Thursday, May 31, 2018

Stacking the Deck at the Hoboken "Democratic" Committee

No one will talk but tonight's Hoboken Democratic Committee is meeting with a sole political purpose: put bodies in into any open seat before the upcoming June vote for HudCo Democratic Committee Chair.

It's Union City political powerhouse Brian Stack vs. Amy DeGise, daughter of HudCo County Executive Tom DeGise. They are locked in a very unHudCo-like competitive election.

The mad scramble for the Hoboken Democratic Committee tonight has everything to do with the lust for power and absolutely zero to do with transparency or a competitive electoral process. This one is about as insider as it gets.

How many committee seats will be filled tonight? You can't pry the information out of the HDC and the plan to fill them with solitary candidates for each if you shoved its Executive Committee members into the jaws of death.

Not a single seat will be contested and no one will be invited to campaign for votes within the body; this is a strictly closed non-electoral process.

If any of this lacks the feel of Reform transparency, well, it isn't. This is HudCo politics in Hoboken. Start liking it!



Tonight's objective is to fill open seats with warm bodies destined to vote Mayor Ravi Bhalla's way for Union City Mayor and State Senator Brian Stack.

There's plenty on the line and the stakes are high. For Hoboken, as stated earlier this week in premium, it's a lose-lose proposition. Hoboken will be plundered with regular double-digit tax increases no matter the outcome.

Mayor Ravi Bhalla is keen on playing lowbrow partisan politics against President Trump who wouldn't know him from a hole in the wall but fighting HERE for Hoboken against the HudCo tax and spend machine?

Fuggedaboutit.

Tonight's meeting is all about the political ambitions of the big powerhouse dual officeholders, their respective HudCo allies and loyal Ravibots. The singular push for power is paramount above all.

In addition to the new seats open courtesy of former mayor, Dawn Zimmer, and her husband Stan Grossbard stepping up last month then stepping down this month; there are additional seats to stack, pardon the pun.

There are several seats open due to committee members leaving Hoboken and at least one seat in the Hoboken Housing Authority is in desperate search of a warm body. The order from the Hoboken mayor's office is to find those bodies who will do its bidding.

Then the first order of business will be to see those warm bodies vote next month for Brian Stack.

Ravi Bhalla's political ticket out of Hoboken may rely on it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher: "REMINDER / Please Join - Tonight (5/30) /Tomorrow(5/31) & Next Week (6/6)"

Official release:

 
Dear friends and neighbors:
A gentle reminder about the Rebuild By Design - Design Workshops being held TONIGHT, TOMORROW night and NEXT WEEK:  
  • 5/30 7-9pm 1600 Adams St. North Hudson Sewerage Authority Board Room (zones 2 & 3)
  • 5/31 7-9pm 124 Grand St. Multi-Service Center (zones 2 & 3)
  • 6/6 7-9pm 22 Hackensack Ave St Lawrence Church (just over Willow Ave bridge on the left) (zones 1 & 2)
These are the kickoff to the design phase of the Rebuild by Design project, specifically for Zones 1-3 that are located in the northern end of Hoboken (primarily 2nd ward) and into Weehawken.  The dates for Zones 4 & 5  in southern Hoboken have not yet been scheduled.  (Click on the picture to see the presentation made on the entire project at the public meeting on 5/9) 
  
Both nights are the same presentation so please try plan to join one. I will be there tonight for the entire meeting, and then tomorrow night for most (there are competing events that night).  During this phase of work, the Resist components (flood control structures to resist storm surge) will be designed.  This is when YOU get to help design areas and structures like the park around Weehawken Cove.  WE NEED TO MAKE THIS WORK FOR US and more voices matter!  So hope to see you at least one!
As always, please feel free to email me or call me at 201/208-1674 if you have any questions or comments or want to discuss this or anything else.   
TiffanieFisher
Hoboken City Council, 2nd Ward
 
Engage. Inform. Advocate.
“More Voices are Better”

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Stepping up, stepping down, the latest drama in a Ravi Bhalla Scam-a-Rama!

BREAKING: SOURCES ADMIT HOBOKEN DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE MEMBERS DAWN ZIMMER AND HUSBAND STAN GROSSBARD RESIGNED

THEIR APPOINTMENTS WERE MADE ONLY LAST MONTH

SHADY PLAN TO GET MORE RAVI BHALLA VOTES FOR BRIAN STACK ON HUDSON COUNTY DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE ON JUNE 12TH

According to a late story today on the Hudson County View, the earlier MSV Premium rumor stating former Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer and her husband Stan Grossbard resigned their Democratic Committee seats is true.

Dawn Zimmer with her husband Stan Grossbard sit at a Hoboken City Council meeting last year watching the
City Council react to her proposed renegotiated Suez water contract. They were made Hoboken Democratic Committee members only last month and both have resigned. A HudCo Democratic Committee vote is set for June 12th. 


According to the HCV story:

The HCV story goes on to say the upcoming Hoboken Democratic Committee meeting set for Thursday has an untold number of open committee seats that will be filled.

Apparently, the surprising late entry by County Executive Tom Degise's daughter, Amy DeGise forced Ravi Bhalla's hand. Neither Dawn Zimmer nor Stan Grossbard is expected back in time for the vote as they are away on a long vacation.

The HDC meeting later this week is apparently part of a last-minute political effort to burnish the numbers by Hoboken mayor Ravi Bhalla on behalf of State Senator and Union City Mayor Brian Stack.

The long-time political powerhouse Stack is facing a surprising strong bid from Amy DeGise who is vying for the HudCo committee chair position.

Earlier today, MSV reported Brian Stack expects Ravi Bhalla to deliver 60 of Hoboken's Democratic Committee seats but that figure appears well out of range. There are almost 80 seats on the HDC.

Talking Ed Note: Is this what the now defunct Reform Movement voted for on the advice of outgoing mayor Dawn Zimmer?

Told ya. 

Brian Stack insurrection faces HudCo defeat in County Democratic Chair war

HudCo civil war escalates as upstart HudCo Dem Chair challenger Amy DeGise rattles Brian Stack

The HudCo insurrection to grab the county prize is looking less than favorable for HudCo political powerhouse State Senator and Union City Mayor Brian Stack.

Stack's civil war insurrection joined by mayors Steve Fulop and Ravi Bhalla vying to take control of the political levers of Hudson County Democratic Chair in next month's election is a prequel to snatching the County Executive position outright next year.

State Senator Brian Stack who also is mayor of Union City appeared in Hoboken back in 2012 in this vintage shot
after Hurricane Sandy. He's not happy with his fellow HudCo civil war insurrectionists: Hudco allies Mayor Steve Fulop of Jersey City and Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla.
MSV can report those committee vote collection efforts for Stack around the county and in the Mile Square City by Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla are fizzling, leading many observers to believe there's an upset in the making with upstart candidate Amy DeGise, the daughter of the 18 years long HudCo County Executive Tom DeGise.

Hoboken, already raked with regular double-digit county tax increases courtesy of the massive spending and patronage appetite of HudCo Democrat Progressive rule is likely to come out a big loser, courtesy of its politically ambitious mayor.

"Stack is flipping out and screaming at Fulop about the (Jersey City committee) count and Ravi Bhalla is hiding not taking his calls," one HudCo insider relayed.

Bhalla who saw a political path out of Hoboken through Senator Stack via an Assembly seat currently held by Annette Chaparro may see that door slammed if Amy DeGise pulls off the upset victory.

The inside word among HudCo is Ravi Bhalla promised to deliver Stack 60 of almost 80 Hoboken Democratic Committee votes. Based on unofficial headcounts, it doesn't look like he'll deliver anything close. Panicked calls around Hoboken are taking place right down to the committee district level in the third ward.

"If Stack goes down in flames, Ravi can forget any hope of being handed the (Stack) Assembly seat next year," another HudCo source said.

"Stack expected Ravi and Fulop to deliver and neither appears to be making good on those needed committee votes," another HudCo insider relayed.

"If he loses, Brian will be looking to rip people's lungs out. Fulop and Ravi will be high on the list. Flip a coin who gets it first," they added.

Another longtime HudCo maven mocked their ineptitude leading into the HudCo Democratic Chair vote next month, "They (Fulop & Bhalla) don't know what they're doing. There's no adult in the room and (Amy) DeGise is working hard. She's almost positioned for a victory."

Of the predicament that places Ravi Bhalla and Hoboken, they added, "Ravi is another Hudson County transactional politician in a ..."

The rest of this story is MSV Premium content and will be released to subscribers later today.

Related: Another report following MSV today quotes NJ Governor Phil Murphy saying he will not back Brian Stack for HudCo Democratic Chair. He's staying out of the HudCo civil war.

https://newjerseyglobe.com/fl/murphy-wont-endorse-stack-for-county-chair/

Monday, May 28, 2018

Remembering the fallen who made the ultimate sacrifice

An MSV reader submitted this photo from Barnegat on Rt. 9 showing a sea of American flags honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

They sacrificed their lives for this Republic, this Constitution that the promise of freedom would not perish but thrive for future generations.


Another MSV reader sent this video of a Navy SEAL honoring all those who fought and died highlighting its origins from Lexington & Concorde to the Forgotten War and every conflict before and since. 

Freedom is not free.


                

Friday, May 25, 2018

Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher: 'Community Updates'

Official release:


 
Dear friends and neighbors:
What a gorgeous day for the official kick-off to summer!  A few quick updates and upcoming events for next week (Thursday night in particular!) for you to consider this weekend.  
  • Former UDD site – rationale required for “public hearing” (grr…) 
  • Pedestrian crossing at Pier 13 improving
  • Upcoming anti-flooding design workshops NEED YOUR INPUT
  • Ending gun violence – 4 ways / 4 days you can help
  • Hoboken High School Hispanic Culture Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
  • Memorial Day thoughts
UDD – Letter Response From James Cannon, Army Corps of Engineer
In response to the letter submitted by the City Council last week requesting a public hearing, the ACOE sent us the attached response indicating that “… before a decision can be made on your request for a public hearing, we need to know your specific reasons as to why you feel a hearing is required in this matter, including what information or comments would be submitted at the hearing that could not be submitted in writing.”  
I will be drafting a response so please send me any thoughts you may have on how to respond.  And also encourage all council members to join and sign.
Safer Crossing Near Pier 13 
The intersection of Sinatra Dr. and Constitution Ct. has become a thoroughfare for those pedestrians looking to access the waterfront / Pier 13.  In response to the number of concerns raised by many of you, with the help of Hoboken PD today we were able to re-position the detour signs, and remove the trucks illegally parked adjacent to the sidewalk to improve visibility.  We still need to have the trees cut back and Freeholder Romano has assured us that a stop line will be painted on the road ASAP.  I watched today, like many of you, as over 20 cars and trucks just blew through the stop sign.   Once the changes were made, almost everyone stopped before going through the intersection.  Please keep me posted on anything you witness there.
As most people know, this is a complicated area because many of the roads are privately owned by the Applied Companies.  Historically I am told they have been unwilling to allow Hoboken PD to enforce any parking or traffic violations there.  Given their own Pier 13 is now exacerbating the safety concerns (don’t worry, I am a fan of Pier 13!), hopefully they will be willing to reconsider an arrangement that makes practical sense for our community.  More to come…
5/30& 5/31 PUBLIC INPUT NEEDED – To Design Our $230M Anti-Flooding Project 
Two workshops are scheduled next week to begin the design phase of the Rebuild by Design project, specifically for the areas that are located in the northern end of Hoboken (primarily 2nd ward).  These are from Weehawken Cove down through to Washington St. near Madison Bar & Grill.  Both nights will be the same presentation so please try plan to join one. I will be at both.
  • 5/30 7-9pm 1600 Adams St. North Hudson Sewerage Authority Board Room 
  • 5/31 7-9pm 124 Grand St. Multi-Service Center
This is when YOU get to help design areas and structures like the park around Weehawken Cove.  WE NEED TO MAKE THIS WORK FOR US and more voices matter!  
5/31-6/3 – Continue The Efforts to Fight Gun Violence  
June 1st is National Gun Violence Awareness Day, a day that we should not need to have.  Councilwoman Jabbour is the head of the Hudson County Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and has helped organize the following four events / ways you can participate in the fight to end gun violence:
  • 5/31 8-10pm Moms Night Out at Northern Soul Kitchen & Bar (fundraiser)
  • 6/1 4pm Rally at City Hall in recognition of National Gun Violence Awareness Day
  • 6/2 12noon March across the Brooklyn Bridge.  Bus leaving City Hall at 10am.  Learn more here.
  • 6/3 2pm Spin for gun safety with Cyclebar (fundraiser).  RSVP here.
5/31 - 4th Annual Hoboken High School Hispanic Culture Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Thursday, 5/31 at 7pm at Hoboken High School.  The Hispanic Culture Club studies and celebrates the role Hispanics have played in our country and in Hoboken in particular.  The ceremony is dedicated to recognizing Hispanic individuals who have made a positive impact in the Hispanic and Hoboken communities and this year’s honorees include: Hoboken Police Officer Juan Madera, Public School teacher and author (Ladybug and Dragonfly) Carolina Martinez, and Hoboken City Council President and former Assemblyman Ruben Ramos. 
 
Finally, Memorial Day is a time that brings our communities together.  Thank you to all of you who joined us Wednesday night for a beautiful tribute to those we have lost.  If you didn’t get the chance (we had record crowds!), I hope you can join next year for one of our Hoboken’s most special events.  
Top Photo: Battalion Chief Fini, Mayor Bhalla and his son, Councilman Cunningham, Council Vice President Giattino, Councilman DeFusco and his young neighbor, former State Senator Kenny, Council President Ramos and his son, and me.
I had the honor of also attending Hudson County’s Memorial Day Service yesterday for the second year in a row.  Each town in Hudson County honors a veteran and this year’s Hoboken Veteran of the Year was Emil Danduono, a long time Hoboken resident who served bravely in both WWII and the Korean War.  
The event was moving and made even more beautiful by Hoboken’s Vinny Wassman, who like Emil, also served in WWII and the Korean War and who recited the poignant war poem “In Flanders Fields”.  Vinny asked me if I would share on social media and with others so here you go…watch it here (just 1:14 min and worth it).   
 
Have a safe and happy weekend, and be thoughtful and thankful for those who have made, and continue to make, the ultimate sacrifice for all of us.  As always, please feel free to email me or call me at 201/208-1674 if you have any questions of comments or want to discuss this or anything else.   
TiffanieFisher
Hoboken City Council, 2nd Ward
 
Engage. Inform. Advocate.
“More Voices are Better”
 
PS - If you don’t know Vinny, you can learn more about him here “Vinny and Cole: A Hoboken Love Story” (credit: HobokenGirl).
 
  

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Sign of the Times: Hoboken hosts its 120th Memorial Day Parade

Claimed as the longest running event of its kind in America, yesterday's perfect weather saw an outstanding turnout for Hoboken's 120th annual Memorial Day Parade.

America's fallen were honored by all the participants. MSV attended capturing the sign of the times.

A huge American flag is draped over Washington St. at 10th as the crowd assembles for Hoboken's
120th Memorial Day Parade.

Hoboken's Finest kick off the event as police on motorcycles lead the way honoring America's fallen.

Hoboken Color Guard led by "the pipes."

Hoboken kids were on hand soaking in the Memorial Day Parade including members of the
Hoboken City Futbol Club.

Hoboken's decked out Firemen with Battalion Chiefs on hand flashed a sharp look on the parade route. 

"Bagoogah!" A Hoboken fire truck circa 1930 makes its way up Washington St.

Hoboken Classic 

Strike up the band! This one featured from Hoboken's neighbor in West New York

Hoboken officials: Second Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro, Mayor Ravi Bhalla
and City Council President Ruben Ramos.

Soaking it in. Fifth Ward Councilman Peter Cunningham enjoys a moment as Sixth Ward Councilman Jen Giattino snaps a memento with Directors Leo Pellegrini, Steve Marks and Ryan Sharp and Freeholder Anthony "Stick" Romano (left).

Old Glory 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher: "Tonight at 630pm 120th Hoboken Memorial Day Parade!"

Official release:

Dear friends and neighbors:
Who doesn't love a parade!  Especially one that brings our community together to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us.   
  • When:  Tonight (Wednesday) at 630pm 
  • Where: launching from City Hall and walking north up Washington St. to end at the observation deck in front of the Elks Lodge at 10th and Washington 
  • What:  Something for everyone - Hoboken's own veterans, bands, firetrucks and more...  
Photo credits HMAG, Hoboken Reporter, Hoboken Girl
The parade is presented by our Hoboken American Legion Post 107.  Click on the link to learn more about them and the amazing project they are undertaking to build six new homes for homeless veterans in Hoboken.  The Grand Marshal for this year's parade will be Michael DePalma, a decorated US Army Captain who served during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and who continues his service to all of us as a member of Hoboken's Police Department.  
It is going to be perfect, gorgeous summer evening so come join your neighbors for this great community event!  
As always, please feel free to email me or call me at 201/208-1674 if you have any questions of comments or want to discuss this or anything else.   Hope to see you there!
TiffanieFisher
Hoboken City Council, 2nd Ward
Engage. Inform. Advocate.
“More Voices are Better”


Talking Ed Note: Per MSV policy, local elected officials may see released here communications to the public without comment by the editor. The Mayor's Office recently excluded MSV from its releases thus eliminating themselves from the policy.

Be on the Lookout!


Today (and/or tomorrow) may see major news break.

For the conspiracy-fabricating loons at the Cave, let Horsey steer you from the utter vapidity as last when this signpost was highlighted. This is not about Hoboken news. It would be national news related to the collapsing #RussiaCollusionHoax. 

Since many "news" organization share this odd behavior attempting to "control the narrative," this Horse thought it would be useful to give a heads up.

After this post was written, President Donald Trump issued a tweet early in the am sure to get attention among his more than 51,000,000 twitter subscribers:

Is it a political statement of mere hyperbole or foreshadowing what will be (further) revealed? What does this forebode for the #RussiaCollusionHoax, its promoters and adherents?

When is it proper to subvert and attempt to overturn an election if you don't like the election results? All you legal beagles out there, please point out that clause in the Constitution.

Who was it that said it's a threat to Democracy not to accept election results? Is there an exclusion clause for the self-anointed "fourth branch" of government?

On Thursday, Congressional leaders who have called the obstruction of their oversight role over the Department of Justice improper will be given time to review documents withheld to date.

The collision of narratives and reality is coming to the fore.

Meanwhile, Mark Penn, a former Clinton pollster, and Democrat, says "the deep state' is in a deep state of desperation" and points to the upcoming release of the DOJ Inspector General Michael Hororwitz and the issuance of part two of his report.

Former US Attorney Andrew McCarthy examines the variously alleged originations of the #RussiaCollusionHoax and finds the attempts at retrograde justification more than a bit lacking.

President Trump addressed questions from media before departing to a conference on Long Island for law enforcement and the MS-13 violence on "SpyGate" saying, "It looks like a very serious event. But we'll find out. When they look at the documents (DOJ, FBI), I think people are going to see a lot of bad things happened."

Question to the President: “Would Obama know [about the spying]?”
President Trump: “Would he know? I certainly hope not, but I think it’s gonna be pretty obvious after a while.”
Update: George Washington University Law professor Jonathan Turly, a Democrat said of the recent "SpyGate" developments:

"I'm mystified by the response from the media. I think it is undeniable that the president's early allegations have been validated to a large extent. I think you can acknowledge that without necessarily saying this was done for the wrong purpose," Turley said. "I also don't understand why there isn't more concern here.
"The president was openly mocked for this allegation. People like Clapper said it simply wasn't true. I think that the media has to recognize this is a serious allegation," he continued. "All Americans regardless of their party should want to investigate this."

Monday, May 21, 2018

Grist for the Mill: $700,000, extortion and HHA bidness

MILE SQUARE VIEW EXCLUSIVE

State Senator Brian Stack's former assistant referenced in allegation of illicit HHA bid rigging

Hope that a $700,000 settlement with Mister Carmelo - one infamous Carmelo Garcia would permanently stall at upper levels of HUD came to naught according to well-placed sources on the controversial payoff to settle his civil claim against the Hoboken Housing Authority, City of Hoboken, former Mayor Dawn Zimmer and her husband Stan Grossbard.

Members of the HHA board in addition to the mayor and her husband were also sued individually by Garcia before the payout was finalized.

Carmelo Garcia - $700,000 fatter and new allegations of impropriety in alleged
email showing evidence of bid-rigging involving an aide to State Senator Brian Stack?
What was seen as an attempt to use the 2013 mayoral election as a wedge failed to see Dawn Zimmer capitulate to Garcia's demands that a controversial redevelopment project to more than double the size of the downtown HHA be approved.

Many observers saw the effort, called Vision 20/20, or Vision Money Money as a self-enrichment plan for connected Hoboken and HudCo politicos and a sure-fire way to increase a vulnerable population known for selling their votes for $40 a pop come election time.

The Carmelo Garcia litigation nets him and his attorney Louie Zayas a fat $700,000. MSV originally broke the story last November stating a deal had been cut in the seven-figure range. Questions about the deal surfaced after the Hoboken mayoral election saw Ravi Bhalla eek out a victory with 32% of the vote propelled by the backlash of a controversial "terror flyer."

The $700,000 payout will come out of the HHA's coffers. The agency housing Hoboken's most vulnerable population paid the entire bill for the sordid affair and it's not covered mostly by insurance. "Carmelo didn't care where the money came from," said one source. "He just wanted the money. Hurting the people at the HHA meant nothing to him."

Speculation is rampant why the failed lawsuit suddenly landed up, in the end, costing the agency so much when a counter suit filed against Garcia later was so strong. There's more to the story. As one lawyer said, "The entire system is broken and worse incestuous" pointing to public institution agencies and insurance carriers rolling over for one another in civil claims that survive initial dismissal actions.

The always controversial Carmelo Garcia saw his initial civil claim in 2013 completely thrown out of court on the first attempt, mostly on the second yet somehow he refiled it and netted a bounty of cash with a third refiling.

Confidential informants allege there's a bounty of bad behavior by Garcia while he was Executive Director at the HHA. In addition to the seven-figure contracts illicitly given to vendors without approval and contributions to Garcia's political committee for NJ Assembly, there are more illicit allegations.

"There's evidence of bid-rigging during Garcia's time at the HHA," another source offered.

By way of evidence, the following alleged email was exclusively provided to MSV: (click to enlarge)

The email dated June 6, 2014, came from a Hoboken Housing Authority employee to then Executive Director Carmelo Garcia. The name of an HHA employee has been redacted on the advice of MSV legal counsel as the authenticity of the email cannot be verified with the parties.

The alleged email references two people, a Carlos and "Yoli (Brian Stack assistant per Carlos)." The alleged email goes on to reference agency bidding and an underhanded scheme where "once the bids for the garbage bags come in you will tell him the lowest price so he can go lower."

Bid-rigging in public agencies is illegal.

According to the alleged email, the HHA employee concludes to Carmelo Garcia a heads up on the bid-rigging closing with, "I just want to let you know because the reception area was crowed and you know how rumors start."

One confidential informant stated the alleged email and bid-rigging in this particular effort was not successful for reasons unstated but added, "Others were."

An alleged note tied to allegations of attempted bid-rigging at the Hoboken Housing Authority involving a "Yolly," 

Talking Ed Note: MSV did not contact Carmelo Garcia for this story. In the past, Garcia threatened to file a criminal complaint with the Hoboken Police Department for receiving a question by text on public policy while he served as ED at the HHA.

Garcia is currently believed on two public payrolls. MSV reported on the two taxpayer paid jobs: one in Newark and another as, wait for it.... an Executive Director of the Irvington Housing Authority. It didn't last.

Update: Or did it? The Irvington HHA website shows him actively employed there with Mister Carmelo hosting an active voicemail. You can hear Mister Carmelo invite you to leave him a message at the number.



By way of a fyi, there's new leadership at the US Attorney's Office in Newark.

Grist for the Mill is MSV's rumor column. Got a tasty carrot for Da Horsey? Send it to smartyjones@me.com. All email is kept confidential and is protected by Da Horsey's proven Reporter Privilege upheld under the NJ Shield Law in Hudson County Superior Court. In farm animals we trust.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher: 'Hoboken updates amidst dreary weather'

Official release:


Dear friends and neighbors:

Hopefully, this update on Hoboken issues will find its perfect place amongst today’s dreary weather and the nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.  There are some attachments and action items that I hope you will consider for today and this week as well.  This weekend's update includes: 
  • Connecting the Dots:  Today’s Diaper Drive for Families in Need
  • NYWW/Former UDD site – ACOE public comments due 5/24; Alternative Site Analysis 
  • NJ Transit Buses
  • Messy Wires and Cables
  • Return of a Stop Sign and Stanchions
  • Washington St. – meeting with Businesses
  • A few other upcoming and noteworthy
Two things I have come to realize are that many of our neighbors are not aware of all the amazing non-profits and organizations in Hoboken that provide necessary and supportive services to our more vulnerable neighbors.  And that most people want to find ways to give back in their own community.  I want help connect these two dots.  So with each update I send going forward, I will try to include a new series called “CONNECTINGlTHElDOTS” with information on a local organization and ways you can potentially support this organization.  If there is ever any you want me to include, please let me know.  I attended an event at HOPES CAP on Thursday evening, so today I am starting dot connecting with them…
CONNECTINGlTHElDOTS:  HOPES – DIAPER DRIVE TODAY (5/19).  
Imagine if you or your friends could not afford diapers for your babies and young children.  If you have the means, please consider donating diapers TODAY (of all ages) to assist the families of HOPES Early Childhood Program who struggle to make ends meet.  You can drop them off tonight between 9pm-2am at Maggie’s Place, 87 Jefferson St., or at the following locations:  HOPES CAP, 301 Garden St., or HOPES Family Resource Center, 532 Jackson St.  If you want to order some diapers online and send, please do so to the Garden St. location.  Even just one package helps.
From the beginning, HOPES formally Hoboken Organization against Poverty and Economic Stress (H.O.P.E.S), was charged with the responsibility of combating poverty in Hudson County, New Jersey by providing a variety of social services for the community. Established in 1964, HOPES CAP Inc. is a Community Action Agency provides programs which respond to the social, educational, and training needs of the low income individuals in the community from newborns to seniors.  In 1966, HOPES implemented one of the first established Head Start programs in the country.  
NYWW/FORMER UDD – A LONG PLAY FOR HOBOKEN
With the alleged move date of June 1 looming, NYWW has not yet received its required permits to begin its operations at the former UDD site.  No one wants to see NYWW shut its operations, and although they may threaten to do so for negotiating purposes, IMHO there would not be a scenario where NYWW shut’s down over this – their business is profitable, they have valuable assets and ferry services are too critical to the entire region and are only expanding.  So that being said, Hoboken continues to press on to ensure the focus remains on providing an optimal location for NYWW’s operations, just not in the center of our waterfront.  With this a few updates:
Public comments due 5/24 on their ACOE water permit application.  On Wednesday night, the City Council voted unanimously to a resolution I sponsored along with Councilwoman Jen Giattino to submit a letter from the entire City Council to the Army Corps of Engineers requesting a public hearing (resolution and letter are attached). ACOE issued a public notice on 4/26 and the public comment period ends on 5/25.   The process does not require a public hearing, but given the importance of this to our community we felt it was critical for as many voices to be heard on the issue as possible.  The Mayor also submitted a request.  Please take a minute to read the letter and submit your own.  More voices are always better. Feel free to plagiarize any of the content in the letter.  
Alternative Site Analysis is being conducted for Hoboken by Boswell Engineering.  Why are we doing this too if others have done this?  Because of potential bias in the results… Only Hoboken will be able to solve for Hoboken’s best interest.  NYWW has supposedly conducted one that they have not made public and that excluded Bayonne as a potential site.  NJ Transit is performing a second one (they conducted one in 2009 – see below), with a particular focus on Bayonne.  
2009 NJ Transit Site Analysis Report not previously disclosed.  Fund for Better Waterfront sourced this report through an OPRA request that reviews 9 sites from Weehawken to Bayonne and ranks the former UDD site 5th, with Hoboken’s own Lackawanna terminal as 1st.  Interestingly, it identifies pressure from the City of Jersey City and the developer LeFrak as the main obstacle for Lackawanna.  And we now know that the developers in Weehawken who bought their land from NYWW’s Arthur Imperatore are what is pushing NYWW out from their current site.  And… NJ Transit and their development partners LCOR have both indicated to me that the land around Lackawanna is too valuable for ferry operations.  Is it only me that thinks that private profit is being prioritized over public interest?
NJ TRANSIT MEET AND GREET ON 5/14
I, and several of our neighbors attended the NJ Transit meet and greet last Monday at Lackawanna Terminal where top executives were there to speak with commuters.  I spoke with Executive Director Kevin Corbett and other senior officials about the 126 Bus and in particular the long lines in the north.  In a nutshell, they are constrained by PABT – specifically the evening rush hours.  They cannot add any more buses given the staging requirements and lack of space.  They will be looking at the numbers for Hoboken to see if reallocating buses within our own city may help balance out the waits – as they understand a lot of our population growth has happened in the north end.  
Another major constraint is that a significant number of bus drivers have retired and they are struggling to find replacements.  If you are experiencing any recent improvement it probably has to do with some recent hires.  But if you know of anyone who may be interested tell them to contact NJ Transit here.  They told me with overtime, the role can pay as much as $65k / year with benefits.  
We also discussed adding a bus stop in the 1st ward at the corner of Newark and Willow which I have shared with 1st Councilman Mike DeFusco and the city.  And finally, I encouraged them to provide further subsidies to NYWW – as they find an alternative site for them – so that they can reduce fares for Hoboken and make ferry riding a viable alternative to the buses.  Right now the cost differential between the two does not make sense for many.  
MESSY CABLES AND WIRES
Do you have messy cables hanging across your street that are either or both a safety hazard and an eyesore?  5th Ward Councilman Peter Cunningham has organized with the City meetings with both Verizon and Cablevision (and it successor names) to discuss the removal of these wires.  If you have any please email me the following:
  • A picture of the cables/wires and any context around specific safety concerns (like impacted by a tree, low hanging, etc.)
  • In the subject, write "MESSY CABLES" and the ADDRESS.  This will let us easily chronicle them.
STOP SIGNS AND STANCHIONS
The missing stop sign at the intersection in front of Pier 13 has been restored by the county and the visibility has been improved.  Thank you to Freeholder Romano for his assistance with this.  
Alas, the stanchions are back in full force in the second ward… installed without any prior warning.  I met with several residents at the corner of 13th and Garden yesterday to discuss.  At this corner, with vertical stanchions installed in the middle of the fire zones at 6 of the 8 corners, and a fire hydrant in one of the remaining two, there is virtually no place for any stops to be made.  While standing there we witnessed a mail truck parked in front of the fire hydrant, a car parked for 30 minutes at the only other free corner while dropping off supplies, and a car has to stop in the middle of the block holding up traffic to unload heavy items.  As I discussed with my neighbors, pedestrian safety (and idling Uber's) is what is driving the installation of these, as we witnessed dozens (plural) of cars not stop at the stop sign at that corner and a few vehicles park and extend into the crosswalk.  I am not sure what the right solution, but it feels like all fingers point to better enforcement to make things work better in these areas.  Please let me know your thoughts on the stanchions.  My understanding is they are coming to more intersections near you….  
WASHINGTON STREET UPTOWN – MEETING WITH BUSINESSES
Last week, Councilman Cunningham and I hosted a meeting at Elysian Cafe (thank you Eugene and Joyce Flinn) for the Washington St. businesses north of 8th street to meet with the administration and our construction manager (T&M) to discuss the Washington St. Project.  We have seen a number of businesses on the southern end of Hoboken be dramatically and negatively impacted by this project – with some going out of business altogether.  We need to do better.  The two main focuses of the meeting were the disruption that eliminating parking has on businesses and what we can do to get this project completed as fast as possible.  Unfortunately the contract with the contractor, as written, is inflexible and the City has historically been hesitant to make any meaningful changes due to litigation concerns.  That being said, as a result of the meeting, and suggestions by the business owners, the City is going to attempt to streamline parking disruptions so that you will not see any blocks where parking has been removed with no work.  Additionally, the City will be looking to find ways to compel the contractor to work longer than 730-330.  Honestly, Peter and I were both shocked when we heard that the contractors are not working longer hours (as approved by the City Council) to expedite the project.  The contractual completion date is 8/21, after which the contractor is obliged to pay a $5,000 / day fee (but is expected to challenge).  But everyone in the room recognized that that date is not a reasonable expectation.  Please share any observations you see as and when about the project as it moves north…
A FEW OTHER UPCOMING AND NOTEWORTHY?
May 19 & 20th, 2pm Hoboken High School’s production of the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  If you were not aware, Hoboken’s theatre department is award-winning and puts on professional level productions.  There is limited seating left and tickets range between $5-10.  This production is district-wide so the cast includes elementary through high school students.  You can buy tickets here.
May 21st , follow up meeting on Affordable Housing at the Multi Service Center at 7pm.  Please join to help us find ways to solve how this nationwide crisis is affecting our own community.
May 23rd, 630 pm, Hoboken’s 120th Memorial Day Parade.  Read more here.  Please join me and our Hoboken veterans to honor those who have sacrificed their lives for all of us.
As always, please feel free to email me or call me at 201/208-1674 if you have any questions or comments or want to discuss this or anything else. 
TiffanieFisher
Hoboken City Council, 2nd Ward
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