Month: March 2014

News

Bombshell revelation: Mayor Zimmer told lawyer about Lt. Governor’s SandyGate remarks same day!

=&0=& In the latest pivotal twist to SandyGate, Mayor Dawn Zimmer is asking the Hoboken City Council this week to release a lawyer from attorney-client privilege she consulted on the same day of her conversation with Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno.  The revelation Mayor Zimmer spoke with a City attorney the same day as a controversial conversation with the Lt. Governor outside the Hoboken Shoprite may prove signifiant in a dispute over what was said between the parties. The request to the council comes on the back of the mayor’s allegations last January where she alleged a quid pro quo by members of the Christie administration for a billion dollar development proposal in Hoboken’s northwest by the Rockefeller Group in exchange for Hurricane Sandy aid.  The bombshell development comes with the mayor issuing a resolution for Wednesday night’s council meeting to allow Hoboken land use attorney Joseph Maraziti to testify in the ongoing federal investigation on SandyGate by the US Attorneys Office. Over months since she first made her allegations, Mayor Zimmer has faced severe criticism for writing as critics have claimed solely to “her diary” and not telling others about the alleged encounter with Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. The US Attorneys Office however immediately followed the allegations and began its own investigation last January. The mayor and her administration have been relatively silent but stated members of her staff and some council members were told of the incident going back to last summer. Councilman Dave Mello previously confirmed he was one among a handful told of the mayor’s encounter with the Lt. Governor last summer. The mayor sharing similar and timely details of her conversation with the Lt. Governor to others may prove pivotal to the credibility of her claims. On Sunday, news show “Up with Steve Kornicki” telecast the potentially explosive development writing on its news page: Zimmer’s communications director, Juan Melli, says that Zimmer contemporaneously spoke with Maraziti about the conversation she had with Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno on May 13, in which Zimmer claims the lieutenant governor told her the development was tied to Sandy relief funds and “you need to move forward or we are not going to be able to help you.” Guadagno has firmly denied this allegation as “false” and “illogical.”

The Sunday story follows an internal report the end of last week by the governor’s office countering both BridgeGate and SandyGate.  That report was met with skepticism for both its cost (a million dollar fee) and the integrity it arrived at the report’s conclusions. The interviews weren’t conducted under oath and many parties central to both BridgeGate and SandyGate played no role.

The mayor’s administration declined to participate in the governor’s internal investigation and she released a statement decrying the state report as a “whitewash” Friday while again offering to testify under oath. Read More...

News

Phil Cohen announces run for Freeholder – Mayor Zimmer, Mayor Fulop and County Democratic Chair Prieto all extend endorsement

=&0=& PHIL COHEN ANNOUNCES FREEHOLDER CANDIDACY
HOBOKEN MAYOR ZIMMER, JERSEY CITY MAYOR FULOP AND HUDSON
COUNTY DEMOCRATIC ORGANIZATION CHAIRMAN PRIETO ENDORSE COHEN
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Phil Cohen today announced his candidacy for 5th District Freeholder in the June 3
democratic primary. An attorney who serves as a Commissioner on the Hoboken
Zoning Board of Adjustment, Phil Cohen has a long history of active involvement in local
civic affairs. Cohen has served as a Vice Chair of the Hoboken Democratic Party and a
member of the Hoboken Planning Board. He is a Member of the Board of Trustees of
the United Synagogue of Hoboken, the past Chair of the Board of Trustees of the
Stevens Cooperative School, and a recipient of the Corporate Leadership Award from
the Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation.


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News

When the love is gone…

An internal report from the New Jersey governor’s office cleared him of wrong doing in BridgeGate with a cherry on top absolving any allegation regarding the charges by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer of a quid pro quo on Sandy aid for approving the northwest project proposed by the Rockefeller Group.

Shocking no one but with its million dollar fee, the law firm hired to perform an internal investigation came back with its results implicitly suggesting Gov. Christie may be a viable candidate in the presidential sweepstakes in 2016 after all. Or was that report’s conclusion all along? The Star Ledger featured that story with the report stating Governor Christie had “no role” in BridgeGate while yet another Star Ledger story focused on Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s account, with the law firm’s report calling her allegations “unbelievable” and “demonstrably false.” Mayor Zimmer’s administration which declined to work with the governor’s internal investigation saw the mayor dismiss the report as biased and again offer to testify on the matter when it counts most, “under oath.  In a statement the mayor called the law firm’s report a “one-sided whitewash.”
Gov. Chris Christie visited Hoboken after Hurricane Sandy and enveloped the mayor and Hoboken with affection.
It was returned in kind last November by Hoboken voters but those days seem long past now.

Talking Ed Note: While the mayor continues to hold steady to her position and offers to testify under oath there should be no illusion what people may say with the stakes so high and the Oval Office itself the prize. Read More...

News

The transparent silence of Beth Mason on her million dollar campaign violations

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Hoboken’s army of political operatives on the payroll and at the ready to issue press releases at the behest of Councilwoman Beth Mason have fallen silent over weeks with nothing to say on her and her husband’s hundreds of campaign violations.

Since the limited initial story broke on PolitickerNJ, the most influential statewide political site, the only comment coming from the Mason family was from their lawyer saying no punitive fines should be levied against his clients.

However, both Beth and Richard Mason face potentially several million in fines. No media has published one word from Hoboken’s self-anointed Queen of Transparency offering any explanation how she worked herself into such a predicament. Read More...

News

BoE VP Ruth McAllister: “The State funding formula is not working”

We have two issues that must be
addressed in Hoboken’s overall Public Educational System: funding fairness and
balanced enrollment.  These two issues
are universally recognized by all four district leaders, yes, all four
districts, the Hoboken Board of Education Schools, Hoboken Charter School,
Elysian Charter School and HoLa Charter School. 
The four school leaders have all met to discuss these issues, at Dr.
Toback’s behest, and they all agree that the State Funding Formula is not
working for any of them and that there is an unintended segregation effect in
our system on the school age child population and they all would like to
address it.

In the recent discussions over
the expansion of HoLa Charter School, the funding of only two districts was at
stake.  The funding that was in question was either going to remain available to the Hoboken Board of Education schools or it would be diverted to HoLa.  Elysian and Hoboken Charter would not be directly affected.  HoLa’s Board and parents advocated for their funding and the Hoboken Board of Education and parents advocated for their funding.   I understood the HoLa board and parents actions, I spoke with, met and emailed many.  I also spoke with, met and emailed with many of the district’s parents. Both groups had something in common, they were equally passionate in their pleas and support for their own districts and their students, rightfully so. It is unfortunate, but the State has set up a situation where one district’s gain is another district loss in terms of funding.
Dr. Toback and the charter school
leaders have all expressed their concern for the unintended segregation effect.
The question is how is this addressed? 
The first step is always to acknowledge its existence and develop solutions.  When corporations review their statistics and see a diversity issue they create a diversity action plan to address the issue.    These written plans outline goals and actions over multi-year periods to achieve these goals.  A true effort involves evaluating why, addressing those reasons and evaluating your results.  Having four diversity plans is one solution, but I think the state needs to address its charter law and mandated lottery system to come up with guidelines to make this right.
I want the State of New Jersey to take responsibility for creating both of these community dividing issues.  We all need to lobby the state together to address the funding issue and the diversity issue with changes in legislation that do not pit one school district against another. 
Lastly, taking a critical look at how the funding is affecting the BOE schools and asking for relief does not translate to me wanting to close down all the charters.  I have sat quietly while the charter allocation has gone up from 4 million to 8 million dollars in 4 years.  Through responsible budgeting and eliminating waste in the budget, the BOE was able to absorb those and other increases and the decline in funding. 
In 2009 there were approximately 525 employees on the payroll and now there are approximately 400.  We have diverted those savings to our classroom, to infrastructure, to technology, to professional development and extensive work on the curriculum. Unfortunately, many of our revenue sources have recently been constrained, State aid, federal Aid and (only our) School Choice cut, making it harder to accommodate our students while diverting ever increasing charter funding year after year.
I understand that these issues create contentious conversations.  I also know that my colleagues and I have worked diligently for the children and for the Hoboken taxpayer and resident.  We have a proven record of improvement in all areas and we will continue to work toward our goals even with the challenges that this year’s budget brings.
My email address is rmcallister@hoboken.k12.nj.us.  All are welcome to contact me about the above or any school related issue.


Thank you for considering my
view,
Ruthy McAllister Vice President

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News

Horse Sense: Hoboken faces speed bumps for basic road improvements

The City of Hoboken isn’t alone, slammed with a harsh winter leaving roadways less than desirable. This of course was before many roadways especially Washington Street were already less than desirable.

Lots of complaints about navigating on local roads can be heard. $2 million requested in bonding by the mayor is the proposal on the table as available State funds won’t put a dent in the problem.

A bond proposal requires six votes on the City Council. Six votes means that beyond the five “normal” reform oriented votes, – council members who are willing to listen, discuss and entertain the mayor’s proposal – one vote must come from among the Old Guard council: Beth Mason, Terry Castellano, Timmy Occhipinti and Michael Russo. Read More...

News

BoE announces 3.9% tax increase and potential 54 layoffs

Thursday night the Hoboken Board of Education announced a preliminary budget with almost a four percent tax increase with an unknown budget deficit it says potentially may require 54 layoffs.

The numbers determining the figure of 54 layoffs can’t be calculated due to the lack of financial details.  Most of the negative budget impact is attributed to federal, state cuts in aid and charter school increases although other key drivers are part of the financial picture based on limited information, some from late week reports. Read More...

News

Hoboken’s Future Promise as a Hotbed of Business Start-Up Success

The following Guest of the Stable submission comes courtesy of Ethan Chazin. =&0=& =&1=& Our Hoboken Business Rainmakers group is now 200 members=&2=& There are many solutions that Hoboken could implement, to realize its potential as a world-class center of entrepreneurial business start-up activity.  One such initiative could be bringing together a forum/Council type of entity comprised of individuals that serve on City Government, run local business establishments, not-for-profit organizations, and educational functions. Such a Task Force could be patterned after Business Improvement Districts, Economic Development Centers, or Urban Enterprise Zones. These entities receive tax incentives, and can leverage statewide funding to supplement private funding sources for to help foster jobs growth and new business creation. We have an internationally renowned technology and engineering college in Stevens Institute of Technology.   The University has an Entrepreneur and Innovation Center that could function as a pipeline to feed new businesses in town and thus serve as a significant source of new high tech jobs creation.  I would love to know what the city’s current strategy is for connecting with Stevens. I served on the student business plan competition at Stevens last spring, and it was amazing to see all the fantastic new business ideas.  No one from the city was involved, so I wonder how, if at all, is our town engaging the University to create an entrepreneur launch forum? Hoboken has the tremendous potential to serve as a 21st Century start-up community, much like Austin, Texas with the direct involvement of the University of Texas and Dell Computers. 
Hoboken’s proximity to New York City (Silicon Valley) should provide it with a significant number of strategic benefits to spur investment in technology and entrepreneur business start-up activity. For starters, there are many local area business incubators associated with local colleges and Universities like NJIT, NJCU, Montclair State, etc.  We also have a highly educated work force.  The town has doubled in population from the 2000 to 2010 Census.  There seems to be ongoing discussion surrounding the Observer Highway (NJ Transit) development initiative that will add 2-3 million square feet of combined residential-commercial space. What percent of that 7 block stretch of real estate from the Path down Observer highway has been ear-marked for innovative and entrepreneurial ventures? It is not as if we lack for the resources to facilitate an evolution from the town best known for pizza, Frank Sinatra and the birthplace of baseball into a 21st Century entrepreneur community. What we truly lack is a defined long-term vision for the future of business growth to leverage technology.  Certainly no one can dispute the tremendous resources and time that the city had to spend just to get its infrastructure back up after Hurricane Sandy. In fact, that work continues to date, and the amount of resources required has likely set the city’s long-term technology planning back considerably. 
There are many local single initiatives taking place in town, but there seems to be a lack of any coordinated initiative on a citywide basis.  Thanks to the work of Greg Dell Aquila, Hoboken has a shared entrepreneur workspace called Mission 50 located in the Harrison Business Center that received recent coverage by the Hoboken Reporter.        Who is coordinating the disparate stand-alone initiatives on a citywide basis?  Why are we wasting such tremendous potential? I have expressed a strong interest in this with a number of influential people in our local political and business organization.   No one has an answer.

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News

Hoboken again witness to the race card dealt from the bottom of the deck

The election results last November appeared to put to rest the KKK charges against reform members of the City Council by their Old Guard council rivals, if for nothing more than the reality of the sweep extinguishing the fire of Vision Money/Money dancing in their eyes.

The dream however isn’t dead. It lives on while the most vulnerable people in Hoboken are availed for exploitation.  Hoboken is not a mere isle of dignity in a county known for corruption. It also hosts a third world banana republic in the corner of town with a contracted self-appointed leader “for life” – or so he thinks. How else to explain this ‘officially’ approved poster on the first floors of Hoboken Housing Authority buildings?
An “official” posting all over the first floor of HHA buildings.
HHA Carmelo Garcia endorses this race baiting message of lies and hate.
Is this a “call for action” or a call for a mob? It’s hard to tell the difference. But it’s “official” and “approved” propaganda sanctioned by HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia. Recall when residents skeptical of Vision 20/20 put up some fliers, it led to to immediate threats of eviction. Later one eviction notice was converted into a cease and desist order by holdover legal counsel Charles Daglian. First a little truth on this latest sad spectacle of race baiting. A resolution to allow for a possible reorganization at last Thursday’s HHA board meeting was introduced but it did not follow with any change of the chair. The resolution presented an option to do so upon 90 days after a change in the composition of the HHA board. Any subsequent legal action to reorganize the HHA board did in fact not occur. But Carmelo Garcia obviously fears it may yet take place before the May annual reorganization meeting and lead to the board exercising its authority. How can Carmelo Garcia who holds a legal contract to work in the Housing Authority possibly allow his bosses on the HHA board perform its function? Based on his little tape recorder, Garcia accepts the legal authority of the HHA board when talking to others but minutes later while talking to himself, he disavowed it. =&0=& It’s unclear if a board vote was held =&1=&. An attempt to introduce a resolution was being yelled down by the board secretary Carmelo Garcia and the Carmelitos along with the sudden inspired backing from Charles Daglian who changed his uncertainty from the last meeting where he claimed to be unsure if the typical application of Robert Rules exists in the contracted Carmelo Garcia Banana Republic. Daglian joined with the Carmelitos perhaps concerned about his own holdover contracted status and found suitable inspiration to declare any resolution introduced by the HHA board under Roberts Rules “illegal.”  As for the Chairman Rob Davis, he’s merely following orders insisting no resolution can be introduced and brought to the floor for a vote, legal rules be damned. The contracted Banana Republic of Carmelo Garcia deems it so. =&2=&: There’s satirical elements here but the facts along with the poster pictured above are accurate. The last major public budget in Hoboken has not been properly audited and reformed until a HHA board performs its proper oversight and fiduciary responsibility for the agency. Until then, who knows what other illegal actions and possible criminality are hidden? Before that can happen, the HHA board needs to be reformed from being a rubber stamp by a megalomaniac wannabe dictator and see =&3=& applied.
News

Rebuild Hoboken Relief Fund Announces Additional Aid Available

=&0=& =&1=& =&1=& =&3=&=&4=& Rebuild Hoboken Relief Fund has additional funds for
distribution to aid the community in the lingering aftermath of Superstorm
Sandy.  The organization announced that a second round of grants would go to Hoboken-based nonprofit organizations with still unmet needs that arose from the storm.  
Deadline for applications for assistance is April 30. 
Applications are available on the Rebuild
Hoboken website at
http://rebuildhoboken.org/#aid. Completed forms
should be sent to
Info@rebuildhoboken.org or mailed to 518
Park Avenue, Suite 1-R, Hoboken, NJ 
07030.  The review process will be conducted once again by the Hoboken Clergy Coalition. This new round of funds will be divided equally among nonprofits qualifying for aid. The money to be distributed was received after the initial allocation of aid last March, which went to residents and businesses meeting the criteria for assistance.  Nearly a
million dollars was issued at that time.

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