

Stick reportedly was incensed being depicted as a ballerina wearing a tutu for avoiding sticky questions on a former BoE employee who suffered from online transgender confusion persona.  It's all rather vexing and confusing. Stick was rather vexed and the former Hoboken 'educator' flying roundtrip via Austin, Texas too.

Back to the focus of the 2017 elections, earlier scuttlebutt said Romano would pursue both Freeholder and mayor. Those rumors have fallen by the wayside as nothing but a smokescreen if not legally available. While the intention seemed to buy time and gear up a war chest to take on the incumbent mayor, the wheels have fallen off.

Each elected official appears to have retreated to their respective corners awaiting other uncertainties. First and foremost: who will emerge to oppose Mayor Zimmer's third term bid?

Councilman Mike Defusco is now the spinning top circling the Mile Square. While his February fundraiser was mistakenly scheduled on the same date as an earlier one planned by Councilman Ravi Bhalla (slated for a third consecutive term as an at-large councilman on the mayor's ticket); Defusco's plans to have a big name atop in Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop were derailed.

Lots of hasty meetings have followed for the councilman, from the Malibu Diner uptown to downtown in his home base of the first ward and all points in-between. Is that Peter Cammarano's ghost floating behind or the spirit of former freeholder Maurice Fitzgibbons?

In an exclusive interview last week, Romano shed some light on his electoral future and dismissed other rumors connecting him to would be challengers of Mayor Zimmer.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Freeholder Anthony "Stick" Romano won't be competing for the mayor's chair after all.
Before that November race, there's no one backed by the mayor to take on Romano in the June Democratic primary.
City Hall sources expressed confidence in the mayor's third term bid no matter who she faces.

The rest of this story is MSV Premium content and was sent to members.
If for any reason you didn't receive it, email

Friday, January 27, 2017

Mile Square non-aggreesion pact?

The MSV Premium issue examining Hoboken's upcoming 2017 elections will be published on Monday. Sit tight and remember, Horsey is bringing election peace in our time.

Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno and Freeholder Anthony Romano are expected on the 2017 ballot.
Here they were at City Hall in 2011 but City Hall is not their target this year.

Shooting in Hoboken ends with 18 year old slain

According to a report; two arrests have been made in the fatal shooting of an 18 year old in Hoboken, also naming the victim who died in the hospital.


An 18 year man was reported shot and killed in Hoboken yesterday according to a story.

According to a statement by the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office:

The last homicide in Hoboken came in 2013 when three teenagers beat up a a homeless man in what is called a game of "knockout" where an unsuspecting victim is stalked and then punched. 
The man was homeless and died as a result of the attack and one of the there three teens was sentenced to confinement in the juvenile system.
A fatal shooting involving an 18 year old male
occurred yesterday but details including the name
of the deceased remain unclear.

Talking Ed Note: There's basic details of the story completely missing. No name of the deceased, his residence or anything involving the events that took place other than age, sex and cause of death.
This is odd. The story details are buttoned up tighter than the last Hoboken shooting last February where the suspicious death of a Hoboken man shot in the chest on Grand Street took place.

That man, Leonid Markevitch was the husband of Liz Markevitch who ran for a BoE trustee position on the 2012 Move Forward ticket. The suspicious death was thought a suicide.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Second complaint filed in City Council speaker snafu


MSV confirms Perry Belfiore served a civil complaint after David Liebler last month on being removed from speaking during public portion at an October 21, 2015 City Council meeting

One is the loneliest number but David Liebler and his civil litigation against the City of Hoboken is lonely no more. He's been joined in a similar civil rights claim by well known Hoboken politico Perry Belfiore who filed a similar complaint after being ejected from the October 21, 2015 City Council meeting during public portion.

The ejections were related to mentions of Mayor Dawn's husband, Stan Grossbard, ruled out of order by then City Council President Ravi Bhalla.

According to online records, a complaint on behalf of Belfiore was filed in NJ District Court on October 21, 2016 against the City of Hoboken and Councilman Ravi Bhalla. He is represented by Greg F. Paster & Associates.

The City of Hoboken and Councilman Ravi Bhalla show representation and appearances by Victor Afanador and Adam Najib on December 14, 2016.

Unlike the civil suit brought by David Liebler, the Belfiore civil complaint names only those two parties, not all of the Hoboken city council members.

In a brief phone interview, Perry Belfiore reluctantly acknowledged the civil complaint's filing and the initial work performed by former Hoboken Corporation Counsel Steve Kleinman. The former city attorney in recent years is listed on his LinkedIn page working for Greg F. Paster & Associates and is known for performing legal work over years for former councilwoman Beth Mason.

The complaint requests a trial by jury.

Here is the original incident published by MSV from the October 21st, 2016 council meeting:

Talking Ed Note: MSV has left a message with Greg F. Paster & Associates and is awaiting a call back as the attorney is unavailable at the moment.

Steve Kleinman was present at numerous hearings working with former Councilwoman Beth Mason in criminal charges filed against MSV in 2015. The criminal case was thrown out of court last May in Jersey City Municipal Court. Mason had alleged she was assaulted on the council dais with a no. 10 white envelope containing a witness subpoena for the Bajardi v. Pincus trial.

Mason made numerous other charges of criminality alleging she was being followed in Hoboken and other alleged harassment but provided zero evidence at trial before the case was thrown out of court.

So you wanna be da mayor?

Hoboken is bordering on January's end but February brings with it Groundhogs Day.
For the politicos of the Mile Square universe this means time grows short.

November is a political lifetime off in the distance but the Freeholder race is pretty much determined in the June Democratic Primary. Anthony "Stick" Romano, the reigning incumbent is gearing up for another three year term.

Will he be flying solo?

Hey the ref heard the bell. Mayor Zimmer let go of Stick.

The rest of this story is MSV Premium and will be released on Monday.

WWF Zimmer-Romano graphic courtesy of Grafix Avenger.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Mayor notes third success with second NHSA pump implementation

Office of the Mayor announces:

“For the third time yesterday, our new H-5 flood pump, combined with our existing H-1 pump, kept western Hoboken dry through the kind of major storm that previously would have flooded our neighborhoods. But as we saw the river splash over the bulkhead along Weehawken Cove and fill the tracks in Hoboken Terminal, yesterday was also a reminder that we face a real flood risk not just from downpours, but from the river itself – and not only during hurricane season. That is why the Rebuild by Design project is so important, and I invite everyone to attend the public hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project on March 16. Thank you to the Office of Emergency Management, Police and Fire Departments, Environmental Services, and Construction Office for making sure we were prepared for yesterday’s storm.”

A flyer with the latest updates on the Rebuild by Design project is available at:

For the Rebuild by Design Hudson River project website, visit:

Talking Ed Note: MSV witnessed the Shoprite at 9th and Madison last night at 10:30 with sandbags placed against all doors but there was no water on the streets or sidewalk.

Two earlier MSV stories highlighted the success of the NHSA's second water pump going online:

Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro on pedestrian and bike safety unanimously passes NJ Assembly

From the desk of Aseemblywoman Annette Chaparro:


Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro’s bill (A-4165) aimed at educating new drivers on the correct ways to share the road with bicyclists and pedestrians passed the General Assembly today by a vote of 67-0-2.

“This bill was drafted after I noticed more and more residents in Hoboken and Jersey City using a bicycle through share programs or just buying one for personal use,” Chaparro said. “Given this change in the way that people travel, it is important to ensure that our driver’s education classes, tests, and manuals are updated to reflect the changing landscape of the roads. We need to work to eliminate fatalities and injuries of pedestrians and bicyclists in New Jersey, and by improving the education of new drivers, this bill is one way we can work toward that goal.”

The bill requires that the curriculum for approved driver’s education courses and informational brochures from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) include information concerning the importance of safely sharing the road with bicyclists, skaters, and pedestrians. The MVC would also include bicycle and pedestrian safety questions as part of the written examination required to obtain a permit and basic driver’s license. The legislation hopes to raise awareness to all drivers about sharing the road safely.

The legislation was supported, in part, by the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

“With many riders in New Jersey dependent upon bicycles to meet all of their transportation needs, plus the tens of thousands who ride for fitness and recreation, educating drivers of the rules of the road for motorists and for bike riders becomes critical to reaching zero bike rider deaths and injuries,” said Cyndi Steiner, Executive Director of the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition. “New Jersey has continued to be at the top of the list in the country for the percentage of road deaths that occur to bike riders and pedestrians. New York City, right next door, has been leading the country in Vision Zero, and New Jersey has yet to adopt such an approach. We will not begin to eliminate these senseless fatalities unless we educate drivers on the rules of the road."

“Since 2009, New Jersey has been labeled a Pedestrian and Bicyclist ‘Focus’ state by the Federal Highway Administration due to its high rate of pedestrian and bicycle fatalities,” said Janna Chernetz, Director of New Jersey Policy at the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “Early education is a key component in efforts to make roads safer for all users and to remove this label once and for all.  This legislation also complements the efforts of the state, 8 counties and 133 municipalities that have adopted Complete Streets policies as they move to engineer roadways to safely accommodate all users.”

The bill is also sponsored by Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33), Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D-31), Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31), and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37). A-4165 is co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez (D-32), Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-38), Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-26), and Assemblyman Tom Giblin (D-34).

On rebuilding a GOP opposition in Hudson County

The following article is submitted by Hoboken resident Josh Sotomayor-Einstein

A state GOP leadership that fails to take the field in Bayonne, Hoboken, or Secaucus cannot be expected to be taken seriously. A Republican Party that ignores that many citizens in Jersey City and across Hudson County with conservative and liberty leanings and that doesn’t run School Board or City Council candidates is a joke we can no longer afford. The Republicans of Hudson County, and of NJ, need change. Republicans can be a critical part of changing the state GOP right now by donating to the campaign at GOP voters can choose a new direction – of outreach, supporting candidates for local office, and a state party that will build our local branches and grow the list of responsible Republican local officials – by voting for me, Joshua Sotomayor-Einstein, for NJ Republican State Committee.

For years, New Jersey has been a leader in state government bad-enough to create a population drain, an out-state migration that would be all the more pronounced if not for the immigrants who flock to our region and find a home in our greater NYC and Philly metro areas. It is no surprise that blue state progressive policies make daily living for residents of California, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, and others so bad as to convince them to move. 

Despite New Jersey’s Republican governor, the state is still headed off a fiscal cliff, remains insolvent, maintains a bloated bureaucracy, and is still ineffective and inefficient. New Jersey’s regulatory regime has chased away business owners, job creators, and investors. It has denied parents the right to send their children to the school of their choice and continues confusing public schools (a method of delivery) with public education (the actual goal). Despite nearly 8 years of a well-intentioned Governor Christie, who served his entire time with Democrats in control of the legislature, NJ is still a blue occupied state.

The question is both how did this come to pass and what is the solution? The answer is that during the almost 8 years of a Republican governor, neither he nor the state party spent any political capital on electing purple district Republicans to the legislature, and thus our state continued down the progressive path of high taxes and low growth. The solution is that the NJ GOP must be held accountable for its inaction. New blood is needed to shift the state GOP to outreach and engagement. The State Committee, the highest leadership element of the state party has an important fundraising role and added to its billet should be speaking engagements, building community relationships, candidate scouting, and organizational reinforcement.

Many of these are overlapping, a State Committee person traveling to a county or municipal meeting can scout for solid candidates for local office and deliver an address. The State Committee should be organizing speaking engagements at county branches of the NAACP, the many regional Jewish Federations in NJ, and with many other community based organizations in their counties. It should invest in training candidates for local office, working with grassroots small government and liberty movements, hosting conservative activist skills building sessions, facilitating citizen journalism through media seminars, and more.

The state GOP leadership has used the activist NJ State Supreme court as a foil for its failure to reform NJ’s finances and government. That the NJ Supreme Court has engaged in unimpeded legislating from the bench is an argument trotted out by some in the GOP leadership. It accurately describes past events, but also camouflages the fact that there is no other way to return the court to its proper constitutional role other than electing more Republicans to the State Senate. There is also no other way to pay the debt, junk the job killing red tape, lower the population displacing taxation, and eliminate the special interest bureaucracy that places public employees above public education other than by getting more Republicans to Trenton. The only way to get more conservative, liberty-focused, smaller government, and pro-average-Joe Republicans elected is by engaging in activism, outreach, and engagement. We need a voice on NJ Republican State Committee that will take a stand so that the NJ GOP takes the battle of ideas to the neighborhoods and cities of Hudson County. I am that voice; on primary day vote Joshua Sotomayor-Einstein for Republican State Committee.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Councilman Mike DeFusco explains his abstention vote on eminent domain


Councilman Mike Defusco the sole member of the Hoboken City Council meeting who did not vote for eminent domain last week explained why he did not vote yes on first reading of the ordinance as his other either colleagues unanimously did.

An abstention vote may be made by voting "present" as was elected here. The ordinance's second reading will be held with opportunity for public comment at the next City Council meeting.

In a series of texts, he wrote exclusively to MSV:

I voted 'present' to indicate support of a second reading but a concern with access to information.  Specifically, the Council requested our annual debt statement and audit and neither document was provided prior to the vote.  Casting a 'yes' vote on first reading without that data is a  populist vote, rather than a vote based on financial data and potential impact on future municipal  budgets. Everyone wants an expanded park (I really want bocce courts) so I'm looking forward to working with everyone to chart the right course of action. 

The Council's request to see our current debt servicing is so that if a deal is reached, and if it comes back in front of the Council to fund, we can actually pay for it.   This isn't a vote on who likes parks and who doesn't, it's about how we're going to expand a park and do so without impacting our city in a negative way.   Negatives to me are increasing residential bulk to offset cost, a technique that was used for decades to the detriment of our City.  On the flip side, the other negative is a very real potential to engage in a litigious battle that we may not win.  

Councilman Mike DeFusco is sworn in as the elected Hoboken First Ward City Councilman in January of last year.

Talking Ed Note: Councilman DeFusco, a rumored mayoral candidate to oppose Mayor Dawn Zimmer this November may be seeking additional information as described in his statement. MSV is providing links for both Councilman DeFusco and the public who may wish to review:

Annual Debt Statement 

Annual Financial Statement

Councilman Cunningham: 'Pop up park coming to 12th and Adams'

From the desk of Councilman Peter Cunningham:

Good morning!

Last Thursday night we had a great crowd at the Jubilee Center to weigh in on the "pop up" park at 12th and Adams.  The attached photograph of the slide show will give you a some sense of what's to come - this summer.  

As described, these park features are temporary as we begin a more thorough planning process which will bring additional flood mitigation to north Hoboken and permanent park amenities all without an increase in taxes and added residential density.  And it should also go without saying that property values, in north Hoboken and all over Hoboken, will be positively impacted by having this great space!  Why wouldn't we want more?  

It's not too late to submit to the survey below as it will close at midnight.  Many thanks to those that made it last night and completed the survey.  Please circulate to your friends and neighbors, and let me know if you have any questions.  

Peter Cunningham