Saturday, July 30, 2011

Vacation

Future historians have rendered their verdict:


Folks, in the tradition of the WORST (according to future historians) and laziest American President in history, George W. Bush, who spent 879 days of his presidency on vacation- approximately 30%- GA's decided to take a vacation.

Do you know that lazy SOB was on vacation when briefed that Osama Bin Laden was "Determined to Strike in US"-  on August 6, 2001?  Don't believe me?   Here's the declassified brief:



Guess who gave him that vacation briefing? Harriet Miers, the cleaning lady he nominated for the Supreme Court.   

Harriet helps George read about imminent disaster- on Aug. 6, 2001

Poor Harriet had the hots for George.  See how she gushed on this birthday card...


But George only had eyes for  Secretary of State Condi Rice. *sigh*   Here's the note he wrote to her at a U.N. summit of 150 world leaders, asking for her permission to pee-pee. 


Did you know Bush was on vacation when Katrina hit? Check out the Katrina timeline, replete with pics of how our Commander-in-chief responded to the crisis.  Here's one taken on August 30, 2005 after the levees broke:

Singing Dumb-ass

Did you know the idiot didn't even KNOW about the cities under water, the thousands of displaced and starving in New Orleans, the drowned and those on the precipice of death because those in leadership were strumming guitars and going to birthday parties:

George eats cake as Katrina makes landfall on Aug 29, 2005

 If you think GA's exaggerating, check out this piece in Newsweek- NOT the so-called 'Liberal media":

The reality, say several aides who did not wish to be quoted because it might displease the president, did not really sink in until Thursday night. Some White House staffers were watching the evening news and thought the president needed to see the horrific reports coming out of New Orleans. Counselor Bartlett made up a DVD of the newscasts so Bush could see them in their entirety as he flew down to the Gulf Coast the next morning on Air Force One.

How this could be—how the president of the United States could have even less "situational awareness," as they say in the military, than the average American about the worst natural disaster in a century—is one of the more perplexing and troubling chapters in a story that, despite moments of heroism and acts of great generosity, ranks as a national disgrace.

See what happens when the person driving the nation's bus is an IDIOT?

Oh boy, GA has some mighty juicy dish about that one, circa late 80's... won't post. If I did, these are some words it would contain: Houston, Enron, parties, call girls, blow (the drug, not the act), rubbing...  better stop there.  How do I know?  Not telling. 

OK... here's one tiny excerpt:

 Those who were with the (redacted) said he did too much blow to get (redacted)

Anyway, what's my point?  I forgot.

Oh yeah!  Right. GA is taking a vacation!  Just a few days.

It's August, things are slow.  Besides, what am I  going to miss?  Kathy Zucker's imaginary 3rd child's first tooth?   I'm already on board with the imaginary breastfeeding,  imaginary medical bills, imaginary childcare solutions, imaginary traffic jams, etc. So when are we going to the mall to buy some imaginary Onesies?

Baby #3?

Ah, it's just a couple of days, people.  My friends Not-Stempler, One-Eye, FedX are always up my tuchas with tips and gossip... they never give me a break.

Unlike George W. Bush who KNEW how to take a vacation- he partied on through terrorist plots, hurricanes...  Not GA.  If anything BIG drops, I'll be BACK.

OK, peeps have a nice week.

(Can't wait for my Repub peeps to have at this one! Go! Go! Go!)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I Spy


Here's an interesting little morsel that's been waiting for a slow news day.

The Grafix Avenger blog is under surveillance. No, not by the FBI or the U.S. Attorney's office.   My cyber-spy is a "specialized, global expert services firm dedicated to assisting clients in creating and protecting value in the face of critical business risks and opportunities."

Got that?  Neither did I.

But they started coming on May 13- the time frame of the FBI's arrival in Hoboken- and visit GA  up to 20 or more times a day, from Washington D.C., Chicago, and now, Virginia.

These aren't the Feds.

It appears to be a rather posh, private consulting firm providing services for major U.S. and global corporations and the U.S. government.

So what the hell are they doing at GA? 

And WHO has the kind of money to pay for this elite consulting service?

Hmmmm...   I'll post some excerpts from their site so you can  you understand some of what they DO.  Which may help you figure out WHO might desperately need their skill set.
  • Disputes and Investigations: We bring together former law enforcement officials, prosecutors and regulators, forensic accountants, computer forensics specialists, litigation support professionals, and industry experts to support companies and their legal counsel anywhere in the world.
  • Disputes and Investigations: As the risks of global business grow, regulatory agencies and prosecutors worldwide are becoming more vigilant in rooting out industry-wide fraud and corruption. In this environment, companies must remain informed and proactive and maintain robust compliance programs. These steps are the best way to mitigate risks and present a solid defense to any investigation or prosecution.
  • Forensic Accounting: (Our) technical accounting and auditing experts provide forensic accounting, damages analysis, discovery management and other litigation support services. Our technical accounting knowledge and investigative methodology bring clarity and comprehension to the complex forensic accounting issues in dispute and investigative matters.

So WHO possibly might need this kind of help? With the wallet to pay for it?

Someone perhaps with some 'splaining to do?  To federal or state prosecutors?  Someone looking to explain 52K in undocumented street money?

Hmmmm... WHO it could be?   Can you figure it out?

But really, what do they think they're going to find at GA?  And I still want to know if Hell is hotter than  Virgina.

Sing it, Mitzi!

GA woke up with this tune in my head... so here's a little morning music to start your day.  Wasn't she great?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hired!



GA's got whiplash!

A story posted this afternoon on the Jersey Journal online reports that Michele Russo DID get the head housekeeper job at the County Plaza building in Jersey City and will "start immediately".

After those denials.

Well, I am excited for Ma Russo... I'll bet she's terrific with a mop and feather duster just like my favorite head housekeeper of all time, Hazel. 

Wasn't she great?  Always getting herself into mischief.  Kind of like the other head housekeeper, Michele.

I wonder if Hazel ever extorted 5 bucks from Mr. B?   That was a lot of money back then.  I'll bet  she did, and with that mountain of extortion cash was able to buy a nice beach house in Malibu.  Which I hear she sold to her son Hazel Jr. for a buck.

And...just like Hazel the housekeeper had keys to the Baxter home, Ma Russo will have a set of keys to open up every locked door in the entire County Plaza building.  From the Board of Elections to the Court Administration Office to the County Clerk... 

Oh, what delightful mischief our Michele can find behind every door she unlocks with her Master Key!

Can't wait for the sitcom.

EXCLUSIVE: Michele Denies Getting County Job

GA's heard from several reliable sources that Michele Russo has denied she was offered a job with the County, a story broken in yesterday's Hoboken Reporter. 

Kurt Gardiner at Hoboken Journal reports the HR's unattributed piece was written by Al Sullivan, so perhaps our man Sully can get to the bottom of it. 

I spoke to my buddy, GA's super-sleuth One-Eye today on the run, and asked him what he made of this- first the job announcement, then Ma Russo's denial.


 Here 's his assessment:
There's some problems with the story. The job announcement was premature. Someone tipped off Al before the final paperwork was done.  Michele didn't have final approval before the story came out and now that it has, nobody wants to touch her.  This was supposed to fly under the radar. If she's claiming she didn't know about it or didn't get it or whatever,  she's trying to save face

It sounds plausible.  So One-Eye thinks the intended offer fell through after hitting the press.

Well, we shall see... stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Michele's New County Job


In today's Hudson Reporter online:
Michele Russo, the mother of current 3rd Ward Councilman Michael Russo and the wife of former Hoboken Mayor Anthony Russo, has just been hired for a county job replacing the outgoing head of housekeeping at the County Plaza building in Jersey City.

County sources confirmed on Tuesday that she was hired to fill a manager-level post at the county.

Russo was ordered by the state Board of Education to be censured when she was on the Hoboken school board in 2002, and her name was brought up in an FBI investigation into local towing contracts in 2006. She has long been heavily involved in Hoboken political campaigns.
Well, GA wasn't surprised that Michelle Russo may have called in a favor after her sick husband, former Mayor Anthony Russo,  was removed from the City's health insurance rolls last March. You may recall a 10-year 'oversight' that had taxpayers footing the bill for his health benefits.

Well, who doesn't need health insurance?  Which comes with a County job.

So her new position is head of housekeeping in the Jersey City building that, according to the above promotional material, houses 1/3 of the County's employees which include  the Sheriff’s office, operations division, patrol and 911, the health clinic and the Rutgers co-op program. , the Department of Family Services, County Clerk, County Register, Board of Elections, Director of Public Resources, Tax Assessment, County Surrogate, Court Administration, Building Services and Maintenance and Facility Management.

That's a lot of house to keep- 340,000 square feet of house.  It's much easier to keep house in my 1,100 square foot place, but then the pay stinks.

I wonder what the County pays?

Well, no big shock for GA that an über-connected gal like Russo lassos a County job.  One can assume if a job wasn't already there, one would be created for her.  Hudson County business-as-usual. Why is anyone surprised?

It's the timing that's interesting.

You-know-who is in town, investigating (presumably) you-know-who.

And it looks like Attorney General Dow has put her thumb down on Hudson County and is squeezing local police and prosecutors to take action on corruption right under their nose, the kind they may have 'missed'  before. Case in point: last week's arrest of a West New York official for authorizing payments for no-show jobs.

From The Hudson Reporter:
Tim Nagurka, the town’s Recreation Director, has been released on $10,000 bail after being charged with fourth degree theft of services and falsifying records in connection with an alleged no-show jobs scheme.

Nagurka is charged with allegedly authorizing payments totaling over $15,000 to employees that never showed up to work since the beginning of the year, according to West New York Police Director Michael Indri.

The arrest of the director came two days after the arrest of department employees Ramon Felix and David Almonte. The two other employees were also released on bail, according to Indri.
My lawyer friend- not Not-Stempler- observed that law enforcement clamping  down on Hudson County's business-as-usual signaled the impact of the the state's oversight. In other words, people are being watched.

Like Michelle Russo.

So the circumstances around how she got the job, and whatever the job is (real vs. the no-show variety),  won't escape the scrutiny of the state and possibly the U.S. attorney.  Then perhaps the tentacles of this investigation will reach outside of Hoboken and into the County.

Rumor du Jour


GA's heard this from several places: a very old piece of Hoboken folklore will be traded for a 'Get Out of Jail, Free' card.

True or false?

Don't ask me.  I have no idea what it means.

Match Game

No, not this one:


THIS one:

Match the above community pool with the Hudson County municipality it serves:
(answers at bottom of post)
1. North Bergen
2. Union City
3. Jersey City
4. West New York
5. Secaucus
6. Hoboken

This is a quiz to see if my readers have been paying attention.

Oh, alright.  That's not true. But I figured there can never be too many reminders about what we have vs. what other Hudson County  municipalities have.

Which is what WE should have.  Here.  Not a 20-minute drive away. Parents, do you want your teens driving to Secaucus?

Taxpayers, aren't you curious if Hoboken's hefty County taxes subsidize our neighbors' summer fun?

I am.

I know, to some it seems like GA is doing this on the pool issue:



Look, without public support there will never be political will; the will to oppose the forces against  democratizing access to this kind of amenity.  Read between the lines.  You know, lovely pools are for luxury condo-buyers.  Not YOU.

Certainly our City has other priorities- like repairing Sinatra Park, for example.  But let's get this one on the radar. Or it will never happen. And we can resign ourselves and our kids to summer fun in a  tin backyard bucket suitable for 12 at a time, restricted to ages 5 to 12.


 So how'd you do on the Match Game?

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

I've been looking for pics of the Palisade Park pool and pool complex.  If anyone has one, please forward to: grafixavenger666@gmail.com.  Thanks.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Not-Stempler on Plea Deals


I had an interesting chit-chat this weekend with my lawyer-friend, Not-Stempler.

Remember him?

No, not  the GA source who had that terrible accident with the rhinoceros horn at the African Big Game Preserve. That's One-Eye, my super-sleuth. One-Eye's  asked me not to discuss his grievous injury in public- but you ought to see what he's got under that patch he wears.   

Blech.

No, Not-Stempler is a GA employee; he IS my legal department.  You know, lawyers are (generally) a filthy bunch. They can be terrible bullies, using the power of their office to intimidate members of the public, sometimes sending them scary letters chock-full of legal mumbo-jumbo.  Then of course there are the good ones.  That's my Not-Stempler.  I adore him, but wish he'd stop draining the coffee pot in my virtual office.  Save some for me, Not-Stempler.

This weekend he and I were chatting about- what else?  The FBI's adventure in Hoboken.  I was complaining about how the investigation felt like the ultimate unsatisfying 'romantic' experience; as if every time your partner removes a piece of clothing there's another one underneath.  In other words, you never get IT. *wink*    Not-Stempler explained that means the FBI's found Hoboken to be a "target-rich" environment.  Okay...

But what about the scuttlebutt that one of our elected officials is negotiating a plea deal.  She gets to walk off into the sunset to reinvent herself?  Not exactly justice in my book, I bitched to the ever- patient, coffee addict Not-Stempler.

His response surprised me.  Just because this public official may have negotiated a plea deal doesn't mean she'll get it.   

Huh?

Here's how it works, in the words of Not-Stempler:
The judiciary is separate and independent from the prosecutors office. The US attorney is part of the Executive branch. They enforce the laws the Congress or Legislative branch writes. The judiciary is independent of both and is there to ensure a fair and equitable enforcement of the law.

The prosecutor can make a deal with any defendant. Typically those deals are accepted by the federal court but it is not a rubber stamp.

There have been many instances where a federal judge or state judges believes the terms of the plea deal are not appropriate and has rejected them then either imposing their own sentence and or sending the prosecutor and defendants back to the drawing board.

Further, any defendant that is party of a plea deal has to appear in court and acknowledge guilt.  They must affirmatively state to the judge what actions constituted the crime to which they're pleading and accept full responsibility for the sentence that will be imposed. If the defendant at the hearing equivocates or refuses to absolutely accept full and unequivocal guilt the judge will reject the plea deal.

Once a plea deal has been announced any member of the public that's been affected by the criminal activity of the defendant can write to the judge and the prosecutor setting forth the impact that the crimes have had, as well as concern about the appropriateness of any plea deal or sentence.
Wow. Did you know that?

I didn't.

To recap, a federal/state judge(s) can deny a plea and sentence at his/her/their discretion.  And victims can weigh in with  'victim impact' statements- to the judge(s). 

Further, and my friend Not-Stempler wouldn't go there, how might politics play into a judge's decision to accept a defendant's plea deal.  Let's say the defendant is a Democratic donor/ fundraiser perhaps a friend of a Democratic U.S. Senator... and the judge is a staunch Republican, appointed by a Republican...

I know.  That stuff doesn't matter...  or does it?

All I can say is, no one should feel too smug they've 'bought' their way out of a jail sentence.  Meaning the best legal  representation money can buy to negotiate with the prosecutor.

Because it's up to the judge.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Can we Stop Calling it ED?


I've noticed those letters popping up (no pun intended)  all over the Hoboken blogoshere in online debates about the use of eminent domain  to acquire SW park space.

Fine, let's talk about eminent domain, but can we stop calling it ED?  That acronym is taken.   And everytime I read it, I see Bob Dole squeezing his pencil.  Or was it a pen?

Not that I dislike Bob Dole.  He's a war hero who sacrificed greatly in service to our country. I respect him.  But that wife of his, talk about a shrew!  That was the cure for Bob's ED... swapping her for one that wasn't all honey and acid. I'm guessing every time poor Bob squeezed that pencil he imagined it was Elizabeth's neck.

I was sure we were looking at a (Elizabeth) Dole- (Hillary) Clinton presidential match-up in 2000.  Goes to show you what I know.

Zip.

But I do know we have to stop calling it ED or Hoboken may be looking at a lawsuit: Pfizer vs. City of Hoboken.   (Pfizer is the pharmaceutical company that makes Viagra)

That suit would be a loser for us, just like the World Wrestling Federation lost their WWF trademark to the World Wildlife Fund. And it would bring Hoboken the scorn of millions of 'troubled' men and their bitterly disappointed wives across America. Next thing you know people would stop watching The Cake Boss and we'd be able to patronize Carlos' Bakery unmolested by tourists.  What a disaster.

So please, people.  STOP calling it ED.  How about these instead:
  • EmD
  • EDo
  • EmDo
  • Not-ED
Are we all on the same page now?  I hope so.

The last thing Hoboken needs is a costly lawsuit with a pharmaceutical giant.

The last thing I need is to close my eyes and see Bob Dole, his pencil and that honey-dipped shrew.

Friday, July 22, 2011

HOTboken

GA was out all day on the hottest day in memory, only to have Channel 61 (Traffic and Weather) tell me this evening it was 106 degrees in Hoboken... 

How are you-all holding up?

Please check in on a sick or elderly neighbor if you've got one.

Well, I'm paralyzed. My people are from Poland and Russia- cold places. We're not designed for global warming.  Or 106 degree days.  On a day like today, we all should be down by Hoboken's community pool.   You know, this one:


Oops, sorry!  That's Union City's municipal swimming pool, on Palisade and Ninth Streets.  Ain't it a beaut?  It's almost as nice as the one Hoboken provides for us.

And here it is, where we ALL should be cooling off on a day like today, in our municipal swimming pool- the one your hard-earned tax dollars pay for:


Ooops, I did it again!  That's North Bergen's municipal swimming pool  - my mistake!

Did you know the North Bergen complex is a-state-of-the-art facility that features an Olympic size pool, a children’s pool, and a “spray” park. In addition, it offers a picnic area, refreshments and food vendors, and basketball and volleyball courts?  Did you know that?

That's almost as great as the public swimming complex we have here in Hoboken. This one:



Aw, Jeez... I screwed up again!  This is West New York's municipal swimming pool. It must be nice to swim with a view of the Manhattan skyline.  Too bad Hoboken isn't located on a big river like the Hudson with a NYC view.  Shucks.

Now let me show you where we all could be cooling ourselves off  poolside in Hoboken:


Oh no, ANOTHER mistake!  That's the Secaucus municipal pool- they've got 3 swimming pools plus a water feature for kids in their complex.

It's not half as nice as the one Hoboken's got.  This is it:


Oh, brother.  ANOTHER mistake.  That's Jersey City's municipal pool, Pershing Field. Well, it's an indoor pool, but then it's open all year round.

Alright, I'll try ONE more time.

THIS is Hoboken's gift to it's hardworking taxpayers, the luxurious facility our City has provided for it's residents on such scorching hot summer days like today, THIS is OUR municipal swimming pool...


 Wow, I finally got it right!

And aren't you sorry I did?

By the way, it was CLOSED today, the hottest day in decades.  The gal who answered the phone at the Boys and Girl's Club (B&G) told me they were using it for a "program".   Well, at least the B&G kids got to cool off.

You did know that Hoboken's 'public' pool actually belongs to the B&G, a 501(c)3. They let us use it- sometimes.

If it's any consolation, even if it were open you'd have to be between the ages of 5 and 12 to use it.

Are you?

Further, I'm told the B&G's rule is "12 at a time" in the pool. Not bad for a city of 50,000 residents, huh?   Pretty impressive!  Let's see... 50,000 divided by 12...

Well, look.  We get what our City thinks we deserve.

I guess that's a water-filled tin bucket for hours of backyard fun. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I'm with Jen


...and Beth, Mike and Terry.  

GA would have voted "NO" on the City Council's right to declare eminent domain- the seizure of private property for public use with the payment of compensation.

Loudly.

Putting eminent domain on the table yesterday was a brilliant tactical move by Mayor Zimmer,   a game of brinksmanship with her truculent opponents on the City Council.  The move laid bare Timmy's lack of understanding of both reprogramming the $3M grant money and the difficulty of securing land in the 4th Ward for a park.

The problem?  It passed.

It's one thing to place a loaded gun where everyone can see it, quite another to put it in people's hands and say, "Fire at your discretion".

Passing eminent domain  places faith in the wisdom and judgment of our ever-changing governing body.  Do you want to do that?

I don't.  

Sorry, guys and gals on the City Council. Eminent domain is a stinker.

Nice as a threat, terrible as a right.  For GA, the seizure of private property as an option should be granted on a case by case basis and the standard of proof for its use set extremely high. For example, where  the health, safety and security of the public is at risk. Making a park does not rise to that level.

Well, maybe it does if it's your nasty neighbors getting the boot and not you.

But it doesn't work that way.  The government decides who's leaving.

What if it's you?

I would have soundly rejected handing the right to declare eminent domain to the City as did my (terrific) Councilwoman Jen Giattino.

Props to you, Jen for your principled stand and showing  your independence. You made the right decision.   

What happened to my other peeps?

Either way it looks like Sinatra Park will get the $3M in grant money, so why'd you pass it?  Because it "tells them we're serious"?   Listen, YOU may not intend to use it now but 10 years from now YOU won't be there...  the City's power to seize private property WILL. Can you guarantee the wisdom, integrity and honesty of our governing body then? 

I didn't think so.

Granting the power of eminent domain for tactical reasons lacks foresight and just plain sucks. GA's opinion.

Now for a funny anecdote about eminent domain.

In 2006 a small group of anti-eminent domain activists tried to seize the Weare, New Hampshire home of Supreme Court Justice David Souter, to build a bed and breakfast there called "The Lost Liberty Hotel" using eminent domain.  Because Souter had voted in favor of the landmark Kelo vs. City of New London:
The case arose from the condemnation by New London, Connecticut, of privately owned real property so that it could be used as part of a comprehensive redevelopment plan which promised 3,169 new jobs and $1.2 million a year in tax revenues. The Court held in a 5–4 decision that the general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth qualified such redevelopment plans as a permissible "public use" under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

The City eventually agreed to move Susette Kelo's house to a new location and to pay substantial additional compensation to other homeowners. The redeveloper was unable to obtain financing and had to abandon the redevelopment project, leaving the land as an empty lot.
Well, if you've ever visited Weare, New Hampshire (pronounced 'where') then you'd realize how damned hilarious this is.

GA's been to Weare.

Believe it or not, that little spot on the map in central New Hampshire is where my sister's got her vacation home and let me tell you, the place is rural. 

Want a quart of milk?  It's a 15 minute drive down winding country roads, and sparse homes are set far back in the woods, barely visible as one drives by.  In that setting, the notion of one ever needing eminent domain to build anything at all is a hoot.   

The Weekly Standard (a mag GA usually uses to clean cat droppings) did an excellent feature on the activist who launched  'Operation Steal Souter's Home', Logan Darrow Clements, called Evicting David Souter.
He (Clements) was flooded with suggestions for names of dishes that he could serve in the hotel's Just Deserts Café. A typical meal might start with the Chicken Seizure Salad and Revenge Soup (served cold). For an entrée, there'd be the Bader-Ginz Burger with Half-Baked Potato or the Eminent Lo Mein. Dessert might include Rocky Road to Serfdom Ice Cream, or perhaps a nice plate of Petit Forfeitures. Even without all the annoying puns, one could easily conclude it was some kind of joke, though Clements's press release warns, "This is not a prank."
Ha!  Funny stuff.

Sadly, Clements' mission  failed, because Souter retired to his Weare home in 2009. But a point was made, and the response to his protest showed a wide swath of the public opposed to the Kelo decision.

Anyway, no need to beat a dead horse (sorry, Smarty) you know where GA stands.

Me, I'm hoping the $3M grant goes into the Sinatra Park kitty.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tim Can Text


From Patch.com:
Mayor Dawn Zimmer is asking the City Council to allow the city to use eminent domain while negotiating the acquisition of park land in the Fourth Ward, according to a memo she sent on Wednesday to all members of the city council.

The city has been looking to acquire a piece of land in the Fourth Ward for quite some time now, but, the mayor wrote in her memo, "we have found no willing sellers in the Southwest."

The city has the option of asking the county to reprogram $3 million in grant money to go toward a Fourth Ward park. But, the mayor wrote, the only way to do that is to guarantee that the city will be able to purchase land.

If the council doesn't vote to allow eminent domain, the $3 million will be reprogrammed toward Sinatra Park, Zimmer wrote in her memo. The city has to ask the county to reprogram the funds no later than Thursday.

Timmy got punked.

Yesterday's press release demanding the $3 million grant be redirected for a SW park in it's final 24-hours before expiration-- a stunt to embarrass the mayor, blew up in his face today (see above).

Will Timmy vote to allow eminent domain in the 4the Ward to obtain the grant for a SW park?  

Or vote against it and let the $3 million go toward Sinatra Park?

Either way he's looking like the victim of his own superficial 'effort' to secure funding for a SW park,  not understanding the county's requirement for doing so.

GA would like to see the money go toward Sinatra Park.  Let's see what happens at the City Council tonight.

Buzz


GA's antennae caught some free-floating buzz yesterday... call it gossip or the 'word on the street', but I trust this source.

Ready?

Word has it an anti-Kids First (KF) slate (or merger) for next April's School Board election will be running Maureen Sullivan, John Madigan and Frank Raia - that's on the same ticket.  Uh-huh. That's what I said.

If true, the Madigan-Sullivan coupling is strange.

Madigan became virulently anti-Kids First when they voted against renewing his contract with the district and he lost his job (printer and copy machine maintenance).  Sullivan was with Kids First back then.  And Madigan was angry enough to have 2 separate verbal confrontations on the street with 2 of the KF ladies where profanities flew- from him.   So all's forgiven since Sullivan dumped KF and started chucking grenades at them?  

If true, hate makes strange bedfellows.  

Other 'school news'... GA heard that folks who 'know the right people' are able to bypass the lottery for limited space in a certain charter school; in other words admission guaranteed. Which one?

No entiendo. 

Hope springs etrernal for the Machine.

On the FBI investigation: "everyone's nervous" except Timmy- "too dumb".  And "no one's seen Mike Russo" around Church Towers, where he shares a 3-bedroom apartment with his wife and baby. It's believed Russo left town or is living elsewhere.  

GA doesn't know if that's true, but I can tell you the status is unchanged at the Russo Civic Association- it's still shuttered, not relocated.  And one more thing: the Feds were spotted photographing the building, 420 Adams.

And that, boys and girls, is today's buzz.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Who Let the Dog Out?


GA received this detailed complaint from a reader who wishes to remain anonymous. I've verified it with a second source.

Which head of a good government organization that espouses transparency and is president of her condo board allows her dog to nip residents and shit wherever it wants to in the garage without picking it up. This champion of open government has ignored repeated requests to put a muzzle on the beast and clean up after it. I hear no one likes stepping in shit or dodging piles of crap on the way to their cars. Anytime the residents go to the garage they have to carry wipes in case they step in her dog's shit. It's not a very nice envirmoment for the kids that live there.  This open government leader has ignored repeated handwritten signs posted in the garage to please kindly remove her dog's shit.

Hmmm... who could that be? Anybody want to guess?

Well, I certainly hope no one in her building wears Manolo Blahnicks or Jimmy Choos...  Given the place is a minefield of... um, 'obstacles', I'd suggest the residents don combat boots or maybe invest in a pair of these: 




At least until this good government advocate decides to be... good.

What a _________

-


In case you needed me to spell it out for you.

Mental pipsqueak turned stunt-man Timmy Occhipinti, when not READING other people's text messages aloud, is busy WRITING finger-pointing press releases that jump straight over the people he NEEDS to talk to, to the PRESS.

What a _____________.


In case you didn't get it the first time.

Now before you call me a meanie,  here's what he did.  According to Patch:

Fourth Ward Councilman Tim Occhipinti asked Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Councilman-at-Large David Mello to consider rerouting $3 million in unused grant money from the Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund to a park in the southwest part of town...

in a PRESS RELEASE.

Here's what Timmy DIDN'T do:
  • Reach out to discuss this with  Mayor Zimmer first
  • Reach out to discuss this with  David Mello first
  • Copy Mello on the press release- see?

Timmy claims the deadline to reroute this money is tomorrow, July 20.  There's a City Council meeting tomorrow night. 

So Timmy waited ONE DAY BEFORE the deadline to pounce on this matter through PRESS RELEASE  instead of going through proper channels  in a timely fashion?

What does that tell you?

It tells you that Timmy doesn't want the grant money for his ward. It tells you he wants to LOSE it so  he can blame Zimmer and Mello, fellow 4th Ward residents, in a spectacular fashion.  Using the press.  If Timmy wanted this money, if Timmy were serious about getting it he'd be governing not grandstanding.  He would have gotten it done in private discussion with the Mayor and at the City Council. 

Not on Patch.com.

And not in the final hours before the 'deadline'.

Come on.  Say it with me.  What  a _______________.


Does anyone think that Timmy's brain hatched this?

GA doesn't. 

Beth Mason would be all over this on a usual day, but given her FBI 'troubles', it looks like the poltical operatives buzzing in the background handed this one off to Timmy.  He's the lump of clay they're trying to sculpt into a new generation leader, moreso given Mike Russo's uncertain future.

But Timmy's resemblance to an actual clay lump may prove their greatest challenge.

He's not ready yet.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

なでしこ、米破り初の世界一 PK戦3-1 女子W杯

 
サッカーの女子ワールドカップ決勝で、日本女子代表(なでしこジャパン)は17日(日本時間18日未明)、ドイツで米国代表と対戦し、延長戦を2―2で終えた後のPK戦の末に米国を破り、初優勝を決めた。

日本は後半35分に宮間(岡山湯郷)が同点ゴール。延長前半に勝ち越されたが、同後半に沢(神戸)が得点。PK戦を3―1で制した。

第1回(当時は女子世界選手権)から6大会連続出場の日本は準々決勝で、延長戦の末、FW丸山桂里奈(千葉)の得点で開催国ドイツを破り、初めて準決勝に進んだ。準決勝ではスウェーデンに3―1で快勝して決勝に進み、2008年の北京五輪の4位を上回る快挙となった。


GA Note:
Congratulations Japan! 

How exciting for you (ladies), winning your FIRST EVER World Cup Soccer tournament! You came back TWICE to tie and then WON in the penalty round...  Bad attitude from the  US team...  major sulking after defeat and only one player, Abby Wambach- a classy gal, walked over to the Japanese to shake hands.  Well, I know some of you are disappointed we lost, but I'll tell you life in Japan these days is pretty grim, and the symbolism of this win means much more to them than it does to us.  

They needed it. And against ALL odds, got it.  

Watching them come back twice from the brink made me think this one was meant to be.  Congratulations to them.

Can You Do This?



Neither can I. 

Enjoy your day.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

HR: DIning with Dwek



GA's giving The Hudson Reporter props for its very clever Dining With Dwek; a 2-year Big Rig anniversary  retrospective featuring Hoboken, Secaucus, Jersey City, Weehawken, North Bergen, Union City and Bayonne as a series of 'Last Suppers' for the ensnared.

To name a few of them: Peter Cammarano, Leona Beldini, Dennis Elwell.  Ensnared by FBI informant Solomon Dwek, who wined and dined his unwitting victims on FBI surveillance video at a number of Hudson County eateries. 

GA loves that ironic twist in story-telling that's steeped in dark humor. The politician buys Dwek's bull, takes the bribe, and unwittingly turns his restaurant order into a Last Supper... Yum-yummy!

As Dwek dispatches them one by one on camera like this: (watch video)



So GA found the dining perspective in each vignette quite amusing. Nice work, folks.  A shout-out to Ray Smith and you too, Al Sullivan!

Poor Al's getting his ass kicked on nj.com.  I mean destroyed.  So I have a few original words that I just thought of for those engaged in the nj.com violence against Mr.Sullivan:
People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? Can we get along? Can we stop making it, making it horrible for the older people (like Al Sullivan)and the kids?...It’s just not right. It’s not right. It’s not, it’s not going to change anything. (he'll still smoke the crack) We’ll, we’ll get our justice....They won the battle, but they haven't won the war....Please, we can get along here. We all can get along. I mean, we’re all stuck here for a while. (until the Feds load the paddy wagon) Let’s try to work it out. Let’s try to beat it. Let’s try to beat it. Let’s try to work it out. 
Okay, so maybe that wasn't original. But it could have been if I'd thought of it first.

The point is, Al may hit the crack pipe sometimes but he bleeds just like the rest of us.  Well, I assume he does.  I've actually never seen him bleed so it's pure speculation.  If he didn't bleed, that would make him the Undead, an alien or possibly a mirage. (?) 

And you Al, you just don't understand the comedy stylings of bludiamonds.   He's hilarious, pure genius.  Just because YOU don't find him funny doesn't mean the rest of us can't.  So lighten up.

But I digress...

GA did a piece last March called Dessert with Dwek, which pondered whether Mike Russo had ordered dessert at The Light Horse Tavern, where he'd met with Dwek.  And if so, what kind?    

GA never found out.

But I was delighted to have dinner there at The Light Horse last week with a friend.  It was delicious!  No dessert for me. Or him. Calories, you know.  If you go, do try the Fish and Chips.  Yum. I wouldn't mind having that for my Last Supper.  Fish and Chips.  

With dessert.

Friday, July 15, 2011

JJ: Cammy to be Sprung Early

The Jersey Journal online  is now reporting what GA reported on June 22: that Cammy is being sprung from jail 7 months early.

I suppose it's not news until the mainstream media gets it.

So instead of early October 2012, Cammy goes home on March 11, 2012.


That's about a 30% sentence reduction.  Wow.

Now if anyone still thinks he's getting off early for 'good time credit' allow me to disabuse you of that.    From the FAQ on 'good time credit' by a group called Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM):

6. When is good time credited to a prisoner’s sentence?

 The statute says that good time is counted at the end of each year that the prisoner is incarcerated, beginning at the end of the person’s first year in prison. The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) gives itself 15 days from the last day of each year of the sentence to calculate good time. For example, if a prisoner’s first day in prison was April 1, 2008, the end of the first year in prison is April 1, 2009, and the BOP must calculate the good time earned by April 16, 2009 (15 days from the last day of each year of the sentence). The last day of this 15-day period is called the “vested date.”

When the BOP has to credit good time for a partial year (when the prisoner has less than a full year left to serve), the BOP gives itself 6 weeks before the last day of the sentence to calculate how much prorated good time to credit. In this case, the vested date is the last day of the prisoner’s sentence. On the vested date, good time is officially “credited.” If the BOP does not calculate the earned good time by the vested date, the BOP must give the prisoner the full award of good time. Good time also cannot be awarded before it has been earned. See 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b) (2008).

So, Cammy's been imprisoned for less than a year and therefore not eligible for good time credit.  In fact, his good time credit won't even be calculated until October 19, 2011- about 3 months from now.

For those skeptical of anything posted on the blogs- especially mine- the Jersey Journal  breaking the same news that appeared on this site 3 weeks ago should have met your standard of proof.

It's true.

And now that you know he's not being sprung because he ate all his Wheaties, think about how one would get 30% of their federal prison sentence lopped off.  In the midst of what is rumored to be the next phase of the ongoing, long-term investigation into political corruption in NJ called 'Operation Bid Rig' (Cammy was swept up in Operation Bid Rig- Phase 3).

About Operation Bid Rig: it started in 2002 and is being conducted by the FBI, IRS and the U.S. Attorney for the District of NJ. And it's resulted in the indictments of more than 60 public officials and politically connected persons since its inception. There's no reason to think it ever stopped after the arrest of Cammy and 43 others on July 23, 2009.  Nope, the FBI's zeroed in on Hoboken and seems to have tapped a certain former mayor in exchange for his early release.

It should be quite a harvest when Bid Rig 4 drops.

What could Cammy have said?  And about whom?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bluewater Operations, LLC Contacts GA

Readers may recall that Bluewater Operations LLC, a company used by Beth Mason on her recent City Council campaign, has been the subject of 2 recent posts here.

The first one followed Mason's May 2nd ELEC report, with the observation she'd disbursed a large sum of cash to one firm with a P.O. Box address- nearly 50% of  the total $34.7K expense she'd filed.  That firm was Bluewater Operations, LLC.     

GA's sleuth One Eye (don't mention rhinoceros horns) found out that the principals of the firm, Bryan Walensky and Ryan Yaaco,  had registered their business at a private 2-family residence in a zoned-residential neighborhood.  

The second GA post  followed Mason's June 24 ELEC report-  the one with the stunning revelation that she'd disbursed 52K of "street money" to Bluewater, and no back-up documentation showing how the money was distributed and to whom. This was broken by Da Horsey on MSV.

The only new 'news' with regard to Bluewater was this One Eye update (shhhh about the horn):

As I advised, Dun and Bradstreet confirmed what I told you – it is a shell that does not have an ordinary place of business for public sales/interaction, housed in a residential two family in Clifton, not accessible to the public, and does not show any activity in the normal trade associations/ publications or have any indications that it is actively marketing itself and has no real assets or measurable economic activity in the market of any kind.

So there you have it.

Now the public waits with bated breath for Mason to furnish an explanation of how that 52K cash tsunami was disbursed by Bluewater Operations LLC, the public waits for the missing June 24th ELEC documentation to appear.

Abracadabra.

In the meanwhile, the FBI is scouring through the thicket of malfeasance and corruption that's been 'how we roll' here in Hoboken. Nobody knows for sure where they've gone, who they've gone to and who's in their crosshairs.

It's in that environment that GA got this email from Bluewater Operations LLC principal Bryan Walensky on July 9:

Nancy:

I would like to get a better idea of why you keep saying that my Company is, "Just a company to move cash around to hide the true source and purpose. The old shell game on the street."

This is very Vindictive & I realize you have issues with Beth & James B., but why would you continue to make up lies about someone you don't know?

Bryan

You can see Walensky let me know in no uncertain terms he was upset with how GA had portrayed his company and felt attacked personally, felt I'd made up "lies" about him.

So I will state for the record my willingness to retract, correct and apologize for anything I've published about Bluewater that is factually incorrect.  But GA really has no interest in that company other than to find out how they've disbursed money for Beth Mason.  Piles of it.

Here's my response, on July 12:
Bryan,

Sorry for the delayed response, I don't check my gmail account everyday.

I have no personal agenda here.  The only reason I mentioned your company is its connection to Mason's political activities. You chose to get involved in the public arena and attempt to influence a public election in Hoboken, which  makes you and your company the subject of legitimate public scrutiny.  In other words, fair game for comment.

Bluewater received 52K in street money per Mason's latest ELEC.  This  money was used to influence the outcome of an election. The required attachments to the ELEC report setting forth how Bluewater distributed this money were not provided by the campaign.  Can you please clarify how your firm spent that money?  

I said that your business was operating out of a two family residence in a zoned-residential neighborhood.  I'd said that your firm had no history of credit transactions or 'normal' business activity.  If any of that was wrong, please advise.  GA would be happy to publish a correction for any misstatements of fact along with your explanation of how the 52k was spent.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Nancy

Bluewater's been still;  no response yet.  Again, GA's willing to make any corrections to anything misstated on this blog.

But I, a lowly blogger, am not the issue. 

Where did the 52K go?   

Ricky Mason, as the Mason campaign Treasurer, should furnish copies of these checks to ELEC along with a list of street money recipients to correspond with those check numbers.  And he should explain why the coterie of Mason political operatives that (presumably) should be on her ELECs are NOT: Lane Bajardi, James Barracato, Perry Klaussen of Hoboken411 where his wife, Beth Mason, advertised 24/7.  How did they get paid?  

Lots of questions.  Bluewater has answers.  I am guessing that GA is not the only one asking these days.