Friday, August 31, 2012

America's Least Attractive Poll

As the mom of a kid thriving in a Hoboken public school, yesterday's WSJ article posting THIS data from a Truila real estate blog was bizarre on it's face.

Because according to the blog, Hoboken parents would be better off moving their kids to a school in Tennessee's Smoky Hill Mountains, inner-city Washington D.C. or anywhere in Mississippi (the lowest education ranking state in America).


Now folks, what do YOU think?  Does this boggle your mind, too?

For those who like color-coded maps, here are the TOP TEN 'most educated' states in America in GREEN, the BOTTOM TEN are in RED.


See New Jersey?  It's GREEN.

According to The Huffington Post, New Jersey is in the TOP THREE.

So how does Hoboken fare out of New Jersey's 559 Districts?


The Hoboken School District is in the top 65% of the TOP THREE states in America.

So, how the hell did Hoboken end up at the top of America's trash heap (and in the WSJ)?

GA has NO idea, but here are a couple of observations.
  • The Kids First coalition's majority on Hoboken's School Board hangs in the balance with the upcoming election cycle.
  • GA hears a new city-wide phone poll throws buckets of mud on Kids First, Mayor Zimmer and other Reformers.  GA is still looking for audio or a transcript of this poll- anyone?
  • Then- WSJ education reporter wrote the following letter to The Hoboken Reporter:
Look at the actions and words of Kids First school board slate
Apr 12, 2009 | 177 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Dear Editor,

A look at how Kids First handled the Hola program shows why they should not be leading our school district.

To re-cap, dual-language programs exist across the country. NYC, at the forefront of one of the most successful school-district turnarounds in history, has been growing their dual-language offerings. Most dual-language programs have huge waiting lists. Why? Because research shows children in such programs tend to perform as well as or better than their monolingual counterparts. And we all know what an attractive school program could do for property values.

When Hoboken had a chance this year to implement – at virtually no extra cost – this innovative, proven program that could have benefited children and taxpayers alike, what did Kids First do? They fought against it. Hola would have cost $30k a year for only the first eight years and would be open to all children entering certain grades. By contrast, the Johns Hopkins program costs taxpayers over $300k a year and benefits only the 50 or so elite students with high scores.

Here are the relevant facts:

Incumbent Theresa Minutillo had a responsibility to bring thoughtful contribution to the internal BOE Hola meetings she attended. If she had concerns, she had a duty to voice them and constructively help shape the program. Instead, she sat silently at those non-public meetings. (This was revealed during the February 10 meeting in which she and Frank Raia sparred about this.) Only when she had an audience at public meetings did she raise issues.

Maureen Sullivan, also on the Kids First slate, was opposed to Hola because, as she stated publicly, she traveled the world as a journalist and never needed to speak anything but English. This from a woman who flipped the bird during a public meeting (as reported in this newspaper).

And Kids First candidate Ruth McAllister filed a complaint with the ACLU over Hola. She thought a program that would embrace cultural and socio-economic diversity would be discriminatory. She ignored the fact that dual-language programs lift the test scores of otherwise disenfranchised children. Who exactly she was trying to protect? Certainly not the 65 percent of our public-school children who are Hispanic.

Kids First calls themselves reformers. Their actions over Hola show they are anything but. With Hola they didn’t “reform” anything – they simply hurt the city and its children. And taxpayers lost, too.

Every year hundreds of parents line up for a small number of spots at the charter and private schools. Clearly, they are looking for more than what the district offers. Instead of embracing a low-cost way to bring in more kids (and lower the per-pupil costs) and increase test scores (which should be a major goal), Kids First destroyed a fabulous, value-generating opportunity. That’s nothing to be proud of.

I leave Kids First and its supporters with one of President Obama's apt inaugural messages: In the end, you will be judged on what you can build, not on what you destroy.

Sincerely,

Barbara Martinez
The same WSJ education reporter wrote this letter which was posted on Hoboken411:
“I’ve taken the past two days off of work (I’m a reporter at the WSJ) because the Hola program is so important to my family. Today I spent a lot of time outside Conners and Wallace – getting signatures of people who would be thrilled to send their kids to a dual-language immersion program.

I met many Hispanic and African-American moms this morning whose faces lit up when I told them their children could be fully literate in two languages by the time they are in third grade. Many are planning to attend our information session this Sunday at Jubilee Center.

BUT I AM SO VERY CONCERNED THAT YOU ARE DECIDING TO TABLE THIS PROGRAM FOR THE TIME BEING.

The private school my daughter attends needs to know in early February whether she will be returning in September 2009 for first grade. What am I supposed to tell them?

By the way, they want me to give them $1,000 if I want them to hold her spot. Several weeks after that, I have to commit to a full-year’s tuition. What am I supposed to do?

Parents in Hoboken are making their decisions for next year NOW. If you put this off again you may lose people like me. My stomach has been in a knot for the past two months as the entire city debates this valuable program.

How much more talk is needed?

Jen and Camille have told me they are willing to walk away from the money, the contract, etc. They are stripping away all the non-essentials from their budget. There won’t be a need for an RFQ. They won’t be getting a cent.

Why can’t we put this to bed already?

PLEASE. Take action on this so we can get our school started. Or if the action is negative, at least we can move on with our lives and make other plans. But to make us wait like this, for no apparently good reason, is quite unnerving and cruel.

Sorry to sound so dramatic – but this is really something that will affect my daughter’s future.

Thank you,

Barbara Martinez
  • This person who stated in 2009 "A look at how Kids First handled the Hola program shows why they should not be leading our school district. " is an HoLa Trustee.  So are Frank Raia (supporting Kids-First opponents) and Anthony Petrosino (unsuccessfully sued the Hoboken Board of Education).  Petrosino posted the WSJ piece on his blog yesterday.
  • Anti-administration operatives were all over Patch yesterday trumpeting the WSJ article and pointing the finger at Kids First.  Politics anyone?
Well, yesterday GA  'debunked' the metric on which an economist for a real estate web site, Jed Kolko, ranked Hoboken at the TOP of the BOTTOM in America.

Today GA is marveling how the WSJ published this report without the kind of due diligence that would have them questioning the FALSE conclusion that has disparaged our school district and all the kids enrolled.

Including mine.

How did it happen?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

WSJ's Porno for the Dark Side

Ready to see what's got Hoboken's Undead all hot and bothered?   

Creatures of the Night: keep your hands where we can see them:


 Oooh... ahhhh....

This data, which appeared in today's Wall Street Journal originated on a real estate blog called 'Truila Trends' written by an economist, Jed Kolko.

Fortunately, this poll is an absolute crock. 

And GA will tell you why: the devil is in the details.  Or in this case, the methodology.

In fact, the opposite trend is true: the Hoboken demographic has shifted dramatically in the past 10 years; we've had a population surge of young couples who start a family here and stay.

Yep.

Here is the economist's flawed methodology: Hoboken is ranked  #1 because we have the LOWEST 'ratio' of the 100 U.S. metropolitan areas in the study.

What is a ratio?  According to Kolko:
Note: The ratio is the number of 5-to-9 year-olds divided by the number of 0-to-4 year-olds living in the school district. Ranking is among districts in the largest 100 U.S. metro areas with at least 1,000 0-to-9 year-olds.

To figure out which school districts are the “most attractive” – in the sense that they attract families with school-age kids — we looked at the number of elementary school kids (by which we mean kids aged 5 to 9) and the number of preschoolers (kids aged 0 to 4) living in every school district in the U.S., according to the 2010 Census.
Now do you get it?

Hoboken's ratio was extremely low because within the last 10 years (timed with the our real estate boom) we've had aggressive population growth: 30% according to the Jersey Journal:
According to 2010 Census data, Hoboken's population has surged by 30% in the past 10 years, as reported by The Jersey Journal.

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer commented on the stunning increase of her city's population from 38,577 residents in 2000 to 50,005 in 2010.

 "Hoboken used to be a transient place where people would live for a few years and then move out, but now more people are choosing to stay," she added. "There has been significant amount of development . Everyone loves Hoboken."
Has any other American city experienced a 30% population growth in the last decade?

And who are the people coming here in droves?

It's a young demographic: singles in their 20's and 30's, single and young childless couples planning a family.  Or families with very young children from the burbs who want to raise a family in Hoboken.

In fact, GA-  a public school mommy- can tell you that Hoboken District enrollment is INCREASING.

That's right.

The Hoboken School District t has ADDED 4 kindergarten classes just this year alone  (2012-2013) for a total of 14.

 LA (Little Avenger) heard me talking to a friend about the WSJ article today and here's what she said, "These people don't know what they're talking about.  I love my school.  I love my teachers."

Right on, LA!   Did I tell you she had a 12th grade reading level in the 4th grade?

I did?  That many times?   Well, she is a product of the 'least attractive'  Hoboken School District, according to Economist Numb-Nuts.

Mr. Numb-Nuts didn't do his homework.

Because when one writes about 'trends' one should analyze them, not disparage an entire School District based on a Census ratio.  That's simply a snapshot.  The Numb-Nuts poll has a built-in bias against cities like Hoboken who've experienced a sudden, rapid population growth of young folks just starting out. 

Now, you have to wonder about the character of people who are using this poll  to bash our public schools for political expedience.   

If you didn't already.

"It's for you!"


Well, folks. GA's  heard about a new city-wide push-poll- have you gotten it?

Apparently, the Dark Side is taking a test drive.  In mud.  Can one of you folks provide GA with audio or a transcript?  

Send to: grafixavenger666@gmail.com

Like they say, one man's sludge is another gal's...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thank You from GA

My daughter, LA (Little Avenger) the artist- age 9

Folks, it's been an extraordinary week for many reasons- most which I cannot discuss.   

Boo hiss.

But the obvious one to GA readers is the quiet over here.  And that is because of the reasons I can't discuss.

Needless to say, I have been busy.  So busy, in fact I've been offline since Monday for a deadline yesterday.   ( I did it, I did it...Hooray!)

So, really what I want to say this morning is that I have been touched by the overwhelming support shown to me and my family by our community- the number of folks who've reached out personally to support me is incredible. 

Blogging is a solitary venture; it's easy to forget how many people stop by daily, though my web stats tell me GA has a surprisingly large following for a teeny-weenie blog.  Just this week, thousands of 'first-time' visitors, even though I haven't added much content.

So the thoughts from people I don't 'know' and 'non-political' folks... well, thank you

And it's still August when so many are away on vacation or tuned out.

Further, the incredible outpouring of generosity- the donations received so far, well... all I can say is: thank you from the bottom of my heart.  

 ありがとうございます。

Because every penny extracted for legal bills makes my child's future less secure.  You folks, by your kindness, are helping offset this damage to my child's future.  And if that doesn't do it for you, think about this: your support dampens the mirth over on Hudson Street.

So for those who can, by all means support The Hoboken Free Speech Legal Defense Fund and drop something in the kitty.  Click here to donate.

Meee-ow.

Meanwhile, the first day of school is September 6 and lots to do before then; LA needs a new wardrobe- she's at that stage between kids' sizes and Junior's, in clothing and in shoes- and as fussy as any kid with an incredibly un-cool mom.

Did I tell you she has a 12th grade reading level, and she's going into 5th?  Her May Lexile score was 1262.  Brag brag brag.  

LA has a bright future ahead of her.

So, that's all I wanted to say to you folks.  Thank you.

And this: do not be afraid.



Friday, August 17, 2012

The Coming HR Hatchet Piece on Reformers- UPDATED

You'll never see this in The Hoboken Reporter
 
The fact that our local rag, The Hoboken Reporter, dislikes the Zimmer administration and any of it's advocates is a given.

The fact that they are hostile to the Reform blogosphere was proven by events last April.

That's when  City Councilwoman Beth Mason and her political operative (and Board Member of her 501(3)(c) charity, The Mason Civic League, Inc.) were allowed access to reporter Stephen LaMarca to pitch a story about MSV posting a Nazi video, and GA writing about a 'gas chamber'.

The so-called GA gas-chamber 'evidence' turned out to be a photoshopped screen shot from my blog.  GA discovered that because the knucklehead left his electronic signature on the document forwarded to me from a source at The Hoboken Reporter.

Busted


The so-called 'Nazi video' was never posted on MSV but was actually done by anonymous person(s) called 411Hoboken (not to be confused with Hoboken411).   This discovery was not rocket-science, but a Google search and click away. 

In other words, the HR was ready to blast two citizen-bloggers with  vile, inflammatory and harmful accusations in print of using Third Reich rhetoric and imagery against a politician, Beth Mason who, coincidentally, had purchased a block of their page 3 ads running consecutively since mid-April (except for one week when this scandal broke).  I've got them all.
 
Well, when this hit-job was exposed, first on GA, then on MSV, what happened?

Did the publisher, David Unger call either of us to 'explain' themselves? God forbid, even apologize?  Or Editor Gene Ritching?

What do you think?



Exactly.  

After weeks of wondering what would appear in their pages, Horsey and I heard.... nothing.

The Hoboken Reporter killed the story.

And let Al Sullivan- the only reporter there GA will EVER talk to- craft an 'explanation.'

But GA heard that behind-the-scenes this caused severe tumult and embarrassment among management.  And GA heard from a source at the HR that the Mason operative was heard screaming at management after the story was killed.

Folks, that's the dirty, filthy swamp we live in. 

In case you missed that episode, here are the links to GA's articles as it ran its ugly course.

 I am sure I will have  more to say when I have time.

But GA is anticipating a hatchet job in tomorrow's paper; when Al Sullivan's copy reaches management for 'editing.'

If I am wrong, I'll say so.  If I am right, I'll say more.

Folks, we live in a dirty Mile Square.

(Updated, Aug. 18, 2012, 11:30 AM)

Well, folks  GA was right.

Here's what I did with today's Hoboken Reporter. 

C'mon, kitty.


Unfortunately, my cat hasn't had the opportunity to piss on it yet.

(She occasionally 'misses' the box, her rump cantilevered far beyond it's edge, so with any luck the trashy tabloid will be covered in no time.)

I won't spill too much cyber-ink on this drek now.

Let me just tell you that the Editors lavished much ink editorializing allegations to the point any yellow journalist would be proud of.. pages one, and two.. and:

  • They buried MY comments on the third page, near the END of the 3-page article.

  • They published MY comments way, way AFTER Beth Mason's!  (Who strategically skipped advertising on page 3 this week).

  • I NEVER SENT THE HOBOKEN REPORTER AN EMAIL calling this matter 'political theater'- I have NO IDEA where  and WHEN that email was written.

The HOBOKEN REPORTER USED AN UNRELATED EMAIL OUT-OF-CONTEXT in an article ABOUT THIS SUIT. 

The mis-use of THAT EMAIL with respect to this matter is worse than YELLOW JOURNALISM.

They've stepped into a legal mine field.

Okay people.  Take a look at EXACTLY what GA actually GAVE the paper for this article- ALL they were PERMITTED to quote me on.

The Bijardis (sp) see this as a kind of harassment, you see is a political satire, what do you see as the difference?

Again, this is a malicious use of the courts to suppress the political speech of the two most prominent reform political bloggers and all political discourse from the Reform side. The effort to drag in the Mayor, who is irrelevant, makes that clear. Dumping the complaint online, with all context for allegations removed, and Horsey and I unable to respond publicly, and the vicious personal attacks on Horse and I by anti-reform websites is part and parcel of the politcal nature of this suit. It is a SLAPP. 

What public benefit do you see this satire accomplishes?

This SLAPP is not about satire. This SLAPP is about icing speech on the reform blogosphere and dragging the Mayor- who is irrelevant- into it.

 Why do you think the suit was filed now?
In advance of labor Day mayoral announcements. It is politically-driven. Politically-motivated. 

What would you consider “going too far,” and has this ever been done to you?

The First Amendment applies to all. 

They claim that you targeted them for violence with the so called threat to shoot, what is your take on that?

Absurd. The press cherry-picks that quote out-of-context, but neglects mentioning in the same letter I wrote I'd "use the Vulcan Death grip" or about sharing falafels at Mamoun's with the FBI. Or the fact it was one in a long satirical series. The fact that the press omits any context is proof of media bias against bloggers. If they had any interest in fairness, I would have been contacted for a discussion about that piece prior to producing a hatchet. Your paper has done that to me a number of times.
That's ALL.

Do you see ANYTHING there about "political theater"?

Didn't I TELL the paper that this matter is NOT about satire?

I DID.

But The Hoboken Reporter  printed the OPPOSITE, pulling an old email about "political theater" and grafting it onto this story, like grafting the head of a lizard onto a rabbit.

Now that this is a LEGAL matter, you would think the Hoboken Reporter would be more careful. 

MUCH more careful. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I'm Not Dead

Ha! No- not dead just busy.

If I had the time to post yesterday I would have called it Schadenfreude. Because I was thinking what a good few days it's been for the dwellers on The Dark Side.

First, the entire Reform blogosphere gets SLAPPed.   Or I should say, some of the most vocal and articulate voices of Reform.  But the message is being sent to ALL of us.  Make no mistake.

Next, Hoboken is losing a true treasure this week; my dear friend Scott Siegel is leaving us.  No, not like a 'dearly departed' kind-of leaving.  He's moving.

I can't do the tribute he deserves right now, but GA thinks Scott is a very special guy, and I will miss his drop-ins at my house on the way to A&P when he buys his beloved dozen clams. (Don't worry, Scott- I'm sure there are clams at your next destination).

Scott Siegel is irreplaceable. A presence at public meetings, he's been the conscience of fiscal sanity, always speaking truth to power.

I know Scott loves Hoboken, and many of us love him.  I do.

But of course, there are those who don't; some on the City Council who've snarled "renter" at him, like that's some pejorative. (Anything wrong with renters, Ms. Castellano?  Aren't you a landlord of renters?)

 So, we're back to Schadenfreude.  Look what I got from Timmy today:


Schadenfreude?


Anyway, folks.  While there's a lot I can't discuss, there is more that I CAN.  And will.

Now I ask you to please consider a donation to the Hoboken Free Speech Legal Defense Fund- click here.

Horse and I will fight for the 10 John Doe Defendants (and 12 more named within), to protect their anonymity, and for all of us- but we need your help.

(Maybe GA will design some piece of schlock to give to big donors- that seems to work for Public Television fund drives. How about a mouse pad with Da Horsey's face on it? Let me think...)
 
Well, I'll leave you with this message (actually Bertolt Brecht's):







a banished Writer, one of the best, 
scanning the list of the Burned, 
was shocked to find that his 
Books had been passed over. 
He rushed to his desk 
On wings of wrath, and wrote a letter to those in power , 
Burn me! he wrote with flying pen, burn me! 
Haven’t my books Always reported the truth ? 
And here you are Treating me like a liar! 
I command you! 
Burn me!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Raised By Wolves



Ever read The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling?

It starts with a human baby lost in the Indian jungle during a tiger attack.  The baby is adopted and raised by wolves.

His Mother and Father Wolf name the boy Mowgli, and he grows up with the pack, hunting with his brother wolves and learning the ways of the jungle. The boy develops remarkable strength and skills through his childhood experiences with the wise and nurturing wolves.

Other characters are Bagheera (the black panther) who befriends Mowgli, because both he and Mowgli have parallel childhood experiences; the panther was raised in the King's cages from a cub and knows the ways of man.  Another friend is Baloo the bear,  teacher of wolves, with the thankless task of teaching Mowgli The Law of the Jungle.

But Mowgli faces an ever-present enemy: Shere Khan, the tiger. The tiger is vicious and cruel, and Kipling wrote many stories of the efforts of Mowgli's nemesis to destroy him.

Finally, Mowgli finds a weapon he can use against the tiger — fire.

Are there lessons to be learned by Kipling's Adventures of Mowgli, boy raised by wolves and his battles with the wicked Shere Khan?

Maybe a few.

1.  Being raised by wolves is not a bad thing!  Don't knock it till you've tried it.

2.  Though your enemies may be vicious and cruel, they will over-estimate their own skills; in their pride they'll miscalculate the abilities of their prey.

Conversely, when being stalked by a proud and reckless beast or even a pair of them- a he-beast and a she-beast (who are assisted by other shadowy jungle creatures in their hunt for blood and/or free speech) all one has to do is find their weakness.

For Mowgli, it was fire.  

Illustration by John Lockwood Kipling (father of Rudyard) from The Second Jungle Book, 1895

Friday, August 10, 2012

Midnight Cinema Returns

"Kiss me, Rhett!"

How many times have you seen Gone With The Wind? 

Me?  At least 4. When a movie is a classic, it's something to be seen again and again.  GA's got loads of Hudson County classic cinema in the vault... what is that, you ask?

Well, with respect to Hoboken it takes on a variety of shapes and forms.

We have orchestrated political theater at the City Council- that's where a political operative is filmed by a wealthy Councilwoman's personal videographer for use in her campaign commercials, or where that same hired videographer shows up to film Mayor Zimmer's deposition and then the film is posted on Hoboken411 the next day!

Another kind of Hoboken classic cinema (GA's personal favorite) is when politicians and their campaign operatives are filmed by a third party doing what they do!

Here's a classic that debuted on MSV on October 29, 2010. 

The setting: a highly unusual midnight meeting at City Council 4th Ward candidate Tim Occhipinti's campaign headquarters with some of the 'heavy-hitters' seen on film.  The cameraman observed a large number of people in attendance, but his/her film captured those standing outside, and entering and exiting Occhipinti's headquarters.

Grab your popcorn!



 The following excerpt is from the MSV Exclusive:
Among those in attendance in the Monday midnight meeting were candidate Tim Occhipinti, campaign manager Jamie Cryan, third ward Councilman Mike Russo, his mother Michelle five-dollars-a-tow Russo, Weehawken political operative James Barracato, and Hoboken411 ghostwriter Lane (redacted).

 MSV has acquired exclusive video of the midnight meeting participants Monday night. In the video Tim Occhipinti is seen in a white shirt and tie with the other dead of night meeting participants outside of the campaign HQ as it concludes.

He later follows Michelle Russo who breaks up the meeting and heads to her car. She can be heard asking if she can have something "tomorrow." Tim Occhipinti is then heard answering her in the affirmative before getting into the back of her illegally parked vehicle.

Councilman Mike Russo seen wearing a red visor then says good night sharing hugs first with Occhipinti campaign manager Jamie Cryan, then Lane (redacted). and finally James Baracatto. He does not hug or shake hands with a fourth unidentified person standing with the other three. The video ends with Jamie Cryan standing and talking with James Barracato, Lane (redacted).and the fourth unidentified person.
Wow, Horsey, that was quite a 'get'.  No wonder so many Dark Siders want to seal those horse-lips of yours shut!

You are a 4-hoofed Hoboken treasure.

Well, folks.  Did you enjoy the movie?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Breaking: Ex-BoE Official Prevails in Court!

Photos of assault victim, former BoE official Jean Marie Mitchell, taken at the police station at March 9, 2012
Folks, the use of our courts to file nuisance complaints against supporters of Reform in Hoboken and Mayor Zimmer is turning a corner.  So is the bullying of public officials at our schools and on the streets.

The victims are fighting back. 

Case in point, Board of Education Vice President Theresa Minutillo won a moral victory in June against Councilwoman Beth Mason's employee Matt Calicchio when Judge Sixto Macias said this:
THE COURT:  Like most every political case the core is worse than the incident.  I -- I am really taken aback by -- by the testimony of Ms. -- Ms. Garcia.  It's completely incredible.  I do not believe one word of what she told me.  

I -- I -- I believe that if instead of reading the blogs, I think if you're going to bring somebody to court to testify on your behalf you should at least get your stories together...
I -- I also believe that the whole testimony of Ms. -- Ms. Garcia and Mr. Calicchio -- Calicchio were fabricated.  It -- it is unreasonable to believe that two individuals can take off from work anytime they want to pick up a child.  Two people.  At a serious political job, and I understand this is Hudson County.  

But that's beyond what I'd -- what I think political jobs are. Anytime they wish to make -- that she could walk into that job any time she wanted to according to her testimony.  Afternoons, mornings.  And -- and really evasive.  The defendant was asked, you know, what did he do for -- at his job.  He said I work for Gallery 400 (sic).  What is it, that they -- they -- every time they have a -- a board of education meeting you have to attend?  I believe the -- the -- the defendant is 23 years old, right? 

MS. (Elise) DI NARDO:  Yes.           

THE COURT:  How many 23-year-old individuals go to monthly board of education meetings?  That is your job to go to the board of education meeting.  That is -- that is how you got from being a volunteer to -- to -- to working full time in -- in -- in -- in Hoboken someplace and getting a salary.  

By working for somebody.  That?s how Ms. Garcia got her job.  Probably because her uncle is a board of education member. 

But -- but then -- see, the problem then is not only you and Ms. Garcia, and the uncle, and everybody that's involved in politics in Hudson County probably is -- is guilty of something like that.   
  
Now if you are an elected official, and we see it every day.  People want to -- people want to call you names.  They do to each other, and we do -- and -- and the public calls them names. I -- I believe that -- that -- that eventually it have a serious effect on people running for office. 

 ... As a public officer, the -- the -- the standards -- you're a public figure.  As a public figure you have to expect people to react to your -- to your position.  And we live in a democracy where we can voice our -- our -- our disgust, our other way of thinking to the other person. 

 ...People lied.  Openly lied, which is -- which is worse than -- than a harassment charge, you know.  I would have -- I would have taken a charge of harassment better than somebody calling me a liar.  And I find you not guilty, but I think you lied. 
See that?

The judge recognized the Defendant and his witness as political operatives that were holding political jobs for City Councilwoman Beth Mason, working for her 501(c)(3) The Mason Civic League.  (Are 501(c)(3)s allowed to employ political operatives?)

Well, folks, yesterday ANOTHER victim of anti-Reform aggression, former School Board member Jean Marie Mitchell, assaulted by an opponent of the Kids First School Board majority PREVAILED in court- this trial was her 5th (and final) court appearance for this unfortunate matter.

If you recall, Ms. Mitchell was spat upon in an unprovoked attack outside of the Hoboken High School auditorium.  Not just 'spit'- but her assailant had a mouthful of something... disgusting.

Well, the judge agreed, and here is what GA heard from Mitchell yesterday:
Just got out of court. Verdict scheduled at noon. The judge re-read all the testimony, then issued his verdict - Candelaria is guilty of assault or simple assault. He said that my testimony was calm and consistent. He said that Candelaria's testimony was consistent, but was a 180 degree difference from mine in her interpretation. He found that my story was credible and hers was not. He said it was a "disgusting act." The prosecutor also requested that the judge issue a 'no contact order' against her, and it was granted. I will call the prosecutor to get the exact criminal statute.
Congratulations, girlfriend!  You know, GA accompanied Mitchell to 2 of her court appearances, and it was quite an ordeal.

But as Jean Marie Mitchell and Theresa Minutillo know, ya gotta stand up to bullies. Whatever it takes.

But GA's faith in the justice system, in Hudson County, has been restored by these recent rulings by our judiciary who saw through the Hudson County cesspool of  dirty tricks and political machinations.

Yes, Hudson County is a hornet's nest of political operatives. 

Well you know what happens when you get SLAPPed around?

You get a SLAPP-back.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Stuff That Matters

GA with daughter LA (Little Avenger)

You know, the reason why GA, a Hoboken public school mom, blogs has everything to do with pursuit of good government and getting honest hands on the levers of power.  And it all started at the Hoboken School Board.

GA's been an activist since 2009.

I went to a couple of School Board meetings and met a bunch of other moms who were concerned about the priorities and actions of Hoboken District administrators and the controlling majority on the School Board and... well, here I am.

Certainly that has not made GA a popular figure amongst those who've conspired to silence me and this blog in a series of well-publicized attacks on me personally and on my Free Speech since 2010. 

Take a look at some of the epic corruption that GA has uncovered- just at the Hoboken School Board.

And control of the School Board hangs in the balance in the coming election.  That is $60 million dollars of public money- the BoE budget- which meay be delivered back into the hands of the people that brought you the following:

And most of the above reflects ONE YEAR of rampant ABUSE, before the Kids First coalition (mostly moms) took the School Board majority, forced an audit and have done wonders to clean house and stop abuse of public education money.

But that makes one's enemies resort to ever more vicious tactics to silence those that let the truth out. 

Folks, that will NEVER happen.  GA won't be silenced.

GA is fighting for clean government and proper management of Hoboken Schools. And you know the enemies of  clean government will stoop to anything to stop that from happening.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Beth Mason's Blog!

GA had no idea that Hoboken City Councilwoman Beth Mason has a blog.  Did you?

It's on her still-active Mason For Mayor web site.

But rarely does one get the opportunity to hear the musings of Councilwoman Mason herself- in her own words- offering her own unvarnished thoughts and opinions about Hoboken government and other public officials. Which is why GA finds her blog so refreshing!   And I believe you will, too.

Unlike Grafix Avenger or Mile Square View, Mason's blog is not hosted by Blogger.  Or Wordpress.  It's hosted by HobokenSandwich.com- have you heard of them?

GA noticed she hasn't updated it for awhile, but I've read her blog posts, and boy, the Councilwoman is  funny.  She's got a  pithy and stylish writing style, a sense of humor and a way with words.  And just like GA, Mason refers to herself in the third person.  (I think Da Horsey does too)

Who knew she could blog so well?

GA recommends that someone read this blog post at the next City Council meeting for the entire city to enjoy her musings:


Funny!  Complete with a turd joke!  Beth Mason writes turd jokes-  who knew?
My neighbors are not happy about Church Towers Pilot.

The good news for all these candidates is that only a small fraction of the voters in Hoboken actually think their vote matters.

Many of us are convinced that Hoboken government is a joke.  A sad, sad joke with punchlines like “Pilot Programs”, “Indictments”, “Convictions”, “Corruption”, and “no show nirvana” for locals who feel this town is their personal trough to sidle up to and gorge themselves upon.
The whole situation is shitty. I mean, pupie.

Hmmm.... Mason compares a political opponent to feces on her blog!

I guess she wants to be the only one allowed to publish  turd jokes- she equated a public figure (Frank 'Pupie' Raia is a former BoE member) with excrement.

Thank G-d for the First Amendment and the U.S. Constitution! And organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) that support bloggers rights.  Bloggers like Beth Mason.  Thankfully she may make turd jokes online without fear of reprisal!  Phew.

Well, as I told you, the City Councilwoman hasn't written a blog post recently but... she's selling t-shirts!  Just like GA!   


Look what the back says: "Old Hoboken in the House! (The big house!) (again)"

Did Mason just take a whack at the "Old Hoboken"?  Wow.
BethMasonforMayor.org is proud and pleased to be the first to offer this valuable collectors piece for the ages.  The 100% Cotton T’s are available in sizes “Small” through “XXL” and will be delivered within 3 days of ordering.

SInce GA is a collector of political memorabilia (I save every political mailer and birthday card) I ordered one.  See:


Beth Mason promised I'd get it "within three days of ordering" so I should have it tomorrow or the next day.  When it comes, I'll model for you on GA!

Have a great day folks, and check out Beth Mason's blog!

Monday, August 6, 2012

How to Star in a Political Ad

You know, GA always wanted to star in a commercial.

Not the kind where you get busted by Mr. Whipple for squeezing the Charmin, like you're some kind of toilet paper freak-fetishist.



GA wants to sell people.  

It looks like fun!

One simply has to cart a script to a public meeting- doesn't matter what it says since you'll mesmerize viewers with your eyebrow (s) as it shoots around your forehead like a nervous caterpillar. (My eyebrows are dark)

Lights... camera (one)... ACTION!  Strike a pose!

Now, modulate your voice as the accusations fly.  Arm flapping is okay. So is stamping your foot. Shimmying- not advised. If you're tall don't hunch because you'll look like a jabbering gargoyle.  If you're short, put your hands on your hips to make you look... bigger.

You may even consider laying a soundtrack to your commercial.  Like this one from the Mason for Mayor web site.

It was titled "Stop Hiding the Budget."

The original version can be seen at MSV-  that's if you want to hear the Mason campaign pitch-man and political message-delivery operative in between the choppily edited messaging. (Mason pulled it from her web site after she came in a tragic 3rd place.)   Well, MSV's saved the original,    

Here's the soundtrack version:

Mason For Mayor Campaign Commercial WITH Soundtrack



Wow, that's one dapper Mason political commercial star and campaign pitch-man!  Though the choppy editing with campaign messaging and political talking points ruins it (for me.)

I wonder what one gets paid for that kind of campaign commercial?  I guess such things are documented on ELEC reports.And all those other made-for-TV appearances at the City Council by the politicians designated message delivery man up to and including 2011.  Incidentally coordinated with Hoboken411 articles.  Accidents happen!

Don't you wonder what Mason does with all that video of public meetings she's taped with her own personal videographer?   Why does a politician even have publicly taped meetings privately taped?  I guess that's called 'stock footage' for future use.  To make commercials. Or print ads.

Remember these?  (See more here)  Mason was actually the presumptive frontrunner before this ad campaign.



Stock footage for commercials like the one at MSV. 

I've seen some Mason footage on Hoboken411- like the Dawn Zimmer deposition , that Tim the videographer captured.  And the one with the Mayor being heckled outside of City Hall. 

Jeez, Mason must have possession of quite a bundle of  City Council stock footage. At home?  Does someone else hold onto it for her?  That same guy/gal who produced that political campaign commercial?

Wow, so  many questions. So many...

All GA wants to do is star in ONE ad.

GA's definitely going with a soundtrack for my first.

Now, WHO can I sell? What should I wear?  Slacks or a dress?  Hair up or down?  Make-up or au natural?  Do I look at the camera or at the person while I'm berating him/her?

Wow, so many questions.  So many....

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Guest Artist- LA

Watching my daughter's creativity blossom is truly a joy.

And like Picasso had his Blue Period then a Rose Period, my Little Avenger (LA) had her Kitty Period and is currently in her Creature Period.

These are her original creations in Photoshop.  She's teaching herself the program and doesn't care for any instruction from the old bag (me).  In fact, if the crone (me) tries to offer advice, she is sternly rebuked.  But that's OK.  I guess I did that to my mom, too.

 Creatures of the Elements by LA

Water

Earth

Fire

Friday, August 3, 2012

GA's Unofficial Guide to Patch's Unofficial Guide

Today Patch has published an "unofficial guide" to the upcoming mayoral race- nice job, Claire.

Here is GA's Unofficial Guide to Patch's Unofficial Guide to the upcoming mayoral race- the names are listed in the order that they were mentioned by Patch.

Ruben Ramos Jr.


Ruben is currently serving his third term in the NJ State Assembly, and "the obvious pick to run against the incumbent" his spokesman told Patch.  GA agrees; he's my pick, too.  For no particular reason.  Call it an eenie-meenie-mine-moe strategy. Or a heads or tails approach. And for anyone who says Ruben's full of baloney, here's my answer: it's corned beef.  

Theresa Castellano

This t-shirt and other fine gifts available at GA's Recall Beth Mason Gift Shop

GA sees very little upside to a Castellano candidacy, except for increasing sales on the "It's Been Cleared Up" product line available at my Recall Beth Mason Gift Shop.

Castellano told Patch, "The person with the least negatives should be the candidate."  GA agrees.

Unfortunately, Castellano's got more baggage than Samsonite.com and her's is loaded with quarters.  Four million, to be exact.

Not only that, an archive of videotaped City Council meetings will introduce her to the public as Hoboken's answer to Margaret Hamilton. Yes, she will turn out her base but beyond that... I'll get you my Zimmer and your little Stan, too... she is unappealing.

Her evident and well-documented disdain for anyone outside of her base- as well as her role in QuarterGate will not carry her in a citywide election.  (Read the transcript of QuarterGate here.)

Frank 'Pupie' Raia

Hoboken Gothic

GA finds Frank's friendly disposition and ability to talk to anyone a big plus. I've heard that he's used his fortune for many private acts of kindness for which he seeks no public recognition.  That said, if Castellano's got more baggage than Samsonite, Frank's got more than the state of Florida. (I picked Florida because it's a mecca for East Coast retirees and Spring Break.)

From taxpayer funded steak dinners, to cell phone giveaways, to thousands of unidentifiable 'employees' when Frank was BoE president... here's a sample from the NJ Department of Education-mandated audit (page 40)
Can Raia explain why we should give him a 100 million dollar budget when this was how he ran the Hoboken School district?  Maybe he can.  What do I know?

Beth Mason

"Boot Beth Mason and Tow her Out of Hoboken" product line available
at GA's Recall Beth Mason Gift Shop.

Oh, Jeez. Just read this blog.

The bottom line: things have gotten so bad for Mason in Hudson County her formidable checkbook is starting to glow... but you know, the half-life on her kind of radiation only lasts until the next election cycle.

One of Mason's problems seems to be finding 'good' people; her current crop of henchmen are either IQ-deficient or utterly hapless; her rep is such that no one 'decent' wants to be associated with her. Only the "worst", "bottom-of-the-barrel" political consultants.  So I heard.   

GA thinks Mason should just leave politics and get into the restaurant biz. Because that's the only way she'll knock out her nemesis, Dawn Zimmer- with a botulism-laced sandwich.

Tim Occhipinti

Tim takes the cake

Not a chance. His antics have pissed off behind-the-scenes power brokers, and Timmy's gotten a rep for buying his own hype. Timmy was never picked to run for mayor.  Tim was picked to block Lenz.   That's it.  He has no independent power base without Masons' checkbook.  The Russos can't stand him.

And the public is starting to catch on to his act. What kind of a guy brings 2 cakes to a senior Bingo night and when no one's looking, runs off with one of them?  From a blogger's perspective, Tim's the gift that keeps on giving. 

Anthony 'Stick' Romano


GA doesn't know much about Romano, only that Hoboken's share of County taxes has gone up 3 times while he's been Freeholder.  Did you know that Hoboken pays 17% of the County's taxes although we are 6% of the population and 1 out of 12 municipalities?  Aye caramba!  How would Romano do against the Mayor?
City officials in the Mile Square City chopped property taxes a whopping 10 percent last year, according to an analysis that appeared in today's  Star-Ledger.

While Hoboken taxpayers received some much needed property tax relief, most residents elsewhere in the county saw property taxes rise higher than 2.4 percent, which was the average statewide increase.
Even though Romano's been around forever, GA would call him the  Dark Horse candidate, should he be 'The One'.  If so, here's one thing to watch: Romano's a dashing guy, attractive to the ladies with a rep for being a bit of a 'horn-dog'. So the question will be if anyone cares.  GA doesn't.  I actually think a hyperactive sex life is something we want in our politicians... who wants a pent-up, frustrated, miserable person making public policy?  Not me.

And that's GA's Unofficial Guide to Patch's Unofficial Guide to the Upcoming Mayoral Race.

Unofficially speaking.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Information Session or Campaign Event?

Kids First team, circa 2010

GA as you may know, is a Hoboken public school mom.  And (huge) supporter of public education.

Look what I found while perusing Yahoo's Hoboken Moms Group message board:

In response to several of our members wanting more information on the Hoboken school system, Hoboken Dads Group is pleased to be hosting Board Of Education Member Peter Biancamano. 

Get Your School Questions Answered Thursday August 2nd 7:30-8:30pm at Northern Soul. 557 1st

Street Hoboken Moms welcome too. 
  Hmmm... 

An information session on the Hoboken school district (public schools) is a terrific idea.

A School Board campaign event disguised as an 'information' session on the Hoboken school district is NOT. 

GA's not sure but...

Let me share a few red flags, and then hope for the best.


Red Flag #1-

Biancamano is a warm, charming fellow. He is also a political partisan,  member of the School Board anti-Kids First minority.  Don't take GA's word for it, these are his own words in his letter to the Hoboken Reporter:
"...we are a divided board"
And Biancamano is actively engaged in campaign strategy sessions for the Kids First opposition slate of candidates. From an earwitness back in June:
I found out yesterday that Joe Branco is the campaign manager for Markevitch and (Oland). it seems that they all met at Momma Russo's mother's house on Madison street Tuesday night, I guess it was for a strategy session. Fran and Peter, Pupie, Holmsie, T Burns etc. were also present.
Do you believe Biancamano will put his best foot forward to promote the leaps and bounds of Hoboken public schools (under Kids First majority leadership) and tout the improvements and progress the schools have made since ejecting Biancamano's political sponsors?  (Including forcing an audit which uncovered myriad abuses before Kids First)

Here's what he wrote in his letter:
Last year, only 87 percent of our senior class graduated in June... Our district’s performance on standardized tests is disturbing.
 Does this sound like an advocate of Hoboken public schools to you?  GA was shocked to read this dissing of our district's kids' performance by a School Board member.

Our school district is in fact expanding, attracting more newcomers than ever and the key to advancement of our schools is to encourage residents to STAY, highlight improvements, not 'division' and 'disturbance'.

What message does he plan to deliver at Northern Soul?

Red Flag #2-
Why weren't OTHER School Board members invited?  Why only Biancamano, who is the most junior board member with only one year under his belt?  Why wasn't a more seasoned Board member invited as well?

Since this is being hosted by a Dads group, presumably the audience will be parents.

Wouldn't it make sense to have invited a Board member with a child enrolled in the Hoboken School District, too?  These are Board members with children presently enrolled in a Hoboken Public School: Irene Sobolov, Ruthy McAllister, Theresa Minutillo, (Kids First) and Carmelo Garcia.

 Red Flag #3-
Brian Murray, the organizer and head of Hoboken Dads, is an on-the-record critic of Superintendant Toback and the Kids First Board members.  


And  Carmelo Garcia partisan.


You may recall Mr. Murray organized the 'protest' at a School Board meeting, which GA wrote in a post called Pool-i-tics. I referred to him as "Dad no. 1".

In a nutshell, Murray had scheduled a Hoboken Dad's kids' swim event at the High School, never submitting the Facilities Use Form he was provided with by Hoboken's Rec department.  The form required Murray to show his group had insurance to use the pool.  Murray never obtained insurance, just sat on it for months, and neglected to return the mandatory form to initiate the approval process.  Without returning the form, the BoE never saw nor reviewed Murray's pool request, thus (obviously) it couldn't be approved without being seen.

But somehow, Carmelo knew about it... and had a "win-win" suggestion to change the pool insurance requirement on-the-fly!  Yikes. After which Murray said

"It seems there's just one Board member, Carmelo Garcia that puts Kids First."

Real political theater.  Staged.

When it comes to the Hoboken School Board, Murray is a partisan by his own words and deeds.  And he is hosting this event, only inviting a Carmelo-allied BoE member.  

Red Flag #4
Northern Soul?  Neither Murray nor Biancamano live in the 4th ward. Why there?

Here's what a friend told me:
Northern Soul was Timmy’s place of residence during his first campaign. He announced that he would be there at least one night a week to meet and discusses “issues” and invited his peeps to come by and share a brewski with him. Dutch treat.
Hmmm... wonder if Timmy will show up.  He's already hit the campaign trail, according to a witness:
 Occhipinti was introducing Markevitz and Vasquez to the senior citizens at the multi service center bbq.

So, GA hopes this is NOT a political event, but a genuine opportunity for interested parents to find out about the great things happening in our public schools and why they should consider them a viable and attractive choice.

Not a "disturbing" one.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tim Takes the Cake

No cake for you!

From GA's Inbox:
Earlier this year Tim attended a senior bingo night and brought two cakes, put them down on the refreshment table when everyone was looking, then picked one of them up and left when they weren't.
Wow, does it get worse than that?  Stealing cake from old folks at Bingo night!

GA's reminded of  a Yiddish word my parents used on occasion:

SHNORRER: A begger, a moocher, a cheapskate, a chiseler.