Thursday, November 7, 2013

More Political Poetry Time: LImericks on Vision 20-20 and Finboy - A Mason Political Operative



Two factors I feel impacted the recent Mayoral and City Council elections and the final outcome, not necessarily in terms of who won but the margin of victory achieved by Mayor Dawn Zimmer and her slate. 

The first is the proposed Vision 20-20 plan, which if implemented in its initial conception and ham-handedly promoted by HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia would have more than doubled the size of the projects. From taxpayers to police, no one that I know either in the private sector or public sector was too keen if that were the final density. Carmelo Garcia is a Ruben Ramos ally but both Occhipinti and Ramos aggressively supported this unpopular plan if you could even call it a plan. 

Mayor Zimmer ran a positive campaign about her record. She could have really hit Ramos hard on the Vision 20-20 issue but she did not mount a consistent plan. I do believe Vision 20-20 hurt both Ramos and Occhipiniti to some extent. The sleaze associated with Carmelo Garcia's shameless lawsuit accusing the Mayor of "ethnic cleansing" with respect to Vision 20-20 certainly did not help Ruben or even Tim Occhipinti among educated voters. 

The other aspect that I feel hurt Tim Occhipinti's final numbers was the destructive campaigning and ineptitude of James Barracato aka "Fin Boy". Fin Boy who was instrumental in the downfall of last year's Move Forward BOE race that featured a "Nazi Truck". Known for his vile campaign tactics this freak has a penchant for tuning off voters. He is simply over matched and his anger management issues always seem to sink every campaign to the lowest common denominator. Tim wasn't going to win the election and the  numbers show "Pupie" Raia really had no shot at stealing a City Council seat but the nastiness of the campaign backfired big time and sent Tim into the upper teens in terms of percentage of votes.

Hoboken's very own Jolly Green Poet (yep that's me courtesy of GA)
Here goes.....

Vision 20-20 Limericks: 

Garcia once came up with an HHA "plan" out of thin air, 
And defended it with acrimonious flair, 
His supporters were Cammerano-esque smug, 
and protested like angry thugs, 
and its impact on Hoboken they did not care.

The HHA under Garcia had an undeniable need,
As it succumbed to developer greed,
Vision 20-20 was a dog with fleas,
that would only a corrupt insider please,
And cause the honest taxpayer to bleed.

Garcia has committed unconscionable acts,
Like for Vision 20-20 where are all the facts?,
The street thug pimped that debacle with glee,
While letting elevators all get soaked in pee,
the bottom line is that he deserves the axe!

Ruben Ramos is really quite the dolt,
He should have run away from 20-20 like Usain Bolt,
Any taxpayer in the know,
Will steer clear of this bloated show,
and give his opponent the Mayor a heck of a jolt.

Garcia as ED has shown that HHA buildings he can't maintain,
And due to his negligence conditions are purportedly inhumane,
Between pee, mold, no generators and labs of Meth,
20-20 support from the "Old Guard" and crazy Beth,
To consider him competent would be legerdemain.

Garcia can't maintain buildings so he says knock them down,
These are acts of an incompetent and clueless clown,
With him at the helm of the HHA,
things in the projects have gone quite astray,
So now he wants to destroy the character of the town.

This might seem like a political joke,
But Stack picked Garcia cause he's broke,
He was hoping that developer dollars from the HHA,
Would somehow be magically steered his way,
And they don't care about the taxpayer being soaked.

Beth Mason Political Operative "Fin Boy" James Barracato Limericks:


There once was a operative named Fin,
Who was so angry he couldn't grin,
He tried to support the Mason of Beth,
But came across like on crystal meth,
And what is that chum on his chin?

Finboy has really gone berserk,
He is troll on this thread and a jerk,
Like Beth Mason he is sinking fast,
His career as an operative won't last,
Because he he is incapable of quality work.



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Political Poetry Time at the Hoboken Jounral

I had asked the Horsey to post this on the Mile Square View (www.hobokenhorse.com) but he was busy this morning. He might post this later on his site but for now you can hopefully enjoy my lighthearted humor at the Hoboken 2013 Election Aftermath....

'Twas the eve after the election

 

'Twas the eve after the election when all through the Hoboken,
The results came in and Old Guard hearts were indeed broken,
The Zimmer Team and Kids First showed the voter that they did care,
And swept the election with a civic and dignified air.

The Old Guard adversaries were constantly switching political beds,
While delusions of grandeur and relevance danced in their heads,
And Mamma Russo, son Mikey, and Terry pulled out all the stops,
But got creamed in Marine View by one hell of a cop.

When out from Timmy's HQ there arose such a clatter,
The Hoboken Police sprang from their car to see what was the matter.
Away to the campaign HQ they flew like a flash,
A disgruntled former Ramos aide was acting quite brash.

With an angry man packing heat, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be Prison Guard Nick,
More vapid than a Beth Mason City Council meltdown he exclaimed,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called his enemies by name!

"Now Finboy, now Cryan, now Pupie and Timmy the putz!
On, Holmsie, On brother Matt, on lunatic Mason and the King of Mutz!
You cost Ruben the election! God damn you to hell you all!
Now street cash away! Street cash away! street cash away all!"

The repeated attempts to rig the election did not fly,
When Zimmer was met with an obstacle, she would once again try,
So in came the courier'd VBMs that smelled of a corrupt pile of sh#t,
But more or less between the old guard factions VBMs were evenly split.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof,
The prancing of a very happy horses' hoof,
As I drew in my head, and was laughing at the OG clowns,
I saw a prancing pony named Hoboken Horse dancing all about town.

Now Tim by quitting his day job, he shot himself in the foot,
And based on the returns his political career is now moot,
Frank Raia thought spending tons of dough would get him to political heaven,
But after all the bluster, VBMs and money he could only place position seven.

Timmay's PR chick would Twitter! Oh how she would gush!
"Timmy is the greatest, but now that he lost I'm so out but what is the rush?",
Her dainty little party girl nose was drawn up like a bow,
To drown out her sorrows with shots, Room 84 is the place to go.

Now the disgruntled Perry Belfiore was clenching his teeth,
And the smoke from his BS about Ravi encircled his head like a wreath,
He had fine silver locks of hair and a vocabulary a bit overextended,
If Ruben won his reign as Chief of Staff would not be recommended.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his big bad words,
Made me want tune out this Old Guard bloviating turd.

Re-elected Mayor Zimmer spoke a few words but went straight back to work,
The parks are being fixed, and the Monarch project may still lurk,
On taxes, quality of life, saving the HUMC to the challenge she rose,
And she said that progress will continue but will not be easy as everyone knows.

She popped up on the platform give her team a big round of thanks,
And away they all clapped and the champagne glasses clanked,
And I heard her exclaim, as she left the celebration,
"Hoboken is one of the best cities in the entire nation"

And in case you did not see my other poem the night before the election here is:

'Twas the eve of the election (first conceived 11/4/2013)

 

'Twas the eve of the election and all through Hoboken,
Many kleptocrats were stirring, with hearts about to be broken,
The VBMs were all gathered by courier with purported criminal flare,
In effort to unseat the mayor from her City Hall chair.

The Callichio's were fighting for each and every paid for vote,(allegedly)
They were on opposite teams but both for government bloat,
Mamma Russo in her Red Wings sweat pants, and Mike with gums ready to flap,
They were pitching their political message which was just full of crap.

When over at the HHA there arose such a clatter,
Carmelo sprang from his throne after emptying his bladder,
Away to his window he shouted out so brash,
"Watch us, we can we will, and we got developer ca$$$sh!"

The moon on the eve of a crisp fall night,
Was calming before the chaos of a big election fight,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
"Bathtub Brian" Murray selling out Hoboken to a chorus of jeers.

With a little VBM courier so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be Prison Guard Nick,
More rapid his brooding thug brother of WWE sexting fame,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Ruben! now, Mindak! now, Miani and Gonzalez!
On, Branco, On, Chadwick, err Handbag Robin! on, Liebler and fellow hangers on,
It's all about Vision 20/20 and NJ Transit skyscrapers!,
Now develop away! Develop away! Develop away all!"

And don't forget there was another campaign that quite couldn't fly,
The head of the ticket was a Mason puppet and unemployed IT tech guy,
With lots of money from Pupie and defamatory Beth Mason and a motley crew,
They gave out bags full of flier tagged candy and lots of lies too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof,
The prancing and pawing of each cloven hoof,
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney Frank Pupie Raia came down with a bound.

He was dressed in a leather trench coat with a mouth full of mutz,
And his Robin-like sidekick Biacamano who was a BOE putz,
A bundle of last minute VBMs he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And he exclaimed at the top of his lungs "Zimmer, err I mean Ramos just has to go"!

The wad of cash he had in his wallet made him think he can't be beat,
What did not go to VBMs would go to the alleged highest bidder on the street,
He had a broad face and a vendetta against Ruben Ramos,
And tons of money from Mason whose scorched earth politics made her quite famous.

He was big and and sturdy, an intimidating man,
He was throwing his weight to get as many alleged VBMs as he can,
and a then a political poll indicated his campaign was dead,
Soon gave me to know I likely had nothing to dread.

He then spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the ballot boxes then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, off to the VBM shuttle bus he goes.

Post Election Day Beth Mason sprang from her limo gave to her team a whistle,
And blew out of town in defeat away like a hot pot of gristle,
But I heard her exclaim, as her limo drove the Queen of Mean out of sight,
"Damn you all to hell! With Ricky's money I'm not done with this fight!"






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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hoboken Election Results - Mayor Dawn Zimmer and City Council Sweep - Kids First Sweeps BOE

Update 11/06/2013 3:55pm: According to a City of Hoboken source the current count actually has the No votes up by 50-60. The initial numbers given to NJ.com which was my source had three voting precincts where the numbers were either transposed or improperly counted. This is potentially good news for tenant advocates and bad news for vacancy decontrol advocates. Again this numbers are informational only. The final results won't likely be until Friday when the provisional ballots are tallied.

Yesterday there was an election in Hoboken for the office of Mayor, 3 City Council at Large seats, 3 Board of Education seats and the Public Question #1 on whether or no to adopt vacancy decontrol (yes vote) or leave rent control in tact (no vote). The unofficial results are as follows. Official results are expected on Friday when provisional ballots are counted:

Mayor Dawn Zimmer Victory Celebration 11-5-2013

Mayor Dawn Zimmer Celebrates her election victory at the Village Pourhouse last night

Mayor Dawn Zimmer won her re-election bid by over 1500 votes over 2nd place challenger Ruben Ramos. Tim Occhipinti financially backed by Beth Mason and Frank Raia came in a distant 3rd.

Hoboken Election 11-5-2013 Mayor results

The Dawn Zimmer team of David Mello, Ravi Bhalla and James Doyle also swept in the three at Large City Council seats by a comfortable margin of 1,500 votes. Mayor Dawn Zimmer will now have a working 5-4 majority for at least two years on the City Council.

Hoboken Election 11-5-2013 City Council results

The Kids First team of Leon Gold, Irene Sobolov and new candidate Jennifer Evans who were endorsed by Mayor Zimmer also swept their BOE race.

Hoboken Election 11-5-2013 BOE results

Update 11/06/2013 5pm: Finally the vote on Public Question 1 initially had the No votes ahead of Yes on the Hudson County Elections website. These numbers did not include all 40 precincts or provisional. There was an erroneous count posted by NJ.com that had the yes votes ahead but that has been later reversed.

Update 11/06/2013 3:55pm:  According to a City of Hoboken source the current count actually has the No votes up by 50-60. The initial numbers given to NJ.com which was my source had three voting precincts where the numbers were either transposed or improperly counted. This is potentially good news for tenant advocates and bad news for vacancy decontrol advocates. Again this numbers are informational only. The final results won't likely be until Friday when the provisional ballots are tallied. ◦
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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Election Day Information - Vote in Hoboken today!

Here is a walk-through of this November's ballot in Hoboken. The election is today folks and polls opened at 6am and will go to 8pm tonight.....


Voter information:

Polls in NJ are open from 6am -8pm in Hoboken on Tuesday November 5th. Both the School Board, The Mayor and The City Council elections are now in November to reduce the number of elections we have per year.

Below is a sample ballot for this coming election next Tuesday:

Here are the sections......
  1. The top left and middle portion is for the Governor/Lt. Governor, State Senate, Two Assembly Seats, and County Sheriff.Hoboken Election Sample Ballot November 5th 2013 Top
  2. The bottom left section is for the School Board and voters can choose up to three votes for the three open seats.Hoboken Election Sample Ballot November 5th 2013 Bottom Left
  3. The bottom middle section is for both the Hoboken Mayor position and the three City Council seats at large.Hoboken Election Sample Ballot November 5th 2013 Bottom Middle
  4. The right section is for two State referendums and the vote on Vacancy Decontrol. A yes vote effectively enables vacancy decontrol for 1-4 unit buildings and a no vote keeps rent control the same for now. Below is the rent control question:Hoboken Election Sample Ballot November 5th 2013 Rent Control
And the entire ballot is below in jpg and pdf formats.....

Hoboken Election Sample Ballot November 5th 2013

For the easier to read and zoom-able version go here:

Hoboken Election Sample Ballot November 5 2013

For any other questions go to the Hudson County Elections website below:

http://www.hudsoncountyclerk.org/elections/

Editor's Note: 

Whether you agree with me or not I feel it is important to get out and vote. I have been following the local political scene for years and just want to see Hoboken under the proper leadership and stewardship that looks at the community as whole and not just a narrow constituent that rewards its insiders. It is important to me that we support honest and earnest candidates who will move away from the patronage and poor development practices of the past. Here is my take on this year's candidate pool.....

BOE - School Board Race:

For the BOE race, I am supporting the Kids First slate of Leon Gold 3I, Irene Sobolov 5I and Jennifer Evans 8I for the three open Hoboken School Board seats. I watched the BOE debate and even though I don't have children I want good stewardship of the Hoboken District Schools and these were the only three candidates out of the 8 that displayed the judgement and professionalism needed to support the District Superintendent in improving Hoboken's district schools.

The other slates displayed lack of basic knowledge or in the case of Brian Murray opportunism in marketing a Real Estate campaign to encourage parents to leave Hoboken while he gets commission because Hoboken Schools stink. This is hardly the leadership our children need on a Public School Board. The worse part is Brian Murray actually seemed to get off on how obnoxious he could be during the debate.



Mayor and City Council Races:



I  fully support the  Dawn Zimmer Team as they have  accomplished a lot in 4 years by restoring balanced budgets to Hoboken, getting out from under the State Fiscal Monitor, saving Hoboken from $52 million dollars in bonds that could have defaulted by the HUMC by saving and privatizing the Hospital, reduced taxes 12.5%, finished Pier C Park, built 1600 Park, renovated Church Square Park and many others, initiated Corner Cars, re-organized the top heavy Police and Fire Departments, ousted a corrupt Parking Director from a prior Administration that stole $600,000 in parking revenue, boosted Hoboken's Shuttle Bus system, installed a flood pump in the most needed location first, and restored honesty and accountability to government just to name a few accomplishments.

The other slates challenging her in my humble opinion have failed to make the case to replace her and in some instances have misrepresented the facts about their prior records. Don't forget Ruben Ramos under his service as City Councilman with the Mayor Dave Roberts Team created the 2008 fiscal crisis by approving underfunded budgets for many years and selling or Municipal Garage to pay salaries. There is one instance where a faction of the Tim Occhipinti campaign purportedly have committed libel and slander and as a result will be getting sued for defamation. This is the same campaign that in a juvenile fashion sent a letter to Giants QB Eli Manning's Brother Peyton admonishing him for endorsing Mayor Dawn Zimmer for her support in fighting the Monarch Project where he lives. It was a low class move by low class candidate and proven obructionist. Hoboken needs serious leaders and clearly that is not Tim Occhipinti and they need fiscally responsible ones and that is clearly not Ruben Ramos.

Most importantly the opposing slates don't have the right plan going forward that represents the community as a whole or the skill sets and integrity to pull it off. The initial Vision 20-20 plan initial brochure called for more than doubling the size of the Projects in Hoboken. How could that possibly benefit anyone but developers? Both the Occhipinti and Ramos campaigns support this plan yet no final plan has been presented and vetted out by the public. Zimmer has stated that until a real plan is in place that this should not move forward. This is the sort of reckless development would could expect to see if Dawn Zimmer and her team were to lose.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer has a lot to run on her record with for re-election and Hurricane Sandy showed that she really cares about the community of Hoboken and its residents. Her plan to protect Hoboken from future storms is the most comprehensive plan but will take time to complete. Mayor Dawn Zimmer has persevered through the obstructionist tactics of her political adversaries and although she may not be perfect (who is after all?) she has the best character, integrity and proven track record of results to get the job done. She will need her slate to maintain a 5-4 majority so I advise you vote across the board to continue the progress we have seen in Hoboken.








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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

MSV and the Hoboken Journal announce: Operation Bounty is back!

MSV and the Hoboken Journal announce: 

Operation Bounty is back!

 Anti-voter fraud program reintroduced by MSV and the Hoboken Journal with $1,000 reward*



Back in the fourth ward special election in 2010, MSV broke new ground in the battle against rampant voter fraud - in this case shedding light on the paper trail left by hundreds of Vote by Mail ballots purportedly paid $40 per vote on behalf of the Timmy Occhipinti for City Council campaign

MSV is again rejoining forces with the Hoboken Journal announcing the return of Operation Bounty!

With hundreds of Vote by Mail ballots already confirmed coming out of the corner of the 4th Ward Hoboken Housing Authority, it is again time to shine the light on the daring illicit acts of those who wish to undermine the integrity of the Hoboken election and disenfranchise YOUR VOTE!

"Operation Bounty," is a plan to take Vote-by-Mail fraud (previously known as absentee ballot fraud) head on with at least a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any individual disenfranchising the vote and/or illegally paying for Vote by Mail to secure votes for any candidate in the Hoboken Novemer 5th election. 

“Operation Bounty” is non-partisan and is not affiliated with any campaign, political group or organization.*

No matter the campaign responsible for any illicit voter fraud activity, both the Hoboken Journal and Mile Square View commit to reimburse the person responsible for reporting the incident. The reward is payable for the first legitimate tip leading to an arrest and conviction.

We encourage our readers to spread the word throughout the 4th Ward and elsewhere that the citizens of Hoboken demand fair elections and do not subscribe to the notion of “winning at all costs”. This offer pertains not only to using Vote by Mail to buy votes but doing so leading into and on Election Day itself (another purported illicit program). We in no way wish to prevent voters from using VBM's to cast legal votes. When used properly, Vote by Mail can increase voter participation.


*Operation Bounty is paid for by friends of the Hoboken Journal and Mile Square View but will not accept any funds from elected officials or their families. If you wish to make a pledge to support the goal, email kurt.gardiner@gmail.com or smartyjones@me.com. The $1,000 reward will be increased if sufficient pledges become available. Any difference not covered by fundraising will be underwritten equally by the Hoboken Journal and Mile Square View.

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City of Hoboken: Progress Toward a More Resilient Future One Year After Hurricane Sandy

The City of Hoboken courtesy of Mayor Dawn Zimmer recaps plans for resiliency for Hoboken a year after Hurricane Sandy......

ON SANDY ANNIVERSARY, HOBOKEN MARKS PROGRESS TOWARD MORE RESILIENT FUTURE

New legislation would prevent development on waterfront piersPublic awareness event to be held 4:00pm-6:30pm in front of City Hall

1600 Park Hoboke Cove Hoboken

Hoboken Cove park and natural landscape for coastal defense and recreation. Concept by OMA team, Rebuild by Design competition (www.rebuildbydesign.org/project/comprehensive-strategy).

One year after Superstorm Sandy flooded nearly 80% of Hoboken and left more than 90% without power, the City is making progress towards implementing a comprehensive Resiliency and Readiness Plan based on a “layers of protection” approach to protect the community from future storms and disasters.

“We’ve made significant progress towards physically and financially protecting Hoboken, but we still have a long way to go,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “Flood pumps and green infrastructure are key parts of our comprehensive plan, but they alone can’t stop a storm surge or protect us from skyrocketing flood insurance costs. Through a combination of grants, low-interest loans, bonding, public-private partnerships, and the redevelopment process, we will make Hoboken a more resilient city.”

The City’s concept for a comprehensive flood-mitigation plan, which includes flood pumps, green infrastructure, and coastline protection from rising seas and storm surges, is being developed and refined by teams in the federally-funded Rebuild by Design regional competition. Winning projects will be implemented with federal disaster recovery funds and private funding. Residents may view the various projects and submit their input on which should proceed to the final round by visiting www.rebuildbydesign.org.

“Hoboken is stronger than ever, not just because of what government is doing, but because of our amazing community,” added Mayor Zimmer. “More than 150 volunteers have stepped up to build our Community Emergency Response Team, and the grassroots MileMesh initiative to build a resilient wireless communications network is inspiring dozens to help build a stronger Hoboken. I encourage every resident and business to be a part of making our City more resilient. Prepare a home emergency kit, join our CERT team, submit a comment to support a Hoboken-related Rebuild by Design project, or visit www.milemesh.com and volunteer to be part of this exciting effort.”

The Administration will also introduce legislation at the next City Council meeting that would ban residential and commercial development on waterfront piers. Legislation that would result in lower flood insurance rates for all property owners, which was previously voted down by the City Council, will also be reintroduced.

“I recently met a Hoboken couple whose flood insurance costs skyrocketed from $750 to $5,000 per year,” added Mayor Zimmer. “My ultimate goal is to demonstrate to the federal government that our city is truly protected, so Hoboken residents and businesses can be free from the unfair National Flood Insurance Program that provides us almost no coverage when we need it most. Until then, we will work to lower everyone’s flood insurance rates by improving our score in the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System.”

As part of the ongoing 'Hoboken Ready' initiative, the City and members of CERT will hold a public awareness event in front of City Hall from 4:00pm to 6:30pm to educate the community on emergency preparedness and the City’s various initiatives for flood and energy resiliency.

The City’s Resiliency and Readiness plan addresses power outages, flooding due to storm surges and rain events at high tide, and increasing threats from climate change and other disasters. The City's progress on this plan during the past year includes:

Stormwater/Flood Management
  • Applied for $11.5 million low interest loan for 2nd flood pump
  • Requiring the funding of two additional pumps as developer givebacks
  • Supporting and advocating for North Hudson Sewerage Authority’s FEMA grant application for 3 flood pumps
  • Acquired 1 acre for new park in Southwest Hoboken, to be expanded through the Rehabilitation process, and in negotiations to acquire 7 additional acres of property for open space in Western Hoboken, and incorporating large scale flood mitigation strategies into park designs
  • Awarded $500,000 in planning assistance through the Rockefeller Foundation-funded Re.Invest Initiative to design and identify financing mechanisms to implement large-scale flood mitigation strategies into new parks
  • Developed a city-wide stormwater strategic plan with a $90,000 grant from Together North Jersey
  • Awarded a Sustainable Jersey grant to design and build a rain garden curb extension demonstration project
  • Designed a sustainable block plan for City Hall to serve as a city-wide model for disconnecting downspouts and capturing and delaying stormwater from entering the sewer system
  • Finalizing the Green Element of Hoboken’s Master Plan
Energy Resiliency
  • Entered into first-of-its-kind partnership with the Department of Energy, Sandia National Laboratories, PSE&G & NJ Board of Public Utilities to design a resilient microgrid. Initial design expected in early 2014. State of New Jersey/Governor’s Office offering assistance for development, which may be financed through a public-private partnership
  • Bonded to purchase 7 backup generators for Police, Fire, Ambulance Corps & City Hall
  • Awarded $142,080 grant from State for emergency energy systems
  • City Administration & Council expressed support for PSE&G Energy Strong program to combine and elevate Hoboken’s three electrical substations
Shoreline/Storm Surge Protection
  • Collaborating with design teams from the federally-funded Rebuild by Design competition to design and fund regional resiliency measures, including coastal flood protection
  • Redesigning Hoboken Cove park to incorporate storm surge protection along the Hoboken/Weehawken border
  • NJ Transit Redevelopment Plan being revised to include storm surge protection along the Hoboken/Jersey City border
  • Working with researchers at Stevens Institute of Technology to evaluate concepts for protecting vulnerable coastline areas from storm surges
Personal Preparedness Readiness
  • Hosted Hoboken Ready information sessions in community centers, schools and senior buildings
  • Mailed Hoboken Ready information flyer to all residents and businesses
  • Expanded Community Emergency Response Team to over 100 members, with 60 more in training
  • Hoboken Community Emergency Response Team recognized by FEMA and the White House
Other
  • Bonded to purchase a surplus military high water vehicle to safely reach flooded areas
  • Supporting the grassroots-driven “MileMesh” initiative - a wireless mesh network with backup power for communications resiliency
  • Established Resiliency Task Force and the position of floodplain manager in the Zoning Office
  • Pursuing National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System to lower property owner’s flood insurance rates city-wide
  • Amending Flood Damage Prevention ordinance so buildings are built to more resilient standards
  • Awarded $200,000 state grant to 1) Update design standards 2) Prepare hazard mitigation plan 3) Prepare 5 year capital plan 4) Update stormwater management plan and ordinance 5) Prepare open space plan to incorporate green infrastructure in City parks and open space
  • Applied to Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Challenge for $1 million resiliency grant
  • Working with NJIT Center for Resilient Design studio for the renovation & rehabilitation of the Multi-Service Center site

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Photo of the Day Zimmer Team and Kids First pose for Photo at Church Square Park


Today just before noon the campaign to re-elect Mayor Dawn Zimmer (5J) and her slate of Dave Mello (11K), Ravi Bhalla (12K) and James Doyle (13K) and the Kids First Board of Education team of Leon Gold (3I), Irene Sobolov (5I), and Jennifer Evans (8K) and their core supporters gathered at recently renovated Church Square Park. 

In addition to the team photo there was one other voting block that Dawn Zimmer was able to win over, that of Zombies. Zombies for Zimmer may not be the largest voting block but this young supporter shows voters how Mayor Zimmer reaches out to all kinds of people in Hoboken, both living and the dead. As a former Mason political operative and Hoboken 411 ghost writer (paid or unpaid through friendship) once said "Zimmer Supporters are Zombies!". Well, at least one thing he said turned out to be true.


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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My Comments on 2013 Hudson County Bloated Budget - Gardiner for Freeholder in 2014?

Last week, the spending juggernaut know as Hudco supposedly did Hoboken a huge favor by hosting a Freeholder 2013 Budget workshop meeting in Hoboken's City Hall. Mayor Turner of Weehawken and Mayor Zimmer of Hoboken attended and politely expressed their concern over the tax increase and overall expenditures. They have to be polite since they have to work with the county. As a private citizen I don't have to be so polite so here goes my stance on behalf of the Hoboken taxpayer....

Kurt Gardiner Remarks on
2013 Hudson County Budget
Kurt Gardiner is a potential candidate for Freeholder in 2014

I am writing this as a resident and taxpayer of Hoboken to speak out on the 2013 proposed Hudson County budget first revealed to the public on May 7th 2013. The initial version presented has an approximate tax increase on Hoboken residents of 10% versus prior year or an increase of about $5 million in the levy inflicted upon Hoboken residents. It is time to say enough is enough and that Hoboken in my opinion and that of other taxpaying residents I have spoken to, it has been taxed too much by the County. This is especially true due to the scant level services it receives in return on a levy which in 2013 is projected to be over $50 million raised from Hoboken residents.

Hoboken although considered relatively affluent in terms of property values and income in relation to the rest of the County, it was by far the hardest hit of all the municipalities and is still struggling to recover from Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath. A FEMA survey of Hudson County shows Hoboken in terms of the number of properties sustained 97% of the county's flood damages, next was North Bergen at 1.3%. The other municipalities each sustained less than 1% of the total damage to the county. Not everyone in Hoboken is rich and there is still a substantial middle class in Hoboken given the number of affordable housing options and many of them are still recovering. Sandy as storms go really hurt Hoboken and this tax increase is like pouring sea salt into those open wounds.

As a progressive I don’t expect Hoboken to get every dollar back for the money it is taxed. The County provides many services to the poor and elderly that are disproportionally in other areas of the County than Hoboken and that need them more. I get that. While Hoboken certainly benefits from the County Jail keeping criminals locked up and mental health programs and facilities that amount does not come close satisfying the $50 million plus per year that Hoboken residents put in.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer, leading by example and and making tough but smart choices has reduced taxes more than 10% in her 4 year tenure but the County has given Hoboken taxpayer a raise of just 10% in one year and an overall increase of around 20% over the same time period. To simply blame the increase on increasing Hoboken property values and on the State Formula is not enough. In a time where local and state governments have all learned to really tighten their belts and show some fiscal restraint, Hudson County still operates in a bubble of zero accountability and as a county jobs patronage mill oblivious to call for a more service based approach. Nothing embodies that more than the recent attempt to hire Anthony Romano political ally Michelle Russo, wife of former Hoboken Mayor and convicted felon into a Custodial Services job for which she had no experience. Thankfully, responsible Hoboken residents got wind of that patronage hire attempt and the county backed off. How many other such County appointments still fly under the radar? Things that make you go hmm.

Other examples of County waste or inappropriate allocation of funds include $12 million for the County Golf Course. In a time with a deep recession an expenditure of this magnitude is unconscionable but spend it the county did. A more appropriate allocation would have been to help Hoboken with the privatization of the HUMC Hospital when it was in jeopardy of closing and plummeting Hoboken into bankruptcy. While Anthony Romano’s allies on the City Council Minority, Tim Occhipinti, Mike Russo, Terry Castellano, and Beth “I’ll sue you and your little dog too” Mason and were obstructing the deal with the only legitimate bidder from getting accomplished, where was the County? Surely since over 50% of the patients at the HUMC at the time were not from Hoboken and the county should have had a vested interest. Right? The answer was the County was nowhere to be found during that time of crisis.

Those are just a few examples from the past.

More importantly: What should the county do going forward? ...

The fact is that there is still much bloat in the current budget and while this can’t all be addressed in one year it is time to start a change in the culture. There is at least one Freeholder, Bill O’Dea that in earnest is looking for both costs savings and realized revenue to reduce the current levy for all Hudson County taxpayers of which Hoboken is just a part. Where are the other Freeholders including Anthony Romano who represents Hoboken in leading the charge to smartly reduce expenditures? Both the executive and the remainder of the legislative branch need to step up and get results.

Anthony Romano, unlike Mayor Zimmer has yet to speak out to the Hoboken taxpayer against this colossal increase via a letter to the editor or a public statement. So far he has produced nothing. I know Romano is not a big internet guy but not even writing something in the Hoboken Reporter is an insult to the Hoboken taxpayer. Hoboken comprises approximately 7.9% of the population but pays close to 17% of the taxes and would in my estimation be lucky to see 2-3% back in services. I find this to be an utter lack of leadership from my elected Freeholder. Perhaps from his subsidized Marine View Apartment that could go to a more worthy recipient of the middle class, Anthony Romano literally and figuratively looks down on those who foot the bill. That is admittedly speculation on my part. Romano’s silence on this matter is implicit support for pillaging of the Hoboken taxpayer.

Other areas where the County could help Hoboken would be additional grant money for infrastructure improvements like Sinatra Park repairs, park acquisition for the Henkel Site which would produce real ball fields, Washington Street (which is no longer a county road but gets a ton of county use as Hoboken is the #2 tourist destination in the State of New Jersey), help for the Jubilee Center, Hoboken Shelter, and other worthwhile organizations that are struggling for Federal and State funds. Moving monies into these areas in future budgets would help offset that imbalance that I and other Hoboken taxpayers see in the current situation.

Opportunities for further reduction include tighter monitoring of employee overtime and filling of vacancies (aka a hiring freeze or a downright RIF). I honestly wasn’t shocked to hear that 8 employees in the Department of Corrections consistently get tons of overtime very year and they are the same employees year after year. Remember Patrick Ricciardi who amassed tons of OT for years in Hoboken and pled guilty to data theft? This smells of favoritism and needs to be investigated. I liked Bill O’Dea’s suggestions of a committee to review all vacancies as long as he is on it. As the only Freeholder who in my view is a true fiscal hawk (which is Hudson County is actually a good thing) having him the chair would yield desirable results in my estimation. Constituent Services is a redundant department and can be eliminated with improved communication protocols and the adoption of a 311 system. The elimination of that department would not mean everyone would not necessarily lose their job, just be redeployed.

I am perturbed that possible employee headcount reductions were not mentioned as a possible solution to reducing costs to the County taxpayer. The fact the County would take that off the table limits its ability to make more cost savings and shows that it is operating in a vacuum where money seemingly has an endless supply. We all know that is not the case. Employee headcount reductions should be a part of these savings. Having a county job should be a privilege and not an entitlement but more and more the entitlement attitude seems to permeate in Hudson County. It cheapens the whole notion of civil service.

The other aspect of the equation that hurts not only the Hoboken taxpayer but Weehawken and Secaucus is the implementation of use of pilots. Hoboken and Jersey City were listed as two cities making extensive use of long term pilots is a report on New Jersey Tax Abatements written in 2010 by State Comptroller Michael Boxer. Jersey City in particular stands out as quoted in the 2010 report:

“Jersey City currently exempts approximately $2 billion of property value. In view of the city’s general tax rate of $6 per $100 of assessed value (6%), Jersey City is not collecting approximately $120 million is property taxes on the exempted property. In 2009, Hudson County received approximately 25% of the property taxes collected in the city. Using that as a baseline, the county did not collect approximately $30 million from Jersey City due to the city’s abatements. While the county still receives some amount through it 5% portion of PILOTS it does not make up for that $30 million in lost revenue. Instead, the other municipalities in the county make up for those dollars”.

This year that would be Weehawken, Secaucus and Hoboken. Just to be clear the PILOTS in Jersey City and Hoboken were not created by the currently elected officials in Hoboken and Jersey City but they have choices going forward about how to handle PILOTS. I know we have a reform mayor reform in Hoboken that understands this and I am hopeful for fairer use PILOTS in Jersey City with newly Mayor. Time will tell.

We know life isn’t fair but something has to be done about PILOTS and the State formulation going forward. Since that is not in direct control of Hudson County, it is up to the county to do their best to help make up the difference. There is a overcapacity built in to our current corrections and juvenile facilities that needs serious examination for example. Operational audits from a respected firm or firms would go along way to finding additional savings opportunities without jeopardizing services.

Again this isn’t about Hoboken getting back dollar for dollar, it is a about a better balance. Expenditures can be decreased and revenues realized. At the very least a hiring freeze and possible employee headcount reductions should be a part of it. It is high time Hoboken taxpayers stopped getting the short end of the “Stick” and have leadership that will understand the Hoboken taxpayer. I can’t wait for 2014 and it is not just about me necessarily running for office. I just want better representation for Hoboken. ◦
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Friday, June 7, 2013

Video on Hudson County Budget Meeting in Hoboken 6/6/2013 - 10% County Tax Increase on Hoboken

The Hudson County Freeholders held one of their budget workshop meetings in Hoboken last night in City Hall. I attended the meeting and observed part of the budgetary process. Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, Mayor Dawn Zimmer, and Mayor Richard Turner of Weehawken made opening remarks and these are on the video below:



Hoboken is facing a 10% county tax hike in the proposed Hudson County budget. Of the total increase in the budget that is raised by taxes, $13 million, Hoboken is paying an additional $5 million in taxes and we are only 7.8% of the total county in terms of population. The County Executives and Freeholders can blame it on the formula and they would be correct but the real question is what are they doing about controlling expenditures? As far as Hoboken is concerned, not very much in terms of tax impact. Hoboken may have higher property values but we were hardest hit from Hurricane Sandy and are still very much recovering.

It is the fact that nothing has been seriously addressed on Hoboken's disproportionate tax burden since I last ran in 2011 that I am considering running again in 2014. I will be reaching out to local and county officials in the near future to explore potential support.

For more information on my potential 2014 run go to www.gardinerforfreeholder.com
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Friday, March 1, 2013

Hoboken Leprecon Live Blog - Starts 8am Saturday March 2,2013

Hoboken Leprecon Live Blog TheBoken 3-2-2013

This Live Blog on Hoboken's Leprecon will start tomorrow March 2, 2013 at 8:00am. This will be hosted on my sister site as well as here. If you want to have your comment immediately approved use Twitter with the hash tag #HobokenLeprecon. There will be a delay if you comment directly as this editor will be out and about gathering photos and info. I you would like to share photos with TheBoken please email us at theboken@gmail.com and let us know how you want to be attributed as well as the location any other details you might want to share.

Go to www.theboken.com for more on Hoboken events and happenings....


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