Saturday, January 31, 2009

Photo of the Day - New York City from Uptown Hoboken

Here is a view of New York City Form Uptown Hoboken Waterfront:


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Friday, January 30, 2009

Hoboken Office of Emergency Management Overview

On the Hoboken City Website there is a link to the Office of Emergency Management below. The City Hall website says this is a new sub-site but I am not sure when it was put up:

http://www.hobokennj.org/oemsite/

One of the programs that they are offering is a Community Emergency Response Team called by the acronym C.E.R.T. Here is a summary from their website:

Hoboken is ready to build its team! Make a Difference! C.E.R.T. CERT training promotes a partnering effort between emergency services and the people that they serve. The goal is for emergency personnel to train members of neighborhoods, community organizations, or workplaces in basic response skills. CERT members are then integrated into the emergency response capability for their area. If a disastrous event overwhelms or delays the community's professional response, CERT members can assist others by applying the basic response and organizational skills that they learned during training. These skills can help save and sustain lives following a disaster until help arrives. CERT skills also apply to daily emergencies. CERT members maintain and refine their skills by participating in exercises and activities. They can attend supplemental training opportunities offered by the sponsoring agency and others that further their skill base. Finally, CERT members can volunteer for projects that improve community emergency preparedness. Are you ready to join us? If interested in joining C.E.R.T., please send us your name, address, e-mail and phone number.

By e-mail: certteam@hobokennj.org
By fax: 201-420-3258
By Mail: City of Hoboken, 94 Washington St. Hoboken, NJ 07030
Attn: CERT TEAM An application will be sent to you

Editor Note: I inqured about an application via email and will let you know when I get a repsonse. This is something I would seriously consider as long as I could make the training sessions which are hopefully at night or on weekends.

Here is the link to info sheet on their website:

http://www.hobokennj.org/pdf/cert/cert2page.pdf

Here is a copy in slideshare so you can view in this site:

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Site Update - Milestone 2,000 Unique Visitors

As of 11:55 AM today my fledgling web site has now had 2,000 unique visits since I began tracking it on 12/23/2008. Thank you to my small reader base and if you continue to enjoy my content, please spread the word. Again suggestions are welcome and I do like to accomodate requests as long as they have merit in terms of fact or are falt out funny regardless of the point of view.

Editor note: As this site slowly evolves I do believe my focus will be mostly political, and yes progressive and reform minded but from time to time I will show things that interest me as well as community events that can help bring this town closer together. Not quite a mission statement but where I see this headed for now.

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Morning Humor- Worst Fight Scene Ever Reader Submission

Update:
Hoboken St. Patty's Day is coming soon though there are rumors that Judy Tripodi is considering cancelling the event. In honor of that I posted a Captain Kirk fight scene that is so horrible that I swear William Shatner was cracking a smile during one section of the fight. One reader submitted this video as an alternative. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section:





Original Post 1/28/2009: This has nothing to do with Hoboken, other than the fact that Hoboken St. Patrick's Day is about one month away and we can be sure that at least a few will get pugilistic during the days festivities. While I am a big fan of Star Trek I have to admit this is one of the more pathetic displays of fighting prowess I have ever seen on T.V. :


Worst Fight Scene Ever (Capt. Kirk)



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Hoboken Continuing Education Spring 2009 Calendar


Here is a scanned copy of the Hoboken Continuing Education Spring 2009 Calendar I received in the mail. Knowledge is power!:



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Donna Antonucci - Fire and Police Layoff Plans

Donna Antonucci sent me a email with the revised Fire Department Layoff plans as well as the Police Department. Donna has been vocal in recent weeks at City Council and Board of Education meetings about the waste she sees in the Government of Hoboken. She is also a member of the Tax Watcher Organization Revolt which has about 500 members online.

Editors Note: Keep in mind that this analysis is not necessarily the opinion of the writer of this blog or of the organization Revolt. Citizens should be encouraged to come up with ideas to save money and any such plans must be balanced by the limitations of collective bargaining and arbitration.


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The Colbert Report - Join in the Madness/Friday Fun

Here is the latest from the Colbert Report Thursday January 29 Courtesy of Hulu:

Events covered are the recent Republican vote on the stimulus package as well as the removal of Rob Blogejevich from office as Illinois Governor.



My observation: I think it is going to be a lot harder for these comedians to be funny on politics with Bush 43 out of the White House. ◦
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Photo of the Day - Where is this?

For this photo of the day I challenge my readers to figure out where this could be in Hoboken:



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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Reader Note: Announcement from Beth Mason Expected Soon

Reader Note: Announcement from Beth Mason expected soon (today/several days/a week from now) on her potential candidacy for Mayor of Hoboken 2009. Stay tuned, don't touch that dial. ◦
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Dawn Zimmer Announces Candidacy for Mayor

Dawn Zimmer has announced her candidacy for Mayor of Hoboken in the upcoming 2009 election.

Here is the press release from Dawn Zimmer Sent out this morning:

MEDIA RELEASE

January 29, 2009
4TH WARD COUNCILWOMAN DAWN ZIMMER ANNOUNCES HER PLANS TO RUN FOR MAYOR


Councilwoman Dawn Zimmer today announced her plans to run for Mayor of Hoboken.

Zimmer said, "I am running for Mayor because we can't afford business as usual. The recent 84% tax increase is just the most visible result of years of wasteful spending and backroom dealing. Our sewers don't work, our traffic doesn't flow, and some neighborhoods have no parks. Despite these challenges, Hoboken is a unique and wonderful City with incredible potential. I will reach beyond the political establishment to draw on the skills, talents and energy of all of our residents to set a new direction for our City. I will bring people together to get things done."

Zimmer went on to say, "Many City offices lack voicemail, won't accept e-mail, and close at 4pm. I will change the old ways: Restore fiscal responsibility, improve customer service, and reduce the tax burden that is crushing our citizens. We need to go cold turkey on financial gimmicks and live within our means. Together we will bring an end to the abuse of PILOTS and one-shot revenues that pretend to balance our budget while mortgaging our future."

As a Councilwoman, Zimmer has led the way, helping expose $10 million in illegal overspending, and working with her council colleagues to set an example and save money by reducing salaries and benefits for elected officials and directors.

A leader on the Council in offering innovative solutions to our flooding problem and pushing for quality of life improvements, Zimmer pledged to make Hoboken a model for the use of new cost-cutting green technology. "We have the potential for major cost-savings in the areas of flood prevention, garbage disposal and energy." Zimmer said, "Hoboken should be leading the way towards a green future, not dragging its feet."

Zimmer believes that Hoboken needs to seize the moment and embrace green technology now to benefit from federal and state grant funds, since it is a priority for the Obama Administration.
She would change the City's focus on residential development, which she said has resulted in more flooding, more traffic, and a costly increase in demand for City services. Zimmer said, "I believe in a different approach, one that emphasizes responsible commercial development that brings jobs to our community, and helps us create the parks, ball fields and shops that make urban communities thrive. We need to assure that all new development comes with the necessary traffic controls, parking and infrastructure improvements."

Zimmer said she will be unveiling plans and proposals on the major issues facing the City and further outlining her vision for Hoboken as the campaign unfolds.

She will be kicking off her campaign at a fundraiser to be held Thursday night at McSwiggins. A full-time Campaign Manager, Sam Briggs, hits the ground this week. Zimmer will be running with a full slate of at-large council candidates, and will introduce her running mates in the next few weeks.

Councilwoman Zimmer represents the 4th Ward of Hoboken. She is married to Stan Grossbard and has two sons who attend school in Hoboken. ◦
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Advocacy for the Arts - Hoboken Reader Submission


On Hoboken resident sent me this email advocating for the arts as a part of the upcoming Federal stiumlus package Advocated by Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress:

Why should Wall Street get it all?

Congress is discussing an essential emergency stimulus package for the
arts this week. Can you take a sec and fill out this oh-so-easy arts
advocacy email which will automatically be sent to your Congressional
reps?

http://capwiz.com/artsusa/issues/alert/?alertid=12426636&type=CO


Here is a blurb from that site:


Federal: Urge Congress to Include the Arts in the National Economic Recovery Plan Write to your Members Today!

The arts are essential to the health and vitality of our communities. They enhance community development; spur urban renewal; attract new businesses; draw tourism dollars; and create an environment that attracts skilled, educated workers and builds a robust 21st century workforce. As Congress considers the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, urge them to include the arts and culture so that they can continue to help revitalize America's economy.

Take Action
We have provided several talking points to help you craft your letter. To use a talking point, simply click the red arrow and the text will be inserted in your letter. You are not required to use all of the talking points. You are strongly urged to offer your own thoughts, stories, and examples to help illustrate the vital need to include the arts and culture sector in national economic recovery efforts.

My take:
I do feel the Federal Government needs to support the arts. I would however like to see the initial round of money go to infrastucture like bridges and roads but even more importantly susbtainable forms of energy and new public transportation. The Arts should get their share but the infrastructure needs should have priority since they have the ability to create jobs now and jump start the economy.

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HUMC Meeting Recap

The HUMC (Hoboken University Medical Center) held their meeting last night at 7PM January 28, 2009. There were some routine resolutions passed regarding day in and day out operations of the hospital but the same focus of the meeting was to discuss and relay to the public the status of it's financial situation.

Harvey Holzberg, acting CEO made general remarks about the Hospital and where it stands.

Key Points from Harvey:

  • Hospitals such as the HUMC are not recession proof and the economic climate is the reason for the 3rd and 4th quarter operating losses.
  • It is the goal of the HUMC to operate a Balanced Budget for 2009
  • The Hospital has renegotiated with the unions and vendors for a projected savings of at least $3.2 million for 2009 and is looking to cut expenses elsewhere.
  • They will institute a voluntary buyout package.
  • Layoffs will be a last resort to get an additional savings of $1.5 million.
  • Layoffs, if they occur will not include medical personnel such as nurses.
  • Key initiatives like the emergency room, Obstetrics will go ahead.
  • The emergency room is on schedule for the summer of 2009.
  • The deficit last year was $4.3 million.

Another HUMC representative spoke of improving metrics of the Hospital in terms of Quality of Care. The Hospital had been low in certain key metrics in 2007 but has made improvements in such areas and cardiac care and pneumonia.

A few members of the Public were there such as Donna Antonucci and Councilwoman Beth Mason who asked questions about operations. More analysis to come after I have had time to review the financial statements.

Here is a letter from Harvey Holzberg on the financial status of the HUMC to George W. Crimmons Executive Director of the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority:



Humc Letter 1-28-2009
View more documents or upload your own.


Here is the Financial Report that was handed out at the meeting:



My initial take: I think Harvey Holzberg is right, Hospitals are not recession proof. It is a good thing that they didn't try and open a plastic surgery unit because then the Hospital would really be in trouble when the yuppies decided to hold of on those face lifts and tummy tucks:). I thought the tone presented by the Hospital was much much more informative than had been in the Special Council meeting. My preliminary action is that the Hospital like many companies faces some tough economic challenges. I as a taxpayer and resident who may someday need their services hope that they do remain solvent. A scaling back of their plans however still remains a distinct possibility.


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Photo of the Day - Upper Washington Street

Here is another shot of upper Washington Street:


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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

HUMC meeting has concluded

The HUMC meeting has concluded with the Authority releasing the 2009 budget figures. I should have a write up ready by 9 AM tommorow. ◦
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Obama Stimulus Plan Would Provide Flood of Aid to Education

He is an article from the NY Times on Obama's stimulus plan and education:

Stimulus Plan Would Provide Flood of Aid to Education
By SAM DILLON
Published: January 28, 2009


Schools, universities and child care centers would receive $150 billion in new spending in the stimulus package scheduled for a vote in Congress.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/28/education/28educ.html?partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

My Concern: I do support the idea of a stimulus package on the whole but my concern is that Schools like Hoboken who overpay for poor test results would get money and possibly allocate it to additional administration and areas that do not benefit students education. In other words: what checks and balances are there to make sure the money is wisely spent. The stimulus should be constructed in such a way so that school systems like Hoboken and everywhere else properly allocate the funds to improve education and not patronage. ◦
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Special City Council Meeting Wednesday January 28th

Update: This meeting is today at Stevens Institute; read below for details. If any one is attending this event and wants to share a writeup with the readers of this blog please email me at kurt.gardiner@gmail.com and let me know how you want to be attibuted.

There will be a Special City Council Meeting this Wednesday January 28th at 7PM.
Note: This meeting will be held at the Howe Center at Stevens Institute of Technology 1 Castle Point on Hudson St. Hoboken , NJ. The meeting will be held at the Skyline Suite on the 4th floor.

The senior design team will present a presentation of economic opportunities at Hoboken.

Click on the picture to read the details:





Normally special meetings are posted in the section on the City's Website with other agendas. It would be nice to see some consistency but at least the meetting was posted as it always is in some fashion. ◦
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HUMC January 28, 2009 Meeting Agenda

UPDATE: Meeting today at 7PM

This is direct from the HUMC's Web page:

HOBOKEN MUNICIPAL HOSPITAL AUTHORITY
JANUARY 28, 2009 MEETING AGENDA

7:00 pm Regular Meeting

1. Open Public Meetings Act Disclosure Statement

2. Roll-Call

3. Pledge of Allegiance

4. Approval of Minutes from the December 2, 2008 Regular Session,
December 2, 2008 Executive Session

5. Executive Session Closed to the Public (IF NECESSARY)

6. Report from the Hospital CEO

7. Committee Reports
Finance
Quality/ Patient Safety

8. Finance Report by Ron DiVito

9. New Business
· Resolution Authorizing Payment of Claims
· Resolution Accepting the Credentials Report
· Resolution Accepting the Amendment Medical Staff Bylaws
· Resolution Appointing an Auditor for the 2008 Financial Report
· Resolution Awarding a Contract for Steel Stairs *
· Resolution Approving Change Order No.3 for Contract 3 *
· Resolution Approving Change Order No.3 for Contract 4 *
· Resolution Approving Change Order No.1 for Contract 12 *
· Resolution Approving Change Order No.1 for Contract 8 *

10. Discussion Items

11. Public Comments

12. Adjournment of Meeting

* The asterisk items will be voted on in one vote unless a Commissioner requests that a particular resolution be voted separately.

MEETING PLACE

ASSUMPTION HALL
HOBOKEN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER
308 WILLOW AVENUE, HOBOKEN, NEW JERSEY ◦
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Photo of the Day - Upper Washington Street

Here is a photo of the walkups with the unique names on the front between 8th and 9th on Washington Street:



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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Photo Montage- Hudson Tea in Winter

Here is a composite of seven shots from around the Hudson Tea Building complex. Neither Eli Manning nor Jon Corzine was spotted during the taking of these pictures, it was too damn cold! :):


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Funny Video - Jon Corzine from 2006

Here is a video posted on You Tube on May 2006. The creator has an animated Corzine rapping to "I'm the Tax Man". I generally support Jon Corzine but have to admit this is funny. Lately Corzine has been seen tightening the fiscal belt so this parody may not be as relevant. With it fairly likely that it will be him squaring off vs. Republican Christie Christie for the Governor's race I wonder videos like this will be part of the Republican's campaign tactics whether officially or unofficially.

Now you can't say that I don't ever publish opposing viewpoints. :)


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More Progress at Hoboken UMC - From Harvey Holzberg


Here is a recent update on the HUMC's Website from CEO Harvey Holzberg himself:

More Progress at Hoboken UMC
If you have passed the corner of Fourth Street and Willow Avenue recently, you have seen that the new Emergency Department at Hoboken UMC is taking shape. We are all excited about this soon-to-be facility because it is going to provide more space and state-of-the-art technology to better serve emergency patients in Hudson County. When the Emergency Department opens this summer, in addition to care from the region’s leading medical professionals, you can expect more privacy, increased comfort and shorter waiting times with a guarantee to be seen by a nurse within 15 minutes of arrival and a doctor in 30 minutes.

Already, we’ve seen the community respond to our initiatives to provide medically advanced care that also caters to the needs of our patients. The number of babies born at Hoboken UMC continues to rise, as more parents-to-be are discovering high quality and personalized care is available, right in their neighborhood. And the demand for specialized services, such as same-day surgeries and minimally invasive surgical procedures, is also growing.

Also, we at Hoboken UMC believe that your financial worries shouldn’t stand in the way of your good health. We’ve established a Financial Health Care Helpline for people concerned about the coverage their insurance provides. You can speak directly with experienced financial counselors, who will explain options that may be available to help you afford the tests and treatments you need.

Available Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm,
you can access the helpline, by calling (201) 418-2211 or e-mail financialhelpline@HobokenUMC.com.
Harvey A. HolzbergCEO Hoboken University Medical Center

308 Willow Ave., Hoboken. NJ • 201-418-1000


My take: Progress is indeed being made but I encourage citizens to attend the HUMC tommorow at 7PM to find out about the taxpayer subsidized Hospital and its financial condition. ◦
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Hoboken St. Patricks Day- Gearing/Facebooking Up



The annual debauchery fest in Hoboken known as St. Patrick's Day always seems to get a few people's nerves up. The parade is fun but the mess before and after the parade has some residents angry. I can tell you this, since I was working the door last year on that day (one of my many jobs) I didn't see every area but the police did a very good job last year compared to the year before of keeping things in check for the most part. In fact one officer checked in with me several times during the day to make sure everything was OK.

As far as the expected volume on Facebook over 15,000 invitations have been sent out and over 8,200 people have accepted as attending the festivities. Since everyone is not active on Facebook it would be safe to say the parade is as popular as ever.

Here is the event on Facebook for Facebook users:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/event.php?eid=44405923709&ref=mf
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Economy Watch - Shiller's Housing Indices for November 2008

On the Yahoo! Finance portal they are reporting a 18.2% decrease in overall home prices compared to November of last year. The Standard & Poor's Case Shiller index dropped 2.2% from October. NYC Region prices dropped 7.1% compared to November 2008 from November 2007 which is much less than the National year drop. Prices in NYC according to the index are now as low as February 2004.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Home-prices-plunge-record-182-rb-14165577.html



This confirms what most people have been aware of in this area for over a year in terms of declining prices in property. The market in our area is at least holding better than other parts of the country. This is true of Hoboken, but for how long? The current Hoboken tax situation and budget crises certainly doesn't help. ◦
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Mike Russo on Church Square Towers Pilot - Follow Up

Update: This story was originally posted on 1/8/2009. In response to my initial reaction to Councilman Russo's passionate speech at the 1/7/2009 City Council meeting on the Church Square Towers Pilot I spoke to him briefly at the Hoboken Board of Education Meeting on 1/13/2009. I told him that some listeners including myself thought that his remarks were addressed at taxpayers such as myself. He clarified his position to me that it was only addressed to those specific emails. It felt good to clear the air with him on that. At the following Council meeting the tone was much more about fact finding and he appreciated the efforts of members of Revolt who had done some research on the facts and legalities concerning this property. This development is a good sign as an honest inquiry is needed to determine the best course of action for Hoboken taxpayers and those residents in need of subsidized housing who want to stay in Hoboken. Now that is some progress beyond the divisiveness we have seen as of late.

Original Story:

This is from the City Council Meeting last night. Even though the PILOT agreement for Church Towers was stricken from the agenda 3rd Ward Councilman Russo had something to say about the PILOT. He is a renter there and has testified in the past that his income is below the threshold for eligibility to live there.



My Commentary: As a progressive person politically, I have no issue with subsidized housing provided it is given to those who truly need it. This PILOT coming up for renewal is the perfect time to look into the details of the agreement to see if it is being properly enforced and if the money is being duly collected. There is no need for fear mongering and threatening legitimate tenants (those who need it) from displacement.

On the other hand I did take offence to Mr. Russo's remarks that seemed to imply a professional such as myself or others who pay their fair share of taxes, is engaging in class warfare for simply wanting to get the facts about the PILOT before moving forward. If his remarks were not in fact directed at someone of my mindset or background, then I will let it pass.

The Preliminary information that I have seems to indicate that Church Towers has 402 units and pays $463K in city taxes annually. That would mean an annual property tax payment of $1152 per unit. If this turns out to be wrong I will correct it. The discussion should be how much should the payment should be without impacting the maintenance of the building or impacting those on limited incomes adversely. This could be an opportunity to get more revenue for the City if it done with respect for those who need subsidized housing. To rile up the tenants of those buildings without getting all the facts first is engaging in the very sort of class warfare that Mr. Russo claims is being divisive in this town.

I have respected Mr. Russo's voting record recently and in the past but he is going down a slippery slope with this approach on this issue. Just my opinion. ◦
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Another Photo of the Day - Malibu Diner

Beth Mason was recently reported as meeting with Brian Stack at this restaurant. If you ask me that meeting was no big deal. Can't people just have a conversation without it getting all blown out of proportion? This place has been known to be the meet up for many a Hudson County power broker for many years. It is none other than Hoboken's iconic Malibu Diner:


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City Bicyle Auction Friday January 30th

Go here on Thursday to preview "the goods"

Update - first posted 1/15/2009:

If anyone is looking for a used bicycle or one that might have been stolen, here is the perfect opportunity to get a good deal on a used bike at the City's Bike auction. There will be other municipal vehicles on sale as well including a fire truck with a starting bid of $1,000.

The auction takes place Friday, Jan 30th in the City Hall Court room at 11am.

You can view the items in advance on Thursday, Jan 29th, at the Central Garage, Willow & Observer Highway, from 11am to 3pm.

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Official Layoff Announcement on Hoboken's City Website


This was reported on last Friday but here is the official announcement on layoffs from Hoboken's City Website:

HOBOKEN ANNOUNCES WORKFORCE REDUCTION

HOBOKEN, Friday, January 23, 2009 -- The City of Hoboken today has laid off seven provisional municipal employees in the first stage of its previously announced reduction in workforce, announced Mayor David Roberts and state Fiscal Monitor Judith L. Tripodi.
Over this year the city is expected to reduce its workforce by 65 employees, or 10 percent of all full-time municipal workers.

Today’s reduction affected workers in various departments, said Tripodi, and amounted to less than one percent of the existing workforce. Already, over the past year 43 workers have opted for retirement, bringing the total to 110 over the past five years “This was not based on work performance, rather a move to reach a scale of economy as Hoboken seeks to reduce its budget,” said Mayor Roberts.

Already the city has announced it will discontinue its Cross Town bus service on February 1st, in a move that is expected to save the municipality $200,000 annually.

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Economy Watch- Rents are going down

Here is a story that reports that rents are going down in our area due to the economic crises. In the 4th quarter for the NYC Metropolitan area the article reports that rents have gone down 3.7% versus year ago. One reader wonders if that means more people will consider moving to Manhattan versus Hoboken since it will be relatively more competitive in price given the tax levies landlords will likely pass on to their tenants due to Hoboken's Fiscal Crisis. Just what Hoboken needs:

http://finance.yahoo.com/real-estate/article/106480/Rents-Drop-Nationwide-as-Vacancies-Spike

Another article covers the same thing from a more in depth Real Estate perspective:

http://njrereport.com/index.php/2009/01/23/weekend-open-discussion-148/
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Monday, January 26, 2009

Site Update

A big sorry goes out to my dedicated Hoboken Journal readers. I am not feeling too well today so I have not published much. I think there must be some kind of bug going around because a lot of people that I know are sick.

Highlights for this week:

There is a Special City Council Meeting on Wednesday with agenda to follow tommorow.

The HUMC is also meeting this Wednesday where there will present their most recent financial statement.


Also, towards the bottom right corner of this site I created a Facebook link so that you can embed my blog in Facebook should you desire to do so. ◦
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Donna Antonucci/Revolt on the HUMC

Here is is an email from Citizen Activist Donna Antonucci on behalf of the group Revolt! on the Hoboken Hospital known by the acronym HUMC. There is an upcoming meeting this Wednesday in Assumption Hall at 7PM:

THE HOSPITAL – Principles & Questions

1. Access to high quality hospital care is essential either from an independent, financially sound, not-for-profit hospital (with no city government ownership or financial guarantees) in Hoboken, or through contractual, service and/or transfer agreements with another area hospital (with no financial subsidies from the City).

2. If the Hospital is financially sound as it has reported to City Hall, then it no longer should be City-owned, but revert to being a 401C3 not-for-profit entity. And the City should be relieved from “guaranteeing” the hospital’s bonds ($52 million).

3. Otherwise, the Hospital should make an immediate public presentation on its financial condition, addressing as well the following issues and questions.

4. If the hospital is NOT financially stable and self-sufficient the New Jersey Commissioner of Health should appoint an arms-length Blue Ribbon Oversight Committee to evaluate the situation and make mandatory recommendations in thirty days. The Report of the Committee should be posted on the web.

5 If the hospital cannot meet its bond payments, what is the impact on the City's finances and property taxes?

6. The first step should be to review the most recent financial report for the period ending December 31, 2008. In the last quarter: Did Accounts Payable increase? Were Accounts Receivable from Medicare and Medicaid accurate or over-stated? Were reserves taken in as revenue appropriate or excessive? Was the “provision for doubtful accounts” accurate or understated?

7. The following advisors should be selected by the Board in a public process: external auditor, executive compensation, corporate compliance. Those selected should have no prior professional relationship with the hospital’s senior management,

8. The CEO’s total compensation should be “at market” and publicly disclosed, with confirmation of appropriateness by a “Reasonableness Letter” from the Executive Compensation consultant.

9. The Search Process for a new CEO, apparently currently underway, should be transparent and allow sufficient time for public review and comment. The City Council should approve the next CEO upon recommendation of the Mayor.

10. The State recently awarded six safety-net hospitals $44 million in Stabilization Fund Grants. How much did the Hospital apply for from the fund and what are the consequences of receiving no award?

11. The Hospital’s Conflict of Interest Policy and Corporate Compliance Plan should be posted on its web site.

12. Payments to physicians and their job descriptions should be posted on the Hospital web site.

13. The Hospital has the longest Medicare length of stay in the State and performed poorly on recently published quality measures. The Hospital’s Corrective Action Plan should be posted on its web site as should quarterly progress reports.

14. Is discussion underway with Hudson County’s other struggling hospitals to regionalize services? Is there a contingency plan in place if the hospital closes?


HOBOKEN TAX REFORM COALITION MISSION AND OBJECTIVES

Mission
The mission of HOBOKEN TAX REFORM COALITION, a community-based organization, is:
- to ensure fiscal responsibility and accountability in Hoboken government;
- to reduce waste and eliminate mismanagement in government
- to encourage broad and open policy discussion between citizens and elected officials
- to establish a fair allocation of property taxes among all Hoboken property owners

Objectives
1) Drive a significant reduction in property taxes without compromising the safety and soundness of Hoboken.
2) Set standards for smart PILOTs that improve the fiscal condition of the City.
3) Remove the taxpayer guarantee to the Hoboken University Medical Center.
4) Force the initiation of a property revaluation as per current law.
5) Act as a fiscal watchdog / public advocate for the taxpayers of Hoboken.


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Video of the Day - NY Water Way Commute

Here is the commute from Hoboken South Ferry terminal to Pier 11 New York condensed down to 5 minutes to the sultry sounds of Richard Wagner's Ride of the Valkyrie:


NY Water Way Commute 1/23/2009 from Kurt Gardiner on Vimeo. ◦
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Photos of the Day - Neuman Leather Building

Here are two photos of the Neuman Leather Building:




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Sunday, January 25, 2009

HUMC - No Longer the Rosy Picture Painted by Holzberg and Crew back in June 2008

Here is a well written article from Carly on Hoboken Now on how according to Joan Quigly, the hospital might need to layoff enough employees to come up with $1.5 million dollars in savings:

http://www.nj.com/hobokennow/index.ssf/2009/01/potential_layoffs_at_the_hobok.html

Carly also followed up with an article on whether the Hospital should have bailed out in the first place. In the article Beth Mason was quoted as being disappointed that the City Council was not notified of the likelihood of layoffs:

http://www.nj.com/hobokennow/index.ssf/2009/01/should_hoboken_have_guaranteed.html

Here is my take: I have always supported Beth Mason's position on the HUMC. Some type of analysis was needed to determine whether or not the Hospital's business plan was viable for market conditions even before the overall collapse of the economy in 2008. Many feel that a scaled down version of the hospital and no guarantee by the City would have been a much better solution. Supporters of David Roberts plan like Peter Cammarano called Beth names like paranoid when she questioned the Hospital's finances early in 2008. Haven't we already learned the lesson of using capital funds (or selling City Assets) to fund operating expenses?

The HUMC did that very same thing and their most recent report had everything looking strong. An understandable downturn in the economy for the last quarter is one thing (probably affecting other hospitals) but I do suspect that the shaky finances of the Hospital have been there for some time.

Don't get me wrong, I am not happy with the Hospital having financial difficulty and workers possibly getting laid off. I was hoping too like Roberts that the Hospital would be a success for if it is not I might have to just foot the bill along with all other taxpayers. With that said you don't make key decisions without a grasp of economic viability. Cutting ribbons and promising steak dinners is a fanciful way to run a City, it is just no way professionally manage one. Many who voted for him in 2005 should have seen this all coming. What do you expect from a bon vivant with a penchant for ceremony?

More and more the Robert's legacy is looking like that of Bush, using fear to get the public to go along with bad decisions and deals (HUMC and the $52 million bond, Holzberg's $800,000 salary and bad business model vs. Iraq, 4,000 plus dead soldiers, Halliburton and the financial rape of the Federal Government with no bid contracts). Bush/Roberts, it is just incompetence on different scales.

Here is Peter Cammarano speaking out on those who don't trust the financial picture of the HUMC as presented at the special City Council meeting back on June 2nd, 2008:





Here is a little fun graphic to remind readers a little skepticism is always healthy...

After watching this my advice to Peter Cammarano is, you are a little too trusting of authority figures. Do your home work and validate what is being said. Honest questioning is not paranoia. I am not sure he will be able win over many reformers with his record on such matters as these. He might be better off running as the establishment candidate. The problem is, The Establishment is crumbling.

The HUMC Authority is meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. The budget is scheduled to be released at that time. Enter at the emergency room entrance and go to Assumption Hall where the meeting will be. ◦
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More Photos of the Day - Firehouse on Observer

Here are some pictures of the Downtown firehouse on Observer Highway:





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Photo of the Day - Lackawanna Ferry

Here is a photo of the Lackawanna Ferry Terminal under construction:


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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Digital Conversion Funny Video

Here is a funny YouTube video on the digital conversion that will occur nationwide on February 17, 2009 for all TV broadcasts:


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Dawn Zimmer Fundraiser - Thursday February 5th



Please Join Councilwoman Dawn Zimmer
For a Party & Fundraiser


Thursday, February 5th,
6:30 - 8:30pm at McSwiggins
(1st Street & Bloomfield)

Appetizers, Open Bar for Beer, Wine, & Two Refreshing New Drinks
"the Dawnarita" & "the Zimmertini"

$35.00 - Get to Know Dawn
$75.00 - Help Dawn achieve her vision for Hoboken
$100.00 - Contributor
$250.00 - Sponsor
$1,000.00 - F.O.D. (Friends of Dawn)
$2,600 - Passionate Supporter

Checks payable to Dawn Zimmer for Council

RSVP to DawnZimmer@gmail.com


Councilwoman Dawn Zimmer
59 Madison Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030


Editors note: For any other candidates for Hoboken City Council or Mayor want to make an annoucement for a fundraiser, campaign kickoff, special event please email me at kurt.gardiner@gmail.com and I will do my best to publish expeditiously. ◦
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Hoboken 411 Letter from Reader on Community Policing is Untrue and Fabricated

I usually appreciate the fact that Hoboken 411 will publish letters that the local papers will not sometimes publish. In fact I have been the recipient of that when the owner of H411 published my political poems that were not within the standards of the Hoboken Reporter's Guidelines (i.e. no poems). The letter the anonymous writer tried to send in is false and a distortion. The Hoboken Reporter rejected the letter due to the fact that one of their writers Tim Carol was at the meeting and well as myself and know that there was no call from vigilantism from Dawn Zimmer.

In fact it was Acting Chief Robert Lisa that brought up community policing which is nothing like vigilantism. From what I know of the Acting Chief he seems like a stand up guy and in no way would he endorse citizens taking the law into their own hands. On the contrary, it was stressed that the citizens should be the eyes and ears of the police but that they should call and wait for the police to arrive and let them do their job when they see something suspicious. The meeting was highly informational and I was impressed that some of the top brass in the police department were willing to listen to citizens concerns and have a plan of action.

And yes, Dawn did call for a community Garden but the theory is that if you clean up the area, it might deter the wrong crowd from hanging out there. For those who have been paying attention "The Broken Window Theory" was a tenet of the Guilliani Administration's policing and in my opinion helped cleanup NYC. And besides what is wrong with cleaning up a blighted area? Seems like a good idea to me.

Here is the beginning of the bogus letter that was published on H411:

"I sent the following letter to the editor of the local paper; I asked that it remain anonymous. But I just got a call from the editor saying that they won’t publish my letter unless I agree to have my name (and possibly address) credited for the comments - despite dozens of other anonymous letters published. I obviously fear retaliation and was silenced by this sudden reversal of policy. It’s as if the paper is silencing any dissent against Dawn Zimmer; it just doesn’t seem right that they do that.”

Here’s the letter that got rejected:

“It’s always a concern when violent crime invades a community. It is especially concerning when our government leaders seem desperate and suggest the public form vigilante groups to police the streets. But that is exactly what Dawn Zimmer recommended - along with creating a community garden - when she attended Wednesday’s Crime Prevention Meeting."

Read the rest of the untrue letter on Hoboken411:

http://hoboken411.com/archives/16184

Signed,
Concerned 4th Ward Citizen”

CONCLUSION: This letter is nothing more than a fabrication most likely by one of the local political hacks . The writer of this letter isn't remaining anonymous because he/she is afraid of retaliation, rather does not want to reveal which political camp from which the negative and falsified attack is coming from. I challenge the anonymous writer to name the police officers in attendance. He /she can't because they were not there. I was.

PS- I left two emails with Hoboken 411 and even tried to comment to rebut this story but my comments were filtered and I received no timely reply from Hoboken 411.

Here is the original story I covered for the 4th Ward Community Police meeting I attended:


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Great Presidential Speeches- You Tube Video

Here is a funny video from the David Letterman show of great Presidential speeches. Well, not exactly, the first two are but the rest of the highlights are of another President not exactly known for his speechmaking abilities:


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Photos of the Day - Pictures from Pier A

Here are some wintry photos of and from Pier A park:








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Friday, January 23, 2009

City Council Meeting Videos from 1/21/2009

Update 1/23/2009: I moved this up to the top of the website for today in case readers have not yet seen the full videos of Donna Antonucci and Acting Fire Chief Blohm during the City Council meeting on 1/21/2009.

See this article that covers the heated words between Councilwoman Terry Labruno and Donna Antonucci:

http://thehobokenjournal.blogspot.com/2009/01/city-council-meeting-recap-1212009.html

Here are the video highlights from the Hoboken City Hall Meeting of both citizen activist Donna Antonucci and Acting Fire Chief Blohm. I try to focus on the key speakers and give you the full 5 minutes of their public comments where possible. I am still learning about how to process video more efficiently but here goes:

Donna Antonucci Taxpayer and Citizen Activist:



Acting Fire Chief Blohm Part 1 of 2:



Acting Fire Chief Blohm Part 2 of 2:



Question: Is there anything wrong with wanting to question the need for the number of firemen or their level of compensation in order to guarantee that the Public safety is in no way jeopardized? After all, taxpayers are stakeholders too, right?

Or is it the tone of speakers like Donna take that makes the fire, police and teachers union react to her her so negatively? Or is it that they know she is hitting on some truths that best be left unknown or uncovered?

Just questions to think about. I will write an opinion piece sometime in the next week after I have had some time to digest the latest dialogs and facts. ◦
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Port Authority Budget 2009

Just in case you were ever curious about the Port Authority Agency that serves both NY and NJ in terms of mass transit, here is their Master Budget for 2009. The total for 2009 is projected to be $6.7 billion in expenditures:




Here is the link of the document on the Port Authority Website:

http://www.panynj.gov/AboutthePortAuthority/InvestorRelations/pdf/MasterBudget_2009.pdf
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City of Hoboken Layoffs 7 People- Hoboken Reporter

Here is a brief story in the Hoboken Reporter. In an effort to realize a goal of a 10% reduction in workforce, the City of Hoboken laid off 7 provisional workers. That coupled with 43 positions that were vacated through attrition brings the total to 50 positions eliminated for the year.

Click here for the story in the Hoboken Reporter....
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Reader Poll Update- Clarification

I started a basic reader poll a few weeks back to try and get some interactivity on the site. Here are the results as of the Hoboken Mayor's poll. The results of course are not based on scientific methodology so nothing serious should be read into the results. But just fun.... one observation is that Peter Cammarano has more than 3% of the vote. I guess this is to be expected given the potential for a non-consolidated reform ticket or his supporters need to pad the votes on my small blog to re-affirm their belief in his viability.

Also one reader asked an interesting question:
I have a question about the mayoral poll. Which Tom Foley?
A. Tom Foley, the lawyer who ran for 6th Ward 2 years ago.
B. Tom Foley, who works as officer of senior citizens services and is an active member of the Elks.

The Answer is A, the Tom Foley that ran against Nino Giacchi and Bill Noonan for 6th Ward Councilman two years ago. Are the results of this poll based on a misunderstanding of which Tom Foley I was referring too? I know the elder Tom Foley is quite the popular Elks Club member so it could be possible that Hoboken has its very own political phenomenon called "The Tom Foley Effect".



My Advice: These results are not a predictor of the ultimate outcome. Enjoy and have fun.

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4th Ward Councilwoman Zimmer Calls for Self-less Action

Here is an email I recieved from Dawn Zimmer around 9AM this morning regarding the City Council Meeting this last Wednesday January 21, 2009:

Dear friends,

I wanted to write and share my thoughts on an incident at Wednesday night's Council meeting, and the approach I think Hoboken needs to take to get through this crisis. Overall, we cannot cut our budget without addressing personnel issues, including staff levels, salary levels, and benefits. Talks have begun with unions that represent our public safety officials, and I believe the City and elected officials must set the example of shared sacrifice. At the February 4th City Council meeting I intend to re-introduce measures to cut salary levels for the City Council, mayor and directors, as well as introduce a health insurance premium co-pay.

Wednesday night's City Council meeting demonstrated the raw emotions breaking our City apart. A concerned resident, Donna Antonucci, had her attempt to express her ideas quickly deteriorate into a shouting match with Councilwoman La Bruno. I appreciate that Councilwoman LaBruno publicly apologized. But I hope that in the future our Council President will step in sooner to ensure that discussions stay civil and proceed in an orderly way. Ms. Antonucci should not have been asked to leave the Council Chambers.

Hoboken cannot allow this crisis to rip our town apart. As we reflect on Wednesday night's meeting, we must all work to move beyond our own self interest. We've got to think about this crisis as a fire in our City. Just as we volunteer, donate or work our hardest as public safety officials to help victims in a disaster without thinking twice, we each have to give of ourselves to get through this financial disaster. We all have to give up something to get through this crisis.

Hoboken taxpayers from the born and raised to the newcomers have all sacrificed with the 84 percent tax increase. This tax increase strikes everyone and we all must work together to reduce the tax burden.

Hopefully at the February 4th Council meeting, the City Council will pass the measures I introduced earlier this month to reduce our Council salaries, the mayor's salary and directors' salaries and to establish premium health insurance co-pays for the City Council. We must tighten our belts to get through this crisis. Instead of attacking and blaming one another, we elected and city officials have to ask ourselves what we can give up to help Hoboken not only survive, but thrive. This town's a gem, as one member of the public stated. Now let's all do what we can to protect our gem and make it shine.

Thank you.

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Hoboken Revolt on HOBOKEN PILOTs - Principles

Earlier this week the organization Revolt! published their principle's on PILOTS in response to the current Church Square Towers controversy. Read these and see if they seem reasonable:





HOBOKEN PILOTs - Principles

1. We support Workforce housing as an essential component of Hoboken's residential real estate portfolio.

2. A transparent and thorough review of all existing PILOTS should be undertaken immediately to ensure compliance with the terms of the agreements, and approval of any new PILOTs should be thorough and transparent, with a clear articulation of community benefit.

3. The CT PILOT has expired. There is no clear basis to claim that continuation of PILOT payments on a month-to-month basis constitutes an "implied" contract.

4. According to the CT management company, the CT mortgage has been paid and there may be no ongoing relationship with HUD or identification of an alternative HUD program which might cover CT.

5. Therefore, the City could be extending a PILOT for private property without an understanding of whether workforce housing will continue or what the community benefit would be from the PILOT.

6. A Council vote on "extension" of the expired CT PILOT should not be rushed until all legal, policy and community benefit issues have been reviewed.

7. However, if the Council approves a CT PILOT: the terms should be for a limited period of time and mandate that the owners continue the building as Workforce housing as long as the PILOT is in effect; that it be precluded from flipping the building to a Condo or taking any other actions that remove Workforce Housing tenants in good standing, or in any way generate a "windfall" profit for the owners; and that reasonable terms be included to allow for cost of living adjustments to payments made to the City.

8. In summary: a CT PILOT would be a "Standstill" agreement to continue to operate the building as if it was still under the initial PILOT, and as if all HUD and other original legal requirements remain in effect.

9. The Council should state that a CT PILOT is not a precedent for other PILOTs when they expire, and that each situation must be reviewed separately and distinctly. ◦
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Donna Antonucci - Revised Fire Department Analysis

Donna Antonucci had previously submitted a few slides to local media (Hoboken411) on her proposal for the Fire Department's staffing levels:

I made a mistake on the PPT. Instead of using the Battalion Chief and Captain incomes when calculating saves, I used the Firefighter average of $41K a year which is less than 1/3 of the salary of a BC and almost exactly 1/3 of a Captains pay.

The save to bring the HFD to a 1:5 ratio of management to non-management would be $5.5MM ongoing.

I am going to send a note to the council with these. I sat next to Chief Blohm after I spoke and he also pointed out another line on the budget where I would find another $91K spent on the Safer grant. He also pointed out that the $10.3MM in healthcare costs would not only cover the 542 full time employees but retirees as well. I don't have the number of retirees but note such on the document and will add that to the denominator when I get it.

Despite the outburst last night, this has started the dialogue on the detail as I had hoped.

Thanks,
Donna





My take: After the well documented outburst I witnessed for myself Donna and Acting Chief Blohm sitting right next to each other and having a civil conversation and at one point even having a mutual laugh together. It is these frank discussions with cooler heads that will help Hoboken heal the division that is before us. Both taxpayers and public employees must work to understand what is needed to run this town and reduce unecessary expenses accordingly. I hear the public employees loud and clear on the sacrifices that they make but in the fiscal crisis that is affecting Hoboken and the country as a whole it has become apparent that Hoboken can no longer do business as usual.This isn't just comming from me, the State of New Jersey is urging all scholl districts and municipalities to tighten their belts. I feel if the tax burden was indeed shared more equally, there would be a much better spirit of cooperation. ◦
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Politifact - The Obameter

Here is a useful link to keep track of Barack Obama's Campaign promises versus what he actually accomplishes. Whether you agree with his policies or not this is a useful tool to keep tabs on his campaign promises. With his Administration just getting started it is mostly incomplete but I will be keeping tabs on this from time to time to hopefully see progress.



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Corzine Wants To ‘Shape’ Federal Stimulus Bill

Corzine Wants To ‘Shape’ Federal Stimulus Bill

TRENTON — In an effort to get as much money as possible for New Jersey from an estimated $825 billion federal stimulus plan being considered by Congress, Gov. Jon S. Corzine on Wednesday announced he formed a committee to study the emerging stimulus legislation and advise the state’s congressional delegation on how to help shape it. (Scott Goldstein, NJ Biz)

Read the whole article below:

http://www.njbiz.com/article.asp?aID=77119

My take: If Hudson County gets its fair share of the money will this stimulus just go to prop up the systemic patronage that we have or will it go to short term capital projects that improve our infrastructure and give immediate jobs? To me that is the key question. ◦
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Photo of the Day - Stevens Debaun Auditorium

Here is a shot of the Steven's Tech Debaun Auditorium:


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Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Appreciation to the Hoboken Reporter

The Hoboken Reporter has made a reference to one of the articles in my blog:

http://tinyurl.com/HobokenReporterReference1


I appreciate the recognition for what I am trying to accomplish, publish the facts first and then the opinions after that. Being a blog I am just trying to augment coverage and thank the acknowledgement from one of the Hudson region's newspapers. ◦
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Quincy Jones to Obama - US needs a Secretary of the Arts

This was sent to me via email from a friend who is a supporter of the arts:

Quincy Jones has started a petition to ask President Obama to appoint a Secretary of the Arts. While many other countries have had Ministers of Art or Culture for centuries, The United States has never created such a position. We in the arts need this--and the country needs the arts--now more than ever. Please take a moment to sign this important petition and then pass it on to your friends and colleagues.

Here is the online petition if you think we should create that position:

www.petitiononline.com/esnyc/petition.html
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Email From Ryn Melberg on the Hoboken Democratic Party Website

Last Thursday, my documentary partner, Jason Maurer presented the new website of the
Hoboken Democratic Party (http://www.hobokendemocraticparty.com/)
to the committeemen and women at their annual holiday gathering.

Yesterday, in honor of the Inauguration of our 44th President, a brief video introduction from the party chairman, Jeff Barnes, and a trailer for the documentary was posted on the website. Both are results of the documentary that was covered in an article that ran in the (Jersey Journal and Star Ledger in December) and is about people and events around and during the 2008 Presidential Election in Hoboken.

In the next few weeks the full documentary along with a video series called "I am a Democrat Because" will be posted on the site for its official launch.

If you have any questions about the website or media project, please feel free to e-mail or call me.

Ms. Ryn Melberg

Ryn_Melberg@Yahoo.com

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City Council Meeting 1/21/2009 Update Part II

Here is a graphic of City Hall using the "Cubism" feature. I wish they had a "Surreal" feature as well since it would be indicative of the climate lately at City Council Meetings.













Here is the recap of other lines of business:

RESOLUTIONS
1.* Affirming the appointment of James Ronga as Director of Environmental
Services.


Eric Kurta spoke up about a prior conviction of James Ronga and whether or not that should disqualify him from that position. This matter was appropriately discussed in closed session after the rest of the meeting was concluded.

See this link https://www6.state.nj.us/DOC_Inmate/inmatesearch.jsp and search for yourself. Important note: This website makes no claim that James Ronga is indeed the person listed in the NJ Department of Corrections Database, just that there is a person with the same name as him and simmilar profile (age and race) listed on their website. Do not assume because there is a name match that this is the same person. I just wanted to give credence to Mr. Kurta's statement since I know he always checks his facts.

Here are the two counts listed back in 1994 on NJ Department of Corrections Website:
1 count/merged count of :2C:37-2 Gambling/Promoting /4
1 count/merged count of :2C:20-4 Theft by Deception

Bigger Questions: Should Hoboken tighten their requirements for new hires by doing more extensive criminal background searches for non-public safety positions? And are these offences listed enough to disqualify a candidate from this Director level position? I feel if someone has done the time they should be allowed to move forward and rebuild their life and reputation.

2.* Authorizing an agreement with Fletcher Creamer & Son, Inc. for Emergency
Snow Removal.


This is for a contingency for a snow storm of greater than 6" inches. Hoboken is having a hard time getting certified drivers for the plows so outsourcing this seemed to make sense to most residents and the council once their questions were answered. The price is $14K for 12 hours with 8 pieces of equipment, labor included in case we get a large snowstorm.

3.* Authorizing Hoboken to leverage with Hudson County for purposes of 2009 - 2010 PARIS Application.

I stepped out of the room for this one. If anyone else knows what transpired during my bio break send a comment or email me.

4.* Granting permission to MCI to install telecommunications facilities along, under and over the public right-of-way of the City of Hoboken.

This $40K grant would allow for archival of records, telecom fiber optic wire installed and converting some records to electronic format using college interns.

ORDINANCES
Introduction and First Reading

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND AND SUPPLEMENT CHAPTER 190 OF THE
ADMINISTRATION CODE OF THE CITY OF HOBOKEN, ENTITLED “VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC”. (DR-390)


Some members of the council spoke of lowering a couple of the fines. Two fines were lowered and this will move to second reading. If I heard correctly there is a chance some of the other fines might be adjusted as well. Jon Correa of the HPU said these fines have not been adjusted for over 5 years but the State surcharge has gone up so that each year that passes Hoboken gets less money per ticket.

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE CODE OF THE CITY OF HOBOKEN TO ESTABLISH A DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE AND FINANCE. (DR-391)

This was tabled by the council until some they can get some answers to questions they asked. ◦
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City Council Meeting Recap 1/21/2009

The City of Hoboken had its second City Council meeting of 2009 last night 1/21/2009 starting at 7:00PM.

It was a relatively light agenda but there were many speakers regarding the tax increase and Church Towers.

The Second reading and final vote on two bonds $1.9 Million for Road Improvements (DR-388) and $2.2 Million for Parking Utility Improvements was pulled from final vote when a question was asked whether or not the bonds had actually been issued. This will be postponed to the next meeting and hopefully this and other concerns would be addressed. The main line of reasoning was if the City has already payed the bill and the bonds have not yet been issued, then why bond? Donald Pelicano had stated his objection to any bonding on the Parking Authority when he spoke during the public portion. He didn't see the reason for it given the revenues that the Utility has been able to generate over the years.

Originally these two ordinances were supposed to be a formality since the assumption was that the money had already been spent against the bond. My take: I hope the bills have already been paid since this would be another area where the City could save almost $4 million.

The highlight of the evening was when Council Woman Terry Labruno and citizen activist Donna Antonucci went at it verbally after Donna had spoken about the numbers regarding what the City spends on firefighters. Here is the video of the outburst:


Sorry for the poor camera skills, the adrenaline was getting to me.

It is important to note that Terry Labruno later apologized about her outburst. Also, Donna Antonucci was also talking and even laughing at one point with Acting Fire Chief Blohm after they had both stated their case in the public portion. Tempers did cool down after a while.

More on the meeting to come later. ◦
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Photos of the Day - Maxwell Place Walkway Construction

Photos of the Day - Maxwell Place Walkway Construction Progress:




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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Elec Reports from NJ Board of Elections

The following potential candidates for Mayor have filed at least their D-1 form for the Municipal elections as of 1/21/2009...





Potential Mayor Candidates:
Peter Cammarano
Mike Russo
Beth Mason

They have all filed a D-1 form for the municipal election but as of today no one has formally announced their initent to run for Mayor.

Potential City Council Candidates:
Ravinder Bhalla

Note: Ruben Ramos and Terry Labruno have filed their D-1 form since 2007 but have not indicated that they have any plans to run for City Council or Mayor.

To check on this later this week and the next few weeks, go to http://www.elec.state.nj.us/ to see who else has filed in Hoboken for the municipal election. ◦
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The Hoboken Terminal Rail Yard Construction Plan

Here is the final PowerPoint presentation of the The Hoboken Terminal Rail yard Construction Plan that is posted on the City of Hoboken's Website as of today. Certainly this plan is bold but I think there are some flaws in it given the economy, the current tax situation and Hoboken's infrastructure's ability to handle all this new growth.

Here are my comments:

1) It has PILOTS for luxury condos. For those of us who are paying more than our fair share in taxes (non-piloted households) these agreements may give Hoboken more Municipal income in the short term but in the long term they push the tax burden unfairly to those that either live in brownstones or walk up apartments.

2) Hudson County has a 2 year glut of housing inventory, granted a lot of that housing that is proposed won't come on line for some time but the economic situation currently needs to be taken into account.

3) Hoboken's infrastructure can't handle what it has now. I don't see enough assurances that there will be enough givebacks or beefing up of the sewer electric services, roads that we need to handle this.

4) Time and time again., the Roberts administration thinks they can develop themselves into a balanced budget. It has not worked so far and it will not work now. Some aspects of this are very positive and certainly some improvement and open space is warranted, I just think the scale of the towers is too much for this town.


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