Friday, January 31, 2014

The First Shoe Drops: Sandygate

WHO'S NEXT?

Folks, it looks like shoes are starting to drop in the Sandygate scandal, and this one's a Jimmy Choo.

The Rockefeller Group, whose billion-dollar development deal in Hoboken was alleged to be a condition of the Christie administration to release of disaster aid, has dumped their lobbyist, the Mighty Wolff & Samson.  The HR reports: 
The lobbyists for the project were Woff & Samson, a firm that includes partner David Samson, a close Christie ally. The alleged quid pro quo made national news.According to the story, "Rockefeller Group said on Thursday that last week it had terminated its contract with the firm, Wolff & Samson, ending a relationship that began in 2007. 'Given the investigation,' Dwayne Doherty, a spokesman for Rockefeller Group, said, 'we’ve decided to shift our work on the project to another firm.'
Not exactly a vote of confidence.

Here's what it looks like to me.  This is just the first shoe, very soon we'll have enough to fill a Thom McAnn's.  

This first shoe makes sense; remember, the Rockefeller Group is Japanese-owned.  GA lived in Japan a few years, I know the drill.   Japanese culture is averse to scandal; firings and resignations are the certain consequence of any "shameful" behavior in business or government.  Unlike in America where the 'little guy' gets thrown under the bus to save the honcho's arse, the Japanese take responsibility from the top-down.  Always. Presidents and Prime Ministers are first to go. In Japan, they apologize and acknowledge responsibility and shame.  Admirably, that's how they roll.  Which means GA expects more firings to come from within the Rockefeller Group.

But GA believes there will be more.  Because when you have Christie defenders like Rudy Guiliani now  publicly hedging their bets on whether Christie knew about Bridge-gate, you know insiders are looking for the exit doors.

All of this validates Mayor Zimmer's revelations  that she was under enormous pressure by the Christie administration to approve the Rockefeller Group development, up to and including holding federal monies for Sandy disaster relief hostage.  A smoking gun: the NY Times' disclosure that the EPA invited Rockefeller Group LOBBYISTS to a meeting with her and put the Rockefeller Group project at the TOP of the agenda.  A friend told me this was a 500-pound elephant sitting on the mayor's shoulders.

And note the firing of the lobbyist firm, Wolf & Samson, came one day after the NY Times wrote about the lobbyists at the EPA  meeting.

 Remember this: the misuse of federal funds is a crime.  Expect indictments to follow.  But first, a downpour of shoes.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Trojan Mole in Bayonne?

From Hoboken to... Bayonne?

Holy MOLEy!

If sources are correct, it looks like the characters that tanked Occhipinti's campaign from the inside are looking for a second act- in Bayonne!

You just can't make this stuff up, folks.

To recap, there was at least one mole in Tim Occhipinti's mayoral campaign, presumably placed there to benefit opponent Ruben Ramos by 'screwing up' Tim's campaign and siphoning running-mate Frank Raia's loot.

Mission accomplished!  Occhipinti got an anemic 17% of the total vote.  Frank came in 7th place.

CC Dumbinatrix, Mistress Tim
Call it the mole-effect.

Not that Occhipinti was ever a 'winner' (he's our City Council Dumbinatrix), but the magnitude of failure was historic--  making national headlines for his  'Peyton Manning letter'.  Don't remember it?  Occhipinti's campaign  wrote a letter to Peyton Manning joking that his brother Eli must have a brain injury for endorsing Zimmer.   Ha ha ha?  

As reported by Earwitnesses, the mole wasted enormous amounts of Raia's campaign cash as he ran the campaign into the ground: 
Raia's reported aggregate contribution was $122,400.  Which brings Raia's portion of reported contributions to 71.3% of the total raised... GA's Earwitnesses described boxes of unopened campaign literature tossed out- 25 boxes for the BoE candidates alone, boxes of dog biscuits, money charged for street workers (but no street workers), computers and office equipment bought that weren't used, and then the expenses... like the $10,000 for an ad created by the team running the Ramos campaign, 50% reported to have been skimmed off the top by a greedy, double-crossing tuna.
Did you know the mole was a fish?   He swims in a tank owned by Councilwoman Beth Mason.
 
He hired the Ramos Team to do an Occhipinti TV commercial!
So, what about Bayonne?

Multiple sources claim that Hoboken Councilwoman Beth Mason is trying to sabotage the mayoral campaign of Bayonne's  Jimmy Davis. 

How?

The same way the Occhipinti campaign was destroyed- from within by a mole.

Sources say that Mason has promised the Davis campaign big bundles of loot if  (and only if) they hire a certain employee of hers as a consultant. 

Can you guess who?

Sources say that Mason is shopping a lie to the Davis camp that she is "very angry" with his opponent, Mayor Mark Smith, hence the offer to "help" the Davis campaign.

What kind of "help"?

A Trojan MOLE.  

This mole comes bearing cash for the Davis campaign coffers. Once inside the gates, he spies and wrecks the campaign from within. (And no, Beth Mason is not "angry" with Mark Smith. That's a ruse.)

GA speculates this cash-for-mole swap is a favor to Mayor Mark Smith and his ally (and gubernatorial aspirant) Steve Sweeney. 

Hey, Bayonne peeps: beware of  MOLES bearing Mason-MOOLA.  

Speaking of Bayonne, GA will recount a strange incident that happened on my way to court on January 17, 2014.

I was followed as I walked south on Park, the guy was right behind me.  Then he caught up and said  "Hey! Did I meet you in Bayonne?He was short, in his 30's, dark-haired, wearing very dark glasses and holding a small, red camera. I said, "What's your name?"   He replied, "Ryan Mercado".  (Probably a fake)  I said "No" and kept going south.  The guy took off in the opposite direction.  Clearly a message designed to rattle me before my court appearance. Another one: a post appeared on MSV an hour before  court threatening GA with a second SLAPP suit.     

Hmmm... a 'message' from Bayonne, followed by an online threat. 

It is heartwarming that Mason's Trojan Mole appears to be "helping" his litigious political operative friends.

As for the plot to sabotage Davis' campaign, it begs the question: do moles fly south for the winter?

In Hudson County, they do.

One Hoboken's 10/25 2013 ELEC report, page 8

NYT: Rockefeller Lobbyists Invited to EPA Meeting with Zimmer

Excellent NYT article, January 29, 2014: "How Pressure Mounted for Development in  Hoboken"

Folks, here it comes: the drip, drip, drip of documents revealing the extraordinary pressure Mayor Zimmer was under to "come through" for the Christie- allied developer, the Rockefeller Group.

An excellent piece of reporting by The New York Times reveals "newly obtained emails" about how when Mayor Zimmer met with the New Jersey Environmental Protection Agency to discuss protecting Hoboken from the next catastrophic flood, the EPA's top agenda item was  "a review of concepts for flood control measures at the Rockefeller property".

And two Rockefeller Group lobbyists were there. Since when are a private developer's paid-lobbyists invited by a state agency to attend a meeting with a city's mayor?   

Talk about delivering a message.  In this case, a billion-dollar message.  

And this is only the beginning, folks.

Between the coming federal Department of Justice investigations and hard-nosed investigative journalism, the truth will emerge.  Eventually.  Until then, the tale of Hoboken disaster-relief cash held hostage to green-lighting a massive development cast a long shadow on Governor Christie's presidential ambitions.

Locally, it has been amusing to see the A-List of Zimmer-haters rush to TV studios and microphones to complain how the mayor wants attention, stardom, etc. and, to question her timing.  Mind you, these elected officials should be outraged that, if allegations are true, funds for their constituents were withheld because the mayor wouldn't green-light a development deal.

But no, Zimmer so enrages her enemies that they can't help themselves.  

Predictably, her critics who always desert Hoboken residents in their time of need, will alienate us all yet again, as they attack our "lady mayor" who  has bravely spoken truth to power.  Remember these elected officials sued Councilman Jim Doyle off the City Council in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy;  Mason, Occhipinti, Russo and Castellano were more focused on political games than keeping government running in a time of disaster.

These four nudniks continue to make the same mistakes, again and again.  As their attacks on the mayor escalate locally, the wider, national story may once again put them political-Siberia.

Speaking as a fan of good government, what a relief.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

It's Ba-a-a-a-ack


Not even a month after Hudson County Superior Court threw out the garbage, Attorney Louis Zayas has fished it from the can and sprayed it with air freshener.  

Yep, the "ethnic cleansing" lawsuit is back.

This time with the term, "ethnic cleansing", cleansed in favor of the unoffensive "political patronage".

But really, does it matter?  The complaint still introduces all three Defendants as "white",  Plaintiff Carmelo Garcia as "Hispanic";  in fact, Garcia is white, too as are most Latinos living in the United States--according to the US Census Bureau. The Census Bureau defines "Hispanic" not as a race, but an ethnicity.  But Zayas doesn't let facts get in the way of a frivolous, politically-motivated lawsuit.

Did you know GA is "white" too?  

Here's what I think it's all about: inflaming racial/ethnic tension at the HHA to new heights to intimidate Reform Commissioners, labeling anyone who may try to replace Garcia before his contract is through as a "racist" and likely Defendant in the next lawsuit.

That is my opinion.

Well, MSV posted the Zayas-dreck in it's loathsome entirety.  And guess what?  MSV was named in the lawsuit!  Not as a Defendant but a paragraph:


Of course, this triggered a stunning revelation from Da Horsey:

"For the record, the only elected official to ever offer to employ MSV was Carmelo Garcia!"

"You've got the job!"
Wow, okay.  Since Horsey went public with it, GA will confirm what he told me months ago: in a  conversation with Carmelo, the offer of a job was dangled like a bushel of carrots.

At the time I thought it was clever, a kind of Sun Tzu strategy.

Only later when Al Sullivan broke the story about "secretly recorded conversations" and "political spying"  did GA remember Horsey's "job offer" and wonder if that bushel of carrots dangled under his nose had a wire attached.

We'll never know.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Mason's Flood Charity Quietly Disbursed Funds

Whatever happened with the money raised by the Mason Civic League for the Beth Mason charity Hudson County Recovers (HCR)?    Do you know?

Me either, until this washed up in cyber-space:

Mason Civic League Facebook
April 25, 2013?

That was 9 months ago.

I didn't hear a thing about it did you?  It happened so quietly.

No press coverage in The Star Ledger, Jersey Journal or Hoboken Reporter, not a peep from Hoboken411...  

How come?

Remember the media fanfare to announce the charity?  On November 14, 2012 the Jersey Journal wrote:

Hoboken Councilwoman Beth Mason's civic association has created a county-wide non-profit organization dedicated to raising donations for local charities providing assistance for Hurricane Sandy victims. 

(That appears not to be true; GA checked the DCA Directory of Registered Charities and could find no evidence Mason created any such non-profit.  Rather, donations were collected by the Mason Civic League Inc. online via PayPal)

So, an event was quietly held at the Mason Civic League last April to give $5,000 each to the following: The Boys and Girls Club, The Jubilee Center, The Liberty Humane Society, The Hoboken Volunteer Ambulance Corps and a fifth (name blocked).  

GA is sure these organizations appreciated the generous donations made by the non-profit entity, the Mason Civic League, Inc.  

But it is curious that if the event did get covered, it's been scrubbed.  More likely, it wasn't covered.

In fact, the Hudson Reporter didn't mention her Hudson County Recovers charity in their "Power List" blurb about Mason (#12).  

GA will hazard a guess and say one reason was to avoid questions on the disastrous $300/head  fundraiser at La Reggia in Secaucus on December 20, 2012.   In fact, buses were rented for seniors to fill empty seats, and invitations posted in senior buildings inviting them for free.   A GA reader described it:

R.I.P., Jimmy.  We miss you.

Anyway, for those who wondered what happened to HCR, here's your answer:

click photo to enlarge
 
April 25, 2013- Mason disburses Hudson County Recovers funds.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Hoboken Reporter Strikes (Out) Again


Al Sullivan is a good friend of mine.  But really, I plan to tuck this week's "Between the Lines" column under the litter box where it belongs.  With any luck, my cat will 'miss'... splat!

Sorry, Al.

You can fling any pejorative at people who believe the mayor is an honest woman; call them any cutesy alliterative term like Zimmer-zealots, zucchinis,  zigguruts, zeppoles, zebras, zigzags, zeros, zeppelins, and so on.   You can assume the worst: that she's loaned her credibility to the national Democratic party or "misunderstood" Guadagno's message at Shoprite.   The rest of us who know her better as the "accidental mayor" who puts the interest of our city first, will just slide your column under our respective cat box(es), and call it a day.

Like me.

As for the Hoboken Reporter's annual "Power List", Beth Mason's got to be disappointed.  For all those weekly page 3 ads she's bought since 2012 (!), she couldn't break the Top Ten?  Of course, Mason's #12 spot-- ahead of Brian Stack (#16), the Hoboken Fair Housing Association (#15),  Tom DeGise (#19), to name a few, proves the HR's obeisance to the mighty dollar.  In fact, Mason's mighty dollars have been proven worthless in the only way that matters in politics: winning elections.  If you don't believe me, ask Mason-financed mayoral candidate, Tim Occhipinti, better known as Mr. 17%.

Also, when is the paper going to stop misspelling (Tom) Bertoli (#4) as Bartoli?  At least they know how to spell his boss' name.

 GA couldn't help but notice that bloggers have slipped off the HR's Power List entirely.  Funny, when it comes to "Most likely to be Sued by Political Operatives" we top that list.   Not surprising the paper would diss us.   Remember they were ready to go to press with a doctored photoshop from (ad-buyer) Beth Mason's political operative.  The Mason operative photoshopped a Grafix Avenger article, renamed it "GasChamberHeader.pdf" and submitted it to the Hoboken Reporter  for a smear piece on Hoboken bloggers.

Yep, it's true. The Mason operative altered a screenshot from my blog- a story about a soiree for Hoboken University Medical Center Administrators- and turned it to something about Nazi gas chambers.

Unbelievably, the paper was ready to go to press with it until GA blew the whistle.

Doctored screenshot by Mason political operative, titled "GasChamberHeader.pdf"
 Here is the operative's 'GasChamberHeader.pdf' (his doctored screen shot) side-by-side with the an actual Grafix Avenger  screen shot. 

The anatomy of a smear
Well folks, enjoy your day.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Zimmer on Magazine Cover

Readers might recall that GA posted the February 2013 cover of Glamoor magazine.  That was the same issue where Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer was named one of 10 influential American women advising the rest of us: "How to Get Sh*t Done in Life".    

What was the mayor of our Mile Square city doing in Glamoor?

Zimmer rose to accidental prominence during and after Superstorm Sandy; her leadership of our Mile Square through the flood and recovery brought her national attention.  And didn't you hum  "Kumbaya" when our Republican Governor Chris Christie came to Hoboken in support of Democratic mayor?  I did.  


LAST YEAR
February 2013 cover

So, it's ironic that Mayor Zimmer has risen to even greater prominence for revealing the "Kumbaya" moment was not what we believed.

Well, GA got an advance copy of next mponth's Glamoor magazine, and guess who's on the cover!

NEW ISSUE
February 2014 cover

Imagine that!

What a difference a year makes.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What About ME?


The only predictable moment since Mayor Zimmer ignited a media brush-fire on Saturday has been the response of her rival, Councilwoman Beth Mason.

Ms. Mason has swooped in like a starving buzzard for a few crumbs of airtime, a splash of ink in the press...  as our Mayor is the white-hot center of a national media feeding frenzy.

Mason's churn of press releases, interviews and multiple Twitter-gasms clubbing Mayor Zimmer is yet another political miscalculation as she strains for the next rung of the ladder. Out of Hoboken.

Why?

Like it or not, outside of Hoboken this story takes on extreme partisan political dimensions.

Christie is the Republican 'frontrunner' for the presidential nomination, and Zimmer's allegation hit his 'sweet spot'-  his management of NJ in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Of course, Republicans and Christie supporters must rally to discredit the Hoboken mayor. (Haley  Barbour dismissed her as "that lady mayor").  That leaves Democrats and Christie-opponents to support her, to endorse her credibility.

So, if  you are Beth and Ricky Mason and aspire to a Democratic party political appointment or even elected office at the state or national level, and just sank $250K into Democratic races, elected Democrats, and the National Democratic Committee which 'side' would you pick?

Beth Mason picked the OTHER one.

And remember Mason schmoozing up prospective gubernatorial candidate Steve Sweeney with a cocktail party at the League of Municipalities in Atlantic City?   Here is what he said on Saturday:
Stephen M. Sweeney, a Democrat and the president of the New Jersey Senate, who is a Christie ally, called the allegations “extremely disturbing’’ and promised an investigation.
So, it's kind of curious that Mason is dogging her own party at the state and national levels.  Isn't it?   Which tells you when it comes to her 'enemies', hell hath no fury and no brains.    

Of course, a cynic might look back to Beth Mason's 'develop or die' beginnings at Hoboken City Council in 2009 over the very same property that Christie is alleged to have bartered for disaster relief with Dawn Zimmer.  From the Hoboken Reporter, February 22, 2009:
Wednesday night, the council voted to approve a redevelopment study for the now-19 block area near the Burlington Coat Factory, where a subsidiary of the Rockefeller Group has been buying land. The area now under review by the Planning Board was expanded westward to the Palisade cliffs, including the land occupied by the Academy Bus Company.

If a city declares an area a redevelopment zone, the city can change the zoning, seek developers with plans that conform to the new guidelines, take over certain property by eminent domain if necessary, and possibly offer a tax abatement agreement.

Zimmer and her ally, Councilman Peter Cunningham, took a stand against continuing the process of designating the area for redevelopment, while Mason found herself on the opposite side of the fence.

Mason said, “If [Hoboken] stops building, it will die. It will die. You have to continue to grow to some extent. You cannot stop.”
A cynic might wonder if Mason doesn't have a moral or ethical problem with Chris Christie's alleged 'deal' for flood aid; if she would have swapped the aid for the project.

In fact, 'Develop or Die' Mason  reflexively attacks Zimmer- not the alleged swapping of a development for disaster relief in her own city.   We all go under the bus, as long as she can score a few minutes on WPIX.

Mason is at odds with Hoboken residents who appreciate Zimmer exposing an (alleged) dirty political deal.  She is at odds with her local, state and national party whose support she needs to climb the next rung out of Hoboken.  And she is at odds with her constituents, most wait anxiously until 2015 when they can "move forward" without her.

The Mason media-blitz makes her a woman with no country.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Not Another Dark Star


Once again, the nation's eyes are on Hoboken.

This time it's not for hosting TLC superstar The Cake Boss or booting Snookie over to Jersey City, nor is it about the weather.

Hurricane Sandy from the NASA/NOAA satellite-10/29/12
The Pandora's Box the mayor opened on Saturday is  a story of another kind.  It's a topic GA and MSV have spilled oodles of cyber-ink on: political corruption.

Hoboken's political universe is swirling with dark stars, and open secrets about election fraud, political operatives employed by a Councilwoman's 501(c)3, a Councilman who was re-elected after starring in an F.B.I. surveillance video where he tells Solomon Dwek's 'bagman' to deposit $5,000 to into "Russo For Hoboken"...

These open secrets are not even 'secret'- they are Hoboken political culture and why the rest of Hudson County laughs at us.  They do.   Laugh.

Nowhere else in Hudson County do City Council members try to close a hospital and bankrupt a city just to spite a mayor, nowhere else does a City Council sue a fellow member in the aftermath of a flood disaster, nowhere else does a Councilwoman's political operative hire a Nazi truck in a School Board campaign.

The fact that a Reform mayor and Reform now control Hoboken is stunning to those Dark Stars.  The Zimmer administration's governing principles are antithetical to everything they represent: making money at the expense of everyone and everything else.  And of course in Hoboken, the money flows from development.  That's the beating heart of Reform-opposing political culture.

And if you are one of Hoboken's elected dark stars, you open the gates for developers because you know that some of those millions swishing and swashing about in contracts and kickbacks will come your way.  Somehow.

If you believe Mayor Zimmer, Governor Christie fell from "honest" and "something very different" to just another dark star.

Mayor Zimmer's journal- entry from May 17, 2013

And if you are Mayor Zimmer, you just spent 4 years cleaning up after your predecessors, and were re-elected you because the People want a clean house; so what do you do when your governor asks you to become a dark star?

GA thinks it is not in Zimmer's DNA.  Not only would she have been scorned had she announced this last May, we would be in a Ramos or Timmy administration and the Rockefeller project would have broken ground by now, Vision 20/20 would be at the Zoning Board, our boards would be stacked with dark stars and the gates of our city would have swung wide to the highest bidder.

THAT is what would have happened if Zimmer opened her mouth last May.

Thank G-d she waited.

So, Dark stars and operatives may think they smell blood, but GA thinks the rest of us admire Zimmer's moxie.  How many politicians would expose a political giant's  using disaster aid as leverage to for a  friend's massive development project.

Of course, these are unproven allegations.  But investigations will follow.   The mayor has already spoken to the US Attorney in Newark.

In the meantime, all eyes are on Hoboken and for now, it looks like one Mayor's word against the Governor's.  Here is Hangin On The Vine's take:
Of course, without tapes of the conversations it’s going to turn into a she said, he said, she said scenario without anyone having definite proof. But there are certainly enough peripheral facts to warrant an investigation and force people to testify under oath. The mayor has already stated she is willing to undergo questioning and submit to a lie detector test. We’re betting her adversaries in this case will refuse on the lie detector part.

Other circumstantial but damning evidence is the fact that the Rockefeller group hired Lori Grifa, a one-time Christie aide as a lobbyist and the law firm of Wolff & Samson (yes that Samson involved in the George Washington Bridge scandal as Christie’s appointment to be Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and Sometimes New Jersey). And, who wants to take bets that the Rockefeller Group donated money to one of those PACS helping Christie that are not required to list their donors?

Did you know the Vine writes the best blog on Hudson County politics?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mayor: take the lie detector test

Hoboken Mayor Zimmer alleges that Christie tied Hoboken's flood relief dollars to approving a huge development project. 


Well folks, as if we didn't already know that politics is a sleazy business, and that politicians can play hardball to get a deal done.

What we didn't know until yesterday morning, was that we were the pawns of our own governor in an alleged nasty game of hardball with our Mayor.

In a stunning interview on MSNBC, Mayor Dawn Zimmer made international headlines with the disclosure that Christie officials- and the governor himself- had conveyed that amount of help for our flood-devastated city was directly tied to approving the Rockefeller Group to develop a 19-block parcel of land of Hoboken's north end. 

Web of Christie connections to the Rockefeller Group-credit: MSNBC
She said- They said.
___________

"If you tell anyone I'll deny it...If you don't move ahead, we're not going to be able to help you."

 -NJ Lt. Gov.Kim Guadagno   (Zimmer alleges was said to her) 
 ___________

"I have no choice, I have to come forward..  we need some of this funding...  I cannot give a windfall to one private property owner because the governor and other people wants me to do it. I cannot do it"

-Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer
 ____________ 

 “What or who is driving her only now to say such outlandishly false things is anyone’s guess.”

-Christie spokesman, Michael Drewniak
 ____________

Whom do you believe?

Let's take a look.  We know that Hoboken was the worst-hit municipality in Hudson County; 80% of our City was literally, under water.  Thousands of us were displaced; some are still.  Hoboken City Council President Jen Giatino has only just moved back to her renovated home this December- almost 15 months after the Sandy struck. 

As reported on MSNBC yesterday:

 At the same time that the planning board voted against the (Rockefeller Group Development) study, Zimmer was applying for funding from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, a huge vault of money overseen by Christie to help communities hit hard by Sandy prepare themselves for the next storm

Christie’s people came back with less than 1% of what Hoboken had sought. With $250 million to disburse statewide, just $142,000 went to Hoboken – enough to help defray the cost of one backup generator to power a flood pump. Out of another pool of money for recovery grants – $1.8 billion in all – Hoboken received $200,000.  


“Please governor,” Zimmer wrote in a letter following the decisions, “we need your help. I have tried to assure Hoboken residents that we would be treated fairly because you have always treated Hoboken fairly in the past.”

There was no response to that letter, dated May 8 of last year, the same day the Hoboken Planning Board did not adopt the redevelopment recommendation for the Rockefeller property.

Two days later, Zimmer got a call from the Lieutenant Governor, Kim Guadagno, who wanted to come to town to do an event at a ShopRite to spotlight businesses that had recovered from the storm.

On May 13, Guadagno and Zimmer met at the Hoboken ShopRite. That is where, Zimmer said, Guadagno delivered the first message about the relief aide. Zimmer shared this diary entry which she said she wrote later that day. “At the end of a big tour of ShopRite and meeting, she pulls me aside with no one else around and says that I need to move forward with the Rockefeller project. It is very important to the governor. The word is that you are against it and you need to move forward or we are not going to be able to help you. I know it’s not right – these things should not be connected – but they are, she says, and if you tell anyone, I will deny it.”

Well, here goes.   GA  believes that Mayor Zimmer is telling the truth; the Christie folk,s not so much.   

Advice to Mayor Zimmer: Take the lie detector test.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

GA Recognized by the NJ-SPJ


Maybe a month or so back, GA entered this web site for consideration by the New Jersey Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists in a contest for work done in 2013.  A little about this organization:
The New Jersey chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists exists as a voluntary affiliate of the national organization‚ the Society of Professional Journalists‚ shares its goals‚ and adheres to its policies. Specifically‚ the chapter will promote and support the ethical practice of journalism. We aim to uphold the highest standards of the profession for fairness‚ accuracy and thoroughness. The chapter also was established to address the interests of those within the profession‚ and those seeking to enter it.

Then I sent samples of my work- blog posts from 2013- and a link to Grafix Avenger, then forgot about it.

So, I was delighted to find this in my Inbox today:
You have been approved to make entries in the 2014 NJ-SPJ Journalism Awards for work done in 2013...
Well, it is an honor to  be recognized by a prestigious organization like the New Jersey Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists who've reviewed my blog, selected posts, and validated the kind of work I do by letting Grafix Avenger 'through the gate'

Any suggestions on entries would be appreciated.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

New Harassment for HHA Activist Jessica Coco

4th and Final Notice of Inspection left on Ms. Coco's door the afternoon of Tuesday January 14, 2014- with less than 24 hours notice.   Moreover, what happened to Notices 1, 2, and 3

In what looks like another crack at "legal action" against HHA tenant activist Jessica Coco, the above notice was left on Ms. Coco's door sometime Tuesday afternoon.  What's so unusual?

A couple of things.
(1) Ms. Coco was NOT given a minimum of 24 hours notice prior to inspection  as is required by HUD regulations.

(2)  The notice is labeled "4th and Final Notice of Annual Inspection"; what happened to Coco's first, second, and third notices?

(3) Ms. Coco's apartment was inspected on or about November or December of 2013 and her lease was already renewed in late 2013.

(4) The political context of Coco's improper notice:
  • the vocal 'campaign' against Councilman and HHA Commissioner Dave Mello and new Reform appointments to the HHA  
  • cries of "ousting the black man" from HHA Chairman and Carmelo Garcia loyalist Rob Davis  
  • the dismissal of Carmelo Garcia's "ethnic cleansing" lawsuit and his vow to "re-file" it
  • the perception that new 33rd District Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia wants to finish out his 5-year contract as HHA Executive Director without a Hatch Act challenge

Make no mistake, Angel Alicea's $1,000,000 swag-bag from a Hudson County Superior Court jury for alleged ethnic discrimination by the City of Hoboken is catnip to lions.

This is a full-out war to build a strawman for Garcia- that ANY effort to remove him under ANY circumstance amounts to racial discrimination.  Now, if Garcia can hold on to his HHA Executive Directorship... 

He Can! He Will! Watch him!  Keep Vision 20/20 alive, that is.


And Jessica Coco of Save The Projects, the tenant opposition to Garcia's Vision 20/20 Redevelopment is apparently back on the radar.

Brave and beautiful Ms. Coco.

Read the language of the "4th and Final" Notice: "If the Authority cannot gain access to your unit, the Authority will proceed with legal action".  Eviction.

Just so  you know, Ms. Coco is chronically ill.  She needed to go to the emergency room but was forced to stick around for the "inspection".  A repeat of the inspection she had a few months ago.

Harassment, anyone?

'Cease and Desist' letter Coco got from HHA Attorney Charles Daglian falsely alleging she posted this counterfeit notice

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Earwitness Rumor: Political D-I-V-O-R-C-E?


It's a sad thing when a symbiotic political marriage breaks up.

In this case, we're talking about a parasite and its host.

Here's how it works: the parasite aides and abets the agenda of it's host- votes with it, supports it unconditionally whether it's to oppose the sale of Hoboken's only hospital or a cost-free garage bond refinance consequently blowing a $4.5 Million hole in Hoboken's budget surplus.   Obedience is key in this kind of relationship.  So if the host tells its parasite to vote 'no' to bond for repairs to flood damaged Pier C park or 'no' to new HOP buses to replace those destroyed in Hurricane Sandy, that's what it does.  Obey.  For in return, the parasite attaches itself to the host's checkbook, suckles it with abandon, and is rewarded with a fully-funded mayoral campaign.

Have you figured out yet who GA might be referring to?

Well, Earwitnesses have been buzzing about the bust-up of the Tim Occhipinti- Beth Mason 'marriage'.  The way I heard it, Timmy left her.  For another another woman

Well, he's trying to land the other woman- he hasn't yet.  And there's competition. 

Earwitnesses are buzzing that Councilman Occhipinti's been running around bad-mouthing Councilwoman Mason, throwing her so far under the bus you can only see her ruby slippers.

Not a house, a BUS.
It appears to be about political survival- Timmy's desperately trying to save his seat.  With nowhere to go,  perhaps he believes he may rebrand himself with his 4th Ward constituents if he becomes that critical 6th Vote to advance the popular Mayor and her Reform agenda.

That's my guess.

 Anyway, GA never would have thunk it.  The breakup of a loving and caring political marriage. GA can't imagine this D-I-V-O-R-C-E happening without the host's consent.

Can you?

GA's Family Tree


Thank you, Sigsby Cheatham!

After reading your informative and inspirational Facebook postings about Jewish genealogy, I decided to research my Family Tree.

Thank goodness, the Mein Kempf Hall of Records for Inferior Races was open late.  After a light dinner of milk bones,  I relieved myself on a fire hydrant and was walked over there.

What an amazing research facility! My family history was a little hard to find because the Hall of Records has everything under one letter: "J".   But, eventually I found it.

Sigsby was right!  All of my Cave-ancestors got it on with jackals!  My G-d, the humping that went on in my ancestors' caves.

No wonder Grandpa had fangs.

What an educated and literate man.  Thank you, Sigsby Cheatham!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Campos "Likes" Anti-Semitic Facebook Rantings of Carmelo Loyalist

Screenshot from Hoboken Housing Authority Resident Advisory Board/Tenant Association representative Sigsby Cheathem's Facebook page- "liked" by former Hoboken Councilman Chris Campos.   

Holy cow!  In case you haven't heard...

Hoboken Patch has posted an Op-Ed titled, "Councilman Accused of 'Railroading' Housing Authority"  which begins:
"The following is a statement from Debra Morrissette and Sigsby Cheatham the Hoboken Housing Authority Resident Advisory Board/Tenant Association...
The Op-Ed by HHA Tenant reps Cheathem and Morrissette took Commissioner (and At-Large Councilman) Dave Mello to task, alleging at the January 9, 2014 meeting he "attempted to remove the first black chairman from the Hoboken Housing Authority..." and ended with this paragraph:
 As researched by a resident of the HHA, not one member appointed to the city boards is a minority, which serves contrary to the mayor’s inaugural speech of all elected officials working together for ONE Hoboken and being transparent with the processes used in the City’s government.
Is that true?

GA's term as an appointed member of Hoboken's Zoning Board of Adjustment ended on December 31, 2013; I'm a religious minority- Jewish.   Don't we count?

Oh yes, I guess we do.   HHA Tenant leader Sigsby Cheathem has a lot to say about my people, The Chosen, on his Facebook page.

I'm not sure you read this in your history books, but according to Sigsby, Jews are the progeny of horny Cave-girls and jackals (who would occasionally lap up juices from their festering sores),  then in lean times, would eat their doggy-dates.  Yep, here it is:

Woof! woof!

For the record, GA's never eaten dog that I know of, though I've had my share of tough steak.

Now, Sigsby who is somewhat of a 'regular' at City Council meetings, has nicknamed Russo, Castellano, Occhipinti and Mason the "Faithful Four".  Who wants to tell him that Mason is one of those hybrid jackal-humans?

Not me. Woof! Woof!   

Amazingly, not only don't public figures and elected officials repudiate this kind of hate speech, they "like" it.   Ask Chris Campos, former Hoboken 4th Ward Councilman.  He really "likes" it.




Are any of my Jewish brothers and sisters curious why Sigsby calls us "so-called" Jews?  "So-called?"

Anyhoo, what does Ethnic-Cleansing Lawsuit Filer 33rd District Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia have to say about this kind of hate-rhetoric coming from an HHA loyalist and tenant leader?

Here it is!


Don't you wonder what his Jewish peers in Trenton will think about this?

 One thing is for sure: Sigsby Cheathem , Advocate outspoken advocate for Carmelo Garcia's Vision 20/20 has got his story and is sticking to it... or is his words:


Thumbs up, Mr. Campos?


Woof! Woof!

Monday, January 13, 2014

On the Way to Trenton

Al Sullivan seems to have picked up on a rumor that was floating around before the November 5 election:

Garcia may soon have to choose between taking his seat in the state Assembly and keeping his job as executive director of the Hoboken Housing Authority – a legal issue that has yet to be resolved. If Garcia chooses to remain with the HHA, then his Assembly seat is up for grabs, and Russo is more than likely one of those who will try to claim it.

Garcia, meanwhile, may well hire his Assembly staff anyway, forcing others to make the legal challenge. Hoboken businessman Joseph Branco is rumored to be a future hire as Garcia’s chief of staff.

Well, if that rumor's still alive, we may be hearing soon of a BFF Chief of Staff appointment in Garcia's cabinet (?)... do NJ State Assemblymen have cabinets?  

GA's  thinking that perhaps Assemblyman Garcia and his new Chief of Staff can drive that bus down to Trenton, swing by Jake's house to drop off that re-tooled "ethnic cleansing" lawsuit and have a quick protest march "Jake the Snake! He's STILL a Snake!", record it all on a hidden wire, then hop back on the bus and head to the State Assembly...

Bing-bang-boom!


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Will He or Won't He?


No sooner than Carmelo Garcia's 'ethnic cleansing' lawsuit got the boot in Hudson County Superior Court--  it was back again!   Yep. 

According to last Tuesday's Jersey Journal: "Garcia's attorney, Louis Zayas, said his client plans to re-file the lawsuit in the next few weeks."

Wow!  

Zayas went on to say: ""We believe this issue will be cured in the next couple of weeks..."

"Cured"?  Is he adding a soundtrack?   

"Ethnic Cleansing The Musical"...  with his $1M+ Alicea award, Zayas can hire The Rockettes.

GA is not sure how one "cures" a charge of ethnic cleansing, leveled by a NJ. State Assemblyman (Carmelo Garcia) to a Mayor (Zimmer), her husband and a former HHA Commissioner who has since moved out-of-state.  According to Earwitnesses,  even Mr. Garcia's friends were embarrassed by it.

For anyone who has wondered where the mayor's call to "end divisive rhetoric" and stop using terms like "old guard" and "new guard" came from, look no further than Garcia's "ethnic cleansing" complaint:

Nuttier than a Snickers bar


Remember this lawsuit was entered in August 2013 preceding the November mayoral race.

Widely perceived as a combo of (1) distraction to embarrassing revelations that Garcia had worn a wire at his lunch meeting with the Mayor's hubby (2) a vendetta against the named HHA Commissioner and (3) political 'favor' to ally Ruben Ramos to amp up his base of support at the HHA, the lawsuit was designed to rock the political landscape.

It sure did.   Like a loud fart in a crowded elevator.

So, the specter of re-filing the lawsuit now, with Garcia an elected NJ State Assemblyman from the 33rd District is fascinating.

The typical Hudson County politically-motivated lawsuit, a SLAPP (the most common type is a civil suit for defamation) is usually withdrawn after its outlived its usefulness, which is to to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition. 

This politically-motivated "ethnic cleansing" suit  has a different aim.  Plain and simple, it's an elaborate smear campaign using the Courts to label Reform as racist, ethnically intolerant.  What it hopes to accomplish is to discourage Reformers from volunteering for board positions with the threat they will end up in a lawsuit.  Once those who would effect Reform are out of government, the Carmelos, the Masons, the Russos and folks of their ilk 'own' Hoboken- again.

Look what happened to GA.   And Horsey.  And two dozen bloggers who simply exercised their right to open, free political discourse online.

So here's the Garcia-Mason message to Reform: Get involved, Get sued.  Unless you're on OUR side.

That's one reason why GA believes the Garcia suit may get re-filed. Because the rumblings about the two new Commissioners being "white" as evidence of Zimmer's alleged "ethnic and racial intolerance" which reared it's head way back in 2012, with political operatives posting this kind of rhetoric...



...continue on. 

HHA Chairman Rob Davis, an African American gentleman (an ally of Carmelo the  Ethnic Cleansing Claimer) was quoted telling Hudson County TV : "They're trying to oust the black man."

HuhThe HHA Board is an ethnically and racially diverse mix of Hispanics, African Americans and Honkeys.

That's the thing about propaganda, and SLAPP suits and ethnic cleansing lawsuits- they create their own set of facts.  Hopefully, our judges recognize crap-lawsuits, as did the one who threw out Garcia's Ethnic Cleansing lawsuit.

Well, a new judge, a new set of facts and... who knowsAngel Alicea is the new role model for frivolous lawsuit filers.  The bad guys can always find a local hack or a well-intentioned out-of-towner to litigate their garbage.

New Jersey is overdue for anti-SLAPP legislation.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Froze-boken

Swearing in is TONIGHT!
Hello, folks. 

GA's got a packed agenda this week so blog posts may be spotty...  Toshiba limped home yesterday; it runs except for a few rotten gizzards, like its wireless card. Ugh.  

Anyway,  GA ran into Ravi Bhalla on the way back from Wallace school this morning.  He reminded me that tonight the City Council meets and will appoint new board members.

So I checked tonight's meeting agenda and here are those appointments:
  • City Council President,  
  • City Council Vice President  
  • (1) Class III City Council representative to the Planning Board
  • (9) Zoning Board member appointments and re-appointments 
  • (2) 5-year appointments to the Hoboken Housing Authority (replacing Jake Stuiver and Greg Lincoln),
  • (1) Hoboken-appointed commissioner to the North Hudson Sewage Authority,
  • (1) 3-year appointment to the Alcohol Beverage Control,
  • Municipal Prosecutor for the City of Hoboken, 1-year term 
  • Public Defender for the City of Hoboken, 1-year term

Wow!  Talk about a packed agenda!

It will be fascinating to see how the Mayor's call to "end divisive rhetoric" will translate to support for nominees. 

Will the 'Council of No' voting bloc stick together or will it undergo it's own re-org?

Will 'Council of No' a.k.a. MORT (Mason, Occhipinti, Russo, Terry C.) lose a member? 

All signs indicate two are vying for Number 6 (the 6th vote needed to pass bond ordinances): Occhipinti and Russo.  Which means the acronym 'MORT' will become  'MOT' or 'MRT', depending on who bolts.  GA  hopes it's Russo because 'MOT' is easier to pronounce and can also be turned to MOT-ley.  Is that "divisive rhetoric"? 

So tonight's meeting will be a forecast of things to come.  And a new seating arrangement!  Thank goodness.    

Ladies request: please put Jim Doyle where Castellano is seated now, so he's on-camera for the whole meeting.   Yes, the ladies agree: Doyle is good-lookin'!    We know he's married to a gorgeous and brilliant lady, we just want to look at him. 

Is that okay, Leah?


Council Hottie  credit: Mile Square View
So, tonight  GA hopes for a display of good will and cooperation amongst the reconfigured Council in appointing qualified, enthusiastic and dedicated board members.  

And for those who want to see the swearing-in of the fabulous THREE Kids First School Board Trustees, that will be tonight at 7 PM in the BoE meeting room.

Congratulations to 'new' Kids First Trustees, new Board and City Council appointees!

And please, stay warm- it is 4 degrees Fahrenheit in Hoboken now. I'm calling it Froze-boken.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Inaugural and Prayers for Toshiba

Quid pro Rachel

Hi there folks, GA's not dead!

But I'm not sure about my laptop which crapped-out Thursday night... tomorrow I'll know whether to host a funeral or a welcome-home. The technician reported it was "filthy" inside, that the fan was "stuck" in gunk. And the likely perp is:

No catnip for you
Cute, huh?

If my laptop comes back tomorrow I'll share pics from yesterday's inaugural cause this gizmo I'm on (Little Avenger's) has no memory card slot.  Booo.

So, thoughts on yesterday's inaugural...  it was truly a revelation how the mayor's stature has risen these past 4 years.

Recall Zimmer's first inaugural was held at Hoboken High School, and her after-party was in Church Square Park.  The 'star' of that fete appeared to be Buddy Valastro, TLC's Cake Boss, who was mobbed by fans. Yes, U.S. Senator Menendez made an appearance, but it felt perfunctory; he was in and out so fast.

What a difference these four years have made.

Zimmer's second inauguration was held in the DeBaun Auditorium at Stevens, attended by a full press court, police everywhere, and so many luminaries onstage the place was ablaze with political star-power.

There were 2 U.S. Senators, New Jersey's  Robert Menendez and Cory Booker,  U.S. 9th Congressional District Rep. Bill Pascrell,  NJ's next-Governor Steve Fulop (currently mayor of Jersey City),  Speaker-Elect of the NJ Assembly and HCDO President, Vinnie Prieto, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGuise and former NJ Governor James Florio.

Wow!  And all of them were there for our mayor, Dawn Zimmer.  Isn't that something?

Timmy's inaugural would have been held at Bright Horizons with keynote speaker Polka Dot the Clown.

There were lots of speeches; Cory Booker agreed that "snow sucks" and our next-Governor, Steve Fulop, said that Hoboken might be the "second" best city in Hudson County.

GA's favorite was Vinnie Prieto's.  The least-polished of the bunch- Prieto's remarks were punctuated by "ummms"- he spoke as eye-witness to Zimmer's  performance at meetings, on calls, and interactions with her.  Prieto called Zimmer a "trailblazer", said she's "always putting Hoboken first", is a "tremendous advocate for Hoboken" and told us "you made the right choice."  What Prieto expressed seemed to a cynical gal like me, genuine admiration.  GA hears our mayor is admired outside of Hoboken.

All the way to Washington D.C., so it seems.

And folks, when this many state and federal luminaries scramble to be onstage with the mayor of a mile-square city, that translates into INFLUENCE at the state and federal level for Hoboken.  Even Zimmer-haters have to agree her 'draw' can only help our city.

Dark-Siders, hold your noses and hope for Zimmer's success, which means Hoboken's success.

So, what did Zimmer say?

Well, she (still) doesn't sound like a politician- to me, and her forte is governing not public speaking.  Notably, Zimmer called for an "end to divisiveness" and "Old Guard/New Guard" rhetoric.

Okay with me.  I'm going with Dark Side rhetoric.

After the ceremony as folks crowded the DeBaun lobby, in swept Senator Bob MenendezGA thought it would be funny to greet him like an old friend, so approached him with a big grin and said, "Hi Bob! We missed you!"   Man, Menendez is good.  Without missing a beat, the Senator smiled reflexively at me like an old pal and explained why he was late (at some other ceremony).

After more schmoozing, the event moved to the Babbio Center for Buddy Valastro's cheesecake and yet more schmooze.  GA and pal Jessica Coco decided to walk over.

The huge modern lobby with it's magnificent glass-front panorama of Manhattan and high ceilings was crowded. Moments after GA and Jessica arrived, Buddy Valastro passed a few feet from us with no fanfare.  Again, what a difference four years makes.

GA decided to chat up some of the elected officials, political candidates and politicos who occasionally appear on this blog and are affectionately referred to as "Dark Siders".   Ruben Ramos, was no where to be found, but GA approached One Hoboken campaign manager Jamie Cryan, BoE trustee and former City Council candidate Peter Biancamano,  former City Council candidate Frank Raia, Freeholder Anthony Romano, former City Council candidate Brittany Cook, and 3rd Ward Councilman Mike Russo!  All were quite polite.

I peppered Russo with questions- mainly about his peers, but can't repeat the conversation (I promised confidentiality).  I can say he finds this blog "funny" including satirical commentary about him. One complaint:  he wants pics where he looks thinner.   I told him I could pop his head on the Coppertone girl if he likes, just to send the photo of any Adonis-like body and I'll do the rest.  Russo promised he would...  If you're out there Mike, send it over: grafixavenger666@gmail.com.  I'm waiting!

Of course Russo's attendance spoke volumes. The entire nine-member City Council showed at the inauguration, but only Russo came to the after-party.  He's a politician in the old-school vein; he'll shiv you in a meeting then knock down a beer with you later.   It's all politics.  GA is surprised Timmy didn't show for those reasons.  Hmmm.

Peter B., who was there with former running-mate Brittany Cook, gave me the autographed photo of Rachel Maddow which he's had for 2 years!  Yes, it's true: GA has been seduced by a Dark Side elected official.  I have taken swag from the Rachel Maddow Show!  Which means I have to write nice stuff about Peter Biancamano.

Okay, here it is: "nice stuff about Peter Biancamano".  

GA was delighted to meet Ms. Cook, a very attractive lady. I asked if she planned to get back into local politics to which she replied, "Yes".  Good luck!   GA would rather skinny-dip in a live volcano, but hey, different strokes...  I guess we'll  be seeing more of her at public meetings, and so forth.

One last note: Ravi told GA he will be on the Council for FOUR years, and is not splitting for other political endeavors, contrary to rumor floating around.  (Why is Ravi always targeted?  Must we Sikh the answer or is Sikh the answer?)    Meanwhile Anthony Romano told GA he plans to run again for Freeholder and hopes to get the mayor's blessing.

Well, that's it for now.

Have a great day, folks and pray for my laptop, please.

Cute Offender