Carmelo's Soggy Electrical Panels

Everybody in the uh... flooded basement! Don't mind the voltage.

Folks, we are fighting a war of attrition.

The question is how much STOO-PID can Reform take before we throw our hands up and say, "you win."

We learned last night about a monsoon of STOO-PID that blew into the City's Construction Office.

At long last, the HHA applied for permits to install HHA generators and subpanels.  Great, no?  What could be wrong with that?  Well... the HHA application showed generators located several feet below the Base Flood Elevation (BFE)  and new electric sub-panels (which feed the generators)  located in the building basements.

Apparently this was flagged, and so permit applications were revised to raise generators above BFE.

What about the electric panels?

Glub-glub-glub...  still in the basement.

In fact, this is technically code-compliant.   The HHA can install these panels in the building basements. But is it smart?

No, it is STOO-PID. 

Yesterday, Mayor's office sent this letter to HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia and the HHA Board, (with a Resolution (No. 30) to the City Council) offering to fund an engineering study and raise the panels above the BFE:

GA watched the meeting until it lulled me to sleep- literally.  I hear that there was some disagreement about the funding of the engineering study and the Resolution was pulled. Well, one hopes this matter is resolved at the HHA this evening.

I did wake up once- during a heated exchange over the appointment of David Denning to the HHA.  (Did you know he was white?)  David Mello let loose on the anti-Semitic rantings of an aide to Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia at the last HHA meeting.  Amidst this heated exchange, someone on the dais cried out my name... you'll  never guess who.  

Well, back to STOO-PID...

WHY would the HHA put electric sub-panels in building basements, when flooding would render them useless?  Unless of course... that's the idea.

Because the HHA web site tells us that Phase One of the Vision 20 20 Plan- a building at 333 Harrison "will be elevated above the flood plane to prevent damage such as that caused by Hurricane Sandy". 

If the HHA is designing Vision 20/20 ABOVE the flood plane, why would they locate new electric panels BELOW the flood plane?

One possibility is that one wants the HHA to be vulnerable to flooding, wants the generators to fail, one wants a reason to say 60 year-old buildings are "obsolete."

The other possibility: a raging case of STOO-PID and/or DUH.  

So which is it?

GA laughs at the spin that 60 year-old buildings are "obsolete" when many Hobokenites live well in 100+ year old buildings.  The difference it seems between an "obsolete" 60 year-old building and a 100+ year old "non-obsolete" building is MAINTENANCE.   In fact, GA had a nasty roof leak on my 135 year-old house; this Tuesday my roofer fixed a torn seam and cleaned my gutters.

You see, if a 60 year-old building is either poorly maintained (pissing allowed in elevators, for example) or a victim of STOO-PID (electric panels installed in basements), those  buildings might be called "obsolete."

But they really aren't.

 So, anyway.  We'll see where those panels end up.  Oh, and good luck to the white guy on his first night as an HHA Commissioner.


  1. Why is the city paying for HHA equipment? The HHA has its own funding mechanisms.

    1. The City's offer is for engineering and raising panels, not equipment.

      But good point. This work should be funded by the HHA.

    2. This document says "the city will expand the boys and girls club to provide a long term home for Hola." Will the city be paying for that also? I assume not but it is not clear. If so will the city also be offering projects to all schools? Private and public?

    3. What?! The taxpayers are picking up the expense to fund Hola's home?

  2. Sorry GA - I was one of the people that spoke against the last minute, emergency resolution and not because I think that the electrical panel is fine below the flood plan...obviously it should be above the flood plane. What I objected to was a) the funds were coming out of the affordable housing trust which is really meant for acquiring or building affordable housing and b) the resolution was completely open-ended, not including even an estimate on the cost. Besides all that - do we REALLY need to pay an engineer to tell us that the electrical panels belong above the flood plane? Thankfully the council, in its wisdom all voted the measure down.

    1. Nice job indie!

    2. You need an engineer if you want something more than "let's not put the electrical panels in the basement where it floods".

    3. Well, I don't disagree, Indie. I think the HHA should pay for it. I also think it needs to be done ASAP and done properly.

    4. I agree GA

  3. It's probably by design- these new generators are SO powerful, that they can just power right through the floodwaters! On the bright side, by waiting so long the new preliminary BFEs released a few months ago can (hopefully) now be used in the design.

  4. Thanks GA - agreed. I also stand corrected, the resolution wasn't voted down; it was pulled and sent to comittee

  5. The City is not responsible for the situation at the HHA, the Executive Director is and he needs to be held accountable by the commissioners. The HHA has a more than adequate budget to pay for this and whatever else needs to be done. The City needs to focus its affordable housing trust money on affordable housing outside of the HHA. This needs to die in committee.

  6. Keep fighting the good fight REFORM. Rumor has it that Carmello and his shady buddies (Rene Abreu, Frank Raia, corrupt elected officials, etc..) are dying to get their hands on that cookie jar at the Housing Authority--Vision 20/20. These idiots should know by now that the FEDS are on to them. Wait for the hammer.


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