Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sh*t-Show on Tap Monday Night

Parking lot birthday

Holy cow!  Is it true?

Published yesterday on MSV:
 A Special Board Meeting has been scheduled and will be held on Monday, August 4th, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. in Council Chambers, City Hall, 94 Washington Street, Hoboken, New Jersey, for the following purposes: ...
4. Resolution terminating the contract of Executive Director Carmelo Garcia,  
5. Resolution appointing acting Executive Director 
Apparently so!  What does it mean?  

Does it mean no more $38.5K wee-wee-pads installed in HHA elevators?  You know, to keep the urine in the elevator where it belongs.

$665K to renovate 2 community rooms and a laundry room? 

$106.1K for a roof replacement at 655 6th street? 

What about those 14 Blue Star "new model" generators ordered with federal grant money, that just celebrated their first birthday in an HHA parking lot?   Happy birthday!

'Word on the street' is the generators were ordered for Vision 20/20.  Recall that the developer who was selected to build Vision 20/20 did not include back-up generators in his contract- a fact which Mayor Zimmer pointed out in her letter of May 1, 2013.  Here is what the Mayor wrote:

"I was shocked to learn that despite experiences with the power outages in Hurricane Irene and Sandy, that the project did not include a back up generator.  The developer made clear it was not part of the building design"

Well, 14 "Sandy-proof" generators were purchased in 2012, and are sitting in packing materials in an HHA parking lot since they were delivered in the summer of 2013.  Last April 30, the HHA went dark,  trapping at least one person in an elevator, and reminding folks that wouldn't have happened if those big metal hulks haunting the parking lot had been installed.

Just 2 months earlier, on February 23,the Hudson Reporter had these comforting words for HHA residents: 

The new generators were designed for outside use and specifically built to withstand Sandy-type forces of nature, HUD said, so they are confident that they will remain undamaged until spring. Garcia said that if not, they’re covered by a full warranty.In fact, HUD said, the generators were delivered in fall on purpose. At the time, HUD, Garcia and the vendor were aware that inclement weather might be looming, but the manufacturer wanted to prove that its new model generator, more powerful than previous iterations, could withstand the elements.
What a relief!

And leaving the generators in the parking lot proves they can withstand the test of time!

The generators' residency in an HHA parking lot has fueled rumor amongst HHA residents that the generators were ordered for Vision 20/20.   If true, the rumor raises questions whether they were properly-sized and engineered to work with the existing HHA buildings.  

Anyway, the generators, which operate fire suppression systems, were presumably on-order and being fabricated at the time Chief Blohm appeared at an HHA meeting  on February 14, 2013.   As GA reported on April 4, 2013: 
On February 5, 2013 HHA ED Carmelo Garcia was slapped with a Notice of Violation citing that he had "failed obtain the proper Building Permits for all the City of Hoboken housing buildings that were damaged by the Super Storm Sandy: electrical wiring, panels, switch gear, motors, motor controls, fire system and fire panels, fire pumps and any building structures"

Then on February 14, 2013 Chief Blohm appeared at the HHA to deliver his findings to the HHA Commissioners. There the public learned the stunning news:  6 HHA buildings were without properly functioning generators.

What do building generators do in a fire?  They power emergency lighting, exits signs, alarms, electric motor pumps for sprinklers.

One of the buildings with NO GENERATOR was 501 Marshall Drive, where the 5th floor meth lab found by police on Monday. 

Why do you think GA's been making a stink about these generators?

Thank G-d, nobody has been hurt, or worse- yet.  But, the HHA could be one catastrophe- a fire or extreme weather event- away from tragedy.  The black-out at the HHA last April 30 should have been a wake-up call. 

But I digress... 

As HHA Theater goes, next Monday promises to be a sh*t-show extraordinaire.  

I want Bayonne peeps to pay close attention.  GA hears Beth Mason has bought her way into the Davis camp.  Yep.  So, next Monday you may watch the spectacle in Hoboken, and see what you (allegedly) bought.  Or what (allegedly) bought you

Don't worry, Bayonne peeps.  

Should you have 'elevator problems' at Bayonne City Hall, your (alleged) gal can afford to buy $38.5K vinyl Pampers to swaddle it.  And that's what it's all about, right?

left: Violation Notice issued to HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia on 2/5/13, top right: 501 Marshall Drive, location of meth lab bot right: typical household ingredients used to make meth

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Exception to New 72-Hour "No Booting" Policy?

I  mean, she's been parked on the City Council for 7 years...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"It may be BIG, but it's still a LIZARD."

It's BIG, alright!   

But, the Japanese soldier who uttered that line in last night's showing of  "Godzilla vs. Megaguirus," was right:  "It may be BIG, but it's still a LIZARD."

(Okay, he said it 3 seconds before he got squashed under a giant lizard-foot, but those words resonated with GA so I jotted them down.) 

GA loves that line; a variant of 'the bigger they are, the harder they fall,' only funnier.

It has it's application right here in Hoboken, where giant lizards walk amongst us, wreaking havoc not with fiery breath, but with checkbooks.

Here's how Godzilla was dispatched last night: with  an experimental satellite-based weapon that fires miniature black holes!  WOW!

(But no explanation for what happened to the teeny, matter-eating  black holes after they swallowed their targets. )

Battling Hoboken's Checkzilla is not that simple. Unlike ToHo's lizard, this one attracts the most debased reptilian-human hybrids who feed off the checkbook which somehow makes them believe they are invincible.

Are they?

The movie's not over!

In Godzilla vs. Megaguirus human qualities of intelligence and creativity conquered the creature; those are things that money can't buy.

Good and evil forces in ToHo movies are easy to spot: has it got scales?  BAD.  Does it wear shoes?  GOOD.   In Hoboken, our beast gets plenty of help. So, while endings here not as predictable as those in ToHo movies, remember the words of that brave Japanese soldier before he got flattened like a tortilla:

"It may be BIG, but it's still a LIZARD."

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Have a Seat

Sit back and relax.

Don't let those springs, straps and built-in explosive device fool you... it feels better than a La-Z-Boy.  

Can anybody guess what it 'does'?

It's a historic artifact aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum where the GA crew went on Sunday, following a cloudy Saturday here:

No jellyfish,  plenty of shells
And so the summer goes!  

Weekdays, I take LA to Manhattan (art institute), weekends we do 'stuff.'

Folks, GA did not plan to drop off the radar, it just happened.  Keeping an eleven-year old off the computer is a full-time job. 

I hope you-all are having a great summer, wherever you are!

Where are you?

GA will post as time allows this summer, then will get back to 'normal' once again.   In the meantime, here's how another member of my family is spending her summer:

Dreaming of salmon?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Reward up to $700

Thanks to the kind folks out there moved to kick in to the kitty announced here on Friday; it all started with this generous offer of $300 to identify the person(s) who sabotaged Jessica Coco's car battery.

I had encouraged others to 'kick in' to the kitty:  

Well, some of you out there did, and brought Monday's total to $700.  Thank you!

The reward will be exchanged for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator(s).

 Thanks again to the generous donors, and if anyone else wishes to add to the kitty, meeee-ow!

wrong kitty

RREM Grants for Hoboken Residents

GA's pleased to report that wait-listed Hoboken residents for New Jersey Stronger's Homeowner Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Grant program are receiving notices that their applications have been "preliminarily funded."  

It's been a long wait; applications for this program closed on August 1, 2013.  

RREM "provides up to $150,000 for eligible Homeowners to repair, elevate or rebuild their primary residences in the affected communities".

 GA's kitchen, February 2013
Folks I know who have received RREM notices (including GA), completed major reconstruction and repairs long ago.  So how will it work?

Step 1 is to return documents including authorization for the Department of Environmental Protection  (DEP) and RREM representatives to access/test your property.

Next... that's the wildcard.

What if the DEP finds the air quality in your home sucks and/or the soil in your yard is contaminated?

We shall see.  In the meantime, perhaps we can recoup some of our losses.

Of course, there's no guaranty of getting an RREM grant until inspection, etc. but good luck to those who've made it to Step 1. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

$300 Cash Reward to ID Criminals


Last Tuesday night, a reader volunteered a generous $300 cash reward to whomever can identify the perpetrators who sabotaged HHA Tenant activist Jessica Coco's car, so that it would 'stop' while in operation:

GA has authenticated this offer.  It's real. I would also like to encourage any one out there to add to the kitty:  

The reward will be exchanged for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator(s).

Speaking of Ms. Coco, she attended last night's HHA meeting, where "two or three" police officers warned residents approaching Ms. Coco in a menacing fashion to to "stay away."  Coco spoke, and here's the text of her speech:
Mr. Carmelo did you have a nice vacation, because the HHA workers didn’t and in fact neither neither did I? As you are aware my person, my apt, and my vehicles were repeatedly threatened, vandalized, and burglarized during this time. I have repeatedly sent letters, but nothing has been done. I don’t even get a reply. Why is that?

Is it to curtail my freedom of speech & using the race card to do it with. 1st because of my opposition to Vision 20/20 which you Mr. Garcia supported and NOT this Board? Vision 20/20 would have Evicted All of of Us from our homes! 2nd my recent support for a public audit of the Housing Authority? Because after all if someone is stealing money, it’s we the tenants who suffer. We’ve heard stories of directors stealing for years. If it’s going on, it needs to stop.

I want to know what is going to be done to stop this pattern of harassment and terrorism for practicing my freedom of speech. By the way, anyone not know what Vision 20/20 is, they should check out on Facebook Save the Hoboken Projects 2013. I just hope that something is going to be done, because this is ridiculous. Dissenting tenants cannot come to a Board meeting? This is ridiculous and I have the right to be protected and feel safe in my house. I should feel safe enough to come here.
GA is told that a commotion followed her mention of Vision 20/20. 

Well, 'good news' to come out of the meeting is that ( I am told) Executive Director Garcia, just back from vacation, promised to have Chairwoman Dana Wefer made a signatory for the PNC account so "everyone" would get paid today.  

That's good news. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Stack Giveth and the Stack Taketh Away

 Hoboken friends, did you get State Senator Brian Stack's latest personal greeting card? 

I'll share mine:

What?  And on the inside:

click to read in English and Spanish


Surely this was a joke since last year, our friend/amigo and neighbor Brian Stack graciously opened his lovely pool to Hoboken residents (with ID), and gave us "Non-resident" passes.

Could it be true Stack shit-canned Hoboken in two languages?  GA called Union City Hall.

Gasp!  It IS  true!

Hoboken consiguiĆ³ mierda enlatada!

Hoboken NOT welcome

Oh, no!  Why Brian, WHY?

What did we do to piss you off?  

Was it our Mayor dropping the dime on your pal, Christie?  Was it only to woo us for the upcoming election? 

It wasn't like Hoboken residents swarmed your pool- not the handful of times I was there. So, what turned you all mean all of a sudden?

I still like you. Even if the other 49,999 Hoboken residents aren't speaking to you.  I will.  So how about reconsidering?  

We are NEIGHBORS, right?   This should not be about politics, it's about heat and children. Please reconsider!


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Graduation Day

LA (Little Avenger) gets her diploma

Folks, today was a big day-- LA's graduation from Wallace School!  

Bittersweet- mostly sweet.  She's put a muzzle on my keyboard, so all I can tell you is... well, nothing. Darn it!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Is This Funny?

Coco's battery wires cut yesterday

The ongoing harassment campaign against HHA Tenant activist Jessica Coco took a dangerous turn yesterday.

Instead of the usual garden-variety vandalism like a scratched car window, or broken door lock, it appears someone meant to hurt her.  

Somebody cut the wires to her battery, but rigged it so the car would run- at first.  Which it did.  Ms. Coco was driving then suddenly, her car stopped. If she were on a highway or going at a faster speed with another car behind her, there could have been an accident. Not only might she have been hurt, but passenger(s) in other car(s).

Of course, this on top of her apartment being illegally entered yesterday (the second time since last Friday); the contents of a drawer dumped out on the floor, all copies of police complaints stolen, with an OPRA request.

The renewed campaign to terrorize Ms. Coco seems to be in retaliation for her recent appearance at the City Council. The goal appears to be to remove her from the HHA- one way or the other.

With the sabotage of  Coco's car, it appears they are trying "the other."

This is happening to a resident of federally-subsidized housing, run by NJ's 33rd District Assemblyman.

In the meantime, two police officers were called to Ms. Coco's apartment yesterday.  As they were leaving, with her door closing, she heard laughter.

WHO will condemn violence against residents of Hoboken's federally funded housing?

Party Pooper

photo credit: Mile Square View

HHA Chairwoman Dana Wefer  sure is a... you know. 

Imagine, all the planning gone into a perfectly good stunt:  (1) stiffing HHA staff/vendors of their paychecks (2) telling the Teamsters Local 97 that Wefer is "holding" the paychecks  (3) splitting for vacation.

POW!  Take that, Ms. Wefer.

Of course any good stunt needs a good set-up.  

Here it is: Executive Director Carmelo Garcia did not make Ms. Wefer the signatory on the HHA's Bank account at PNC when she became chairwoman in May.  Nor did  Mr. Garcia provide the name of PNC bank's account executive for the HHA to Ms. Wefer until June 20, 2014- the same day "someone" pitched the story to the Hoboken Reporter.

Concurrently, GA hears a petition is floating around the HHA to have Wefer removed, and other Reform commissioners "removed" while harassment of Jessica Coco has reached new heights of depravity. 

So Wefer's gotta go ruin it with her statement published yesterday on MSV.   

Well, look.  After the paycheck-problem is cleared up (assuming HHA Counsel Charles Daglian remembers he works for the BOARD and not as the Executive Director's personal attorney), which means Daglian drafts the resolution as he has been asked by Wefer (no authorization for the Director to use  facsimile signatures on  checks) there is something the Board may wish to consider.

Wefer requested all "prior HHA resolutions concerning bank signatories."   Those have not been furnished.  


GA's got a suggestion.

If the resolutions are not furnished, why not audit all bank checks paid from the PNC account since 2009.   That means PNC provides copies of all checks paid from the HHA's account- thousands, for sure. It will be clear, not only who is signing checks but who got paid and how much.   GA doesn't know if a subpoena and/or Court Order is required to obtain such a volume of copies.  You guys figure it out.

Well, that's what I would do.  

In the meantime,  how about that Dana?  She sure knows how to spoil a mean-spirited political stunt.   

Party pooper!

Props... my Cousin Claudia, pictured here with U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts at yesterday's swearing-in to the U.S. Supreme Court bar (the tiny gal in blue).

Woo hoo!   You go, girl.

I am told she will present cases to the Supremes "if they warrant it."  Stay away from Clarence!    Just say "no" when he wants to play 'see-what's-hiding-under-the-robe.'  


Monday, June 23, 2014

Carmelo Generates Update (on Generators)

Today, these notices were placed on every HHA tenant's doors and in the mailroom:

The Man Upstairs

Isaiah 10:1-2
Woe to those who enact evil statutes. And to those who constantly record unjust decisions, So as to deprive the needy of justice And rob the poor of their rights, So that widows may be their spoil And that they may plunder the orphans. 

Everybody in the...


It's that time again, folks.

Time to wax nostalgic about what would-a, should-a, could-a been:  a free floating pool offered to Hoboken by the Neptune Foundation in 2000 that floated to Brooklyn in 2004,  a developer's promise to build a pool and community center in Hoboken in 2007...

left: URSA-Tarragon's Pool & Community center proposal, right: floating pool first offered to Hoboken, docked in Brooklyn, now the Bronx

...and what have we got today?

A backyard tin bucket of summer fun!  For all ages between 5 -12.

Not to disparage the over-sized tin bucket at the Boys and Girls Club- I had one like it in my backyard in Queens, but does it suffice for a city with a population of 50,000?    And GA hears the tin bucket may be endangered should the City allow the Boy's and Girls Club to build the HoLa expansion into the open, green space there now.

GA can't believe the City would pull the backyard bucket away from Hoboken's kids- without providing them with a beautiful public swimming facility like our Hudson County neighbors enjoy.

You don't know what I mean?  OK, let's play: match the pool with the Hudson County municipality it serves:

1. North Bergen
2. Union City
3. Jersey City
4. West New York
5. Secaucus
6. Hoboken
(answers below)

Here are the answers: (1-E, 2-D, 3-A, 4-B, 5-C, F-6)

Aren't you proud, Hoboken- peeps?   NOT.

Can someone tell me why Hoboken has one endangered-species tin bucket for kids age 5-12, and zip for its adults?  Can't our fractured governing body get in a swim suit?   Heat is something we can all agree on.   How about it?

In the meantime, pack up your bags for the drive to Secaucus.  Bring your wallet- last year's entry fee was $13/person.