Russo-Castellano Abandon the HPD

Even more surprising than the screwing MORT (Mason, Occhipinti, Russo and Terry C.) gave City employees on their refusal to convert the midtown garage bond from non-taxable to taxable, was the screwing they gave their peeps at the Hoboken Police Department.

Call GA naive, but that one shocked me.

Because as I heard Chief Anthony Falco recite the litany of filthy and dangerous conditions at the Police headquarters I thought surely decency would trump politics- for once.

Chief Falco said it himself at the close  of his presentation, "Set politics aside for once and do what's right for once...  Officers get cold, get sick.  I implore you to pass this ordinance."

It worked for me.  Were I on the City Council, that would have been a slam dunk.  Of course the ordinance to fund repairs to our police station should have passed, 9-0.

But it didn't.

Check out some of the problems that the Chief described, as he implored the Ciy Council to pass the bond ordinance: 
  • There is no operable HVAC system.  There hasn't been on for years.  In the winter officers use space heaters. But if all are used concurrently, circuits blow.  This caused a fire in the men's locker room recently. 
  • The electrical wiring is outdated and does not meet usage requirements. New wiring is needed. This caused at least one fire already.  (GA suggests electrical inspection is urgently needed)
  • Cell block toilet facilities back up and empty outside of the building.  Urine can be smelled inside.
  • The upstairs toilets leak to the floor below.
  • Water leaks onto the IT room servers.  Chief Falco had water leaking onto his computer.
  • There is mold in the gym.
  • In the men's locker room facility there is 1 toilet and 1 shower for 130 men. 
  • No storage room. Evidence is currently being stored in 3 trailers outside. A 4th is required.
  • The lobby layout poses a threat to officers and the public.  A separate area for processing those arrested is required. This would have a separate entrance to reduce the chance of someone escaping.
  • The sidewalk in front of the station is broken and has caused people to trip and fall.
  • Security cameras are non-functioning and  need repair
  • IT equipment is antiquated.
  • Telephone system needs revamping.
  • More 4x4s needed to navigate flooded streets. 
  • Hoboken needs a firing range; we currently rents one in Bayonne  for an annual cost of 25K. 
GA was stunned at how  hazardous a few of these conditions were.

Particularly the outdated wiring and non-working HVAC.  The building should be fully sprinkler-ed, but in light of the potential for fires, it should be tested regularly until the electrical system is fixed. 

And mold? A friend became sick recently from exposure to mold at her workplace.

Processing criminal suspects in the same area that the police interface with the public?  Doesn't sound like a winner. 

GA is truly amazed at the neglect, the abandonment of these officers with a series of lame-ass excuses.

Timmy the Tool mumbled something about the police getting new headquarters per the Master Plan; a nice way of saying "F**k you".

Mason mumbled something about not having the money to fix everything at once, and not agreeing with all items listed.  However, when asked to name which line-items she disagreed with, she couldn't. 

Terry C., whose husband was a cop, mumbled something about the City  not being able to bond for  everything, that we just couldn't afford it.

And Russo?  He said the money should come from our capital budget, not a bond. Without explaining the miracle of finding it there.

Well, with 'friends' like these...   who needs friends like these? 

Every member of MORT failed the HPD.   Shame on  you.

Who voted to give the HPD the funding for repairs? Bhalla, Cunningham, Mello, Giattino and Marsh.

Now officers, to truly understand what your 'friends' have done to our City and it's workers...

Just released from City Hall:


Following the City Council minority's vote to block the refinancing of bonds for the Midtown Garage and a bond for capital improvements, Mayor Dawn Zimmer announced that it would unfortunately be necessary for the Administration to begin a city-wide layoff process in order to close the resulting budget gap.

“I deeply regret that this action must be taken, but unfortunately the City Council minority's blocking of these essential bond ordinances leaves me no choice,” Mayor Zimmer explained. “Layoffs should not be necessary at all, but the City Council minority has intentionally created an easily avoidable budget gap that must now be addressed in a fiscally responsible manner.” 

The refinancing of the bonds for the Municipal Garage would have saved the City $50,000. Instead of achieving this savings, the failure to refinance will require the City to unnecessarily spend $4.5 million to pay down the existing bond. This cost will have to be offset by staffing cuts in order to stay within budget and avoid a significant tax increase.

The capital improvement bond was desperately needed in order to address long neglected infrastructure needs including providing heat and proper security measures for the Police Department Headquarters and replacing broken equipment necessary for the City to plow snow, sweep streets, and pick up garbage. These desperately needed items will now have to be deferred or offset by additional cost saving measures.

Since the City Council minority blocked approval of these critically needed bonds, the City is now left with a $7.3 million budget gap.  As a result, all City employees were provided with a general advisory concerning possible layoffs earlier today.

“The City Council minority was fully aware that the failure to approve these bonds would create an unnecessary budget gap that would require drastic cost cutting measures. During the past week I have repeatedly made clear that otherwise unnecessary layoffs would become necessary if these important bonds were voted down,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “I want to assure the public that my Administration will do everything that it can to ensure that we continue to provide our community with all essential services through privatization, shared services and other measures, despite the need to reduce staffing as a result of the City Council minority's actions."