Thursday, March 31, 2011
March Madness is upon us and I am very excited to watch the NCAA Final Four this weekend. On Saturday my alma mater, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), will meet Butler. The winner advances to the National Championship game.
Like many residents I have great college memories, but one especially stands out. It was the first day of school at 8AM in English class where I met my husband, Ricky, for the first time. Towards the end of the semester we began dating and have been together ever since.
When VCU was given a spot in the National Tournament the cynics and doubters said they didn’t belong. But now VCU’s Cinderella run for the ages continues to captivate the nation. This team is an incredible inspiration for anyone who has ever been told their dreams are too big. VCU is showing the entire country what I learned there 25 years ago, all dreams, no matter how big, are possible.
VCU’s season reminds me of when I first became involved in civic life here in Hoboken. My dream was for a more open, transparent, and inclusive government for all the people of Hoboken. To help create a Hoboken that was an even better place to live and raise a family. Many cynics and doubters said there was no way to open up the doors of government. They said the political machine was too strong and the odds were just too much to overcome.
But together we have done it. From easier access to government documents and records that show how City Hall is spending our money, to new parks, and the biggest road resurfacing project in Hoboken’s history, we have stood up for good government and the rights of everyday people. I am looking forward to the next chapter in our own Cinderella story that we are writing right here in the 2nd Ward of the Mile Square City. The chapter where we cut the inflated tax rate and return Hoboken’s $25 million surplus in the form of property tax relief.
I look forward to continuing to work together and to VCU continuing to defy the odds in route to their first ever national championship. GO RAMS!
Below is the VCU video: ◦
The topic of Mike Russo was brought up again and the authors stand by their account that Russo initially agreed to take a bribe in 2009 but never showed up to take the money. The author's are debating whether or not to release the tapes form that conversation and will make a decision soon. Here is hoping they do to shed some light as to what exactly was said. This book is much bigger than Hoboken but the details of Mike Russo's meetng with Solomon Dwek have the Hoboken voters exactly what happened between Mike Russo and Solomon Dwek.
|Jersey Sting Authors Josh Margolin and Ted Sherman.|
|The Mayor gets her copy signed.|
|The Malibu has since had a makeover since Peter Cammarano went down in the sting in 2009.|
Josh Margolin talks aout the book a bit: ◦
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Original Post 3/26/2011:
This is some good news for New Jersey in Hoboken in terms of fighting corruption both locally in Hoboken and in New Jersey. Part of the problem with our state is that investigative journalism isn't being funded in this state as newspapers face tough economic times.
I sincerely hope their book hits the best seller list. Look forward to buying it and reading it as well.
Price of a Hoboken Mayor's bribe: $25k.
Having the book signing at the Malibu Diner: priceless.
About the Authors:
Ted Sherman and Josh Margolin are investigative reporters with long histories covering New Jersey for The Star-Ledger, the state’s largest daily newspaper. Both were on the team awarded the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news in 2005.
Their work examining the sweetheart deals, no-bid contracts and widespread patronage behind the scenes at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey led to the unprecedented federal takeover of New Jersey’s only medical school and mammoth criminal and civil investigations.
Both have been writing for years about the corruption that continues to plague New Jersey and its politics. They followed the scandal that plays out in The Jersey Sting since the day of the arrests. Coverage of the investigation by Sherman and Margolin and The Star-Ledger staff was awarded the Jesse Laventhol Prize for Deadline News Reporting last year from the American Society of Newspaper Editors, and also was honored as finalists for the Pultizer Prize. ◦
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Original Post 3/8/2011: The Hoboken BOE held their meeting last night on 3/8/2011. The main topic was the introduction of the 2011-2012 budget for the Hoboken School System by Business Administrator Robert Davis. This was also the first appearance for Dr. Mark Toback who made his debut at Hoboken Schools on Monday March 7, 2011.
Robert Davis revealed the 2011-2012 budget at a high level and the most noteworthy takeaways from the presentation were:
- The Tax levy is flat for the 2011-2012 year.
- The Hoboken Schools can't lower the tax levy any more according to State formula. It creates what BA Davis refered to as a "reverse cap".
- The only way to lower the "reverse cap" or floor would be by legislation on the State Level.
- Over the last year and a half State Aid to Hoboken Schools has been cut by $5 million.
- The number of Administrators is down to 15 for all of Hoboken Schools or 4% of expenses.
- Funds to Charter and Non-Public Schools make up 25% percent of the budget.
|Dr. Mark Toback at his First Hoboken BOE Meeting 3-8-2011|
|Hoboken BOE BA Robert Davis explained the conundrum of the "reverse cap"|
Below are some charts and video of Mr. Davis' presentation....
|Hoboken BOE Budget Summary 2011-12 - Tax levy is flat|
|Over $5 Million in State Aid cuts|
|Expenses Breakout pie chart for 2011-2012|
|Breakout by Expense for 2011-2012 Hoboken BOE budget|
|AThere are only 15 Administrators now budgeted for|
Below is video in two parts from Mr. Davis' explanation on the 2011-12 Hoboken School Budget....
Part 1 of 2 BA Robert Davis gives Hoboken 2011-12 Budget Overview:
Part 2 of 2 BA Robert Davis gives Hoboken 2011-12 Budget Overview:
Dear friends and neighbors, I am so excited to introduce to you the 2011 Kids First Team!
Jean Marie has been on the Board working hard for a full year now and is running again this year for a three year term with Steve and Cliff.
They are fully committed (and entrenched) to continuing the progress! They understand that when the district runs fairly, efficiently and effectively ... time, money and energy goes into the classroom ... where it belongs!
Please "like" the new Kids First Facebook Page and keep up to date on events!
Please check out the new website for bios, platform, endorsements and the donation button!
Pass along to all your friends! With your help....we can continue moving forward! ◦
REMINDER: TRAFFIC CALMING, PEDESTRIAN SAFETY & TRANSPORTATION COMMUNITY MEETING TONIGHT
Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Transportation and Parking Director Ian Sacs will host a community meeting tonight, March 29th, to introduce Hoboken’s “Traffic Calming Toolkit” and address pedestrian safety and transportation issues. The meeting will begin at 7pm in the basement floor conference room of City Hall, 94 Washington Street. ◦
Monday, March 28, 2011
Link to Agenda: http://www.hoboken.k12.nj.us/files/Public%20Budget%20Meeting%20Agenda%20March%2029%202011_0.pdf ◦
|Clifford Godfrey Hoboken BOE Candidate|
Growing up in the urban public school system of both Newark and Nutley, I thrived as a strong student and athlete. I owe this success to the support of my family, teachers and coaches and understand the importance of paying it forward. That’s why, while completing my Business and Technology degree at Stevens Institute of Technology, I joined organizations that sought to work with young people. Most notably, I was a member of the National Society of Black of Engineers and served as the Pre-College Initiative Chairman. In this post, I mentored many high school students about the importance of education. I also got to know hundreds of Hoboken kids as a student athlete in the Stevens Summer Youth Basketball Program and later as a coach for the Save the Youth Program. To continue my passion for working with our youngest citizens, I have established the ‘Living Our Way’ organization, which provides athletic training to young people.
My passion and vested interest for the continued success of the Hoboken school system lies in me becoming a parent a little over a year ago. My partner, Stephanie LeBlanc and I have made the decision to raise our daughter in Hoboken and have her become a part of the Hoboken school system when she is of age. My mutual goal with Kids First is to enhance our schools for our children to prosper and for other young families, like mine, to be confident in their decision to remain in Hoboken through their child’s Pre-K through 12th grade education.
I am very excited by the accomplishments of Kids First over the last two years. The Kids First focus on student success is evident by the hiring of educational consultants to support teaching staff, the expansion of the laptop program, the return of 8th grade algebra, and the implementation of AP at the high school level. It is most impressive that under the leadership of Kids First the budget is at the lowest level allowable by law; a reduction all the more impressive as it was accomplished without layoffs and after absorbing millions of dollars in state aid reductions.
Serving on the Board of Education takes a great deal of commitment, hard work and the ability to fully participate in all Board functions. I vow to fully commit my time, energy and life experiences to get behind every single student in the Hoboken Public Schools.
Thank you for considering me and my team mates, Jean Marie Mitchell and Steve Feinstein for Board of Education.
Hoboken BOE Candidate ◦
|Greany on the Door at Lolas|
|Tom Greaney chats with Carol Marsh and resident as the event starts up.|
|The fountain at Lolas added an nice ambiance. Too bad campaign money |
for Tom Greaney doesn't flow like water.
|Tom Greaney and City Councilwoman Carol Marsh.|
|Tom Speaks to 2nd Ward residents.|
Tom Greaney speaks but first is introduced by Carol Marsh:
Also, down Washington Street, Beth Mason held her Budget Surplus Seminar at 1200 Washington Street at 3pm to a paltry crowd of around 10 or so people some of who seemed to be political operatives. I guess people are being tired of being lied to by her continual misstatements on how large the surplus really is. And speaking of 2nd Ward Candidates: Did anyone have a Franz Paezold sighting this weekend? Share your observations in the comments below: ◦
Here is Greg Lincoln's press release on the topic:
Two investigative reporters from the New Jersey Star-Ledger revealed that in 2009, Councilman Michael Russo agreed to accept a $5,000 bribe in a meeting with Solomon Dwek, an FBI informant. Dwek’s role was pivotal in the FBI sting that brought down former Hoboken Mayor and now convicted felon, Peter Cammarano.
In their book, “The Jersey Sting,” Pulitzer Prize recipients Ted Sherman and Josh Margolin describe the meeting between Councilman Russo and Dwek, which was recorded by the FBI. In the meeting, Councilman Russo tells Dwek he’s a “smart man” for concealing his identity in the deal, and that they will “get along fine.” At the end of their meeting, Councilman Russo is caught on tape agreeing to accept $5,000 from Dwek, with the promise of further payments.
"Peter Cammarano may be in jail for accepting bribes, but sadly, the corruption story in Hoboken is not over. Councilman Russo needs to explain why he agreed to accept a $5,000 bribe, why he refused to answer questions about the incident, and why he never reported it to the authorities," said Greg Lincoln. "This revelation raises many questions, but at least now we know why Councilman Russo refused to ask for Mayor Cammarano to resign and why he didn't want further attention on Hoboken. Councilman Russo needs to explain why he agreed to accept a bribe or remain silent and let the voters of Hoboken end this chapter of corruption once and for all."
The Jersey Sting, by Ted Sherman, Josh Margolin, 2011 - Account of Councilman Russo’s meeting with Solomon Dwek: http://bit.ly/hXaqqW
NJ.com article by Carly Baldwin, July 28 2009 - Councilman Russo explains why he didn’t call for Peter Cammarano’s resignation: http://www.nj.com/hobokennow/index.ssf/2009/07/mike_russo_calling_attention_t.html
Here is the passage from "The Jersey Sting" about Mike Russo in 2009:
Sunday, March 27, 2011
On a cold blustery day, when there was a high school play about to start the Kids First 2011 team of Jean Marie Mitchell, Steven Feinstein and Clifford Godfrey with their supporters to take their annual photo in Columbus Park with the High School as the background. Attendance was good and Mayor Dawn Zimmer showed up to show her support as well as 2nd Ward candidate Tom Greaney and 1st Ward candidate Eric Kurta. This is an annual tradition for the Kids First Slate that is bringing about reform in the Hoboken Schools.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
|Photo of Eric Kurta and Supporters including Mayor Dawn Zimmer - Credit Hoboken Journal|
|The Vibe of Room 84 owned by host Joe Bronco before the fundraiser got started|
All Saints Episcopal Church Sunday March 26th Schedule:
8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist with Sermon (40 minutes) with Jim McGreevey preaching
9:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist for children and their families (40 minutes)
10:15 a.m. Hospitality and Fellowship in the Parish Hall
10:20 a.m. Sunday Church School - in the Day School building
10:30 a.m. Parish Choir Rehearsal
11:15 a.m. Choral Eucharist with Sermon (70 minutes) with Jim McGreevey preaching ◦
Friday, March 25, 2011
|Ian Sacs working at night to explain to |
the citizens of Hoboken the 14th St
Viaduct plan by the County last year
I have a deep compassion for my neighbors and my employees, which is why I took this job; it is painful to see them be so cruelly misled. I am deeply concerned that your politically motivated speculations and distortions of the truth lead to more such hate and violence, as it has certainly done so already on many occasions. I wholeheartedly believe that I have done nothing wrong, the charges are false. I am confident that nothing will be learned to justify, warrant or support any of the accusations.
Yesterday, while walking to work, I encountered one of our city shuttle buses at 2nd Street and Willow Avenue illegally parked, unattended, idling, with the keys hanging from the ignition. Anyone could have stolen the bus, and it was in the crosswalk creating a pedestrian safety hazard. Moreover, it was not where it should be at that time on its route. This is all entirely unacceptable and not an appropriate way to run the community shuttle bus service, for which I am responsible. Not only could the bus have been stolen, the fare box money in the box stolen, the bus taken for a joy ride by kids, or entered and vandalized, but the bus was illegally parked in the crosswalk in such a way and on such a narrow street that it severely blocked visibility and it could have caused a collision, an injury to pedestrians, or in the worst case, a fatality. Avoiding and preventing these things is exactly what I work hard to achieve each and every day, so to find one of my own vehicles in such a position is extremely alarming.
Whatever the reason the bus was abandoned, running, with the keys in the ignition, it could not remain where it was, running or not. Since it was my understanding that city employees may operate city vehicles - so long as there are no passengers and contain fewer than 16 seats – I chose to move the bus out of the crosswalk, return it to a safe location at the municipal lot two blocks away, and then investigate why the bus was abandoned in such a precarious location. The bus was returned and parked legally in the municipal lot. Since the keys were for a municipal shuttle bus, I did not realize that personal keys were attached to the key ring.
In the lobby of City Hall, on my way to document the incident, I was physically confronted and then attacked in plain view of our on-duty security guard, an on-duty police officer, as well as several other employees and citizens waiting for court. As the security guard and police officer removed the attacker from me, I then heard him state that there were “personal” keys attached to the ring in addition to the municipal shuttle bus keys. I immediately had another individual return the personal portion of the key ring. That alone is the so-called “theft” of which I am accused.
I am admittedly no tough guy. I am no bully. I am no aggressor, and I did not initiate any violence. I maintain a light, friendly, professional rapport with my staff. I am quite successful and content using our laws and rules of employment to get the performance I expect, and all my staff know this. There was no “lighting into”, “threats”, “public berating”, or “verbal firing” as you incorrectly wrote. There was no “throwdown” or “fight” as you incorrectly wrote. I did not “poke” or say “You're finished”, as you incorrectly wrote. I was simply attacked for doing my job as a Director. You should understand that your words, Mr. Klaussen, can incite much unnecessary anger and hate when carelessly chosen.
Although I am stern to the point that I expect each employee to earn their pay (and for that I find no harm), I nonetheless treat all of my employees with respect and empathy, and I make every effort to avoid personnel actions that effect their permanent record if at all possible. It is unfair to characterize me as being “hot tempered”, or to suggest that I have a “strained” relationship with my employees, unless you think that expecting a reasonable level of performance and productivity for one's pay makes a relationship strained.
Given your track record, I am doubtful you would act in such an objective and balanced manner, but since your blog's slogan is “Keeping Hoboken Honest”, I am respectfully requesting that you post this response in its entirety, with no edits or redactions. That is what a legitimate news source would do. I will send this response to all local news sites as well so that they can choose to participate in keeping you honest. I further challenge you, in the name of “Keeping Hoboken Honest”, and in the name of the innocent people who read your blog expecting unbiased news, to keep yourself, a self-proclaimed “credentialed journalist”, honest as well.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Ian Sacs, Hoboken Resident
My Comment: This is an excellent response from Ian Sacs. We will see if the town's number one blogger of hate Perry Klaussen takes the challenge or not. ◦
2ND WARD TOM GREANEY REGARDING THE CITY HALL INCIDENT
|Tom Greaney - 2nd Ward City |
Yesterday, an unfortunate incident occurred involving a city employee and Parking Utility Director Sacs. There are many rumors circulating about precisely who did what and why. The Hoboken Police Department was involved, and the City is properly conducting a third party administrative review so it can make appropriate personnel decisions.
As an experienced Human Resource professional, I understand the sensitivity involved in personnel decisions and the urgent need for the city to conduct its own investigation to determine the facts and circumstances. Investigations of these types are best done by qualified and independent third parties. Mayor Zimmer acted quickly and appropriately in moving to refer the matter to a third party investigator.
Unfortunately, Council President Mason, my opponent in the race for Second Ward City Council, chose to put out a highly politically charged press release. By doing so, she has politicized a highly sensitive personnel matter. Quite simply, that was the opposite of how this matter should be addressed. It is imperative that our public officials act in a thoughtful and restrained fashion when dealing with personnel matters. Putting out a press release without knowing the facts is simply wrong.
Even during a political season, public officials must be willing to recognize that the duties of their offices take precedence over political machinations. This is especially true when dealing with personnel matters that can have profound impacts on careers, and the management of our city.
I am deeply disappointed and disturbed that my opponent either didn't know, or didn't care, when she chose to politicize this matter. Both the citizens of Hoboken, and the parties involved, deserve better and more responsible leadership.
Second Ward Council Candidate
For reference here is Beth Mason' Statement on the incident published earlier today:
|Beth Mason Puts her personal politics above |
innocent victim of assault (by his account).
To have a city director engage in a physical altercation with one of his subordinates in front of passengers and City Police is unacceptable, and Mr. Sacs physically commandeering a city vehicle and driving it without a proper commercial license is worse, but the Administration’s response was outrageous.
Police led Mr. Sacs away in handcuffs, along with the city employee, and then Mr. Sacs received legal counsel in a jail cell from two lawyers, including the City’s Corporation Counsel, while the city employee received no legal counsel.
The Corporation Counsel’s responsibility is to represent the City, not serve as Mr. Sacs’ personal attorney.
The Mayor’s decision to suspend the employee without pay, while keeping her friend, Mr. Sacs, on the payroll with free legal advice from the Corporation Counsel, goes beyond any reasonable bounds of fairness. Apparently, the Mayor has already decided that Mr. Sacs is absolutely right and the city employee is absolutely wrong. That is the role we have entrusted to our legal system for more than 200 years and I am shocked that Mayor Zimmer would so easily trounce anyone’s civil liberties.
Lastly, the Mayor has called for a “third-party investigation” into this matter. Before she spends any more tax dollars to defend Mr. Sacs, she should let the Hoboken Police conduct a thorough and objective investigation and let our courts decide where to affix responsibility for this ugly incident.”
- Beth Mason
Current 2nd Ward Councilperson and ardent opponent of the Zimmer Administration
My comment: What a difference between Greaney and Mason, like night and day? ◦
Hoboken High's Theatre Program- a long commitment to excellence and education.
|The student cast and crew at the Hoboken |
St. Patrick's Day Parade, March 2011.
Fiddler on the Roof, Annie, Ragtime, Once on this Island, Dreamgirls and West Side Story. For an in-depth look at this program and its storied history, visit the Hoboken Backstage Blogspot, by clicking below: http://hobokenbackstage.blogspot.com/
Paula Ohaus, the program's longtime director, has once again guided the Hoboken students to create another memorable experience for themselves and their audience. Many of the students have appeared in the program's productions since grade school, and that experience has created a Broadway-style polish rarely seen in high school theatre productions. Ms. Ohaus was recognized in 2009 with The Jimmy Award for an Outstanding Arts Education Program. The National High School's Musical Theater Award website gave this description of the award named for longtime Broadway producer James Nederlander:
The award was created to honor a high school teacher or administrator who demonstrated an enduring commitment to quality performing arts education. Ms. Ohaus is an example of the consummate artist/educator. She proactively seeks opportunities for her students to see live theater and to learn about the creative process and business.
Hairspray Ticket Information:
$10 general admission; $7 college students with ID,
$5 K-12 students and $2 senior citizens.
|Kim Glatt t-shirt for sale in Jersey City thrift store.|
The petitions are in and we now have to really get to work.
I need everyone's help... so please go to my website and sign up to Volunteer or Donate.
For all of you that have been already helping me, I cannot thank you enough. Your support confirms to me that I have made the right choice in running.
SAVE THE DATE: ELECTION DAY - MAY 10th!
In order to win this election I am going to need every person I know in Hoboken to come out and
volunteer for me on Election Day.
Window Signs are here. Let's get them up.
Please email me if you would like one for your window.
Thank you all in advance for your support,
|Peter's new campaign website |
- cause for celebration!
Beware! They are not independent as they will claim to be.
Please join our team for fiscal stability and lower taxes, good honest government and continued focus on quality of life issues. We have so much more to accomplish, and hope you agree that we are moving Hoboken forward. As always, please pass around, and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
Peter Cunningham 5th Ward City Councilman
Thursday, March 24, 2011
|Another factually challenged hit piece from the bowels of Lane Bajardi and Hoboken 411 was published today. Big Surpise. Lane is filled with hate for Ann since she no longer supports his "Dear Leader" Beth Mason.|
Hoboken Zoning Officer Ann Holtzman Responds to Hoboken 411's Lies
The 411 piece this morning would actually be funny if it were not so blatantly false. Only those who are in the wrong would say that politics played any role in my actions, unless, of course, it’s your opinion that politician should get a pass. I, on the other hand, feel they should be held to the same standard as anyone else who violations the zoning ordinance.
Meanwhile, this whole thing is running cover for Mason who had neither a Zoning Compliance Certificate nor a CCO for her office which she opened last weekend, despite the fact that I sent Mason an email earlier in the week reminding her the paperwork needed to be filed, and then follow up by stopping by her office on Friday to remind them to get it done. No application was filed with my office or documentation provided until the following Monday afternoon.
I was advised Monday morning that an attempt to end-run my office was made by former Corporation Counsel Steve Kleinman (who should know better), on the Thursday after I emailed Mason. He called the Construction Office, demanding they come do an inspection even though no Zoning Certificate had been issued. It is my understanding that the Construction Office did accommodate them and the inspection was done. However, no CCO was issued until the Construction Office was in position of the Zoning Compliance Certificate on Monday.
In the “no good deed goes unpunished” column; I emailed Mason to give her an opportunity to file her paperwork, and avoid being in violation. Her response - she sends her attack attorney’s to “deal” with City Hall. In her paranoia, my professionalism and proactive communication was construed as an attempt at political retribution; for what? Now, her attack dogs are going to come after me on Hoboken411 for doing my job. I find it sad that she and her team really think everyone is out to get them.
- My position is a Civil Service position, not a political appointment. I was hired by Director Forbes, not the Mayor, after a publicly noticed search was conducted and numerous candidates were interviewed. I believe the Mayor may have signed off on my hiring, but I did not meet with nor was I interviewed by the Mayor.
- The Kurta/Pinchevsky office was issued a Zoning Compliance Certificate four (4) days prior to their opening, as such they were operating within the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance which I administer. I am not responsible for administering Construction Code. The document that was later issued by the Construction Office was a Certificate of Continued Occupancy, not a Certificate of Occupancy. No CO is required for the use of an existing commercial location unless significant alterations are made which would require the issuance of construction permits.
- The Kurta/Pinchevsky office was never ordered to close.
- Mr. Occhipinti’s election was on November 2nd. By ordinance the signs should have been removed immediately following the election. By December 6th, a full month later, they still had not been removed, and I sent him a notice to remove them.
- Occhipinti was issued a ticket by my office only after he had been noticed three (3) times. The first notice was made by both mail and email. The second notice was delivered in person via a one-on-one conversation. Mr. Occhipinti was noticed a third time via email the week prior to the ticket being issued on December 20th.
- A day or two after the ticket was issued and mailed, a city employee friend of Mr. Occhipinti came by my office to let me know that it would be taken down by the end of the week. Not until the ticket had been issued did they make any effort to take action.
- It is the judge’s prerogative to issue a change of venue whenever he/she feels there may be the appearance of conflict. Because Mr. Occhipinti is a sitting council person, the judge referred the case to Secaucus.
- My appearance in Secaucus court, at taxpayer expense, was required as the issuing officer. If Mr. Occhipinti had complied when noticed to do so, neither he nor I would have had to appear.
Resident of Hoboken ◦
According to several eye witness accounts, Director Sacs was attacked today by a City employee inside City Hall. Witnesses included a Police officer and a retired Police officer.
“While I believe Director Sacs is the victim of workplace violence, I am calling for an independent 3rd party to thoroughly review this matter,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “Workplace violence is an extremely serious matter and cannot be condoned. My Administration has zero tolerance for such conduct, and I urge the Council to support this internal review and codify the Ethics ordinance which seeks to address this issue.”
A claim and counterclaim have been filed by the parties, and the case will proceed through a municipal court outside of Hoboken in addition to the 3rd party independent review which will begin as soon as possible. The alleged attacker has been suspended without pay pending further investigation.
My comment: A third party investgation on top of the normal police procedures is the right way to go with this for both sides sake. The facts will come out. Both the Director and the employee have a right to due process. ◦
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
COUNCILMAN TIM OCCHIPINTI VIOLATES ZONING LAW – PAYS FINE
Fourth Ward Councilman and Chair of the City Council’s Zoning and Development Subcommittee, Timothy Occhipinti, plead guilty yesterday to violating local zoning laws. Occhipinti failed to remove campaign signs from his headquarters after last year's special election in the Fourth Ward in a timely manner and missed his original court date.
Fourth Ward City Council candidate, Rami Pinchevsky, said "Mr. Occhipinti owes Fourth Ward residents an explanation as to why he refused to take down campaign signs after receiving a warning from the city that he was in violation of the law."
"As head of the Zoning and Development Committee for the City Council, it is inexcusable that Mr Occhipinti would disregard the law in such a manner. His brazen behavior shows an utter disrespect to city residents and the law he has duly sworn to uphold. Mr. Occhipinti should publicly apologize for his behavior," said Rami.
Prior to yesterday’s court date, public records show that Occhipinti received a written notice to remove campaign signs from the windows of his campaign office, following this past November’s election. After his failure to comply with the warning, a citation with a mandatory court appearance was issued to him. Occhipinti failed to appear in court for the first hearing last month, but did appear in court for the rescheduled hearing this week.
Video is here:
My Comment: Is this Tim Occhipinti thinking he was above the law or just dropping the ball on a mandatory court appearance on the first notice? Why is Tim laughing? Is he that arrogant or just punch drunk stupid? We have perhaps seen this arrogance before in Peter Cammarano who essentially ruined his life for a $25K bribe. I do realize that this is just a minor zoning violation but to me the ticket isn't the issue, it is his attitude of the whole process. Share your thoughts in the comments below..... ◦
Cricco said on his resignation in a letter to colleagues:
"Of late, questions have been raised about my tenure on the commission," Cricco said in a letter to his colleagues. "I have not engaged in any wrongdoing, and at all times, I have acted in the best interests of the commission and my public responsibilities.
"Nevertheless, I understand the right of the Governor to have Commissioners of his choosing," Cricco added. "I believe he is doing what he feels is in the best interests of New Jersey and I respect that. I do not want my individual situation to be a distraction from your public duties. Thus, my admiration for the Commission and the people it serves regretfully compels me to submit my resignation from the office of Commissioner, effective immediately, to avoid any further disruption of the Commission's important work."
Link to full article: http://www.politickernj.com/46068/breaking-cricco-resigns-njdwsc
Feel free to comment below on whether or not you feel this was an appropriate action by Governor Christie....
Original Post 3/17/2011:
Gov. Christie demands resignation of NJDWSC Commissioner Michael Cricco of Hoboken
|Michael Cricco with Peter Cammarano |
who he endorsed in 2009.
Here are some excerpts from the article:
“The Legislature has a clear choice on this issue – stand up for the public who demand that public money be used in an appropriate, efficient and responsible manner or side with the political appointees and entrenched interests who abuse the public trust to enrich themselves and their cohorts,” Christie said
In pressing for additional oversight, the governor cited action taken Wednesday by his office to police these entities with the commencement of removal proceedings against two members of the Wanaque-based North Jersey District Water Supply Commission.
In letters issued Wednesday, Christie notified NJDWSC Commissioners Albert Manzo and Michael Cricco, that he will immediately commence removal proceedings for cause. In addition, the governor also took the necessary steps to suspend the commissioners without pay pending the resolution of the removal proceedings.
Christie wrote Cricco that he attended commission meetings on at least 20 occasions when he should have been at his paid job with the state Schools Development Authority. The governor wrote that he understands Cricco continued the practice even after SDA officials told him to stop it.
Link: http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/state/gov-christie-demands-resignations-of-njdwsc-commissioners-albert-manzo-and-michael-cricco ◦
Having been involved in various reform efforts since the early nineties, I have long worked for positive change in Hoboken. I now feel that the time has come for me to seek elected office so that I might accomplish that which I cannot do as a private citizen. I hope to build upon the efforts of those who have already accomplished so much toward improving our community. I want to bring fresh ideas and positive solutions to the City Council and to help keep Hoboken moving forward. To succeed in this effort, we must mount an aggressive campaign. My opponent is a four-term incumbent with a solid base of support. Our campaign will require – and has been building – an organized grassroots organization. Our campaign consists almost entirely of volunteers and will do as much as it can with a limited budget. Any help that you can provide will amplify our message by enabling us to create the mailers, flyers, and signs needed to get the word out to the First Ward voters.
Please join us at a fundraiser in support of my campaign for the First Ward Council seat.
- Eric Kurta
1st Ward City Councilman Candidate
Where: Room 84 - 84 Washington Street
Date: Thursday, March 24, 2011
Minimum Contribution: $50
Special Guests: Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Councilman Ravinder Bhalla
Event Committee: Ms. Ann Graham, Mr. Joseph Branco and Mr. Jahn Andersen
Open Bar and Hors d'oeuvres
Paid for by Eric Kurta for City Council, 214 Garden Street, Apt 4, Hoboken, NJ 07030 ◦
I hope you will join us for the Grand Opening of our campaign headquarters at 56 Monroe Street
Saturday, March 26, 1 p.m.
We are excited to get the campaign going and hope you can be there with us as we kick things off.
Five months ago, you helped deliver a stunning victory for the 4th ward. Before that victory, nobody gave us a chance. Well, we not only survived one of the most negative campaigns in the history of the 4th ward, we changed the entire course of the debate.
Before this campaign, nobody in Hoboken was talking about a dangerous gas Pipeline. We brought that issue to the council and got unanimous support to go on record against the gas pipeline.
This campaign made the surplus an issue. While they were trying to keep taxpayer money, I was fighting to give it back. Now, everyone's talking about the surplus.
Before our campaign, hope for a 4th ward park was at an all-time low. Today, a 4th ward park sits at the top of the city's agenda. We said: NO to a $20 million bond ordinance until a 4th ward park became a top priority. And now it is!
We led the charge to get $1.6 million in repairs to the parks we already have, including Mama Johnson Field, the Boys and Girls Club Park and Jackson Street Park, all in the 4th ward. We also got the city and the Housing Authority together for a new playing surface for Mama Johnson Field, so our kids can have a safe and enjoyable place to play.
This campaign brought attention to dangerous traffic conditions in the 4th ward. We promised to get action on these, and we delivered. We got buses rerouted. We got intersections painted. Stop signs installed. We got potholes filled, street lights repaired, and we put community service back in style.
And that's just five months of work. Imagine what we're going to be able to do with four whole years.
We need your help, though. We need volunteers to stuff envelopes, make phone calls, and knock on doors.
Make no mistake. We are in for a fight. Our opponent will follow the same playbook from November's election.
They will be negative. They'll be divisive, and will tell any lie to hide the truth.
We will be positive, We will be inclusive. And we will always put our neighborhood first.
We said the 4th ward needed new energy and a new direction. Well, the energy is you and the direction is forward.
Fourth Ward First!
See you Saturday,
4th Ward Councilman
Due to confusion that was created by Council President Mason’s letter to constituents, the City asked for clarification from the City’s auditor regarding the budget surplus.
The letter speaks for itself, and in the interest of ensuring a full understanding of this issue, the public is strongly urged to read the auditor’s letter in its entirety to understand the full facts regarding Hoboken’s surplus and the manner it is legally permitted and fiscally appropriate to be used.
The letter also can be viewed on the City website: http://www.hobokennj.org/docs/businessadmin/auditor-letter-3-23-11.pdf
Link: http://www.hobokennj.org/news/city-auditor-clarifies-surplus-issues/ ◦
HOBOKEN LAUNCHES LIVE “TEMPORARY NO PARKING” MAP AND TEXT SERVICE
Mayor Dawn Zimmer announced the beta launch of new software that will allow residents the ability to check online or on their cell phones to see if they are parked in a temporary no parking area. The software is still undergoing additional testing.
|City of Hoboken's No Parking Service (in Beta)|
The software, designed to be useful to all residents, was developed by fivepm technology (formerly named ParkingMapper), the same company that developed the GPS tracking software for the City's Hop shuttle system (http://www.hobokennj.org/thehop).
“This map is a live link to our database, so residents can now see the location of Temporary No Parking signs days before they're actually posted on-street,” said Transportation and Parking Director Ian Sacs. “We’re asking residents to help us out by participating in the beta evaluation of the system as we tackle a very challenging project.”
Bug reports can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. The software works best with Firefox and Safari web browsers. Residents are reminded that the information in this beta version is not guaranteed to be accurate, should be considered approximate only, and that they are still responsible for observing all posted signs and obeying all parking rules and regulations.
Link: http://www.hobokennj.org/news/hoboken-launches-live-temporary-no-parking-map-and-text-service/ ◦
Transportation and Parking Director Ian Sacs will host a community meeting on Wednesday March 23 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Rue School gymnasium, 301 Garden Street, to involve residents in the process of improving safety along Newark Street.
The City of Hoboken has $240,000 in federal funding for improving safety along Newark Street between River Street and Washington Street. The funding, which was secured by Senator Robert Menendez, was awarded in 2009, and due to the time-sensitive nature of the funds, community input is critical to moving forward with the project.
On July 19, 2010, the City held the first community meeting to get initial public input.
Link: http://www.hobokennj.org/news/city-to-hold-community-meeting-on-newark-street-safety-improvements/ ◦
3rd Ward City Council Candidate
Russo Response to Lincoln Questions in the Hudson Reporter: http://www.hudsonreporter.com/view/full_story/12372838/article--In-Hoboken--Councilman-Russo-responds-to-opponent-s-press-release-
Press Release: Lincoln Demands Answers From Russo on Illegal Health Benefits: http://lincolnforcouncil.com/index.php?page=pressrelease&content=extended&id=2
Mayor Zimmer’s letter to City Council, March 11, 2011, stating termination of former Mayor Russo’s health benefits, in “Ethics Ordinance” on page 2 of: http://www.hobokennj.org/docs/council/respack11/respac-3-16-11.pdf
Video of Dec. 3, 2008 Hoboken City Council meeting where Councilman Russo claims to have uncovered evidence of employees illegally receiving health benefits:
Hudson Reporter article, March 2, 2006, by Tom Jennemann, stating former
Mayor Russo’s termination of health benefits: http://hudsonreporter.com/view/full_stories_home/2408422/article-Russo-s-pension-cut-in-half-Jailed-former-mayor-receives-no-credit-for-time-spent-as-chief-executive
Hudson Reporter article, January 25, 2009, by Tim Carroll, explaining Councilman Russo’s confusion over the number of employees illegally receiving health benefits: http://hudsonreporter.com/view/full_story/1821809/article-City--It-was-a-mistake-Five-not-qualified-but-receiving-city-benefits--two-others-under-review- ◦