Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Hoboken's water main politics

photo credit: The nice SUEZ worker who let me have these pics. 
When Hoboken residents wake to hovering choppers, we know it can only mean water main break.

Then we'll wonder how our buses, trains, schools are impacted and if we'll have water.  If so, must it be boiled?  What color will it be?  (We love our brown showers.)

It's a way of life in a City with a 100+ year-old water supply system.

According to a Hoboken historical website: "Hoboken's first mains were laid  in 1857. The mains which connect with the reservoirs and which enter the city through Willow Avenue and Park Avenue, consist of a 12-inch, a 16-inch and a 24-inch, the combined capacity of which to the north line of the city is 12,000,000 gallons per day.... The water supply to the city is still further guarded by the fact that three separate lines of mains, a 20-inch, a 24-inch and a 36-inch connect directly the Water Company's main pumping station at New Milford..."

Unfortunately, the City sold away rights to our water system in 1994; there are 7 years left on its contract with SUEZ.

Tick tick tick... CRACK! SPLASH! There goes another one!

Until Hoboken gets our water system back, the City is financing some infrastructure repairs: the Washington Street water main upgrade (financed by a $7M low-interest loan) and $5.2M in other upgrades. Also, the Mayor is renegotiating Hoboken's contract with SUEZ, requesting "$1 million annual payments for repairs and upgrades to the City water main system."

In the meantime, whenever a water main goes POP,  so do the mayor's opponents!  

Plaintiff Carmelo Garcia: "Time for a new Mayor!"

Time for a new mayor!

Presumptive mayoral challenger Councilman Mike DeFusco: "This is not normal!"

Prospective mayoral challenger, Freeholder Anthony "Stick" Romano... ummm, nothing.

But here's his 2017 campaign cup:

Councilman Mike Russo gets Honorable Mention for keeping his constituents informed on social media without using the emergency to take shots at the mayor.

Hoboken people, listen to me. You need to sign up for the City of Hoboken's Nixle Alerts to stay informed about our City's emergencies, in real time. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Wefer's call to regular people (us) -UPDATE

Tomorrow...  Wefer interviews with the Star Ledger and NBC's Washington Bureau...

Click here to read the full Observer article.


Wefer addresses the crowd last night at NJ Awakens' kickoff

GA was delighted to stop by the kickoff of NJ Awakens, a grassroots movement in the spirit of Indivisible and principles espoused by Bernie Sanders.

Whether this movement can grow in the toxic soil of New Jersey politics has nothing to do with its merits.  Some may see them as Dead Men Walking.  Maybe in any other time it would be easy to dismiss them.

These aren't ordinary times.

What GA saw last night were "regular" people who have stepped up to run for elected office.  Pure and simple, they are the heart and soul of NJ Awakens.

The NJ Awakens candidates who addressed the crowd were: Dim Chijike Ndukwu (Independent candidate for Assembly in LD34),  Sumantha Prasad (Independent candidate for Assembly in LD22),  Davendra Dev Goswami (Independant candidate for Assembly in LD38), Meghan Dunworth Dodd (Candidate for Freeholder, Hudson County, District 5) and Dana Wefer ( Dana Wefer: Republican candidate for Governor).

For now, NJ Awakens' focus is on recruiting folks to run in local and state elections.  The group  hopes to shake up a political system it views as thoroughly corrupt; a system whose Democratic and Republican parties anoint their leaders and candidates long before the primaries.   NJ Awakens believes if  enough like-minded frustrated voters of both parties  plus Independents unite as a voting bloc, they can influence major party platforms.

This is about access to the democratic election process.

Citizens are not supposed to be shut out from participation in government because they don't have buckets of money, connections or debts to special interests.

GA hopes that NJ Awakens continues to prosper.  Dana, you rock.

 NJ Awaken's Dim Chijike Ndukwu, Independent candidate for Assembly in LD34

Sunday, February 26, 2017

"Romano says no deal's been struck" with HCDO

Yet another plot twist in Hoboken's mayoral contest: Hoboken Freeholder Anthony Romano has gone on-the-record with the Hoboken Reporter's Al Sullivan to deny reports he's cut a deal with the HCDO.
The deal, as reported, would have Romano give up his plan to run for mayor of Hoboken against Zimmer in November.

Romano, however, said he has not made up his mind about running for mayor, and intends to seek the Democratic nomination for freeholder with or without HCDO support.

“If I win the nomination, then I might run for mayor and freeholder at the same time,” he said. “If I win both, then I’ll have to decide which one to accept.”
There you go.  Now, do you believe it?

If a deal was cut, Anthony Romano doesn't want the word out. One reason might be to screw Mike DeFusco since both draw from the same pool of donors and endorsements.  Who would that benefit?  La di da....

The latest shoe to drop (on the heads of prospective mayoral candidates) is the appearance of Special Guest Ambassador Phil Murphy for Mayor Zimmer on April 17.  Murphy is backing Zimmer, that's clear.

And interestingly, when GA scoured dozens of photos on Stick's Facebook page, I couldn't find one of him taken with Phil Murphy; Romano has posted schmooze-photos taken at various events with everyone in Hudson County politics or representing our district in Congress.  Maybe I missed it.

When GA Googled "Phil Murphy Hoboken" for images, these came up from Murphy's visit to Hoboken:

Would Stick really throw in as a Hoboken's mayoral race under these circumstances?

On the other hand,  DeFusco presumed mayoral ambition may not be deterred at all by Phil Murphy entering for the mayor, we shall see.

More news...
Hoboken-grown statewide political organization, New Jersey Awakens is running a Freeholder candidate to challenge incumbent Anthony 'Stick' Romano!  Her name is Meghan Dunworth Dodd. Stay tuned.

For skeptics out there: New Jersey Awakens is an INDEPENDENT grassroots political group. It's stated purpose and objective:
The political system is broken and our democracy is in danger. Our votes have been gerrymandered to non-relevance and drowned out by special interest money both nationally and in our state. 

We have a plan to change the system. Join us.
 Anyone throwing shade on this group- shame on you.  If you believe that ordinary people cannot enter our political process to advance democratic ideals, go suck face with Vlad Putin like our not-benevolent Authoritarian-in-Chief Orange-Terror.

GA applauds the goals of Dana Wefer's organization like I applaud the ORGANIC protests springing up all over America to oppose Dolt 45's white nationalist agenda.  

Vote for whomever you want, but don't piss on Democracy.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Wefer & Brennan launch take-down of NJ's "Dem Party Bosses"

What happens when a lifelong Democratic activist (Dana Wefer) decides to run a statewide slate of candidates as Republicans- only on a progressive platform?

And... Wefer is running for Governor, as a Republican.

Further, she's teamed up with longtime NJ anti-corruption activist, Christie "Bridgegate" antagonist and Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Bill Brennan .  

As political operations go, this one is audacious, brilliant and visionary.

The political group, New Jersey Awakens, was started by Wefer under the name Hoboken Democratic Social Club, and met for a number of months.

Only after the Orange Terror was elected, Wefer renamed the group and decided to take it in an activist direction- like thousands of other grassroots activists groups created after the Tangerine Caligula started signing Executive Orders- as seen on "Fake News CNN" and "Fake News MSNBC".  At the same time, the Indivisible Guide appeared to teach ordinary folks how to be as effective in influencing policy/elected reps, modeled on the 2009 Tea Party movement.

The Indivisible site has over 5,000 registered Indivisible groups; New Jersey Awakens is  one of them.

And so...

Wefer's political group, New Jersey Awakens, has already recruited a number of candidates to run in local elections throughout the state.   The group is launching its North Jersey kickoff at the Zeppelin Beer Garden in Jersey City on February 26th at 5pm, where it will introduce some of the local candidates running for office.

More to follow...

In the meantime, to get a taste of what Brennan's about, here's a clip (Part 2) from an episode of Brennan's old cable show "New Jersey Civil Service."  (You can see the whole episode (Part 1) on GA's 2010 post "Bill Brennan, Man to Watch")

About 2 minutes into the video (Part 2), Brennan announces his  " Big Teat-Sucker Derby " winner of the Month, for the most egregious, shameless suckling at your wallet with a series of no-bid contracts for Hudson County municipalities!  You will recognize the name. Brennan then shows a pile of invoices for 'services' such at videotaping a building or snapping a photograph in addition to his bill for monthly "professional consulting services."

My kinda guy!

Part 2 of 2

Thursday, February 23, 2017

'Carmelo's Revenge- Part 3' update

GA was fascinated by the exchange between the Hoboken Horse and Plaintiff Carmelo Garcia, which took place at Mike DeFusco's fundraiser- the Horse described it as follows:
"...Carmelo insisted the City of Hoboken needed to offer a settlement. He was told he deserved none and should drop this third civil lawsuit. He persisted saying he was wronged. When asked if he had cashed the check for early termination of his contract from the HHA he repeatedly denied it saying, “I didn’t accept anything” before finally admitting he had."
Does the City "need" to offer former Hoboken Housing Authority Executive Director Carmelo Garcia a settlement?

Ummm,  "NO."

According to Hudson County Superior Court's Public Access system (ACMS), 'Carmelo's Revenge- Part 3' is in the discovery phase, which is scheduled to end on October 25, 2017; the case was assigned to "Track 3."

So what's the latest?

The ACMS shows that a case management conference for  'Carmelo's Revenge- Part 3'  has been scheduled for March 7, 2017.
4:5B-2. Case Management Conferences In cases assigned to Tracks I, II, and III, the designated pretrial judge may sua sponte or on a party's request conduct a case management conference if it appears that such a conference will assist discovery, narrow or define the issues to be tried, address issues relating to discovery of electronically stored information, or otherwise promote the orderly and expeditious progress of the case... The order may include provisions for disclosure of discovery of electronically stored information and any agreements the parties reach for asserting claims of privilege or protection as trial preparation material after production.
But... but... but... the Plaintiff allegedly told the Horse that "the city needed to offer a settlement,"  so is the  March 7, 2017 session a settlement conference"?
4:5B-3. Settlement ConferencesThe court may conduct a settlement conference or schedule any other settlement event in any civil action on its or a party's request.  The settlement conference need not be conducted by the designated pretrial judge.
On March 22, 2016, an Earwitness Tipster told GA the following, which was never disputed:  
Mediation between Carmelo and the HHA, Stan G. and the City was held last July [2015].Carmelo started off asking for $700,000 from everyone. No more discussion after that. Mediation was terminated.  

The 2nd mediation was a couple of weeks ago in February or March.  Carmelo started the discussion by asking for $2.4 million. $1.2 million from the city and $1.2 million from the HHA.  That ended it.  I hear Carmelo was upset when he heard mediation was terminated. I think he expected to walk away with a big bundle of money. 

Carmelo's damages theory is that he had a right to be Executive Director for the rest of his life. He is claiming millions in damages because he lost his job before the end of his 5 year contract. He is also wants to add more racketeering charges and expand the complaint. 
What do my Hoboken taxpayer friends think about the City settling this case, that's dragged on for 4 years in its various iterations?

In the meantime, the ACMS  shows that Defendant Carmelo Garcia has not retained an attorney yet for the Hoboken Housing Authority's lawsuit against him.  Why not?

GA urges the City NOT to settle any of these crap, opportunistic lawsuits-  please don't give these Plaintiffs a payday out of our pockets.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Phil Murphy *starring* in Zimmer Fundraiser

WOW!  On April 17, 2017 the next Governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy is coming to Hoboken to spin Dawn Zimmer around the dance floor!

That's right people.  P-H-I-L M-U-R-P-H-Y. 

So if you want to support our  mayor in her re-election effort, and rub elbows (or kneecaps) with Phil, you've got to pony up some bucks... but won't it be worth it?

Of course it will!

Hoboken is honored to host the next governor of New Jersey- who apparently is a fan of our mayor (read the marquee).  It is true.  There is no other mayoral candidate who would bring Phil to our Mile Square.

Below is all the information you need to know about when and here.  Just click HERE to RSVP and to purchase tickets online.

But first, make sure your wallet is engorged...  c'mon people, don't be cheap! Support our mayor and schmooze with Phil!

Technical Problem-FIXED!

This blog got the (cyber) clap at Chuck E Cheese... don't ask.

Thank you, Blogger for the quick fix!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Pro-developer rag enters 2017 race

Did you catch this headline on the cover of The Hoboken Reporter: "District obligated to pay legal fees in ethics violation."

What ethics violation?  

You mean the ethics charges filed with the New Jersey School Ethics Commission against the 4  board members who donated their own money toward the district's legal fees in the pending Appeal against the NJDOE/HoLa?

These charges have not even been found viable yet, much less litigated to any finding of fact.

It is quite possible (more than likely) that the Commission will find that the complaint was filed in bad faith and with malice pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:12-29(e):
"The Commission may find, by majority vote, that a complaint was frivolous and may impose sanctions pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:12-29(e). A “frivolous complaint” means a complaint determined by the Commission to be either (1) commenced, used or continued in bad faith, solely for the purpose of harassment, delay or malicious injury; or (2) one which the complainant knew, or should have known, was without any reasonable basis in law or equity and could not be supported by a good faith argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law. The Commission may fine a complainant up to $500."
For the HR's information, this is not a civil court; there are no "plaintiffs" and "defendants",  there are "complainants" and "respondents."  

The editorial voice claiming the district is obligated to pay for an ethics "violation" is the same editorial voice that called the perpetrator of a vicious SLAPP suit a "victim" and the actual (Reform blogger) victims "antagonists."  

So, why did the Editor allow such a dishonest, misleading "fake news" headline?  

Well, you know its never too early to start sliming Reform for the next election... and in Hoboken the next election is always right around the corner.

 Expect the  Dark Side's propaganda tabloid to keep beating the "ethics violation" drum in Goebbels fashion until the entire city believes its Big Lie.  

Clearly, the Dark Side wants to dirty up Reform's natural advantage on the "ethics" front.

Which means...

This week's editorial decision to turn an ethics charge into a violation on its cover was no mistake.
  • Neither was calling respondents "defendants" (paragraph 1).
  • Neither was ignoring GA's disclosure that all respondents donated their own funds to cover the District's legal costs in the appeal against the NJDOE/HoLa. (For example, Reform BoE Trustee Sharon Angley is not a respondent because she did not contribute to the legal fund)
  • Neither was ignoring GA's disclosure that the alleged ethics "violation" was in fact, the donation of board members' private monies to cover public legal costs AND that the matter had been publicly vetted by the Board Attorney AND that there is no statute nor legal prohibition which makes Trustees' contributions an "ethics" violation.

Of course Board members will not talk to the press about the pending complaint.  

But the press can find other sources.  If it tries.  Hint: H-o-L-a.

Speaking of sources, poor Al Sullivan.  Now that he's alienated honest Reform sources all he seems to get are Reform malcontents nursing an agenda. This week's column, for example.

He floated a "premature' rumor that Anthony Romano will support Mike DeFusco for mayor (should Romano decide not to run for mayor himself). .

That was contradicted by Max Pizarro's "InsiderAdmin" who wrote:
A Hudson source told InsiderNJ that it’s over; Romano will get the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) line for his reelection bid and won’t oppose Mayor Daawn Zimmer.

The same source insisted the HCDO won’t get behind Michael DeFusco, who is galloping around the mile square city in search of the mayor’s seat.
So whose unconfirmed rumor is right and whose is wrong? 

I'm with Max.   

Friday, February 17, 2017

In Memory of Helen

Longtime Hoboken activist Helen Hirsch quietly slipped into the night last week, I am told.

Here is a clip of Helen as I remember her, up at the mic in front of the City Council, speaking her mind.

This clip (thanks to Eric Kurta) is from the City Council meeting of June 1, 2008, where Helen speaks in favor of a resolution to acquire Block 11 for park space and an ordinance to establish open space zoning.  

R.I.P., Helen Hirsch.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Optics, Schmoptics?

GA tuned into last night's meeting in the midst of some (unusual) discord on the Council dais.

Unusual because the debate didn't split along the usual partisan lines, but on differences in governing philosophy- differences within the 6-member Reform faction.  In a nutshell, the issue was whether to vote on a Resolution authorizing a $360,000 grant to pay for secure doors on unsecured HHA buildings, or wait to resolve the question of how the grant would be funded.
Resolution "...it has been demonstrated that due to age, the doors at the residential buildings of the HHA pose a significant safety concern to residents; and...  it is estimated by the Executive Director of the HHA that the cost to replace the doors is approximately $360,000; and... the HHA Executive Director and the Hoboken Chief of Police determined replacing the doors is an urgent public safety issue given the age of the doors; and,  ...residents in the HHA have expressed concerns regarding public safety relating to the doors to the HHA and the City; and... the City and its elected officials have an obligation to take all necessary measures to protect the health and safety of all residents of Hoboken; and,... a grant for the door replacement in the HHA allocated from this capital fund would not cause an increase in municipal taxes..."

ALL agreed that the City would find the funding for secure HHA doors; the disagreement was whether or not to VOTE to on the resolution to approve the grant prior to resolving how it would be funded.

And that's where the term "optics" entered the debate and threw kerosene on inflamed tempers;  when one councilperson suggested that the "optics" of pulling the Resolution would be bad and send the wrong message, another councilman attacked any decision based on "optics" would be "political."

What to do?  

Vote and ask questions later?  Or put the brakes on until the funding option is selected?

Well, sometimes "optics" matter.

Imagine: the lock on your Hoboken home's front door is broken, and has been for years.

Imagine: your broken front door attracts people from Hoboken, Jersey City, Union City who find criminal opportunity in your broken front door.

Imagine: every front door on your street has a broken front door, and one of your neighbors has been murdered.

Imagine: you depend upon others to fix your front door lock.

If you had to live this way, would you understand the anxiety HHA residents have for themselves and their children?   Imagine the despair, the feeling that you do not matter  to the institutions that have the power to help you.  In this case the optics of "waiting" vs. "acting" mattered on a psychological and spiritual level.   Putting off the vote would have been a blow to residents living in sub-standard conditions and would only have validated the belief that nobody cares.

So... GA thanks the Council for voting and passing the Resolution last night!  Hooray!

Wonderful things come out of vigorous, public debate, and public input.  

There was one unfortunate moment in an otherwise civil debate;  Councilman DeFusco suggested that Councilman Bhalla sponsored the Resolution because his At-Large election is looming.

That kind of gratuitous, partisan jab reminded GA of the Bad Old Days of partisan infighting on the City Council. It's unbecoming of Mike, and I hope he thinks twice before questioning a colleague's motives on legislation during a public meeting.  Save that for the campaign.

GA Note:  Thank you, Councilman Bhalla for responding immediately to the hospitalized HHA resident who asked for your help on Tuesday afternoon.  You made a difference.

And, my sincere condolences to the Russo family on the loss of their matriarch, Michele Russo.

Condolences to the Russo Family

Former Mayor Anthony Russo and Michele Russo

Sincere condolences to the Russo family on the passing of  wife and matriarch, Michele Russo.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

4-acre pop-up park design approval TONIGHT!

click plan to enlarge 

Coming soon to our Mile Square: a temporary "pop-up park" on the 6.1 acre BASF site- and a temporary parking lot!

The proposed park and lot design (above) will be presented at tonight's City Council meeting, to be followed by a vote on the Resolution approving the design.

This one seems like a no-brainer, folks.

60% of the park features proposed are "re-usable" to minimize cost and suggested funding sources include temporary lot parking fees, municipal Open Space Trust Fund, sponsorships and/or donations.  The park surface will be the new asphalt cap after the 6.1 acre site was remediated.

The pop-up park proposed amenities are detailed in the City's memo:


The temporary park will be used for 2-3 years until it is replaced by the permanent resiliency park. 


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

St. Valentine's Day Massacre

Not this one, this one:

HOBOKEN, Valentine's Day-  Today reports of a direct mail-massacre are coming in from residents all over Hoboken, NJ.

The massacre appears to have affected all six wards of the Mile-Square city.

Mailboxes through-out the city have complained that the 6 x 9-inch, two-sided cards are clogging them up so that residents' Valentine cards cannot fit.   One mailbox moaned, "Its not even election time... why oh why?"

The direct-mail is two-sided, covered with hearts, a quote from Maya Angelou and "Romano2017."  The mail provides numerous ways to contact Ms. Angelou:  email, Facebook, Twitter, a website and Instagram.

If you are a victim of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, a survivors group will be holding a Meet-up soon at a Hoboken bar near you.

Victims, send your photos to GA at grafixavenger666@gmail.com

Monday, February 13, 2017

"Nominate perry b!"

left: Perry Belfiore v City of Hoboken, The City Council, et. al, top right: Councilwoman Beth Mason and her attorney, Steve Kleinman leaving hearing  for Mason's criminal complaint against MSV',  bottom right: Hoboken City Council members who are being sued by Perry Belfiore

GA is a lay-person, so not sure what this all means, but... follow this.

A former Hoboken Corporation Counsel served the City from 2007-2009, then in 2010 joined the private practice of Greg Paster, Esq.

Emails produced in Bajardi v Pincus show that a relationship between former the Corporation Counsel and Councilwoman Beth Mason continued after he left the public sector.

The Bajardi emails show Hoboken's former Corporation Counsel provided legal services for Beth Mason, which included aiding her various political operations against Reform candidates and elected Reform officials.  The Bajardi emails show that Mason's point-of-contact for the legal work was her  paid political operative, James Barracato. 

The following 7 emails illustrate the nature of the legal work performed at the request of Councilwoman Beth Mason's cabal:


Bajardi v Pincus email exhibit

Bajardi v Pincus email exhibit


Bajardi v Pincus email exhibit


Bajardi v Pincus email exhibit

Bajardi v Pincus email exhibit

Bajardi v Pincus email exhibit


Bajardi v Pincus email exhibit
"nominate perry b!"

Funny that should come up...   because Perry B is Hoboken's newest litigant in our ever-changing landscape of politically-motivated litigation.

Welcome, perry b! 

A word of advice to "perry b": you may want to speak to a certain notorious Hoboken Plaintiff- a huge L-O-S-E-R, in fact.... someone so narcissistic that he could not imagine his courtroom antics would sour and eat him whole.   This miserable LOSER might tell you that things in the rear view mirror are much closer than they seem. Hey, if things don't work out, you get to keep your hair.

Well, back to my original point...

GA was so surprised to discover that Hoboken's Former Corporation Counsel is the "trial attorney" in Plaintiff Perry Belfiore's "First Amendment" civil complaint against the Defendants which include Councilwoman Beth Mason!  


Remember who gets hurt when politically-motivated lawsuits are filed against the City of Hoboken: the Hoboken Taxpayer.
Belfiore v The City of Hoboken, The Hoboken City Council, et. al,

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Disinformation on "White Flight" from GUESS-WHO?

HoLa Trustee  Anthony Petrosino is at it again!

Folks, I don't know what to tell you.

GA tries to ignore HoLa Trustee Petrosino's obsessive disinformation campaign against the Hoboken District school system, but lately, he's been on a disinformation rampage- rat a tat tat -  one after the other.

Methinks the Texas Truth-Twister has picked up the pace for the March 14 Appellate hearing, hoping that the judges will read his tired turd-blossoms.

(Actually, no one does.... GA couldn't help but notice that his hit count has barely risen since last month...  that Texan's Toilet barely gets 200 page views per day!  After 10 years online... Mwahahahaha!)

But you know, the problem for the devious doc is that he lies so outrageously, so often, that his lies trip him up.

District poverty is going up! District poverty is going down!  Non-poverty families are leaving the District! Non-poverty families are increasing in the District!   Families are going! Families are staying!  

  Crapademic Anthony Petrosino buries self in manufactured crapademic avalanche- see GRAPHS. 

Since this HoLa Trustee's obsession appears to be with the phenomenon of "white flight" in Hoboken District Schools, shall we take a look at "flight" of students from the HoLa District?

Check out that "White Flight"!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Earwitness News: Police summoned to Shop of Horrors?

This arrived yesterday from an Earwitness:
So today, Mason, as she often does, and as if she's still in office, attracted snow-shovelers to clear snow from the homes of senior citizens and businesses who reach out to her.  The pay was low, and they were fed McDonald's while inside the Little Shop of Horrors, but the noise from the place and people on the street who showed up, meant that on this sleepy snow day police had to be summoned. Twice. One neighbor said he was afraid to pass with a stroller and was "disgusted" by the behavior he was subjected to.   Someone I know participated (he's desperate for cash) and said "I'm totally f*cking shocked right now... you know I do not get shocked easily". He was surprised that everyone was disrespecting the Shop of Horrors, loud music was blasting, everyone was spilling outside onto the street, not allowing people to pass.  This person is no altar boy, so if he was shocked, that's saying something. The cops were mellow about it but they had to come twice.  It sounds to me like the noise and behavior were the problems in equal measure.  A local window washer distributed the shovels. Crap from McDonald's was ordered inside. Not too many calls for snow removal, so a lot of mingling around outside and before too long police were called.  
Doesn't the HPD have better things to do than babysit the taxpayer-funded Shop of Horrors? 

GA hopes that the Shop of Horrors' next good-Samaritan endeavor does allegedly not require police control. nor allegedly disturb the neighbors.   Who was allegedly supervising?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

"Don't forget MEEE!"

click to read full article


24 hours after the Observer.com  published "Sources: Former Ally Poised to Challenge Mayor Zimmer in Hoboken,"  Freeholder Anthony "Stick" Romano chimed in with:  "I am weighing my options (for a Hoboken mayoral run)."

GA thinks Romano meant to say: "I am weighing my options to see if Zimmer runs a Freeholder candidate against me..."

One imagines that his campaign manager, Pablo Fonseca wants to keep his candidate relevant in Hoboken mayoral politics, create buzz, and perhaps send a message (or two).

One message might be to potential DeFusco donors: "not yet."

Stick's  public flirtation with a mayoral run could impact DeFusco's ability to raise money; it's likely two Zimmer opponents are competing for the same donors.  

Another message might be that Romano has the power help/hurt Zimmer in case Defusco does run;   he could throw in and split the OG vote like Tim Occhipinti did in 2013 or sit it out.

What about DeFusco?
Well, GA thought yesterday's Observer article that Mike was "prepping for a campaign" was interesting.  Not the "prepping" part, because that rumor's been out there for awhile.... and a rumor leaked by unnamed sources online doesn't elevate it above a rumor.

The fact that no one would go on the record on the "prepping for a campaign" stuff is the interesting part.  To me!

GA wanted to know if that was a sanctioned or unsanctioned leak.  So I asked a source close to the DeFusco campaign who told me that DeFusco did not sanction that leak, providing neither  confirmation nor denial of its truth.

That be the case,  GA is going to give Mike, whom I personally like, some unsolicited advice.

Find out who leaked to the press and get rid of them.  That person did you no favors.  If/when you do announce, it should come from you and not some anonymous, blabbering idiot. It's my POV that leaky anonymous operatives speaking for the candidate or the campaign make the candidate look weak, indecisive and the campaign look disorganized. Some might even question the motives of the leaker, and the info- is it reliable?  Is it malicious?  Was the leaker for real or just some wannabe player or doofus or troublemaker?

Hey, it's not that complicated.  Let folks hear you at a time and place of your choosing. My two cents.

From the Mouth of Bah-ler
GA  had asked Councilman Ravi Bhalla the other night what he thought of the dueling fundraising events (his and Mike's) on the same night.  

The unflappable Bhalla called it an "inadvertent scheduling overlap," was gracious- no stream of epithets or foot-stomping.  Talk about mellow...  the guy has sat for 8 years listening to Jimmy Farina mangle his last name- "Bah-ler" and taken it like a champ.

Then Ravi added (I had him repeat and took notes): "I’m grateful that Councilman DeFusco has repeatedly expressed to me in the past that he is fully supportive of my re-election and supporting the Mayor last year, and similarly, I’m looking forward to supporting him in his re-election in 2019."

Gotta love Hoboken politics!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A Tale of 2 Fundraisers- UPDATED

A couple more folks who were at Ravi's event last night were: Gary Hindes, a close friend and advisor to former Vice President Joseph Biden, Frank Giantomasi, former Essex County Counsel, Steve Wielkotz – the auditor who worked with the late Nj State Fiscal Monitor Judy Tripodi to straighten out Hoboken's finances, Retired Superior Court Judge Donald Venezia, Current and former BA’s Stephen Marks and Quentin Wiest and Rudy Andrade from CarePoint.

Muckity-mucks are always nice to have, but GA was most pleased by the large turnout of Hoboken residents.

Both fundraisers, Ravi's and Mike's, got a good turnout of our Hoboken neighbors.

GA heard that I missed some VIPs at Mike DeFusco's kicking event: "two state assembly people, the Mayor, Bernie Kenny, Cheryl Fallick, Hovie Foreman, Phil Cohen, Antonio Grana, LGBTQ leaders, young Dems..."

There you go!


Thank you Horsey, for providing the pics from Mike's event last night; GA had planned to drop by.

Oh well!

GA hears it was a diverse crowd; some older folks, some younger folks and  a bounty of Hoboken politicos: 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos, Former NHSA Commissioner Tony Soares, former HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia, former NHSA Commissioner Frank Raia,  Patty Waiters, Freeholder Anthony Romano, some drop-ins from the City Council (Tiffany Fisher),  lots of Academy folks including their VP of Real Estate (who sources say rented Occhipinti his Pet-shop pad), politico Perry Belefiore, Eduardo Gonzales,then a  helping of political operatives  and RE developers including RE developer/Architect Tom Chartier.

GA took these crappy pics during the speeches- as you can see, some folks were dressed to the  nines in their business attire- a lotta testosterone in the room.  GA will update later, as I was unfamiliar with many folks.  I did see many Hoboken friends, including Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro, Councilpersons Peter Cunningham and Tiffanie Fisher, Former State Senator Bernie "BK" Kenny and his distinguished partner Ed Florio, ZBA Chairman Jim Aibel, Kurt the Giant-Hearted, Garry Hines Head of Democratic Party, NHSA Commissioner Brian Assadorian, Hovie Forman,  a boatload of 2nd and 5th Ward neighbors.

GA will add more later- gotta run!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Who do you love?

DOUBLE HEADER: Councilmen Bhalla and DeFusco holding fundraisers at 6PM tonight!

Both?  Neither?

Support your Councilmen!   Really. 

Yes, it costs money.  But, if you're looking for a bargain, it's cheaper to be Ravi's friend ($175) than it is to be Mike's person ($300).  Or do like [redacted] always does: show up late and slip in for free.

It's a coincidence that two Hoboken councilman are fundraising on the same night.

Sources tell GA that Bhalla had planned his event first.  It isn't clear if Mike's people knew- they probably should have.  That's why people have people.  People... who need people...

Well, GA appreciates Mike DeFusco for melting Terry Castellano with a big bucket of water.  It wasn't easy to lift that bucket!  Of course,  influential Reform folks like Mayor Zimmer helped with the lifting.

Speaking of Mayor Zimmer, she is Ravi's "Special Guest".  Will she sing or dance?

GA hears Mike is going to have a surprise guest, but if I tell you then its not a surprise!

1... 2... 3....

"Nancy...what the f*ck are you doing on your site!!!!"

Monday, February 6, 2017

HoLa won't say WHO gets insurance benefits, citing "privacy laws"

Ever hear the one about throwing stones in a glass house?

It goes like this: HoLa ("stakeholder") files an ethics complaint against 3 sitting Hoboken BoE Trustees.  That opens up scrutiny of HoLa's administration and Board.


After all, it's only fair to question HoLa's moral authority to file "ethics" charges against the BoE, right?

It's also fair to scrutinize claims the charter "operates on half... the Hoboken district operates on" at the same time they hide their taxpayer-funded budgets, costs and expenditures.
 "All around, we have a very successful public school—that operates on half of the per-pupil taxpayer funding that the Hoboken district operates on."
-HoLa Board President, Barbara Martinez-
The more we peek behind the curtain, the curiouser it gets- see above letter response to a District "stakeholder's" OPRA.

Who's insured and who's not? 
An OPRA request from HoLa for a breakdown of costs for health insurance returned these "estimated" yearly premiums:    

    • Medical: $89,008.32
    • Dental: $27, 600

That totals $116,608.32 in "estimated" health insurance premiums for at least 15 classroom teachers,  10 administrators, 5 specials teachers (Art, Music, Gym, Health & Fitness, STEM) and unknown additional support staff.  

That seems awfully low doesn't it?

 A former NJ public school teacher told me that average health premiums cost a district anywhere from $25K to $40K per person.

If 30 HoLa employees are getting health benefits, that would amount to $4K per person.  That's incredibly cheap, by any measure.  Impossibly cheap?

So then, who is insured, and who is not?

The school denied the OPRA request for that information "on advice of our legal counsel we cannot provide the names of employees who participate in health plans due to privacy laws."

Um, baloney.  Public sector employees who collect taxpayer-funded health benefits is not privileged information.

source: 2015 Taxpayer's Guide to Education Spending- HoLa Dual Language Charter School 

So, what exactly is going on?

Why deny access to public information?  The OPRA already provided requested administrators' salaries and benefits, yet full disclosure of insured violates "privacy laws?"

It doesn't make sense. Or does it? 

Anthony Petrosino deposition in Petrosino v Board of Education- he LOST, the BoE WON its counterclaim