Monday, January 23, 2017

Interview with Councilman DeFusco



GA sees that Horsey has posted texts from First Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco explaining his 'present' vote on the 'eminent domain ordinance' at last week's City Council meeting.    

In fact, GA swapped texts with Mike on the same subject last Thursday morning. Then, the Trumpocalypse landed with a soul-crushing thud.

Well, back to the Hoboken scene.

GA really didn't understand why Mike voted the way he did.  Instead of pouncing, GA wanted to hear what he had to say, and that was one of my questions in Thursday's text-exchange.   Not surprisingly, what Mike told Horsey concurs with what he told me- parts are identical (I have italicized those.)  

Oh, and since writing about DeFusco triggers F-Bomb drops on my voicemail, can the F-Bomber change it up a little this time for variety?  Like this:

F*ck you, GA
I hope I ruined your day

So, in his own words Councilman DeFusco:   
GA: ...throw me a crumb. When are you announcing?

Mike: I've enjoyed reading about what everyone says I'm going to do, but my mind right now is on advancing my approved resolution to help businesses and ground-floor uses, into ordinance.

GA:  Got it. *wink* I don't see how you'll have opposition on your effort. Who was co-sponsor? 

Mike: Jen was co-sponsor and the vote was unanimous.

[banter]

GA: On first reading, you voted "present" on the eminent domain ordinance. Is that different from abstaining?

Mike: "Present' in my opinion, is different from recusing oneself. Whereas I would recuse myself due to a conflict, I voted 'present' to indicate support of a second reading but a concern with access to information.  Specifically, the Council request our annual debt statement and audit and neither document was provided prior to the vote. Casting a 'yes' vote on first reading without that data is a populist vote, rather than a vote based on financial data and potential impact on future municipal budgets.. Everyone wants an expanded park (I really want bocce courts) so I'm looking forward to working with everyone to chart the right course of action.   

GA: Ah, did you mean to say "abstain" instead for recuse"?  It's not clear why you needed those docs, but I'll take your word for it!  What has Academy asked the city for, in exchange for 'giving' Hoboken the lot?

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

GA: Ah, so you think at the end of litigation the city may not even get the park?

Mike: It's certainly a possibility but I hope calmer heads prevail and that the City and Academy figure this out amicably.

FOLLOW-UP today: 

GA: Hi Mike.  I see MSV has posted his text conversation with you, so I'll do same which concurs.

Mike: Per Stephen Marks, the debt statement and audit for 2017 I'll be available prior to next council meeting. Those are the documents I'm looking to review.

GA: Don't you mean for 2016?  2017 is less than 1 month old!

Mike: I'm just going off information that Director Marks has provided. [screencap]



GA: Thank you. Are you sure no audit/debt docs were provided before last week's meeting?  Perhaps you didn't get them in time or missed them?

Mike: We were provided with the city's bonding capacity, not current debt statement or audit. Just trying to do my homework.

GA: Sure. Lotta skeptics out there... count me in. Hey, I'm not a bullshitter and that's the truth unless I'm bullshitting you. I am not! Do you know what Academy would like to build if they 'give' the city their lot? 

Mike: Unsure why there are skeptics but as long as the reporting is fair and facts are relayed correctly, I don't mind a healthy debate. Once I have the requested data I'll be much more comfortable to make an informed decision.  The first I heard Academy had a proposed plan was when it was announced at the Council meeting by their architect.

GA: Fair enough. Well, I am a skeptic by nature... I think you're doing a very good job so far. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

UPDATED: Poor Attendance, Riots, Protests, Pepper Spray

Oh my, pathetic! 

Check out these EMPTY BLEACHERS in FRONT of the White House, during today's inaugural parade!

Look down Pennsylvania Avenue- bleachers are 80%-90% empty!


click image to see "SAD" attendance 

_________________


click to enlarge
Obama's 2009 inauguration attendance vs. Trump's earlier today

At this moment, cops are fighting rioters with pepper spray just blocks from the Trump inaugural parade route.  It's unfolding live; an MSNBC audio guy was disabled by pepper spray.

MSNBC also reported  that 10-12 protest permits were requested for the 2009 and 2013 inauguration days; this year 103 permits were requested.

Stay tuned, people.

WARNING*** [GRAPHIC and DISTURBING]

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Council Meeting: look who came out of the woodwork!



Last night, Hoboken's City Council met to a packed house- over 40 speakers signed up for public comment!

What drew the huge turnout?

This Ordinance which was up for Introduction and First Reading
"...authorizing the acquisition of certain real property known as Block 10, Lots 1 through 7, and Lots 30 through 36 on the official tax map of the city of Hoboken and the institution of Eminent Domain Proceedings, if necessary." 
GA had heard advance buzz that several "no" votes on this Ordinance would be a 'coming out party' of sorts for a new political faction on Hoboken City Council.

In fact, the 'No' side rallied folks to speak in opposition to the 'ED' Ordinance, even (according to a witness) transporting some by bus to City Hall.

Sent to GA by reader with message: "Academy literally bused people in last night to the council meeting"

Yes, it was quite a public response for and against the City's right to use eminent domain to negotiate the sale of Academy Bus-owned Block 10.  

As it happened, community turnout ( the 'Yes' side)  dwarfed the  'No' side  in number.  

The 'Yes' side were largely 4th Ward residents and neighbors. They spoke passionately about how the acquisition of the land for a larger Southwest Park would improve their lives, their children's, and the quality of life for the entire community.  Local activist LaTrenda Ross described  HHA residents'  desire for the larger SW park.   Interestingly, most on the "Yes-side" did not favor implementation of eminent domain, but believed it was  a necessary "tool" for negotiating with Block 10's owner, Academy Bus.

And the 'No' side?

Speakers supported the 40-year resident business and local employer, Academy Bus. and urged the council to allow the City to continue negotiations without the threat of eminent domain.

And then...  there was former 33rd District Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia [at 01:06:36]  

Read Garcia's word-salad carefully.
"... the reality is, you have a great opportunity. I came to speak to you about economic and community development.  I mean clearly, we know that the Southwest park is needed, it's a signature park, it is a gateway to the city. And having that anchor park that can make a huge difference for those residents, especially the residents of the Housing Authority as LaTrenda spoke about earlier, but clearly right now you have the opportunity to lead with a public-private partnership.  I mean we all know I specialize in you know, economic development community. So what I know is that eminent domain is definitely expensive.  The litigation of it can take longer time.  The best critical path is usually having those cooperating partners who can come to the table and definitely give the city its concession as its needed. You know as an advocate of open space, I developed the Mama Johnson ball field, the Spray and Splash park over in the Housing Authority as the former Executive  Director of the Housing authority so I know that definitely the open space is a must for our residents.  But I think utilizing the right methodology in a public-private partnership is the best tool we have.  And when you take these jobs, these projects, I think we need to focus on you know, giving Hobokenites opportunities to be employed through these construction projects.  Right now, you know we have young people as you  know, unfortunately in the West End of town, who some are overdosing, some.. you know we have shootings that have been happening, so we really need to really give them the right infrastructure, and I want to try to thread this together, to provide the resources to support the police, support you know the residents who came out tonight and have given these heartfelt speeches about the need to have this park,  but we know we have cooperating parties who we can all bring to the table, as uh some of the folks have spoken about. Providing a concession to the city, would be the best outfit, would be the best outlet, and I'm hopeful that you guys will utilize a public-private partnership that  really can get us to achieve the goal of expanding the city's open space, providing a signature resiliency park, but at the same time honoring the partners that we have, creating more employment, having the economic impact that the city needs, and of course beautifying and improving our environment. So I implore you to definitely utilize those tools, particularly the public private partnership model so that we can accomplish this.  Thank you so much and have a great night."  

Methinks Garcia inadvertently 'spilled the beans'.

Did you see that crunchy "construction projects" crouton hiding in his heaping word salad?  

Let's get real.

Garcia, who has been suing the City of Hoboken since 2013 argued against the Hoboken using eminent domain because the litigation "can take a long time" and is "expensive"? 

Hilarious!

Word Salad translation: Garcia crept from his hidey-hole to pitch redeveloping Block 10 with new construction ("the economic impact that the city needs")  and- oh yeah, and you'll get a park, too.

But really, it's for the children.

Garcia and his Dark Side friends want to employ those poor kids on the West End of town who are getting all shot up and "overdosing"!  This "public-private partnership" for "construction projects" is one big jobs creation program;  "eminent domain" is a jobs-killer!  If the City doesn't scrap "eminent domain" - kids on the West End of Hoboken will continue to shoot each other and overdose!

Understand?

Hey, did you know that in 2006 Academy had proposed a concept plan for Blocks 10, 11 and 12 that included a 3.8 acre park and three 17-story towers?

click rendering to enlarge



The beige areas on the rendering are the three 17-story towers connected by 6 story buildings.

That was ambitious, makes you wonder...

Did the dream die in 2006 or... 

In the case of negotiation for Block 10, the power of eminent domain  has the power of making dreams disappear.

Or, as Garcia might put it, making "jobs creation programs" disappear.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

'Emnet Ed' washes aboard NHSA!



Two weeks ago, GA posted a fairytale called "Emnet Ed and the 3 Witches."

This was Chapter 1:
Once upon a time in Hoboken, a 4th ward resident had an idea.

It was a big idea.  An idea that could possibly alter the course of regular flooding on the city's west side.  The resident's name was Ed.  The year was 2008.


Ed brought his idea to his 4th Ward council person who later became Mayor. Ed's idea was a flood mitigation technology called "Emnet."


Emnet is a wireless system of sensors installed on the under-side of manholes, that was developed in a land far, far away called Indiana.


Ed believed Emnet could coordinate operation of Hoboken's (future) pumps with actual conditions in the flood-prone areas of Hoboken rather than basing control on conditions in the areas of the pumps (which tend not to flood).   Ed discovered that Emnet could also control combined sewer overflows (which is what Hoboken has).


So, when Emnet Ed the Visionary brought his idea to his 4th Ward Councilwoman, Hoboken lived Happily Ever After... right?  Wrong!

Well folks, that Emnet Ed put in an application to the North Hudson Sewerage Authority, along with (2) other worthy and talented candidates: Leon Gold and Paul Blanos.  Oh yes, and former NHSA Commissioner Frank Raia.

So...

Tonight, the Hoboken City Council will vote on this Resolution:

click to enlarge

It appears that congratulations are in order to Emnet Ed...

Congratulations, Emnet Ed!

And thanks to all applicants for being willing to serve your city.   Newbie Paul, do not be discouraged; there are so many opportunities to serve!

On a (sort of) related note...

GA was dismayed to hear that on January 10, 2017 Hoboken's Maxwell Place won a $5,000,000 judgment in a civil lawsuit against the NHSA.   The suit was over the NHSA's largely underground installation for the H5 pump on land acquired through eminent domain.

The only 2 above-ground accessory structures are a 36"h x 36"w x 18"d  'box' and a 42"h x 8"dia 'tube.'  Huh?

According to NHSA Director Richard Wolff, the H5 pump was located for optimum functionality and efficiency of design; moving the pump north would have required construction of 2 enormous holding tanks ("50 feet long...") and moving it west (into another residential neighborhood) would not properly drain the ShopRite area.



GA cannot believe that these buildings, monoliths lining the Hudson which have certainly blocked the air, light and views of the rest of us (a.k.a. "neighbors") would begrudge the above-ground area the size of a coffee table in order to protect their neighbors from FLOODING every frigging time it storms.   

GA is shocked.  Now, Maxwell Place owners have public infrastructure below ground on a strip of property and a "coffee table" sized appurtenance above ground- on a green island with shrubbery-, TO PROTECT THE PROPERTY of those who rent or own in a low-lying part of Hoboken.

How about WE sue YOU for blocking our view of Manhattan?

Certainly your bulbous towers have a negative impact on property values of the homes you cast in shadow.

GA can hardly believe that such a lawsuit was ever initiated.  Hopefully it will get overturned on Appeal.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Sullivan: "Three Tickets in Hoboken?"

Did you know that Al Sullivan devoted half of this week's column to Hoboken politics? Specifically, speculation about a 3-way race in our mayoral election:  Zimmer vs. Romano vs. DeFusco.

All of that speculation inspired GA to make this original 1-minute movie:



Did you enjoy that?  No?

You know, GA likes Mike DeFusco.

So I can't understand the thin-skinned,touchy reaction from some folks every time this blog muses about whether or not he's running for mayor.  The reaction is more interesting that the speculation.

Mike told me himself that he wasn't running for mayor, and I believed him.  But... there is that BUZZ. Al Sullivan's heard it, too.

And then, some buzz contradicts other buzz.  A source told me recently that "Romano wants DeFusco to run to split Zimmer's vote."   Then today, I heard from a reliable Hudson County source that  "Romano is not running."  For mayor.

So... which is it?  In or out?  2 or 3?  Up or down?

Well, with one confirmed phone poll hitting last weekend, all GA can say for sure is:
"Welcome to the Races!"

Monday, January 16, 2017

Earwitness News: Lil' Orphan phone poll



It's a mystery...

Word is, a phone poll went out this weekend; the first of Hoboken's 2017 mayoral election season.

GA has reached out to the (3) prospective candidates, and guess what?

None claim ownership of the poll.

The poor thing is an orphan! 

According to an Earwitness, the poll questions included (but were not limited to) Mayor Zimmer's job approval, and favorable/unfavorable opinions of:
  • Mayor Zimmer
  • Freeholder Anthony 'Stick' Romano 
  • Councilman Mike DeFusco 
  • Hoboken City Councilmen/women  
  • Tony Soares 
  • Beth Mason 
  • Donald Trump 

So, why doesn't anyone admit to 'owning' this poll?  Was the sponsor a third party?

A developer, perhaps?

Stay tuned, people.

And if any of you got this poll, please fill in the gaps .

Friday, January 13, 2017

Petrosino admits to editing data "for aesthetic purposes"

Direct hit! 

Last night, HoLa Trustee Anthony Petrosino was forced to admit that he had edited data on a graph representing his blog's "daily page view' numbers. His dishonest, misleading post was published on December 28, 2016 and called, "A Sincere Thank You--"

The edited graph was designed to trick his readers... You see, the Texas Trickster enormously inflated "daily page view" numbers to represent the "incredible volume" the companion post thanked them for.

Well, GA busted the Texas Truth-Twister in yesterday's post, so last night he revised his post to address my findings.

His revisions are noted in the screen shot below:



All it took was a little sunshine.

So, if he's editing graphs to misrepresent something as petty as blog traffic, what can you trust on his blog. You decide.

GA FACT CHECK



Petrosino generated his  'new' graph with different parameters.  Instead of "monthly" traffic (which shows traffic per day), he's generated "all time" traffic.

The graph shows no signs of editing.

The graph supports Petrosino's claim that his traffic has increased in the "last few weeks."

The graph supports the fact that his FIRST graph was generated from HIS blog- the average daily traffic is virtually the same for November 2016. In other words, he is bullshitting about the first graph being "unrelated" to his blog.

The graphs he threw in at the bottom are gratuitous and inexplicable.

ANALYSIS

Petrosino's traffic spiked leading up to and during the month of November. That was election season when Petro was churning out political materials for his slate, Parents United, which many believe was a proxy for HoLa to end the lawsuit.

The December 2016 spike is likely because of Petro's protracted, vigorous disinformation campaign on racial demographics in Hoboken District Schools and HoLa, which included a "Facebook" campaign linking his blog.



RESULT

A serial prevaricator has admitted to falsifying data on a graph, then publishing it, in order to mislead his readers on a factual matter.  Here is his "explanation":
"Previous charts and figures were for aesthetic purposes, were edited, and unrelated to the actual written content of the blog." - Petrosino
Yeah, right.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Petrosino FAKES web traffic "volume"! It is MUCH lower than advertised!

screen shot taken on December 29, 2016

GA has screen-capped 2 weeks of Petrosino's "Recent Pageviews" counter starting on December 28 and ending today.

Why?

Because Petro's "Education Blog" and Grafix Avenger are both on the same platform (Google) which means we both can generate traffic stats from Google.

Translation: GA can read a Google-generated graph.

Hence, GA was astounded by the BLOATED "web traffic" graph Petrosino posted on December 28. Petro's graph depicts (approximately) 1,750 - 6,000 page views PER DAY  for the month of November.  

Huh?

Could it be true that his shitty blog gets thousands of page views per day?

GA decided to prove whether his claims (and his graph) are a fraud.  

So for the past 2 weeks, GA has recorded ACTUAL page views for the Texas Truth Twister's "Education Blog."   RESULT: they are less than 1/10th of the traffic he claimed for November. 

Further, 1600x magnification of Petrosino's graph in PhotoShop shows the numbers on the "y-axis" were ALTERED. The text size does not match the Google generated text.  Petrosino's text is larger. Also, the background of Petro's graph is "dirty" (stray pixels) which indicates the graph was printed and scanned.

Take a look!

Here is the graph Petrosino posted, alleging voluminous daily traffic for the (4) weeks in November.  Google generated the graph; examination in Photoshop indicates the "y axis"   numbers "3,500" and "7,000" are FAKE.

What a bullshitter!

The following graph represents (2) weeks of ACTUAL daily traffic numbers taken from Petrosino's
Page View counter.



Note, the 815 hits in one day was an anomaly.

Petrosino's average DAILY traffic for the 2 weeks GA recorded was 273 page views/ day. 

GA thought his daily traffic would have been lower; maybe a few dozen visits.  Mostly himself, refreshing the page.

So... why would Petrosino want to attract attention by wildly conflating his actual traffic AND faking a Google-generated graph?   Oh yeah, he faked it.

Can you see the fakery with your naked eye?  

See below- Petrosino's "faked" graph on top, GA's UNTAMPERED graph on the bottom ( I changed the background color to  black).

Compare the two.   Note:

  • Petrosino's "x" and "y" axis text does not match in size- Google uses 10 pixel high text for both.  
  • Petrosino's  y-axis  numbers are 13 pixels high 
  • Petrosino's x-axis text is 10 pixels high
  • Petrosino appears to have tampered with the y-axis text
  • Petrosino's x-axis text appears authentic 


Note ALL text on GA's authentic graph is the SAME SIZE

GA's and Petrosino's y-axis text magnified:

click  to enlarge

 GA could show you the "dirty pixels" difference, but I believe I have made my point... which is....


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Pee-gate UPDATE



Yesterday NBC reported that a (single) "senior official" told them a summary of the Golden Showers dossier was labeled "unvetted disinformation" and  "intel and law enforcement officials agree that none of the investigations have found any conclusive or direct link between Trump and the Russian government period,"

This NBC source contradicts what Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the UK's Independent last night.  Clapper told the Independent that he called Trump yesterday to express his dismay at leaks of the Golden Showers dossier.
"He continued: "We also discussed the private security company document, which was widely circulated in recent months among the media, members of Congress and Congressional staff even before the IC became aware of it. I emphasized that this document is not a US Intelligence Community product and that I do not believe the leaks came from within the IC."

Mr Clapper added that intelligence officials had not yet determined the reliability of the information in the still unverified document and "we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions".   
Fascinating!

If "intelligence officials had not yet determined the reliability" of the Golden Showers Dossier, then how could NBC call it "disinformation"? 

So, NBC is using a single source to discredit the "still unverified report"-- which so happens to undermine the credibility of their rival for ad revenue, CNN.

In the meantime, UK publication The Mirror has an astonishing update on the former MI6 agent whose  private company assembled the Golden Showers dossier.
"Sources reportedly say the 52-year-old is "terrified for his safety."

[redacted] is said to be a highly-respected Russian expert who spent many years in the British intelligence service before setting up his own private business.

Sources told The Times he worked with former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko who was poisoned with polonium-210 in London in 2006.

Litvinenko had worked for the Russian secret service the FSB but was forced to flee after criticising Vladimir Putin.  He was granted asylum in Britain where he was said to have been on the payroll of MI6.

An inquest ruled last year Litvinenko was murdered in an FSB operation, probably on the personal orders of Putin himself."
That not fake news- the former MI6 agent is really dead.  GA doesn't  envy the life expectancy of any named/unnamed Russians referred to in the Golden Showers report.

Last night the BBC Washington Correspondent Paul Wood reported he had been alerted to the existence of a Trump sex tape by a second source last August [see above VIDEO], and wrote on BBC.com: 
"And the former MI6 agent is not the only source for the claim about Russian kompromat on the president-elect. Back in August, a retired spy told me he had been informed of its existence by "the head of an East European intelligence agency"
.
Later, I used an intermediary to pass some questions to active duty CIA officers dealing with the case file - they would not speak to me directly. I got a message back that there was "more than one tape", "audio and video", on "more than one date", in "more than one place" - in the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow and also in St Petersburg - and that the material was "of a sexual nature".
The BBC reporter has
Last April, the CIA director was shown intelligence that worried him. It was - allegedly - a tape recording of a conversation about money from the Kremlin going into the US presidential campaign.

It was passed to the US by an intelligence agency of one of the Baltic States. The CIA cannot act domestically against American citizens so a joint counter-intelligence taskforce was created.

The taskforce included six agencies or departments of government. Dealing with the domestic, US, side of the inquiry, were the FBI, the Department of the Treasury, and the Department of Justice. For the foreign and intelligence aspects of the investigation, there were another three agencies: the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Security Agency, responsible for electronic spying.

Lawyers from the National Security Division in the Department of Justice then drew up an application. They took it to the secret US court that deals with intelligence, the Fisa court, named after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They wanted permission to intercept the electronic records from two Russian banks.

 Neither Mr Trump nor his associates are named in the Fisa order, which would only cover foreign citizens or foreign entities - in this case the Russian banks. But ultimately, the investigation is looking for transfers of money from Russia to the United States, each one, if proved, a felony offence.

A lawyer- outside the Department of Justice but familiar with the case - told me that three of Mr Trump's associates were the subject of the inquiry. "But it's clear this is about Trump," he said"
Is this "Fake News"?

If it's NOT "fake news'", why do Americans have to rely on foreign media sources for information about their own government? 

So, it's UK media v NBC...

Is the Golden Showers dossier "Fake News"?  

Why is NBC so quick to dismiss the report as "disinformation"- deliberately false- based on a single source "senior official"?  Notably, it is the only major network doing so.

Now that the Golden Showers dossier is in the public domain, and foreign media like the BBC appears to validate it and contradict the statement of the single source "senior official"  GA hopes it is not 'whitewashed' and the allegations of Trump coercion with Russia are fully investigated.

Because there has to be an explanation why Trump and his inner circle are so vehemently defensive of Vladimir Putin, why Trump will throw U.S. Intelligence under the bus to protect  Putin and Assange's credibility.

What is "fake" and what is "real"?
________________________________

GOPee friends, please  don't get pissed at me, or call today's post yellow journalism. 

When it comes to political satire, urine good hands.  And, when it comes to the President Pee-lect, let's not be Pee-C.

To recap:  yesterday the web-based news organization Buzzfeed published a   35-page report  described as:
"... a collection of memos written over a period of months, includes specific, unverified, and potentially unverifiable allegations of contact between Trump aides and Russian operatives, and graphic claims of sexual acts documented by the Russians."
GA urges folks: DO NOT flush this "unverified" 35-page collective of memos!

Read it, the whole thing.  Because "unverified" allegations of collusion between the Trump Team and Russian government are serious.  No matter what your political stripes, we are all patriots, all on the same team.  We are Americans first.  If these findings are true,  they paint a devastating portrait of the people running our government;  I expect hearings and investigations will follow in months to come.

Excerpts from the 35-page leaked "unconfirmed" report:

PAGES 1-3





PAGES 7-9





GA apologizes to GOPee friends for this non-Pee-C publication of  "Fake News!"

But you know....the allegation that the report is "Fake News" is unverified.  We need to Congressional hearings to verify whether the report is "Fake News". 

Not the wee-wee part.  IMO, the President-Pee-lect can "shower" in the Pee-ple's House, as long as replaces whatever he defiles.

Really, aside from its comic potential, does anyone care about claims that President  Pee-lect Trump allegedly arranged a Golden Shower display in a Moscow hotel?


Anyway.... doesn't a basement email server seem quaint now?

GA Note:   Here is how CNN described the "unconfirmed" report:
 "Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.

The allegations were presented in a two-page synopsis that was appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work US intelligence officials consider credible. The FBI is investigating the credibility and accuracy of these allegations, which are based primarily on information from Russian sources, but has not confirmed many essential details in the memos about Mr. Trump."
The New York Times weighed in about the origin of the dossier:
"Last year, a Washington political research firm, paid by Mr. Trump’s Republican rivals, hired a retired British intelligence officer to investigate the candidate’s ties to Russia.  After it became clear that Mr. Trump would be the Republican nominee, Democratic clients began to pay the firm for this same “opposition research,” standard practice in politics.The former British spy, who had long experience in Russia and a network of connections there, compiled dozens of reports detailing what he heard from his contacts. The memos he wrote, mostly one to three pages long, are dated from June to December."
To be continued...


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

True Romance?


Troubadours:
But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Michael is the sun.

What's that sound?

'Tis the merry Dark Side Troubadours!

Hark, Councilman Mike Russo is leading the wooing chorus below Councilman Defusco's balcony...  

Troubadours:
See, how he leans his cheek upon his hand!
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!

Turn thy cheek, Mike DeFusco!  Quickly!   May their chorus fall upon deaf ears- yours!

What's that you say?

DeFusco:
If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully:
Or if thou think'st I am too quickly won,
I'll frown and be perverse an say thee nay,
So thou wilt woo; but else, not for the world.

No!  Look away! Look away, Mike DeFusco

Their song may be melodious, but their instruments are rotten!  What?  A little louder please!

DeFusco:
I have no joy of this contract to-night:
It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden;
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
Ere one can say 'It lightens.' Sweet, good night!

Good for you, Mike! Trust me, they tried Tiffanie's balcony first.  She gave them the finger.

So, now they've come to you, their second choice.   And oh, how sweet is their song!  Filled with promises!  Flattery!  They suck up like a Hoover!

Because they want something.  What do they care about your good name!

GA:
Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls:

Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
’twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;

But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him, 
And makes me poor indeed.” 

Poor, indeed!

The troubadours are gone tonight, but... they'll be back.   They'll sing louder next time, fill their instruments with beads and trinkets, flatter you...  try to lead you astray...

Reputation, reputation, reputation! 
O, I have lost my reputation! 
I have lost the immortal part of myself, 
and what remains is bestial.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Defuscoplexy


GA's been trying to figure out why the Defuscoplexy.

I mean, isn't it a matter of public interest that an up-and-coming Hoboken politician with an independent streak is fundraising with the Mayor of Jersey City?

GA didn't think it was a big deal to put that online on a Saturday morning.

Next thing... BOOM! It's that initial  Defuscoplectic reaction immediately following the publication of the invitation that is puzzling.

Did GA spoil a 'secret'?  The Defuscoplexy and dozens of comments are not-for-nothing.  What does it mean?

GA's been asking around.  A political insider had this to say:
You've really touched a nerve with [redacted #1]. DeFusco has done himself no favors by taking on [redacted #1] as his political rabbi. With friends like [redacted #1]. Mike has no need of enemies! What does it mean?  Not really sure but based on [redacted#1]'s reaction it definitely means something. No question to me Mike is mulling a mayoral run but I doubt he'll do it unless he thinks he'll be able to raise $ hence the importance of this event using Fulop's name. The implicit message to HCDO/ developer type donors delivered by [redacted #2] was that Fulop and the county boys are going to take Dawn out and they should give and be rewarded. But it was supposed to be under the radar. Just a wee bit of sunshine seems to have blown up the plan. The idea of Fulop subtly endorsing DeFusco by headlining his fundraiser was almost certainly [redacted #2's]. But it seems once the sunlight poured in Fulop didn't want to burn. 

DeFusco has a bright future in politics-- in time.

What threatens DeFusco's bright future are individuals with dark agendas and axes to grind in the present, pointing him toward the sun.


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Councilman DeFusco's fundraiser! UPDATED

UPDATE
Not a special guest!

Who knew that a shit storm would blow in after posting Mike DeFusco's invitation this morning! I'll get to that shortly.

Mike's invitation has been updated as follows:


Back to said shit storm.

So, I took my 14 year-old daughter to the Museum of Art and Design today. We were enjoying an exhibit called Crochet Coral Reefs: Toxic Seas  when my phone rang.  I texted back, "I'm at a museum in NYC. Text me if its important."

17 texts followed, which included the following sentiments :
"Ravi has been having fundraisers for years, your hatchet job on  Mike was wrong... Ravi is trying to sabotage Mike's now.. isn't that who sent you this invite... Ravi is having an event that night... You're buying the Bhalla bs...You must have been asked to make up for yesterday's post... enjoy the tank..."

Was all that really "important?" Not to me

Crocheted coral reefs, made with recycled materials


What is interesting is the nerve that GA touched by posting Mike's invitation. 

Like I ruined a surprise (?) 

Posting DeFusco's invitation was not a "hatchet job." A political insider who would call it a "hatchet job" is curious indeed.  It  seems to me that such tirades are supposed to intimidate or bully one into writing what the texting-tyrant WANTS written. 

Not happening.  If you don't like the opinions expressed here, then SHOO. 

___________________________ 

First Ward Councilman DeFusco's term ends on December 31, 2019.

Hmm, so that leaves  1,057 days left in his term after the February 7th fundraiser.

Then of course, Mayor Dawn Zimmer's term expires on December 31, 2017, which leaves 327 days left in Defusco's term after his February 7th fundraiser.

Hmmmm...


What does it all mean?

Well, it never hurts to build a giant campaign warchest.  It's smart, actually. But... it's early to a fundraise for a 2019 election, isn't it?

One month ago, Mike told GA he was not running for mayor ( I'd asked, "When are you running for mayor?")

This is a quote: "Mayor would be a significant pay cut and I'm enjoying my advocacy on the council."

Whatever you say, Councilman!


Welcome Mayor Fulop!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Council demotes ZBA Commissioner


Hell hath frozen over.

After watching the Wednesday night City Council debate to 'swap' a ZBA Commissioner with a ZBA First Alternate, GA agrees with Mike Russo! (and Ramos and DeFusco and Mello.)

GA is taken aback that a sitting ZBA Commissioner in good standing was demoted for a 'swap' with a ZBA First Alternate.  The optics of the Council reaching into an autonomous board to swap (demote/promote) parties without cause sucks.

Or should I say, reeks...    

If  ZBA Commsssioner Granas (who GA doesn't know) was not doing a good job, then its reasonable to 'fire' him when his term expires in three weeks.  That is what the public would expect.

But, that doesn't seem to be the case, according to the Council debate.

"Antonio is good but we like Dan better" is what it sounded like to me.   

Sure, a variety of reasons were given for demoting Granas.  A few spoke about his "philosophy." One spoke about "protecting" the city.  One spoke about his voting record.

Well, the opportunity to learn about Granas' "philosophy" was before hiring him in 2014.

I recall being grilled like a fish on about my philosophy by a skeptical Council person in 2009, before I was hired to my full-term seat.   As far as "protecting" the city as a reason to demote a sitting Commissioner- one independent-minded ZBA Commissioner is not a threat to our city.

Independent-thinkers who are hired to do a job, are honest, work hard and in good faith, should be not demoted.

If the City takes issue with their decision-making, or "philosophy" or feels they are somehow a "threat" then don't renew their contract- certanly don't keep them on the board!   In this case, all the above reasons were offered to slide Granas down in 'rank' - not remove him.  

 GA likes and respects Weaver; I  hear he does great work on the ZBA.

But like my friend Councilman Bhalla said, "First Alternates often get to vote" and Weaver does get to vote.  He also participates in discussion at the board meetings. Whether or not he votes, he has the opportunity to influence the opinion of the board.

So is there a material difference in the contribution that First Alternate Weaver will make when he takes Granas' spot?

Not enough, in my opinion, to justify the terrible message the Council has sent to the public.

Yes, the Council has sent a terrible message to members of the public considering putting themselves out for unpaid, volunteer and often thankless board service.

Message: you may work like a dog, sacrifice time with your family, get flack from the public (in my case, a LOT, related to this blog) and ultimately do the JOB, only to be demoted/humiliated by the body that hired you. 

Hey, GA has to keep it real and this is my opinion.  

Not from nothing- I served on the ZBA for 4 years myself, so understand how much work and responsibility it is; I spent hours prepping for each meeting. I also worked with Commissioners with whom I  had "philosophical" differences with on some applications.  Sometimes I had a "philosophical" difference with the majority.  Should I have been demoted for that?

The arbitrariness of demoting a Commissioner who has done nothing wrong has the appearance of favoritism and (sorry) hubris.   That is what it looks like. 

Don't believe GA?  This  message came from a stalwart Reform activist:

I don't know whose idea this was and why but its hard to see any conceivable legitimate justification other than the fact that Weaver has some influential personal friends.
  
In my opinion, the Council overstepped its authority.  It's the Council's job to thoroughly vet and exercise due diligence in the ZBA Commissioners they hire.   If the Council learns it erred in a decision, there's a remedy: "don't rehire" not "keep and humiliate."  

My unsolicited personal advice to Weaver- a good and decent unpaid volunteer- would be to serve out his term and apply for the next full term seat.  That's what I would do, but of course that's me.

My unsolicited personal advice to Granas would be to flip the Council the bird and resign.  Write a letters to the Editor, make a stink.  For your unpaid service, you got humiliated. That's what I would do, but of course that's me.

GA doesn't like all decisions my Reform peeps make, and have honest disagreements sometimes.

But, this action looks like something GA would rip our opponents for.

I invite any Council peeps to come on and tell me why I'm wrong.

GA note:  Does anybody know about "A Smarter Future" Treasurer Frank DeGrim's "philosophy?"  He was appointed Fourth Alternate to the ZBA last year. To this day, DeGrim has not filed a single R-1 ELEC report- this is the only ELEC on file:


 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Emnet Ed and the 3 Witches: a Fairytale



Chapter 1
Once upon a time in Hoboken, a 4th ward resident had an idea.

It was a big idea.  An idea that could possibly alter the course of regular flooding on the city's west side.  The resident's name was Ed.  The year was 2008.

Ed brought his idea to his 4th Ward council person who later became Mayor. Ed's idea was a flood mitigation technology called "Emnet."

Emnet is a wireless system of sensors installed on the under-side of manholes, that was developed in a land far, far away called Indiana.

Ed believed Emnet could coordinate operation of Hoboken's (future) pumps with actual conditions in the flood-prone areas of Hoboken rather than basing control on conditions in the areas of the pumps (which tend not to flood).   Ed discovered that Emnet could also control combined sewer overflows (which is what Hoboken has).

So, when Emnet Ed the Visionary brought his idea to his 4th Ward Councilwoman, Hoboken lived Happily Ever After... right?

Chapter 2
Wrong! 

3 witches, assorted warlocks, goblins and harpies were enraged!

They weren't enraged at Ed, but at the 4th Ward councilwoman who carried Ed's idea to Hoboken's legislative body, the City Council.

Why?

Because the 3 witches, assorted warlocks, goblins and harpies wanted to capture the 94 Washington Street castle to gain absolute control over Hoboken and its residents.

And only one person blocked them: the 4th Ward Councilwoman.

Well... one of the witches, Witch #1, was powerful because she possessed a magic wallet.  Witch #1 would tap her magic wallet and say "Ricky, I want [noun]" and POOF! gold doubloons a mile-high would appear.

So when Witch #1 did run for Mayor of the Land of Hoboken so did the 4th Ward Councilwoman!   

This made them rivals.  

Thus the three witches, assorted warlocks, goblins and harpies concluded that in order to destroy the 4th Ward Councilwoman, her flood mitigation plan (which originated with Ed) must be destroyed too.


Chapter 3
And so, Witch #1 gathered her coven.  With her henchman, a dull-witted amorphous blob of greasy fat called Igor the Fish, the three witches, assorted warlocks, goblins and harpies plotted and planned the downfall of Emnet.

First, Witch #1 used her black magic and turned Emnet into a football.

Then she tapped her magic wallet, and summoned a pile of gold doubloons.  The doubloons were spread to Igor the Fish and consultant-goblins because Witch #1 did not pay for friendship.  Instead of friendship, her magic wallet paid for a movie about the football named Emnet.

Witches #2 and #3 became the movie's directors.

_________________________

read from the bottom up
_________________________

read from the bottom up

Witches #2 and #3 also directed a movie called 'Stop Hiding The Budget," starring an Evil Troll. 

Thanks to a Talking Horse, this copy has survived:



read from the bottom up

In order to destroy Emnet, unelected members of the coven also participated remotely in government meetings!

Questions to elected officials to ask at government meetings could be conveyed through that dull-witted amorphous blob of greasy fat called Igor the Fish.   Igor was expected to forward the messages to Witch #1's Blackberry.



Sometimes Witch #1 would thwart the coven's will.

read from the bottom up

Chapter 4
Dear Reader, it must be clear to you by now, that the Emnet flooding mitigation tool was always a proxy for the Councilwoman-turned-Mayor.

Her chief rival, Witch #1, turned Emnet into a football, other witches became flooding engineers, movie directors.... even professional cartoonists were enlisted to fight Emnet....

click to enlarge


As luck would have it,  the same witches, assorted warlocks, goblins, and dull-witted blob of greasy fat called Igor the Fish, who fought Emnetlater fought to shut down Hoboken's only hospital (another proxy for the Mayor).

Thank goodness, the Dark Side lost both wars.

Hoboken succesfully implemented Emnet in 2012.  Along with our city's new flood pumps, the quality of life for residents in areas that habitually flood such as the ShopRite, has noticeably improved.    

And that, Dear Readers, is The End of this tale.

Epilogue
Did you hear the news?  

The newest applicant to fill NHSA Commissioner Tony Soares' vacant seat is  Emnet Ed (Friedrich)!

Which leaves Hoboken with a trio of good, qualified candidates for NHSA: Leon Gold, Paul Blanos and Ed Friedrich!   

May the best man win, and that's no  fairytale.