Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dark Horse in the Lead?


Is it true?

The latest scuttlebutt GA's heard from a few different places is this: Union City Mayor Brian Stack is seriously considering  Frank Raia for that coveted Assembly slot on his ticket!  Yep, Farmer Frank.

Wow. GA's calling him the Dark Horse candidate,  but what do I know?

According to Al Sullivan there are four contenders for Stack's ticket: Beth Mason, Ravi Bhalla, Michael Russo and Frank Raia.  Now, I never took Mason seriously-  but a Dark Side source thought her ability to write a million-dollar check would rule the day.  GA hears that is not happening, that Mason is OUT.

But Pupie?  He wants out of Hoboken?  He's congenial enough for sure, and got all his marbles- unlike Mason.  But what does he bring to the ticket?   He's never been a huge vote-getter. 

Bhalla comes with a large voting base in and outside of Hoboken.  He brings diversity to the ticket, and proven fundraising ability to offset Frank's deep pockets.

Well, who knows.  I am not sure how Mike Russo got on Sullivan's list. Why would Stack pick him?

Hoboken High Mag Scores 'EXCELLENT' National Ranking

Order a copy: Sharon.malenda@hoboken.k12.nj.us

How about them apples?

Hoboken High School's literary magazine snags a prestigious 'excellent' ranking from the National Council of Teachers of English- in it's first year of publication.

From Hoboken Redwings' blog on Patch:
Under the tutelage of advisor Sharon Malenda, Hoboken’s Student Literary Magazine “CREATE” received a national rank of “EXCELLENT” from the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English).  

417 schools nationwide entered this prestigious competition and out of those 417 schools only 227 were good enough to be ranked. Hoboken’s magazine faired very well nationwide, with only 159 schools earning a higher ranking of “SUPERIOR” and did even better in New Jersey, where only 22 schools ranked higher.  Falling slightly below mainly large regional New Jersey high schools and private schools, Hoboken’s magazine “CREATE” showcased the immense talent that our small school holds.
GA is not as surprised as you may be, given the intensely negative portrayal of Hoboken public schools by politicos and propagandists working against public school Reform (Kids First and Superintendent Toback).  But I know Hoboken's best kept secret: our public schools have excellent resources, fabulous teachers and will continue to improve as MORE Hoboken residents USE them. 

How do I know this?  GA is a public school parent.

My kid is bright (brag brag brag) and doing 7th grade math in Johns Hopkins Gifted and Talented Program (only available in public (Hoboken district) schools).  Her terrific teacher has the 5th-graders doing PowerPoint presentations for every project along with the written/ visual components.

Here are a few of the 15 slides from LA's first PowerPoint- every child picked a different National Park, contacted their respective Park rangers for information (maps, guides, etc.) then each did presentation boards along with a PowerPoint presentation to the class using a Smart-board.


A holiday-time project had the kids doing Excel spreadsheets with an $800 budget for holiday gifts- likewise presented in PowerPoint to the class.  They did Power-points on Hurricane Sandy, and  are currently working on science projects with PowerPoint.  All of their projects have a data-component, and GA can tell you our public schools classrooms are equipped with the latest hardware (PCs and Smart-boards) and software (more current than mine), and are preparing our kids for a competitive data-driven world.

Here's something interesting.  A friend in real estate tells me that Hoboken is experiencing a new trend- families are staying.  He tells me that larger condo units are being gobbled up everywhere, including those in the areas that flood most- and that combining units for a large, 'family-friendly' space is happening more frequently than ever. 

Which means that people WANT a public school option. 

GA is telling those folks who love Hoboken enough to raise a family here to support our public schools by USING them, and you'll discover our dedicated, talented group of educators are the best kept secret in Hoboken.
 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Stack to Host Governor Christie


Look at that!  Adorning the top of Union City's web site, this giant banner announcing Governor Christie's "Special Guest" appearance at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Union City next Thursday.

Surprised?  Union City Mayor Brian Stack is a loyal Democrat, after all.

Like Hoboken's mayor, Stack is unafraid to reach across Party lines because a good relationship with New Jersey's most powerful politician benefits Union City. 

Mayor Stack's invitation
It's a sign of strength not weakness, to embrace those across the partisan divide when a good working relationship accomplishes more than scoring points with Party hacks ever will.  And Stack's Union City constituents have been the beneficiary of the mayor's 'friendship' w the Big Guy.  Hacks can spin it however they want.  Spin THIS: 

Stack said he believes Christie is doing the right things to tackle the high cost of local government and keep property taxes down.
Union City received an extra $13 million in extra funding to help with this year’s $103 million budget, along with special authorization to use some of that money to offset local property taxes.

That's not selling out, that's governing.

In turn, Christie is acknowledged as a partner in the positive developments in Union City. Stack's invitation reads:
Governor Christie was instrumental in the construction of this new school and we look forward to his presence.
Mayor Zimmer understands this.  So does Christie.

Hugging Obama.

Remember, Zimmer hosted the roll-out of the Governor's tool kit' in 2010 and they have had a good relationship since.  And nobody blinked when  Republican Governor Christie showed up with $5 million dollar of state money to keep our hospital open after  Beth Mason, Mike Russo, Timmy Occhipinti and Terry Castellano  voted NO on critical emergency funding.   Without Christie's intervention, the hospital would have shut it's doors to devastating consequences: our buyer would have bailed throwing 1,200 people out of work,  the defaulting of the City's $52 million bond( to be fully repaid in ONE tax cycle), taxes would have doubled or tripled,  Hoboken's credit rating would have tanked, thus it's ability to fund future operations and infrastructure needs, City workers would be laid off.

So, bipartisanship is not such a bad thing.

Beth Mason, who now wants a slot on Stack's ticket doesn't know what that means.

When Christie showed up in 2010, Councilwoman Mason SAT IN  THE AUDIENCE- NOT ON STAGE with other City Council members: Ravi Bhalla, Carol Marsh, Peter Cunningham and David Mello.   That's right.  Mason refused to sit on the same stage with Christie.. Instead, she sat with the public,a public telegraphing of disdain and disrespect for the New Jersey Governor. That overt lack of decorum was just her first "F*CK YOU" to Christie.  Next she stood up questioned him in a confrontational matter which caused Christie to correct her forcefully. F*CK YOU number 2.

"F-U" Number 3 was Perry Klaussen of Hoboken411 photographing the event, which was turned into this:

Beth Mason's attack ad campaign linking Zimmer to Christie- click HERE for Mason Ad

And Mason-tabloid Hoboken411 shows contempt for the Governor every time he comes to Hoboken or shows an interest in our City. 

 http://cdn.hoboken411.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/NJ-Governor-Chris-Christie-visits-Hoboken-Elysian-Charter-School-September-30-2010.jpg

The bottom line is, will Stack pick a running mate for Assembly who respects bipartisan cooperation, who has behaved with decorum in the presence of our Governor and appreciates his help, and who can work with those on the other side of the fence?

That's Ravi Bhalla.

Or will he pick a woman who tries to destroy and defame her political opponents with frivolous lawsuits and smears in the media,  who cannot work with them, whose attack-politics have alienated a plurality of Hoboken voters in a few short years- and who has publicly insulted Christie on his visits to Hoboken and on cable TV?

That's Beth Mason.

Who knows. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ramos vs. Timmy


Folks, GA believes the scuttlebutt on MSV's Grist for the Mill; that there is a Cold War of sorts between the Old Guard's presumptive mayoral nominee, Ruben Ramos and that ambitious Dark Sider, Tim Occhipinti.

According to MSV, Ruben Ramos appears to have already lined up his at-large slate, and the tension between him and Tim at a recent Carpe Diem mixer was palpable. 
According to witnesses on the scene, the two had nary a word for the other.  "They don't talk, they hate each other," one source said matter of fact.  "There's bad blood there," adding it wasn't clear when the falling out took place. 
GA can tell you, Timmy may run.

How do I know?  Because one is more likely to find him at Mensa than the BoE.   But there he was, last Tuesday-at a School Board meeting with parents in tow.  And there's a pic he posted on Facebook captioned "Parent teacher conference at Cucharamama!"

Personally, I hope Timmy gets the nomination.  

No offense to Ruben, but there just aren't as many comic possibilities with him- not compared to the Occhipinti Goldmine.  Ruben has actual accomplishments, Tim has Facebook.  Ruben comports himself with decorum, Tim needs a binky and a mouthful of Xanax to keep him from spitting out non sequiters, shifting around and mumbling under his breath at the City Council.   And texting? Ruben's on a Blackberry, Timmy's got Fischer-Price. 

 Let's face it, Timmy's the better candidate. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Stack to Pick Christie-Antagonizer Mason?


Councilwoman Beth Mason antagonizes Governor Christie on his first visit to Hoboken- May 17, 2010

Here's what a friend on the Dark Side told me this weekend: "Russo won't get it.  Mason will."

We were discussing this from Al Sullivan's column: 
"...Stack also has his eye on Lopez as a possible running mate for one of the two Assembly slots. The other slot would go to one of four possible people in Hoboken, Councilwoman Beth Mason, Councilman Ravi Bhalla, Councilman Michael Russo, or former school board President Frank Raia."
This friend knows Hudson County politics and players. So I had to ask, "What about all the crazy stuff: the law suits, the Nazi Truck...?"

He said, "Stack needs the money."

If that's so, I'm pretty sure Ravi can raise cash like gangbusters; last month he raised $40K in one night at a fundraiser with Newark Mayor Cory Booker. 
At a Dec. 17 fundraiser with Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Hoboken Councilman Ravi Bhalla raised $40,000 toward his Assembly campaign account.  Not a declared candidate at this time, Bhalla said he wants to try to raise $200,000 by the spring and has upcoming California and Manhattan fundraising trips on his schedule.

"We're plugging away," said Bhalla. "One thing about running at that level is that it's earned, not given. I am building a strong fundraising base."
But he brings a lot more with him than fundraising ability.

Bhalla brings ethnic diversity to a ticket representing one of New Jersey's most ethnically diverse populations, District 33.  According to 2010 Census data, Jersey City is 19.4% Asian (46,168)- all of Hudson County is 11.45% Asian.  Bhalla is a rock-star in the Sikh community, and has been a vocal advocate for the Asian community, even crossing party lines to chide establishment Dems in Trenton for not supporting a Japanese-American Supreme Court pick by Governor Christie.
Pursuing an Assembly seat on the LD 33 Stack ticket, Hoboken Councilman Ravi Bhalla bashed establishment Democrats today in a series of tweets targeting the majority party’s treatment of Asian-American minorities.

“If diversity matters, NJ Senate Dems need to cross party lines & support Judge Bauman’s nomination. NJ Asian voters are watching closely,” tweeted Bhalla.


He also offered the following: “NJ Dem Party claims to be party of diversity, but does it include Asians? Are we included? Actions speak louder than words.”


While defending the need for Christie’s nominee to get a fair hearing, Bhalla made it clear he doesn’t intend to change parties. “I’m proud to be a Democrat,” he said. “I am a loyal Democrat. Changing parties is not going to happen, but I’m not a party hack either. You can’t claim to be party of diversity and shut out a minority.”
Like Mayor Zimmer, Bhalla is a Democrat who can work effectively for Hoboken with Republican Governor Christie.  Certainly Hoboken has been the beneficiary of the Mayor's good relationship with the Big Guy.

Mason, on the other hand, has attacked Governor Christie any number of times online and in cable tv ad campaigns, bashing the Governor and linking him to the Mayor- as in the ad campaign Mason launched to attack the Governor's support of our hospital sale.  One ad claimed: "Governor Christie and Mayor Zimmer want to give an out-of-state developer a $155 million dollar parking subsidy"



Here is what Beth Mason told Hoboken411 after Christie stepped in with $5 million dollars of emergency state funding to save Hoboken's only hospital from shutting down operations:

 “Last night four members of the Hoboken City Council took steps to protect the long term viability of Hoboken University Medical Center by asking the Hospital Authority to impose a deed restriction in the sale contract. Furthermore, we asked for transparency in this extremely troubling and secretive process by calling on the Mayor and Hospital Authority board members to release their depositions. Now the Governor wants to support a backroom deal to sell the hospital to one of his biggest campaign contributors for pennies on the dollar. If the Governor wants to reward a campaign contributor he should pay for it, not the taxpayers of Hoboken. Clearly Mayor Zimmer just received a big payback for her early endorsement of the Governor Christie’s re-election.”

Wow.  In fact, relations between Governor Christie and Beth Mason are so bad, that when Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno came to Hoboken to swear in newly elected City Council members on July 1, 2011, guess WHO Guadagno wouldn't swear in?

ALL 4 anti-Zimmer City Council minority members, including Beth Mason.  

Guadagno's body language is telling.   The Lieutenant Governor traveled all the way from Trenton to swear in  Reformers Jen Giattino and Peter Cunningham,  both Zimmer-allies.

Body language.
GA thinks this may be another factor in Stack's consideration.

Would Stack partner with someone who has publicly attacked the Governor and run a media campaign against him?  Especially when Stack has been a friend to the Governor and supported some of his agenda. According to the Wall Street Journal:

Stack said he believes Christie is doing the right things to tackle the high cost of local government and keep property taxes down.

That's not what Beth Mason thinks...

One of Mason tabloid Hoboken411.com's many attacks on Governor Christie

Will Stack choose a sworn enemy of Governor Christie who has made herself a pariah in Hoboken  politics or someone who can work with everyone, offers diversity, and has proven his fundraising ability?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Did the Hoboken Reporter Pull the 'Tim' Letter?

Why all the blank space on The Hoboken Reporter's Letter's page?
Did you notice something strange on the Letters page at the back of The Hoboken Reporter? There were only 3 letters above an over-sized note from the paper which begins:
"The Hoboken Reporter gets lots of letters."
That's true. It sometimes takes a week or two before a submission gets to print because of the HR's volume of reader mail.

So why the sea of non-used space on the normally-crowded Letters page?  I was wondering about that when this letter came in from a reader:
Notice anything strange about the HR letters page?

They seem to have made a last minute decision to pull an approved "fact checked" letter and fill the space with filler - the bizarre insertion of the HR letter policy taking up approximately the same amount of space as Tim's op ed piece and leaving the whole page really formatted.

Think maybe they had accepted Timmy's letter without any of the fact checking they apply to others, and were going to print it obvious untruths and all,  but pulled it at the last minute (that would be Friday too late to replace it with another letter) because it had been exposed as false prior to publication by the blogs?

Look at all the empty space on the page even with the filler.  This was badly done last minute damage control by people with the design skills of a toddler who didn't have time to come up with a better designed fix.    This was literally done 1/2 an hour before their publication deadline in a panic.

The question is rhetorical - it's pretty obvious that's what happened here.  Pretty funny!
Well, GA doesn't have a crystal ball, but I think this reader is onto something.

Why the huge holes in the Letters page?   It seems fairly obvious that the media 'roll-out' of Timmy's letter would have included publication in the Hoboken Reporter. 

It makes sense that the HR pulled the plug on Tim's extraordinarily truth-challenged letter after it was thoroughly debunked on the blogs and its authorship called into question.

Timmy claims to have authored the piece, but according to sources the culprit is WhiteHorse Strategies, a political consulting firm.  Really, would a guy who can barely enunciate a 3-syllable word have Fiorello LaGuardia quotes in his quiver?  Which means the letter was the work of a paid political consultant, disingenuously accepted by the Jersey Journal as Tim Occhipinti's.  By doing so, the JJ has made itself part of the Occhipinti political machine.

GA noted there was no 'Paid for by..." language.  If  Occhipinti did not pay WhiteHorse Strategies for the letter then it was an in-kind donation. So we all will be looking for that on a future Occhipinti ELEC...

Why else might the HR have pulled the 'Timmy' letter?

Well, the author (allegedly WhiteHorse Strategies) lied like a rug about the Mayor and about Timmy.

It accused her of inaction ("Zimmer can't be trusted to fix a pothole") and incompetence.  It falsely claimed that she did no street repairs in 2012.  The truth is, she did- repaved River Street- and could have done MORE but not for the obstruction of Tim Occhipinti and the other 3 Council minority members: Mason, Russo and Castellano.  All FOUR voted 'NO' on a bond ordinance to repave Washington Street, parts of Sinatra Drive, Observer highway and Newark Street.

And Timmy has the BALLS to LIE like that about the Mayor, hurl insults at her when HE has obstructed her efforts to repave Hoboken's busiest roads.  

The letter is an amateurish work; brazenly dishonest and strident in tone, guaranteed to land with a thud. Another shot in the foot.  How many has Timmy got left?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Timmy Embarrasses the Jersey Journal

This is not a Photoshop

Folks, the funniest thing going online now is the growing thread of comments below a letter purported to be written by Councilman Tim Occhipinti in yesterday's Jersey Journal: Op-Ed: Can't trust Zimmer to fix a pothole. 

A sample laugh line from 'Tim's' letter:
"...here in Hoboken we are once again dealing with Mayor Dawn Zimmer's incompetence -- this time causing not a single road to be repaved in 2012."
Strange, the Jersey Journal has written numerous articles about 2012's  River Street repaving project  and 2012's $1.1 million bond ordinance to repave Washington, Sinatra Drive, Observer Highway and Newark Streets that Tim KILLED with a 'NO' vote.  All  recent enough to still be fresh in the public's collective memory, hence the drubbing poor Tim is receiving below 'his' Op-ed.

So how does a 'letter' this riddled with bullshit end up in print in the Jersey Journal?

Further, a source has confirmed that 'Tim's' letter was written by the political consulting firm Whitehorse Strategies.  Which backs up the anonymous self-titled 'mole', JournalMole, who posted this on MSV yesterday:
As a mole inside the Jersey Journal...we got it from Whitehorse Strategies.
We didn't fact check it because our editor is buddies with Josh Hennie
This is a true story
Does WhiteHorse Strategies write letters for free?  Where is the 'Paid for by..." verbiage on the Op-ed letter?  Since when does the Jersey Journal post political consultant's campaign literature (and make no mistake, this letter is all about promoting Occhipinti in his next electoral endeavor) without attribution from the entity who PAID for it?

Well, the Jersey Journal has shown signs of embarrassment with this Editorial 'Update' to Timmy's Op-Ed:
 Update: The Journal established that a section of River Street was paved in 2012 using 2011 funds earmarked for the project. The city spokesman said it was not his responsibility to inform the newspaper whether any streets were paved last year.
I think they've got a lot more 'splainin to do. 

In the meantime, Timmy who doesn't take a dump without bragging about it on Facebook, sent out an email blast yesterday which was forwarded to me:
Subject: OP-ED: CAN'T TRUST ZIMMER TO FIX A POTHOLE 
Date: 1/24/13 1:45:40 PM 
From: "Councilman Tim Occhipinti" 

Friends and Neighbors, I just wanted to share an op-ed I wrote that ran in today's Jersey Journal on how the Mayor Zimmer dropped the ball and failed to repave Hoboken's roads last year. This is just the latest example of the Zimmer Administration's incompetence and inability to get things done for our city . http://www.nj.com/hudson/voices/index.ssf/2013/01/op-ed_cant_trust_zimmer_to_fix.html Please let me know what you think. And stay warm out there today! - Tim   

"I just wanted to share an op-ed I wrote..."

You mean, the one your political consultant wrote, and that your accomplice in the fraud, the Jersey Journal published with your name below and NO "Paid for..." verbiage. 

So, WHO paid for the letter?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Timmy's Letter to the Jersey Journal






Tim HOPs Past the Truth



Yesterday GA reported that Timmy attended the BoE meeting to grandstand about lack of transportation for displaced Connors students to their temporary classrooms at Brandt.

To which a GA reader responded:

If he had voted for new HOP buses the Connors parents could use them.... guess he forgot.

Oh, you typed a mouthful, dear reader.

The Red and Green HOP Lines
The HOP is cheap, frequent and convenient: 'hop' on, 'hop' off wherever you need to go along it's routes.  The Red and Green lines criss-cross the Mile Square grid.  Until the Connors classrooms are repaired from the flood damage, the HOP bus would be an ideal mode of transportation for parents and their children to the Brandt school- especially in inclement weather.

Please note the HOP's Blue Line is out of service until further notice.  Perhaps we can thank Timmy and Russo, Mason and Castellano who ALL voted against funding for 5 new HOP buses last June.

That's right, Rubber-Stamp Tim killed HOP funding with his 'NO' vote- leaving elderly users and Connors students stranded without new buses to supplement the aging fleet.  Imagine, Tuesday night Tim  had the NERVE to come to the BoE with an outstretched hand, wanting the Hoboken School District to finance new  busing when we already have a city-wide bus system (the HOP) which he has starved for funds!

Starve it he did.  From Patch on June 21, 2012:
The city of Hoboken will not see new Hop buses any time soon, after a bond ordinance failed on Wednesday night during the council meeting. 

A bond ordinance for a total of almost $500,000 to pay for five new buses as well as a bucket truck needed six votes to pass. Five council members—the majority—voted yes, but the four minority council members didn't approve the bond.
Folks, it gets worse.  Sandy wiped  out TWO HOP buses and a Parks and Recreation van. Now the aging fleet of HOP buses had just lost two of its buses... and many many residents in Hoboken had lost cars, and turned to public transportation such as the HOP to get around Hoboken. 

One of the Connors parents at the School Board meting, former mayoral candidate Nathan Brinkman, spoke about how it takes him 2 1/2 hours to bring his child to Brandt because he had lost his car in the flood. The HOP is a viable transportation alternative for these parents- yet Tim STOPPED the purchase of 5 new buses and then... he's what Occhipinti SAID to Patch one month ago on December 21, 2012:
The City Council approved $2.5 million in emergency appropriations on Wednesday, to help pay for Sandy damage around town.

The emergency funds were supposed to pay for two  new hop buses — both would cost between $90,000 and $100,000 — which Occhipinti said was too much money.

"We lost two hop buses in the storm, as well as the parks and recreation van. We come to you now for the hop buses," said Business Administator Quentin Wiest.

"This thing must be a super bus," he said. Occhipinti continued that, while the Jersey coastline suffered heavy structural damage, "we had some real terrible devastation ourselves, but not the structural damage of a town washed away."

"Speak for yourself," Councilwoman Jennifer Giattino shot back.

Ultimately, the emergency funds passed, after the resolution was amended to take out $100,000. The city will be able to buy one new Hop bus with that money, rather than two.
Isn't that unbelievable? Timmy nickeled and dimed the city out of one replacement HOP bus after Hurricane Sandy. 

And adding insult to injury, tells us we didn't get "structural damage of a town washed away."


The HOP funding was revisited by the City Council AFTER Hurricane Sandy to HELP the many, those who lost LOST CARS.

What did Timmy do?

He lamented about the "structural damage" to the Jersey Shore and killed funding for Hoboken's HOP.

Hey Timmy, whatever happened to the 27 pallets of 'Train of Hope' donations from Louisiana that you picked up on November 10, 2012 at Newark Station and drove (with Beth Mason) on a ONE-WAY TRIP to Bayonne?

DId they fall in one of those Giant Zimmer-potholes?


Imagine, Occhipinti can't even distribute 5 tons of goods destined for Hoboken in Hoboken and he calls the mayor "incompetent"?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

BoE Visitor

Packing peanuts?

So, GA hears that last night's BoE meeting was uneventful- which in Hoboken terms means: no Nazi Trucks, no Mason videographers, no tough guys lining the back of the room or speakers demanding to be arrested when asked to leave the podium after their allotted 5 minutes are up.

Uneventful is good.  That's the way we (Reform) roll.  A bunch of rule-obeyers and fuddy-duddies.

Booooooring.

Of course, in Hoboken it is nearly impossible to get through a public meeting without one attempted hot-gas explosion. Last night was no exception.

The star of this ill-fated performance (in Latin: grandstandus interruptus, gas-bagium abortus, photo-opus Facebookus): Tim Occhipinti. 

Yep, Timmy was on deck, camera-ready, to harangue the Superintendent and School Board.  About what, you ask?

It appears Tim was there to speak about  a valid concern for many parents: busing for students displaced by the flood.   What's wrong with that?  Nothing, except GA heard some buzz that Timmy had already met with  the Administration (off-camera) at which time he must have been apprised of the issues the district and taxpayers face if we bus.

The Hoboken school district is categorized 'non-busing' because no child has a 2-mile or greater commute to his/her (public) school.

The issue's been raised because of hurricane Sandy; the storm destroyed classrooms in Connors and children were relocated to Brandt for the duration of repairs.  That's a long walk.  GA sympathizes with all who have to schlep so far now to bring their little ones to school.  It's yet another way the hurricane has disrupted the lives of Hoboken residents. Other ways include the destruction of businesses, public and private property. Now for some, it's transportation to school- time or money spent (hiring someone to bring your child, taking public transportation or car service).
 
GA hopes a legal or creative solution can be found for the displaced Connors kids; I am guessing there is, and it will take earnest effort to find. Thank goodness  pre-k is free in Hoboken.  Unlike most other cities.

As for busing, the problem we face with changing our 'non-busing' designation is once the district does for some, they are required to do it for all.  All means all children attending public, charter, and private schools... no matter where the child attends school: Hoboken, Jersey City, Manhattan, Brooklyn, etc.  And, if we don't provide that child with busing, we are required to pay them a stipend for transportation- the cost I heard was $884 per child.

Who is going to pay for it?  Of course, busing would be a convenience for Hoboken parents- including me. 

So, if Timmy wanted to dive into this issue by all means, he should have shown up armed with ideas, not argument.  One can assume he came to blame.   Busing was not on the agenda, so unless Tim was allowed to speak first, he would have to wait until the end of a 54-page agenda.  GA hears Timmy  tried to speak first but was denied.  So he left the meeting at about 8 pm when the Board went into Executive Session.  Enough said?



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

One Eye, the Sequel

Eeeeeeeeeew (not my eye, btw)
Starring in One Eye, the Sequel is GA, who slept in her contact lenses last Friday and woke up a Cyclops.  Not as exciting a tale as my super-sleuth, One Eye, who lost his on a rhinoceros horn in Africa (and not as permanent).

But the left lens overstayed its welcome in my left eye, and infected my cornea.... which is quite painful, think hot-poker jabbing your eye or washing your eye in gravel.  Anyway, it's my fault and a cautionary tale to contact-lens wearers out there.

Why am I telling you this? Because GA is going to refrain from blogging today.  Stay warm!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Jon Regen's Revolution

Have a listen to my Cousin Jon's new video, the title track of his latest album, "Revolution".

His sound is a kind-of retro pop, with a bit of jazz... after years of playing pure jazz.  GA has fond memories of herding friends after work to the Blue Note to see him on Tuesdays... well, he's not so little anymore.



Mark Beech of Bloomberg called John's album "Revolution" one of "the best of 2011"- here's his review:
Sting, Joel Face Rival as Jon Regen Gets Revolution
By Mark Beech - Apr 30, 2012 7:00 PM ET

Jon Regen was in the shower at his New York home when the idea came to him for a new song

I heard the phrase, ‘there’s a revolution inside my heart’ in my head,” he recalls. “I ran out of my shower, almost slipped across my floor and sat down at my piano.”

In minutes he had a lyric and melody for the title track of “Revolution,” a fine album that features Andy Summers of the Police and bears comparison with recordings by Bruce Hornsby, Billy Joel, Harry Connick Jr., John Legend and Leonard Cohen. Regen, who plays in London tomorrow as part of a tour to promote the disc, finished the composition by turning away from his normal Steinway.

He used a retro drumbeat supplied by a $35 1981 Casio keyboard he’d bought at a thrift store. “My girlfriend at the time said, ‘what are you going to do with that? You’re a jazz piano player.’”

Indeed, Regen has moved into singer-songwriting territory from pure jazz, where he accumulated serious credentials. He was raised in Maplewood, New Jersey, performed his first gig at the age of 16 in an Irish pub and later worked with Kenny Barron, Jimmy Scott and Kyle Eastwood.

His jazz LP “From Left to Right” came out in 1996. Shortly after, Summers was impressed when he heard Regen improvising at a festival. “He said, ‘that sounds really nice,’” Regen says. “For me, it was one of the biggest validations of my career.”  The two became friends: Summer’s distinctive guitar graces “Spirits of the Soul,” a track as good as some crafted by his Police mate Sting. The song was co-authored with U.K. soulster David McAlmont; Regen has also written with Matchbox Twenty’s Rob Thomas. Regen’s name also attracted appearances from Martha Wainwright, and members of Tom Petty and Bonnie Raitt’s bands.

Regen financed recording on his credit card -- he jokes he’s still paying it off -- and handled his own publicity. “The story is,” he says, “how does a guy that nobody knows make a record like this?”

Regen’s CDs stood out in my review pile because they came from the artist himself, and also because they were better than most of the others, which tend to be mediocre copycats swimming in record-company hype. Bigger record companies and concert halls beckon, while Regen, a youthful 41-year-old with cropped black hair and wearing a T-shirt, says he wants to push himself beyond his comfort zone.

 “Whether it’s a new instrument or a new piece of literature,” he says, “something to take you off the path you’ve always been on.”

Revolution” and “Let It Go” are on CD Baby records priced about $14. For more information: http://www.jonregen.com, http://www.pizzaexpresslive.co.uk/popVenue.aspx

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Snail Mail Tale

Councilwoman Beth Mason's letter with her set of 'facts' on the Doyle lawsuit

GA has received several scanned copies of Councilwoman Beth Mason's 'snail mail' letter which went out city-wide a few days ago.  You may have gotten one or read a copy yourself.

I don't know what you thought of it.

Here's the story it told me.  I call it A Snail Mail Tale:


 Once upon a time... 
a Lady of Privilege who lived in a castle was driven mad by her fruitless quest for the kingdom's crown.   The Lady's hatred for the Modest Woman who wore the crown consumed the decency she once possessed, and so she became Strange; without compassion for the people who had once admired her.

Unbeknownst to the people, the Lady had turned to a Dark Lord whose family once reigned over the land in The Time of Looting and Pillaging.  She asked the Dark Lord to support her quest for the crown; in exchange, he would pick 3 of her royal consorts.  The Dark Lord consented,  thus the Lady  forged an alliance with him (according to the Dark Lord on F.B.I. surveillance tape).

Feeling betrayed by the Lady's behavior, the People turned to the Modest Woman, who showed compassion and interest in their problems.  So they rewarded  the Woman with the crown and she wore it with Grace.

That enraged the Lady.

To sate her thirst for revenge she gathered a band of misfits and misanthropes: a fish, a wrestler, a bar keep, a pair of lunatics, father and son paparazzi, to attack the Modest Woman, her administration and her most outspoken supporters.

And so they did.   The Lady's henchman showed up at the City Council, HHA and ZBA, to bully and bellow and film.  They tormented Sir Ian of Sacs.  They demanded the emails of Knights Juan and Dan after an associate of the Dark Lord had 'allegedly' hacked them.  Familiar voices posted anonymous internet attacks.  One bullied a mom in the presence of her 5 year-old child and cursed an elected official at an HHA meeting.  Others orchestrated a Nazi Truck.

Did this win the respect of the People?   No. 

Repulsed by the Lady's vindictive, distasteful and mean-spirited bullying (via her naughty knaves)  and her Nazi Truck, she lost an election (saving the schools from a return to Looting and Pillaging).

Now the Lady was furious, and wanted to wreak vengeance upon the People.

Here is how she did it: when it came time to vote to fill a vacant Council seat, the Lady was absent. (She claimed to be in Italy, but witnesses said otherwise)   Sir Jim of Doyle was nominated.  The vote was 4 (yes)- 2 (no)- 1(abstained), causing the Modest Woman to step up and cast a 5th vote.

What did the vexed Lady do?

She filed a lawsuit against Sir Jim of Doyle!  Without regard for the People's money!

Defending the ousted Sir Jim of Doyle was a costly matter.   The Lady's lawsuit siphoned cash from the Kingdom's coffers.  Worse: ousting Sir Jim paralyzed the Kingdom's legislative body.

Then what happened?

A terrible hurricane named Sandy ravaged the land, flooding homes, destroying public and private property.    The Modest Woman responded magnificently to help the People, yet the legislative body was paralyzed without Sir Jim.   And so the People cried "Stop the madness!  Stop the lawsuit!  Allow Sir Jim of Doyle to be voted upon so that government may work for us in this time of emergency and recovery!"   

Out of hatred for the Modest Woman (now more beloved than ever), the heartless Lady ignored their cries and raisied money for other kingdoms and a 527 political committee.   Word quickly spread of the Lady's Nazi trucks and lawsuits.  No one RSVPed to her fundraiser so busloads of old folks were lured to fill empty chairs with the offer of a freebie meal.

And Sir Jim?  A Judge stopped him from serving while inviting the Kingdom to petition the court to FORCE the obstructionists to attend a vote.  And it came to pass.  An appeal failed.  The knaves were forced to attend a vote on the Council vacancy this week.  And the words of Sir Philip of Cohen resonated with the People:
It’s simply amazing, and incredibly disappointing, that it took Judge Bariso in December, and then the New Jersey Appellate Division last Friday, to force four of our council people to show up and vote at one time on whether to appoint Jim Doyle to the City Council, given the real work  we face in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation.  But I thank Judge Bariso for being the “adult in the room” and telling our council people “to go to work”, “do your job” and stop the nonsense.

Cast an honest vote.  Vote yes or no.
Stop wasting the People’s money. 
And the vote?  It was 4 (yes)- 2 (no) -2 (abstained).   Hoorah! Sir Jim WON!   He will be sworn in pending judicial review.

As for the Lady, aware she had earned the scorn of the People, filled their mailboxes with a snail mail so riddled with bullshit that scans quickly filled the Inbox of Lady G of A.  And that's the Snail Mail Tale.

The End

 Quite a tale, no?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Marking Territory

Dunkin Donuts coffee, no donuts.
Yesterday we discovered the shocking amount of money Councilwoman Beth Mason has contributed to numerous politicians at the federal, state and local levels (and PACs)- her federal contributions totaled $52,000, and other 'misc.' totaled $74,000.   That's just what we know. 

Look, everyone knows that cash is the currency of political influence;  politicians need cash and donors are (sometimes) rewarded. The fact that wealthy Democrats would make political donations is no big deal.  What is remarkable here is indiscriminate nature of the Masons' giving; here, there, everywhere-  like how a cat (or dog) marks it's territory, spraying all over the place. Ever see an animal do that?  Spray their scent everywhere?


That's what Mason does with money; sprays it around to mark her territory.  Indiscriminately.

Or maybe not so indiscriminately- GA reader khoboken noted  Mason sprayed some money on a former Hoboken Municipal Court prosecutor when she ran for Bergen County Freeholder.  Hmmm...

Who else is she spraying?  Hard to tell, when contributions are being made from opaque entities like "Friends of Beth Mason." 

GA was just called by the husband of the former "Friends of Beth Mason" Treasurer, Ines Keim.  Mr. Keim explained that "Friends of Beth Mason" was not a PAC, it was an "Ongoing Political Committee" and his wife was no longer involved.  Then he threatened to file an "amicus brief" against me if I didn't make an edit (?) and hung up.  Anyway, I made the edit because it was reasonable, not because of his threat, whatever it was.  So I just called him back as a courtesy to say I'd made the edit and also to ask a question about FOB's ELEC filing. GA never got to the question as Mr. Keim told me how much he dislikes Da Horsey and myself.  Well, the feeling isn't mutual.   

Let the record show that GA was contacted about something on my blog that a political 'opponent' wished removed.  Though our political views and affiliations are different, I listened respectfully, thought about it and honored his request.  How easy was that?  

Sprayed?

Boy, these are strange times in Hoboken. Nazi Trucks, accusations of ethnic bias and threatening elected officials at the HHA, using the courts for power grabs and silencing political critics...

Speaking of that HHA meeting, here is what a political operative with Sumo-like proportions said in the face of a shorter and slighter elected official: "You fucking suck...  you're a fucking asshole..."  Oh, and this political operative is an elected official himself- a Democratic Committeeman.  

Come to think of it, he was in Hoboken Municipal Court a couple of months back represented by the Hoboken Municipal Court prosecutor...



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

MORE Mason Political Contributions- UPDATE

A reader has pointed out the list GA posted of Elizabeth Mason's Individual Contributions only addressed her Federal donations;  this is true.  Also, nearly every donation on that list was matched by her husband- there were 51 listings for the Masons in total.

The actual  amount of money Mason has given to politicians and political committees is mind-boggling.  And we haven't gotten to political contributions made by her PACs- 'Friends of Beth Mason', for example. 

Here's a notorious one from the Occhipinti Purchase in 2010- the $8,200 bonanza from 'Friends of Beth Mason for City Council'. 

2010: 4th Ward Hoboken City Council candidate Tim Occhipinti ELEC

Not only did Elizabeth Mason 'own' that donation, she wrote this to the Hoboken Reporter:
"My family and I were proud to contribute $13,000 of our hard-earned money to Councilman Occhipinti’s campaign..."
(Umm, that was $13,400- not $13,000. The couple donated $2,600 each)
Fast forward to September 2012.  The losing slate of BoE candidates, Move Forward, received a $7,117.05 contribution from 'Friends of Beth Mason":

2012: Hoboken BoE candidates, Move Forward ELEC

Well, all one needs to do to track contributions to and from "Friends of Beth Mason" would be to check their ELECs.   Simple enough-  if they existed.

Unfortunately,  GA hasn't been able to find even one ELEC filing. Nor is it registered on the NJ Department of State  Business Portal.  Maybe you'll have better luck?  With a lamp and a genie.

Anyway, GA thinks it is safe to say that more of the Councilwoman's money is moving around than is documented where  the public can see it.

How is she paying her operatives?   How many of them are there?  Ones that make films for Nazi trucks, ones that harass a School Board Trustee in the presence of her little daughter, ones that plant made-up Nazi stories in the Hoboken Reporter, ones that orchestrate law suits...

Well, here is the note I received from a reader, of even MORE Mason political donations, which begs this question: what is she buying and what are they selling?
Why did you list only federal contributions?

Most of what she’s spread around is in NJ. This is a list of NJ contributions from November 2011:
  • 11/18/2011 Richard Mason $4,000 Gordon Wagner Eustace For NJ 38th legislative District Democrat 
  • 11/9/2011 Elizabeth Mason $2,000 Vainieri Huttle Valerie State Assembly 37th Legislative District Democrat 
  • 11/16/2011 Elizabeth Mason $5000 Hogan John S. County Clerk, Bergen County Democrat ($2400 refunded because over ELEC limit) 
  • 1/26/2012 Friends of Beth Mason for City Council $1,000, Democratic Committee of Bergen County
  •  3/14/2012 Elizabeth Mason $5,000 Union City First 
  • 5/08/2012 Elizabeth Mason $1,000 Sayegh, Andre Paterson CC 
  •  5/09/2012 Friends of Beth Mason for City Council $1,000 Tracy Zur Bergen County Freeholder Dem (primary) 
  •  5/31/2012 Elizabeth Mason $11,000 Bouldin & Zaft, Bergen County Freeholder Dem (primary) – illegal exceeds legal contribution limit by $5,800) 
  •  5/31/2012 Elizabeth Mason $10,000 Passaic County Democratic CMTE 
  • 6/5/2012 Elizabeth Mason $7,500 Passaic County Democratic Cmte 
  • 6/5/2012 Elizabeth Mason $15,000 Passaic County Democratic Cmte 
  •  NJ reported contributions having nothing to do with Hoboken:  $64,500 Of this $43,500 to Bergen and Passaic committees and candidates - were essentially contributions to Pascrall in his primary against Rothman. Note that Bouldin and Zaft were running against Zur so Mason contributed to both sides. Zur was running on Rothman’s line and Bouldin and Zaft on Pascrell’s. The contribution to Zur was probably really to support Zur. contribution to Bouldin and Zaft were probably directed by Pascrell to help get him votes in Bergen. 
  • Contributions to Hoboken Old Guard: 3/23/2011 Elizabeth Mason $2,000 Ruben Ramos 
  • 4/29/2011 Elizabeth Mason $3200 Ruben Ramos ($600 returned 5/6/2011) Despite the refund the contributions are still illegal since they were for same race (2011 primary) and net to $4,600 - $2,000 over the legal individual contribution limit 
  •  10/25/2011 Beth Mason for City Council $5,000 Romano, Anthony – legal because limit for committee is higher. 

(Update- 2:00 PM) 
GA just received a call from John Keim who clarified that 'Friends of Beth Mason' is not a PAC but an "Ongoing Political Committee" and that his wife was the Treasurer and is no longer involved.  He  hung up before I had the opportunity to ask him about the committee.  Not sure why he hung up- I think I was polite.

Before he hung up, Mr. Keim threatened to write an 'amicus brief' (whatever that is) if I didn't edit the above.  Well, for the record GA responded to Mr. Keim's appeal, not his threat.

I am glad he reached out to me to clarify what kind of entity FOB is.  Maybe he can direct me to the ELECs.

Charity Begins at Home


Amidst reports that a known Beth Mason operative was "extremely abusive" to a Hoboken elected official at last week's HHA meeting, two other known Beth Mason operatives showed up with their cameras last night at City Hall and... you guessed it!  Filmed GA for (perhaps) another Nazi Truck production.

Yep, the Brendels were there: Father (Barry) and son (Tim)- both filming this time!

Do they do this for free?  Unlikely.  So, if she spent a couple of bucks to have these schmoes point cameras at a public meeting, wouldn't that money have been better spent on a donation to RebuildHoboken.org?

Has Mason donated to this Hoboken charity at all?  She is quite generous to political campaigns outside of Hoboken.  Why not be generous to Hoboken residents recovering from Hurricane Sandy?

Take a look at how generous Elizabeth Mason has been to politicians and PACs recently, then ask yourself why she's ignored the grant program for distressed Hoboken Sandy victims, RebuildHoboken.org.


 Source:  http://individual-contributions.humanevents.com/

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Riddle Me This

MSV has reported that 33rd District Assemblyman Ruben Ramos tried to take out petitions for mayor, meaning he's anointing himself human sacrifice or giant-slayer.

Either way, Ramos will need a lot of help for this fight. Some financial, the rest a Dark Side rally around the campfire with all in agreement to back Ramos. Because this Goliath won't go down with a sling-shot or a Nazi Truck.  Augie Torres and Al Sullivan have called our mayor unbeatable.

Is she? Well...according to  King James, Proverbs 16:18:

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

King James is no fibber- ask the Move Forward campaign.

With Ramos' imminent run, where's the Old Guard rally?

Not a kumbaya in earshot.  On top of that, GA was genuinely surprised at the big diss Ruben got from The Hoboken Reporter this week. I mean, the guy plans to take on Zimmer- couldn't they throw him a bone and give him one of 50 spots on their 'Power Surge' list?   Even 'Theater and Arts Groups' made the list.

But no, bupkis for the elected official who's stepped up to battle the Giant.

Which brings up another point.

There is no doubt that Beth Mason's got the HR's ear.  How else could she have jumped 21 places for losing an election?  The Reporter even had to fudge her accomplishments- lying about her uptown headquarters giving out FOOD after the hurricane (she didn't), and a bogus charity, HudosnCountyrecovers.org which seems to exist for media consumption.  Don't believe me?

Go to HudsonCountyRecovers.org and try to donate.  

Here's what you'll find- the charity's Paypal account has been suspended. 


Paypal put a stop on the Mason Civic League's use of their service to accept donations. A couple of weeks ago, according to a source.

Why?   GA looked up Paypal's Acceptable Use Policy:

Prohibited Activities

You may not use the PayPal service for activities that:

1. violate any law, statute, ordinance or regulation.
2. relate to transactions involving (a) narcotics, steroids, certain controlled substances or other products that present a risk to consumer safety, (b) drug paraphernalia, (c) items that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity, (d) stolen goods including digital and virtual goods (e) items that promote hate, violence, racial intolerance, or the financial exploitation of a crime, (f) items that are considered obscene, (g) items that infringe or violate any copyright, trademark, right of publicity or privacy or any other proprietary right under the laws of any jurisdiction, (h) certain sexually oriented materials or services, (i) ammunition, firearms, or certain firearm parts or accessories, or (j) ,certain weapons or knives regulated under applicable law.
3. involve the sales of products or services identified by government agencies to have a high likelihood of being fraudulent.
So, what was it?  The Mason Civic League didn't cancel the account.  It's still there.  Just suspended.

Did Paypal suspend the account for one of the above reasons?  Was Paypal notified by a  "government agency"?

Who knows.

But the FACT is the Mason Civic League is NOT accepting donations for the charity via their web site.

Has  Hudson County Recovers raised any money?  How much?

But I digress.

The point: Mason didn't help Ruben get a place on the HR's 'Most Influential' list- which she could have done.

Why not?

Wallace PARENTS- School Evacuated- UPDATE

A heads up to parents of children at Wallace School: a phone call just informed me that our kids have been moved out of the school building due to high levels of natural gas found in the building.

Dismissal will occur from the Wallace playground at the regular time- 2:47 PM.

Our kids are safe.  GA will update you when more information becomes available.

11:45 AM- I just picked up LA from the High School.  The kids are in the auditorium, "The Lorax" is playing- kids are doing their homework, and many have contacted family members to pick them up.  The line to sign your child out is long.  School lunch will be provided for the kids who have it at Wallace.

Will keep you posted as more about the situation is known.

3:00 PM- Patch is reporting that the problem appears to be with an air intake vent and not a gas leak,  thank goodness:
Toback said staff reported the smell of gas before the school day began and got worse as the day wore on.

At Wallace School, members of the Hoboken Fire Department were on the scene. Fire Chief Richard Blohm told Patch that as of 11 a.m., there was no official cause, but a shift commander informed him that there could be a problem with an air vent near the school's heating system.

Blohm said the boiler has a pressure regulator, and when the boiler is turned on, pressure builds up and vapors are released to the outside. Blohm said it is possible the vapors may have gotten inside the school through air intake vents nearby.

"The construction official is on site and they are going to contact someone to do emergency repairs," he said. "There is no actually a gas leak inside the building."

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mason Gallery Presents "Courtroom Art"

Did you folks notice this ad in Beth Mason's page-3 parking spot?


Does anyone else find it funny that the most litigious member of the City Council - possibly the most litigious living person in all of Hudson County- is hosting an exhibit of Courtroom Art?

Yep, it's true.   
   
Courtroom Art is brought to you by Beth Mason, who advertised her way into 14th place as 'Hudson County's Most Influential with a steady page-3 revenue stream to the Hoboken Reporter.   Here was the HR's explanation why Mason was even more influential than #15, U.S. Congressman Albio Sires:
"Just because she lost (the BoE race), doesn’t mean she lacks influence (bwaa-haw-haw). She has been active in her civic duties for years, funding arts groups (and law suits) and starting an art gallery in Hoboken. During Hurricane Sandy, her civic league provided a generator and food at the uptown Hoboken headquarters. The league went on to fundraise for Hudson County with the creation of HudsonCountyRecovers, an organization Mason got flack for at council meetings because it’s countywide instead of citywide". . (she was forced to bus seniors from Hoboken for freebie dinners to fill empty charis at the charity's Secaucus fundraiser) 
Jeez, I hate to quibble with Al Sullivan when he's extolling Mason's generosity to Hoboken but Mason's Civic Center did NOT give out food during the hurricane.  According to a puff-piece in the thebridgenews.info, "a coffee stand was installed." 

 Mason serves coffee- NOT food, not even a cookie   credit: Dina Abdel-Haq l The Bridge
Food was served at the Elks Club across the street.

As for the Big Red generator, it was running lights, copy machines and computers in the Move Forward campaign HQ at 1200 Washington Street.

Does anyone think that Mason brought Big Red up from Georgia for her neighbors when she couldn't even give them a frigging cookie at her coffee stand?   Sandy hit on October 29- the election was on November 6.  That's what the generator was there for.  Certainly, with the money she throws around to paralyze Hoboken government and snuff out free speech, she could have given her cold, hungry neighbors a teeny-tiny cookie with that cup of brew.

And the HR left these off of #14's civic duties: employing "bully" Matt Calicchio to harass School Board Trustee Theresa Minutillo in the presence of her 5 year-old daughter, running a 501(c)(3) that's never filed an income and expense report with the DCA and a charity that's sponsoring Mayor Turner's 527 political organization, Weehawken and You Civic Association.(the charity is believed to have raised almost nothing; her big Secuacus fundraiser was a bomb of Hiroshima proportions.)

But I digress...

At the time Mason's Courtroom Art exhibit opened,  the Hudson Superior Court Appellate Division rejected the Council minority's appeal to overturn a Hudson Superior Court order for all to vote on Jim Doyle's council appointment- that's according to MSV:  
The decision coming at the end of last week according to sources close to the county court means the original court order in December calling for a full vote of all council members last month will be held after the written decision is distributed. 
GA wishes Mason's Courtroom Art Show would include a sketch of the Appellate Court judges rolling with laughter at  Mason, Russo, Occhipinti and Castellano's grounds for appeal:  comparing themselves to Bush vs. Gore and citing "irreparable harm" if they are forced to vote on filling Carol Marsh's vacancy.

Well, you know GA loves courtroom artIt's a powerful, evocative art form that reduces the human drama within the courtroom to a few strokes.  It takes a great deal of skill to master.   

GA likes to sketch, so am working on my own courtroom art exhibit for 2014.  

My series of courtroom sketches  are for hearings, indictments, trials and sentencings which haven't taken place yet.  Some may never.  But art is a discipline, and one must work, work, work to improve,  while our law enforcement friends must work, work, work to follow the money. 
 
GA's page-3 ad for my 2014 Courtroom Art exhibit at Gallery 1200.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Who Leaked BoE Closed Sessions to Branco?


With the curiosity one might have watching a slow-motion wreck, GA's watched an aspirant to public office destroy his dream in a stunning display of online rantings and boorish behavior at public meetings.  

All that aside, his latest salvo at an HHA Commissioner raises serious questions about the mishandling of BoE closed session information- and violation of a public employee's right to privacy under RICE.  The first, misconduct of a Board member;  the Board member appears to have leaked closed session information to his "right hand man" for disclosure at a public meeting at which the Board member is an official.  The NJDOE School Ethics Commission code of ethics addresses the misuse of such information here:
18A:12-24. Conflicts of interest
No school official shall use, or allow to be used, his public office or employment, or any information, not generally available to the members of the public, which he receives or acquires in the course of and by reason of his office or employment, for the purpose of securing financial gain for himself, any member of his immediate family, or any business organization with which he is associated;
Any witness to the disclosure of such closed session information (by the "right hand man" of a Board member disclosing information he only could have gotten from that Board member) may file an ethics complaint to the NJDOE School Ethics Commission.
18A:12-29 Complaint procedures. 
Any person, including a member of the commission, may file a complaint alleging a violation of the provisions of this act or the Code of Ethics for School Board Members as set forth in section 5 of P.L.2001, c.178 (C.18A:12-24.1), by submitting it, on a form prescribed by the commission, to the commission. No complaint shall be accepted by the commission unless it has been signed under oath by the complainant. If a member of the commission submits the complaint, the member shall not participate in any subsequent proceedings on that complaint in the capacity of a commission member. If a commission member serves on the school board of, or is employed by, the school district which employs or on whose board the school official named in the complaint serves, the commission member shall not participate in any subsequent proceedings on that complaint.
As for the Rice violation, that puts the Hoboken School Board in the cross-hairs for a law suit.  Unless the public employee has waived her RICE right to privacy regarding discussion of her employment with the District.  And she has not.
The “Rice Notice” exception to the Open Public Meetings Act is found at N.J.S.A. 10:4-12b(8). It states that a public body may go into closed session when discussing: “Any matter involving the employment, appointment, termination of employment, terms and conditions of employment, evaluation of the performance of, promotion or disciplining of any specific prospective public officer or employee or current public officer or employee employed or appointed by the public body, unless all the individual employees or appointees whose rights could be adversely affected request in writing that such matter or matters be discussed at a public meeting.”


Now, Mr. Branco writes: "I was asking HHA Commissioner Burell who happens to be a public official, a question about her employment and certain actions that had been taken against her. Which I think needs to be made public."

Branco ADMITS the information he knows is NOT PUBLIC.

WHO leaked to this teacher's personnel closed session information to Branco?

Branco tightens the noose around the leaky Board member's neck: "Unless I’m wrong she does not have an expectation of privacy since she is a public official, and employed by the tax payers of Hoboken..."

You ARE wrong.  According to the laws which govern every public employee in Hoboken, including those you and your buddy don't like.

Clearly, there is no way that Mr. Branco should know anything about HHA Commissioner, Judy Burrell's employment matters- her name never appeared on a BoE agenda.  That personnel matter was discussed in closed session.  Yet Branco tells us that he knows about her, and plans to make her information PUBLIC.  He threatens Burrell right here:


Unbelievable.  Branco will never, ever be seriously considered for a public position after his conduct online and in public for the last 2 weeks. Now he's outed his friend as being the likely source of information which he should not know, and moreover, threatens a public employee of our district with public disclosure.

It really is shocking.

And one may also note the irony that this assault on Burrell's privacy is to protect supervision and auditing of his friend,  Executive Director Carmelo Garcia's management of the HHA.

Why is the push-back so fierce?  Something smells.