1600 Park lighting 19K foundation cost approved with “investigation” caveat

Lighting contractor 19K cost approved with investigative overview of project

A drawn out discussion on the finale to completing the all use field at 1600 Park took some twists and turns before finally seeing approval for deeper foundation drilling for lighting.

Due to a problem with the underlying soil composition, the lighting subcontractor needs to drill deeper before setting the foundation coming in at a “pass through cost” of approximately 19K according to the main contractor Remington and Vernick Engineers.

The field is scheduled for daytime use next month but the foundation for the lighting became a contentious issue as early in the discussion Councilman Michael Russo argued to keep the project in mothballs while examinations on the lighting foundation cost would take place.

Councilman David Mello disputed that approach insisting the project move to completion while council members Terry Castellano, Timmy Occhipinti and Michael Russo complained about the “15 years” of the park’s past.  The park plan saw an actual RFP approved in 2010 and was adjusted for the scope of its retaining wall and other changes including public safety lights in 2011 pushing back the opening to this spring.

Councilwoman Beth Mason proposed a project investigation overview occur in tandem with approval of the resolution.  Councilwoman Jen Giattino agreed with Mason’s suggestion but the eventual amended solution came with input by Corporation Counsel Melissa Longo with language by Councilman Ravi Bhalla.

Along the way several attempts by Russo tried to sink the resolution primarily with Castellano advocating the full 19K be paid by the engineering firm Remington. During the winding contentious discussion, Councilwoman Giattino differed with Russo’s attempt to divide support based on time of residency saying, “It shouldn’t be about people who lived here 15 years or less.”  Russo would later interrupt  her repeatedly as Giattino patiently waited to interject to his interruptions saying “again” each time he did so several times.  Council President Peter Cunningham would remark on his behavior, “You’re acting like a bully.”

Castellano would make a last ditch attempt to stop passage speaking of the building demolition south of the field to no avail.  Russo changed his point of attack several times in an attempt to stop the approval but in the end latched on to Mason’s proposal to investigate the project if there was any responsibility for the late lighting boring work.

Councilman Ravi Bhalla concluded on the amendment language that the council retain general powers on an investigation of the project and Corporation Counsel agreed.

1600 Park’s final “lighting” benchmark passed with Terry Castellano and Michael Russo voting against.

Beth Mason and Tim Occhipinti are unhappy this website gets answers on public information and matters of public interest.  NJ courts have ruled the rights of MSV are NO DIFFERENT from any journalist.

Talking Ed Note:  The discussion was long and tedious but in the end there was a positive result.

Unrelated, later in the meeting Tim Occhipinti would complain budget amendments he submitted were noted here on MSV for the public before the meeting.  He charged the Chair of the Finance and Budget Committee Jen Giattino with improperly releasing the email to MSV.  Giattino refuted his charge and accurately stated she commended Occhipinti for submitting them in a phone call placed to her.  (MSV noted the update in an “afternoon update” and has been following the budget process on a regular basis.)

MSV contacts many officials, as an example recently interviewing Carmelo Garcia at the HHA.  Tim Occhipinti recently supported suppressing a public document being released in the HHA on a memo requested by that body to Corporation Counsel Melissa Longo.

As MSV makes clear quite often, stories posted clearly note where officials do not answer questions.  Tim Occhipinti and Beth Mason chief among them.

It’s always revealing when totalitarians show their true face to the public.  Video to come.

Related: A recent NJ court case showing MSV and other citizen watchdogs (or watch horse) are protected both by the First Amendment and the shield law (on sources) as full time journalists. 

Hoboken Patch posted a short story on Firemen retro pay of 700K (but this is terminal leave) and confusing as Michael Russo has intertwined the two for his own reasons).  Tim Occhipinti said any shortfall on the city paying employees should come out of the surplus.  The Hoboken Sopranos are vying to undercut the city surplus almost on a continuous basis foreshadowing more trouble with the final budget vote ahead.

Jim Doyle who was appointed to the council and legally approved earlier this year by Judge Bariso is unavailable due to the continued appeals by the Mason family on behalf of the Hoboken Sopranos.  Resident Phil Cohen appeared accurately describing the outcome of that case costing the people of Hoboken over $20,000 and counting.

The appeal to stop Doyle from taking his seat on the council will be heard in the NJ Appellate Court next month.

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