Saturday, September 30, 2017

Valente for Hoboken: Valente Outlines Tax Relief Plan in New Campaign Video

Official release:

Valente Outlines Tax Relief Plan in New Campaign Video 

Angelo Valente, Independent Candidate for the Hoboken Council at Large, released this week, the second of a series of campaign videos outlining the Valente For Hoboken common sense campaign platform. The video released at ValenteForHoboken.Com outlines Valente's plan for tax relief in the city. 

 "As I am knocking on the doors of residents in every section of Hoboken, many residents are wondering where all of the new tax dollars are going from the massive developments all over the city," explained Valente. 

"With the Valente condo/ homeowners tax rebate plan the taxes for the first year on all new developments will go directly back to the taxpayers," said Valente, adding, "Hoboken homeowners and condo owners will finally see a direct benefit from all of the new development throughout the city."

Additional details on Valente's entire platform are available on valenteforhoboken.com

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Fur flies in sudden eminent domain bid announced by Mayor Zimmer on Union Dry Dock

There's been two official releases on Union Dry Dock today. First, Mayor Dawn Zimmer who ends her eight plus years this December and sees her replacement elected in November, announced a stunning effort to eminent domain the uptown waterfront business at next week's City Council meeting.

Councilman Mike DeFusco in response makes an official release as part of his mayoral campaign and is included here as part of MSV's official policy available to all local elected officials.

Talking Ed Note: MSV understands the City Council subcommittee for the North End has attempted to meet and BEGIN discussions on this issue but to no avail. Each meeting set was cancelled by the mayor's office. While MSV has supported most of the mayor's major initiatives, this one is the latest example of the hyper partisan political environment in Hoboken. Most unfortunate.




Official release:

MAYOR ZIMMER SEEKS TO ACQUIRE UNION DRY DOCK PROPERTY FOR WATERFRONT PARK

Based on discussions and written communications with Union Dry Dock, Mayor Dawn Zimmer has determined that it is important to expeditiously move ahead with the tools necessary to acquire the Union Dry Dock property for open space. The City was recently able to meet with the property owner of Union Dry Dock. Following the meeting, Union Dry Dock sent a letter advising the City that it is not legally able to even discuss a sale of the property to the City of Hoboken at this time.

As a result, the City Council will be asked to authorize the use of eminent domain for the acquisition of Union Dry Dock at next week's City Council meeting. The authorization simply provides the City with the tools necessary to facilitate negotiations and does not mean that eminent domain will be implemented. However, without this authorization, the City has no ability to even begin negotiations given the position taken by Union Dry Dock.

“In my experience with acquiring Block 12 for the Southwest Park and the 6-acre BASF property in Northwest Hoboken, it is not possible to acquire property without the City Council's authorization for eminent domain,” said Mayor Zimmer. “Given recent new factors that have come to light, it is important to move forward with this process at this time to expand our City's waterfront parks.”

The letter from Union Dry Dock can be viewed at: www.hobokennj.gov/docs/Union-Dry-Dock-Maraziti-9-22-17.pdf.


Official release:

DeFusco Responds to Mayor Zimmer’s plan to use Eminent Domain to acquire Union Dry Dock property

Hoboken, NJ – Mayoral candidate and Councilman Mike DeFusco is releasing the following statement responding to Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s announcement today that she will seek City Council approval to begin eminent domain proceedings against the owner of the Union Dry Dock property on Sinatra Drive. Earlier this year, DeFusco announced a plan to build an Urban Beach and Floating Pool complex at the site, which would complete the city’s waterfront walkway, prevent residential development of the area and include commercial development to add to the city’s tax base. The outgoing mayor’s announcement comes just weeks before the November 7 mayoral election. 

“After nine years in office, it’s great to see Mayor Zimmer finally come to realize how important it is for the city to acquire the Union Dry Dock site in the last few months of her term. However, her decision to abandon any pretense of a fair negotiation and move immediately to eminent domain proceedings would plunge us into yet another costly litigation with a city property owner. As we’ve seen time and again, this approach doesn't always result in a timely acquisition of property, as evidenced by the decade-long process of acquiring the recently opened Southwest Park, and can lead to outrageous legal fees our taxpayers have been exposed to in ill-fated court battles like the Monarch development. 

My understanding is that the property owner is willing to begin a good faith negotiation, but not with this current administration and not before the upcoming election when our city’s leadership for the next four years will be decided. A negotiation of this magnitude shouldn’t be rushed into by a Mayor who already has one foot out the door. Similarly to the rushed Suez contract negotiation, this looks very much like a political stunt being staged six weeks from a Mayoral election, and is a prime example of why we need new energy and new ideas to solve challenging problems like completing our waterfront. Going with the same old ‘sue first, negotiate later’ approach championed by Mayor Zimmer and Ravi Bhalla will not solve our city’s problems.”

Carmelo Garcia accused of taking bribes in HHA named Deputy Mayor in Newark

MILE SQUARE VIEW EXCLUSIVE

The more things change, the more they stay the same. It's an unfortunate truism when it comes to corruption, urban landscapes and the Soprano State.

The city of Newark named a new Director of its Department of Economic and Housing Development (DEHD) who happens to have been its Chief Real Estate Officer and Executive Vice President of the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation (NCEDC).

All those acronyms have a less familiar name in Hoboken than another: Carmelo Garcia.

From a report yesterday on Jersey Digs:


Carmelo Garcia seen earlier this year at a downtown Hoboken fundraiser for mayoral candidate Mike DeFusco.

Talking Ed Note: Last July, this exclusive report detailed Carmelo Garcia being shown the door and bounced out of the Irvington Housing Authority.

Councilman Peter Cunningham: Northwest community development meeting tonight

Official release:

Dear neighbors, 

I chair the northern community development subcommittee of the City Council and have been working with the administration to progress a plan for the north west corner of Hoboken. 

Please join me TONIGHT September 28th, for the FIRST PUBLIC MEETING to get your input on what we need for Hoboken's Northern End.  This is the area north of the 14th Street viaduct, west of Park Ave.

What: North End Redevelopment Plan Community Meeting
Where: Wallace School, 11th and Willow
When: Thursday 9/28 from 7:30 – 9:30 

I believe that the focus of the development plan for the area needs to primarily be Commercial - office with ground floor retail and services.  
Commercial development would:
  • Result in less congestion for our already crowded transportation systems
  • Bring a complementary daytime population to support our local businesses - many restaurants are empty during the day
  • Provide more opportunities for people to live and work in Hoboken
  • Be less demanding on our aging infrastructure
  • Allow us more tax revenues with less need for additional municipal services (like schools, police, etc.) 
  • Invite the opportunity to have a new transportation stop in the area such as 15th Street and 16th Street
This meeting will be moderated by a professional planning firm but it is critical we make sure that we are thinking not only about the neighborhood aesthetics but also the macroeconomic factors that work best for Hoboken.






Peter Cunningham



Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Jen Giattino: Our campaign is 'on the road to victory'

The following report comes courtesy of the Hudson County View:

Hoboken Council President/mayoral hopeful Jen Giattino certainly wasn’t lacking confidence at a private fundraiser last night, exclaiming that “I know that we are on our way to the road to victory.”




For the complete story: please see the Hudson County View.

Talking Ed Note: Before a crowd at 10th and Willow, City Council President Jen Giattino voiced her confidence Team Giattino is on the road to victory. She urged voters to vote for her and her council slate of Jim Aibel, Sal Starace and Jason Ellis to "get things done" on the City Council with her as mayor.

Kurt Gardiner, a commissioner on the North Hudson Sewerage Authority and an officer on the Hoboken Democratic Committee in attendance said, "For a private event, I was impressed with the turnout and the new faces to get out the word about Jen. It' s indicative of real grassroots momentum in the Jen Giattino campaign."

HOBOKEN PROUD 5-6-7 KICK-OFF CAMPAIGN

Official release:

HOBOKEN PROUD 5-6-7 KICK-OFF CAMPAIGN
Strong schools. Strong community.

Hoboken Proud 567’s candidates for the Board of Education, Melanie Tekirian (5), Sharyn Angley (6) and Chetali Khanna (7) have officially kicked off their campaign.

The candidates, who are longtime residents, active-volunteers and parents of Hoboken Public School District students, said they have the required energy, knowledge, commitment and ability to serve the Board at their campaign kick-off event on Monday evening.

“It’s with much excitement that we ask for your vote and support at the Hoboken Board of Education election,” said Melanie Tekirian at the event. “As parents, we can speak first-hand about the many great things happening across the district and are passionate about further enhancing Hoboken public schools.”

Hoboken Proud said it would work constructively with the Administration to serve the diverse needs of all students and develop a stronger relationship between the district and the public it serves.

“Our goal is that our elementary and middle schools be urban schools of excellence and Hoboken High School to be our communities’ No.1 choice for grades 9-12,” said Chetali Khanna.

“We believe that quality education is the result of strong leadership and high quality educators.”

Active school volunteers through the K-12 theater program and school PTO efforts, Melanie Tekirian and Chetali Khanna, join Sharyn Angley on the Hoboken Proud 5-6-7 slate.

“I am very excited to be running with Melanie and Chetali,” said Sharyn Angley, who has served on the board for the past three years. “Together, we believe that strong schools and a strong community go hand-in-hand. Strong schools bring pride and value to our community. And community support will help our schools continue to thrive.”

“We bring an important understanding and valuable talents from our professional and educational experiences that will benefit the board of education’s oversight responsibilities, and help deliver greater opportunities to our district’s children.”

If elected to the Board, Hoboken Proud said it will:
  • work with Dr. Christine Johnson to provide innovative programming necessary to make district students college and career ready
  • work with Dr. Johnson and the District Business Administrator to build a fiscally responsible budget that will support district students, teachers, administrators and facilities
  • work cooperatively with the other six members of the Hoboken Board of Education

Images are available upon request.
For further information, contact: hobokenproud567@gmail.com
www.hobokenproud.com - Facebook @HobokenProud – Twitter @HobokenProud567



Grist for the Mill: The Jen Giattino Surge

Hoboken's mayoral and council at-large election is creating a schism and fracture along fault lines new and old. Establishment power and money being what they are, the belief in power exceeds all rationality and the obvious signs, pardon the pun.

As the Hoboken election season heats up, Jen Giattino signs continue to spring up across town. Unlike most of her competitors, they find themselves not mostly in the windows of local businesses but nestled in the windows of residents. The epicenter is where the fever is highest in central Hoboken and it spreads out further more points north from the heartland of midtown. Based on the reaction of Giattino's opposition, you'd think it's the Hoboken dog population putting up those window signs not voters. They're of course deluding themselves into thinking those Hoboken residents don't represent actual voter sentiment.

There's one exceptional residence sporting Jen Giattino for mayor signs that is creating quite the buzz across town.  Take a gander at this.

Above the lobby of Church Towers, the stronghold of the Russo base
are two very prominent Jen Giattino for mayor signs.

Although mentioned previously, many did not take note of the earlier report and in that peculiar human capability for rationalization, avoided the topic entirely. 

MSV has previously written about the candidate with the strongest crossover appeal being Jen Giattino. As a ward councilwoman, she's known for rolling up her sleeves and helping others. She doesn't care what their views are on local issues, state or national. She accepts the responsibility to represent everyone. After six years, people notice. Hoboken people notice and people in need don't forget.

One story recounted tells of a Hispanic municipal worker overheard on the job discussing the mayoral race. The person was not expressing their view to influence anyone else but having a casual conversation. They mentioned they would be voting for Jen Giattino for mayor. They also said all their friends in the fourth ward and HHA would be voting for Giattino. Reasons point to some quiet humanitarian efforts there on behalf of a resident by Jen Giattino spread word of mouth.

Independent sources say the grassroots Reform resistance is taking shape with significant numbers of volunteers getting involved for Team Giattino and making an impact reaching out to friends, neighbors and engaging voters across the Mile Square.

Mayoral candidate and City Council President Jen Giattino
speaking at the home of former BoE trustee Ruthy Tyroler.
Rear right is former councilman Tim Occhipinti.
Who has crossover appeal and respect of friend and foe alike?
Who among the candidates is winning hearts and minds?

Where does the Jen Giattino surge end? No one knows at this point as many Hoboken voters are not decided and others not engaged. The other campaigns are making significant efforts and gaining headway too.

With just over 40 days and campaigns escalating their efforts, political divisions in the Mile Square are being overturned and tossed on their head. Hoboken has not seen any election quite like this. For some, there's never been a mayoral candidate with crossover appeal quite like Jen Giattino.

Catch the wave!

photo courtesy Jhnny "to the butter" Newman

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher:

Official release:

​​Dear friends and neighbors - 
I am on the northern community development subcommittee of the City Council and have been working with the administration to progress a plan for the north west corner of Hoboken.  Please join me this THURSDAY EVENING for the FIRST PUBLIC MEETING to get your input on what we need for Hoboken's Northern End.  This is the area north of the viaduct, west of Park Ave.

What: North End Redevelopment Plan Community Meeting
Where: Wallace School, 11th and Willow
When: Thursday 9/28 from 7:30 – 9:30

I believe that the focus of the development plan for the area needs to primarily be commercial - office with ground floor retail and services.  Commercial development would:
  • Allow us more tax revenues with less need for additional municipal services (like schools, police, etc.) 
  • Result in less competition for our already crowded transportation systems - public and roads
  • Bring a complementary daytime population to support our local businesses - many restaurants are empty during the day
  • Provide more opportunities for people to live and work in Hoboken
  • Be less demanding on our aging infrastructure
  • Invite the opportunity to have a new transportation stop in the area 

This meeting will be moderated by a professional planning firm, but it is critical that we make sure that we are thinking not only about the neighborhood aesthetics, but also the macroeconomic factors that work best for Hoboken.  Additionally, our development community - many whom own the land in the North End - will typically prefer to build large-scale, high rise residential buildings.  This type of development is low risk with the highest returns.  Unfortunately, I believe our City cannot take much more of this.

So please come Thursday night to listen, learn and contribute.  This is our City, and it is up to us to determine what works best for us.  Remember, more voices are always better!

Looking forward to seeing you on Thursday.




Tiffanie Fisher
Hoboken 2nd Ward City Councilwoman

Engage. Inform. Advocate.
"More Voices are Better"

Team Bhalla Unveils Storm and Flood Protection Plan

Official release:

Team Bhalla Unveils Storm and Flood Protection Plan
Councilman Ravi Bhalla, candidate for Hoboken Mayor, together with his at large slate of Councilman Jim Doyle, Emily Jabbour and John Allen, unveiled their Storm and Flood Protection Plan today.
The comprehensive plan attacks our flooding problem on all fronts.  Among its components are completing Rebuild by Design, constructing Resiliency Parks, upgrading the sewer system, adding additional flood pumps, boosting localized green solutions, strengthening our electrical grid and joining the Climate Mayors Coalition.
Ravi Bhalla said, “In the 5 years since Superstorm Sandy devastated us we have made great strides, but there is much more to do..  We must make Hoboken more resilient and  better prepared for the storms of the future.  I bring the experience, and skills to finish this tough job.” 

As a Councilman who also serves as Chair of the Rebuild by Design Community Advisory Group, Bhalla has been instrumental in advancing Rebuild by Design, a $230 million federally- funded flood protection project. He has actively backed other critical flood protection measures, including the construction of Resiliency Parks to detain rain water and flood pumps that have already significantly reduced flooding in Hoboken.

The Plan is provided below:

The Team Bhalla Storm and Flood Protection Plan

As a coastal city that is particularly vulnerable to flooding, it is critical that we continue to work on all fronts to become better prepared to withstand the more intense storms that scientists predict will result from climate change. In the 5 years since Superstorm Sandy devastated us, we have made great strides. Both as a Councilman and as Chair of the Rebuild by Design Community Advisory Group, I have worked in partnership with Mayor Zimmer in successfully securing $230 million of federal funds for a comprehensive flood protection project.   I have actively supported other flood prevention measures, including the construction of resiliency parks, additional flood pumps, and more localized green solutions, such as rain gardens and green roofs.
But while we are off to a great start, there is much more to do.  This plan provides a blueprint for making Hoboken more resilient and prepared for the storms of the future.  I bring the experience, and skills to finish this tough job. 

Complete Rebuild by Design:  This project will provide state-of-the art flood protections,, designed to be integrated into our urban landscape, all while preserving waterfront views and access to the waterfront. It is funded by a $230 million federal grant. Bhalla has helped shape the project, assisting in winning the federal and state permits required for it, and ensuring that community input was factored in. His knowledge and experience are essential to ensuring its completion.

HCV Poll, 42 days out and the politics of division

With 42 days out Hoboken's barn burner of a mayoral race plus 14 council at large candidates, pressure mounts and candidacies are being exposed in ways planned, unplanned and and for those in the observer cockpit, telling.

Hudson County View published a poll and has four of its mayoral interviews published asking who gave the best interview? The results are interesting if not scientific. Perhaps in the zombie apocalypse cave they'll defend the data and say it's valued but more likely there will be zombie retrenchment.

Before the results are assaulted by a slew of campaign political operatives, here's the initial results:

Hudson County View's poll shows all four of its interviewed mayoral
candidate pulling significant support. One candidate appears to have
pulled away by a significant margin.

Asking who did best in the interview is also an indicator on underlying popular support and candidate interest. Starting from the top, Freeholder Anthony Romano has an evident base of support. His interview came first in the summer and he probably hadn't even gotten his sea legs with the sudden switch entering the mayoral race. He was exceedingly polite and low key showing confidence knowing he has support that is rock solid. At almost 20%, the number shows if anything that support will be there no matter what. Can the freeholder beef it up for both his county seat and mayor appearance on the November ballot? That's what his recent mailers seek to do.

Councilman Ravi Bhalla is next and his figure comes in at less than 10%. His early jump start from a date uncertain (no one can get a clear answer on when the Mayor Zimmer's withdrawal and replacement deal was hatched) showed initial headway. That early kick may have stalled with a base of support that has shrunk below Romano and what one statewide NJ political writer called Hoboken's crunchy granola eaters after the much criticized back room baton toss from lame duck Mayor Zimmer. Last week's cynical divisive mailer to Hoboken Democrats is seeing derision from all political strata. Some Hoboken Democrats find the mailer crass and worse, creepy with its use of a white child as a prop. Of course registered Independents, Republicans and Libertarians need not apply as second class citizens. Did that message reach the Hudson Tea Building yesterday where the Bhalla campaign held a meet and greet? If not, it will.

Council President Jen Giattino fares the best in the results to date with well over 30%. Is this a reflection of a surging candidacy that is finding its stride? There's far too much time left to conclude but there's a sense her grass roots message focusing on commercial development, quality of life and sustainability combined with her campaigning is winning hearts and minds. Her interview shows a mayoral candidate relaxed, poised, and knowledgeable with a down to earth sense of humor not seen at all with her rivals. Giattino campaign signs are springing up all over town but to the amazement of many, one location is Church Towers, a locked down Russo stronghold. Is the crossover effect taking hold? Team Giattino will need to hone its message and hammer it home. Hoboken mayoral race victories are for closers.

Last, Councilman Mike DeFusco's numbers come in around 20%. Are they similarly reflected in his poll conducted last weekend? Some close political observers think they are but the DeFusco penchant to say anything is starting to come back to bite. His interview showed a preplanned strategy to switch from blaming the $8.35 million Suez liability on the Zimmer administration to his mayoral rivals on the council. How many noticed the switch or concluded the attack is clearly illogical and completely political on DeFusco's part? The used car salesman routine is growing old. Low information voters may be impressed by the schtick but Hoboken has a core base of voters in municipal elections who've seen this act before. They won't be buying.

The last group measured is "not impressed" which some may interpret as a lack of interest or undecided. If you cut the double digit number in half, figure the lack of interest group will not change nor move down the ballot and vote on Election Day. The real question; if the other half is undecided, will they play a role in the outcome on November 7th.

That like the actual poll of voters on Election Day is the only one that matters.

Hoboken mayoral candidates from left: Freeholder Anthony "Stick" Romano, Councilman Ravi Bhalla, City Council President Jen Giattino and Councilman Mike DeFusco. Not pictured: Karen Nason and Ron Bautista. 
photo courtesy the Hudson County View

Monday, September 25, 2017

Ravi Bhalla hit again as the 'national candidate' for his cynical mailer

A twitter handle Britt Reid@hobokenrazzie, aka "the Green Hornet" is making noise with comic and pointed political critique of the Hoboken mayoral race.

In a weekend tweet, the satirical commenter highlighted the latest mailer from Councilman Ravi Bhalla depicting the American president who is currently busy aiding hurricane victims in Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico. The Bhalla mailer shows a sinister reflection in the eyes of a child and depicts the reflection of the president as "hate."


Green Hornet finds Ravi Bhalla's "vow to subsidize" the Hoboken ferry a "sad overreach" asking instead "how about potholes and parking?"

Talking Ed Note: The criticism of Ravi Bhalla and his national ambition tour raises its head again. Is he running for Hoboken mayor or US Senator? Or is he getting an early start running for US President?

Who was the last Hoboken mayoral candidate looking to use Hoboken to fast track themselves up the political ladder thinking themselves a future US Senator, NJ governor or US President? His name begins with a P.

Related: Ravi Bhalla has followed Jen Giattino in endorsing Sharyn Angley and her slate (Hoboken Proud) this November. MSV asked in the comments at the link why Ravi Bhalla had not done for Angley last time based on a BoE source who said he hadn't in June. A Bhalla backer in MSV comments repeatedly insisted Bhalla had supported Angley and her Parents for Progress slate in 2014 based on the claim of his saying so.

There was no Bhalla endorsement for Sharyn Angley and Parents for Progress in 2014. Numerous sources close to the Hoboken BoE admitted Ravi Bhalla had not supported Sharyn Angley and Parents for Progress. Some declined to comment while others in the know declined to say so on the record with Angley's re-election bid and her slate Hoboken Proud actively campaigning.

Perhaps Ravi Bhalla will explain why he withheld support for Sharyn Angley and Parents for Progress.
Or like his silence to the Hoboken public on the Suez liability and when he made a secret deal with Mayor Zimmer seeing her sudden June withdrawal, maybe not.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Dual Southwest Park ribbon cuttings demonstrate political division

The competing ribbon cutting ceremonies for Hoboken's Southwest Park took place on Friday and Saturday to some public head scratching with each underlining the success of the decade plus efforts to make the dream a reality.

On Friday, Mayor Dawn Zimmer held the official City of Hoboken ribbon cutting. Councilman Dave Mello and Councilman Ruben Ramos headlined a Saturday "People's" ribbon cutting.

About a month ago the City Council formally asked the City to hold the ribbon cutting when its members and the community could attend on a weekend. But the request while formally stated during the meeting fell on deaf ears, another sign of the political division with Mayor Zimmer's lame duck status and Hoboken's barnburner of an election set for November 7th.

Mello was an early advocate for a Southwest Park and a critical vote to its eventual approval. He however is no longer part of the Zimmer baton handoff to the Bhalla campaign. He's now a council at-large candidate for the Romano for mayor slate this coming November having served two terms on the mayor's at large council slate.

While Mayor Zimmer noted Mello's role on Friday, it obviously didn't make up for how the former ally of eight years felt for the official Southwest Park opening.

John Heinis of the Hudson County View captured some of those sentiments with Councilman Ruben Ramos filed in this report:


For the complete story, please see the Hudson County View.

Talking Ed Note: It's somewhat disappointing there couldn't be some accommodation for schedules especially as Councilman David Mello was an early advocate for a Southwest Park before taking office more than a decade ago joining with local activist John Gregorio and others.

From the video above, visible are young trees with no protection barrier around them. Dog urine will destroy those saplings and in short order. The kid's playground equipment is not installed reportedly due to an unconfirmed cost overrun.

Friday, September 22, 2017

BREAKING: MIKE DEFUSCO IN MELTDOWN LOBS "POTENTIALLY CRIMINAL" CHARGE AGAINST JEN GIATTINO

In a rambling Friday interview with Hudson County View, Mike DeFusco says the $8.35 million dollar Suez liability that never appeared before the council is due to "possible criminal" action by City Council President Jen Giattino

Friday afternoon, a gorgeous day led to startling and unseemly charges in an interview by Hudson County View with Councilman Mike DeFusco, a candidate for Hoboken mayor.

Some are already calling it a meltdown of Titanic proportions.

Underscoring the problems recently surfacing with the million dollar Suez liability, DeFusco a mayoral candidate lobbed a bomb changing his earlier stance pointed at the administration for not revealing the issue sooner to the council and opting to lob a "possible criminal" bomb at his fellow council member and mayoral rival City Council President Jen Giattino.

In perhaps a Freudian slip, DeFusco first pointed to himself and other council members being somehow mistaken in the Suez liability. He quickly corrected himself to point the gun at City Council President Jen Giattino, a surging rival he targeted with his bomb alleging she funds the Hoboken budget.

"Either we're negligent in, either Jen's negligent in her oversight of this or she intentionally underfunded a budget and that's potentially criminal."

No member of the City Council funds the Hoboken budget. The administration presents the budget and its approval with amendments are made by the council members inclusive of all nine members: Mike DeFusco and Jen Giattino being two.

                      

The Suez liability was never presented to the City Council in any budget. Administration professionals stated the $8.35 million liability was part of ongoing contract negotiations since 2014 and sorted in the last two.

Mike DeFusco sees the exact same budget information each year on the City Council as any other sitting council member including the City Council President Jen Giattino.

In an interview not two weeks earlier with Giattino, Hudson County View asked her about when she learned the details of the Suez liability. She said the full details were obtained in a subcommittee meeting late last month and were then shared with other council members.

The Zimmer administration presented an updated contract to the council that could not obtain a sponsor for further action at the previous City Council meeting.

Previously, DeFusco at last month's City Council meeting had pointed at the mayor's administration for being negligent or incompetent on the revealed Suez liability.

Apparently, he changed his mind.

Hoboken holds its mayoral election on November 7th.
Jen Giattino was not immediately available this evening for comment.

Here is Mike DeFusco praising City Council President Jen Giattino on her handling of the Suez liability at the previous September 6th, 2017 meeting.


Which Mike DeFusco do you want to believe?

                    

Talking Ed Note: Prior to his bizarre charge today, DeFusco had actually lauded City Council President Jen Giattino for her efforts sharing with her fellow council members information obtained from the Zimmer administration.

Will he apologize or will he see a lawsuit?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Breaking: Buyer Beware - Shiny Penny Mike DeFusco Poll is out

MILE SQUARE VIEW EXCLUSIVE

MSV is exclusively reporting a new telephone poll is out and unlike the previous one last weekend called "straight-up" and "professional," this one is loaded looking for bear against all its main rivals.

There's push poll negative questions directed toward each of three candidates in the poll aiming at Freeholder Stick Romano, Councilman Ravi Bhalla and City Council President Jen Giattino. Residents reporting the polls to MSV similarly conclude the poll is being sponsored by Councilman Mike DeFusco, aka the Shiny Penny. 

Mike DeFusco
DeFusco touts his youthful candidacy based on the shiny penny principle. Have observers distracted by a shiny object and not focus on his lack of experience, trustworthiness and substance of a council record. Similarly, the telephone polls offers some tells on the DeFusco Shiny Penny principle in action.

The poll reportedly taken by ABG Research is already encountering problems. Apparently, Hoboken households are tired of being repeatedly polled since July and are not being cooperative.

Among the pro-DeFusco elements is a mix of facts favorable to his candidacy and some less than factual attacks against his main rivals. On Freeholder Romano, the poll notes accurately he's running for two offices then says "he's gaming the system with a six-figure pension and a lot of real estate income, yet he continues to live in affordable housing." Not altogether accurate but in the ballpark of accurate.

Of Councilman Ravi Bhalla, the Shiny Penny poll says he is "connected to a law firm, a partner that represents lots of entities such as Suez Water, NJ Transit adding there are serious concerns about his ethics and conflicts of interest." On this front, it's mostly accurate as Bhalla is conflicted currently on acting as a councilman on both Suez Water and NJ Transit according to most legal observers familiar with the details.

Then the biggest wild (and cheap) shot is taken against City Council President Jen Giattino saying of her part time work in local real estate it "spells trouble for Hoboken" then falsely claiming "she stands to benefit financially from the city." Concern about a Giattino surge is evident with the gutter shot.

A number of test messages cite issues seeking to identify which areas the Shiny Penny Mike DeFusco should leverage on the Hoboken public. Among them the polls asks about interest in "vibrant restaurants," "constant water main breaks," "more parking and better parking technology" and "return Observer Highway to four lanes, three lanes out in the morning and three lanes in on during the pm rush hours." Observer Highway is likely to be a staple of more than one mayoral and council candidate.

One notable test message surrounds development. The DeFusco Shiny Penny Poll asks about interest in "coffee bars, wineries, etc." These happen to be some of the new shiny ideas DeFusco has tossed out earlier this year when he announced he would run for mayor.

Additional push poll ideas are added but let the Hoboken buyer beware! The Shiny Penny Mike DeFusco is looking to lock down some avenues to push in the final 47 days to Election Day.


Talking Ed Note: Neither Mike DeFusco nor his campaign manager Ryan Yacco were contacted for this story. Neither has responded to requests for comment previously.


MSV publishes its commenting policy from time to time. It's been updated at the jump.

Council President and mayoral candidate Jen Giattino endorses BoE slate 'Hoboken Proud'

Official release:



It is with great pleasure that Jen Giattino, City Council President and Hoboken mayoral candidate, announces her continued support for incumbent Sharyn Angley and her Hoboken Proud team of Melanie Tekirian and Chetali Khanna for election to the Hoboken Board of Education.

“I supported Sharyn and her running mates three years ago and I’ve been extremely pleased with the continued positive change in the Hoboken Public Schools. Hoboken Proud is certainly an appropriate reflection of how we should all feel about the job that’s being done by Superintendent Christine Johnson and the current Board of Education. I and my council running mates will proudly support this team in any way we can. We thank them for stepping up for this vital volunteer service and agree wholeheartedly with Hoboken Proud when they say strong schools equal a strong community.”


'People's ribbon cutting for Southwest Park' set for Saturday at 4:00

Official release:

The Real Hoboken Southwest Park Ribbon Cutting Celebration
“For the People – By the People”


Site of the Hoboken Southwest Park


Southwest Parks Coalition co-founder John Gregorio, original group member Councilman David Mello, and Fourth Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos ask that you join us at 4:00 pm this Saturday, September 23rd, as we gather at the Southwest Park, Hoboken’s newest public open space, for an informal ribbon cutting celebration.

The opening of the Southwest Park marks the fruition of over a decade of effort by many Hoboken advocates, past and present.  From the formation of the Southwest Parks Coalition to the present day, residents in Hoboken’s Southwest and beyond have been advocating for a significant open space in this vibrant, up and coming Hoboken neighborhood.  This cornerstone piece marks the start of what hopefully will be an even larger park creation in the future.  This park is not only Southwest Hoboken’s first significant public, open space; it contains much needed flood retention technology to further combat flooding events in one of our most flood prone Hoboken neighborhoods.

All are welcome to attend, as we celebrate this moment with an informal and festive ribbon cutting, which we want all of our friends and neighbors to be able to participate in.  This is your park Hoboken, and it’s opening should be celebrated at a time when the maximum number of people who made this dream a reality can revel in its long-awaited start.

The Southwest Park is located on Block 12 in Hoboken, N.J., between Paterson Plank Road and Observer Highway, and Jackson and Harrison Streets in Hoboken’s Southwest neighborhood.

Signed,

John Gregorio
Councilman David Mello
Councilman Ruben Ramos




Talking Ed Note: Some explanation is required with this release. The Hoboken public doesn't know Mayor Zimmer set up a city ribbon cutting for tomorrow morning for media at 11:00 am with a later public event set for next Wednesday.

Two of the current council members, Dave Mello and Ruben Ramos are joined by Southwest Park activist John Gregorio to hold this event Saturday when all are available, as emphasized in the release. Both of the council members work as most of the public at that time and are not available for tomorrow morning's Mayor Zimmer's selected ribbon cutting time.

You can probably guess who will be among those attending the mayor's ribbon cutting.



Councilman Peter Cunningham: 'City Council President Jen Giattino is Hoboken's best choice for mayor'

Official release:




Dear friends, family and neighbors, 

As many of you know, I serve on the Hoboken City Council. Over the past ten years I’ve been at the forefront of many positive changes. But I couldn’t have done it alone. I am deeply grateful to my colleagues and to my 5th Ward constituents for providing me with their support, their thoughts, their ideas and the opportunity to serve them and the City of Hoboken overall.  It has been a pleasure and I’m proud of what our reform team, Mayor Zimmer and strong reform Council Members, have together accomplished.  Finance, constituent service and quality of life issues have always been a focus for me, and I have worked hard to keep these issues in the forefront.  But challenges remain. There are legitimate concerns about the direction of new development, adequacy of city services and Hoboken’s continued fiscal health to name a few. Mayor Zimmer’s announcement of her plans to not run for reelection provides us with an opportunity to take stock of our accomplishments, evaluate where we are, and to ensure that we address the greater good of Hoboken in the future.  We have to adapt as required to best address the changing needs of all of Hoboken’s growing population – young and old, and across the widening socio-economic spectrum. 

I believe Jen Giattino is best suited to lead Hoboken now as Mayor.  I give her my enthusiastic, unqualified endorsement.  I have had the fortunate opportunity to work with all the major mayoral candidates over the last several years, and while they all have their strengths, none is more ready, none is as ready to lead Hoboken.  As a Ward leader myself, I recognize how passionately Jen serves both her 6th Ward constituents and residents throughout Hoboken.  Jen has the experience, knowledge, creativity, character, work ethic and determination necessary to lead Hoboken to future success.   With her I am completely confident we will do what we need to do to continue to raise the bar – and not slip back to the secretive, weak and too often corrupt leadership of the past.

Jen’s leadership is recognized by her council colleagues who have elected her Council President three of the last six years. She understands the core challenges Hoboken faces. In addition to quality of life issues, she has been the strongest voice in favoring commercial development which minimizes congestion and tax rates over residential which does neither and she has been unwavering in her support for greater financial transparency.   She’s chosen a council slate with demonstrated experience in being tough on development, finance and negotiations -- three critical tenets to Hoboken’s future success.   
Jen has unparalleled respect among her neighbors both in and beyond the 6th Ward. She’s friendly and compassionate, and unequalled in Hoboken for her passion for helping people.  What I love most about Jen is that she’ll work her hardest for any Hobokenite, supporter or not alike.  Hoboken needs leaders ready to serve ALL of Hoboken.  Please join me in supporting Jen Giattino for Mayor and her team of Jim Aibel, Sal Strace and Jason Ellis for Council.

Peter Cunningham, 5th Ward Councilman
Check out her website at https://www.teamgiattino.com/ and on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JenforHoboken/

Meet the BoE candidates - Monday, September 25th

Official release:



Dear friends,

As longtime residents and parents of children who attend the Hoboken Public School District, we can speak firsthand to the quality of education and opportunity provided to district students.  

We are running for election to the Hoboken Board of Education.  Our mission is to raise awareness of the many great things happening across the district today and to work constructively with the administration on further enhancing public education in Hoboken.  Our goal is that our elementary and middle schools be urban schools of excellence and Hoboken High School to be our communities’ No.1 choice for grades 9-12.

Please join with us in this effort.  We look forward to seeing you on Monday.


Melanie, Sharyn and Chetali



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A grant and picking up the tab for more firefighters?

The Hoboken City Council didn't have any further Suez related matters last night to consider but how to handle a grant to bring on firefighters?  How do you manage a grant when you have to pick up the tab later?

Hudson County View filed this story:




For the complete story, please see the Hudson County View:
http://hudsoncountyview.com/after-council-approval-will-667k-grant-be-used-to-hire-4-new-hoboken-firefighters/

Councilman Ruben Ramos endorses Mike DeFusco for mayor

Another local endorsement came in yesterday with Councilman Ruben Ramos making it official getting behind Mike DeFusco.

Hudson County View published its story:


Councilman Ruben Ramos who represents Hoboken's fourth ward
officially endorsed Mike DeFusco for mayor.

Talking Ed Note: The pieces on the chess board in the Mile Square City begin moving to the inevitable endgame on November 7th, Election Day. Councilman Ruben Ramos who holds strong support in the fourth ward and across Hoboken with his solid 2013 mayoral run lends solid support to Mike DeFusco.

It's the time of the season for many moves toward the inevitable finish line.

Council candidate Josh Einstein on urban public housing


Official release:

Our government run social safety net system was created to use government to help people in need ascend out of the immediate and temporary problems they were confronted with towards self-sufficiency. It failed. From the inherent problems of a functional monopoly with an institutional incentive to regulate competing models out of business rather than out-serve them on a level playing field to the intrinsic desire of status quo politicians to create long term stable voting blocs to support their eternal re-election campaigns, the government social safety net system has always faced many existential issues which undermine its original and noble purpose.

One such example, and a local one that relates to our city, is the public housing authority aka the projects. Our fellow citizens living in the projects are served by a system in dire need of reform. This is not to impugn the residents, nor the trustees and staff, but it is an indictment of a system that de-facto warehouses people and is intuitionally ripe for abuse. The projects are governed by a board of commissioners appointed by a mix of the mayor, city council, and the state government who together hires a director. Each one of these people have to fight the urge to use their position as the de-facto mix of condo-board, landlord, and mini-government of the projects to build a political base. Aside from the ever-present danger that the politicization of the basic needs and services for our fellow Hobokenites represents, there have been few residents of the projects on the board, further infantilizing residents as wards of the board for the political leadership care for.

Across the country this system of patronage has created a disincentive for the political appointees who run public housing to engage with residents as stakeholders as well as to attempt to give a hand up rather than a hand out. The system needs transformation in order to achieve its original goal. That reform is a Community Land Trust (CLT). A CLT is a non-profit that seeks to keep lower income housing in perpetuity, maintaining that safety net for those economically less fortunate, while at the same time allowing its members to strive for more while taking a leadership role in their own destiny. CLT’s have a co-owning model, not dissimilar from co-opts or condo associations, in which they the own land and residents can own the housing unit they live in. CLT’s keep units for rent substantially below market rates for the working class as well as offer to sell units to their current residents as highly discounted and low rates (as has been done in public housing in Britain). The then owners of a unit can sell it onwards at a CLT agreed upon formula which keeps the unit significantly under the market rate but allows the selling resident to make a small profit. This keeps units affordable and allows residents more opportunities to build a better future.

Just an importantly, CLT’s destroy the ability of local political factions or a potentially bad board member from using their influence for political gain by having a board that is made up of CLT residents (unit owners and renters) and neighboring community members. It integrates, rather than segregates, the CLT residents into the local neighborhood community by building bridges across economic divides and communities and it empowers the residents to be the stakeholders they can be when not being lorded over by political appointees.

The path to transform Hoboken’s projects to a Community Land Trust will be long and arduous. It will not be easy as partisans often fight for the status quo but building a better city for all is why I’m running for City Council.

Joshua Einstein is the independent candidate for Hoboken City Council, the Republican State Committeeman from Hudson County, a member of the Hudson County Regional Jewish Council, and has been published in over 13 papers and websites.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Michael Russo endorses Stick Romano for Mayor

In a story reported on Hudson County View earlier today, Councilman Michael Russo endorsed Freeholder Anthony "Stick" Romano for mayor.

Today's decision to endorse Anthony Romano for Mayor of Hoboken, along with his slate of council candidates, is the best decision we can make," Russo said in a statement.

Third Ward Councilman Michael Russo (l) endorsed Freeholder Anthony Romano for mayor earlier today.
For the complete story, see the Hudson County View:
http://hudsoncountyview.com/hoboken-councilman-russo-endorses-freeholder-romano-for-mayor/


Talking Ed Note: HCV correctly notes in its story, this is not a surprise being that Michael Russo "came out from the cold" and finally threw in behind Romano showing up at his recent fundraiser. It's a blow to the Old Guard backing Mike DeFusco who sought Russo's political support.

Russo's cousin and godmother, former first ward councilwoman Terry Castellano would have been more than a trite displeased had Russo backed Mike DeFusco for mayor. In 2015, Castellano was replaced by DeFusco who used the support of Mayor Zimmer to get elected.

Russo is a well known and controversial political figure who was captured in 2009 on FBI surveillance video agreeing to a bribe with an undercover FBI informant Solomon Dwek. Russo was not arrested and the plan to make payment was allegedly not consummated. Some wonder otherwise and question if a deal for cooperation with the government didn't follow.

MSV's earlier reporting on Russo's comments back in 2011 denying any bribe directly led to the FBI video's release. An earlier March 2011 MSV story broke the story opening the Russo-Dwek controversy.

In 2012, MSV published a theoretical timeline on the Russo-Dwek Affair.

Russo was re-elected as third ward councilman in 2011 and ran unopposed to re-election in 2015.

Councilman Dave Mello: 'No knowledge on actual Suez liability to date?'

Official release:




I'm taken aback this morning by my former running mate's comments regarding her proposed Suez Water contract extension.

First, to say that this proposed contract is better, is not saying much. The existing contract is horrible, and it does not take much to improve on the existing agreement. To say that I should vote for this contract extension because it is an improvement, is not saying much at all. If a football team went winless last year, and they win one or two games this year, they've improved, but their coach will probably still get fired.

Second, regarding the $8.35 million liability, it is surprising to read that the administration still doesn't know what this amount is. To quote the Mayor, "The reality is we don't know exactly what the amount is." How, exactly, can this point of leverage for Suez Water, be clearly understood, if the amount of this supposed liability is still unclear, AND this "liability" was never properly billed. I'm shocked that this liability wasn't more accurately pinned down, and that there was no legal challenge to this "liability" not being billed in a timely manner.

Third, to my knowledge, the City's hired negotiator still has never looked into other possible water providers, to comparables across the nation, or to whether we could take some of these services back in-house. When I specifically asked about these potential sources of leverage for the City at the August meeting, I was told that these things had not been done. I was also, surprisingly, told that there aren't "comparables" that exist. This is so shocking, because everyone drinks water! I lose faith in our hired negotiator/consultant when he tells me he can't develop comparables (note ==> Councilwoman Fischer's questioning about whether this contract was "at market" or "above market" speaks to the lack of comps as well).

Fourth, nobody has explained the urgency here. Councilman Russo has requested insight into these negotiations for over a year now, and was consistently rebuffed. It's understandable that he would make such a request, since the administration seemed more focused on blaming his father for the existing contract, rather than renegotiating it at any point during the eight years my old team has been in office. For some odd reason, there was no sense of urgency in assuring Councilman Russo that negotiations were proceeding thoroughly and expeditiously. Yet, once an intense election season was set in motion, an inexplicable sense of urgency was also created. As Mike Lenz wisely stated recently, "Slow down. Get the facts. We’ve owed the money for years, we’ll still owe it in January. Let the next Mayor and Council decide. They, and we, will have to live with those decisions."

This is a contract extension that is being proposed. People are so focused in on the purported $8.35 million liability, because it makes it appear that this proposed contract extension is a last minute attempt to get out of trouble. It's akin to one of my students trying to hand in a pile of late assignments right before the marking period ends, so that they won't get in so much trouble with their parents, and will give their GPA a boost. This should never be the basis for committing to major policy decisions.

I have always tried to do what is best for Hoboken. I have also always rejected attempts to escalate political discourse in a mile square city of approximately 55,000 people to such irrational and hyper levels. This proposed contract is a better deal for the Hoboken taxpayer, ONLY if the taxpayers weren't all also water ratepayers. The reality is, they are one in the same (the further reality is we are not inundated with car washes in our city). We on the City Council need to ensure that we are finally considering a fair deal for the Hoboken taxpayer/ratepayer - for our neighbors, friends, and families. To do anything else would be an abandonment of the duties that I was so honored to be trusted with eight years ago.

Councilman Dave Mello