Resolutions for “emergency” bid for Vision 20/20 fail

“Emergency” demands for Vision 20/20 fails on 4-4 votes
Michael Russo trots out KKK charges

Like the Twilight Zone, another “emergency” twenty year PILOT plan for Vision 20/20 found its way to the City Council after midnight again with Executive Director for the HHA, Carmelo Garcia, his advisor and developer RPM making a pitch for two resolutions see approval.

The City Council was under pressure to evaluate and approve the first phase without an overall plan to consider.  The Vision 20/20 plan has proposed a massive expansion impacting all of Hoboken with large expansion into the third and fourth ward.

The piecemeal tax abatement approach has been questioned by Mayor Zimmer for lacking any transparency and “holistic” approach for evaluation by all of Hoboken’s residents.  Council President Peter Cunningham said community meetings for Hoboken had been held on a number of large scale projects from NJ Transit to the Western Edge.

Michael Russo invoked the Ku Klux Klan adding another charge of racist in his desperate bid
to intimidate reform council members into voting for a PILOT in the HHA with no documentation

on the overall Vision 20/20 plan.  One has to wonder how a MILLION DOLLAR developer fee
is getting around considering Russo lives in a “segregated” PILOTed building himself.

The Old Guard council showed a voracious appetite for the PILOT and an escalated series of attacks personal and collective was launched on the reform council members.

In response to Cunningham, Tim Occhipinti muttered, “you’re ridiculous.” Councilman Michael Russo changed the subject by asking why reform members of the council did not seek out the City directors to ask questions about the project?  Cunningham rejected the analogy describing it as not being appropriate.

Russo added “anytime down the road, we can pull the plug.”  (The Old Guard Council has shown a willingness eagerness to build massive out-of-scale buildings to federal HUD guidelines with heavy density and no open space.)

Dr. Powell, an advisor to the HHA described the funding opportunity in optimistic terms and said the council needed to pass the two “small” resolutions to see a strong entry among about 60 statewide competing for funding statewide.

“We have not vetted this properly,” Cunninham said in response.

Councilman Dave Mello raised several questions including the apparent ability to change the way HHA residents would be handled on transitioning into any new building.  The variability from the discussion on the project was one of several areas he sought assurances.

Councilman Ravi Bhalla asked for clarification with Mello regarding a million dollar developer fee and said “This Vision 20/20 plan doesn’t even exist on paper.  You’re coming to me asking for approval without a plan.”

Councilwoman Terry Castellano sarcastically called Mello’s concerns a death knell for the whole project.  Mello called her declaration “alarmist.”

Carmelo Garcia said in response to Bhalla’s concern “think about Sandy” as Bhalla said “show me a plan” adding, “there is no plan,” which Garcia countered “there is false propaganda put out there.”

Bhalla then invited HHA Carmelo Garcia to email him the plan.

Beth Mason claimed a “concept plan” existed in 2011 and compared other zoning “pushed through uptown,” became incoherent waving her arms and yelling about something regarding former Mayor Dave Roberts and a pool going to Brooklyn.

Timmy Occhipinti complained “you want to put the brakes on” and said other members should resign. “All you do is listen to a few bloggers who put (out) smear tactics about this project.  You’re catering to them.”

“Stop talking, stop talking!” he yelled to Peter Cunningham claiming going to an HHA meeting would be sufficient information to hear and vote for the project.  Russo added to his remarks, “You should cut out a pillow case…  You’re an outright racist.”

Russo apparently escalated his attack of racist from the earlier meeting and decided adding in Ku Klux Klan member charges would be more effective.

Back to the racist mantra because the reform council wouldn’t capitulate its oversight function.

Bhalla asked if he was being compared to a member of the Ku Klux Klan in the year 2013. Russo clarified his race baiting remarks saying they were directed against the council president.

Garcia entered the fray again late yelling, “You hate” to the chair and refused to answer how long he has been ED of the HHA saying the authority is “getting results,” with earlier “shootings and stabbings and piss in the elevators.”

Russo then claimed to read a line out of the Grafix Avenger website and comments about heroin and speedballs on “the blogs.”  He appeared to read some commenters remarks on MSV by mistake.

Mello then became angered on a later point and said to Russo, “desegregate your building” and called Church Towers “a segregated complex.”

Carmelo Garcia (r) found it far more difficult to talk his way through the City Council than here in a recent HHA meeting. He was challenged to present a complete plan for Vision 20/20.
Based on the discussion in the council, it apparently doesn’t exist.

Talking Ed Note: The City Council reform members stood tall and refused to be cajoled into approving a PILOT and a project with no documented plan.

This was one of the ugliest scenes in the City Council with Michael Russo exceeding his past performance yelling “racist” and then some.  He upped the ante and played a new race card – Ku Klux Klan.

Wonder who is getting cut in on that MILLION DOLLAR DEVELOPER FEE?

Occhipinti after the vote began a series of personal attacks on Councilman Ravi Bhalla until the miscellaneous licenses vote was taken.  “How did you ever think you can be an Assemblyman,” he repeated several times.  Bhalla calmly responded he could run for mayor which Occhipinti said, “I’d love to.”

Gutter plantation exploitation politics by Michael Russo who lives in a three bedroom subsidized apartment.

Dave Mello is correct; it’s segregated.

Leave a Reply