Month: May 2013

News

“Hoboken Votes!” voter drive this Sunday looking for volunteers

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Dear Neighbors,
  
Great weather has finally arrived and I hope you all are enjoying time outdoors!

I am writing to remind everyone about the spring Hoboken Arts & Musical Festival this Sunday, May 5th, from 11 am to 6 pm.  The weather forecast is looking good and this should be a spectacular city event as usual.

We are once again, though Hoboken Votes!, an initiative launched last year by residents, sponsoring a Voter Registration Table to assist and encourage new residents to register to vote, and to assist anyone who has moved within Hoboken to update their registration.

Can you spare a little time on Sunday to volunteer at our Voter Registration Table?

If so, please email me at councilmanbhalla@gmail.com or call me at 201-647-6090 to sign up!

Last year, Hoboken Votes! successfully registered over 750 Hoboken residents, and we hope to continue the progress to make sure every eligible resident in Hoboken is registered and enthusiastic about participating in the electoral process.

Finally, as I am sure you know, a lot of important things have been happening in Hoboken civic, governmental and political affairs over the last several months.  I hope to provide you with a substantive update, from my perspective, early next week.

But for now, enjoy the weekend and I look forward to seeing you this Sunday!  

Sincerely,
Ravi S. Bhalla
Councilman-at-Large

News

Garcia Assembly ballot appeal reaches the New Jersey Supreme Court!

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In a new development in the Garica Assembly ballot battle, the New Jersey Supreme Court has requested briefs from the lawyer representing the five Hoboken residents due at 3:00 pm today.

The legal team representing Carmelo Garcia will have until Monday noon to submit their brief on the case.

The latest action means the state’s highest court will determine the outcome of whether Carmelo Garcia can run for the 33rd legislative district.

Yesterday, the NJ Appellate Court declined to reverse its decision with a second look at the case with the issue of Carmelo Garcia’s salary being paid in full by the federal government through his position as Executive Director of the Hoboken Housing Authority (HHA).  The HHA is part of the federal agency HUD – the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Read More...

News

The attack of racist from Hoboken’s Michael Russo has one color in mind: green

Wednesday night was a revelation.  The meeting was moving along at its typical backbiting pace but with no earth shattering surprises.  Then a “brief” presentation by Hoboken Housing Authority executives at the end would allow council members and the public to get to sleep at a normal hour.  Instead, it transformed into a verbal brawl for more than an hour with a less than official ending as reform council members departed, refusing to be held hostage to the artificial deadlock sans Councilman-in-waiting Jim Doyle’s open seat.

Councilman Michael Russo added to the storied history he’s made for himself attacking the mayor as he did during the hospital sale calling her a con.  Coming from the Head of State to the City’s senior grifter family, his fact-less charge was at a minimum entertaining.

Michael Russo in a moment of insight sees racism in Reform for not immediately caving in to the green visions of the Vision 20/20 plan
but he’s color blind on the uniformity of color at home, re: Church Towers.  How come no HHA residents ever find their
way moving “uptown” becoming neighbors with Michael Russo?  He doesn’t have the foggiest.

Then Russo grew frustrated he couldn’t advance phase one of the Vision 20/20 plan in one fell swoop.  And all hell broke loose.

Working himself into a semi-frenzy (real or not makes no difference, he’ll always give a grade B- or better performance).  Russo laid into Councilman Ravi Bhalla the last minute resolution for the 20/20 plan was not going to occur.  What then came out of Russo’s mouth may be less a personal problem in his ward where he’s not held accountable for flapping (or much else), but it certainly is damaging. Read More...

News

Garcia Assembly ballot battle sees second appeal

Lawyer for the five Hoboken residents confirms, ‘If necessary, we will take the battle to the NJ Supreme Court’

The lawyer for the five Hoboken residents, Flavio Komuves who won the original decision in Hudson County Superior Court knocking HHA Executive Director Carmelo off the ballot for Assembly confirmed the battle isn’t over.

In a phone interview earlier, Komuves confirmed there was disappointment in the appellate panel’s ruling but the appeals process is well underway to again challenge Garcia’s eligibility. Read More...

News

Illegal vote to force HHA 20/20 plan down Hoboken’s throat as council fracas concludes meeting

The City Council meeting ended in a frayed conclusion past midnight as members walked out after demands by the Hoboken Sopranos to vote on a 20/20 measure as part of a last minute HHA deadline.

A letter designated as a “letter of need” was required as part of a hectic, last minute 30 year pilot demand for the first HHA building in the controversial 20/20 plan became a pitched midnight battle with council members walking out and the ugliest veil lifted on the actions by the council minority led by Councilman Michael Russo. Read More...

News

City obtains one acre property and $1.5 million from URSA in northwest

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City of Hoboken

   

Community: City to Receive 1 Acre Property & $1.5 Million From Settlement With Developer

The City of Hoboken has settled litigation with URSA regarding a dispute over whether the developer provided all of the benefits to which the City was entitled under a Redevelopment Plan approved in 2000. Because of the dispute, the City would not provide Certificate of Completeness to the developer.

As a result of the settlement, the City of Hoboken will become the owner of Block 102, lots 1-8 and 25-32 – an approximately one acre property in Northwest Hoboken. The property is located north of 11th Street between Madison Street and Monroe Street, immediately south of the PSE&G Madison Street Substation. URSA will be responsible for the environmental cleanup of the site and will also make a payment of $1.5 million to the City.

“I am committed to using the funds from this settlement to address the infrastructure needs of Northwest Hoboken rather than for general operating expenses,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “I look forward to working with the City Council and the community to determine the best use for these funds and land, whether it is for parking, parks, community space, affordable housing, or other priorities.”

The City is pleased the matter could be resolved amicably in a way that results in a significant benefit to the infrastructure needs of the community.

News

City Council tonight @ 7:00 Firefighters terminal leave on tap

Live video for mobile from Ustream

Back to firefighters terminal leave pay and a host of other dilemmas. Will they get paid?  It’ll take an emergency appropriation, something the Hoboken Sopranos are against.

How can you force a tax increase if the mayor uses a State five year plan to pay extraordinary cost when a lot of retirements hit due to the Gov. Chris Christie pension reform plan taking hold?
Hoboken anticipates more firefighters submitting papers later this year.

The City land taken by the restaurant at 61 Jackson is on the agenda.  Again.  Will it stick?  Who knows.  It’s been on and off the agenda more than several times. Read More...

News

FBI investigation into Councilwoman Beth Mason surfaces?

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In a story with strong implications in the FBI Hoboken investigation, Hoboken’s Grafix Avenger revealed a visit to its website Tuesday by the FBI Criminal Justice Division seeking details into Councilwoman Beth Mason’s spidery web of political contributions.

As seen in data tracking software, the FBI Information Systems group based in Arlington, Virginia is identified as the source of the effort. The search string the FBI applied was “Elizabeth Mason Elizabeth City Council” in a Google search.  The first result is “City of Hoboken, NJ >> Elizabeth Mason,” and the fifth result on the page is “Grafix Avenger: MORE Mason Political Contributions- UPDATE
Screen capture of the FBI Criminal Justice IS division on Grafix Avenger shows an interest in Beth Mason.
The political arm of the Mason family, an ongoing political committee called “Friends of Beth Mason for City Council,” has contributed some excessive legal political contributions to Tim Occhipinti’s campaigns, Old Guard Hoboken candidates, Hudson County political action committees, along with Passaic and Bergen candidates in NJ.   One excessive donation was made to =&1=&.  To date, it’s not clear if the full excess of the 2011 contribution was returned. Another related political contribution was to a 2012 Bergen Freeholder candidate, Tracy Zur who worked in Hoboken at that time as the City’s Municipal Court prosecutor.  A 2013 contract for Hoboken prosecutorial services was not renewed.  Tracy Zur is currently a Bergen Freeholder, elected last November. Some in local media and Mason political operatives who have worked for her over years have complained about what they said is an injustice surrounding references made to themselves and the councilwoman in the FBI Hoboken investigation that began in the spring of 2011. At least one prominent Beth Mason political operative has claimed in filed court documents not to be an object of the FBI investigation stating they have not been remanded “in custody.” In March, MSV wrote of an unconfirmed report Beth Mason’s home computer contained illegal emails from the mayor’s office.  In the summer of 2012, Mason claimed communications she had with the FBI would be made public to former Councilwoman Carol Marsh.  Asked by Marsh if she could see the FBI communications in writing, Mason replied, “Sure, I’d be happy to give them to you.” Since that time however, =&2=& Patrick Ricciardi the former IT Manager at City Hall and the focal point of a massive data theft conspiracy in the mayor’s office is scheduled for sentencing to federal prison on July 1st.  No other conspirators have been arrested to date. Beth Mason has given a variety of contradictory answers to her involvement in the City Hall Data Theft Ring (DTR) since she herself sponsored a 2011 resolution seeking all the emails of two mayoral staffers covering the exact same time as Ricciardi’s looting of information from the mayor’s office back to early 2010.   The co-sponsor of Mason’s April 2011 resolution was Councilman Michael Russo who consistently avoided answering to any role he had with his alleged friend Patrick Ricciardi other than a fall story on the Jersey Journal where he, his cousin Terry Castellano and Tim Occhipinti all said they had not received any illicit emails from Ricciardi. The council minority members have not claimed they were unaware nor saw illicit information, some falling under attorney-client privilege from the mayor’s office via third parties.  That open issue is most concerning with the Mason political operatives and one senior City Hall employee MSV has dubbed “the Hub.” The US Attorney’s Office for NJ spokeswoman declined to comment on the FBI investigation in Hoboken with MSV last March.  Now there’s evidence the investigation is continuing and Beth Mason is a part.
Courtroom art?  Could this court rendering courtesy of Grafix Avenger be a case of art imitating coming reality?
A story on the Grafix Avenger website reveals a visit by the FBI criminal justice division looking into Beth Mason.
=&4=&: MSV can confirm the authenticity of the software cited by Grafix Avenger.  How?  Da Horsey gave it to her. As a matter of policy, MSV will not publicly comment here whether the FBI has visited this website nor specify frequency or what information was visited.   The listing of NJ donations as originally cited by Grafix Avenger in January: =&5=&