Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Final Frontier

Are lawyers permitted to kiss clients?

Well folks, Horsey broke the news today: Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia's Civil Complaint No. 2   was tossed into the dumpster on December 19, 2014, leaving one lawsuit, The Final Frontier, against The Enterprise.

The Enterprise consists of Mayor Zimmer, HHA Commissioner Dave Mello, HHA Chairwoman Dana Wefer and the spouse of the Mayor, all white people.   How white are they?  

Doesn't say.


Yes, but how white?  Like Cafe au lait?  French vanilla ice cream?  Jonny Winter white?  Are white people actually white?  Or a milky blend of primary colors?

I don't know if Zimmer's spouse is white, but he sure is radiant!

GA is heartened to hear that piece of crap (#2) was tossed, because now all eyes and ears are focused on The Final Frontier: the battle against the Enterprise in the Hoboken Federation.

MSV also reported that The Federation has deployed a new weapon to battle The Final Frontier.  Not a laser beam nor death ray.  No, a "demand letter."

As a retired pro se litigant, I know a little about this stuff.  A demand letter is a chance for a Plaintiff to avoid the legal and financial consequences of filing a frivolous lawsuit.  Of course, that action comes after a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo, over a period of months, sometimes years.   GA believes the Federation is dead serious about pursuing the consequences of this latest taxpayer-screwing.  Because since the Federation is funding Enterprise's battle, The Final Frontier - and taxpayers fund the Federation- we are the silent army forced to fight a stupid, frivolous war.

Well, that is MY opinion.  Signing off, Federation Taxpayer GA.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday Matinee: Council Do-Little

Ah, to enjoy the fruits of a long, relaxing holiday weekend....  GA finally cracked open the video editing software I got couple of months ago--the above is my very first feature film!  Sure, it's crude,  choppy, and synched like a 1950's Godzilla movie. But, you know what they say--practice, practice, practice! GA hopes you enjoy the short films, documentaries, etc., integrating film, graphics and animation that I will be posting in the future!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Tail

Tucker, the lost Shi-tzu, credit: Patch.com

He's back ho-ho-home! 

What a nice tail about the kindness of a stranger... She enabled this Hoboken pooch find his family just in time to unwrap his bones under the Christmas tree. What a difference one kindness can make.

Woof, woof!

Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays to All!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Mason Ally Gently Swats Garcia

Ho, ho, ho!   

GA hopes Santa leaves you lots of toys under your tree tonight, and not that nasty stomach virus that knocked me on my ass this week.  Ugh.  Be careful peeps, it is going around.

Well, different (holi)day, same Hoboken (political) drama.

GA was amused to see a known, longtime ally of Councilwoman Beth Mason slug Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia in this week's "Letters to the Editor."

But as slugs go, this was not the brass knuckles kind; it was a tap with a feather pillow.  Because of all the critiques one might make on various controversies which have surrounded the 33rd District  Assemblyman- particularly when he served as the Executive Director of the Hoboken Housing Authority-the Mason ally attacked Garcia on postage rates.

I kid you not!  Here's an excerpt:
Assemblyman Garcia, don’t use first class mail

Dear Editor:

I recently received a letter from Assemblyman Garcia that was addressed to all local businesses. While I appreciate that Assemblyman Garcia made the effort to send out a letter, I was disappointed that the letter was sent by first class mail. 
 The few thousand dollars saved by sending his letter bulk mail would not have made a huge difference in the overall state budget, but it would show that Assemblyman Garcia cares about how our tax dollars are spent. Details matter.

...I encourage the assemblyman to do even better by keeping us informed and spending our tax dollars wisely.

Paul Lichstein
Of course, if Garcia used taxpayer funds for the mailing, then GA agrees with Lichstein. (Don't politicians always send their crap via bulk mail?)

But again, a dispute over postage rates is about as benign critique as one could imagine for this Assemblyman, now on his 3rd iteration of an "ethnic cleansing" lawsuit against "The Enterprise."

Nothing happens by accident in Masonworld.

So, while Mason has publicly supported Garcia and wooed his flock of supporters, such as a freebie to the League of Municipalties in Atlantic City ("two busloads of HHA residents"), could she be dispatching allies to take pot-shots at him?

Combine Garcia's clouded political future in the NJ Assembly with published rumor that Mason wants to replace him, are her public overtures of support to Garcia calculated duplicity as surrogates peck away at Garcia's Assembly performance?

Garcia's future as Hoboken's 33rd District Assemblyman has been acknowledged as precarious by Politickernj:
Sources say Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia, a native of Hoboken who joined the legislature in 2013, is in hot water with that leadership and could be bumped from the party’s main ticket next year. The controversy, insiders say, stems from an almost reputation-devastating incident that took place last year, when Garcia was caught having  secretly audio recorded a lunch meeting he had with the husband of Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, as well as former state Sen. and veteran pol Bernard Kenny. The whole incident was exposed when Garcia, as the city’s Housing Authority Executive Director, tried to sue Zimmer for “ethnic cleansing.”

But the move is said to have roiled state Sen. Brian Stack, Union City mayor and indisputable Hudson County political boss, who brought Garcia into the fold last year on a ticket that featured his own name and Jersey City Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, but who insiders say has now had enough of the “high maintenance” Latino.

It’s not 100 percent he gets thrown off the line — though if I were a betting man I’d bet that he doesn’t come back,” one Democratic source, who requested anonymity, told PolitickerNJ last week about Garcia’s political future.
Lichstein makes a good point- if our tax dollars are paying for the Assemblyman's first class stamps instead of bulk mail rates.

Personally, GA is way more interested tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money spent on generators which, after sitting in an HHA parking lot for nearly 2 years in  shipping materials, we now learn are "not right for the space."

What the HELL does that mean?

GA is curious if any Mason loyalists will tackle bigger questions than postage stamps.

Blogging Hazard

Thursday, December 18, 2014

6 Down, 8 to Go...

..or maybe not.  But first...

Big props to HHA Chairwoman Dana Wefer!

On December 11th, Wefer announced six of the fourteen generators ordered for the HHA with federal grant money after 2012's Superstorm Sandy, would finally be leaving their parking lot!

After 18 months, its not a moment too soon!

Because we remember what the Hoboken Reporter wrote last February:
... HUD said, the generators were delivered in fall on purpose. At the time, HUD, Garcia and the vendor were aware that inclement weather might be looming, but the manufacturer wanted to prove that its new model generator, more powerful than previous iterations, could withstand the elements. 
Surely, HUD didn't deliver the generators two years early to sit for two winters in the parking lot "on purpose."

GA wishes the 6 generators leaving the parking lot a bright future- full of electricity, in their new HHA homes.   Happy trails, big metal friends!

But... there seems to be a problem with other 8.

Here is what Wefer said on the Hudson County View video clip:  "we will be installing six of the generators in the next month... and we're still going to have 8 others that really aren't right for the space."

Aren't "right" for the space?  What does that mean?  What space are they "right" for?

This space?

It was Mayor Zimmer who had pointed out in her May 1, 2013 letter to former HHA Director Carmelo Garcia:

Good catch, Mayor!

The Vision 20-20 contract was awarded without back-up generators!  Wow.

In April 2013, a RPM Development was selected to build Phase I of Vision 2020 as the Executive Director lobbied the City Council for a "resolution of need."

16 back-generators had been ordered, the first installed on a rooftop in June 2013...

... while 14  were delivered to the HHA parking lot but not installed "on purpose" because the manufacturer wanted to show us how their "powerful model" can "withstand the elements!"

Now, in December 2014, 6 can be installed but the other 8 are "not right for the space..."

Does this refer to the need to raise the electric sub- panels?  It doesn't sound like it... it sounds like a design or engineering issue. Generators sit on platforms, outdoors.  Hey, HoboJoe- you out there?

"Not right for the space... "

What a mystery!

Meanwhile, GA hears that residents have grown so fond of the hulking, shrink-wrapped generators that they've organized a going-away party, complete with pony rides and a balloon-animal making clown.

See you there, in the parking lot at Fourth and Harrison.    

Bon voyage!

Monday, December 15, 2014

City to Renegotiate It's Lease with B&G Club

Not a done deal-yet: "Divert" Green Acres Status, renegotiate 50-year Lease agreement with the B&G, HoLa can apply for Variance to expand

What a week! GA was hosting guests from out-of-town (way out-of-town)--Osaka, Japan.

I took this photo on Saturday.  Against the harsh forces of winter, a few cherry blossoms had sprouted from an otherwise barren tree.

GA admires those rugged little flowers. 

Given warmth, rich soil and bright sun, all flowers may flourish.  Deprive them, and only the rugged survive.

Flowers are like children.

Let's re-cap.  Here is what we have learned recently about Hoboken's Boys & Girls Club:

The membership fee has gone from $15/year to $65 week; that is $2, 860 for 44 weeks of the program (not including 8 weeks of summer camp).  That amounts to an annual increase of $2,795 per child.

GA hears this fee hike has caused  B&G Club kids to leave "in droves".

We've also learned the B&G Club Director is Margarita Garcia, who is on the Faculty & Staff of HoLa as the school's AfterCare and Enrollment Coordinator. 

We know that the Boys and Girl's Club has been sub-leasing their space to HoLa, Dual Language School, which makes B&G Director/HoLa Staff member Garcia landlord and tenant of the space the B&G leases from Hoboken for $2/year. 

Screen caps: 12/15/2014

A GA reader posted the HoLa Aftercare and Enrichment classes rates.  

If those rates are accurate, then sub-lessee HoLa is a regular cash cow for the B&G Club. 

Or is it?  B&G Director Garcia can ask the HoLa Aftercare Coordinator Garcia.

Perhaps B&G Director Garcia can negotiate with HoLa's Aftercare Coordinator Garcia to allot space in the "Enrichment classes" for economically disadvantaged B&G kids and/or kids priced out of B&G club membership, since taxpayers subsidize the building for $2/year.

Oh, one more thing: 123 Jefferson was built with Green Acres public funding and the presence of the Charter is an apparent violation to the Green Acres rules. 

In August 2011 MSV wrote, in part:
The Hoboken Boys and Girls Club has failed to provide required annual reports to the City of Hoboken showing specific compliance requirements serving the community's underprivileged youth. The terms of the agreement are part of a fifty year lease originally created back in the mid 90s.

The complete terms appear in an original ordinance dated November 1994 in City documents. As part of a 50 year agreement, the building at 123 Jefferson Street is leased annually from the City of Hoboken for $2.

The original ordinance states a requirement of the lessee (the Boys & Girls Club) to the City of Hoboken in item 10:

The Lessee agrees to use the facilities for the sole purpose of conducting youth programs and the Lessee activities. It will not rent or lease the facility for commercial purposes without first obtaining City permission nor will any commercial activities be conducted at the facility.

Meanwhile, the building is expanding - to benefit the HoLa school...

Questions on the authorization of these activities and the City's oversight and approval role in the process remains outstanding. Complaints have been going on for months among public school parents including other charter schools on the unfair competitive advantage of a charter school being hosted at the Boys & Girls Club while underprivileged community youth have been bumped out of the building to make way for HoLa.
That was 2011; what's happening now?     

GA has learned the City is on track to "divert" Green Acres status from 123 Jefferson to 16th Street, then re-negotiate its "50 year lease agreement" with the Boys and Girls Club with two parties: the B&G and HoLa.  

I kid you not. The City's 50-year lease to agreement with the Boy's and Girl's Club of America to use the facilities for the sole purpose of conducting youth programs and the Lessee activities is to be canned so the taxpayer-funded building at 123 Jefferson can legally host an expanding Charter school, with its upscale demographic. Of course, all this is contingent upon "diverting" Green Acres status from the site.  

On September 17 2014, the City Council voted 8-0 in favor of the Resolution below (Castellano was absent):


Now, read Section 6b of the Tripartite Agreement Hoboken Boys and Girls Club, HOLA, and the City of Hoboken carefully, keeping in mind that Director Garcia is BOTH Parties: HOLA and BGC:
b. Neither HOLA nor BGC may assign, transfer or delegate any of its rights or obligations hereunder without obtaining the prior written consent of the other Parties, which may be withheld for any reason, whether reasonable or unreasonable.
If the City is determined to re-purpose a taxpayer-funded building intended to benefit poor youth and youth programs to a Charter school catering to an upscale demographic (oh yeah, it does...  check out the fees on the "Enrichment classes"), GA implores the City to use it's leverage to negotiate rights for the children of the Boys and Girls Club, including use of facilities and reduced membership fees. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Hoboken's Boy & Girl Club

 2009 at the B&G Club pool

"To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens"
- The Boys & Girls Club of America's Mission Statement

The evisceration of Hoboken's Boy(s) & Girl(s) Club at 123 Jefferson Street is a story told in numbers.

Because one of many ways to empty a building of its poor occupants (a non-profit), is to jack up membership fees into strata its members cannot afford.  Now, if the tenant is a non-profit serving low-income children, and employs as it's Director, the Aftercare and Enrichment Coordinator of  it's sub-lessee, an expanding Charter school, then the fee-raising is especially pernicious.  Because one may elect not to pursue grants nor corporate sponsorship nor fundraising required to keep the non-profit membership fees affordable.  No, in fact, one may preside over the astronomical jacking-up of fees, effectively depopulating the non-profit to make way for the expanding Charter School, happening  seamlessly under her 'oversight.' 

This is the story of Hoboken's Boy(s) & Girl(s) Club.

A parent GA knows paid Hoboken's B&G Club a $15/year membership fee from 2008- 2010. 

Here is a sampling of current B&G Club fees, which cover after-school services, from around the U.S...
Metro Atlanta B&G Club   $50/year
Greater Milwaukee B& G Club  $5/year
B&G Clubs of Chicago  $20/year
B&G Club of San Francisco  $10/year
B&G Clubs of Southeastern Michigan  (Detroit) $50/ year
B&G Clubs of Greater Washington (D.C.)  $25/year
B&G Clubs of Mississippi Delta $25/year
B&G Clubs of East Los Angeles  $10/year
B&G Clubs of Hudson County  $2,860/year* (*$65/wk)
In a few years, the Hoboken B&G's membership fee went from $0.34/week to $65/week.*  
(*44 weeks of after-school care, not including B&G Club summer camp)

GA verified 2014 fees with the Hudson County B&G Club (the same as Jersey City)- $65/week plus $75 for registration.

 HC B&G Club Online Fundraiser
The fees are also noted on Hudson County B&G Clubs Razz.com fundraising web page.

This fee increase overlaps the time the B&G began sharing space with HoLa and the reported diminution in services for B&G children.  

In 2008, the B&G Club program had 140 kids.  How many are there now?

Many of the B&G clubs across America state:"No child is ever turned away for inability to pay."   In a few short years, our B&G Club has purported to sublease its space to offset costs but instead, hiked its fees to exclude the kids it used to serve.

Hoboken is home (and future home) to leading corporations, like John Wiley & Sons, Marsh and McLennan, Sumitomo Trust and Banking, Mizuho Securities, Thomson Reuters, Octapharma, Bank of America, Pearson, Td Bank, Burgiss... and more.   Have any of these corporations been asked to sponsor the B&G?  What is B&G Director Garcia doing to 'bring back' the kids priced out of the B&G Club?    

Remember the screaming and hollering that rose up in 2010 when Mayor Zimmer vetoed a City Council repeal of a $25 recreation fee?       

Tim Occhipinti described the $25 recreation fee as a "tax on families" and Mike Russo cried, "The majority of people are just going say they can't afford it... you're either for taxing the children or you're against taxing the children."   

The B&G Club is in Timmy's Ward.  What did Timmy have to say when the B&G fees went through the roof and kids "left in droves"?  What did he say?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Losing "People Like Me"

This statement by HoLa Board President Barbara Martinez has revived questions about whether the attitude of a school's board translate into a selective admissions policy to suppress 'low income' admissions.

True or not, Martinez appears to be bartering a more-inclusive admissions policy in exchange for an uncontested expansion to the 7th and 8th grades, which the Hoboken School Board is challenging in court.  The comment suggests it is "the Hoboken Board of Education" who "wants to see a low-income preference" in admissions and not Martinez, President of HoLa's School Board.

Is that true?

I don't know.  Maybe she just pegado a su pie en la boca- and who hasn't stuck their zapato where it doesn't belong?  

To err is human...

Anyway, Martinez' offer puts into play other statements she has made which may support or contradict arguments on both sides of the pending litigation.  Such as this letter written in January 2009; according to Hoboken411 where it was posted, the letter was "sent to various members of the Board of Education, as well as the Superintendent and staff:"
“I’ve taken the past two days off of work (I’m a reporter at the WSJ) because the Hola program is so important to my family. Today I spent a lot of time outside Conners and Wallace – getting signatures of people who would be thrilled to send their kids to a dual-language immersion program. 

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


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

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

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

How much more talk is needed? 

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

Why can’t we put this to bed already? 

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

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

Thank you, 
Barbara Martinez
While Leon Gold was pilloried for his politically-incorrect remarks, comments like Martinez' "...if you put this off you will lose people like me" and "Now all our friends will stay in Hoboken!" are greeted with silence.

Why is that?

Don't shoot the messenger, folks.   This incident comes on the heels of a rumor GA just heard that Hoboken's Boys and Girls Club  fees have caused kids to leave "...in droves."

On top of that, GA was told the Boys and Girls Club Director, Margarita Garcia, also holds the position as HoLa's Aftercare and Enrichment Coordinator

How isn't this a conflict-of-interest, when the B&G Club rents space to HoLa?  The B&G Club employee, Garcia, negotiates rent with a tenant, HoLa, who (also) employs her?     They are both paid positions.   If the B&G had to hike fees beyond the affordability of the low-income kids they are supposed to serve, is Garcia really in a position to negotiate a more competitive rent with herself?

It appears to GA that some of Hoboken's poorest kids have paid "so all our friends can stay in Hoboken!"    

Monday, December 1, 2014

She said WHAT?

The Carlo Davis article in this week's HR "Do over? State will review approval of charter school expansion"  summarized two starkly divergent sets of facts in a pending legal action between HoLa and the Hoboken BoE.  Representing HoLa in the piece was the Dual Language school's spokesperson and Board President, Barbara Martinez.  

It was this Martinez quote that made GA say "Whaaaat?"
"If the Hoboken Board of Education wants to see a low-income preference in HoLa's lottery.... all it has to do is drop the lawsuit"
Apparently, I'm not the only one who reacted that way.  A reader wrote:
Why cant hola use a low income preference until the lawsuit is dropped? and if they could have done this before, why didnt they-why did they wait until a lawsuit occurred to implement a low income preference? and  Are they allowed to use low income preference or is she full of ****? 
Now, GA has not followed this particular issue nor what BoE lawyer Eric Harrison alleges in his brief is HoLa's resistance to incorporating low-income preference into its admissions, but... 

If "low-income preference" is a civil rights issue, then why would Martinez hold redress to a socioeconomic inequity hostage to what the Board of Education does or doesn't do? 

Unless this is legal advice, it absolutely smells.

True or not, Martinez appears to be dangling the educational options for low-income kids as leverage in HoLa's battle with the Board of Education 

GA would caution Martinez from making reckless statements during litigation which will come back to bite her in the cuelo.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

BREAKING: AWOL Turkey Returned to Owner

BREAKING: Last night the AWOL holiday turkey was safely returned to it's owner, Ms. Jessica Coco.

Phew, what a relief!

A concerned neighbor had taken the bird 2 days ago, then forgot to give it back to her.  The turkey was well-treated and did not suffer any abuse in captivity. In fact, GA hears the turkey was treated like a member of the family, given a nickname, a handmade sweater and a seat at the dinner table.

Thank you, neighbor!   

In fact, not only is Brian Stack's heart not two sizes too small, it's three sizes too big!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, to the kind and generous Brian Stack, and to all the turkeys who got pardoned!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

No Turkey for You?

Oh, no, the Grinch came early this year. Only this time he didn't steal a Roast Beast, he filched  a turkey!

You see, every year turkeys are given to HHA residents courtesy of State Senator Brian Stack.  The turkeys are delivered to each door; if the resident doesn't answer the knock, the bird is left for them.

Local activist and HHA resident Jessica Coco, was home yesterday when her dog's barking alerted her to something going on in the hall.  Ms. Coco opened her apartment door to see turkeys had been left for her neighbors.  No one had knocked at her door nor left a turkey for her.

Could it be... his heart is two sizes too small?

GA doesn't believe it!   The Stack I know is a generous man. It must have been a Grinch.

Please Grinch,  repent!  Can you hear that sound coming from Who-ville?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Carmelo: "I got thrown off the Enterprise"

Carmelo got tossed off the Enterprise right into the Doomsday Machine!  OH, NO!!!!

Or, maybe it was, "I got thrown out by the Enterprise."

Let me check that lawsuit... which one is it?

Number one?  The sequel?  The sequel of the sequel? 

There!  On page 24, it says under "Count Six" that "these persons" (the Defendants) constitute an "Enterprise" -- the final frontier, where no frivolous lawsuit filed by Louis Zayas on behalf of Carmelo Garcia has gone before.  These are the voyages of... the uber-Litigious Dark Side.

Oh dear!  Poor Carmelo!  Tossed off the Enterprise by those terrible white people, into the  gaping maw of the Doomsday Machine!

Yes!  They ARE white!  White, white, white!

I told you!

Are you sure Dana's white?  She looks exotic to me.

I had him figured for a white guy.

What color is the Mayor's husband?

Aaargh!  A white invasion!

I knew the "Old Guard" wasn't white!   Mike Russo's a Klingon!  So's Terry Castellano!  Timmy?  I'm not sure, but he must have space rocks between his ears.  

Jeez, it's a shame the Enterprise turned white.  That means Lieutenants Sulu and Uhura got beamed onto a desolate asteroid, or else got tossed off the ship like space junk-- like Carmelo.  Oh wait...

Aren't most ethnic Hispanics white?    Isn't Carmelo Garcia white?  Yes he IS!  What about Louis Zayas...  is he white, too?

This is confusing.  Beam me up, Scotty!  (Who is white, by the way.)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

AC Beauty Pageant

This week all eyes (and ears) in NJ's political world are turned to the League of Municipalities beauty pageant in Atlantic City.  Just when you thought there were 2 contestants vying for the crown, in comes Ms. Bon Jovi- um, Murphy to steal some thunder from Ms. South Jersey and Ms. North Jersey!

Oh, I kid... the place is pulsing with testosterone.  In fact, from the looks of Politickernj's 2014 Power List, we gals have not come such a long way after all- at least in New Jersey.  Yep, Politicker's Power List has as much estrogen as the Sahara's got hot springs.  But I digress.

GA's been hunting for dish, and I've got some.  First, Augie Torres  (#73, 2014 Power List) hinted at it today:
I’ll let politically connected attorney Donald Scarinci’s Facebook entry explain:“Steve Fulop's private reception at the League of Municipalities turned into the hot ticket of the night. People were lined up at the elevators to get in to see the next Governor. It was a tastefully understated event by the pool at the top floor of the Water Club with breathtaking views of Atlantic City. If only I had my Nikon and my tripod ...

The most interesting view may not have been the host city. It was the Borgata spa pool where a certain Hoboken developer made a big splash at Fulop's party. I won't identify Captain Nemo because it was bad enough that he tried to dry off in the restroom where there are only hand blowers. Why embarrass the man, even if no one pushed him, according to witnesses.
Speaking of testosterone, GA doesn't have it (or not much) therefore I am not bound by any "gentleman's agreement." Phew.

So, I did hear who took a dunk in the pool, and if you ask me it's no big deal.  Especially if there was a lifeguard present. I'll bet Fulop knows CPR.  Certainly one of the egos in the room would've worked as a flotation device.  Really, what's the fuss?

It is NOT embarrassing to fall, fully-clothed into a spa pool. If that were really a fun party, everybody would have jumped in... GA's done it, jumped in a pool fully-clothed maybe after a gallon or two of wine.  Alright... here's what I was sent:

Poop in the Pool. Hilarious.

Holmsy ran around telling everyone that (redacted) should be treated with respect.  Just made it funnier. 
If you ask me, that's not half as interesting as the next tidbit:
Mason brought two busloads of housing authority residents down here.  She's utterly nuts.  They're all busy playing slots...
Whaaaaat?  GA asked another source about that, and this is all he/she had to say:
She is a walking joke down here.
Well folks, Mason can sponsor busloads of HHA residents on a junket to Atlantic City anytime. Why now? Did she invite them to her soiree for Sweeney on Tuesday?    How much dough is she spreading around and who got some?  Did any public officials for the City, State or HUD take any?

It is... weird.  If anybody's got more dish, bring it over to my place.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

PolitickerNJ Erases Mason from her AC Event


Now you see her, now you don't.

In a slice of the editorial knife, Politickernj has removed Councilwoman Beth Mason from its coverage of her cocktail reception for State Senator Stephen Sweeney.  Mason was billed as co-host of the Sweeney shindig according to nj.com's Auditor, who wrote this on November 12:

The Auditor has obtained an invitation for a cocktail reception honoring Sweeney hosted by his political benefactor, George Norcross, and Beth Mason ‚ a councilwoman in Hoboken, which borders Jersey City on two sides. The wealthy Mason modeled herself after Fulop when she was new to the Hoboken council 2008, but backed Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy in 2013, when Fulop ousted him. The event will take place Tuesday night at One Atlantic at the Pier Shops.

Now go to today's story in politickernj. 

Beth Mason has been removed from her event as cleanly as a wart lopped off with a laser, root and all.  Instead, Sweeney is billed as host, with no sight of Mason in print or in photo (unless that unidentified back-of-head is hers.) Mason does not even rate a mention as a "notable from the north:"

Notables from the north included a sizable Bergen County-based delegation, including state Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37), state Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37) and Bergen Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato, as well as Central Jersey stalwart state Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-19).


Politicker's Mason-ectomy is no accident.

Last year, politickernj's coverage of the Sweeney bash featured a photo of the beaming couple, hostess and hosted, at the same venue as this year's party, One Atlantic.

That was then, this is now.

Yesterday, Politickernj released its "2014 Power List" of the 100 most-'powerful' in New Jersey's political world. 14 of the 100 were identified as "political operatives"- and one of them, #30 is Tommy Bertoli who moved up 5 places since last year.  This annual recalibration of whose political influence is rising and whose is declining (or fallen) is the backdrop for the AC festivities, which include last night's cocktail party for Sweeney.

Mason has been erased, the question is why?

It appears that Sweeney's people may view her association with him a political liability.  Which can only mean...


Monday, November 17, 2014

Sour Grape Whine

Hoboken BoE ELEC filing status as of Nov. 17, 2014

GA got pretty tipsy from all that whine in this week's Hoboken Reporter.  Bitter whine, made from sour grapes.
Danzker was perhaps the frankest in her criticism of the election. “At the end, it was the political machine that secured two seats on the Board of Education and big money that secured the third seat,” said Danzker, ostensibly referring to Parents for Progress’ support from the Kids First majority and Mayor Zimmer, and Education for all Children’s backing by Hoboken politico Frank Raia. Danzker said she had support from neither, although her slate did have the backing of State Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia. 
I guess the "political machine" is Mayor Dawn Zimmer who wasn't quite as machine-y when she endorsed the HoLa expansion against the will of the Hoboken district School Board majority and its Superintendent.  One may assume the Mayor wasn't very machine-y then.  One may assume the "machine"endorsement was honky-dory when it served the self-interest of this candidate, who finding herself on the other side of the Mayor's endorsement now calls her the "political machine."

Then there's the allegation "big money that secured the third seat."

In fact, I agree that 'big money' is toxic to Hoboken's democratic election process.  And "big money" appears to have corrupted another election; when one candidate can score 466 absentee ballots- almost 6 times greater than number of VBMs counted for the machine vote winner (77) that's stinkier than a dead guy rotting in the closet.  That said, the "big money" did nothing for Frances Rhodes Kearns nor was it decisive for Peter Biancamano, who secured the third spot before 466 VBMs arrived.   

But you know, the source of the alleged "big money that secured the third seat" appears to be the same source who secured philanthropic grants for HoLa, such as $2,000 in "special revenue" noted below.


So, if a person accepts "big money" grants from a source whom they allege "secured the third seat" in an election with "big money," does he/she have the moral authority to complain about it?  Because if  Mr. "Big-Money's" generosity to HoLa is to be lauded (it is), his alleged generosity to "securing the third seat" is not.    To the whinemaker: it's your school who rewarded  Mr. "Big Money" with a Board Trustee position, now you complain about his "big money"? 

Finally, what kind of money paid for signs mounted 12' above street level all over Hoboken? Was it big money or little money?   Or in-between money?
Who paid for the design, printing and posting?
That kind of printing and distribution is  not cheap. Was it an in-kind donation?  Who paid for it, and how much did they give?  Check Parents for Change's ELEC report.

Oh, right.  They didn't file one.

Parents for Change is the only slate who has not  filed an R-1.

Why not? 

Friday, November 14, 2014


14 'Sandy-proof' generators ordered with federal grant money

Today MSV  featured HHA Interim Director Bob DiVincent's interview with Hudson County View.  DiVincent said:
"There are some investigations going on [at the HHA]. The biggest one I'm aware of is the Office of the Inspector General has requested some documents on contracts that were part of the procurement investigation that HUD already did."  
Just when you thought our federal agencies didn't care!   

The Office of Inspector General (O.I.G. ) no less. The OIG can easily access records, documents, correspondence, from another federal agency (FEMA) without courts, subpoenas, or any legal wrangling whatsoever.Thus the  O.I.G. could obtain the application of a local Housing Authority for FEMA grant money to repair or retrofit facilities against future storms (such as $ to raise building generators). They could obtain all records relating to whether the grant was awarded, how much money, and which agent of the Housing Authority actually signed for it and took the money.   If a check was issued to that Housing Authority, the Feds could track the deposit.  Finally, the Feds would ascertain the existing conditions at the facilities to complete their investigation into whether the work was performed- or not.  In order to discourage (rampant) abuse of federal grant money, the Feds might choose to make an example of a HUD official involved in such behavior, someone like... anybody we know?

It is interesting to look back at what the Feds were allegedly 'up to' at the HHA around the time Carmelo Garcia dropped his (first) 'ethnic cleansing' lawsuit, in mid-August of 2013.

GA wrote on August 30, 2013:
According to witnesses, the Feds were at HHA this Monday; one witness described the "white men in suits" on the grounds. The next day an HHA maintenance employee confirmed the visit and said the agents had been going into "boiler rooms."  Looking at generators, perhaps?  Ones that didn't get raised with federal grant money disbursed?  Stay tuned...
Then on September 2, 2013, GA was told by a source at the HHA, around the time of the Feds' visit, that Carmelo Garcia had left 'suddenly' for Costa Rica.  The source alleged:
When he returned home from the trip to Costa Rica, the Feds were waiting. They met him at the airport as soon as he landed.  Carmelo wasn't arrested. The Feds questioned him about the tapes. They wanted to know what he had, if there were more. He told them he didn't have any more tapes. They let him goGarcia allegedly had  been telling others he has two more tapes (one of an HHA Commissioner)... told HHA residents that he has "Brian Stack on tape", and has Stack "trained like a dog".
Then, on top of alleged federal investigations into HHA boiler rooms and secretly recorded audiotapes, there were rumblings of another investigation- of absentee ballot farming at the HHA.

On September 22, 2013, GA wrote:
A couple of little birdies flew over from the HHA this weekend and delivered  a BOMBSHELL. In fact, this delivery casts a whole new light on motives for Carmelo Garcia's sudden Absentee Ballot Education Drive.

The first birdie was called to a meeting last week with a high level Hoboken official and "someone from the NJ Attorney General".    The topic was absentee ballot fraud at the HHA.  The AG wants evidence on past and ongoing absentee ballot farming.   

The next birdie said:
On Thursday [September 10th] ****  was at the HHA with ballots. He gives $40 to sign and doesn't seal them. He's been doing it for years.  He'll work for anybody don't matter.  He don't live there.  The next day ***** got  a call from the office to come back. They told him the FBI is investigating the ballots. I haven't seen him back since.

"What office?" GA asked. "The HHA?"  
No, Frank Raia's.
This flurry of federal activity occurred against a backdrop which included revelations that Garcia had  secretly worn a wire to tape "friends," a bombshell  broken by Al Sullivan on  July 28, 2013.  The saga unfolded with a drip, drip drip of pages from a transcription of Garcia's secretly taped lunch with the mayor's husband!  Juicy.


And if that wasn't enough 'excitement,'  Garcia's 'ethnic cleansing' lawsuit dropped on or about August 15, 2013.  

The ramifications of the nutty charges reverberated in the Ramos camp.  Many believe Carmelo's lawsuit put the tombstone on Ruben Ramos' mayoral run.   A source told GA on August 21, 2013:

Did Carmelo's 'ethnic cleansing' lawsuit open the door to Raia's Third Ticket?
Stack's backing off from Carmelo. Everybody is. It's the lawsuit. That was the last straw.

Everybody thinks its crazy, accusing the mayor of "ethnic cleansing". Nobody thinks it was a good idea. It's embarrassing to our people and Ruben is stuck with it. That suit was all Carmelo.  Nobody told him to do it. He's always played the race card but taking it to court is a whole different game. It's hurting Ruben. People are leaving Ruben.  Rudy Garcia left the campaign.  Renee Abreau doesn't want the attention his name is out there and he doesn't like it.  He's in with Carmelo on Vision 20/20, made some deal.

The Raia-Mason third ticket is going to happen.  Timmy is at the top.  Nobody thinks Ruben can pull it off.
And the Raia-Mason ticket came to pass.   One week later, Timmy threw his dunce cap into the ring and declared he was running.  Buh-bye Ruben Ramos.

So here we are, one year later-- Lawsuit #3 and "multiple" ongoing federal investigations at the HHA.

Not much seems to change but the hands on the clock. When do one of these "multiple" investigations move to a grand jury?


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hoboken Mayor Garcia?

Never a dull moment in Hoboken politics!  An earwitness reports:
Carmelo Garcia has been telling people he's running for mayor.
If so, that would make Garcia the most litigious candidate for that office since Beth Mason ran in 2009.   Yep, the former HHA Executive Director just filed Lawsuit Number 3 against Mayor Zimmer:
In an complaint filed in Hudson County Superior Court by North Bergen attorney Louis Zayas, Garcia alleges that his firing was orchestrated by Zimmer in retaliation for his unwillingness to appoint politically connected professionals at the Housing Authority. Garcia also alleges that Zimmer and her allies fired him because of his Hispanic ethnicity.
Aye Caramba, not that again!

Garcia Lawsuit #1 accused the Mayor and her husband of ethnic cleansing at the HHA

You know what this sounds like to GA?  A(nother) great big whack at the mayor designed to build a constituency for his political comeback. 

Selected by G-d
Meanwhile, Garcia soldier Joe Branco has just declared war on Frank Raia.   On Saturday Nov. 1, Branco showed up at the Board of Elections to challenge the propriety of 225 absentee ballots, believed to be Raia votes.  Branco's complaint has launched an investigation, according to nj.com:
Concerns over the ballots largely sprung from allegations made by the Parents for Change slate before the election. A representative for the team challenged 225 mail-in ballots on the Saturday before the Nov. 4 election.

Harper said 55 of the contested ballots have already been discounted because they'd been mishandled. He said someone had disrupted the "chain of custody" on the ballots, often meaning that somewhere between the voter's home and the clerk's office someone else handled the ballot but didn't sign it in the presence of the voter, as required.

This raises the concern that votes were forced, bought or even changed.
Joseph Branco, campaign manager for the Parents for Change slate, declined to comment on Wednesday, citing that he wanted to wait until the prosecutor's office considers the allegations
Wow.  Didn't GA tell you Branco declared war on Frank?  And by association, Frank's Harvest Queen (the gal with 466 absentee ballots.)

This may not surprise some, considering the words recorded by Garcia's hidden wire on Jan. 16, 2013; Garcia told his lunch companions about  Raia's "750" flooded ballots in the 2012 BoE race, calling Raia a "fucking buffoon":

Ouch.  I guess the Raia folks won't be campaigning for Garcia any time soon!

Hello Kitty

Just when Councilwoman Beth Mason's warnings of "monster raccoons" and "dog-eating possums"  were turning her into a punchline, what should come to her rescue to make her look... well, less crazy?

Enter, a rabid kitten.

If a cute little kitty could be packing a deadly disease, then surely a monster racoon or a dog-devouring possum could be too, right?  In that case, Mason's spiel about seeing two possums and finding a dead squirrel then demanding an autopsy might NOT be loony but almost prescient... right?

To understand how rare a rabid kitty in Hudson County really is, look no further than the New Jersey Department of Health statistics for animal rabies cases in the state of New Jersey.

Hudson County has the lowest number of rabies cases in all of New Jersey.  Last year we had only 1 reported case (a monster raccoon) and only 21 reported cases since 1989.

As for cats/kittens, there were 4 reported cases of rabies in Hudson County since 1989.  

Monster raccoons?

Hudson County has had 12 cases since 1989.  Dog-eating Possum? None reported.  Zero ferrets, groundhogs and "other wild." Since 1989. 

Well folks, GA mourns the kitty, and hopes the bitten gal gets well soon. Note, handling a stray is never a good idea  but putting out food and water for one is a mitzvah.


Where's a B-2 Bomber when you need one?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Harvest Queen

Isn't she lovely?

Congratulations, Harvest Queen!

It's a wonderful thing to beat out all the other contestants for the crown. Doesn't matter how you do it either, as long as you end up wearing the rhinestones. 

Hoboken has it's own Harvest festival: we call it "election day."  Instead of riding floats, our Harvest Queens sit in a chair at the City Council or on the Hoboken Board of Education.

Last week's harvest festival anointed a new Queen with a whopping 466 absentee ballots- an amount nearly 6 times greater than the machine-vote winner's 77 VBMs

Certainly, 2014's crop was not as bountiful as the 2010 Harvest Queen's, with 575 paid campaign workers  in an election where only 2,076 cast ballots, and nearly all "campaign workers" voted absentee.

original graph source: Blue Jersey " How much does it cost to Buy and Election in Hoboken's 4th Ward"


Both 2010 and 2014 Harvest festivals may have something in common: an investigation by the Hudson County prosecutor and perhaps even the NJ Attorney General or the US District Attorney.

G-d save the Queen!

The 2010 Harvest festival 'allegedly' paid $40 per ballot- um, apple... while in 2014 the 'alleged' price dropped to $35.

But here's the kicker: unlike 2010, in 2014 the 466 VBM harvest was not decisive. 

466 absentee ballots simply turned a School Board Trustee into a Harvest Queen. 

And that is sad for the Queen, who had earned a Board position before the smelly bumper crop of ballots was counted, and now is tainted by them.