Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hoboken Victim Identified

GA extends sincere condolences to the family of Hoboken resident Fabiola Bittar de Kroon, 34, who was killed this morning in the NJ Transit train crash at Hoboken Terminal.

She was the mother of an 18-month old child.  Terrible!

Mayor Zimmer was interviewed on CNN minutes ago.

Followed by an interview with First Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco. 

BREAKING: NJ Transit Train 1614 (Track 4) from Secaucus Jumps Track at Hoboken Terminal

Emergency phone line for FAMILY MEMBERS only201-915-2691



GA's contractor just walked in... he was at Hoboken Terminal about 30 minutes after the crash. He saw about "60-70" injured layed out and triaged inside the terminal, some appeared to have multiple fractures, some badly injured, and a woman partially under wreckage who he believed to be dead.  He said Hoboken emergency services were doing a "great job" and "looks like they were prepared".

MSNBC: "At least 1 [ revised from 3]confirmed dead... 75-100 injured."

click images to enlarge<

MSNBC reporting "20 to 30 injured."

Partial roof collapse.

MSNBC reporting "mass casualties" from an inbound train from Secaucus that jumped the track in Hoboken Terminal.  The train derailed and crashed into Hoboken Terminal.

MSNBC reporting "structural damage" to the station.

The NTSB reported to be on site.

BREAKING: A source reports to GA that "a [NJ Transit train] derailed in Hoboken and hit a building."

The Hoboken Police Department has asked for resources: police and ambulances from a neighboring municipality.

No information available yet... the situation is unfolding.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

BREAKING: JC Mayor Fulop will endorse Phil Murphy for NJ GOV!

Moments ago, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, with NJ gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy at his side, announced he will run for re-election, then endorsed Murphy for NJ governor.

Click here to see Hudson County View's video of the event.


Not running for NJ Governer

Hudson County View has the developing story:
Fulop has a 2 p.m. press conference scheduled on the step of city hall regarding the 2017 municipal elections and multiple sources said the mayor will then back Murphy for governor, the only declared Democratic candidate....

Fulop is one of the many witnesses who will testify in the Bridgegate trial and has declined to give any details about what he will say on the stand.
There is more, check out John Heinis' breaking news at Hudson County View. 

In the meantime, Heinis will attend the scheduled 2 pm conference which will be live-streamed by Hudson County View on Facebook. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Block 11 update

Drawings of proposed 5-story building on  Block 11, Lot 9 

The 2004 Master Plan envisioned Block 11 as "planned/possible new parks and recreation," of a future 6-acre Southwest Park.

Between then and now, the struggle to "save Block 11" for open space, has apparently failed.  

In fact, "Save Block 11" was the the Southwest Park Coalition's 2008 campaign to alert the public that the owner of Block 11 was seeking variances to build a 10-story high rise condo and future home of the Hoboken Historical Museum.

Then on, June 18, 2008 the City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting the acquisition of Block 11 for open space.  From the Jersey Journal:
"The Hoboken City Council voted 9-0 to support the acquisition of Block 11 for open space and parkland -- and the crowd went wild. Ok, maybe not wild, but they did applaud with great enthusiasm.

The resolution authorizes the Planning and Economic Subcommittee to contact the owners of property on Block 11 and try to buy the land from them. The council hopes to buy it, but if someone won't sell they'll consider using eminent domain, or the kinder, gentler "transfer of development rights" which would give the owners land and development rights somewhere else in Hoboken.

A year later, when the Hoboken Historical Museum pulled out of the deal, the owner of Block 11 filed a lawsuit against Hoboken, demanding the city buy his property and pay him damages. From the Jersey Journal:
Last June, the Hoboken City Council voted unanimously to create a new open space zoning category, which would be applied to Block 11, the Henkel Site at 12th and Adams, and a few other areas. But at last night's Council meeting, the Council voted to "permanently table" the open space zoning ordinance.
This comes after the Hoboken Planning Board deemed the ordinance wouldn't work; it's not consistent with Hoboken's Master Plan and may be subject to a legal challenge. Subsequently Nat Salvemini, developer of the ill-fated Museum Place plan, is now suing the city over Block 11.

 What was wrong with the open space ordinance?

"You can't zone for parkland," Elizabeth Vandor, Hoboken's official planner, told Hoboken Now this past summer. "There are other ways of doing it but not through zoning."

Changing the zoning to parks will immediately decrease its property value, meaning the owner (Salvemini) would get less then if the city acquired the land through other means, Vandor said.
GA supposes that was the beginning of the end for City's acquisition of Block 11 for open space.   Or was it?

For anyone in the know, your comments are welcome.
Proposed building at Block 11, Lot 9 designated open space in Hoboken's 2004 Master plan 

Block 11 proximity to new Southwest Park ( Phase1) and proposed future open space

To the present; the triangular property on the corner of Harrison and Patterson Avenue, Block 11, Lot 9...

On December 15, 2015 the applicant for 5 story residential building with ground-level retail space was received preliminary site plan approval at the Hoboken Zoning Board of Adjustment.
Hoboken ZBA Agenda for December 15, 2015 

GA read the transcript (link here), and appreciate that the ZBA trimmed the building from 99% lot coverage to 75%, added open space (albeit for private use), and had the Paterson Avenue side of the building set back 3 feet to encourage the County to approve (4) proposed trees.

Thanks to the volunteer members of the ZBA for improving this project.

My two cents: I would not have supported the 10-foot height variance; it was the difference between 12 feet floor-to-floor and 10 feet-floor-to-floor.   Given all consideration for applicants, variances should be the exception not the rule.

Well, that's GA's Block 11 update.  So goes imagined open space, albeit a small triangle on a busy street.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Romano's 2015 BoE slate 'forgot' to file ELECs


With the 2016 School Board election looming, GA looked back at the 2015 race; specifically, campaign finance reporting to the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC).

Filing ELECs is not only the law in the state of New Jersey, proper reporting ensures transparency in the democratic election process. ELECs allow the public to monitor the sources and expenditures of a candidate, comittee, or PAC's funds, the ebb and flow of money in our elections.  There is no legitimate reason NOT to file ELECs, unless of course a campaign has something to hide.

So, let's compare campaign finance reporting by 2015's two opposing BoE slates, Reach Higher and A Smarter Future.

The Reach Higher candidates were Tom Kluepfel, Addys Velez and Sheila Dallara.  Note, Dallara is running again with Irene Sobolov and Jen Evans.

REACH HIGHER: ELEC Reporting to-date

click image to read

You see that Reach Higher opened their campaign with a D-2 form on 9/04/2015  and  subsequently filed seven R-1s.  Reach Higher closed their campaign account with the last R-1 (filed on 07/06/2016).

Yes, Sheila Dallara's team obeyed the law,.  Sheila Dallara's team respected the public's right to view their campaign finance process.  Sheila Dallara's team ensured a clean and open campaign by  letting the public in.

What did A Smarter Future candidates  John Madigan, Britney Montgomery and Alana Kaufmann do?

What did A Smarter Future file with the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission?

A SMARTER FUTURE: ELEC Reporting to-date

click image to read


A Smarter Future opened their campaign account on 10/22/2015 (behind the hippopotamus) with a D-2 form, but after that NEVER submitted a single campaign finance report (R-1)!

In the space that Reach Higher filled with campaign finance reports, A Smarter Future could fit an elephant, a fox, a rhinoceros,  a whale, two sheep, five chickens- one roasted, one plucked, an anteater, a Happy Meal, a rabbit, a zebra, a peacock, 11 baby chicks, a goat,  a circus clown, and the legs of a giraffe.

WOW!  That's a lot of blank space that should (by law) have been filled with EleC reports!

So who allowed the Smarter Future School Board slate to escape public scrutiny of their campaign financing?

That would be A Smarter Future's campaign manager, and Treasurer. 

A Smarter Future's campaign manager was:

A Smarter Future's 2015 Kick-off
And their Treasurer was:

Frank DeGrim, was appointed on January 7, 2015 for a two-year term on the Hoboken Zoning Board of Adjustments.   Comissioner DeGrim is a 4th Alternate.

The ZBA has quasi-judicial powers.

Well, if a Freeholder/mayoral candidate and a sitting ZBA Commissioner flout NJ campaign finance law, who are the rest of us to judge?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Slicing baloney

Why is Al Sullivan trying so hard to place Hoboken Mayor Zimmer at a "Murphy election event?"

Here's what he wrote in his September 4 column:
"Zimmer herself attended a Murphy event last November at the annual League of Municipalities Convention."
Here's what GA wrote after fact-checking what Al wrote:
"Dawn Zimmer didn't attend the League of Municipalities conference so she didn't attend Murphy's or Fulop's or Sweeney's events."
That must have stung, because this week Al asked "Is Zimmer in Denial?," writing that "sources close to the mayor," and "Hoboken bloggers who do damage control for Zimmer" "[denied] claims that Zimmer attended a Murphy election event."


Since when is slicing baloney "damage control?"

GA didn't say Zimmer was at the League of Municipalities- Al did.  Retraction is the tool for columnists who make honest mistakes- shooting fact-checkers is for columnists who plant bullshit on purpose.

This week's sour grapes: turning Mayor Zimmer's attendance at a "New Start New Jersey" policy forum into something nefarious, an "election event" that Al alleges "some people close to her claim she didn't attend at all".

Score another whopper for our friend!

On April 13, 2015, published an article about the event, "It's the fourth event for Murphy's non-profit since he launched it in November. And it featured only policy discussion... several Democratic mayors from the region — Orange, East Orange, Hillside, Perth Amboy and Hoboken — were there to watch...."  The article quotes Zimmer.

Any "denials" allegedly made by "sources close to Zimmer" that the mayor attended the April policy forum are the figment of a loaded crack pipe.

Folks, it's not that hard to get the facts right, if one wants to.

As for doing "damage control," there's no "damage" to control, just baloney to slice.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Earwitness Special Report: Stromwall BoE Vacancy filled!


A Q-Tipster filled GA's ear with some Big News...

It appEARS that an applicant for the seat left vacant by Monica Stromwall has been chosen.

Here it is: hot off the Q-Tipster:

I’m not sure if you heard, but they selected Mark McNamara to replace Monica Stromwall on the BoE.

No, I hadn't heard!  Thank you Q-Tipster!

McNamara is a Wallace parent, and that is all I know!  He will complete the 3-year term that Stromwall won on November 4, 2014.

GA wishes him the best, a productive rest-of-term and a great working relationship with all Board members.  

UPDATE: Three Cheers for Assemblywoman Chaparro


GA's got the exclusive you've all been waiting for... Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro's favorite cocktail!

It is (drumroll, please...) Bacardi and Coke!  That is, the Bacardi's "Puerto Rican Rum."

In honor of the Assemblywoman's excellent work, specifically her legislation to regulate massive internet-organized booze-fests (like Lepercon) and shift the cost from Hoboken taxpayers onto the event organizers, GA would  like to re-name the "Bacardi and Rum" drink to "Annette with Lime."

Here is the recipe:

Annette with Lime
Fill a tall glass with ice, add the Bacardi and coke.  Garnish with a lime wedge, and serve.

Now, let's toast District 33's  fabulous Councilwoman, Annette Chaparro!

GA is truly grateful that our Assemblywoman, Annette Chaparro, has dared to tackle Hoboken's annual plague of "cons" and "cons"-of the future.

Grab a glass of grog, and let's toast: Three cheers for Assemblywoman Chaparro!

Here is her legislation; let's hope this sausage gets made.

In the meantime, in honor of Annette Chaparro's brave legislation, GA is planning an organized internet event called "Chaparro-Con."

Chaparro-Con will be held on a Saturday (to be determined). On Chaparro-Con day, Hoboken residents of all ages, male and female, are invited to dress up as the Assemblywoman or wear Annette Chaparro disguises. The event will last 15 minutes.  From 12:00-12:15 pm, bars will be offering Chaparro's favorite cocktail, _________________,  at half-price .  No seconds.

Assemblywoman, what's your favorite cocktail?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Rigged Poll Monkey Business Day 2

Will wonders never cease?

GA told you yesterday how easy it is to rig online poll results... you simply need a trained monkey to sit at a computer and vote, reboot.... vote, reboot.  

GA also pointed out the anomaly of an obscure former Hoboken Councilwoman getting nearly 50% of the votes on a statewide opinion poll, matched against 10 other more well-known NJ elected figures.

Any of the others could have cheated the poll- paid a monkey to whack a button- but really, who else would care?


Since GA's post, 212 more votes arrived, pushing the Councilwoman to 51% of the vote total!

Boy, oh boy.  What next?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Rigged poll (Pick me, Pick me, Steve!)

Oh, boy.

GA caught this one yesterday- an Observer online poll titled, "Who is New Jersey's Next Lieutenant Governor?"

On it were 11 names, one of them: "Former Hoboken Councilwoman Beth Mason."

I watched the poll, saw the voting for one name steadily rise in the rhythm of a rebooted computer; refreshed and ready to vote again.  PING!  PING! PING!

GA watched that one name skyrocket past the other far more well-known names, then rest comfortably at 305 votes, and 52%. And there it stayed until...

In the morning, back to work!  The poll-rigging (my OPINION) started up again!  ZOOM! ZOOM! ZOOM!

Up went the vote total!  Reboot, vote!  Reboot, vote!

Monkey business

Hilarious!  Will Sweeney buy it?  

This is a statewide poll. What kind of name recognition does a Hoboken Ward Councilwoman have statewide?

She does have name recognition to NJ politicians who know she sprays cash like a feral cat.

You may find this interesting: from New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission's September 2015 White Paper 26, Table 20: “Legislative Elections 2013- Big Spending, Little Change Plus a History of Self-Financing by Legislators and Others,”  

How many NJ politicians would spend $1.395 M on municipal races?

Politicians who are vying for the Lieutenant  Governor slot, know what you are up against.  No road out of Hoboken is too low to travel.

In GA's opinion, the poll is crap, a scam, a con, a cry for attention Hoboken residents know so well: "Pick me! Pick me!"

A problem with the current generation of politicians is most are not internet savvy.  Most probably don't get how easily internet poll results can be manipulated, especially a poll like this.   Just to test, GA voted a couple of times.

Advice to older pols: get at an internet savvy, social-media savvy adviser on your staff.

 Beth Mason's political operative- her onetime webmaster, is internet savvy.

But really, anyone can rig an online poll - even a chimpanzee!

Monday, September 12, 2016

A Q-Tipster waxes

As of this writing, the Hudson County Clerk's office has not announced ballot positions for Hoboken School Board candidates.  So no news there.

But, GA just got an earful from an Earwitness.

According to my Q-Tipster, a slate backed by Freeholder Anthony Romano, Councilman Mike Russo and BiancoRaia will be opposing the Sobolov-Evans-Dallara School Board slate.

While it's too early to evaluate the RoRussoMano candidates, sources tell GA they are good people who are  not inclined to be politically-driven.  They are believed to be running for the right reasons.

Great news!

It is curious, then, why they would have chosen a campaign manager with more baggage than Amtrak?

GA would chalk that one up to political naivete.   They may be unaware of Hoboken's recent political  history.

Otherwise, why would decent folks (and GA believes they are) align themselves with the co-manager of 2012's  notorious Move Forward slate- the first campaign in Hoboken political history to use swastikas in a political campaign on the Nazi Truck?

Do you know the half-life of uranium?

The half-life of a Nazi Truck is longer. 

It takes more than 4.47 billion years for a Nazi Truck to disappear from  a politico's reputation.

Take it from me!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Forever in our Hearts

Joao A. "J.J." Aguiar Jr., 30
Jean A. Andrucki, 43
 Peter Apollo, 26
Marty Boryczewski, 29
Nick Brandemarti, 21
Swarma Chalasani, 33
Christopher Colasanti, 33
Michael S. Costello, 27
Christopher Cramer, 34
Gavin Cushny, 47
Neil Dollard, 28
 Douglas DiStefano, 24
 Michael DeRienzo, 37
Margaret Echtermann, 33
Jeffrey B. Gardner, 36
 Michael Edward Gould, 29
Scott Hazelcorn, 29
 Joseph Ianelli
 Robert Wayne Hobson III
Matthew Horning, 26
Thomas Knox, 31
Donna Bernaerts-Kearns, 44
Greg Malone, 42
Marc A. Murolo
Katie McGarry-Noack, 30
George McLaughlin Jr., 36
Michael Mullin, 27
John Murray, 32
 Martin S. Niederer, 23
Brian Novotny, 33
Keith K. O'Connor, 28
Lesley Thomas O'Keefe, 40
Dominique Pandolfo, 27
 Jon A. Perconti Jr., 32
Scott Rohner, 22
Joshua Rosenblum, 28
Nick Rowe, 29
 Ronald Ruben, 36
Richard L. Salinardi, 32
James Kenneth Samuel Jr., 29
 John Schroeder, 32
Alex Steinman, 32
Melissa Vincent, 28
James Patrick White, 34
Deborah Lynn Williams, 35
Michael Wittenstein, 34

Friday, September 9, 2016

Earwitness News Kinda Waxy Report

Do not try this at home

Any good ENT will tell you: NEVER stick a Q-Tip in your ear.

In spite of that, today's Earwitness brings you a Kinda Waxy Earwitness Report-- for Hoboken School Board watchers.


Despite rumors to the contrary, GA's Not-Waxy Earwitness reports:

Yesterday was the deadline to apply for Monica Stromwall's vacant seat.  Sheila Dallara did not put in an application because she is going to run on a slate with Irene Sobolov and Jennifer Evans. Today is the deadline for candidates to withdraw, so ballot positions should be announced today or Monday. 

Wow!  That raises questions, doesn't it?

Well, GA hopes the above gals get 'good' positions.

Now, throw out that Q-Tip!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Fitness to serve

As if it weren't bad enough America is thisclose to electing a guy who throws poo on Twitter,  a New Jersey gubernatorial candidate may be thisclose to picking a Lieutenant Governor who, as a Hoboken elected official, needed staff to pick her Halloween costume, teach her to sit in a chair, and read constituents' private mail presumably to draft the replies.

It is fair to question any candidate's fitness to serve for any government office, be it President of the United States or the Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey.

As an American, it is terrifying to imagine our country governed by a tangerine Caligula.

As a New Jersey resident, it is alarming to imagine that a Councilwoman who needed staff, consultants and a full-time political operative to perform a simple, part-time Councilwoman job for ONE ward of a Mile Square city in the line of succession to become Governor of New Jersey.

To put it in perspective, the 2014 U.S. Census Bureau reported that New Jersey had a population of  8,893,000.  

The 2010 Hoboken Ward map shows the 2nd Ward had a population of 8,905- roughly 0.1% of the population of the State of New Jersey.


So, if a Ward Councilperson requires a committee to choose her Halloween costume....

read from BOTTOM up many staffers are needed to train a Lieutenant Governor on how to sit in a chair?

And if a Ward Councilperson cannot read and answer constituents emails  in a ward of 8,900 how in the hell could she co-govern a state of 8.9 million people?

The Bajardi SLAPP discovery emails were rife with examples of others performing this elected official's duties including sharing her 2nd Ward constituents' private email.  In fact, a single discovery production on November 26, 2013 included over 100 pages of 2nd Ward constituent  private email forwarded to (future) SLAPP Plaintiff Kim Cardinal.   

Here are but a few examples:





It takes a village to be a Hoboken Ward Councilwoman. 

Well folks, the fitness to serve of potential candidates for office is a matter of public interest and public concern.  

GA is concerned.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Stirring the pot about Zimmer/Fulop

Speaking of "pots"... GOOD-BYE my FRIEND

Excuse GA for being "irregular;" renovations should be substantially complete in a few more flushes so allow me to plunge ahead.

Did you read this Al Sullivan's column this week?  This:

Somebody sure is trying to plant a Bad Seed in the Fulop-Zimmer relationship.

Could it be Bad Seed?  

Horny Badseed

Who knows, but a seed that rotten can only grow stink-weed.

more like a water pistol

Well folks, somebody wants to make trouble between Zimmer and Fulop... a friend of NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney, or Hoboken Mayoral candidate Anthony Romano.

GA has news for the $hit-stirrer and Al Sullivan: you're all WRONG.

From sources close to City Hall:

Dawn Zimmer didn't attend the League of Municipalities conference so she didn't attend Murphy's or Fulop's or Sweeney's events.  She also didn't attend Murphy's event in Hoboken that some are saying she attended. Her relationship now with Fulop is quite good- they are working together on issues important to both cities. 

A simple phone call to the Mayor could have prevented publication of such errors in the local press (fruit from a Bad Seed.)

Of course, Zimmer's enemies don't want to pick up the phone, not when they can harvest a Bad Seed.

Does anyone in our Fourth Estate want to investigate this?

I didn't think so.