Year: 2012


Beth Mason ain’t no gold digger or Hudson County Executive material

The Hudson Reporter printed a year end county write up on elected officials and on Hoboken it got the essentials correct, at least in regard to Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s re-election bid next November, describing her as exceedingly tough to beat.

It however missed by a county mile claiming Councilwoman Beth Mason was her primary opponent as the Hoboken opposition is led by Michele Russo in the form of her son, third ward councilman Michael Russo. Mason is described as a candidate for a potential Brian Stack ticket for an Assembly seat, an idea pushed by Mason’s political operatives over many months.  State Senator Stack however has not uttered a word over that time and Councilman Ravi Bhalla just completed a successful fundraiser headlined by Newark Mayor Cory Booker raising $40,000 with an eye on a potential Stack ticket himself. The Reporter did mention Beth Mason coveting the County Executive seat, reported here earlier and most recently ridiculed by Grafix Avenger’s Deep Throat source, the ever warbling Deep Uvula who found the idea utterly laughable.  At the County level, others are finding more than a bit of holiday mirth in the idea Beth Mason can buy the executive chair fall off your chair funny.  Selling the idea via paid political operatives to the Hudson Reporter is far easier than convincing County power brokers and current elected County Executive Tom DeGise to step aside in a premature resignation. Mason’s brief control as the chair of the City Council in 2011 showed her consistently inept, incompetent and unprepared.  Thankfully, those talents combined in seeing her effort to =&0=&nullified at the State level.  Mason’s budget amendment approved by her MORTe allies was rejected for numerous basic arithmetic errors. She bitterly had it passed in her final meeting as the lame duck chair anyway.  This even when she and her MORTe pals were told by the Corporation Counsel such a vote was both illegal and moot.   Now Mason covets the top executive seat of Hudson County with almost a half a billion dollar budget. Not saying she’s a gold digger…
The Hudson Reporter confirmed MSV’s earlier report saying Beth Mason covets the top executive county position.  Can the Queen of Lawsuits Mean and incompetence buy the position?  It’s already creating much laughter among county sources.

Talking Ed Note: For the second week in a row, the page three ad placed by Mason in the Hudson Reporter shows it’s now sponsored in the name of the Mason Civic League, not the imaginary Mason Family Civic League as it has most of the year.

Both MSV and Grafix Avenger have repeatedly noted there was no such registered entity as the Mason Family Civic League. Read More...


End of year favor: raise Hobokenite Jimmy B in prayer

It’s the end of 2012 and for many one challenging year.  From the stories of horrendous damage to our Mile Square after Hurricane Sandy with an estimated $100 million in damages and thousands of buildings impacted to the emerging class action lawsuits for chintzy insurance payouts, things are tough all over town.

FEMA’s initial assessment shows Hoboken is where almost all the severe building damage took place in Hudson County, fully 974 of 1011 buildings with major damage. With that in mind, MSV is going to ask for a year end favor anyway. Of the thousands of readers passing through the stable week in and week out in Hoboken and beyond, it’s not always clear who the audience is as feedback direct or indirect via the comments section is always a minuscule fraction of the overall readership. On occasion emails will show up from people you don’t know with any number of views, ideas or questions.  Sometimes it’s only to share encouragement as the veil has been lifted from their eyes on what has been going on here for so long.   In recent months, one reader took occasion to share their thoughts on endemic corruption in Hoboken and Hudson County: their family’s extensive local history and insights into that ball of wax and shared encouragement for the efforts here with the change brought under the leadership of Mayor Zimmer. In recent months, this reader as has been just learned is undergoing major cancer treatments.  If you could afford a few minutes in the coming days, please add Jimmy B in prayer, a Hobokenite who also is fighting the good fight for a better Mile Square City we all love.
Please help raising Jimmy B in prayer.
He’s battling though cancer treatments and needs your support.

The most interesting man in the world…

Hurricane Sandy was easily the biggest story of the year but the biggest political story was the Old Guard’s all-in move to seize control of Hoboken’s Board of Education with Beth Mason’s untold thousands in illegal expenditures for the Move Forward slate and underwriting the Nazi Truck.


Michael Russo’s political gift to Hoboken at Christmas

Most people expect a respite from politics on Christmas Eve and even Hoboken where politics is always on the agenda for the Old Guard Council, you’d think they’d take a break from hatching some rumor mongering, spreading ill will and all manner of fabrication during the year end holidays.

If you count yourself among a group in town who answered the phone from a strange phone number on Christmas Eve, you’d be wrong. Michael Russo who holds the title of Third Ward Councilman opted out of Christmas cards to his friends and neighbors in Church Towers this year and recorded a robocall issued to people well outside his turf according to one recipient in the sixth ward, Grafix Avenger.
Michael Russo didn’t let Christmas get in the way of his political announcement he planned to make a future donation for
Hurricane Sandy “across” the state.  The announcement came in a robocall on Christmas Eve.    
What caught her attention in the prerecorded Christmas Eve call was a pledge at some undetermined point =&0=& to make a donation for Sandy relief “across the state.”   The Russo clan holds some lovely digs down the shore at Belmar.  Was Michael Russo’s planned unspecified donation inspired by coastal damage or was it in whole or part some new political operation he and the Old Guard is launching? In pondering the two, it does coincide peripherally with ally Beth Mason’s political fundraiser by her Mason Civic League “charity” to curry favor with Hudson County politicos.  The zip code demographic of the Hudson County fundraiser just happens to envelope Assemblyman Ruben Ramos’ district in the county and Mark Smith’s home turf.  Smith also happens to be the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) chairman and is mayor of Bayonne.

Wot a coincidence.

At the last City Council meeting, Tim Occhipinti assured Hoboken flooding residents they didn’t have it so bad seeing they didn’t have their homes “razed to the ground” like others on the Jersey shore.  Was that an ode to his fellow Old Guard grandstander or a dog whistle to undermine the mayor’s efforts with

Hoboken residents are fighting to reach something resembling normalcy taking on insurance companies who are not providing coverage for most of their losses.  If there is a step down from street level in their garden units, the losses are worse or in total based on the flood insurance parameters, a problem the mayor spoke to remedy at a US Senate subcommittee.   An unknown number of Hoboken residents are looking to move back into their homes after losing everything and suffering major structural damage. Read More...


A glimpse of Old Hoboken: A Good Man is Hard to Find

The following guest piece appears courtesy of Joe Finnerty, a Hoboken born and raised resident 1927 – 1954.  His autobiographical website, available at =&0=& is quaintly titled, “Hoboken Boy.” During the years I lived in Hoboken, Democrats ran the place. You may not have heard of its long-tme mayor. This vignette puts the spotlight on him and a couple of his successors. =&1=& The Democratic Party controlled many big cities during the years I was growing up. Among the more notable mayors were: Boston’s James Curley;Chicago’s Richard Daley; Kansas City’s Tom “Boss” Pendergast; and Jersey City’s Frank Hague. Not to be outdone, Hoboken’s mayor Bernard J. McFeely held office for seventeen years, from 1930 to 1947, during which time he made those other professional politicians look like amateurs. His name should be more reviled.    During his years as mayor, he never earned more than $5,000 per annum. When he died, he left an estate said to be valued at $5 million dollars. He never married, but he was a member of a large family. At one time, the city employed sixty five of his relatives including one brother, the Superintendent of Schools and another, the Chief of Police. Once I saw the Chief enter a candy store, walk behind the counter, ring up the register, scoop out some bills, and saunter out.Cop’s Grab was the term used by older schoolboys while swiping some younger kid’s marbles. It was easy to see the origin of the game’s name.  The mayor owned a sanitation company. Hoboken awarded its municipal waste hauling services contract to his firm every year he served in office. Even after WW II, his company continued to use horses to pull its open-top garbage trucks. McFeely did not believe in replacing anything that was still working.  Anyone who ran a political race for election against the mayor had to endure rough treatment. One year, the Hoboken police arrested the Republican candidate on the eve of the election based on some trumped-up charge. He spent the day in jail while awaiting the outcome of the election. He lost. It was difficult to find anyone willing to challenge the mayor or the system.  The New York Post ran a special edition one time, exposing the city’s political corruption. When their delivery trucks arrived in Hoboken by ferry, police commandeered them and accidentally destroyed the papers. McFeely did not like bad press.  Of course, McFeely doled out city jobs to people and provided financial aid to others during the Depression era. These citizens rewarded his regime by continuing to reelect him. McFeely finally tasted defeat in 1947 when the returning veterans demanded a change in city government.    I recall the fervor that swept over me when voters installed a new form of municipal governance that year. Five officials were elected to a city council, and they voted one of their number as mayor. In that first year, three Italians and two Irishmen were elected to serve. John Grogan garnered the most general election votes. When the five council members met, the three Italians voted one of themselves (Fred De Sapio) to serve as mayor, setting the tone for what turned out to be years of controversy. Now, instead of just one person running the city and stealing it blind, we had five people trying to run the place, and steal too. The first act of business of the newly elected board was to order nameplates for themselves, at a cost of $200 each, on a non-competitive bid from some friend of the new mayor. The number of players had changed, but not the game. It was business as usual at City Hall. Grogan was persistent and eventually was elected mayor. When my mother died in 1961, he came to her wake, and shook hands with my father.Hoboken’s mayors made it a practice to attend wakes, an easy way to endear themselves with the family of the deceased and secure votes. His appearance pleased my father, not me. I doubt he knew either of my parents. The year 1948 marked my initial presidential voting opportunity. A registered Republican, my vote went to Truman, the Democrat. I was swayed by the fact that Harry had sent me a nice form letter upon my discharge from the Army Air Force a year earlier, thanking me for my contribution to the nation. I felt duty bound to vote for a candidate who expressed such sentiments. In addition, the looks of Dewey’s mustache turned me off. You have to have a sound basis upon which to cast your ballot. After moving to San Mateo, California in 1955, my desire to immerse myself in political issues waned. The elected officials there were all honest people. Who could be bothered taking an interest in a lily-white government? Hell, the city even used motor-driven trucks to pick up garbage. It would have pained McFeely to witness such unnecessary expense in the name of progress.

Merry Christmas


“We Three Kings of Orient are” as performed by Miles Davis, David Sandborn, Marcus Miller on the David Letterman Show,  December 1987.

US Attorney’s Office obtains extortion plea in North Bergen Housing Authority case

The US Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey announces:

Director Of Operations Of North Bergen Housing Authority Pleads Guilty To Extortion

NEWARK, N.J. – The director of operations for the Housing Authority of the Township of North Bergen, N.J., today admitted extorting employees of a maintenance company contracted by the Authority, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

John T. Kennell, 49, of North Bergen, who was arrested in August 2012, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares in Newark federal court to an Information charging him with extortion under color of official right and by fear of economic harm.

According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:

While the director of operations for the NBHA, Kennell used his official position to extort cash payments from employees of a company (Company One) that provided repair and grounds maintenance services. Kennell, who supervised the employees of Company One working for the Authority, accepted cash payments in amounts ranging from $100 to $400 from employees for, among other things, securing additional paid vacation days for these employees. Kennell assisted in securing these additional paid vacation days by falsely reporting to Company One that the employees were working at the NBHA, when they were, in fact, traveling outside of the United States. Between February 2008 and June 2011, Company One compensated employees for approximately 80 days of unauthorized vacation, totaling $12,498, because of Kennell’s actions. Read More...


All I want for Christmas…

Hey, it’s the time of year for Christmas wishes.  Here’s Da Horsey’s short list: 1. Nespresso Arpeggio capsules.  (What’s an Italian without his expresso?) 2. One chestnut filly under the stable mistletoe with a white Christmas 3. Inspired jurisprudence of Hudson County judges in 2013 4. More love for the Hoboken Free Speech Legal Defense Fund 5. The “go signal” for the Boys of Summer in Hoboken for “Operation Bernard McFeely”
Hoboken’s best Christmas gift, no matter the season.

Talking Ed Note: While doing some research came upon a website of a Hobokenite born and raised.  He has encapsulated his autobiography online and it contains some interesting nuggets of the World War II period in Hoboken.

Here’s a link to the old corrupt Hoboken of yore, “A good man is hard to find.”
Corruption in Hoboken isn’t so much a crime but a “tradition.”  It’s absolutely worth a read.  Leave a comment for the veteran and tell him Da Horsey said to share some love: Read More...