Thursday, February 27, 2014

Exclusive: HHA Generators Ordered in 2012?

Folks, the riddle of 14 frosty generators languishing in an HHA parking lot just gets curiouser and curiouser.

On Tuesday, an Anon tipped off GA to Google "FM Generator Hoboken."  I did, and what I found raises more questions about why those generators are"parked" at the corner of  Fourth and Harrison Streets.  Because it appears the timeline for the order and fabrication of those units is far earlier than The Hoboken Reporter indicated:
After several backup generators failed in the low-income Hoboken Housing Authority (HHA) buildings during the power outages of Hurricane Sandy, the agency was able to order 14 new ones this past fall. 
One year earlier, to be exact.  

FM Generator, a Massachusetts-based generator sales and services company, apparently met with HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia in November 2012, less than a month after Hurricane Sandy  ravaged the HHA and destroyed ten generators.

FM Generator notes the November meeting took place in a Facebook post dated June 10, 2013:

FM owner Michael Molway and president Julie Mitchell  attended an emergency meeting in November with Carmelo Garcia, the housing authority director, to study short- and long-term solutions.  Molway determined that repairing the damaged generators would be far less expensive than renting temporary generators. FM technicians were able to get all but one generator working again, though Molway made clear that the saltwater damage left the sets with very limited lifespans. On June 3, the first of the new Blue Star generators arrived. It was installed on the roof atop the 15-story building at 311 13th Street, far beyond the reach of any storm surge. On June 5 the generator set came on line. The remaining generators will arrive in July and will be installed at various locations throughout Hoboken.

Got that?  Sometime after November 2012, 16 generators were ordered, to be delivered by July.

 Um... but, but... didn't some "HUD spokesman" tell The Hoboken Reporter:
In fact, 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.
In fact, it looks like FM Generator was concerned that the "saltwater damage left the generators with very limited lifespans" and worked to expedite the delivery of the product for the summer.

And were these "powerful new models" designed to "withstand the elements"?  Yes, they were custom-built with vital components raised 36"above the cement pad bases, according to FM Generator'  Facebook update on November 1, 2013:

The new generator sets are constructed with specialized stands which raise the vital components 36 inches from the top of the generator cement pad. This will help keep the water out should it rise again.
FM Generator field engineers worked with Blue Star Generator set manufacturers to custom-design the enclosures to be sound attenuated and mounted on the special bases. The generators needed to be shipped on special pallets and trucks to accommodate the extra height.  Construction and installation will begin shortly. 

If FM Generator had it's custom product ready for July delivery when did they get the contract for the work?   And if generators were ordered in Spring of 2013, why weren't the buildings prepped for installation in the Summer and Fall of 2013?

Was it because the HHA administration didn't WANT their existing buildings upgraded and "Sandy-proofed"? 

Was HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia too busy hawking "Sandy-proof" Vision 20/20 HHA redevelopment to make the existing HHA buildings "Sandy proof" with new "Sandy proof" generators?

Doesn't Assemblyman Garcia accuse Mayor Zimmer (in his lawsuit) of "blocking and denying an application to build the first 44 unit Sandy-proof building, post Sandy" at the same time he's allowed 14 "Sandy-proof" generators to languish in a parking lot on Fourth and Harrison?

It's looking pretty clear that there was plenty of time to plan and PREP for the installation of these generators in Spring, Summer and fall of 2013.  

Of course, once the existing buildings have "Sandy-proof" generators then how do you sell a "Sandy-proof" redevelopment?

Those generators, abandoned in a snowy lot, are the biggest 'tell' that the HHA administration wants conditions in its buildings to cry out from neglect, for a "resolution of need."  
How about "need" for replacement of brine-soaked, Sandy-damaged generators with the new "Sandy-proof" ones loitering in a parking lot?

As FM Generator wrote "saltwater damage left the sets with very limited lifespans."   One may assume Sandy-damaged HHA generators may be dying, just waiting for the next disaster to leave its tenants, literally, in the dark.

A recent update:

All the generators are sitting in the parking lot of the Hoboken Housing authority awaiting engineering and installation at various facilities around Hoboken. Superstorm Sandy slammed Hoboken with several feet of water damaging all the emergency generators for the housing authority.  After FM Generator repaired all the damaged generators new ones were purchased from Blue Star Power Systems. The gas-fueled generator sets are built on customized bases which raise the generators about 36 inches above ground level. This will help them avoid flooding in a future storm.  In order to make the equipment work properly a series of engineering steps and construction modifications need to be performed. The weather is making this process difficult and causing construction delays. The Director of Hoboken Housing Authority and the engineers are using this time to modify the buildings' electrical systems to incorporate the more powerful generator sets. FM Generator is working with the engineers and project managing the generator portion of the installation. All construction is expected to be complete by May 1, 2014.

Gee, FM Generator paints a different scenario than does The Hoboken Reporter.  

 FM Generator says the buildings' electrical systems are being modified to incorporate more powerful generators, while The Hoboken Reporter tells us no work is being done- the HHA hasn't found a contractor yet:

The risk that the current cold weather poses to residents is not worth taking right now, said Garcia, who added that for the time being, there is no rush to install the new generators. 

Because of the larger size of the new generators, and because rewiring that must be completed to accommodate their increased power, the HHA must wait until the snow has melted before engineers can begin the installation process.

 Don't be surprised if you find these generators for sale on eBay.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I Sue You!

by Yo Gregory 

When your only tool is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail. Such as it is with Hoboken 2nd Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason who is suing the City for the release of documents exchanged between the City and one of the law firms it's contracted in the past. Mason's tool of choice is the lawsuit - a great tool for depleting the resources, both time and finances, of its target. For this reason it's a terrific tool for revenge and obstruction. Of course, it's a terrible tool for carrying out the day-to-day duties of a ward councilperson. But when revenge and obstruction are all your councilperson is interested in, then that's what ward residents have to settle for. For the record, let's take a brief look at Councilwoman Mason's history of lawsuits against Hoboken and its residents. more at Yo Gregory

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tracking Down that "HUD Spokesman"

HUD Spokesman?
Those 14 generators languishing in an HHA parking lot aren't making electricity, but they are generating a buzz.

And thanks to Hoboken's "credentialed media," the buzz just grew louder. 

Because this week, The Hoboken Reporter stepped in to explain-away the appearance of these steel Goliaths still wrapped in their shipping plastic. Since no one who should know why they are there wants to claim them, the HR introduced a nameless "HUD spokesman" who explains that the 14 units of various shapes and sizes "were delivered in fall on purpose"!

Yep. And whose idea was it to ship generators in the Fall when installation is set for Spring?

The manufacturer's!  It's true.  I read it in our "credentialed media."
"Garcia, HUD and the vendor" were aware that the "inclement weather was looming but the manufacturer wanted to prove its  new model generator, more powerful than previous iterations, could withstand the elements."

HUD spokesman?
Well, GA would like to give a shout-out to reader hobojoe, who knows a lot about mechanical engineering; so much so, in fact I would like to offer him a full-time, unpaid position at Grafix Avenger with overtime and no benefits.   hobojoe, are you interested?  You can be GA's Mechanical Engineering/General Contracting Consultant (MEGCC).  The job comes with upsides and downsides.  The upsides, are: um, none actually.  The downsides: you will be sued by Beth Mason, taunted at public meetings, have thousands of midnight flyers with your picture spread citywide  - you may even end up on a Nazi Truck.  Sound good? With 2 weeks of unpaid vacation!  Did I say no benefits?  Zip.   Please join Team GA, hobojoe!

hobojoe said:
 I've never personally dealt with this generator company (or actually heard of them until now, but they don't seem to raise any flags) so I don't have any contacts there, but the line where the manufacturer wanted them to sit around in a lot on purpose sends the bs meter off the charts. They're proving how powerful their brand new models are by... leaving them sitting uninstalled in the corner of a parking lot for half a year? Seems like the best way to make sure your product can withstand the elements is to actually OPERATE THEM in the cold weather - you know, make sure the diesel engine fires up when the temps are near zero and things start to turn to gel; make sure the charging system keeps the batteries in top shape during weeks of temperatures in the teens, etc. What a load of crap.
Great point!

So who is this idiot, I mean "HUD spokesman", anyway?  GA emailed reporter Dean DeChiaro yesterday to find out.
Hi Dean,

I thought you did a great job w the VBM story.

I want to know the name of the HUD spokesman who provided you with the information for the Generator story. I’m interesting in contacting him/her. Please get back to me ASAP.

No response.  Hmmmm.  Well, the name of a spokesperson of a federal agency talking about the use of taxpayer-dollars is not privileged information.

So GA contacted some HUD officials today to see if any of them know WHO told The Hoboken Reporter that 14 generators were ordered on purpose" to stand outside in a parking lot for 6 months. 
Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 11:37 AM

Subject: Hoboken Reporter Attribution to HUD spokesman

Dear (redacted),

I am trying to find out the name of the HUD official spokesperson who provided the following information for the Hoboken Reporter story: HUD: Installation of generators in public housing slated for spring.

The article discusses the future of 14 generators delivered to the Hoboken Housing Authority in “September and October” but sit in a snow-covered parking lot, uninstalled. The article cites an un-named “HUD spokesman” for the explanation. Some of the “HUD spokesman’s” statements do not make sense- including:

In fact, 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. The HHA is currently in the process of seeking a contractor who will install the generators.

Can you please advise who represented your agency for the information provided to the Hoboken Reporter? Please provide his/her contact information. A spokesman for HUD expenditure of federal dollars should not be anonymously sourced.

I have been writing about these generators since contacted by a resident of the HHA who was concerned about why they have been sitting out all winter and have not been installed.

Very truly yours,

In the meantime, maybe Dean will answer his email (?).

Hey Dean, why didn't you name the "HUD spokesman"?  Maybe someone from HUD will have that information handy.

HUD Spokesman?

In the meantime, I've decided to unplug my washing machine and move it outside with the rest of my appliances (did those yesterday).  I'm leaving them outside until Spring, since half of them are under warranty and the other half, oh well.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Hoboken Reporter Generates Cover Up?

GA surveying a whole lotta generators

Folks, I was as surprised as you were to see The Hoboken Reporter had followed up on GA's exclusives:  "Snowy Generators at the HHA" and "HHA Generator Mystery" with their own 'investigation' into 14 generators languishing in an HHA parking lot:"HUD: Installation of generators in public housing slated for Spring."

And you know, after reading Dean DeChiaro's excellent cover story on VBMs, GA had high hopes for this one.  Like a big, juicy low hanging fruit, this story was ripe for plucking off the blogs for the mainstream press to sink it's teeth into.   

Then I read it.

If our Fourth Estate ever had teeth, it's got no balls.

All GA can say is, shame.  The residents of public housing deserve much, much better.  

Did you read the article?  Here it is in a nutshell: the nut was delivered in fall and left in its shell outside in a parking lot at the HHA, because the nut-farmer wanted to prove that its new species of nut- more crunchy and delicious than previous iterations, could withstand the elements, and guess what?  This nut was Sandy-proof!   What better way to prove how weather-resistant this new breed of nut was than to order it in September, leave it out all winter, then eat it in Spring!

Isn't that clever?

If you bought that bullshit, then you believed The Hudson Reporter's version, as told by a nameless "HUD spokesman" to reporter Dean DeChiaro.  (GA emailed Dean DeChiaro to get the name of this "HUD spokesman"-- I'm waiting for a reply).

I think the identity of the "HUD spokesman" is even more mysterious than the provenance of those 14 generators!    (Maybe the HR got a couple of paragraphs on HUD letter head?)  Well, here are a few questions raised by whomever the sources were:

The article says "... the agency [HHA]was able to order 14 new ones this past fall."  

Followed by "The generators were delivered last September and October and are stacked in a lot at Fourth and Harrison streets." 


How were these "new model generators" ordered and delivered in Fall?  There's no lead time to fabricate a generator?  GA imagines it's weeks, if not months between an order, fabrication and delivery of a large mechanical piece of equipment.   Generators are not typically an off-the-shelf item.  The HHA generators were all different sizes and shapes. For a September delivery, GA is guessing the order was placed in July or August, at the latest.  By whom?  The article says the HHA is looking for a contractor to install.  Who sized and specified the generators? 

Are you ready to swallow some more?

 "The risk that the current cold weather poses to residents is not worth taking right now, said Garcia, who added that for the time being, there is no rush to install the new generators." 

Followed by: "In fact, 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."

Don't pee on my leg (or my door) and tell me it's raining.

Which is it: (A) the installation was delayed because of inclement weather, or (B) delayed for inclement weather?

I would fire the idiot that came up with (B).  (You know, I left my boots outside all year to prove they were waterproof.)

 Now, did you catch this:

"The HHA's smaller buildings... have never been outfitted with emergency generators before."  

Which means they don't have them nowAnd that's not a problem?  

So, why isn't the installation of generators where none exist a priority?  Why wouldn't that have been done before cold weather hit?

GA was told by an HHA resident that this generator is "dead"

It's one thing to cover a politician's ass when it's simply politics.  It's entirely another when public housing tenants' safety is at stake.   

So when The Hoboken Reporter publishes an unnamed HUD-spokesperson's B.S. about an HVAC manufacturer wanting its product to sit uninstalled in winter "on purpose" to "prove" it could withstand the elements... 

I think it's time to hang a "FOR SALE" sign outside of 1400 Washington Street.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

HHA Generators Have Babies?

Oh my! 

A few days ago a reader sent GA photos of what appeared to be 5 generators languishing in an HHA parking lot, reportedly since last October.

This afternoon GA wandered over to have a look... and guess what?

Either Mommy and Daddy generator had a slew of  adorable babies or else... there are even more generators than depicted in the published photos!

Yep. What looks like 5 generators from 'the front' is actually... 14.  

They are new, plastic wrapped, and marked with shipping or delivery dates; dates vary.  The plot thickens!  

GA spoke to a contractor who said these generators are of the type meant for indoor installation. So months of exposure to the elements can't be a good thing, right?  He believes they're installed in some combination, so that that would mean these fourteen containers, assembled, are fewer than fourteen generators...

So EXACTLY how many generators are languishing in these 14 huge containers? 

It may be time for another HFD inspection to figure out where they belong, if Executive Director/ Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia doesn't know. And if Garcia does know, then they should be installed immediately.

Unless of course, they can't be installed because the buildings haven't been built yet.

Well, look... it's all speculation... but GA recalled the developer chosen for Vision 20/20 telling the City Council his proposal did not include back-up generators. And...

Read paragraph 1 of Mayor Zimmer's May 1, 2013 letter to Carmelo Garcia below, the paragraph continues from page 1 onto page 2.   

The developer's contract did not include back-up generators; generators were to be provided "by others".

Does this have anything to do with the 14 containers languishing in the HHA parking lot? 

GA has no idea.

That's what the um, 'media' is for.

Why was this project bid without back up-generators?  Why are generators sitting in the HHA parking lot?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Earwitness:Those Meanies in Trenton

Oh my goodness, today's Earwitness heard an ear-full...

Not only that, word sure travels doesn't it?  From ear-to-ear-to-ear.

GA just read MSV's Grist, and boy, word is spreading like a brush-fire or in this case, a raging bacterial ear-infection. (Yeah, you try and make ear-jokes).

Well, it seems that our 33rd District Assemblyman is not getting a warm reception in Trenton.  At least according to today's Earwitness.  In fact, he is so unhappy, that  he is considering... litigation. 

Oh, d-EAR.

Why must so many Hoboken politicos fill our Courts with their garbage?  Alleged garbage, that is.  If in fact this litigation does get filed.

According to my Earwitness :
The Assemblyman called (redacted) for advice.  Says everyone is out to get him.  He's being harassed.  His nickname in Trenton is "The Wire" He can't go to his office without finding a post-It note that says "Here comes The Wire."  Politicians walk away from  him. That's why he contacted (redacted). He respects (redacted)'s advice and guidance, he's like a member of (redacted's) family.  So he told (redacted) how he's  being harassed  by Trenton lawmakers, and wanted advice about suing for bullying and racism.
"Bullying and racism"?
This could get very interesting.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Guest Submission: About that Trial in Jersey's Not A Voter Fraud Case

 by Cheryl Falick

Recently there were a couple of inflammatory comments on a story covered on Grafix Avenger about a subpoena issued to Blue Water in connection with the 2013 election contest on Hoboken Ballot Question #1.  Those comments were not made on behalf of Hoboken Fair Housing Association (HFHA) or by anyone that was speaking on behalf of HFHA.

To provide the readers of Grafix Avenger with a little more information, HFHA did not initiate the litigation and the case is not a voter fraud case.  Several weeks ago supporters of the developer/real estate investors’ group, MSTA, initiated an election contest in an effort to overturn the 2013 election results on Hoboken Ballot Question #1 which would have weakened rent control regulations in Hoboken.   They were asking the courts to review 223 rejected VBM ballots and have those ballots counted in the final election tally.  Over 180 of those 223 ballots had one of two bearers listed on the outside of the ballot and most of those 180+ were rejected due to what is called ‘incomplete assistor portion.’  This means that there was an indication that someone assisted the voter and this was not disclosed on the VBM certification.   A bearer (listed on the outside of the ballot) is a person that transports the ballot for the voter; an assistor aids someone in actually voting the ballot.  (For example, a blind person may need someone to actually fill out the ballot for them.) 

Both of the bearers of the 180+ ballots were listed on campaign reports and worked for the Let the People Decide Campaign (Frank Raia pac.)  It is our understanding that, typically in such an election contest, the individual voters must come in and testify about their individual vote; however, the developer/real estate interest groups’ attorney attempted to have the court accept certifications only from those VBM voters.  This is where the case becomes interesting.  HFHA’s attorney proffered information to the courts that these ballots necessitated more scrutiny than mere certifications.  HFHA also provided a witness list of individuals that could provide the court with more information on Hoboken VBMs and a list of people that they intended to subpoena.  The list to be subpoenaed included Blue Water, the firm that was spotlighted here on Grafix Avenger and on Mile Square View.  The witness list included Hoboken’s own Smarty Jones and Councilman Bhalla among others.  Smarty Jones, who was on the stand for 1.5 days, testified to his knowledge about Hoboken’s VBM based on his investigations for his blog and conversations with Hoboken residents over the last few years.  Councilman Bhalla mostly provided additional historic context by answering questions about the 2010 council election between former Councilman Michael Lenz and Councilman Tim Occhipinti.  Both of the ballot bearers, Dio Braxton and Lizaida Camis testified on behalf of the plaintiffs and, at this time, Lizaida Camis has not completed her testimony.  Owing to the testimony to date, the judge ruled that there are too many questions and improprieties and, therefore, the court would not accept voter certifications and that the individual voters must take the stand.

HFHA was granted intervention to allow the certified winners a seat at the table and HFHA maintains the position that the ballots in question were legitimately rejected by the Board of Elections.  HFHA, thus far, is the only defendant (as intervener) that has insisted on full (actually any) scrutiny of the process surrounding Hoboken’s VBMs.   HFHA has prevailed in, not one, but two elections and finds it disgraceful that the developer/real estate interests group is now trying to overturn this second election victory with the harvested VBMs that can, and often have impacted the outcome of every Hoboken election.   While Hoboken Ballot Question #1 was a vote on rent control, HFHA also believes that this election contest has much broader ramifications for every Hoboken voter as we as a citizenry cannot allow the deplorable election chicanery that goes on election after election after election to rise to new levels.  Harvested votes are disgraceful in the first place, to allow them to be used as is attempted in this election contest is beyond disgraceful.    

As the case is ongoing, it is as yet unknown what will happen with the 2013 certified election results and what this spotlight that the case is shining on Hoboken’s VBM may mean but, one thing is clear…this contest may represent the best opportunity to expose VBM fraud in Hoboken and put the first (or last) nail in that coffin.  We would like to thank all of the good citizens of Hoboken for supporting our efforts to not only maintain our election victory, but for standing with us and many others in town that want to see an end to election corruption in Hoboken once and for all.

GA Note: Thanks so much Cheryl for enlightening me and others!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

HHA Generator Mystery

"Install us, Assemblyman Garcia!"

Does anyone know what February 14, 2014 is?

No, not Valentine's Day.  It's the one-year anniversary of Hoboken Fire Chief Blohm's appearance at an HHA meeting to deliver the findings of a January 30, 2013 fire safety inspection of the HHA: 6 buildings lacked properly functioning generators:

Chef Blohm's report to Mayor Dawn Zimmer

Here's a recap:
On Friday, February 1, 2013 Blohm received a call from the Acting Director of the NJ Division of Fire Safety, William Kramer. Kramer told him that inspectors had been at the HHA the previous day, and:
"Mr. Kramer went on to say that there were several buildings that had no backup generator power, that fire pumps had been removed from various buildings and that fire alarm panels had their "guts" removed and he was not sure that permits had been taken out to do so. He specifically said to me that if it were not for the volume of residents that would be displaced he would deem all of those buildings as imminent hazards.
 Kramer told Blohm to apprise the mayor immediately, which he did. Then Blohm dispatched Fire Marshall Captain Dave Buoncuore to the HHA. That Sunday, February 3, 2013 Blohm reported to the administration that "the HHA was up and running" and fire watches were ended. On February 5, 2013 HHA ED Carmelo Garcia was slapped with a Notice of Violation citing that he had "failed obtain the proper Building Permits for all the City of Hoboken housing buildings that were damaged by the Super Storm Sandy: electrical wiring, panels, switch gear, motors, motor controls, fire system and fire panels, fire pumps and any building structures"

Then on February 14, 2013 Chief Blohm appeared at the HHA to deliver his findings to the HHA Commissioners. There the public learned the stunning news: 6 HHA buildings were without properly functioning generators.

Oh yeah,  one of the buildings where the generator "failed to work at all" , 510 Marshall, was the site of a meth lab The meth lab was discovered several months later in April 2013. 

Why does GA bring all this up?

Because there are 5 new generators- still in packing materials- that have been sitting in an HHA parking lot since October 2013.

Generators are not ordered like pizzas. There must have been a need for them. One may assume they were bought to replace malfunctioning equipment.  If that is the case, why have they been sitting in a parking lot for months?

Perhaps the Fire Marshall needs to be called back for a re-inspection. One would think the installation of these generators should be of the highest priority to Executive Director and Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia and the HHA Board.

And no, this is not about politics, it is about protecting the lives of residents of the HHA.

Left out in the cold.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Snowy Generators at the HHA

Five brand new shrink-wrapped generators wait for... ?

Holy frosty-generator!    What are five Blue Star Power Systems, Inc generators doing sitting in a parking lot over at the HHA?

Does anybody know?

The brand-new, shrink-wrapped generators are encased in snow and ice, and according to an HHA resident, have been there for months- since October.  In fact, the generators have sat there for so long without being installed, they've spawned rumor and speculation among HHA residents.   According to one resident:
They've been in the parking lot since mid to late October. There are rumors circulating that he bought non-working generators and that (redacted) is waiting for a storm so he can say they don't work due the storm. Other rumors going around, he's so pissed at Vision $/$ not going down that he's waiting for a storm to hit to destroy the generators to be spiteful & then say when we have no power how the HHA is in bad condition & can't withhold storms and that's why we need Vision $/$.  

Oh, dear.  Well, one must separate rumor from fact.

The fact is, there are 5 new generators sitting in an HHA parking lot.

Whose are they?  Why are they there?  Which buildings were they ordered for?  Why weren't they installed?  Are they properly protected  from exposure to storms (raised)?  Were these purchased with FEMA grant money or HUD money?  How much did they cost?  Who has the contract for this work?

There's an HHA meeting on Thursday.  Maybe the Board can get answers, if they don't know them.  Maybe they know why the generators are there.

I'll bet those generators cost taxpayers a pretty penny.   If the HHA ordered them, they ought to be installed, right?

The generators are wrapped in plastic and coded for shipping.

Monday, February 10, 2014

You're Invited

This just came in GA's Inbox:
Attached is the flyer I got today from Beth Mason.  It's a  really nice gesture to give out free coffee and donuts so I made a bunch of copies (about a hundred) and gave them out at the homeless shelter. Someone asked me what kind of donuts but I didn't know. You can share this with your readers.

Hangin' on the Mole

Holy MOLEy!   Hudson County's best political news blog, Hangin-on-the-Vine has picked up GA's report of an (aborted) dirty trick in Bayonne's mayoral election.

Yes, indeed. A quick recap, in rhyme:

Yep, Davis' folks paid attention to the shenanigans that went on in Hoboken's mayoral race.  That is, the invasion and ruination of Tim Occhipinti's campaign by:

Moles are small cylindrical mammals adapted to a subterranean lifestyle. They have velvety fur; tiny or invisible ears and eyes... some wear glasses.

Well, the mole Mason tried to sell Davis was told to 'take a hike'.  This turned off both her cash spigot and her sabotage plot for the incumbent, Mark Smith.    But Vine notes the strength of Smith, and that Davis has "problems" with "close associates".  One of them he notes is  "PR consultant Jack Butchko, who has never won a major election at this level that anyone can recall."

Jack Butchko!  Butchko worked for Tom Greaney's 2011 City Council campaign. And, guess what?  Butchko worked on Tim Occhipinti's ill-fated, mole-infested, Peyton-Manning-letter-writing campaign!  You know, the campaign wrecked by the very same mole being shopped to Davis!

To be clear, Butchko was NOT a mole.  But GA was surprised to find his name on Occhipinti's ELEC, like finding an autograph on the Hindenburg.

More surprising was finding a $7,910.00 disbursement to Bluewater Operations for "Field operation".

Did the Occhipinti campaign have a field operation?  Sources reported numerous unopened boxes of campaign lit and dog biscuits put out on the curb for the sanitation truck, after the election.    (Why not donate them to the Liberty Humane Society?  The biscuits, not the lit.)

Tim Occhipinti's 2013 'One Hoboken' Campaign ELEC report

As MSV reported, Bluewater was subpoenaed in the Hudson County Superior Court case investigating Vote by Mail 'inconsistencies' in last November's election.     They had received $20K from Frank Raia's "Let the People Decide" committee in his challenge to overturn Hoboken rent control law. Perhaps the $7,910.00 disbursement from the Occhipinti campaign in the November election and what that money was used for will be raised in court.

Well, to GA it looks like the same Hudson County fish swimming from pool to pool to pool, with the occasional mole wearing flippers. 

Oh, no!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Back on the Air

Or maybe she never left?  

Remember that Cable Access show hosted by Councilwoman Beth Mason that popped up during election season, called "Hoboken Today" featuring-- you guessed it: Frank Raia and Tim Occhipinti on consecutive programs.

Did you know she also booked Ruben Ramos and Dawn Zimmer?   Only when they showed up at the studio, the doors were locked. 

Some of you thought the show was a slick excuse for a 30-minute campaign infomercial.  Not GA.  "Hoboken Today" was good old-fashioned entertainment with celebrity guests who can't sing, can't dance and can't act.  

"...It got mismanaged, we spent lavish trips...a myramid of different places"
-Tim Occhipinti on "Hoboken Today"

In fact, "Hoboken Today" provided a myramid of opportunities for guests like Tim Occhipinti.  After appearing on Mason's program, he lost the $160,000 Myramid Game Show , the election and $160,000 (at least) of Frank's money.

Ah, well. 

And then, after Occhipinti and Raia got shellacked in November, the studio lights went dark.

Well, what do you know?  They're back on again! This promo popped yesterday on's Hoboken Forum:

Darn, I missed it. 

Well, skeptics out there are wondering what's she up to now?

 GA knows it's all about the shoes.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Davis Passes the GuacaMOLE

Not interested.

Here's the latest from the trenches of Bayonne:  ix-nay on the ole-may!

It looks like the battle over swapping The Mole for The Dole (Mason's) that's divided the Davis camp has ended.  Key folks within the Davis camp threatened to walk out if Mason's henchman was hired.  I am told they didn't "trust" him and believed he was a spy. Still...

When so much money is held out to a cash-poor campaign... it is awfully hard to turn down.  What to do, what to do!  Like waving a box of Twinkies in front of a starving man, wouldn't you grab the box?

Only Mason's Twinkies come laced with arsenic.

Nevertheless, drama ensued in Camp Davis; some wanted the loot thinking they could keep Mason's critter at bay.  Yeah, right. 

In the end, calmer, cooler heads prevailed.   

GA doesn't know if the Legend of Occhipinti had anything to do with it.  (Once upon a time, a  campaign burned through an estimated  $250K  to land 17% of the vote for Occhipinti and 7th place for Frank Raia, and nobody lived happily ever after).

If the Legend of Occhipinti didn't ring alarm bells, it should have.  The same crew was ready to do the same in Bayonne for Davis.

GA says "may the best man win" in Bayonne.  I don't have a dog in that race, I'm just not a big fan of dirty tricks. 

Speaking of dirty tricks, I heard scuttlebutt about the Mole putting together a third Bayonne campaign to draw votes from Davis, to help Smith. 

Curiously, a key member of that third campaign (who I won't name) tried for a couple of days to contact me via Facebook.  When I got back to him, he asked about sources for my "knowledge" of Mason and the Davis campaign. 

For the record, GA doesn't give up sources.  (I am a card-carrying member of the Society of Professional Journalists. )

Pass the guacamole, and the mole.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Holy Subpoena! Bluewater Gets One

Mason's 2011 municipal race: Bluewater awash in street money

Kudos to MSV for this breaking news: Bluewater Operations, LLC has been subpoenaed in the ongoing Hudson County Superior Court case investigating Vote by Mail 'inconsistencies' in last November's election.

MSV reports that Bluewater received $20K from Frank Raia's "Let the People Decide" committee in his challenge to overturn Hoboken rent control law.  The larger issue appears to be how Bluewater used the money to harvest votes from the HHA,  many of which are being contested in the current court battle.

And did you know a certain Horse testified a day and a half last week?

Bluewater LLC has worked on Beth Mason's campaigns, notably in 2011 received a disbursement of $52,000 to "promote the candidate." 

It is no secret that Mason pumps vast sums of money into local elections- like the (at least) $52K she gave to Jersey City Mayor Jeremiah Healy last year- but she's a geyser of loot at the state and federal level.

Take a look.  Since 2012 she's made contributions as an 'employee' of Newton Lao Leonard and Locke, LLC (NLLL).

Strangely, her resume lists her 'work' as Founder/President of NLLL ended in 2005:

Meanwhile, NLLL was not a registered LLC with the State of NJ Department of  Treasury until 2010:


Mason founded the company in 1993, worked for 8 years as a business consultant then stopped. Five years later, she registered it as an LLC. 

So what is Newton Lao Leonard and Locke, LLC? 

It is Mason's "current occupation" so does she draw a salary?  Who else does NLLL employ?  Are they fulltime?  Part-time?  Consultants?

What are they paid?  Are they paid with cash, or friendship

Curious, isn't it.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Message to Jessica Coco

Activist Jessica Coco's car vandalized early Sunday morning, February 2, 2014

Jessica Coco , HHA tenant activist whose group Save The Projects opposes 33rd District Assemblyman/ HHA Executive Director Garcia's  'Vision 20/20', the demolition and redevelopment of the HHA, sent me this yesterday:

They broke the driver's side door to my van some time in the wee hours.  Before this I had contacted Stack's office and an aide contacted me and promised to repair my car. (redacted) found out because I just happened to get a congrats from someone this morning as I'm going to the car to find my window broken.  Nothing happens at the HHA he doesn't allow. He wanted me to know he knew I contacted Stack.  I think I should be filing my own ethnic cleansing lawsuit. This was unnecessary.  What did he get out of this?

Retaliation for reaching out to State Senator Brian Stack?
Please call Senator Stack and tell him this harassment of Ms. Coco at the HHA needs to STOP: (201) 721-5263

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Victory in Bayonne

Congratulations, Mayor Mark Smith of Bayonne on winning your May 13, 2014 election!

GA just heard the good news.  I know, it's only February.

But sources tell me that your opponent is thisclose to hiring the team that tanked Tim Occhipnti's mayoral campaign in Hoboken and penned the notorious "Peyton Manning Letter".

Perhaps Jim Davis wants his name in the Washington Times, too?  

Coincidentally, the  very same Peyton Manning will be watched by a billion pairs of eyes around the world in tonight's Super Bowl. Go, Peyton!

Here is what Team Mole representing the Occhipinti Campaign sent to Peyton Manning after his brother Eli, a Hoboken resident, appeared at a Dawn Zimmer fundraiser during a Giants losing-streak:
 We are not sure whether it’s the 14 sacks he has endured that made his off the field political decision-making questionable –or if the 9 interceptions and 2 fumbles this year show that he is making questionable decisions on and off the field.What we do know is that concentrating on football alone could help our team get back on track. 

As the wiser, more productive, older brother, please talk to Eli. Please remind baby brother that four more years of no parking, flooding issues, bloated administration salaries and budgetary mismanagement are not what Hoboken needs...  Let him know that 0-4 quarterback’s get involved in politics. Winning quarterbacks stick with what is happening on the field.
And your opponent wants to HIRE the team that wrote this and made national headlines!  Mayor Smith, you've got this election in the bag.

I'll tell you why.  Here's a little Hoboken history.

The architect of 2013's "Peyton Letter" orchestrated 2012's "Nazi Truck" in Hoboken: the first time in Hoboken history that swastikas were used in a political campaign!  To boot, it was a School Board election.  

 The "Nazi Truck"-- photo credit: The Hoboken Reporter
Does Bayonne have a large Jewish community?  

Hoboken's Jewish community was very upset about the truck, which flashed swastikas and sound as it rode up and down Hoboken's main street.  Worse, it parked outside of a children's school, Wallace Primary, on the night of October 16, 2012 flashing swastikas on 5 huge screens and blaring an offensive soundtrack in a quiet residential neighborhood. What would Bayonne's Jewish community think that?

Many credit the "Nazi truck" with losing the election for the 'Move Forward' BoE slate. Maybe it did.

Listen, GA doesn't have a dog in this fight.  I like Bayonne;  Broadway shops, great restaurants. The Kashmir Grill is superb, worth the trip.

It is simply fascinating to watch the Second Act of the Tim Occhipinti campaign playing out in Bayonne.

From what I hear, the Davis campaign is being plied with nonsense, all to hire her mole.

One more time: Councilwoman Mason is not angry at Mayor Smith, does not blame him for Jersey City Mayor Healy's loss. Further, if the Davis people are being told that Mason gave Smith money for Healy, GA checked 2013 ELEC reports for Mark Smith and for the Bayonne City Regular Democratic Organization and found no record of Mason making any contribution to either. 

Well, whatever. Some folks cannot resist big bags of money waved under their noses.

Congratulations on your victory, Mayor Smith.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Assemblyman Garcia to his Wire: "I will now be shutting down"

The Hoboken Reporter,  April 18, 2013

As if you haven't had enough excitement with new disclosures about what Governor Christie knew and when he knew it....

Here comes the 33rd District Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia's secretly recorded lunch meeting with the mayor's husband, Stan Grossbard and attorney Bernie Kenny!

Yep, yesterday's Jersey Journal published the actual audio of the lunch meeting that Garcia had convened with Grossbard on January 6, 2013; GA has embedded it here for your listening pleasure:

The most fascinating aspect of the entire secretly taped lunch meeting is the end of the recording. That is where Garcia says goodbye to his old friend, Bernie Kenny, gets in his car and talks to his wire.

Yep, the audiotape ends with chit-chat to his recording device.  That's where we learn WHY Garcia secretly taped the meeting, a meeting which he convened.

Garcia tells his wire that "his goal was accomplished"  and that "much of what you heard today"  involves "them" (the mayor, her husband)  "assuming control of my board" to "steer contracts" and "bid rigging", and one of  the contract steering claims: "for special counsel to be eventually the firm of Kenny and Florio"

Yikes.  Bernie Kenny was an old friend and mentor to Assemblyman Garcia 

GA says "was" because there's nothing like accusing a pal of contract steering to kill a friendship.  Try it!  You'll see.  Not to mention the secret tape-recording part.

Anyway, GA has transcribed the last minutes of the audiotape.

And in my non-actionable and First Amendment-protected opinion, this is where Garcia suggests the 'purpose' of the recording is to set-up the mayor, her husband and an HHA commissioner for the litigation to follow.

 Here are 33rd District Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia's last words to his wire: 

Okay so, getting into my car now... it is 3:20, and I'm exiting the parking lot, I will now be shutting down, but clearly this goal was accomplished with respect to proving my theory and in fact acknowledging what they're all about.  What the bottom line is, it's politics, politic at its worse and what they want to use the housing authority for clearly they are unaware of, where the uh, uh, where the uh, appointing authority powers lie, and where, I uh, my...(pause)... ability on the principles and on what I've been trained and taught to exercise as the statue is what I have to use so that I do not- as I will be consistent to a fault-  I do not waiver in my practice so hopefully uh,  the federal government, HUD, OIG and those parties that are there to help me will recognize that I was right all along, with  , the uh connection of these dots, the mayor having control over all the other boards, and assuming control of my board,  and thinking they are in fact the appointing authority, and that by virtue of their powers, they carry out the agenda of the administration, and the mayor.  Much of what you heard today, involves them wanting the professionals picked by their people, the majority of four, Jamie Stuiver, Dave Mello, Greg Lincoln and Judy Burrell, which in fact leads to a steering of a contract,and a rigging of a bid, to ah give  who they want which is the firm of Chasen Leyner & Lamparalla Joe Garcia to become general counsel  and for special counsel to be eventually the firm of Kenny and Florio. That's where I think this is all about.  To establish that trust so that their bulldogs, they can call off their dogs, and you know, not try to defame me and saying that the executive director has something to hide. So with that I will close, and hopefully uh, I look forward to a vindication, I look forward to a-uh, means to an end, which is the righteous uh, stance of I know what I've been talking about all along, I've been uncomfortable, it's been a hostile work environment, and it's all been about politics and what they want.  Thank you.
What do you think?

GA wonders how the press got a copy of the audiotape; why would Zayas go public with this?   Simply put, the audio guts his complaint- and his client's credibility- like a fish.    One example, the claim that Zimmer had her own "Vision 20/20" plan is disproven by Garcia's taped narrative of how he shopped his Vision 20/20 to Director Brandy Forbes with no mention of the mayor pushing an  "ethnically-cleansed" version.  

The bottom line is, nothing in this audio is helpful to Garcia's case nor his reputation.

Moreover, now that he's an elected NJ State Assemblyman, why remind his peers in Trenton that he wears a wire?

Perhaps his Trenton peers should consider purchasing a R.A.T. (Recording Affidavit Touchscreen).