Monday, February 29, 2016

Romano's Tattletale Cup

Sponsors adorn the cup... will they be reported on Romano2017 ELECs?

It's one thing to let a secret out of  the bag - it's quite another to print your big secret on a cup!

Anthony Romano is coyly building a war-chest to tackle Mayor Zimmer, while asking donors to make checks payable to "Romano for Freeholder."  Well, that's my opinion.

Anthony Romano needs campaign cash like an amputee needs rubber crutches.

According to New Jersey Watchdog, Romano collected a $122,312.40 pension (wow!) in 2014, lives in public housing (wow!), owns a thriving bar business on Washington Street, owns Hoboken real estate... The list, culled from state Treasury Department data, included 1,988 retired public workers at the close of 2014.  

Anthony Romano's got plenty of money to self-finance - he even carries a $77,600 outstanding obligation to Romano for Freeholder!

Romano for Freeholder's last ELEC filed - General Election, 11-day pre-election- June 24, 2014 

So, Romano's begun fundraising,  he's hired talent, Pablo Fonseca (as reported on Hudson County View)  while election day (November 7, 2017)  is 1 year, 8 months and 9 days- away.  

Oh yeah, since 2011 he has filed under "Romano for Freeholder." Now he's running as "Romano2017"- no more "Freeholder." 

Did we really need that tattletale cup to tell us that Romano2017 was a mayoral campaign? 


But, in case anyone didn't get it, just ask the Tattletale cup bartender, who introduced himself on the Chamber Train as "Anthony Romano's Chief-of-Staff" and loudly bad-mouthed Romano's next opponent,  Mayor Zimmer.

Yep, the obnoxious loud mouth bartender was heard trash-talking Zimmer on issues from flood protection  to Washington Street redesign, or "ripping Zimmer at length" as one witness put it.
If Pablo is reading this- you may want to reconsider your choice of "Chief of Staff." Give me a call.

Speaking of the Tattletale cup, did you notice one curious sponsor-  a subsidiary of a huge New Jersey realtor-landlord.   GA means huge.

A friend who noticed this sponsor said, "I am surprised they allowed their name on that cup.  While Romano and Branco are politicos, they are a major property owner of major import in the region. This cup triggers an ELEC event."

"This cup triggers an ELEC event."

WOW.  I'll have to have a conversation with my source, Deep Cup.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Mr. Romano's "Chief of Staff" Goes to Washington

Oh no, Ruben missed the train!!!

This one:

Yesterday, a train full of movers and shakers  chugged from Newark to D.C. for the 79th Annual Walk to Washington. The train was chartered by the NJ Chamber of Commerce and sources tell GA that registration, including the train ticket, cost $690...

Cheapskates need not apply!

But for political networking, it's a serious schmooze-fest, with the biggest bigs-wigs in New Jersey politics trapped together on a train for a couple of hours.

Well, GA's got eyes and ears outside of Hoboken...

Check out what was given out yesterday on the Chamber train:

Don't get it?

Look closer:

According to sources, Joe Branco, the failed co-manager of  "Move Forward 2012" was on the train hosting a "free bar" dispensing complimentary drinks and introducing himself as "Anthony Romano's Chief of Staff."

Sources report that the failed campaign manager, "kept telling people how bad Zimmer is and complaining about bike lanes and flood protection measures" to anyone with ears.  

GA was told, "People didn't give a shit, they just wanted the drinks."

In fact, a source put it this way: "[the failed campaign manager] was 'harassing' anyone that came near him."

GA was told there weren't many Hudson County people on the train aside from the "Move Forward 2012" political flop.   But that doesn't mean the all those Romano 2017 cups went to waste; some movers and shakers might have saved their cups to relieve themselves in if the overcrowded train urinals filled up.

Who knows?

In the meantime, my friend Ruben overslept, and missed the Chamber train. Why would he squander an opportunity to schmooze with Union leaders and lobbyists- ka ching?

Is this a sign Ramos isn't serious about running for mayor in 2017?

GA thinks Ruben allowed Anthony Romano to get a jump on future endorsements and/or contributions from movers and shakers.

Imagine all of the new friends Ruben would have if he had made the train and given out these?

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Amicus Briefs

Before you dig into the briefs, GA would like to clarify the procedural history of this litigation.

I have heard, "why bother the BoE keeps losing..." That is not exactly true.

Yes, the Hoboken District School Board has lost every filing (100%) with Christie administration officials.

But, the Hoboken District has never lost in a court of law.

In short, on August 6, 2014 the Hoboken District filed a Notice of Appeal to the Appellate Division.

But on November 6, 2014, Christie administration officials at the NJDOE requested that the Apellate  remand the matter back to them.

On December 2, 2014, the Appellate granted the Christie administration  motion and remanded the matter back to them, dismissing the Appeal (before any briefs were filed.)

Just so we're clear and  on the same page, this matter has yet to be heard in court. 

On September 25, 2015 the Hoboken District School Board filed in Appellate court to reverse the Christie administration's March 20, 2015 decision allowing the renewal and expansion of HoLa Dual Language School.

On November 25, 2015, the America Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Education Law Center (ELC) joined the Appellants as Amicus curiae. 

 ACLU-Education Law Center Amicus curiae

On January 27, 2016, Respondents HoLa Board Trustees submitted their opposition papers.

On January 28, 2016  The New Jersey Charter School Association (NJCSA) entered as Amicus curiae for Respondents.  Respondent Barbara Martinez sits on the Board of the New Jersey Charter School Association.

NJ Charter School Association Amicus curiae

On January 29, 2016, Respondent NJ Department of Education submitted their opposition papers.

GA believes that oral argument has not been scheduled.

From my own experience as a Bajardi SLAPP victim, the workings of the Appellate are opaque- at least compared to the trial court where the an online database is accessible to the public.

No such thing at the New Jersey Appellate, folks!  So, there you go.

Folks, whatever your opinion of the two arguments, all of the parents- HoLa and Hoboken district-  love their children and are acting on their behalf, and in the belief they have made the best choices for them.   

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Big sticks

Fighting for civil liberties since 1920
"The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is the pre-eminent civil liberties organization in the United States, utilizing litigation, lobbying, and public education to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Since its inception in 1920, the ACLU has played a part in nearly every significant American social or political issue in the 20th and 21st centuries. Its primary aims have been the defense of the freedoms of speech and press, the separation of church and state, the free exercise of religion, due process of law, equal protection of the law, and privacy rights of all citizens."
Yesterday we learned some startling news.

America's premier civil liberties organization, the ACLU, and NJ's leading public education rights organization, ELC, (who brought our state the landmark Abbott decision -Hoboken is a beneficiary) have partnered as amicus curiae, for the Hoboken District BoE appeal.

I wish we had this news much sooner, because the ongoing organized PR campaign against the Hoboken District has had some success in shaping public opinion.

GA says, it's one thing to speak softly and carry a big stick, it's another thing to put away your big stick and allow yourself to be beaten black and blue.

In my opinion, that's what's been going on.

Respondent Barbara "losing people like me" Martinez, Respondent Anthony "Curious Gal"  Petrosino, BoE Trustees Biancamano-Montgomery-Madigan (their staged "live motion" to withdraw the appeal and use of Roberts Rules to shut down discussion,)  Respondent-Trustees who haunt Hoboken School Board meetings, brag about PARCC scores and trash district schools; there is a cumulative effect of the fumes they've blown into the ether.

That's why, in my opinion, it's time to speak softly about the big stick(s).

The ACLU-ELC appearance for the Hoboken School Board is one big stick.

Another big stick ( ironically) comes from the Respondents' amicus brief, written by the NJ Charter School Association (CSA) after the ACLU-ELC stepped in for the Appellants.  

It appears the NJ Charter School Association's amicus admits that NJDOE Commissioner Hespe followed the Christie administration's political agenda in making his March 20, 2015 decision.  This affirms the BoE's decision to  appeal. 

It's right there, folks....

GA already posted the conclusion of the School Board's amicus brief, now here's the  CSA':

See what I mean?

That's quite an admission by the NJ Charter School Association about the goals and intent of the Christie administration!

The NJ Charter School Association/Christie administration argues is that redevelopment in Hoboken is "a process of reintegration..."  

NJ Charter School Association Amicus brief- page 27

GA knows some HoLa families, and they do not fit the cynical Christie-  NJ-Charter School Association agenda argued here. They are good and decent folks.  

The NJ-CSA arguments are bizarre- and offensive to say the least, but the court of public opinion doesn't get to decide, the Appellate does.

 In the meantime, the show must go on...

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

BOMBSHELL: ACLU-ELC joins Hoboken BoE Appeal

The court battle between two Hoboken school districts: one public and the other, a publicly-funded Charter, is about to get some attention.

Two powerful legal and civil rights organizations have aligned themselves with the Hoboken School District and joined their Appeal to overturn NJ-DOE Acting Commissioner David C. Hespe's  March 20, 2015 decision  on the 7th/8th grade expansion of HoLa Dual Language Charter School. 

They are  the nation's leading civil rights organization,  the American Civil Liberties Union (NJ Chapter)   and  New Jersey’s leading legal advocate for public school children, the Education Law Center.   

If you haven't heard of the Education Law Center (ELC),  you have heard of "Abbott districts"- in fact, Hoboken is one.

In 1981, the ELC filed the Abbott v. Burke case on behalf of all children attending poor and urban schools in New Jersey. In 1990, the NJ Supreme Court affirmed the lower court's decision in its historic Abbott II ruling and ordered the State to provide the urban school districts with funding at “parity” with suburban schools as well as supplemental programs to address their special needs.

The Abbott v. Burke decisions have been heralded as the most important legal advances for public school children since Brown v. Board of Education. 

In addition to parity funding, the decisions led to creation of the successful, high quality Abbott preschool program (like Hoboken's), an extensive schools construction program, and a series of academic and wraparound programs to support at-risk students in the state’s urban school districts.

So, on November 30, 2015 both the ACLU and the ELC entered as  amicus curiae  for the Hoboken District.

The ACLU-ELC's 30-page amicus brief is a scathing indictment of the New Jersey Department of Education's handling of the HoLa 's"expansion and renewal*" application.  (*Note: every time a charter files an application to expand, it is  required to renew it's charter, hence "expansion and renewal")

It details how NJDOE Commisioner Hespe "analyzed improper data" to arrive at "flawed findings" and made "legal errors" to arrive at his March 20, 2015 decision. 

The ACLU-ELC brief concludes with a single paragraph:

GA note: Parents are not to blame for supporting their school. The problem was and continues to be with the two Commissioners of Education (Cerf, then Hespe) and their capricious implementation, at the district’s expense, of Gov. Christie’s pro-charter agenda.  

Monday, February 22, 2016

HHA's Dana Wefer published in NJ Law Journal

Dana Wefer, Esq.
If you didn't know it, Hoboken HHA Chairwoman Dana Wefer 'moonlights' as a constitutional attorney arguing in defense of  First Amendment protections in New Jersey.

In fact, Wefer argued (and won) Mazdabrook Commons Homeowners’ Ass’n v. Wasim Khan (A-65-10) (067094) before the New Jersey Supreme Court.    

Wefer successfully argued that the New Jersey State Constitution guarantees homeowners the right to post political signs in their windows, even if such signs are prohibited by their homeowner or condominium association.   The New Jersey Supreme Court determined that such a restriction was unconstitutional, even when contained in the association’s governing document, holding that [b]alancing the minimal interference with Mazdabrook’s private property interest against Khan’s free speech right to post political signs on his own property, we conclude that the sign policy in question violates the free speech clause of the State Constitution.”

Pretty impressive.  Did you notice Wefer got an amicus brief from the ACLU argued by Frank Askin, one of  America's leading experts on civil liberties?

So, in  keeping with Wefer's passion for the First Amendment, she has written an(other) article for the premier legal newspaper in our state, The NJ Law Journal, " SLAPPing Back: Responding to Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation."

Copyright infringement law precludes GA from publishing all 1,585 words, but here are a few salient paragraphs.

Don't Feed The Plant!

Don't do it,  Seymour! Don't feed Taylor Barron (Audrey) to the hungry plant!
GA wants to congratulate the entire cast, crew and director, Danielle Miller for an OUTSTANDING Hoboken Junior/Senior High School production of "Little Shop of Horrors" this weekend!

My daughter and I went Friday evening, and liked it so much we saw it again on Saturday!  What a bunch of wonderful, talented kids- one of them, Asia Guzman,  has been my daughter's classmate since Mile Square Pre-K 3!  In fact, (my daughter recalled that) Asia played "Snow White" in their Pre-K 3 play- who knew she could sing like that?

Beautiful, talented stars:  Hannah Mack (Audrey) and Asia Guzman (Crystal), Arianna Santiago (Ronnette) and Gia Santiago (Chiffon)
There were (2) casts- I saw both and both were terrific. Stars Hanna Mack, Taylor Barron and David Rivera, you rock!

Congratulations, kids!

And remember people, if your plant ever asks you to pop a vein, just say, "NO!"

  Excellent performances: David Rivera (Seymour)  and Willie Allen (Audrey 2) 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Bikezilla v. the Drama Queens

Overheard after protected bike lanes were removed from the Washington Street re-design:
"She is holding us hostage because of this bike lane nonsense she keeps pushing. She needs to stop. Nobody voted for her for bike lanes!" cried Drama Queen #1. 

"All the mayor cares about is bike lanes!" cried Drama Queen #2. 

"They agreed to this behind closed doors. They deliberately did this on the down low because they knew what the reaction would be," spun Drama Queen #3.
You mean, eliminate the feature most folks hated in a sub-committee meeting "behind closed doors"... AND?   What else is supposed to go on at a sub-committee meeting- strip poker?  

Drama Queen #3, a clever dude, is trying to manipulate public opinion with some heavy spin.

Anybody (besides me) think that DQ's are workin' it pretty hard to turn "bike lanes" into a wedge issue against the Mayor?

As one reader put it,  the DQs "are rather obviously attempting to make it their own Benghazi: keep spinning it over and over and over and over."

Well said! GA senses the DQ choir wants something- and it ain't a new and improved Washington Street.    

So, who are these DQs and what are they up to?

Is a Reformer looking to sow dissent and form an anti-Zimmer coalition to take her on in 2017?

Will we see ads popping up in the paper, maybe a dopey web site, like last Fall's "Citizens for Accountability," and a petition signed by Ruben Ramos and Anthony Romano?

Over bike lanes? Jeez, that one'll sink like an iron turd.  (Though bike lane politics are great fodder for satire. And on that note...)

Lock up your sons and daughters because Bikezilla is frigging pissed protected bike lanes are gone from the Washington Street re-design!  Grrrrrrrr!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

What's the big deal?

Existing Washington street superimposed with proposed (painted) bike lines. What's the big deal? 

"To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making. The making of laws like the making of sausages, is not a pretty sight."
-Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898)

We can all agree that Mayor Zimmer and our City Council are going to deliver a vastly improved, safer Washington Street with infrastructure repaired..

We can all agree the voice of the people has been heard, and our governing body is respecting it.

We can all agree that the process has not been a pretty sight.

So what? 

This is how government works. 

As of last night, GA thinks the Mayor's Washington Street project is headed in the right direction. The "protected" bike lanes and constricted road are gone, but (as I understand it), the proposal includes a dedicated lane (painted  "sharrows") for those who bike, with no fundamental changes to the street scape- except some additional parking.

Look, we will never ALL agree on what is "best" for Hoboken, but the amended resolution, with sharrows, takes the Mayor's initiative to the next level.  That's my opinion.

Of course, 2017 politicking made an appearance.

Ruben Ramos, (whose political skills GA underestimated)  chastised the mayor and wants the council to claim ownership of the proposal, but remember who initiated the project to improve and repair Washington Street, to fix our infrastructure: Mayor Zimmer.

Anyone who wants to reduce her Washington Street initiative down to "bike lanes" is, IMO, an idiot.

Let's be clear: "bike lanes" have been part of the plan since 2013 with  no public push-back. Until now.

Because now the sausage is being made.

So, GA thanks both the Mayor and the Council for their hard work, still in progress, to bring  Hoboken a much better, safer Washington Street.

Next topic...

GA is immensely thankful for our superb Hoboken Fire Department who fought hard under punishing cold, to battle the fire at 505/507 Washington Street.  According to the mayor's office, fourteen firefighters suffered minor injuries, including frostbite, slips and falls and smoke inhalation,  GA wishes them a swift recovery, and...

Bless them for saving Frankie the cat!

An online fundraiser has been set up for victims who lost everything in the blaze:  The Hoboken Fire Fundraiser.    You can donate by Paypal or credit card, please click HERE  

HPD Chief Ferrante was on the scene, on top of it as always, and GA thanks him for continuing to do a fantastic job for our community.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Hijinks on the Hoboken School BoE

Hoboken District Trustee Peter Biancamano's campaign account Treasurer is Hola Board Trustee 

Why is a Hoboken District Board member's political campaign account managed by an HoLa Board Trustee ("Treasurer") while he is writing/voting on resolutions to benefit HoLa which effectively defund the Hoboken District?  

You tell me.

Not only is this unethical, in my opinion, Biancamano deserves to be booted from the Board.

According to the latest ELEC filing, "Biancamano for Council" is active and has a balance:

NJ Department of Education Code of Ethics for School Board Members reads:
18A:12-24.1(f) "I will refuse to surrender my independent judgment to special interest or partisan political groups or to use the schools for personal gain or for the gain of friends."
Should Biancamano be voting on any HoLa district matters?  

The NJ-DOE Ethics Rules, appear to say "NO." 

It gets worse.

Not only is Biancamano conflicted on voting, it appears he leads political operations against the interest of the Hoboken District  and against his fellow Board members, with political allies Britney Montgomery and John Madigan.

Behold the political stunt Trustees Biancamano, Montgomery and Madigan pulled off  on Tuesday, February 9, 2016.  (Sorry, the video is blurry - GA will do better next time!)

Biancamano's live resolution totally omits the funding "impetus" for the legal action.

Of course, no BoE political operation to serve a Texas idiot's vendetta against "Kids First/Reach Higher" Board members would be complete without a complimentary attack on the Hoboken School District on his shitty "education" blog:

Look... up in the sky, it's not a bird nor a plane...

It isn't Monarch man...

He's here to defund Hoboken classrooms while violating NJ-DOE Ethics Rules...  

It's HoLa man!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Biancamano, Montgomery and Madigan pitch, Petrosino catches

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck....

Folks it didn't take them long. 

Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting heralded the "Romano Faction's" first live political stunt of 2016.

The choreography between Peter Biancamano, Brittany Montgomery and John Madigan  began after public comment had ended, prior to the motion to close the meeting.  (Yes, the stunt has already been recorded on the blog of embittered crapademicAnthony "CuriousGal" Petrosino.)

Deposition of Anthony Petrosino: Anthony Petrosino  v Hoboken Bd of Education
Some of you may not be familiar with Anthony "Curious Gal" Petrosino. 

Petrosino used to 'double-dip' when he worked full-time as Assistant to Hoboken District Superintendent Jack Raslowsky (2007-2009) while teaching in Austin, Texas.

Yep,  double-dipper  Petrosino collected a full-time salary from Hoboken taxpayers while he was on the payroll at University of Austin, until 2009, when he was canned by the Kids First School Board Trustees.

Petrosino then sued the Hoboken Board of Education, and lost. The BoE countersued and won.

As a result of all that firing and suing,  Petrosino is nursing a grudge the size of the state he works in (Texas); in fact, Petro has weaponized his "education" blog to attack the Hoboken School District and the school board who fired him.  Under the mantle of academia, he churns out pseudo-scientific data  to disparage Hoboken District School as a proxy for his real target: Kids First.

So, back to this week's BoE meeting...

GA received a series of texts (and a photo) from a witness:

Look who shows up 49 minutes late!! Missed student recognitions, speeches of the kids from the Harvard model congress and missed the speeches from the kids in the Rutgers pre med honors program. Also missed super's discussion about coding club for elementary kids and also the partnership with Steven's and coding programs for jr and high school. Doosh!!!!! Hola showed up because PB [Peter Biancamano] made a new business to drop the lawsuit Madigan 2nd it. Ambush!!! But clearly Hola knew what to expect they came out to watch the vote! who voted to continue! Tom called the vote it was 6-3.

 PB made the motion Madigan 2nd and Britney said call the vote!!! As if she gets to dictate!!! So Peter bypassed the boards committee process and went straight
to ambush!! That's why Jen Sargeant and husband, Barbara Martinez, Lynn Danzinger, Susan Costimiras and a few other hola parents were there last night. They < knew what Peter had up his sleeve. 
GA has spoken to other witnesses and will break it down for you.

Brittany Montgomery sits on the Governance and Communication committees.  The Governance Committee is tasked with discussing and reviewing agenda items. The Governance committee met a few days prior to Tuesday's meeting.

It is Brittany Montgomery's responsibility as a member of the Governance Committee to have introduced that motion to put on the agenda.  What did Brittany Montgomery do instead?

Brittany Montgomery kept her mouth shut. She played her part in a coordinated political stunt to sandbag the 6 members of the Board who were kept in the dark about this motion.

Montgomery knew it was coming, as did (presumably) the unusually large contingent from HoLa, which included the Executive Director of the school, Jen Sargeant. 

How do parents OUTSIDE the District know about a motion that will be introduced "live" while six sitting District Board members are kept in the dark? 

Montgomery behaved disgracefully.  By keeping her mouth shut in the Governance meeting,  so that she, Biancamano and Madigan could pull off a political "Live item" stunt,  Montgomery has shown her "true colors"- she's there for politics, not the Hoboken District kids.   

GA was told that Peter Biancamano read from prepared notes as he introduced his "Live Item," a motion for the Hoboken District to drop it's appeal.  The Board Attorney interjected:
Board Attorney: "Frankly lobbing a motion on the floor during active ongoing litigation would hamper Boards ability to have a public discussion...." 
Biancamano: "That's why WE made a motion to call the vote, we knew we can't discuss" 
Madigan seconded the motion.     

Montgomery, Madigan and Biancamano voted "Yes"

Note, Biancamano's Live Motion completely omits the funding issues central to the Hoboken District's position, showing himself to be utterly dishonest.

In any case, forget about transparency with the Romano Faction: Biancamano, Madigan and Montgomery.  The Romano Faction cut off the public's ability to speak on the motion by introducing it after the close of public comment.  The Romano Faction betrayed Hoboken District PARENTS by advising parents in another District, keeping it's own Parents and Board members in the dark, that this motion was being introduced.

The Romano Faction appears to be working for another District, not the children of the Hoboken District.   This is a betrayal of trust with the families who sent their children to the Hoboken District Schools.  SHAME on Montgomery, who has taught special education; the vast majority of special needs children are served by the Hoboken School District.  

Finally, WHO is waiting in the wings for the political operation to be executed so that he may publish crapademic spin on his "education website" where it will be recycled for political use later?

Anthony "Curious Gal" Petrosino!

Dirty Petrosino tactics: redacting data to skew results 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Party at Moran's

Do you feel it?

GA did last night at the Hoboken Democratic Social Club's New Hampshire Primary Returns Watch Party at  Moran's.

All one could really do was watch, not listen, because it was loud in there. Yep, lots of folks turned out for the kick-off of Hoboken's newest social club for Democrats, and you know it's hard to get people to leave the house on a cold night.  Especially me.

Therefore I was pleased to see a mix of Hoboken's political spectrum show up. There was "Deepak Chopra of the county Democratic Party" (a.k.a. Bernie Kenny)-  but you can call him "Number 9."

Who else?

Hoboken's Top Gun -  but you can call her "Mayor Zimmer"- and her spouse whats-his-name....  the emailing guy who gets recorded on hidden wire and sued for ethnic cleansing once in a while.    BTW, the rumor that he wears Versace glasses is not true!  (I checked.)

Members from Hoboken City Council showed up: Peter Cunningham, Mike DeFusco,  Ravi Bhalla and Ruben Ramos.  GA was excited to finally meet Ramos. It's always fun  to meet the Dark Siders I've blogged about, cause you never know what to expect.  Ramos was a good sport.

Other officials there included newly crowned NHSA Commissioner Kurt Gardiner and HHA Commissioner David Denning. Former NHSA Commissioner Frank Raia showed up but didn't look happy.

Hoboken Freeholder Anthony 'Stick' Romano arrived late. GA cornered him with a question : "Do you support Hillary or Bernie?" He gave some non-answer. So I asked if he was a Trump-man. That sent him running.

I am not sure why Stick wouldn't say which Dem he preferred.  Why not?  I got the feeling most attendees were rooting for Bernie, but Hillary was the 'do no harm' choice.   Sorry folks... Larry David for President!  Bagels and lox in the White house!

Yes, it was a lovely evening. and the beer was cheap.  GA would like to thank the hostess,  HHA Chairwoman Dana Wefer. 

Speaking of the hostess, a little blond birdie told me another Hoboken Democratic Social Club event will be calendared soon...  Stay tuned, people!

And GA hopes to see more faces next time!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Mayor Roberts vs. Girl Scouts

Can't we all just get along on the proposed new-and-improved Washington Street?

Apparently NOT (yet!)

GA watched last night's City Council Special meeting; specifically the T&M presentation, complete public portion and the DeFusco, Fisher and Russo comments.

In summary, the vast majority of speakers: business owners, residents, local activists, and politicos opposed the "Complete Street " bike lanes, while supporting its proposed infrastructure improvements.  Mayor Dave Roberts and Freeholder Anthony "Stick" Romano, were among them.

Fewer resident-speakers supported the bike lanes, including 4 adorable, smart Girl Scouts- who spoke directly after Mayor Roberts.

The evening's most emphatic speaker was Melissa Blanco, who called the proposal "asinine" and waved a bandaged wrist, inferring that she had been injured due to... the City (?) and described being afraid to leave her house.

 Melissa Blanco emphatically opposed the Washington Street Plan
Some concerns resonated with GA, particularly the safety issue for bicyclists, well articulated by 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, were unintended risks for programming so much in a 50 foot wide street.

In fact, there is no room for error; an open door, a car backing in could injure a Girl Scout bicyclist or an adult rider.   T&M replied that 4' bike lines are allowed by code as long as there is no curb on both sides., but admitted the proposed lanes were designed to minimum allowable dimensions by code.

I am also concerned about the options for the Baptist churchgoers.

Alternatively, several speakers claimed that the bike lane concept appeared out of  "out of the blue" with complaints the administration had suddenly foisted this concept upon the public, the business community.  

In fact, that's false.

Whatever one's thoughts are on the bike lanes, or the redesign proposal in its entirety, the Complete Streets concept for Washington Street (with bike lanes) has been a part of public discourse for nearly 2 1/2 years.   The administration has held public meetings since 2013, with an apparent Hoboken Chamber of Commerce buy-in.

The timing of a public outcry is natural, because the project approval looms and folks are starting to pay attention.  Their concerns are valid and can shape the project into something better.

But to say the public was not invited nor informed of the Complete Streets plan is WRONG.

Thus, political spin that 'the  administration sandbagging the business community and public with bike lanes'  should be taken off the table, and the community should focus on the issues, not the politics.

GA's issues: is our 50 foot wide street main street 'over-programmed'? Is temporary double-parking  'evil' that needs elimination?  Won't bike lanes improve Washington Street  business?

There may never be consensus.  GA believes the matter can be decided by public referendum.

In the meantime, did you know there was an App for buying Girl Scout cookies?