You can't make this shit up!
While Mike DeFusco burned a straw-man on Facebook ("Hoboken said "NO" to a SHAKE SHACK downtown, on Washington Street!"), last night at the Council meeting, he introduced a "live a motion" to effectively kill off a $175M infrastructure improvement project...
GA will have more for you tomorrow- but in short:
DeFusco's 'live motion" aimed to AMEND the "RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE EXECUTION OF AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY OF HOBOKEN AND PSE&G AUTHORIZING THE TRANSFER OF REAL PROPERTY." This Resolution which DeFusco tried to amend, required approval for PSE&G to proceed with execution of their $175M deal with Hoboken; the terms of this deal had already gone through a rigorous negotiations between City of Hoboken, PSE&G and the Public Board of Utilities.
In short PSE&G agreed to 'give' $175M to Hoboken to combine the Marshall Street substation with the Madison Street substation, elevating and modernizing the combined substation with the most reliable, state-of-the-art technology. Both of these substations are over 50 years old and are at risk from flooding. This is a fantastic deal for Hoboken that wouldn't cost taxpayers one cent.
But what's good for hoboken, is bad for the mayor's opponents, especially a mayoral challenger...
Hence, last night's stunt at the Council- a 'poison pill' to kill the deal, disguised as a live motion.
DeFusco's 'live motion' would have CHANGED THE NEGOTIATED AGREEMENT between all parties and VOIDED it....
Had DeFusco's "live motion" passed, it would start the regulatory process all over again, and force everyone back to the negotiating table, likely KILLING PSE&G's $175M cost-free infrastructure improvements to Hoboken.
And who voted "YES" on DeFusco's "live motion"?
Mike DeFusco, Ruben Ramos, Mike Russo and Dave Mello.
It failed, thank G-d.
So, while Mike DeFusco, Mike Russo, Ruben Ramos and Dave Mello were trying to put the kibosh on a $175M MAJOR infrastructure improvement project being offered FREE to HOBOKEN TAXPAYERS, Mike DeFusco was focusing the public's attention on a myth of lost hamburgers.
The "SHAKE SHACK" LIE
This one is about as dumb- and cynical- as Hoboken politics gets.
On Tuesday night, Hoboken's Zoning Board of Adjustments denied a 80% lot coverage variance at 101-117 Washington Street.
This morning, GA found a torches-and-pitchfork style revolt on Facebook, against the ZBA's alleged "NO" to a Shake Shack on Washington Street!
Who started it? Mike DeFusco!
His opening Facebook salvo is: " Last night Hoboken said "NO" to a SHAKE SHACK downtown, on Washington Street."
Only it's a LIE.
How do we know that (1) "Shake Shack" has never considered tenancy at 101-11 Washington Street and (2) "Shake Shack" was NOT even part of the Application before the ZBA?
It's in the ZBA Planner's Report.
You see, a few days before each hearing, the ZBA Planner reviews the entire Application: plans, reports, drawings, etc. The ZBA Planner then summarizes the application, flags potential issues with granting the variance, and notes deficiencies in a report . The report that goes to "everyone"- and is a heads up to the Applicant to prepare for the hearing and address deficiencies at the scheduled hearing.
This deficiency was cited in the April 12, 2017 Planner's report for 107-111 Washington Street LLC.
"5.7 Applicant should provide information regarding the type of commercial and/or retail tenants intended for the cellar and first floor space."
See what I mean?
The Application for 107-111 Washington St did not even identify the type of commercial or retail tenants intended for the first floor space certainly NOTHING about "Shake Shack." Then, after this was flagged in the ZBA Planner Report, the Applicant had 5 days notice to address to item 5.7 and produce "proof" that any kind of commitment, lease or contract existed with "Shake Shack", or even invite a rep from Shake Shack to testify at the hearing.
As a former full term ZBA board member, I know "marketing" (a.k.a. bullshit) when I smell it.
The Applicant only produced a rendering with the "Shake Shack" sign. A selling point to the board- a "vision." That's it.
In short, there was/is NO tenant "SHAKE SHACK" in the Application for variances at 107-11 Washington Street.
So then why did (former ZBA member) Mike DeFusco post this?
And double-down on the lie when GA called him on it? (typo- "spin" not "spirit")
Note, DeFusco's argument about space for a commercial kitchen when the application was devoid of intended commercial/retail use.
Even the Architect, the talented John Nastasi called out DeFusco's "Shake Shack" fairy tale.
So, while the mobs gather to storm City Hall over the NONSENSE started by Councilman DeFusco, no one is paying attention to a truly disgusting political maneuver- echoes of Beth Mason's plan to kill the HUMC.