Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Horse goes surfing

After a decade of service, innumerable exclusive stories, five frivolous legal actions, four of them false criminal complaints, millions of visits, it's a vacation.

Send a Horse surfing, hit the donate button on the top right or Zelle romanbrice@mac.com.

Later, surf's up!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Councilman Mike DeFusco: Ethics Reform Proposal Adopted, Will Bar Campaigning on Taxpayer Time, Misuse of City Resources for Politics

Official release:


A comprehensive ethics reform proposal sponsored by Councilman Mike DeFusco was adopted by the City Council this week, ensuring that taxpayer money and resources will not be misused for personal or political gain. The ordinance, co-sponsored by Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, bars any public official from using the city’s Nixle alert system to promote a political agenda and creates additional oversight to prevent city employees from performing political campaigning activities during working hours. 
“I’m thankful that the majority of my Council colleagues supported this common-sense proposal to protect Hoboken taxpayers and prevent the misuse of city resources for political gain, but I find it mystifying that Council members Doyle and Jabbour voted against it,” said Councilman DeFusco. “Hoboken residents deserve to know that city employees are spending their time doing the peoples’ work, not advancing their own political interests. This ordinance should have passed unanimously, and I find it troubling that anyone elected to represent our community would refuse to support it and instead act as an enabler for the chronic misuse of taxpayer resources that has plagued so many cities across our state for far too long.” 

Friday, August 9, 2019

Councilwoman Fisher: Safety Investments Still Lacking in New e-Scooter Contracts

Official release:

Following weeks of advocating by Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher for better contracts to improve the safety of Hoboken’s nascent e-Scooter pilot program, the City Council voted on amended contracts that will allow Hoboken to collect additional revenue to help address growing public safety concerns. While the terms of the new agreements are a step in the right direction, they fall short in addressing the immediate and tangible safety initiatives that Hoboken needs to properly ensure responsible ridership and safety for its residents. 
As part of the new agreement, the city will collect an additional $.35 from Lime per ride taken in Hoboken. Councilwoman Fisher successfully negotiated that the full $.35 cannot be immediately tacked on to the fare cost and revenue will be used directly for traffic safety and enforcement. Additionally, a last-minute addition to induce the Council to support the proposed contracts, the city agreed with Lime to offer riders the ability to make a donation through the app to the Hoboken Community Center, a popular local Hoboken cause.   
“Since the botched roll-out of the e-Scooter program in May, the administration has still not properly addressed the safety and enforcement issues on our streets,” said Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher. “That being said, I supported last night’s contract amendments because it allows Hoboken to collect a fair share of ridership revenue with hopes this additional money will be used to implement a more drastic and immediate safety and enforcement plan. Keeping our streets safe has been my top priority since we brought this program to Hoboken and it’s frustrating to see the administration use a last-minute political gimmick, albeit a cause I support, to cover up the shortcomings in the new agreements.”
Also on last night’s agenda was the second reading of an ordinance sponsored by Councilwoman Fisher that would ban e-Scooters from Hoboken’s waterfront.  She agreed to delay a vote on this until the next City Council meeting while continuing to work with Hoboken’s Parking and Transportation Director Ryan Sharp on the following initiatives: a pilot for protected bike lanes on the remaining portions of Sinatra Drive along the waterfront, updated markings and signage for the protected bike lanes on the lower waterfront, and ridership, enforcement and incident statistics for the waterfront to be provided to the City Council to better understand usage and enforcement needs along the waterfront.
“A more tangible and comprehensive public safety plan is needed that includes these initiatives and does not over exhaust our law enforcement resources, otherwise we will need to reconsider the legislation to ban scooters from our waterfront at the next City Council meeting,” said Councilwoman Fisher.  
Councilwoman Fisher has been working with both Lime and Director Sharp since the inception of the program in May to identify ways to better enforce scooter laws and make direct investments in public safety. Since the beginning of the roll-out, Councilwoman Fisher has successfully fought to lower the speed to 8 mph along the waterfront and add an identification requirement to prevent underage ridership and co-sponsored revised fee schedules for eScooter violations. 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

City Council records unanimous votes for eminent domain proceedings at Union Dry Dock & negotiations for Municipal Garage with Shipyard Assoc.

Last night's City Council meeting repeated the beginning of the 2017 process for eminent domain proceedings at Union Dry Dock.

Another unanimous vote recorded allows negotiations to continue with Shipyard Associates, re: the Barry family for developing at the site of the City of Hoboken Municipal Garage.

The following video report comes courtesy of the Hudson County View. Please note there is no settlement with Shipyard for the municipal garage site downtown. Its approval for the negotiation process and will require major redevelopment approval from the City Council at a later date.



Talking Ed Note: Mayor Ravi Bhalla is quoted saying Governor Phil Murphy "will support our position on Union Dry Dock." To date, the governor has done no such thing. Governor Murphy holds major influence over NJ Transit where a possible compromise solution may be available at the downtown Lackawana location.

To this point, NJ Transit has not publicly voiced support for that request by Hoboken residents.

NJ Transit holds eminent domain powers superior to Hoboken at the former Union Dry Dock site leaving many Hoboken residents to wonder how an eminent domain action to take the Union Dry Dock site will be any different when it was approved and then quickly rescinded prior.

Councilman Mike DeFusco 'pleased Mayor Bhalla follows advice to renegotiate e-Scooter contract'

Official release:

Councilman DeFusco Pleased Mayor Bhalla Follows Advice to Renegotiate eScooter Contract
After urging the Mayor to negotiate a better eScooter deal for Hoboken, the City Council approved amendments to the current eScooter contracts on Wednesday that will generate more revenue and begin to make much-needed investments in rider safety and enforcement. As part of the agreement, Hoboken will collect an additional $.35 per ride specifically for enforcement, rider education and transportation infrastructure investments. 
Councilman Mike DeFusco is releasing the following statement on the new contract:
“I have always believed eScooters can revolutionize micro-mobility and transportation in Hoboken, but the Mayor’s rushed roll-out has resulted in serious public safety concerns. For this program to succeed long term though, it’s important for us to immediately begin making the proper investments in rider safety and transportation infrastructure. The new contract that myself and Councilwoman Fisher advocated for allows us to generate substantial revenue to properly enforce scooter laws and build safer streets without straining taxpayer resources. I’m happy to see the mayor act on our call to renegotiate the existing contracts and put the safety of our residents above all else and believe these new terms are a step in the right direction in finding ways to implement a more sustainable program. I look forward to receiving continued community feedback and working with the administration to decide the best ways to proceed from here.” 

Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher: 'Unanimous votes!'

Official release:

Dear friends and neighbors – 

This is what community looks like:

In front of a packed house at City Hall last night, the City Council not only voted unanimously in favor of both measures to complete our waterfront (Monarch and UDD), but also to invest in much needed affordable housing for Hoboken residents who are being displaced.  As Councilwoman Falco so eloquently pointed out last night… we did this in the same night.    

Thank you to everyone who worked together to make this happen.  I could not be more proud to be your neighbor and be part of our special community.  More voices matter.  #ourhoboken


As always, please forward to everyone you think may be interested in this.  And don’t hesitate to email me or call at 201/208-1674 to discuss this or anything else important to you.  



Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher: 'The August meeting'

Official release:


 
Dear friends and neighbors – 
 
Reminder that tonight the City Council will be voting on important legislation relating to the last two sites on our waterfront that if passed, would pave the way towards completing Hoboken’s waterfront.
You can click HERE to read the newsletter I sent out on Monday with more details about each piece of legislation.
 
The votes on both of these items will be at the beginning of the meeting which starts at 7pm.  I hope you can make it!  I will be walking to the meeting and leaving from Hudson Tea’s circle at 6:15 if you would like to join me.   I expect and hope there will be a sizable crowd!
 
Eight years of advocacy... potentially culminating in resolution beginning tonight for the last two remaining sites on our waterfront.  Although I am confident that the entire council will support both votes tonight, I will breathe easier once the votes are behind us.  
 
 
Thank you in advance to those pioneers who set us on this path three decades ago with the transformative “WaterfrontReferendums” that led to our lower waterfront parks Pier A and Pier C (click each word for 2 articles worth reading), many of whom are still in Hoboken fighting today.  And thank you also to everyone who have continued to advocate since then - the list is long.  We aren’t there yet, but we are closer than we have ever been so lets keep working together until we get there.  More voices always matter. 
 
As always, please forward to everyone you think may be interested in this.  And don’t hesitate to email me or call at 201/208-1674 to discuss this or anything else important to you.   
PS - from the second article above from 1992.  If you ever thought your vote in an election doesnt matter, it matters most in local elections.  Two different votes relating to our waterfront, long before social media, the internet or text phones.  One passed by 12 votes and one by 231 votes and are why we have both Pier A and Pier C parks today:
April 1992 NY Times article – “…Preliminary results from the City Clerk's office had the plan defeated by 231 votes, 5,547 to 5,316. Officials later said the margin was 341 votes, but said they did not have the total number available. The office said that about 60 percent of Hoboken's 19,145 registered voters cast ballots.  The first plan to go to a referendum, a larger plan to redevelop Hoboken's crumbling waterfront, was defeated in July 1990 by 12 votes.”

City Council set to easily pass Union Dry Dock eminent domain and Municipal Garage negotiations with Shipyard

Tonight the only City Council meeting in August is the backdrop for two aligned issues seeing easy passage this evening.

First is a repeat of eminent domain proceedings on the Union Dry Dock now NY Waterway property. Looming over the matter as in late 2017 is the massive presence and superior eminent domain powers of NJ Transit.

In early 2018, the City Council reversed its earlier passage of emiment domain requested by Mayor Ravi Bhalla after fulfilling his desire and former mayor Dawn Zimmer's earlier request to approve in 2017.

The reason? The ultimate eminent domain power holding sway over the issue and by extension Hoboken is controlled by NJ Transit.

NJ Transit holds all the cards if its willing to reconsider hosting
the NY Waterway ferries downtown. Tonight the Hoboken City Council
will again easily pass eminent domain proceedings on the Union Dry
Dock site.


Talking Ed Note: There's no real drama involved this evening in the upcoming council approvals on both Union Dry Dock eminent domain and for Monarch negotiations on the site of the Municipal Garage. That is other than the mayor's office which is hyping it for political purposes to herald its would-be "rubber-stamping" council candidates for the November election.

Almost to a person, the "B" Team of Team Bhalla candidates were invisible on any Hoboken government issue, let alone these matters before being selected as candidates. Team Bhalla is releasing centrally controlled communications on their behalf to prop them up in the hopes the public will believe their sudden interest isn't manufactured based on complete lack of participation previously.

On Union Dry Dock, there remains some small hope toward useful discussions with NJ Transit which has not shown much interest in using any property in the Lackawana terminal for NY Waterway's ferry maintenance. Their property is considered too valuable to make a switch to that southern location.

The public can only hope NJ Transit will consider that alternative. To this point they are unmoved but if they decide to reconsider, they can be heralded in doing so.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher: "Defending Our Waterfront This Week"

Official release:


 
Dear friends and neighbors – 
 
For those of you who, like me, are passionate about Hoboken’s waterfront, protecting it, defending it, and wanting to see it be complete from end to end, then this is the week you should pay attention.  The last two sites that are at risk of being commercially developed – Monarch and the former Union Dry Dock – are closer than ever to being permanently returned to public ownership.  The City Council will be voting on Wednesday night at the August council meeting on the following (more detail at the end of this newsletter):
 
 
The votes on both of these items will be at the beginning of the meeting which starts at 7pm.  Please plan to attend to show your support for either or both!  I plan to leave the HTB circle at 615pm and walk there if anyone would like to join me.
 
Additionally, there is also an information meeting tonight on the Monarch project at City Hall at 630pm if you would like to learn more and ask any questions.  
 
MONARCH
 
The proposed settlement agreement is for the City to receive the Monarch site, a new state of the art DPW garage at Observer and Willow, and up to $1M towards both projects.  In exchange Applied / Shipyard / Ironstate will give up their rights to build 150,000SF of residential at the Monarch site and instead will be able to build up to 264,000SF at the DPW site that is owned by the City of Hoboken.  As Mayor Bhalla and Hoboken’s Director of Community Development Chris Brown explained to some of my 2nd Ward neighbors recently at a meeting at Hudson Tea, the process, if successful, is a three step process that will culminate in about a year from now with a binding Redevelopment Agreement.  
  • Step One - this Proposal
  • Step Two – by October 30th, an interim cost agreement will be signed and Applied/Shipyard/Ironstate would be approved as Redeveloper (this is a NJ Redevelopment Law requirement).  This step accomplishes two things: (a) gives the Redeveloper confidence they will be the one developing the project going forward and (b) outlines that the Redeveloper will be financially responsible for all the due diligence the City will be undertaking including financial, legal and environmental analysis on both sites.  
  • Step Three – By December 2020, a plan is agreed for both sites, a formal binding agreement will be entered into between both parties.
As one of my 2nd Ward neighbor’s asked the Mayor, what happens if it is determined that the value of the DPW Site is significantly greater than the value of the Monarch site?  Mayor Bhalla indicated the exchange would be rebalanced with either side paying the excess in value to the other.  This was expressly included in the Proposed Settlement Agreement in Section 8.
 
Why does this proposal seem more feasible than the one proposed in 2016?  The 2016 proposal added significant bulk (and perceived burden) to an existing project in western Hoboken.  Under this proposal the bulk at the Municipal Garage Site is being maintained.  The only change being the developers are required to build a new state of the art municipal garage at the site which is a huge positive for Hoboken.  Councilman Mike DeFusco, who is the City Council representative for the 1st Ward where the Municipal Garage site lies has expressed his support for moving forward with the proposed settlement agreement but is appealing for a possible public arts venue to be included in the development of the Municipal Garage Site as part of the exchange.
 
FORMER UDD / NYWW
 
The City Council will also be voting on first reading on an ordinance reflecting the Mayor’s recommendation to acquire the former Union Dry Dock site either through a negotiated sale or via condemnation at a price not to exceed $13,500,000 which is the most recent appraised fair market value for the property.   In previous iterations, this step invoked a response from NJ Transit to step in and acquire the property directly, leasing it back to NYWW, which would eclipse our jurisdiction.  I am hopeful that this time, because of the mayor’s continuing discussions with all parties to find a better location for NYWW’s operations, including Governor Murphy’s office, that that will not be the case.  If you haven't done so already, please add your name to the FBW Petition to ask Governor Murphy for his help in defending our waterfront.
 
For those concerned about any disruptions to NYWW ferry service as a result of this move, I believe firmly that ferry service is such a big enough priority to our broader community and the bigger transportation network of our area that any action taken will ultimately prevent this. So I plan to support this step and to continue to support his efforts.  
 
 
ADVOCATING FOR OUR WATERFRONT
 
I have been advocating for Hoboken’s waterfront since 2011 when we all first received the news of a proposed 11-story, two-tower, 150,000SF residential project slated to be built along the northeast corner of Hoboken’s waterfront at a location we always believed would be tennis courts, open space and parking.  That project was called Monarch.  
 
Almost immediately, myself and neighbors from Hudson Tea and surrounding areas engaged with Ron Hine and Jim Vance from Fund for a Better Waterfront and the City of Hoboken and began what has been a collaborative, community partnership in advocacy for the past eight years to lead what became an epic battle involving countless municipal meetings, litigation and court hearings, conversations with elected officials, and engagement with the broader Hoboken community at the ferry, bus stops, on the streets and sidewalk to raise awareness and gather support and 1500+ signed petitions.  This same community partnership remained and shifted intact in 2017 to UDD when we suddenly were at risk of losing to commercial development the only other remaining waterfront site, what we all know as the former Union Dry Dock site.  We resurrected our resident advocacy coalition that I co-founded in the early days of Monarch, Hoboken Residents for a Public Waterfront, and with a new set of faces, launched a messaging and social media campaign in support of keeping the Union Dry Dock site as public open space.
 
Like the many in our community who came before me and have been fighting for the past three decades, defending our waterfront became my issue.  The issue that got me off the couch and more engaged in my community.  The issue that started the path to my appointment to the Hoboken Zoning Board in 2014 and the one that led Mayor Zimmer to ask me to run for and ultimately be elected to City Council in 2015.  It is still one of the most important issues for me making it incredibly painful to abstain from voting on the Monarch resolution on Wednesday night.  My long term advocacy on this issue speaks for itself and while I believe there is a strong case to be made in support of me voting on the settlement, I have always erred on the side of caution. Like over 250 of my neighbors, this issue has some personal interest to me because the view from my home would be impacted by the development. 
 
I will never stop fighting for our waterfront, but for us to achieve the best possible outcome we need not one voice or one vote but full community and council support. On both these issues and like we have seen before, I am confident we will see this in the coming days and we can finally begin taking the necessary final steps to complete our open waterfront.
 
 
As always, please forward to anyone you think may be interested in this.  And don’t hesitate to email me or call at 201/208-1674 to discuss this or anything else important to you.   

City Council President Jen Giattino: "Public Hearings, Council Meetings and Thank you"

Official release:



Dear friends and neighbors,

There are a few important meetings coming up this week that may affect you:  

PUBLIC HEARING FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO PUBLIC PARKS

When: Thursday, August 8th at 7PM
Where: City Hall, 94 Washington St. Basement conference room
This hearing will be to collect public input on improvements planned for the following parks city wide:
  • Stevens Park: Upgrade dog run surface from gravel to synthetic grass
  • Church Square Park: Upgrade dog run surface from gravel to synthetic grass and add drainage along the sidewalk north of the water feature(dolphins)
  • Elysian Park: Upgrade play equipment and surface in the 5-12 year old area from poured in place rubber to synthetic grass turf
  • Jefferson Park Playground: Upgrade play equipment and surface in the 5-12-year-old area from rubber tiles to synthetic grass turf and add 3 pickleball courts 
  • 7th and Jackson Park: Add shade sails
If you can't make it and have any questions please send me a text or email.

CITY COUNCIL MEETING

When: Wednesday, August 7th at 7PM
Where: City Hall, 94 Washington St. Council Chambers 
There are a few big issues being discussed and voted upon including the following: 
THANK YOU! 
I want to express a huge thank you to everyone who came out to my Campaign Kick Off event last week at Moran's and in particular to my dear friend and colleague Peter Cunningham who introduced me that night (click here to watch video).  It was heartwarming and inspiring to be surrounded by almost 80 friends and neighbors that night in a packed house.  Thank you to Len Hehir for being the best host. 
If the torrential rain kept you away that night, don't worry, there will be plenty of time to show your support.  Right now, if you are a sixth ward resident, you can sign my nominating petition (attached) to help me get on the ballot.  Email me and we can arrange for me to come get from you.  Please share with your neighbors.  Also, if you are interested in volunteering on my campaign, please let me know.  As you probably know, elections and campaigns can be a lot of fun and the more is definitely the merrier. 

Thank you to those who have already contributed to my campaign and to those who have asked where you can donate online.  Just click here:
                                                                                                                                   

Hoboken matters so much to me, and all of your support - whether in the past, that night, or in the future - tells me that Hoboken matters to you too.  

-Jen

Monday, August 5, 2019

Roman Brice defeats Lane Bajardi & Kim Cardinal in their appeal of notorious SLAPP suit

Analysis and opinion on the 2015 SLAPP suit from the NJ Appellate Court decision

After 14 months of deliberation, the New Jersey Appellate announced its decision Friday in Bajardi v Pincus upholding victories for all but one defendant in the notorious Hudson Superior Court designated SLAPP suit.

That sole defendant, Nancy Pincus, saw two counts from the 2012 civil complaint remanded for trial in Hudson County Superior Court. A trial date is expected to be set this October or November.

Named defendant Roman Brice once again proved victorious along with Mark Heyer against plaintiffs Lane Bajardi and Kimberly Cardinal.

Sanctions for frivolous litigation issued in the case for $276,000 against Lane Bajardi and Kimberly Cardinal were however reduced by the Appellate to those paid-to-date for the litigious couple who sued numerous screen name defendants for defamation. Most would never see an allegation of any kind made before seeing dismissal. Some of those screen names SLAPPed: Bob R, SS1959, davidd, SmartyJones, Bet Mazin and Klaussenfluffer.

Lane Bajardi and Kimberly Cardinal paid approximately $70,000 in court-approved sanctions to Heyer and Brice since 2015.

A few notable items over the seven-year litigation:
  • Lane Bajardi stated repeatedly under oath he was not a political operative for Beth Mason
  • Beth Mason, a former councilwoman announced the Bajardi civil litigation prior to its filing at the July 2012 Hoboken City Council meeting in reply to Defendant Brice's inquiry about Mason Civic League tax filings and political operatives being on the payroll (including Matt Calicchio)
  • Of 48,000 emails obtained by defendants in discovery, over 7,200 were between the plaintiffs, Lane Bajardi & Kimberly Cardinal and Beth Mason and her husband Richard Mason of Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz.
  • Matt Calicchio, a former political operative for Beth Mason since her 2011 council campaign pleaded guilty last May to his participation in a voter fraud bribery scheme in 2013 and 2015.
  • Among those sued by the plaintiffs, a 2010 cartoon character called Bet Mazin created by Brice in the smash hit short movie, "Downfall of a Wannabe Shark."
  • Hobokenhorse.com has never seen a single defamatory allegation or similar complaint against it in almost seven thousand original news stories and features published in its ten-year history.
  • Although targeted in the civil litigation with no claim against it, Hobokenhorse.com continuously published over the entire seven years.
  • Some emails obtained in discovery became part of the Bench Slapped Series
Hudson County View published its story late Friday.










Bet Mazin, the original 2010 cartoon character seen tens of
thousands of times in "Downfall of a Wannabe Shark"
was named a defendant in the 2012 SLAPP suit and maybe the
only cartoon character ever sued and victorious in NJ history.

Talking Ed Note: Hopefully, being subjected to voluminous pathological lying to keep a SLAPP-suit alive to a trial will never be repeated against any Hoboken resident again.

It's a good time to offer thanks, first to our Lord and then counsel of record throughout: Alexander W. Booth, Jimmy the K, BC, Doctor F, Kurt Gardiner, Eric Kurta - the Wiley Coyote, Steve X, DY, Eric, P, Mossad Girl, Not Stempler, Scott, Catrina, Fake Striver, Michael Lenz, Tony Soares, The Janitor, and all the readers and members who supported Hobokenhorse.com throughout.

You never got me down Beth; you never got me down.

  I WON! 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Guaranteed loser: another UDD eminent domain action

The definition of insanity...  Yes, it's a repeat of the political eminent domain action against Union Dry Dock's new owner NY Waterway. Governor Phil Murphy and NJ Transit will not be amused.

The City Council will host its August meeting next week where the circular fire begins anew.

Well, it is the dog days of summer but Hoboken never stops. Neither does Team Bhalla, whether it's rustling up monies near and most often far or attacking a stroke victim who dared say a few words of common sense about NY Waterway not being stopped at Union Dry Dock.

The vicious attack for his stating a simple truth by Ravi Bhalla's paid political operative was one of the worst seen in Hoboken. Ever. We're talking pre-Caveman savage.

The attack on Pearl Harbor was more dignified than the latest attacks by Team Bhalla. On the surface, platitudes, but online
it's the foulest ugliness led by Ravi Bhalla's online political operative. Not even a stroke victim is safe.

A vile personal attack on Kurt Gardiner, a recovering stroke victim and the godfather of the Reform Movement's online origins with the Hoboken Journal and later the Hoboken Resistance is on the end of Ravi Bhalla's paid political operative bile.

In response to his brief comment the NY Waterway status at Union Dry Dock remains unchanged, he was assaulted with this Team Bhalla savagery on HCV:


Kurt Gardiner has seen the attack by Team Bhalla via the operator of his online propaganda cave site and simply remarked, "It's wrong."

It didn't end there and any expectation of basic human decency went out the window with this addition.


Team Bhalla held an event for its slate of "yes people" council candidates claiming about $60,000 incoming from unknown sources which later turn out to mostly originate from special interests outside Hoboken.

Brazen attacks directed at City Council members in their meetings shown originating from the mayor's office in ugly race-baiting operations means all this is par for the course for Ravi Bhalla even in July.

Scorched earth is a staple food for Ravi Bhalla. Seeking absolute power with almost entirely "a group of never done one thing for Hoboken governance" candidates coupled with Nancy Pincus doing her absolute vilest online, par for the course.

The rest of this story is premium content and will go out to members later today.