Council Surprises: Tim Saves Pump, Mello calls DEP "political"

FACT: Pump is UNDERGROUND, two above ground accessories: (1) one is 36"h x 36"w x 18"d,    (2) the other accessory is 42"h x 8" dia.

Boy, was that ever a 'special' meeting!

As you know, last night's Council meeting was called because neither Beth Mason nor Theresa Castellano would provide the 6th vote to green-light a low-interest loan for a flood pump (serving the ShopRite neighborhood). 

But those 'NO' votes turned out to be serendipitous, because last night ALL of Hoboken got schooled on the proposed H5 Wet Weather Pump Station.   Rumors were debunked, and Hoboken discovered how tiny the pump's footprint will actually be (Jim Doyle called the H5's two accessory structures no bigger than "suitcases.")

 Accessory structures
Wrong, Mr. Doyle.   GA  has suitcases bigger than the pump's 36"h and 42"h accessory structures.

So, last night the room was packed with residents for and against funding the H5 Wet Weather Pump Station.  (GA missed the first hour)

Richard Wolff, Director of the North Hudson Sewerage Authority (NHSA) explained:
  • The  2 contaminants which the NHSA expects to find at the pump site are:  (1) a chemical used in the processing of coffee at the former Maxwell House factory and (2) heavy metals.  Neither are airborne, therefore cannot endanger residents during their removal.  A possible third chemical, whose remediation was described as similar to asbestos- abatement; the area is kept wet as the material is safely removed- may exist.  If found, it will be safely removed- like it was during the construction of Maxwell Place.  
  •  The H5 pump is below-grade.  There are only 2 above-ground accessory structures. They are a 36"h x 36"w x 18"d  'box' and a 42"h x 8"dia 'tube.'   Maxwell Place will direct the landscaping around them.
  • The H5 pump is located where it has to be to drain the 'ShopRite flood zone.'   Wolff explained this to  Engineer Mike Russo after Engineer Mike suggested moving the pump out of the flood district it serves.  'Engineer Mike' was told moving the pump north would require construction of 2 enormous holding tanks ("50 feet long...") and moving it west (into another residential neighborhood) would not properly drain the ShopRite area.  
  • The deadline to initiate the low-interest loan (GA heard "no interest") will close at the end of March 2015.  Tick.. tick.. tick..
So... it was a very informative meeting with a few surprises.  The first: Tim Occhipinti. 

Tim gave the best speech of the night.  He kept it short; said the right thing  but most importantly, did the right thing.

The vote would not have succeeded without his support; Timmy's was the 6th vote. 

GA gives props to Tim.

Yep, you heard right.

The other surprise was last night's  performance by Dave Mello. Yes, he voted the right way but...

...what the hell was that?   I know Dave as a compassionate person, but last night his compassion seemed aligned with a  privileged sector of Hoboken who do not need a pump to stay dry in the next flood.  Mello appeared more concerned with the possibility that Maxwell tenants might have to subsidize the pump  than with the huge swath of Hoboken (including ShopRite) that will be underwater AGAIN without it. I couldn't believe my ears when Dave wanted to know if the funding agreement could be pulled if the tenants were impacted with fees for the pump.

Pull the funding?  Truly a 'WTF moment'.

In a prolonged scolding of the NHSA's "communication failure" that seemed (to me) more about political pandering to the Maxwell Place residents rather than trying to encourage them to trust that the process would be done safely and in the best interest of the ENTIRE Hoboken community, the Councilman appeared to suggest the DEP was a 'political'  entity.

Really?  In response, NHSA's chief engineer popped up to defend the DEP as scientists, engineers and professionals not motivated by politics.

GA doesn't get how coddling one group of residents serves the greater good of Hoboken; hundreds whose health and property are in jeopardy every time time the city floods.  Poisonous blackwater washed through 1,800 Hoboken homes in 2012.  The toxic mold grew in the walls of those homes, many with children.  What about those kids?
Reality Check.

Here's what my kid (and others all over flood-devastated Hoboken) were breathing, until we renovated:

Toxic black mold behind the drywall in my living room

Toxic black mold covered my floor joists

My car taken for scrap metal- water  running down the ramp
I have plenty more photos, but you get the idea.

So, pass me a frigging violin.  I am appalled that some of our Hoboken neighbors do not see the urgency of protecting families from the next storm, and doing it NOW.


  1. I appreciate that GA is nonpartisan and open to calling out politicians from either side when she disagrees with them. I have always supported Dave and continue to do so, but I also find fault in what he said last night. I respect his right to have his own opinion, even when I disagree.

  2. Amazing how much disinformation was pumped out about the pump but hey anything Beth Mason is involved in usually is.

    I kinda have to agree with Dave Mello about Maxwell residents getting stuck with a big bill but I think Jim Doyle expressed it better when in his remarks said IF the site remediation costs exceed what is expected Hoboken should step in and pick up the bill and not the individual condo associations..

    1. Yes, I am in absolute agreement that Maxwell residents should NOT be stuck with a bill, and the City will have to work that out. I can agree with Mello on that up to the point where funding the pump is not tied to resolution of the bill NOW, as the clock ticks on the loan.

      The bill issue PALES in proportion to the greater good the pump will accomplish for Hoboken, and it should NOT be held hostage to the settlement of the finances. Shall we talk about the financial impact of flooding on its victims and on Hoboken's local economy?

      And again, Maxwell Place condo association should NOT get stuck with the bill.

    2. I had zero doubt that City Councilman at Large David Mello understood the seriousness of the situation and need for this additional pump and was going to vote yes last night.

      I also expect people representing us on the City Council especially those who are sworn to represent the City as a whole and not just individual Wards to ask questions and see if we have options and again I think Mello did that last night.

    3. He fanned the Russo led flames. I had huge doubt if he was going to vote for it. He never asked questions 5 days ago. Nope not until he saw a room of his perceived peers.

    4. Not me I never doubted for a second he was going to vote yes.

      Did you see the look of death Beth gave Terri when she flipped voted against her ?

    5. Mason looked shaky last night. Seemed to struggle with reading her scripted remarks.

    6. hmag has the entire video of the City Council meeting from last night up on their site.

      After looking at parts of it again I found with the exception of one ore two of the usual hyper partisans most of the people were reasonable and understood both the need and the possible problems that might occur.

      One thing I found odd is that none of the information presented by the technical people as to the construction to counteract the misinformation that was being circulated to insight fear had not been made public previously.

      After the confusion the disinformation caused had been stripped away Mason and Russo were left with only their usual complaints that they would have somehow done things differently then the City Administration.

      I take Mason looking disoriented last night as a sign she might finally be on the road to some sort of self realization.

    7. Why did the some council members vote yes last week without asking a question and then went on rants last night ?
      Were they voting based on "the information presented by the technical people as to the construction to counteract the misinformation that was being circulated to insight fear had not been made public previously."
      Were they not reaching out to the residents back then?
      Was it just that the audience last night was bigger and made grandstanding more effective?

      Important rules for sounding authentic and like a you aren't an operative:
      1. Sound Objective - CHECK
      2. Blame the "Technical People" who made the same presentation last week
      3. Refer to watching on H-Mag because watching on a political site or city hall's site will show you are an insider.

    8. Yo Gurl !

      I am some what flattered to be considered an insider but truth is I am not.
      However, I will not sue you for two million dollars for alleging that I am.

      1. I am not objective and as a resident of the west-side of Hoboken I am unabashedly pro anything I think will help mitigate any future flooding in any part of Hoboken.

      2. If you are going to quote me please use the whole quote, " none of the
      presentation by the technical people..." Please note the operative word (pun intended) in the sentences is "none." What you did is dishonest.

      3. I referred people to H-Mag because at this time as far as I know it is the place to watch the entire video of the meeting.

      Trying to dishonestly discredit me rather than debate the facts only makes your own motivations look suspect.

  3. Another Mello-Dramatic rant from Hoboken's longest winded politician.
    Mello may be right that Maxwell residents shouldn't have to cover expenses at all. But Mello was pandering to the residents while throwing the the Northwest flood victims under the bus. Sorry Mr. Mello, you don't get a buy 2 bedroom and get a 3rd Bedroom free coupon from the Developers for that performance.

    1. This is a city wide project not a Maxwell project and they shouldn't have to pay anything more then any other taxpayers to see it done.

      The last line of your post is outrageous and I would that sort of stupid hyperbole to be coming from the denizens of the 12th Street clubhouse.

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Seems the Mayor threw the Council Under the Bus again.
    First it was the "Rolling Re-val" now it's the pump she has fast tracked and presented to the Maxwell residents all on her own. Leaks are reporting that Zimmer wanted to limit public input. One Maxwell resident said it best, You have multiple meetings for everything else, why only ONE for Maxwell? Shmae on the Russo/Mello/Mason coalition for fanning the flames of misinformation. One thing for certain, Mello can't be trusted by his own allies anymore.

    1. Seems we have a troll try to hijack a blog again.

    2. Not going there. Fast-tracking the pump sounds good to me. I suppose it may not be appreciated by those who are not at the mercy of the weather.

  5. I live at 1025 Maxwell Lane. My neighbors and I had real concerns but limited information. Despite a dog and pony show by Zimmer, we were lead to believe she had no interest in changing or even hearing anything from us. She wasn't even there last night to hear us or show she cares. It's embarrassing that she doesn't communicate with the council members either. Thankfully Mr Marks, Doyle, Bhalla and The team from North Hoboken Sewer calmed many fears

    1. Perhaps you should not have gotten your limited information from sources like Beth Mason or Hoboken411's "Shit Pump" articles.

    2. Hoboken411 needs a shit pump. 9,000 emails produced by Plaintiffs in discovery to/from H411's proprietor prove it.

    3. @outoftheloop - glad you had an open mind and glad the city professionals/council/NHSA were able to help.

  6. Yeah, some of these "woe is me" comments are a little hard to take seriously. Let's review the recurring dog-whistle remarks: mayor throwing council under a bus, "rolling reval", "russo/mello/mason coalition, etc.

    Spin away, no one can tell. Nope.

  7. Go easy on Mello. Most of you can't possibly understand what it's like to be a city councilman who wants to have his finger in every committee and board but not do a lick of work. You think it's easy trying to talk out of your ass so you sound like you actually read the meeting packet? Think again!

    1. beat it troll..

    2. I'm not who you think and I know what I'm talking about. The downtown troll isn't the only person in town who feels this way. Deal with it.

    3. Yeah, beat it troll. We all know Mason has trolls on retainer that don't just live downtown. Her offices are uptown after all.

    4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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