Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter with Augie

Happy Easter, all you big and little bunnies out there.

The Jersey Journal's Political Insider Augie Torres has got an interesting column this weekend- Who'll be going to Trenton? Here's how HCDeadO chose 33rd District Assembly seats.

The selection of Hoboken's Carmelo Garcia and Jersey City's Raj Mukherji for NJ State Senator Brian Stack's ticket is the topic du jour, though Torres can only say the HHA Executive Director was an "interesting choice" without explaining how or why he was picked.  Torres hints about Garcia's discreet courtship of Stack, and pokes fun at Russo's.  And speculates about Stack's rejection of the 2 Hobokenites he thought were "strong picks": Beth Mason and Frank Raia.

(GA hears that Stack thought Mason was "too difficult", haven't heard why he passed on Pupie)
I've felt that Councilwoman Beth Mason and former school board member and rich developer Frank Raia were strong picks for the Assembly seat. You had to believe that Stack was listening because either one could easily wipe out any lingering campaign debt. Only it sounded too much like Obama's old Illinois U.S. Senate seat being put up to the highest bidder.

There were other Hobokenites interested -- did I say Councilman Mike Russo? -- along with Mason and Raia, who would often make evening sojourns to North Hudson diners to meet with Stack and company. It was incessant courting, but as one politico noted, Mason and Raia would go up there and Garcia would be just leaving. One aforementioned City Council member was concerned that he was out of the running and went up to a Kennedy Boulevard eatery (that has great cheesecakes), unaware that Stack was sitting at the Malibu Diner in Hoboken with Garcia.

The Hoboken Housing director is an interesting selection because Stack was never big on Ramos and yet there is a longtime comradeship between Garcia and the outgoing assemblyman.

As for Zimmer, her choice was Hoboken Councilman Ravi Bhalla. By placing Bhalla in Trenton, Zimmer would have had a voice in the Legislature and, at the same time, eliminate a potential ambitious rival.

All this provides grounds for some good conspiracy theories.
Conspiracy theories!  YES!  Check that grassy knoll. 
It was pointed out to me, and it could actually happen, that scorned Mason and Raia could be pushed by the snickering attacks of local bloggers, who swoon over the city administration, into considering a third ticket in November. Don't look for either Mason or Raia running. I would expect them to manipulate the stage with the hope of creating major chaos.
Does he mean us? 

Well, Augie gives the blogs way too much credit, if so.  If there is a third ticket, it won't be a nyah nyah nayh to a bunch of bloggers, it'll be to mess with Ruben or blow mud at Reform.

And for those paying attention, that's been going on for some time.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Kosher for Passover

Happy Easter and Passover to all

The rabbi's silhouette stood in stark contrast to the light-browns of the parched African veldt.

The old African woman had been insistent. "Please meet me here tomorrow, I have something very important to show you."

Soon enough, an ancient white Combi pulled up to the spot where the rabbi had been standing.

"Please come, it is about a twenty five minute drive from here." Acting on instinct, the rabbi decided to go with her.

The car clattered down the rutted road, the blazing sun glinting off the chrome of its 1930's frame. Just beyond the environs of the city, they reached the cemetery.

"Here is my husband's gravesite" whispered the woman as tears coursed down her face. "He would have liked a rabbi to have been here."

The rabbi stared at the grave, noticing the most unusual headstone. Engraved on the stone, above the man's name, were the Hebrew words kasher l'pesach "Kosher for Passover."

What made it even more unusual was the fact that the words were inscribed upside-down.

The woman explained that her husband had arrived in Namibia as a young lad; he had worked hard, married, lived an entire lifetime with her and never divulged anything about his upbringing in London as a child.

He had never mentioned the fact that he was Jewish, nor had he in fact mentioned anything about religion at all.

On his death-bed, he summoned all his remaining energy and told her that he was Jewish and would like the world to remember that he was.

He had saved the one thing that crossed his path and signified some sort of Jewish identity for him.

It was a box of Kosher-for-Passover matzos...

"Please inscribe this on my headstone" he stated, and those were his actual last words.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Ruben's Helping Hand

Up in smoke?

If yesterday's Earwitness rumor is correct, and Ruben Ramos was instrumental in herding Carmelo Garcia to Stack's ticket, one might ask: what's in it for him (Ramos)?

The two men are close friends, yes.  But Garcia has a lot more to offer than friendship.

One can assume he will do everything possible to 'deliver' the HHA for Ruben.  That's a tidal wave of votes like the kind that washed Tim Occhipinti onto the City Council in November 2010.

 Remember that race?  
(estimated $22,000) That's how much his opponent Tim Occhipinti spent on "campaign workers" to win Ward 4's Council seat in November. What's unusual about that? Well, nothing, until you consider that there were about 575 of them, and that for all that Election Day "field" help there was little Occhipinti campaign presence visible on 4th Ward streets (say the Lenz folks). And that Occhipinti paid 575 workers for an election in which only 2,076 people cast ballots (Lenz Election Day paid workers = 17). Most alarming is a spike - a big one - in vote-by-mail ballots, and who it was who turned them in: overwhelmingly it was Occhipinti's "campaign workers"... In 2 Ward 4 districts, about 80% of absentee voters were also employed by the Occhipinti campaign.
Yesterday GA posted that the Carmelo pick was a big F-U to Mayor Zimmer and Ravi Bhalla

Well, I'd also call it an F-U to aspiring mayoral candidate Tim Occhipinti and his mentor, Beth Mason: Buh-bye to Timmy's HHA base and GOTV infrastructure.


Mason has the means to offer more than Ruben... if Tim does run, will  a 'bidding war' commence over in the 4th ward?

Ruben's influence on Stack's ticket shows he's got muscle in spite of the dismissive treatment his candidacy's been given in Hoboken's local media and blogs.  Yep, it's definitely a finger directed at Mason.

GA hears she's blaming Zimmer for the choice of Garcia- which is hilarious. Not only don't events back this up, there is no logical rationale for Zimmer to have done so.  None.  Zimmer has unconditionally supported Bhalla for Assembly from Day One.

More, rumor has it there's another Council minority member who (till) really wants to run for mayor.

Terry Castellano.  I've heard she believes she can prevail, that she despises Zimmer almost as much as Mason- which is a lot.  It's only March. She's got plenty of time to jump in.

And Timmy?  GA heard he is serious about running and (also) thinks he can win.  But without the HHA harvest he had in 2010 and 2011, it will be that much harder.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Earwitness Rumor: The Carmelo Pick

The news that State Senator Brian Stack has picked HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia for the Hoboken Assembly slot may be fresh, but GA's already heard there may be one man to thank for it. 

Ruben Ramos, close personal friend of Carmelo Garcia.

Ramos' influence on Stack's Hoboken and Jersey City selections will come into focus as the dust settles.

But GA can tell you this (in my opinion) this was a huge F-U to Zimmer and Bhalla.   Here is what one reader sent: 
So basically the boy's club again stuck up a middle finger to Dawn, excluded her the elected leader of Hoboken from the process. He's an empty suit that will add no value. Instead of a friend in the Assembly who could work with the Governor, we have an enemy. 
Some have even suggested that Garcia's Assembly Seat may advantage him to sweep the Vision 20/20 Plan through- though I don't agree.  The fate of that project lies in the hands of the HHA Commissioners.

But I believe Garcia will have to step down from his seat on the Board of Education- the way Anthony Romano did in 2009 when he was elected Freeholder.

And whether or not he can and will keep his Executive Director position at the HHA is unclear.  The last meeting ended with a decision to renegotiate the terms of his contract.  Becoming a State Assemblyman would render his HHA directorship to a part-time position; he'd be dividing his time between Trenton and Hoboken.

Can an HHA Executive Director be a part-time position?

One more thing: GA heard that somebody's pissed about about Ruben's role in the Carmelo pick. As a result, that somebody just may run for mayor.

Guess who?

PolitickerNJ: Carmelo Gets the Chair!

Identity revealed!

Wow!  Talk about a surprise!

According to a published report in PolitickerNJ last night, State Senator Brian Stack has made his choice for the Hoboken Assembly slot:

Congratulations to HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia and Jersey City Deputy Mayor Raj Mukherji!  

More later...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cryan Time

source: email excerpt,  page 147

Nothing sucks the air out of a room like a hot, sex scandal involving the powerful leader of a political dynasty, like the one that broke yesterday in The New York Post.

But once you've glossed through the raunch, the real story is hiding in plain sight. Which was pointed out by GA reader khoboken yesterday:
Read the certification, don't just go to the porno emails (which are beyond X rated and NSFW). It is a devastating indictment of the Cryan Dynasty and the harm and personal destruction that a politician with with unlimited resources can cause. HHHHmmmmm......
Yes, indeed.

(By the way, have you ever approached corn on the cob from different angles?  I usually approach mine from the vertical position (seated) with the cob held parallel to my dinner plate, which is usually at 0 degrees to the surface of the table- recommended if you grease your cob with butter or margarine. ) 

Oh, I can't help myself, folks. 

What emerged from reading the certification  is the gross mistreatment of Karen E Golding by the courts.

Golding was initially arrested on charges of stalking Cryan after she was seen entering his unlocked car at the statehouse in 2006. She claimed that she had been in a relationship. She was allowed to enter the state’s Pretrial Intervention program, an intensive form of probation, but she was arrested again in 2007 after stalking a female friend of Cryan’s. She was sentenced in 2010 after pleaded guilty to stalking in that case.

In 2006 Ms. Golding's request to have PTI done by her county of residence was denied and she was assigned a probation officer from Union County. After 33 months of PTI, which included" home supervision, 100 hours of community service, payment of appropriate fines, random urine tests" and psychological exams, and documenting hundreds of job  interviews her PTI was terminated. Golding claims her Union County probation officer was not consulted regarding alleged violations.

Golding emails were sealed by Judicial order and she was not allowed to use them in her own defense.

Cryan always claimed there was no affair, and it appears the courts provided him cover. Prosecutors knew of the e-mail evidence, but continued to argue a version of events which supported Cryan's claims.

In 2010 at Golding's sentencing, she was informed of "12 victims" but not told who they were.  Paging Franz Kafka...   

This February, Ms. Golding filed a motion to have the e-mails unsealed.  Gregory Mueller is prosecuting her case.
 In a court motion, Golding said she was seeking to unseal the e-mails in an effort to prove she wasn’t lying about the relationship, but the court hadn’t yet acted on the motion.
Golding “threatened” those victims and the e-mails should remain sealed to “protect the victims from further harassment and embarrassment” by Golding, Mueller said in a response to the motion.
Also, Mueller said, the e-mails failed to prove that Golding had as extensive a relationship with Cryan, who is also the Union County undersheriff, as she has claimed.
Um, I beg to differ with Mr. Mueller.

In fact, those e-mails are humiliating- to Ms. Golding- and one can imagine her despair in needing to expose them at all simply to prove she wasn't lying.  This reads to me like a very powerful man discarded her after a torrid affair, she reacted very badly (no excuses for bad behavior) so he chose to crush her like a used Dixie cup.

With help.

Golding is now impoverished, her $100K lobbyist career done.

What is it about failed relationships that drives some powerful, successful women over the edge?

GA is reminded of that female NASA astronaut, Lisa Novak, who reacted very badly to being dumped by her lover, a fellow astronaut who'd moved on to another relationship. . 

Get a grip, ladies.  These bums aren't worth it. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

New Diner Opens in Union County

The NY Post has the details

I wonder what's on the menu?  

GA is looking forward to posting one when it becomes available.

Updated- 2:24 PM
The link to the court documents- including email exhibits- was sent to me earlier... yikes.   Wow, that  stuff is hardcore, I mean XXX...raw. 

No, I am not going to post them.   The link is:

 Why would anyone put that kind of stuff in an email?

Stuiver to Stay on HHA Unless...

Leaving "no stone unturned"
...clear substantive evidence is found in the HUD statutes that address a residency requirement for board members.

What's this about?

GA spoke with HHA Chairman Jake Stuiver this morning, and here's what he told me.

Stuiver's Hoboken residency ended one week ago today, Monday, March 18 2013.  Stuiver was compelled to leave for 2 reasons: post-Sandy health and safety issues in his home and aging family members needing assistance.

Last Monday, Stuiver sent a memo to HHA General Counsel Charles Daglian requesting an inquiry into statutes governing board members' residency requirements.  He stated his commitment to continue to serve on the HHA until a replacement can be found. 

Daglian responded midweek with a memo that he was mindful of how important the matter was and that he "would leave no stone unturned" (Stuiver's words) as to what the outcome should be.

GA also learned that so far,  a thorough review of applicable HUD statutes had turned up no residency requirement, meaning Jake could continue his Chairmanship of the HHA board.

And so, assuming this outcome, GA wonders what direction the Reform majority will go under the Chairman?

Are Reform board members supportive of a Reform agenda or are any averse to reforming the HHA?

It will be very interesting to see where the Board goes under Stuiver's expected continuation on as leader of the HHA Board. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Man on the Chair

GA snapped this at my cousin's Bat Mitzvah yesterday.

The man on the chair is the honoree's brother, who was a terrific sport about being hoisted aloft and spun around, as we danced around him in (many) concentric circles. This is tradition at Jewish weddings and bar/bat-mitzvahs (for my Italian friends, perhaps like your Tarantella).

The meaning is simple.  You can glean it from the lyrics of the Hebrew Folk song, Hava Nagila,  which is always played for the 'Chair Dance' (Hora).

Hava nagila הבה נגילה Let's rejoice
Hava nagila הבה נגילה Let's rejoice
Hava nagila venis'mecha הבה נגילה ונשמחה Rejoice and be happy 

Hava neranenah הבה נרננה Let's sing Hava neranenah הבה נרננה Let's sing Hava neranenah venis'mecha הבה נרננה ונשמחה Sing and be happy 

Let's rejoice!

A boy becomes a man.  A girl becomes a woman.

Thank goodness, there's no secular version of this dance for those who triumph in elections or get picked to run on.... oh, the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) tickets.

(Didja like how GA segued into that?  No?  You didn't?  A tortured analogy, you say?)

Imagine, winning candidates being seated on a chair, hoisted up and spun around like a centrifuge.... skinny Dawn Zimmer would fly off, Ruben Ramos would likely be fine unless he's got vertigo.

Well, GA was chatting with a friend about Al Sullivan's column this morning while downloading my pics, and the above caught my eye.  Because, According to Al, the highly contested 'Hoboken slot' on State Senator Brian Stack's NJ Assembly ticket may coming into focus, and soon we'll know WHO will be the 'Man on the Chair'.

And he will rejoice.

GA is saying "he" because sources have told me that Stack thinks Mason has too much "baggage" and could not be controlled. On that basis, GA thinks the Man on the Chair is either Frank 'Pupie' Raia or Ravi Bhalla.

Make no mistake, Raia is formidable. He has personal wealth, personal charm and (GA believes) he would not disobey Stack.  That means no self-serving press releases, no gaggle of political operatives dedicated to his own interests, no stunts.  As far as I know, Raia has never sued the City (am I wrong?) and would be willing to support the Mayor on many issues- including encouraging the NFL to host events in Hoboken.

According to Al:
However, the rumored price tag for peace may be that Stack has been forced to accept Hoboken Councilman Ravi Bhalla and retiring Jersey City Councilman William Gaughan as his Assembly candidates.
GA doesn't understand Stack's resistance to Bhalla.  Maybe because he ran (and lost) on an opposing ticket last go-round?  Did he dis Stack last election?  Who knows.

Bhalla's no match for Raia's bank account, but if Stack is not running a Latino after removing Ruben from his ticket, that may not go down well with a plurality of his Union City Latino constituency.    Ravi Bhalla is an ethnic minority- of Asian descent and a rock star in the Sikh community.

Well, GA's a bit discouraged by all the testosterone on that ticket- it needs more estrogen, IMO.  That's an argument for picking Beth Mason.  But GA hears that ship has sailed. 

Who knows.  So, whomever gets spun around on that chair (metaphorically speaking), his supporters will rejoice.

So who weighs more: Raia or Bhalla? Any volunteers to lift that chair?

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Sent by a reader

Russo Strikes a Pose

GA could hardly believe that Councilman Mike Russo bitched about "blogs" taking his picture at last night's meeting- and after he posed for Da Horsey outside of Council Chambers.

Especially funny for GA- Beth Mason sends her videographer, Tim Brendel, to every ZBA meeting; she's been doing it for a year.  Did I ever complain?  Cry like a  bitch?  Nope, it goes with the territory of 'public official'.  GA just ignores him.

Not Mike Russo. Waaaaah.  Boo hoo.  Somebody call a Waaaaaahmbulance!

In honor of Russo whining like a little girl who dropped her lollipop, GA is launching a magazine.

Russo photo credit: MSV

MORT Votes "NO" to 9-11 Memorial

Last night, Tim Occhipinti, Michael Russo, Beth Mason and Theresa Castellano voted "NO" to honor Hoboken victims of 9-11 with a permanent memorial.

The rest of us will never forget you.

Joao A. "J.J." Aguiar Jr., 30
Jean A. Andrucki, 43
Peter Apollo, 26
Marty Boryczewski, 29
Nick Brandemarti, 21
Swarma Chalasani, 33
Christopher Colasanti, 33
Michael S. Costello, 27
Christopher Cramer, 34
Gavin Cushny, 47
Neil Dollard, 28
Douglas DiStefano, 24
Michael DeRienzo, 37
Margaret Echtermann, 33
Jeffrey B. Gardner, 36
Michael Edward Gould, 29
Scott Hazelcorn, 29
Joseph Ianelli
Matthew Horning, 26
Thomas Knox, 31
Donna Bernaerts-Kearns, 44
Greg Malone, 42
Marc A. Murolo
Katie McGarry-Noack, 30
George McLaughlin Jr., 36
Michael Mullin, 27
John Murray, 32
Martin S. Niederer, 23
Brian Novotny, 33
Keith K. O'Connor, 28
Lesley Thomas O'Keefe, 40
Dominique Pandolfo, 27
Jon A. Perconti Jr., 32
Scott Rohner, 22
Joshua Rosenblum, 28
Nick Rowe, 29
Ronald Ruben, 36
Richard L. Salinardi, 32
James Kenneth Samuel Jr., 29
John Schroeder, 32
Alex Steinman, 32
Melissa Vincent, 28
James Patrick White, 34
Deborah Lynn Williams, 35
Michael Wittenstein, 34

video by Gregory Bond

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Falco Sues for Hurricane Sandy Payday

Is it true?

The highest paid municipal worker in Hoboken who resides at PILOTed Church Towers- housing for moderate income residents- wants a Hurricane Sandy payday?

MSV has reported that Anthony P. Falco, Chief of the Hoboken Police Department wants his overtime pay for  Hoboken's hurricane Sandy disaster, and... Falco has filed a lawsuit against Mayor Dawn Zimmer  reportedly alleging personal bias against him.

Let's break it down: a popular incumbent mayor is sued by a high profile Plaintiff; a lawsuit based on allegations of personal bias at the start of election season.

How would one prove that kind of personal animus?

GA imagines the Discovery phase, coincidentally at the height of the election season. 

Yep,  hours of depositions, requests for the mayor's email...  leading to headlines...

movies...  leaked emails...

Beth Mason's videographer, Tim Brendel, taped Zimmer's deposition. Hosting 4 hours of video is  very expensive.

and graphics...


It looks to GA like a the mud-machine will be in full-force this season, cause if you cant beat them honestly you must (try to) destroy them. 

So, other than feeding a long-simmering vendetta against the Mayor, is there a political aim behind this likely election-season smear-machine?

 Somebody's got LAMB CHOP on the menu!

Oh yeah, it's pretty clear WHO is underwriting OPERATION LAMB CHOP (replacing Zimmer with Timmy in 2014).

GA heard from a 4th warder who received  a glossy full-color mailer pimping Timmys teeny-tiny park petition (not the 6-acre Southwest park he voted "NO" on).

Hmmm... a glossy mailer for Timmy, Timmy's teeny-tiny park petition promoted on Hoboken411, Candidate Ruben Ramos buried alive on page 2 of The Hoboken Reporter, a costly fishing and hunting legal expedition of the Mayor during election season...  what could it all mean?

GA seems to remember some 'Reformer' deal-making with Mike Russo to let him pick her 3 At-Large City Council slate in 2009... that's according to Russo on FBI surveillance video.

On March 4, 2009 she voted YES on a 10-year extension of the Church Towers Pilot.   Then-candidate Ravi Bhalla raised these questions at the time: 
 Regrettably the City Council failed to structure a PILOT that would guarantee affordable housing to those who need it.  Instead the Council provided the landlord a free hand to ignore resident income requirements. Nevertheless, Council Members Dawn Zimmer and Peter Cunningham distinguished themselves by resisting the temptation to vote for the PILOT.

Funny, but lots of moderate and low-income folks in the HHA seem to be unable to move "uptown" to Church Towers, while we've got the highest paid municipal worker, a resident of Church Towers, now suing for 'overtime' during the Hurricane Disaster.

GA thought that those who worked through the disaster were doing it out of common decency, to help their suffering neighbors during the worst environmental/economic disaster to strike our City in our lifetime.

Not everyone, it seems. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

HR Publishes Attack on Jews (Letter)

A letter to the Editor in this weeks' Hoboken Reporter by "None of the Above" tells us that Hoboken's "holiday seasons decorations" are not just "gaudy snowflakes"  but "Stars of David  in disguise."

And the letter, which quotes Jamie Cryan's letter previous week, is captioned, "Say goodbye to the carpetbagger from the woods of New England."  

Did you know the "carpetbagger" in question is Jewish?

These disgraceful editorial choices were made by The Hoboken Reporter:

(1) The Hoboken Reporter CHOSE to identify Mayor Zimmer as a "carpetbagger."
The Editor captions the submissions.

The Editor chose to call Mayor Zimmer a "carpetbagger from New England" although the letter itself contains no reference to those word "carpetbagger" and the fact that the mayor does not hail from New Jersey. No reference to carpetbagging is contained in the letter at all.

The Editor introduces that pejorative term for the New Hampshire-born mayor into Hoboken political discourse.

And yes, "carpetbagger" is a deeply pejorative term; coined by Southerners for Northerners trying to take advantage of them after the Civil War, during Reconstruction.  It's used to describe an 'outsider' seeking personal gain by meddling in another city's affairs or politics. 

The Hoboken Reporter- not the letter's author- is framing Mayor Zimmer's political presence at the leadership of Hoboken as "carpet bagging." 

 (2) The Editor CHOSE not remove the anti-Semitic slur- that he/she was "told by a friend" Hoboken's Christmas decorations were "Stars of David" in disguise.
That was an Editorial CHOICE.  The attack on the Jewish "carpetbagger" was left in on purpose, for all to read.

GA can tell you this because I know how letters from others have been edited, fact-checked and vetted with portions removed.  Yes, the Editors do edit.  But they chose not to edit this disgusting swipe at Jews.

The Publisher, David Unger, is Jewish.  Does he know about this?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Zimmer Pitches to the NFL, Mason Spurns Super Bowl 2014 Plan

The Hoboken Reporter, Volume 29, Number 24, February 5, 2012- page 3 Beth Mason ad attacking Jen Giattino and Leo Pelligrini's February 2012  meeting with the NFL in Indianapolis. Giattino and Pelligrini were there to pitch Hoboken to host Superbowl 2014 events. Both left Indianapolis BEFORE the Superbowl game.  Both were in Hoboken on Superbowl Sunday.  Beth Mason's lying ad claims 2 "political supporters" went on an "all-inclusive trip to Indianapolis" to the Super Bowl. They were NOT "political supporters", they were an elected official (Giattino) and the Hoboken Director of Recreation (Pelligrini) there to open up a dialogue with the NFL for Super Bowl 2014.  

GA doesn't follow football, but I do know the Super Bowl is one of the most-watched sporting events world-wide.

In fact, the Super Bowl is broadcast to around 225 countries with about one billion people in those countries having access to the broadcast.  An estimated 80-100 million people watch it with  98% of those viewers from North America, and 97% of that amount coming from the United States.

And if you didn't know it already, Super Bowl 2014 is scheduled to bring BIG MONEY to it's host cities.

Which is WHY Mayor Zimmer, Councilwoman Jen Giattino and 2 members of the Hoboken Events Committee met with the NFL Host Committee last Friday in New York City.  Yep, and the conversation between the NFL and the City of Hoboken started in Indianapolis in February 2012. 

Back in 2012, Zimmer sent Giattino and Director Pelligrini to pitch the City of Hoboken to NFL Executives for a host city in 2014.  The 2 officials were smeared by Councilwoman Beth Mason who characterized them as freeloaders there for the game, living large on the taxpayers' dime.
Get this, for example: Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans takes place this Sunday and is expected to generate, by some estimates, upward of $430 million for the Crescent City's economy.The Big Game is expected to create more than 6,000 full-time and part-time jobs for the New Orleans area, and visitors and businesses are projected to generate more than $26 million in revenue for state and local governments in Louisiana.
Last year's numbers for Super Bowl XLVI in Indianpolis are downright staggering. Visitors spent an average of $571 per person per day during the 10-day period surrounding the game, according to a Rockport Analytics report. More than $50 million was spent on food and drinks, more than $63 million on lodging and more than $43 million on ground transportation. Those numbers are all likely to grow this year for New Orleans.  The total economic impact of Super Bowl XLVI reached an estimated $384 million for Indianapolis' local economy last year.

THIS is why Mayor Zimmer, Jen Giattino and 2 members of the Hoboken Events Committee were in the midtown office of the NFL last Friday.   And why the Mayor sent Giattino and Pelligrini to Indianapolis in 2012.  Because sharing Super Bowl 2014 hosting events with NYC means MILLIONS of DOLLARS to Hoboken's local economy.

GA hears that the NFL committee seemed to "love" Hoboken and has been very receptive so far to the Mayor's Plan.

If the NFL agrees, the Mayor's Plan is that all Hoboken- based Super Bowl events in Hoboken will be fully-funded including costs to our municipality- such as police, sanitation, etc.  In other words, a bonanza for local business, residents and the hospitality industry.

Even the City Council minority supported the Mayor's meeting with the NFL on Friday.  Well almost...

SEVEN City Council members agreed to meet with or speak with the Hoboken Events Committee  about Zimmer's Hoboken NFL Pitch.  Except for... well, take a look at the slide from Friday's presentation to the NFL and FIND THE MISSING COUNCILPERSON'S NAME to asnwer:


 Yup! You gussed it.

GA was told by a member of the Hoboken Events Committee That mason did not answer telephone calls, nor emails asking for support. When advised on the subject matter she neglected to follow up with the Committee.

Council Minority members Russo, Castellano and Occhipinti enthusiastically supported the Mayor's NFL pitch. How could they not?

An elected official would have to be crazy not to support his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to host Super Bowl events for their city.. I mean clinically insane... 

Maybe she doesn't like football? And the millions of dollars it could add to Hoboken's economy?

Well, I guess she's more of a baseball fan.  
...Mason proposed the possibility of a Minor League AA baseball stadium as the foundation of the district.

"Hoboken is the original home of baseball," said Mason. "Why not make it that way once again?"

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Back at ya, Sandy!

Photos taken this morning.
Woo hoo GA's so excited...

This post is for the gal on Long Island who keeps asking me how my renovations are going... take a look!

As you folks know, Hurricane Sandy whacked us pretty good; we got a foot of water on my first floor and the basement was submerged. My furnace, water heater downstairs and a lot of personal property including rugs and furniture gone. So, in mid-February our first floor was gutted.... and here we are one month later.  (I still haven't had use of my kitchen, but finally see the light.)

GA can't tell you how excited I am for the week ahead. Yup, it's going to be a great week.

Prayers for all those still recovering from the hurricane, and if you haven't seen the light yet- you will.

Thanks to the Mayor and the City Council majority: Ravi Bhalla, Dave Mello, Jen Giattino and Peter Cuningham for their superb job helping stricken residents with hurricane recovery efforts.  

NO THANKS to the Council minority: Tim Occhipinti, Beth Mason, Michael Russo and Theresa Castellano for SUING the City after Hurricane Sandy, HAMPERING our disaster recovery efforts by OPPOSING FEMA grant money, voting NO to new HOP buses to replace those destroyed by the hurricane, voting NO to repair  hurricane damage to Pier C Park thus CLOSING Pier C park, voting NO to repaving Washington Street,  SUING Councilman Jim Doyle to keep him from serving on the City Council and WASTING disaster- stricken residents' money...  the list of ways these 4 are hurting us in the aftermath of the disaster goes on.  Their objective: that we BLAME Mayor Zimmer.

Get it?  You and I are collateral damage to their SELFISH political gamesmanship.

That's the truth.
Just one month ago

Friday, March 15, 2013

GA's Raging Boob Cinema Presents...

"RAGING BOOB at the HHA"  


Synopsis:  In a huge suck-up to poach HHA votes from hometown guy Ruben Ramos, undeclared mayoral candidate Tim Occhipinti stands up to speak on an agenda item at last night's HHA meeting.   Instead of sticking to the agenda, our Star's tongue and larynx go on a rampage.

First, Tim rants about who got a copy of  a devastating  HUD memo not what it said!

That's right!  Our Star demands to know who got a copy of the memo before The Hoboken Reporter and Patch ignore it.  Yes, Tim and his friends wish to HIDE the devastating ethical conduct that the HUD memo points out.  So he rants, "Who, who, who!"  instead of "What, what, what!"

Excellent distraction, oh nimble nitwit!  Remember: where there's smoke, there's more smoke. 

Next, our daring dumb-ass embarks on a series of twists, turns and leaps to subjects ranging from rule-breaking old ladies to alleging the Vision 20/20 Plan is threatened by following proper HUD procedure.  Those darned rules! (What do you expect from a guy who washed up on the City Council on a tsunami of VBMS?)

Plot Twist:  After tedious minutes of deflection and blowing thick, black smoke out of his ass, the POLICE remove Occhipinti from the floor. 

That's what GA calls a happy ending.  Now, for your enjoyment:


The Meeting

Wow!  What a night it was at the HHA!

Not for me- for everyone in the room, but most of all those who stood up to thuggery and intimidation tactics- and you know who you are.  Hint: see below, left.

A partial list of attendees from someone who was there:

There is Ruben Ramos, Mama Russo, Chris Campos, Matt Callichios, Nick Callichio, Perry Belfiore, Barry (not perry) Brendel, Tim Brendel,   Patty Waiters , Ines Keim,  Terry Castellano, Franz Paetzhold, Forde Prigot, Ravi Bhalla, Da Horsey,  Joe Branco...

Wow!  GA heard it was a shit show. 

1. shit show: A description of an event or situation which is characterized by an ridiculously inordinate amount of frenetic activity. Disorganization and chaos to an absurd degree.  


Well to recap, HUD issued a memo to HHA Chairman Stuiver and HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia. It may have been triggered by a rumored complaint filed by Garcia to HUD about Stuiver, about the awarding of the HHA General Counsel Charles Daglian's contract.

If that is true, then the plan to nail Stuiver backfired big for Garcia and for HHA General Counsel  Daglian  because the HUD memo was a stern repudiation of Daglian's conduct-- even going as far as warning he may have violated the attorney's code of ethics.  Improprieties in the awarding of the contract were duly noted- HUD called it "legally flawed".  All-in-all the HUD memo  was a scathing rebuke of the conduct of both HHA leadership and the HHA General Counsel.

Now you know WHY the shit show.

GA doesn't know when the memo was received by Stuiver or Garcia, but it's date-stamped March 6.  So, presumably enough  time for Garcia and Stuiver to absorb HUD's condemnation letter and to think of the next step.

For Garcia it was to hire a lawyer and rally his troops. 

For the HHA Chairman it was to place a resolution on the HHA agenda giving the ED 120 days notice.

The problem?

In GA's OPINION, there were 2 lawyers there in the room representing the interests of the Executive Director and none representing the interest of the HUD or the HHA Board.  I believe the Board needs to hire it's own attorney- NOW.  In GA's view, they are legally rudderless without one.  And the one they have, Daglian, has been called out by HUD as engaging in potential ethical violations.

So, what happened?   The resolution was pulled. 

GA thinks that makes perfect sense, until the Board has a legal representative there to speak on it's behalf. and protect it's interests.   GA always says, you never go to the table without a damned good lawyer.  In this case, they (the HHA Commissioners) had none.

So they'll be back for  contract "negotiations".

Well HHA Commissioners, BRING AN ATTORNEY WITH YOU.   Negotiate your little hearts out if you choose. Or bring back your resolution,  Whatever you do should be done LAWFULLY with proper legal guidance Which you need to get.

Of course, GA hears Dark Siders in the room were rejoicing. Yay! Hooray! Weeeee!

Not so fast, my gleeful friends.

GA thinks Jake did the right thing- stopping the process- until the Board is properly represented and duly protected against frivolous litigation.

 And that's my POV.  

GA Teaser

Why did the police need to remove Tim Occhipinti from the HHA last night?

Check back later!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

HUD and Rice

It sounds like a recipe, doesn't it?

I'll bet that HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia wishes it were.

MSV reported today that he was served with a Rice Notice for tonight's HHA meeting.  As you may know, Rice gives him a choice to discuss his employment at the HHA either publicly or privately.

GA was Riced once. Remember when that boob Occhipinti read a GA blog post at the City Council like it was Shakespeare, then tried to have me thrown off the ZBAFor a blog post, people.   A piece of satire.  Oh  yeah, did I tell you Timmy & Co. sent the cops to my house?  They left after an hour of grilling- no "criminal investigation" was opened.  Timmy lied.

Anyway if you've never seen Shakespear-ipinti doing this poker-faced reading, it's simply hysterical... you can hear Horsey cracking up.  What a dunce!

Oh yes, I was posting about Carmelo, HUD and Rice. 

I still say it sounds like a recipe.

Well, if I were Carmelo I would do the hearing privately.  (Like I chose to do mine- which drove Beth Mason nuts!  She'd prepared a speech, then  flew off the dais in a pique because she couldn't read it into the public record.)   Now, Carmelo may wish to raise the temperature in the room, but his beef now is with HUD.  Not with Jake or any other Commissioner. GA imagines HUD will be reading HHA transcripts going forward and will note the decorum with which the ED conducts himself. So, it's wiser to think about the Day After.  It can only get worse if all hell breaks loose tonight.

But who listens to me?  Nobody.

So, I read the HUD memo posted on MSV, and one line struck me as ominous.

Doesn't sound like an option, does it? HUD says that Daglian and ED Garcia would be "well-advised" to document contract negotiations to "overcome" (imminent?)  "claims" of...  what?    

So, my advice: skip the theatrics tonight, be cautious and remember the people in the room can do very little for you now.  Now, from HUD and Rice to...

... a gratuitous cat picture. Isn't she cute?

GA's cat

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

MORT Wants a Fiscal Monitor

Original graph by Eric Kurta, updated by GA

Well, that's my opinion folks. Answer this.

What happens if the City Council can't pass it's budget? And can't even pass EMERGENCY budget appropriations to meet the City's payroll?

The State takes over.  And appoints a Fiscal Monitor, as they did in 2008 when they sent (the late) Judy Tripodi to Hoboken.
In 2008, a state fiscal monitor was appointed to oversee Hoboken's finances after city officials were not able to pass a balanced budget. The monitor, who has the authority to overule city council votes, may be removed if state officials approve the new budget.
Here's what I see, and why I say the Council Minority wants a State takeover.
  • The mayoral race has begun. 
  • Zimmer's opponents are running on "Incompetence".  
  • Zimmer's opponents on the City Council are suing to keep that 5th vote required to PASS a budget OFF.  They LOST their lawsuit but are holding off that 5th vote on the budget with an appeal to the NJ Appellate Court which is not being heard until May.  Since the lawsuit and appeals are being underwritten by Moneybags Mason, she can keep afford to keep it alive all the way to the NJ Supreme Court.
  • Timmy Occhipinti revealed MORT's strategy last Saturday.  Occhipinti said, "Good luck passing a budget."  Tim Occhpinti telegraphed that his 'coalition' has no intention of passing a budget. WHICH WILL TRIGGER A FISCAL MONITOR APPOINTMENT.
  • When the State intervenes, MORT will trumpet  "Zimmer is incompetent" and "Zimmer can't fix a pothole OR pass a budget" campaign themes.  Blame, blame, blame. They will try to make the Mayor look weak.
  • Occhipinti will be (before or after) rolled out as their candidate, and his campaign will promise  a 'solution' to get rid of the Fiscal Monitor.
That's my theory.  And if you don't believe me, just ask Tim Occhipinti who said: "Good luck passing a budget."

The late Judy Tripodi, State Fiscal monitor,  presided over our 2008 and 2009 budgets.  Let's take a look at the 3 budget cycles after the State left.

2010 Budget
Adopted 7-2 
YES: Russo, Giacchi, Bhalla, Cunningham, Mello, Lenz, Marsh
NO: Mason, Castellano

2011 Budget
Adopted 5-4
YES: Bhalla, Mello, Cunningham, Giattino, Marsh
NO: Mason, Russo, Castellano, Occhipinti

Why did the 2011 budget take so long to pass?  

Because of City Council OBSTRUCTIONISTS under the leadership of then-CC President Beth Mason who attempted to ZERO out our budget surplus. Once Reform took back the majority, City operations continued and a balanced budget was passed.
Last month, Councilwoman Beth Mason—then serving as council president—introduced a resolution, zeroing out the cash surplus, with the goal of returning that money to the tax payers.The state, however, had not approved the budget before this amendment was passed, leaving the amendment to the budget meaningless (a budget can't be adopted or amended by a city council before the state approves it).

In the meantime, power shifted on the city council, returning the majority to the hands of Mayor Dawn Zimmer. Zimmer has said that the city needs a cash surplus for unexpected costs. One such cost will likely be the back pay to Hoboken's fire fighters, whose contracts expired three years ago.During the last council meeting, the new majority re-instated a $5 million cash surplus. The municipal tax levy in this budget went down by 3.6 percent, according to Finance Director Nick Trasente.

A final vote, adopting the budget, will be held on Wednesday. It's expected to pass, with at least the five majority council members voting in favor

2012 Budget
Adopted 5-4
YES: Bhalla, Mello, Cunningham, Giattino, Marsh
NO: Mason, Russo, Castellano, Occhipinti 

Why did the 2012 budget pass in "the shortest time frame in over a decade?"

Because the Mayor and REFORM City Council majority worked cooperatively to pass a budget which lowered property taxes a stunning 10% and left Hoboken with a 5% cash surplus (Mason and the Minority wanted to ZERO out the surplus)...  thankfully Reform prevailed because the surplus was CRITICAL to fund Hoboken after the  HURRICANE SANDY disaster.
Hoboken leads way in Hudson in holding line on taxes
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.

"I am particularly proud this tax cut was achieved without using any budgetary gimmicks," Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer said, noting "fair contracts" recently negotiated with the police and fire departments, as well as the reorganization of several city departments.

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.
So, what do you think?

Tim Occhipinti votes NO on funding to fix hurricane-damaged Pier C Park.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Shadowy PAC Jumps in Hoboken Race

Everybody remember this 2009 piece of mayoral campaign lit from some shadowy Washington PAC called, "Building America Committee"?

On it was Mayor Dave Roberts morphing into Dawn Zimmer:

click image to enlarge

GA always wanted to ask Mayor Roberts if he liked wearing that dress. 

Well, good campaign iconography never dies so it looks like a new shadowy PAC is trying to influence our mayoral race.  It's called "People For Mayors Smarter Than Cabbage."

Here it is, fresh from GA's mailbox:

click image to enlarge

Wow!  This race is sure starting early!

Timmy hasn't even declared... yet.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Timmy Closes Kids' Park

Fresh from his Op-Ed calling our female mayor "incompetent" and suggestion that Hoboken is "too complex" for the little-lady to handle, Tim Occhipinti has turned against the children of Hoboken.

TIMMY has CLOSED Pier C Park.  
Timmy was the 5th vote needed to approve a fully-funded $82,000 engineering contract to repair Hurricane Sandy damage to Pier C Park.  According to Patch:
The opening of the park is further delayed, according to the city, because a $82,000 professional service contract wasn't approved by the city council on Wednesday night.
The city asked the council to approve the contract with Boswell Engineering for rehabilitation of Pier C Park after damage done due to Sandy, but the vote failed in 4-4 stalemate, with the mayor's opponents voting "no."
You get it?  The four City Council opponents WON'T LET THE CITY FIX THE PARK.

The money is there.  The Mayor and her allies on the City Council want to proceed so the park can open ASAP.  But Tim Occhipinti, Mike Russo, Beth Mason and Theresa Castellano voted "NO" to let Boswell get working on the hurricane-damaged park.

Which means come Springtime, our kids can forget about enjoying our beautiful waterside park.

Timmy's war on kids continues.   Last June, he stopped the City from buying land for the proposed 6-acre Southwest Park.  Now he proposes (perhaps at 3-4 times the  price) buying 2 tiny little corners in the 4th Ward; neither big enough for a ball game or much more than a couple of benches.  The proximity to street traffic make these two parks less than suitable for small children.

Why didn't Occhipinti vote for acquiring land for a large Southwest park in his own ward?  Why is he voting against fixing Pier C Park?  Why is he proposing 2 tiny inadequate street corners and calling them "parks"?

For Occhipinti, it's ALL POLITICS all the time.

Explain that to your kids.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Funny Hoboken Sign

GA stopped by True Value hardware store at 200 Clinton Street yesterday, and their sign just cracked me up:

"Don't be a SHIM, Come on in"

So Hoboken. If you don't get the pun, a "shim" is a carpentry term for a small piece of wood used to fill a space between materials.  But "shim" is more commonly used around Hoboken to describe.... a shim.

Good one! 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Ladies, Who's Competent?

The above quote from Tim's Op-Ed: "You can't trust Zimmer to fix a Pothole"
Well, GA wasn't too surprised to hear that the same team calling Zimmer "incompetent" in 2013 called her "incompetent" back in 2009.

GA attended the OLG debate  in April 2009 and watched candidate Peter Cammarano attack Dawn Zimmer's competence and qualifications to be mayor, belittling her 'credentials' and 'experience' as a stay-at-home mom, photographer and so on.

I walked out of there offended.  Really pissed off at this young man's attack on a working mother.

Because like many women (and some men), prioritizing child-rearing in favor of full-time work does not diminish one's "competence".   It's an economic decision; many would like to but can't.  Those who do make huge sacrifices.   The last thing any woman- working or  not, needs to hear is some man calling them "incompetent" relative to his own inherently-male "competence".

Running on "competence"
Women I spoke to back then about it were similarly put off.   The choices that then-candidate Dawn Zimmer made with respect to her business career and child-rearing were strictly personal. So she ran a positive campaign on "change" vs. Cammy's strutting superior "competence".  PolitickerNJ summarized both messages the day before the June 9, 20089 run-off election:
The Dawn Zimmer campaign has framed the game as staus quo versus change while Peter Cammarano's camp has basically taken a "just watch the debates" tack, arguing the edge in terms of qualifications and competence.
In 2009, the "competence" message was repeated ad nauseum by Camarrano's supporters in the print and online media- such as in this July 7, 2009 endorsement letter in The Hoboken Reporter for the ex-mayor turned felon (excerpt)
A vote for competent, thoughtful leadership 
More than ever we need competent and thoughtful leadership. That’s why I’ll be voting for Vinny Addeo, Raul Morales II and Peter Cammarano. 
Thank you, 
Lane Bajardi
Who else chimed in, calling Camarrano "more professional"?

"After serving the past two years on the City Council with both Peter Cammarano and Dawn Zimmer, it's very clear to me that Peter is far more qualified, more professional and much better prepared to be our next mayor," said Ramos. "I am very proud to endorse Peter and I will be working very hard to help him win this election."
Ladies, what did YOU think of that "more professional" crack?

Well, that was 2009.

And arguably, one could say that the 'competence' criticism- though offensive and obnoxious to  working women and stay-at-home moms- was against a candidate without a record as a political Chief Executive.

That's not true now.

Camarrano's 10/28/10 R-1 ELEC

So in 2013, the SAME strategy is being rolled out against a candidate with an EXTENSIVE record, but instead of criticizing specific decisions she has made as a Chief Executive of Hoboken, she is being DISMISSED as "incompetent".

Ladies, there is no way in hell that she is NOT being disrespected for what she is (just a 'woman'), rather than what she's done.

Like her or not, the complete disrespect shown for what she's done for our City: worked 24/7 through and after Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy, cut municipal taxes about 10% in 2011 and just announced a 2% municipal tax cut despite the 2012 hurricane disaster, beseeched a U.S. Senate committee to change the insurance industry definition of 'basement' as it pertains to garden level dwellings, helped save our citys hospital from closing- and selling an asset which loses money is an incredible accomplishent...  to dismiss ALL of this, like Tim Occhipinti did in his insulting Op-Ed: You can't trust ZImmer to fix a pothole" with his statement:
If Mayor Zimmer cannot get the simplest and most fundamental of services done, how can we have faith in her ability to run a city full of complex issues which need to be dealt with?
... it shows GA that the Boys-club can't summon ONE word of acknowledgement for the mayor's hard work, ONE success she's had, ONE way she's helped this city... they just CAN'T.    Nope, the 'little lady" is incompetent.  Running Hoboken is simply too "complex".

For a woman.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Blowing Up Zimmer's House

Tim Occhipinti's churning out press releases, petitions and Op Eds with the frequency one with Montezuma's Revenge runs to the loo.

 Ready for this: Timmy's got a spokesman.

And his people are feeding "dirty truth" and "inside scoop" to's 'Back Room' column; a strategy designed to generate buzz for a candidate.

 Either Ruben's people forgot to dish to 'Back Room' or he doesn't have 'people'. 

Instead, Ramos got an actual article in PolitickerNJ when he announced on February 21, 2013.

So Timmy will get one too, when he announces.  And he will.

At which time Tim's political consultant Whitehorse Strategies will be in overdrive churning out words like "incompetent", "incapable",  and questioning Zimmer's "ability to run a city full of complex issues" Yup, GA's anticipating Timmy's Whitehorse will gallop the most misogynistic campaign in Hoboken history, until he ends up here:

Tim said this stuff about our Lady-Mayor in his Op Ed

Because all of those attacks on "competence"and questioning her ability to handle "complexity" are male code words for 'dumb broad.'

Oh yeah, ladies.  We know what Tim means.

Well, for this strategy to work, he's got to sell Zimmer's "incompetence" to the public.  He's got to turn the public against her.  How?

Here's how: Timmy & Co. blow up her house- with all of us inside.  Then blame the wreckage and human casualties on her- not the ones who lit the dynamite.

And that's what happened at the City Council last night.  Because you can't run a campaign alleging the mayor is incompetent when she's NOT, so you have to blow up her house, before you can accuse her of wrecking it.

Example: you have to kill bonding for the Zimmer proposal to repave Washington Street and parts of Observer Highway before you can have Whitehorse Strategies write your Op-Ed called, "You can't trust Zimmer to fill a pothole"...  then imply our female mayor is not up to running a city "full of complex issues."

The thought of Timmy running a city "full of complex issues" terrifies  me.  What about you?

And so, in attacking Zimmer's budget and the ability of the city to bond, these selfish, bitter clowns try to make Hoboken as chaotic as possible so we will buy Timmy's  "incompetence" pitch (yes, he's running).

Of course, none of this works if Jim Doyle gets seated.  So  expect Beth Mason to fight his appointment to the NJ Supreme Court.