Friday, March 31, 2017

Stack WARNS interlopers: "They'd be making a mistake"

excerpt from InsiderNJ news

"They'd be making a mistake" 

Uh-oh.   GA wouldn't mess with Stack- look at those biceps!

As reported yesterday in InsiderNJ:
"State Senator Brian P. Stack’s endorsement earlier this week of Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer gave a game over feel to the incumbent’s reelection contest, or she hopes. The politically hyperkinetic Stack rarely endorses in local contests, so his two front fight on behalf of Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop and now Zimmer has gotten the attention of other Hudson County power players."
It's pretty clear that Stack is telling one of those politician's white-lies, and in fact did endorse Mayor Zimmer early in the season to "scare off interlopers."  And not just ANY interlopers.

A very special interloper.

The interloper is thisclose to LD32 North Bergen Senator Sacco, and  NJ Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto.   He is an aide to both Sacco and Prieto.

To boot, the interloper does "Business Development" for an engineering company on the same floor as Prieto in a Secaucus office building.  The Interloper's employer has made a $2,000 aggregate contribution (so far) to Prieto's June 2017 primary campaign- perfectly legal!

click image to enlarge
Prieto for Assembly ELEC, filed on January 6, 2017

So, what do Sacco and Prieto have to do with all this?

They allow the Interloper free reign to interfere in the elections in other Hudson County districts (like Hoboken (LD33), Jersey City and Bayonne (LD31)).  By looking the other way, Sacco and Prieto  endorse the conduct.

Why?  Anybody know?

Fallout from disrespecting Senator Brian Stack,  Hoboken Freeholder Stick Romano and Bayonne Mayor Jim Davis was evident on Wednesday night at Stick Romano's fundraiser.    (Remember the Interloper's play to swap Freeholder Anthony "Stick" Romano for Councilman Ruben Ramos on the HCDO line  to clear the path for Zimmer challenger, Mike DeFusco, and threatening the Murphy campaign to stay away from Zimmer's April 17 fundraiser)

Well... the Interloper was noticeably absent (after emceeing for Romano last November) and Bayonne Mayor Jim Davis was the only guest speaker.- a message sent.   (The Interloper has been trying to push out Bayonne Mayor Davis- like he's doing to Hoboken Mayor Zimmer),

Well, well, well.

Stay tuned for GA's next episode of As Hudson County Turns. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

"War" over Hoboken?

Hey, what's that in LD32 Senator Sacco's shopping bag?

It looks like Mike DeFusco!

Why is Sacco shopping in Hoboken?   There are plenty of great supermarkets in North Bergen.

In fact, the reason why LD33's Senator Brian Stack endorsed Hoboken's ACME, was to remind Sacco to leave the Mile Square's fresh fruit, vegetables and elections alone.

In the meantime, sources tell GA that Sacco claims he wasn't shopping in Hoboken, but "it was Joey."  Is there a difference? 

Anyway, GA wonders if the gentleman's agreement to stay out of Hoboken's election is being respected or just lip service.

That is because of comments Mike DeFusco made to Hudson County View's John Heinis on Monday.  DeFusco appeared to acknowledge the conflict between Sacco and Stack, while brushing off Stack's influence over Hoboken:
“And although I have a great deal of respect for Senator Stack, he’s looking out for Union City right now."
Senator Stack is Hoboken's representative in the NJ Legislature, so in fact he doesn't just "look out for Union City."  He looks out for Hoboken, too.

No doubt, DeFusco dissed Stack.  But why?

Dissing Stack is not a politically savvy move unless you either (1) have an equal power behind you (like Sacco),  (2)  are sending a message to.... Sacco or (3) you're a jackass.

DeFusco is not a jackass.   He knows that Joey Muniz is a "fierce DeFusco backer".  He will need substantial resources to counter an opponent like Zimmer.

Who has such resources at his fingertips?  Let me see....

GA asked a Hoboken political insider for an opinion about DeFusco's "[Stack's] looking out for Union City"  comment.

S/he said:
Sour grapes. Stop whining. Why was Zimmer so great in 2015? He sought Fulop's endorsement at his fundraiser... failed. He got Joey Muniz endorsement... backfired.   
Then I asked the "insider" if s/he thought DeFusco's Stack brush-off was a "wink at Sacco."
Yes, no doubt.  He's doubling down with Sacco/Muniz... DF is the one who went outside of Hoboken first with Fulop then with Sacco/Muniz. He's aligned with North Bergen...  I'll take Stack over Muniz anyday.  Stack represents Hoboken in Legislature. His endorsement is politically and governmentally significant. 
Folks, that was an opinion.

The fact is that Stack has legitimate interests in Hoboken, which is part of his district.  

Clearly, an LD32 intrusion into an LD33 election will shatter the peace between the respective district leaders, Sacco and Stack, and blaming Joey will not suffice. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

MEET Karen Nason, candidate for Hoboken Mayor!

Karen Nason, candidate for Hoboken Mayor
"My name is Karen Nason and I have filed with the State that I am seeking the office Mayor of Hoboken."

Nason for Mayor campaign opened on February 22, 2017 
"I am the owner of a business called Hoboken Hothouse on 2nd and Monroe. I have lived in Hoboken for over six years and have opened multiple businesses in Hoboken starting on 120 Washington Street with the first "Hoboken Hothouse." "

Nason's first "Hoboken Hothouse" at 120 Washington

"The second "Hoboken Hothouse" is at 200 Monroe Street which is a wildly successful Café/Pizzeria in what was considered the worst part of the city. The Café/Pizzeria was awarded Best New Business by the Chamber of Commerce, and I was also awarded Irish Business Woman of the Year in Hudson County."

Hoboken Hothouse Cafe/Pizzeria on 2nd and Madison

"I want to put this invite out there... I will have a bus to escort the elderly and Vets back and forth so that they might enjoy the concert,  which of course I am not asking donations for but would love for them to enjoy." 

Nason for Mayor campaign kick-off on Wednesday,  April 19

GA note:
Thank you, Karen.

It sounds like a great event. Hopefully, your supporters will throw some coin your way, but nice that you aren't asking up front.  (Go ahead.... lure those cheapskates in, and hopefully they will reach into their pocket!)

Good luck!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Ravi's shady fundraiser (& VIDEO!)

Did you know about Councilman Ravi Bhalla's March 24 fundraiser?

Neither did I.

But when comments like those above appeared on this blog, I found out about it.   Boy, Ravi's fundraiser sounds nefarious, don't it?

Well, don't believe everything you read!  Especially from a troll.  GA procured the invitation (below) for a fact check.

Was Ravi's fundraiser really a shady felon-fest? 

NO Kellyanne, you friggin' liar!  You wouldn't know the TRUTH if it bit you in the ass!

LOOK at the invitation, Kellyanne!  The hosts alone are a constellation of NJ political heavyweights- including Governor Jim Florio, Edison Mayor Jun Choi, Superlawyer Gerry Krovatin and Special Guest Phil Murphy!  Not to mention the star power blinding everyone in the room!  All were there for Hoboken Councilman Ravi Bhalla. 

In fact, here is a short clip of  NJ Dem gubernatorial candidate  Phil Murphy's speech:

One more thing, Kellyanne.

The event was organized by Bhalla's legal mentor, Gerry Krovatin; Krovatin and his famous author wife, Anna Quindlen, lived in Hoboken for many years.

Although the event was not promoted here, some Mile Square luminaries showed up, including Hoboken Mayor Zimmer and former NJ State Senator Bernie Kenny!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Card from Brian Stack


What a loving and caring way for the Mayor of Union City to endorse the Mayor of Hoboken for re-election!

Can you believe it?

Union City Mayor Brian Stack must think a whole lot of Mayor Dawn Zimmer to send her such a card!

For those of us who didn't get the adorable card, the big news was broken in today's InsiderNJ:

Congratulations to the happy couple, Dawn and Brian!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Hoboken's "unlikely alliance" against Hudco invaders

"We're heeeeere!"

Look at the size of that thing double-parked in front of City Hall!

I'll bet you it's full of Greeks Hudson County bosses!

Trojans Hobokenites, we must protect City Hall from invasion!

How will we do it?

Two Hoboken officials: Hoboken Mayor Zimmer and Hoboken Freeholder Anthony "Stick" Romano have formed an "unlikely alliance" to protect City Hall from from the double-parked looting and pillaging bosses!

GA would call the Zimmer-Stick pairing more "detente" than "alliance," nevertheless, the forging of cooperation happened as a result of two behind-the-scenes events:
 (1) Stick was bullied by North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco's North Bergen aide Joey Muniz to publicly announce he would not run for mayor.  It got nasty, with threats to pull HCDO support from Romano and run Ruben Ramos for Freeholder on the HCDO line instead. Muniz, a "fierce DeFusco supporter" wanted Stick out of the way, to increase DeFusco's chance of beating Mayor Zimmer in a two-way race.

(2) Muniz called gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy to say that Murphy could not align with Zimmer as long as he (Muniz) wanted DeFusco for mayor.  Muniz demanded that Murphy withdraw from his April 17 "Special Guest" appearance at a Dawn Zimmer fundraiser. 
So let's break it down: there is only one reason why Hudson County bosses would try to pick Hoboken's next mayor- see below.

It's all about Hoboken City Hall.

Hudson County bosses could care less about Stick's race.  Forcing him out was simply a means to an end: ousting Mayor Dawn Zimmer and electing Mike DeFusco for mayor.

But hey, watch out for unintended consequences.

 The Observer, NJ Politics-  March 23, 2017

"According to a source, Romano is likely to back Zimmer in the Hoboken mayoral race in November if he does not enter the race himself. In that race, Zimmer is likely to face a challenge from Councilman Michael DeFusco. While DeFusco has yet to officially declare his candidacy, according to the source, DeFusco and Zimmer are currently battling it out for support throughout Hudson. Paired with early rumors that the HCDO was initially favoring Hoboken Councilman Ruben Ramos for Romano’s freeholder seat, the rumored shakeup led Romano and Zimmer to form an unlikely Hoboken-centric alliance. That alliance has continued even after the HCDO endorsement for Romano."
Now, you ask: what's in this "alliance" for Mayor Zimmer?

Let's just say that "unlikely alliances" are forged on mutually beneficial returns.

In the meantime, Hoboken COUNTY taxpayers want to be "winners" in this mutually beneficial "unlikely alliance"- we will not be forgotten.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Muniz & Sacco spotted in Hoboken's First Ward!

Folks, wait until you hear this!

Last night our friends from North Bergen, 32nd Legislative District Senator Nick Sacco and his aide Joey Muniz made a stealth appearance in Hoboken's First Ward!

In fact they crept in so quietly- without making a sound, Hoboken bystanders mistook them for Ninjas!

Here is the story, as told to GA by an eye (and ear) witness.

At about 8:30 PM last night, the North Bergen Ninjas were crossing First Street, at the north corner of  Willow, heading South. It is unclear what they were doing in Hoboken's First Ward under the cover of darkness; perhaps they came to measure for curtains in the Mayor's office.

It gets better!

A voice calls out, "Hello, Senator!" and the voice's owner, a woman, rushes up to shake his hand.  It was Mayor Zimmer.

Yes!  It so happens that the Mayor was walking down First Street with friends and relatives when her party literally, ran into the North Bergen Ninjas.

GA hears the mayor was amused; the North Bergen Ninjas, not so much.

Then, Ninja Muniz spied the Dark Side pinata (married to the mayor) and shook his hand.

It was an encounter of the brief (and awkward) kind.

GA hears Ninja Sacco didn't say much.  But his Ninja companion had one more thing to say...

As Zimmer walked away, Muniz shouted, "I never even met Mike DeFusco!"

Zimmer half-turned, smiling, and replied, "That's a good one, Joey!"

Folks, this really happened.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

"Pretty nasty for a clergyman"

Should people living in tax-exempt glass houses throw stones at taxpayers?  

They can.

Some do.

But, be advised the taxpaying "carpetbaggers" you whack with stones may throw them back.

GA is referring to unfortunate language in a Jersey Journal Op-Ed sent to me by a reader.  He wrote: "Pretty nasty for a clergyman."

The Op-Ed, called "2 mayors with bikes on their brains need to smell the traffic"  is written by a long time commentator on City Hall politics  and Hoboken clergyman.

Of course, religious leaders use their bully pulpit to advocate for/against issues of public interest and public concern, especially related to ethics and morality (such as civil rights).  Martin Luther King is a famous example.   We presume that priests, rabbis, imans have divinely-inspired wisdom the rest of us don't.   We look up to them.  We listen to them. We learn from them.

Should we be insulted by them?

Here is what the clergyman wrote:
"How did we get two carpetbagger - oops, out-of-towner - mayors with granola head mentalities who cater to the minority residents jeopardizing the economic health of their communities and spreading to all of Hudson County?"  
 "carpetbagger" = "out-of-towner"  


Who are the "minority residents?"

Wrapped inside of the clergyman's insults somewhere is a viable opinion on a matter of public interest and public concern.  One can agree or disagree on its merits.

Couldn't he post the opinion without insulting the flock?  Without calling persons who were not born and raised in their respective cities, "carpetbaggers?"   By his definition, the majority of  Hoboken residents are "carpetbaggers"-  including some members of his congregation.    

Why would a clergyman disparage residents who moved to Hoboken and Jersey City as adults?

Would he call Saint Patrick of Ireland, born in Britain, a "carpetbagger, too?

What divisive foolishness from a person whose words are invested with the authority of his tax-exempt pulpit (subsidized, in part, by "carpetbaggers").

By the way, "carpetbagger" is a not a term of endearment:
In general, the term “carpetbagger” refers to a traveler who arrives in a new region with only a satchel (or carpetbag) of possessions, and who attempts to profit from or gain control over his new surroundings, often against the will or consent of the original inhabitants. After 1865, a number of northerners moved to the South to purchase land, lease plantations or partner with down-and-out planters in the hopes of making money from cotton. At first they were welcomed, as southerners saw the need for northern capital and investment to get the devastated region back on its feet. They later became an object of much scorn, as many southerners saw them as low-class and opportunistic newcomers seeking to get rich on their misfortune.

Actually, this Hoboken carpetbagger would love tax-relief from Hudson County.

How about it, Stick?
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Matthew 5:43–45, King James 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Update: MYSTERY SOLVED re: DeFusco fundraiser (invitation)

Guess what?

One of GA's sources who provided the invitation (yes, more than one) contacted me to say the invitation was STILL on Facebook!

In fact, it is only visible to Facebook "friends"...  which explains the reported "disappearance."

Wow, if only all mysteries were this easy to solve!  

For example, the mystery of fundraising to elect a candidate when the campaign account is capped at $5,100 in donations?

Or the mystery of why persons solicited for donations allege being assured the candidate was "on Zimmer's team"?  

June 2016: Hoboken City Hall pays respects to victims of the Orlando gay nightclub massacre with flags at half mast 

I've got a mystery for you.

The invitation below was 'live' on Facebook around 7PM yesterday.

Then... ZZZZAP!   It was gone.

Demetrius Terry, served as Legislate Aide to Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia from March 2016-January 2016. 

Yep, it went missing last night.

Meanwhile, did you notice what was missing on the missing invitation?

The "make checks payable to..." part, otherwise known as the: "who am I paying?" part.

Maybe the invite was taken down to add that stuff.  Though, it may be more complicated...

GA noted on Monday that DeFusco for City Council's 2019 campaign total aggregate donation limit is  $5,100.  So, if DeFusco gets contributions for a new campaign (the 2017 Hoboken mayoral, for example) he has 10 days to file a D-1.

Rules, rules, rules!

Anyway, who is "Special Guest" Ed Potosnak?

He's an impressive guy; his bio reads:
"Ed is Executive Director of New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, the leading political voice for the environment. Ed is also Chair of the New Jersey Keep it Green Coalition, New Jersey State Lead for the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, Part-Time Lecturer at Rutgers University, a member of the Rutgers Glee Club Alumni Advisory Committee, and serves as President of the Franklin Township Board of Education."
Wow.  It gets better...

When Potosnak came under fire by a fellow Franklin Township School Board Trustee for remarks he  made to  the 2015 graduating class of Franklin High School; Ed Potosnak refused to resign.  

What did Potosnak tell the graduating high school class, that so pissed off his colleague?

Potosnak, who is gay, called for a more inclusive, stronger society "in which gay and lesbian couples have a fundamental right to marry, no longer may this liberty be denied for them... there will be no discrimination on the basis of your sexual orientation.... our country is counting on you... you are going to change the world."


GA endorses every word:

You know, there may be a lot of political infighting in Hoboken, but one thing holds true: no matter which faction one belongs to, we ALL support LGBTQ rights.

All of us.

Hoboken residents (except for a few stupid ones) stand loud and proud with our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. That's right, we stand WITH you.

These are a few of my pics from 2016's NYC Pride Parade.

We love our LGBTQ vets
Take that, TRUMP. 
Never too old to celebrate PRIDE.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

HoLa oral argument re-scheduled

As some of you know, the Great Blizzard of 2017 (NOT!) caused the re-scheduling of oral argument for Hoboken BoE v NJ DoE/HoLa (SAD!).

Oral argument has been rescheduled for May 2, 2017 in Jersey City, this time... an Uber away!

In fact, this will be the third date set for oral argument; the first was on January 31, postponed to March 14, which was snowed out.

All those delays mean that Hoboken BoE v NJ DoE/HoLa  will be argued in a very different environment- with the backdrop of pending draconian cuts to federal funding for public schools.

The Trump budget proposes cutting the U.S. Department of Education by 13% "eliminating funding for teacher training and after-school programs"   while redirecting funding for private school vouchers and charters "a historic $1.4 billion federal investment in school choice, including new money for private school vouchers and charter schools, as well as directing $1 billion to follow students to the school of their choice."

This budget may not pass, but Trump's governing philosophy remains hostile to public education. Which means the kids and parents served by Hoboken district public schools can expect a new set of problems.

So... looming federal de-funding of public schools may not be relevant to the determination of Hoboken BoE v NJ DoE/HoLa.   It just feels like it is.

With respect to the contested HoLA expansion, it is curious to note the 47% drop-off of enrollment from 6th grade to 7th grade in the 2015-2016 school year- see charts below.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The clock ticks on DeFusco

On February 7, 2017 First Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco hosted a well-attended fundraiser.

Three days later, on February 10, 2017, "Defusco for City Council (2019)" filed an A-1 ELEC form.

The A-1 form reads:
"The total amount expended or to be expended on behalf of my candidacy by me or by any other candidate, person, or committee shall be zero, or shall not, in the aggregate, exceed $5,100 for this election."
Curious, no?

 And, if the campaign accepts any contribution at all, it has 10 days to open a (bank) account on a D-1 filing; the A-1 reads as follows:
"I am aware that I, as a candidate, am required to designate a campaign treasurer and a campaign depository and that I am required to file with the Commission a “Certificate of Organization and Designation of Campaign Treasurer and Depository,” Form D-1, no later than 10 days after receipt of any contribution on behalf of my candidacy or 10 days after making any expenditure on behalf of my candidacy, whichever comes first."

Three days after raising substantial monies, DeFusco's campaign opened it's 2019 campaign with a form that precludes it from accepting contributions above $5,100 in total.

Which suggests that the February 7 fund raising was intended for a different campaign.

And so the reporting-clock is ticking...  The next ELEC deadline is April 15, and we should expect to see the contributions reported somewhere.

After all, a candidate cannot continue to campaign (and fund raise) for an election without opening a campaign account.  The public has a right to see a campaign's receipts and expenditures.

So, it seems that April 15, 2017 date would be an "on or before" deadline to make it official.  

 In the meantime... two of three At-Large Council candidates named by Al Sullivan last week have not denied the disclosure.

The third has vociferously denied there was any truth to it, which means...  who is number 3?

Friday, March 17, 2017

Kiss the Bag

2016 Saint Paddy's Day decorations in Beth Mason's Civic League storefront

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Today Saint Patrick has brought a reminder to Hoboken, all the way from the 4th century.

Specifically about our factionalism; how we residents often judge each other based on whether or not we were born here. It is generally assumed such factions (Born-and-raised (BnR), yuppies) stick together in Hoboken politics as a voting bloc.

Well folks, check this out.  St. Patrick may represent the heart and soul of Ireland, but guess what?  He wasn't a BnR!

That's right, Ireland's Saint Patrick was born in Britain!  At age 16, he was kidnapped by pirates who brought him to Ireland, then was sold into slavery.  Not a great start!  But Saint Patrick made lemonade out of lemons...  so here we are today, celebrating his life, ironically, in pagan fashion sipping a Tom Collins (lemonade and gin on the rocks) on a bar stool.

Makes you think how little it matters where someone (you) were born. It's what you do where you live.   Treat people how you would like to be treated- with respect.

On that note...  back to local politics, and the theme of respect....

It is true that folks who work hard like to be recognized.  So, GA was taken aback by remarks made in the "New Business" portion of Wednesday night's Council meeting. Specifically, Councilman DeFusco's assessment of the snow-removal work performed city workers after Tuesday's storm.

DeFusco said:
"I want to thank the hardworking men and women that took care of the snowstorm on Tuesday... everyone performed (pause) moderately well... I say "moderately" because there's always room for improvement... and to think that we've nailed it really doesn't give it any room for growth."


Hoboken's municipal employees bust their frigging humps to clear our streets, did a great job, only to get a half-biscuit from a freshman Councilman???? 

What's this "room for growth?"   How does one "grow" at snow-shoveling?  The snow is there, and then it's not.

Um... anyone else find this attitude a wee bit pompous?   It is not the City's job to dig out our cars or shovel sidewalks- it is the landlord or homeowner or business' responsibility.  And if a Councilman has to move his frigging bicycle around a lump of snow on the bike path- get over it.  There are priorities- like roads

I don't recognize this guy.  DeFusco talking down to city workers  (they "performed moderately well... but there's room for growth") sounds like a corporate exec's shitty evaluation of an inferior.

The "performance" is snow plowing and shoveling, for G-d's sake.

As if to undo the sting of DeFusco's words, Councilmen Bhalla and Russo followed with praise for the workers' snow removal effort.  Bravo. 

I guess all of us, no matter what our position in life, have "room for growth."

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A taxing Council meeting

Last night's council meeting kicked off with a PowerPoint presentation of the Mayor's proposed 2017 Municipal Budgetthe total budget is $107M with a 1.25% municipal tax decrease.

GA wants to show a few slides that might interest Hoboken taxpayers.

The first one shows the share of your total tax bill paid to the County, our Schools and our Municipality, for the last 8 years.

Check out what happened to your tax bill during the Zimmer administration and Hoboken Freeholder Anthony 'Stick' Romano's term in office and a Reform-majority BoE. 

HOLY COW.    I hate to pick on Stick Romano when he's black and blue from Joey Muniz... but "funding formula" my tukas. 

Hoboken needs a Freeholder to stop the bloodletting, whatever or WHOEVER it takes. No, Ruben wont do a thing, either.

Conversely, check out what Reform management of City Hall/Hoboken BoE has to done for the Hoboken taxpayer.  This fish is "fresh" from the top-down: no contracts to friends or patronage hires or giving away money in settling  frivolous lawsuits.

So WHY would Hoboken even THINK about opening City Hall to Hudson County bosses?

The next slide shows amount of Muni taxes versus INCREASING County taxes since 2010.

In case you were wondering how Hoboken's resident municipal tax bill fares with the rest of  Hudson County:

For G-d's sake!  Only a meshugunah would want to dump this Mayor, her Council team, and BoE Reformers!

Our Freeholder is another story...

Well, there was more to the meeting, for another day.

Here is the entire municipal presentation for those who missed it:

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Hoboken Ides of March

Happy Ides of March! 

Remember back in 44 BC when Julius Caeser got shivved by his friends in the Roman Senate?   It must be true, Al Sullivan reported it.

Well, ancient Rome's got nothing on Hoboken!

In Hoboken's political world, someone's always shivving a current/former friend;  alliances change like jockey shorts (or togas).

And when it comes to intrigue and betrayal, Hoboken's 2017 political season takes the cake. How many names can you think of to fill in the blank below:

"Et tu __________?"  

The following are folks who have already gotten the shiv, or are about to (only they don't know it):

Freeholder Anthony 'Stick' Romano 
Stick has been (famously) bullied to announce he's out of the Hoboken mayoral race, or else get thrown off the HCDO line on the ballot, and replaced with Ruben Ramos. Nice!  This is the loyalty Romano, a Hoboken native, gets from his Hudson County pals.   So, which 'friend' is planting the shiv into Stick?   Joey Muniz,  emcee at Stick's November 21, 2016 fundraiser.
Et tu Joey?

Mayor Dawn Zimmer
In a mutually beneficial political move, Mayor Zimmer welcomed Mike DeFusco onto the 2015 Reform ticket.  DeFusco did yeoman's work, pushing the Wicked Witch of the First Ward off her broomstick, but he had help from the Mayor, and her friends. The mayor's friends (like GA)  helped convince skeptical Reformers to trust his professed intentions.  Candidate DeFusco told the Observer , "I certainly think Mayor Zimmer is doing a fantastic job..."  Not so fantastic, it seems! After one year on the Council, Defusco is trying to take Zimmer's job, at which he promises to be even more fantastic than Zimmer.
Et tu, Michael?

Councilwoman Terry Castellano
Castellano nominated Michael DeFusco for the Zoning Board of Adjustments in 2011. Four years later, he yanked away her broomstick and beat her over the head with it. Bravo!  DeFusco also took her Council seat, sending her back to the schmata shop.  Word is, she hasn't forgiven him.
Et tu, Michael?

Councilman Mike DeFusco
This one hasn't happened yet...
But GA has a basis to believe that this is happening...  now.   This rumor floated to me from a place outside of Hoboken:  
The Mikey D mayoral attempt is a diversion courtesy of the Russo dynasty. The dynasty needs to have the mayor get reelected and not run again so Mikey R can sit it out until 2021.  Their bet is to cajole Mikey D to run now as a sacrificial lamb, undermine his campaign and then move him to the side so that Mikey R can take up the mantle in 2021, as Mikey D will be damaged goods as a failed mayoral candidate. And Mikey D is likely to fall for it.  As dyed in the wool grifters, they play the long game, IMO. It wouldn't surprise me if Mikey R was behind the whole Mello leak - just the right move to shake things up and get Mikey D dirtied up in the local contact sport of Hoboken politics. And if he can throw shade at Mello and try and get reform in a tizzy, so much the better.  
Wow.  Well, it certainly wouldn't be the first time a campaign was undermined from within- remember the 2013 campaign of mayoral candidate Tim Occhipinti?  Poor Tim got shivved by moles on his own campaign.
Et tu, Mikey? 

Joey Muniz
NJ Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco aide Joey Muniz, was supposed to put his mighty invisible hand into Hoboken's mayoral election.  Muniz' invisible hand was supposed to (1) push Phil Murphy away from Dawn Zimmer's April 17 fundraiser, (2) push Stick out of  Mike DeFusco's path for mayor, and (3) use his mighty powers to push DeFusco into the Mayor's office.  But you know, operatives are only effective when they are behind the scenes. Once the operative becomes the story, it' over.  Muniz is the story now in the Hoboken election.  We know all about his machinations against Mayor Zimmer, thanks to Max Pizzaro.
Et tu, Max?

Senator Brian Stack
Why is District 32 State Senator Nick Sacco's aide Joey Muniz moving in to a municipality in State Senator Brian Stack's Legislative District 33?   Stack was seen in Hoboken last week, at a diner with Mayor Zimmer- a public appearance with a message for Sacco: isn't District 32 big enough for Joey to play in?
Et tu, Nick?

See what I mean, people?  And I didn't even get to the "intrigue" part!

Well, the calendar may change, but EVERYDAY is the Ides of March in Hoboken!

Dig in!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Hoboken's got a 3-WAY mayoral race!

As if our Mile Square hasn't had enough drama so early in our election season- in comes local businesswoman Karen Nason to shake things up!

Welcome, Karen! 

Nason is the owner/chanteuse of Hoboken Hot House, a sweet cafe/performance space on 2nd and Monroe.  And boy, girlfriend can sing.

Has Hoboken ever had a singing mayor?  

Nason also was the owner of FUSE- an event space in the First Ward, which closed, after a zoning battle with the city.  In short, Nason needed a conditional use variance to host private events in the R-1 residential district; the HR wrote that the "issue seems to come down to language that is missing or nebulous in the city’s zoning ordinance."  Nason balked at getting the variance, citing the cost and her past contributions to the Hoboken community. The experience left Nason furious- at the City, and especially the mayor.  No, Nason's not shy about blaming Zimmer for the demise of FUSE.

What was First Ward Councilman DeFusco's position?  

DeFusco agreed with the City's zoning enforcement, telling the HR that it was "correct due to a “caveat”.  

So, those are possible reasons Nason has taken the plunge into Hoboken's mayoral race.

My first thought when I read the news was, who does she hurt- Zimmer or DeFusco?

Okay, nobody knows the answer.  But GA was interested to discover Nason's ties to 'old Hoboken'; she's a good friend of Freeholder Anthony 'Stick' Romano   and her husband is former Hoboken Zoning Board Alternate Frank DeGrimDeGrim also served as Treasurer for A Smarter Future, Stick's 2015 BoE slate, and the campaign account appears to still be open.

In fact, on January 27, 2017,  DeGrim filed a 48-HR ELEC for  (3) donations from Anthony Romano made in 2015.  The amounts of Romano's contributions are $1,000 (Oct 24), $600 (Nov. 2) and $400 (Nov 4).

Treasurer DeGrim never filed a single R-1 ELEC report for A Smarter Future, so it is impossible to see the flow of money in and out of the campaign; the donors, the disbursements, the contribution amounts, and the account balance.   But he appears to still be managing the finances of that campaign account.

DeGrim is also Treasurer of Nason for Mayor.  The D-1 was filed on Feb 22, 2017 (Frank, you have to file the full bank account number without redactions).

So... two months after A Smarter Future's November 3, 2015 election, DeGrim was nominated for ZBA Alternate #4 by Tim Occhipinti and Mike Russo; he won on an 8-1 vote.

Stick Romano... Mike Russo...  same constituency as DeFusco.

The candidate and her family's friends and/or alliances may (or may not concern) the DeFusco folks.
But now there will be (at least) 2 anti-Zimmer candidates campaigning on how much Zimmer sucks, how she should be laying new water mains herself.

Who knows, maybe a few more residents will hop into the race- it's still early.  But Nason is smart to throw in now... she will have plenty of time to get her name out there.

What GA really finds interesting is that though Stick's run is uncertain (looking unlikely), a good friend has picked up the gauntlet.

Who knows if that means something or means nothing.  That's the weirdness of Hoboken..

What's unique about this Mile Square City, is that folks engaged in politics in any way, shape, or form know each other, some very well.   Hoboken's political world is weird, insular and most of all, we don't want outsiders picking our next Mayor. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Zimmer & Stack meet for pie in Hoboken!

Zimmer and Stack meet to stick a fork in the Muniz takeover 

According to sources, Hoboken Mayor Zimmer and LD33 NJ State Senator (and Union City Mayor) Brian Stack met for pie at a Hoboken diner yesterday.

Was it cherry? Apple? Blueberry?  Was the crust moist? Buttery?

GA doesn't know, but sources report that Stack and Zimmer "mutually agreed" to meet at the diner for "pie and coffee," presumably where they would be seen- and they were.

I suppose on the agenda was how to "stick a fork" in North Bergen's move into the Hoboken mayoral race; InsiderNJ reported Sacco operative Joey Muniz is trying to push Stick Romano out of the mayoral race, and trying to push Phil Murphy out of his special guest appearance at Dawn Zimmer's April 17th fundraiser.

Speaking of the Muniz story, GA's coverage (sort of) got props from Political Insider columnist Augie Torres today.   Torres called GA's coverage "fun stuff", then spelled the blog's name wrong: "Gravix Avenger." Maybe homage to Greta Garbo?

Zank you Augie for zee mention, now I vant to be alone.

Augie's take on Hoboken politics is like the rest of Hudson County's: Hoboken is the County's crazy uncle you keep locked in the attic....

Only this crazy uncle has the keys to a goldmine of pending development and options to develop. 

Now here comes North Bergen to swipe the crazy uncle's keys!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Change in the Defusco Era

Changes are coming to City Hall!

Tired of transparency?  Sick of Mayor Goody Two-Shoes?  Tired of competitive bidding  and litigating frivolous lawsuits?   Miss the City's BBB- junk bond rating?  Wish our hospital had been replaced by a residential high-rise?

Me, too! 

Help is on the way! 

Powerful Hudson County bosses are going to rescue Hoboken from all that good-government stuff!
Read about it in InsiderNJ!

See? What did I tell you?

HUDCO bosses have their Hoboken takeover all mapped out. They are going to run the show once they "collect the mayor's seat in Stack's district."

Hoboken residents, don't worry because the HUDCO bosses aren't  coming here for us!  

Nope.... the HUDCO bosses don't give a crap about us! They're taking over Hoboken City Hall for the contracts.   And boy, they'll be up to their eyeballs in them.

That is, once developers start calling the shots.

For his first act in office, (shadow) Mayor Muniz will make a few tweaks to Hoboken City Hall: a keyless revolving door entry for the HUDCO bosses to come and go as they please, and a chute from the Mayor's office for contracts to slide out for collection.

These changes are estimated to cost $500,000 (puffed up for lots of beak-wetting).  

Because the city will bond to pay for those tweaks to City Hall, our current Mayor Goody-Two Shoes has great news to share!
 "Standard & Poor's Global Ratings reaffirmed Hoboken's excellent AA+ bond credit rating.  The AA+ rating is the second highest rating it can issue for a municipality.  S&P's report confirmed Hoboken's strong financial footing, including our very strong budgetary flexibility, prudent financial management practices, and very strong economy.

The AA+ rating is critical for our City, as it allows us to invest in important infrastructure including the second flood pump, the Washington Street project, construction of new parks, upgrades to our water main system, and more.  Thanks to our AA+ credit rating, we are able to continue investing in critical projects that lead to a better quality of life for our residents.

When I came into office, Hoboken was a financial disaster, with its credit rating just above junk bond status.  Thanks to our prudent financial decisions and efficient management in collaboration with the City Council, improving our credit rating to AA+ in 2013 has been one of my proudest accomplishments since taking office."
Thank you, Mayor Goody-Two Shoes!

Mayor Goody-Two-Shoes with  gov. candidate Phil Murphy
Now get out of town!

And stop bragging that you raised the city's bond credit from junk bond status in 2013 to AA+  (not to mention balanced Hoboken's budget) and kept it at AA+ for  four years in a row.

Like I said, that good government stuff is so last year.

Two terms of excellent management of the City's finances, solving chronic flooding on the West Side of Hoboken, keeping our hospital open, preventing the City from defaulting on the $52M hospital bond, balancing the budget, winning a $230M grant to protect Hoboken from the next Superstorm Sandy, among other things you keep bragging about... it's time for something DIFFERENT.  It's time for HUDCO bosses to run Hoboken. 

For (at least) TWO terms.

Sorry, aspiring mayoral candidates Councilmen Mike Russo and Ruben Ramos, HUDCO bosses are in the driver's seat now.

GA Note: REAL change is coming to this blog.  Due to recent malevolent activity in the comment section, I will be phasing out "Anonymous" commenting.  Regular commenters, please register a screen name. Anyone who needs help doing so, may contact me at and I will tell you how to do it.  You won't have to give me your new screen ID, I will just give you instructions. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

DeFusco voted "No" on ordinance to protect HISTORIC buildings in R-1 districts

Click HERE to read full article

To be fair ,the proposed demolition ordinance was voted on twice- and Councilman DeFusco voted "NO" twice.

But on the second vote, DeFusco was joined by Councilpersons Russo, Ramos and Giattino.

According to the meeting minutes, the (second) "reconsideration" vote was requested by Mike Russo.

October 19, 2016 Meeting Minutes for the Hoboken City Council 

I actually recall watching this vote (and re-vote) in real time, live-streaming the October 19, 2016 meeting.

I recall being confused why DeFusco would oppose this ordinance which, as Jim Doyle said, would protect Historic Structures from being demolished in the interim, before the historic district was expanded (because who knows when that might happen).

But Councilman  DeFusco gave a reason: something about needing to expand the historic district first; he said something like approving the ordinance would be like building the second floor before the 1st, or something along those lines.

That is what I remember.

I only bring this up, because of the Councilman's resolution, statements and campaign video announcing his 'year-long' quest for the historic preservation of  901 Bloomfield, which is in the R-1 District, a district that was protected under the proposed demolition ordinance (which he voted against).

Personally, GA doesn't see a good reason for voting against Ordinance Z-438. Too much of historic Hoboken is disappearing too fast.

But, Councilpersons DeFusco, Russo, Ramos and Giattino did.

And only one of them is running for mayor.  And the one running for mayor appears to be campaigning on saving a historic structure in an R-1 residential district.  He will have a chance to explain his vote, and he's welcome to come here to do so.

This is the ordinance which passed 5-4: