Friday, April 29, 2011

Update from Mayor Dawn Zimmer Regarding Public Safety

The latest update from Mayor Dawn Zimmer regarding Public Safety......

INFORMATION FROM MAYOR ZIMMER CONCERNING PUBLIC SAFETY

At my request, Police Chief Falco has provided Hoboken crime statistics for 2008, 2009, 2010 and year to date for 2011. This information is now available on the City’s web site (http://www.hobokennj.org/docs/publicsafety/Hoboken-Crime-Statistics.xls) and  will be updated with current information every month.

My Administration monitors public safety issues carefully and makes its decisions based on our needs as reflected in the actual data. It is important that these decisions be grounded in the needs of our community and not be subject to the vagaries of the political season. Hoboken has developed a well-deserved reputation as an exciting, dynamic and safe community. It is important that all discussions about our public safety be based on accurate information. Inaccurate assertions based on incomplete data can needlessly alarm our residents and hurt Hoboken businesses and property values.

In September 2010, Chief Falco agreed to implement my Administration's police redeployment plan to increase the number of police personnel assigned to patrol our streets by 38% -- from 72 to 99 officers -- and to establish a power shift from 8pm to 4am Thursday through Saturday to increase street patrols during peak activity hours. I am proud that we were able to negotiate a fair contract with our Police unions, reduce the top-heaviness of our force and save taxpayers more than $2 million per year while increasing street patrols.

In March of this year, our community experienced an unacceptably high level of crime, including two reported rapes, during the weekend of our St. Patrick's Day parade. Twelve of the 24 violent crimes reported in March occurred on this weekend as well. Because public safety and quality of life must be our highest priorities, I made the decision to move the parade to a weekday. I did this because as Mayor, my number one responsibility is to keep our community safe.



Going forward, Chief Falco will continue to implement our redeployment plan, and I have asked him to immediately alert me if he is unable to maintain our agreed upon street patrol staffing levels.

Due to recent retirements and some officers on sick leave, I asked County Sheriff Frank Schillari to provide increased patrolling support for Hoboken during peak activity periods, including weekend nights, and he has agreed to do so. Thanks to the newly elected Sheriff, the county had already increased patrol of our county park and will now increase street patrols as well.

In addition, with the new noise ordinance, a team of noise enforcement officers, including Police officers and Parking Utility Enforcement officers, have recently completed specialized training. Decibel reading equipment will soon be received so that we can more effectively address this important quality of life concern.

Link: http://www.hobokennj.org/news/information-from-mayor-zimmer-concerning-public-safety/
Share/Bookmark

Opportunities for Residents to Help Recent Fire Victims

Here is a release from City Hall about helping recent fire victims from Hoboken's Housing Authority that were involved in a fire and have been displaced.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR RESIDENTS TO ASSIST RECENT FIRE VICTIMS

Photo by Hoboken Journal
Early Tuesday morning, a fire in an apartment within Hoboken’s Housing Authority led to a single mother and her four children losing their home and possessions. The Red Cross provided the family with funds to stay in a hotel temporarily, and the Housing Authority will be finding the family a new apartment. The Red Cross will also be providing furniture for their apartment.

The family welcomes donations of new or gently used clothing for two boys (3 and 11) and two girls (4 and 9). In partnership with Hoboken Housing Authority Executive Director Carmelo Garcia, clothing can be dropped off at the Housing Authority community room, 311 Harrison Street or at the City Clerk’s office, 94 Washington Street. The family is also accepting gift cards to Target or Walmart.

Through a partnership with the Hoboken Fire Department, direct monetary donations to the family can also be made. Checks can be written out to Fire Local 1078 and mailed to Mr Vincent DePinto, PO Box 3121, Hoboken, NJ 07030. On the memo line, residents should write “FBO April 26 fire victims” to indicate that it is for the benefit of the family.

Residents may also make a donation to the Red Cross, which readily assists Hoboken fire victims, by visiting http://www.redcross.org/.

“I thank the Hoboken Fire Department for their prompt response which prevented the fire from spreading to other apartments and the Red Cross and Office of Emergency Management for their on-site assistance to residents,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

Link: http://www.hobokennj.org/news/opportunities-for-residents-to-assist-recent-fire-victims/
Share/Bookmark

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mason Fabricates Resume According to Grafix Avenger Source

This story broke earlier today but the Grafix Avenger blog has a story on Beth Mason faking her resume by stating she worked for a company for many years. It turns out that the company was only created in 2010 according to her source. Beth Mason and Lane Bajardi have been a on personal jihad to discredit Nancy Pincus in just about every which way but it looks like the self-anointed "queen of transparency" is caught red handed in yet another lie.

Beth Mason claimed on her resume to have founded a company in 1993 and led it for 12 years.


Company Beth founded in 1993 was finally filed in 2010? WTF? Beth Mason Caught in another lie!

This just one day after a Hoboken 411 hit piece highlighting the bankruptcy of Tom Greaney who is mounting a serious enough challenge to the "Queen of Mean" Beth Mason's re-election chances. My own take is that if the bankruptcy were recent then it would be a legitimate campaign issue. Since it happened so many years ago

Beth is going to take yet another hit on whatever is left of her credibility if this story pans out. You betchya. Beth, this is what happens when you play with fire and get caught in your own string of lies.

Go to the link below for the full story:

http://grafixavenger.blogspot.com/2011/04/exclusive-beth-masons-resume-bombshell.html
Share/Bookmark

BOE Election Results: "Independents" backed by Beth Mason and Mike Russo win on Machines and vote by mail

The top three vote getters in this year's Hooken BOE Race are:

Carmelo Garcia with 2,287
Peter Biancamano with 1990
Frances Rhodes-Kearns with 1973

And the rest of the field:

Jean Marie Mitchell 1350
Cliff Godfrey 1319
Steve Feinstein 1231
Patricia Waiter 277

And yes, I'll say it, Kids First got their asses kicked. The winners got out their vote pure and simple.

These totals account for machine votes plus vote by mail (or in the case of this slate by courier). At the end of the day the "old guard "won by getting out their natural base of between 2000-2300 BOE voters and the Reform side did not. The total vote count was 3823 and in the past elections reform has needed about 5,000 plus votes to win. Due to the school vacation and other factors they didn't come close to that number.

While Kid's First still has a 5-4 majority for one year next year will be the real watershed election. My prediction is that next year Paula Ohaus will have another politically motivated CYA April meltdown in 2012 (that is what divas do) and that if Kid's First loses the majority much of the progress made recently at the BOE will be all for naught. Time will tell how this all plays out. Petrosino in? Toback out? I shutter at the thought and I don't have kids. I can only imagine what a concerned and informed parent might think. Problem is that not enough of them vote. If 5000- 5500 people turnout next year I'll bet the results will be different. Makes me glad I don't have kids.

How does this bode for the Municipal Elections on May 10th?

The 3rd and 4th Ward  will go to the "Old Guard" but politicos knew that already. Apparently corruption (3rd Ward) and incompetence (4th Ward) isn't high on the voter's list of priorities but we knew that anyway. "Where's my $40 bitch!" in the 4th Ward and La Familia in he 3rd seem to be the recurring themes.

Kids First won in the 5th and 6th Wards and that bodes well for reform on May 10th with Jen Giattino and Peter Cunningham getting elected. Peter will need a runoff and Scott Delea will eventually be revealed for what he is, a sell-out to reform and good governance.

The 1st and 2nd Ward results tell me that a serious GOTV  (get out the vote drive) will be needed to pull out victories for Eric Kurta and Tom Greaney but that they are still a possibility if and only if turnout is good for a municipal election. Beth is despised by many in her own ward but she now has one of Bob Menendez's to Washington DC street fighters working the ground game. Why does Bob Menendez care about Hoboken City Coucil elections? Follow the money to NJ Transit and Rockefeller Group project and I think you will have your answer.

The full results of the  2011 BOE election not including provisionals are below:


Share/Bookmark

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hoboken Releases Fire Audit Results along with Chief Blohm's comments

The Fire Audit of Hoboken has been completed and the results along with Cheif Blohm's remarks are presented below:

HOBOKEN FIRE DEPARTMENT AUDIT COMPLETED

The City of Hoboken is making public the recently completed audit of the Hoboken Fire Department conducted by Matrix Consulting Group as well as comments from Fire Chief Blohm’s review of the report.

Based on the audit, Chief Blohm’s recommendations and input from Business Administrator Liston, Mayor Zimmer expects to shortly announce a plan for the Fire Department.

Download the Fire Department Audit: http://www.hobokennj.org/docs/publicsafety/Fire-Department-Audit.pdf

Download the comments from Chief Blohm: http://www.hobokennj.org/docs/publicsafety/Chief-Blohm-Audit-Comments.pdf

Link: http://www.hobokennj.org/news/hoboken-fire-department-audit-completed/
Share/Bookmark

Ravi Bhalla Supports Kids First: Asks voters to vote 3-4-5 for School Board

This note was sent out by Ravi Bhalla just15 minutes ago:

Dear Friends,


Today is Election Day for the Hoboken School Board. If you have already voted, thank you very much. If you are at your desk at work or home reading this email, I am writing to request that you take a few minutes of your time to cast your vote before the polls close at 9 p.m. tonight.

I also write to extend my endorsement and request that you cast your ballot for the KIDS FIRST team of Clifford Godfrey (3A), Jean Marie Mitchell (4A) and Steven Feinstein (5A). It is critical that we continue the progress the Kids First team has made in improving the quality of our schools. Clifford, Jean Marie, and Steven are candidates that genuinely care about our school children and addressing the challenges facing our public schools. They are committed to progress and ready to roll up their sleeves and fight for a better education for our children.

Thank you very much for your consideration, and please remember to vote tonight. The polls close at 9 p.m.

Sincerely,
Ravi S. Bhalla
Councilman-at-Large

Don't forget to vote! Polls are open until 9pm today! ◦
Share/Bookmark

Hoboke Awarded Gold Walk Frendly Communities Designation

From Hoboken City Hall, more validation that innovation is happening with respect to Hoboken in terms of transportation. Now, if the City and the County could just come to an agreement on repaving Washington Street we would really have something. County taxes went up 7% last year for Hoboken residents and we better get some services from the County and that can start with Anthony Romano our freeholder getting us the funds to get this repaved. It is a road used by County travelers an thus should be maintained by the County. I don't care what bone headed Mayor and City Council made it a City Road in the past. I as a walking resident want that road paved and I want it now. It is an eyesore and you could easily twist an ankle ad its bad for business and City prestige.As Larry the Cable Guy would say: "Get er' done!"

But I digress.... Lets celebrate this accomplishment and thank the Administration for its had work and innovation. These programs are helpful but we still need or roads to be maintained.

HOBOKEN AWARDED GOLD WALK FRIENDLY COMMUNITIES DESIGNATION
One of Only 11 Communities Recognized Nationwide


The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center has designated the City of Hoboken a Gold Walk Friendly Community for its walkability initiatives and programs. Only Seattle, Washington, which received a Platinum designation, scored higher. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration and FedEx, Walk Friendly Communities is a national recognition program aimed at recognizing communities for their commitment to pedestrian safety.

Hoboken was praised for its “innovative encouragement programs intended to increase walking” including Corner Cars, “Surrender Your Permit”, Twenty is Plenty, and car-free Sinatra Summer Sundays which were lauded as “excellent models for other communities.”

“I’m proud that we are combining our historical street grid with progressive transportation initiatives and a focus on pedestrian safety to make Hoboken one of the most walk friendly cities in the country,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “As gas prices rise and families seek more healthy lifestyles, Hoboken will continue to welcome families and businesses looking for a unique walkable and bikeable community.”

The Corners Cars program is a public-private partnership with Hertz Connect that features 42 on-street car-sharing vehicles distributed throughout Hoboken which are shared by more than 1,200 members. To date, 73 residents have taken their cars off of Hoboken’s crowded streets by participating in the "Surrender Your Permit" program which offers more than $500 in incentives.

The Zimmer Administration has made pedestrian safety a top priority for engineering, enforcement, and education efforts. In the last year, Hoboken experienced a 30% drop in the number of car-pedestrian crashes and a 63% drop in car-bicycle crashes. The City recently released its first Traffic Calming Toolkit which includes a form that residents can use to submit requests for pedestrian safety improvements.

The City recently completed Phase I of pedestrian safety improvements along Hudson Place which included a widened sidewalk, curb extensions at corners to reduce crossing distances and exposure to motor vehicles for pedestrians, and narrower vehicle travel lanes to calm traffic in this area of high pedestrian activity. Construction on Phase II will begin shortly and will include building out the sidewalk at the intersection of Hudson Place and River Street in front of the PATH entrance, curb extensions on the opposite side of the intersection, and improvements to the sidewalk further east of the PATH entrance.



A new short film developed in partnership with Civic Eye Collaborative highlights transportation strategies the City of Hoboken is implementing to balance the parking and traffic needs with quality of life. It was recently featured at the 6th Annual NJ Future Redevelopment Forum held in New Brunswick and can be viewed online at: http://vimeo.com/20657447.


Hoboken received an “Honorable Mention” from the League of American Cyclists in their Fall 2010 Bicycle Friendly Communities listing, only the second municipality in New Jersey with the distinction. WalkScore.com ranks Hoboken the 2nd most walkable city in the country. Due to its progressive stance on complete streets policy, Hoboken has been asked to represent New Jersey municipalities on the NJ DOT Complete Streets Curriculum Steering Committee.

According to Census figures, the City’s population grew from 38,577 in 2000 to 50,005 in 2010.

Hoboken is among eleven communities recognized in the inaugural round of Walk Friendly Communities announced. The Walk Friendly Community designation, awarded from bronze to platinum, is given to applicant communities that have demonstrated a commitment to improving and sustaining walkability and pedestrian safety through comprehensive programs, plans and policies.

For more information on Walk Friendly Communities, please visit http://www.walkfriendly.org/.

Link: http://www.hobokennj.org/news/hoboken-awarded-gold-walk-friendly-communities-designation/

Additional Resources:

Surrender Your Permit Website: http://www.hobokennj.org/surrenderyourpermit
Corner Cars Website: http://www.hobokennj.org/cornercars
Twenty Is Plenty Website: http://www.hobokennj.org/twentyisplenty
Traffic Calming Toolkit Website: http://www.hobokennj.org/trafficcalming
Short Film on Hoboken Transportation Initiatives: http://vimeo.com/20657447
Walk Friendly Communities Website: http://www.walkfriendly.org/
Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center Website: http://www.walkinginfo.org/
Federal Highway Administration Website: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/
Share/Bookmark

Message From Kids First to get out the vote- School Board Polls run from 7am-9pm

Here is a message from Theresa Minutillo of Kid''s First on today's BOE election:

Please help us by asking every friend and neighbor to get out and VOTE....

ONE vote WILL make a difference as we need to overcome a massive Vote by Mail effort from our opponents. They have already submitted over 600 votes.

Please join me in supporting the Kids First Team 3- 4- 5.

The Kids First team is truly committed to helping the children of Hoboken succeed by giving Students and Teachers the tools they need while keeping an eye to savings and accountability.

Let's help them continue the progress by voting, Jean Marie Mitchell, Cliff Godfrey and Steve Feinstein

The polls are open from 7am - 9pm


- Theresa Minutillo

My Comment: It is not only important for the schools but also to send a message to the facilitators of corruption and fraudulent election processes that a slate supported by Mike Russo and Beth Mason does not deserve to win and that their days are numbered. With the number of VBM's that are actually being carried in like a harvest on a farm rather then being mailed in like the system was designed, the slate supported by our honest Mayor Dawn Zimmer needs your support by getting a large turnout on the machines. Its that simple. We the honest taxpayer have the numbers but often not the motivation. Dont' let apathy stop progress.Your vote can make a difference!

If you want to stop Beth Mason and Mike Russo and their grandstanding and corrupt ways start today by supporting Kid's First and voting on the Machines. Take the time and vote. Keep the crooks away from a $59 million school BOE  Budget and more importantly keep the progress in improving our public schools in the right direction. 

Vote by Mail was never meant to be vote by corrupt courrier.The majority of VBM's harvested by team Mike Russo and Beth Mason come from public housing units where I highly doubt that the votes cast are made in private with the watchful eyes of those in charge of the housing lists there to ensure the "proper" vote is cast. I firmly believe once again in the strong possibility that vote buying is in play here and the ELEC reports will likely show it unless of course the payments are not reported. Nothing surprises me any more.

LOVE YOUR TOWN AND VOTE AGAINST CORRUPT VOTING PRACTICES!

Share/Bookmark

Email Message from Mayor Dawn Zimmer

Here is a message from Mayor Dawn Zimmer sent yesterday on a variety of topics including today's BOE election and other happenings....

Dear Friends,

The School Board Election is today

Please remember to vote 3-4-5!!
Polls are open
from 7 am - 9 pm.

Election season is upon us again, and as always the stakes are high! Today is the School Board election (Wednesday, April 27) and I urge you to vote for the Kids First Team of Clifford Godfrey (3A), Jean Marie Mitchell (4A), and Steven Feinstein (5A).

Our schools are finally headed in the right direction and we must keep the progress going. 1/3 of our property taxes are for our schools and good schools mean higher property values, so even if you don't have children in the system you have an enormous stake in the outcome of this election.

City Council Election May 10th


In just 2 weeks we will choose all 6 of our Ward council members.

This election is critical because it will determine whether the City Council majority remains with those who want to obstruct progress and believe, as Mike Russo said that "subsidizing things is what government does," or shifts to  those who will work with me to Move Hoboken Ahead (link http://hobokenahead.com/).

Please support Eric Kurta, Tom Greaney, Greg Lincoln, Rami Pinchevsky, Peter Cunningham and Jen Giattino and remind your friends to get out and vote.

Hoboken University Medical Center

Last week, the Hoboken University Medical Center entered into a formal agreement to sell our hospital to an entity with common ownership with Bayonne Medical Center.

Under the Agreement, the hospital would continue to operate as a full service acute care facility for at least
7 years, and Hoboken would be relieved of the enormous financial risks related to the $52 million  bond guaranty incurred when the hospital was purchased almost 5 years ago.

Under the Agreement entered into last week,
 the hospital would continue to operate as a full
service acute care facility for at least 7 years,
and Hoboken would be relieved of the
 enormous financial risks related to the
 $52 million bond guaranty
incurred when the hospital was
 purchased almost 5 years ago.
There is still much work to be done to complete this transaction, but this is a major achievement for all Hoboken residents and taxpayers.

I’d like to thank all of the members of the Hospital Authority Board who worked so hard, on a volunteer basis, to make this enormous success possible.

Under the Agreement entered into last week, the hospital would continue to operate as a full service acute care facility for at least 7 years, and  Hoboken would be relieved of the enormous financial risks related to the $52 million bond guaranty incurred  when the hospital was purchased almost 5 years ago.

TELE TOWN HALL
TEXT the word "Reform" to 41411

Sign up to participate in a tele-townhall meeting with me to discuss the issues facing our City by texting the word "REFORM" to 41411.

We will text you the details when the scheduling is finalized.

Just by signing up you can show your support for 6 great candidates and get a chance to win 2 tickets to a Red Bulls game, lunch with the Mayor (Ok - that's not such a great prize) or an autographed copy of the Jersey Sting.

Move Hoboken Ahead Vintage t-shirts
Support the City-wide effort to restore a reform majority on the City Council by donating to Move Hoboken Ahead and receive a limited edition vintage Move Hoboken Ahead t-shirt.

Starting today and until we run out of supplies, if you donate $100 or more to Move Hoboken Ahead by clicking  Here and you'll receive a free vintage shirt.

Quantities and sizes are limited so make your donation now!!

Wednesday's City Council Meeting: The Grandstanding Continues!

Last Wednesday's City Council meeting highlighted the importance of the upcoming elections.

My proposal to authorize class II police officers to supplement our force of sworn police officers was voted down, without any serious consideration.

Class II officers are used throughout the State to increase police effectiveness during special events and to meet seasonal demands, cost effectively increasing public safety. It seems as though the Council majority would prefer to have a political issue by drumming up fear of increased crime, than a solution.

For the record, while there have been several widely reported incidents over the past several weeks, I have
not been provided with any data indicating that crime in Hoboken is actually on the rise. I have asked Chief Falco to provide the necessary data to determine the actual facts, and based on that information will take all necessary steps to maintain the highest possible level of public safety.

Instead of focusing on the real issues facing Hoboken, Councilwoman Mason, without any advance notice to anyone except perhaps her allies on the City Council, introducedlegislation intended to slash my salary and that of the City's directors by an additional 15% - 30%, well below the levels needed to attract qualified people for these positions.

Please recall that immediately after taking office as Acting Mayor, I myself cut my own salary and that
of the directors by 10%.

Apparently Mrs. Mason's commitment to government transparency takes a back seat to her urgent need to grandstand and create another false issue for her next mailer.

She explained that normal procedures should be suspended and an immediate vote be taken due to the "urgency" involved in getting Council Members “on the record” on this issue.

Fortunately, more responsible heads prevailed and the  legislation failed by a 5-3 vote.

Dirty Tricks

Last week, Matt Calicchio, the Russo/Mason political operative who 4 years ago falsely accused me of assaulting him while I was walking my dog, was caught on videotape removing Jen Giattino’s signs from a business establishment.

It has been reported that the business owner has stated that Mr. Calicchio falsely claimed that he was doing so at Jen’s request to prevent a $100 fine.

There have been reports that similar incidents occurred involving Eric Kurta signs in the 1st Ward. Apparently Mr. Calicchio is providing his unsavory services to Councilman Giacchi and Councilwoman Castellano, as well as to the rest of the Russo/Mason team.

All this highlights the importance of the upcoming elections, both School Board today and City Council on May 10.

Please spread the word and get out and vote.

Thanks for listening.

Dawn ◦
Share/Bookmark

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Advance Realty Begins Environmental Cleanup of Willow14 in Hoboken, NJ

This press release is from From Advance Realty, announcing that the 14th and Willow Site is finally being developed and is scheduled for completion in 2013.

Advance Realty Begins Environmental Cleanup of Willow14 Site in Hoboken, N.J.
Underutilized Land Will Serve As Home To Dynamic Mixed-Use Development of 140 Luxury Apartments and 22,000 Square Feet of Retail Space

The Site of 14th and Willow (top) that will be developed
HOBOKEN, N. J. (April 26, 2011) — Advance Realty, a leading Northeast U.S. owner and developer of mixed-use, multi-family, and Class A office properties, announced today that it has commenced the environmental cleanup of the site that will serve as the location of the company’s first Hoboken, N.J. development project, Willow14, a dynamic, mixed-use luxury rental building.

Located at 14th and Willow streets, the one-acre site was formerly home to Hoboken Gas Works, which used the property as a gas manufacturing and holding facility from 1871 to 1946. It was later used as a gas station and automotive repair shop until closing in 2005.

Currently underutilized and in need of environmental remediation, the site, once its massive cleanup is complete, will allow Advance to build 140 luxury apartments, 22,000 square feet of retail space, and 376 below-grade parking spaces. Advance intends to pursue Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the development.

“The start of environmental remediation is an important milestone in the construction of this dynamic, new apartment and retail building,” stated Kevin Tartaglione, Sr. Vice President and COO of Development of Advance Realty. “We are excited to turn this underutilized site into a high-end, energy efficient and centrally located rental building that will allow residents to live a vibrant lifestyle with convenient access to New York City and the incredible amenities that make the Hudson Gold Coast such a highly-sought after place to reside.”

Advance has enlisted engineering contracting firm Posillico to handle the site cleanup. Posillico will install a secant pile that will double as an environmental cutoff while also serving as the building’s below ground foundation.

In order to preserve the integrity of surrounding properties, the below ground portion of construction will extend 50 feet below the street’s surface and will be excavated top-down. This practice, which is rarely used in the Northeastern U.S., will allow building construction to take place while the below ground portion of the project continues to be excavated.

Advance anticipates that vertical construction of the building will begin within the year, with the goal of having the building ready for occupancy by end of 2013.

“Due to the unique specifications of the site, we’re using technology that is relatively new in the United States,” stated Posillico Vice President Joseph Sheehan.

A seven-story design, Willow14 will be among the most luxurious and healthy places to live and work in the region. The building will feature high-end amenities, as well as state-of-the-art, energy efficiency technology in order to achieve LEED certification.

Willow14 was recently selected as by the Hudson County Planning Board as a recipient of a 2011 Smart Growth Award, which recognizes sites that preserve existing resources and repair damaged systems, sites that include affordable housing and workforce housing, and sites that are walkable and promote public transportation.

In addition to offering some of the most sumptuous apartments on the Hudson Gold Coast, the residential portion of the development will feature spectacular amenities, including on-site retail, a pool, terraces, vegetative green roofs and a spacious community center.

The building will also feature 376 below grade parking spaces — approximately four parking spaces per 1,000 square feet of retail space. In addition to providing users of the retail space with dedicated parking, Willow14 will make parking available to local residents and visitors.

The development of Willow14 will add to the vibrant, 24/7 atmosphere that permeates the historic streets of Hoboken, which are filled with quaint boutiques, art galleries, restaurants and bars.

Hoboken is situated on the Hudson River waterfront, across from Manhattan, providing residents with the opportunity to indulge in the area’s incredible cultural and entertainment offerings. With the Manhattan ferry and PATH nearby, getting to and from New York City will be extremely convenient for residents and shoppers.

Retailers interested in leasing opportunities at Willow14 should contact Rich Schultz of RSAUG at 201-533-9101 or rschultz@rsaug.com.

About Advance Realty:

Headquartered in Bedminster, N.J., Advance Realty is an owner and developer of office, flex, industrial, retail and multifamily properties. With 4.5 million square feet of operating properties and a development portfolio consisting of 6 million square feet of commercial projects and 6,500 residential units, Advance is one of the leading real estate owners in the Northeast. For more information, call Advance Realty at (908)-719-3000 or visit http://www.advancerealtygroup.com/.

My Comment: This project is certainly not as big as the Rockefeller group project but people who are concerned about balanced development will want to know the following questions:
  • Will there be three bedroom apartments?
  • What percentage will be affordable housing?
  • How is the 22,00 square feet of retail space partitioned?
  • Is this a re-development zone or were the 7 stories granted by variance or zoned that way?
  • How much infrastructure support givebacks is the developer granting? When Maxwell Place went online transformers blew due to capacity issues.
I am sure more questions will come to me later.



Share/Bookmark

Breaking! William Howard Home on the Move- Still in business and Castellano holds a Public Safety meeting

William Howard Home is Moving and they are having a One Day Sale, Today Tuesday 4/26!

They also have a New Home!

They are packing up and moving to 120 Washington Street. They will be in the new space on Sunday May 1st. Tuesday 4/26 is their last day and they will be offering 20% off everything in the store including sale items! As they put it "We simply don't want to pack it all up!"

The owner encourages people to stop by for the sale as well as the Public Safety Meeting. Yep, you got it.
What does public safety meeting have to do with a furniture store closing? Nothing other than the fact that when they move out Terry Castellano will have a meeting on Publice Safety from 6-8 PM.

Here is the blurb on the meeting.

Public Safety Meeting

From 6 to 8pm tomorrow at WWH there will be a public safety meeting, Join Councilwoman Theresa Castellano & Police Officials for an important meeting to discuss the recent increase in crime and what measures are needed to combat it.

Refreshments will be served.

Back to business: william howard home will be sharing their new space with "Hoboken Hothouse Home & Garden" owned by Karen Nason. Karen use to own "The King and I" for over 13 years on 26th & 6th in the Plant district in NYC. She use to be known as the "Plantlady" to the stars with great clients such as Johnny Depp, Lauren Hutton and David Bowie to name a few. Karen recently moved to Hoboken from Soho.

William Howard Home (as of 4/26/2011)
138 Park Avenue
Hoboken, New Jersey 07030
201-683-7983

My Comment: I wish William Howard Home luck with their new location. I am not sure if they have anything to do with this Public Saftey meeting or not. ◦
Share/Bookmark

Monday, April 25, 2011

Political Operative Steals 6th Ward Council Candidate Jen Giattino Signs

Political operative Matt Callichio is at it again with his thuggery and Hoboken elections. So much for a clean campaign by the "old guard". They will try to take this election by any means necessary. They already have co-opted most of the media including NJ.com's Auggie "I love the Hudson Machine" Torres, The Hoboken Reporter (although Ray Smith is good), and to some extent the editorial decisions on Hoboken Patch. They have showed a willingness to buy elections, co-opted a formerly well respected organization like POG (POG still has many solid reformers but its leadership is in question), resort to smear tactics on unfounded and unsourced articles on Hoboken 411. They have used intimidation tactics and on election day buy the illusion of support with mountains of street money. What will they do next? Try to assault the Mayor? Rip down signs? Intimidate voters in the housing projects? Rip down signs?


Matt Callichio pictured center in his distinctive vest shown in the video below

Let us hope that it doesn't go further than ripping down signs but I somehow doubt it.

Now Matt Callichio is just a young guy doing what he is told. I like to call him the "Hoboken Ripper" for his uncanny ability to remove campaign signage during election cycles. Despite being a heavy guy he has even allegedly tore down signs hanging from the second floor in recent elections. This guy at close to 300 pounds might not be ripped, but is you are a reform candidate wanting to post your sign you will be ripped (campaign sign that is).

Here goes Jen Giattino's press release on the topic:

POLITICAL OPERATIVE STEALS 6th WARD COUNCIL CANDIDATE JEN GIATTINO SIGNS FROM SUPPORTERS

A local Hoboken 6th Ward store owner sent the Giattino campaign footage of political operative Matt Calicchio removing her campaign signs (video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqmPuiaMxn0). The store owner forwarded a statement explaining, “a man walked into my store on April 19th and said he worked for Jen Giattino. He told me she knew there was a $100 fine for having her posters in a store's window.” She continued, “[he] removed the signs and took them with him.”



This is fishy because the Hoboken Zoning Office is the only department or entity that has jurisdiction over signs and signage. The office confirms that political material and campaign literature is exempt from signage restrictions and fully protected by the 1st Amendment, unless they are somehow creating a dangerous condition. However, political signs must be removed within a week of the conclusion of the election.

Matt Calicchio is a foot soldier for the Beth Mason – Michael Russo faction of the City Council reelection, which includes Giattino's opponent, Nino Giacchi. Just 5 months ago, Calicchio was named in sworn affidavits from 4th Ward residents that allege he offered them $40 to fill out a vote-by-mail ballot for Tim Occhipinti in the recent special election which shifted the majority in the City Council and resulted in Beth Mason becoming Council President, which was reported in Patch.com (http://hoboken.patch.com/articles/fourth-ward-campaign-heats-up)

New Jersey politics are notoriously dirty, but Jen Giattino was looking forward to running a clean and fair campaign on the issues. “I cannot even begin to convey the level of disappointment I am feeling right now. We have run a clean, honest campaign about issues affecting the 6th Ward. The fact that Nino Giacchi has not publicly denounced the behavior of his operatives removing our campaign signs shows that even if he hasn't directly contributed to the culture of political corruption in Hoboken, he is certainly enabling it to happen,” said Jen Giattino.

For more information about Jen Giattino, please visit http://www.jenforcitycouncil.com/. ◦
Share/Bookmark

Come Meet the Kids First Candidates tonight April 25th 7-9PM

From Kid's First which is having one of their last events to wind down the 2011 election campaign. The BOE election is this Wednesday April 27th from 7am-9pm. This will be one of your last chances to meet the 3-4-5 slate of candidates before you cast your ballot:

Kids First - Meet and Greet at the Vitale's

This Monday we are hosting a gathering of friends and neighbors to meet with Board Trustee Jean Marie Mitchell, and Steve Feinstein and Clifford Godfrey, three outstanding candidates on the Kids First ticket for the Hoboken Board of Education. We in Hoboken need committed public servants who can lead the Hoboken Public Schools to deliver better results in the classroom, while offering fiscally responsible leadership.

Please come to our home on Monday April 25th, from 7-9 pm, for a light snack and a chance to meet and speak with Jean Marie, Steve and Cliff and to hear how we can help them continue the progress.

We look forward to seeing you and having a great night.

When: Monday, April 25th
Time: 7-9 pm
Place: The Vitale's, 819 Bloomfield St

Special Guests: Mayor Dawn Zimmer, 5th Ward Councilman Peter Cunningham, 6th Ward Council Candidate Jennifer Giattino and 2nd ward Council Candidate Thomas Greaney. ◦
Share/Bookmark

Hoboken Photo of the Day- Fire House at Observer Highway

Here is a photo from this weekend on Hoboken's historic firehouse on Observer Highway.


Share/Bookmark

Letter From Theresa Minutillo on Kid's First Slate

Here is a positive message from Theresa Minutillo, current BOE member, on the progress that the Kid's First team has made and why voters should vote 3-4-5 to keep the momentum alive this coming Wednesday April 27th. School Board election hours have been extended (7am-9pm) to start earlier this year so voters can vote in the morning as well as the evening.

Here is Theresa's Letter....

It is such an exciting time for the Hoboken Public School system! Over the past two years, the residents of Hoboken have come out and voted for members of the Kids First team and have been rewarded with great progress for the schools, staff and students. I am writing to urge everyone to come out again and support Jean Marie Mitchell, Steven Feinstein and Cliff Godfrey to work together with us to continue the momentum.

One of the greatest accomplishments has been the hiring of Dr. Mark Toback, a seasoned, experienced Superintendent with a proven track record of success in public education. Due to the hard work of Interim Superintendent Carter, Dr. Toback has an opportunity to step into a district where “the house is in order.” The operations of the district are in full compliance with the law, all accounting books are in order, all positions have legal contracts and all policies have been lawfully adopted, on record and are applicable to everyone equally. The tax levy is the lowest allowable by law and all efficiencies and cost saving can now go either toward the new Long Range Capital Improvement Plan or right back into the classroom to support the staff and students!

Dr. Toback began only a few short weeks ago (March 8) and he has certainly hit the ground running. He has already reached out to district parents and established a parent advisory council, which has already met with him twice. With the full support of the Board, he has already fostered partnerships with Hudson County Schools of Technology, Hudson County Community College and Sevens Institute of Technology. Products of these partnerships will gain the district new opportunities for Adult Education, a Saturday Children’xs Academy, Dual-Credit electives and on-line college course work for our High Schools students.

Dr. Toback is working together with the new Director of Curriculum, Dr. Anzul, to expand Gifted and Talented programs for the elementary students as well as moving forward on instituting the AP Program in Hoboken High School in September. Recently, wonderful new hands-on science discovery materials have been ordered for grades K-7. Also, in keeping with the desire to treat all staff and students equally, a new Field Trip program has been set in place to ensure that all children, regardless of which district school they attend, have an equal ability to participate in field trips.

Dr. Toback has also begun to focus on the new District Long Range Capital Improvement Plan, which will, among other things, provide needed improvements for the Connors School.

We have come so far and we can’t stop now. With your help, we can all move forward together! Please join me in supporting Jean Marie Mitchell, Steven Feinstein and Cliff Godfrey on Wednesday, April 27! The polls are open from 7 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Let’s continue the progress! Vote 3A – 4A – 5A.

- Theresa Minutillo
Hoboken Schools Board Member
Vice President Hoboken School Board

My Comment: The absentee counts for the BOE election are well over 500 and that bodes well for Carmelo Garcia's slate. It is a holiday week so there are likely some legitimate absentee ballots that have been submitted but I suspect that the Frank "Pupie" (on clean Hoboken elections that is ) Raia Express is busy in the housing projects manufacturing votes the old fashioned way, by buying them at $40 a pop. Or perhaps this time no money has exchanged hands as Carmelo Garcia can put the fear in housing project voters into voting for him due to his power as HHA Commissioner. Now, I am not saying that he does but the fact that he serves on the School Board and is the HHA Commissioner certainly opens the door for potential conflict. People with normal moral compasses might recuse themselves from running but not Carmelo! Nothing like fear to drive the "Old Guard" votes out! Pretty close to good old Gulagesque intimidation Joseph Stalin style.

The sad part is that the voter apathy for school board elections is such that someone like Carmelo Garcia will likely win even though he has missed meetings and subcommittee meetings and even stepped early of other meetings he has attended. He overplayed his hand with the Paula Ohaus manufactured drama and seems to endorse the notion that rules are not meant to be followed and favoritism is the preferred method of running Hoboken Schools. How can a Superintendent manage if he can't establish order and rules that must be followed? These are questions that it seems that Carmelo Garcia can't grasp or he knows better and plays the game of "politrickery" anyway.

He also in the past has been part of the patronage mill which helped create a part time Curriculum position for $144,000 per year that allowed the guy to live in Texas as well as a part time HVAC guy at $70K a year whose job appeared to be to make a phone call when the AC unit broke. The $144,000 a year part timer? That indignant bastard is suing the Board for wrongful termination on a contract, a contract that was approved formally right before it had ended anyway. The nerve of some people.

On apathy, even people who I once considered ardent reformers rarely go to Hoboken BOE meetings. The number one enemy of educational reform in Hoboken is apathy. The only way to change that is to turn out in numbers and vote for the slate endorsed by Mayor Dawn Zimmer and the majority of good governance candidates as well. A victory over Carmelo Garcia would go a long way to send a message that the tired old ways of doing things have been left in the rear view mirror. The problem is he already has 400-500 votes as a head start.

Get out and vote people! Vote 3-4-5 and keep the momentum alive!

There is nothing nothing personal with respect to Carmelo Garcia, just the desire for proper policy and my personal disgust for "politrickery", patronage, and pandering. ◦
Share/Bookmark

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hoboken Journal takes a One Week Break

The Hoboken Journal is taking a one week break starting today Monday April 18th. I will be back online next Monday April 25th. Don't forget that the Hoboken BOE election is April 27th (Wednesday) and the City Council races are on Tuesday May 10th, 2011.

I will be back just in time for the finish. I am in the middle of renovations on my place so something has to give and it is my non-profit blog.

In the meantime go to MSV at http://hobokenhorse.blogspot.com/
and Grafix Avenger at http://grafixavenger.blogspot.com/ for all the latest Hoboken political antics from a good governance perspective. You won't see any corruption apologists on those two sites unlike Hoboken 411.

Go to http://www.thebokenonline.com/ for the latest social events in and around Hoboken.

See you in a week.

- The Editor ◦
Share/Bookmark

Friday, April 15, 2011

200 New Street Trees Coming To Hoboken

From the City of Hoboken Nixle feed:

200 New Street Trees Coming To Hoboken

As many as 200 new street trees will be planted this year to fill all empty tree pits in Hoboken. Today, students from the Calabro school joined Jason Scott, owner of The Taco Truck, Mayor Dawn Zimmer, and representatives from the Quality of Life Coalition and Shade Tree Commission, to help plant the first of 50 trees donated as part of the "Tacos for Trees" program. The Taco Truck is working with the Quality of Life Coalition and donating 10% of their profits in April to purchase 50 trees. The City is matching that with an additional 50 trees, and plans to purchase another 100 trees in the fall in order to fill all empty tree pits in Hoboken.

Share/Bookmark

Kids First T-Shirts! Saturday April 16th at 11:00am at Church Square Park


A note from Kids First BOE Slate on T-shirts in Church Square Park Tomorrow:

Hi All,

The awesome new Kids First 2011 T-SHIRTS are in!

Please stop by Church Square Park on Saturday, April 16th at 11:00am to pick one up.

Bring your friends...brings your kids....bring your dogs.  Posters and literature available too.

What a great way to show your pride and support in keeping the progress going!

Let's all move forward together.

- Kids First Team
Share/Bookmark

Play Date With Timmy!- Tim Occhipinti Unveils New Proposed Playground Equipment Tomorrow

You too can have a play date with Timmy! 4th Ward Councilman Tim Occhipiniti will be hosting a meeting tomorrow unveiling new playground equipment proposed for the Jackson Street Park. Nothing worng with fixing existing parks but I will be curious to figure out who actually got this off the ground. I know it was the Administration that made the suggestion to do the $20,000 study of Mam Johnson field so I will have to wait and see what organization is behind the equipment. Here is a special note from Tim or one of his handlers on tomorrow's event:

Tim Occhipiniti Presents:
Sneak Preview of New Playground Equipment!
Saturday April 16, 2011 at 1 pm
120 Jackson Street Park

Friends and Neighbors,

I'm excited to unveil the proposed new playground equipment for Jackson Street Park at an informal community meeting tomorrow afternoon.

I campaigned on fixing the existing parks that we have in the 4th Ward and this is apart of that initiative.

We've accomplished a tremendous amount in 5 short months and want to keep that momentum going for the next 4 years putting the 4th Ward First.

I am dedicated to serving the ward and putting progress over politics.

With your help we will bring a new park to the 4th Ward, lower taxes, fix our existing parks and continue putting community service back in style.

See you Saturday,

Tim Occhipinti
4th Ward Councilman



Share/Bookmark

Beth And Ricky Mason Spend Big Money on Barack Obama Dinner and get a Reward for Beth

The latest from Beth Mason....

Beth Mason receives President Barack Obama Political Achievement Award from Hoboken NAACP

Last night Hoboken City Council President Beth Mason was the recipient of the Hoboken NAACP’s President Barack Obama Political Achievement Award. Mason, who grew up during the Civil Rights Movement, says that era still inspires her to be an advocate for good government and the rights of everyday people. Hoboken’s State Senator Brian P. Stack served as the key note speaker for the event.

“While many people believed racial lines would divide our nation for generations to come I knew in my heart that our generation would be the one that would invoke the changes needed to break down the walls of segregation and racial boundaries,” Mason said.

“Growing up in Virginia I saw first hand how many people from all different backgrounds came together to stand up for equal rights. When I stepped into the booth to cast my vote for President Barack Obama I thought of all the blood, sweat, and tears that brought our nation to that very moment,” Mason added.

A long time supporter of the Democratic Party, Mason and her husband, Ricky, had the opportunity to meet President Obama last year. Mason recalled discussing Hoboken with the President and getting a special surprise for a young resident.

“I told President Obama what a wonderful community Hoboken is and how people from many different backgrounds are working together to improve our community,” Mason said, “The President also signed a book for a young Hoboken resident along with a message that said ‘dream big dreams’. It was an experience I’ll never forget.”



Mason concluded by highlighting the need for Hoboken to continue to move the Mile Square City in the right direction and create opportunities that contribute to the success of the many young residents growing up there.

“We need to continue to make Hoboken an even better place to live and raise a family. We must create new parks and open space and expand recreation programs so our children have constructive ways to spend their time. We must give our young residents every opportunity to succeed so they can reach for the stars and achieve big dreams,” Mason concluded.

My Editorial Comment:
This makes me wonder: what is the criteria for winning the President Barack Obama Political Achievement Award from the Hoboken NAACP other than the fact that old guard wants to help Beth come election time? Did it have anything to do with the fact the Beth and Ricky Mason attended a high priced fundraiser for Barack Obama with a cost per plate in the tens of thousands of dollars?

While I certainly support the aims of the NAACP in that people should, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King be judged by the "content of their character rather than the color of their skin",  I would like to know more about this award and the selection process.

While I do believe Beth Mason stands for racial equality as do most of us in progressive Hudson County, she has turned a blind eye when her minion Lane Bajardi tried to make credit cards for Corner Cars a racial issue. He also attempted to make a personnel issue involving bodily assault at City Hall into a race issue as well with his race baiting, ascerbic, scorched earth, hate filled writing stlye on Hoboken 411.

I have a big dream as well. The dream is Beth Mason is voted off Hoboken City Council this year. 5th Ward anti-Zimmer candidates Scot Delea, Perry Belfiore, and Lenny Luitzi, who all attended Beth Mason's HQ kickoff showed where the alliegiances are don't share in that dream. The other part of this dream is that Peter Cunningham wins despite the fact that Beth Mason will throw as much money as she can behind on of his challengers. ◦
Share/Bookmark

Mayor Zimmer Highlights Efforts to Preserve and Expand the Arts

From the office of the Mayor, more iniatives on behalf of the arts in Hoboken.....

Mayor Zimmer Highlights Efforts to Preserve and Expand the Arts


Mayor Dawn Zimmer announced a variety of initiatives her Administration has been pursuing to preserve and protect existing artists and expand and promote the arts within Hoboken.

“The arts are an important part of cultural life in Hoboken and part of what makes our community truly unique and a great place to live,” said Mayor Zimmer. “I strongly believe that we need to protect our artists, their ability to live and work here, and expand the opportunities for the arts in Hoboken.”

The Zimmer Administration has placed two resolutions before the City Council for consideration at the upcoming Council meeting. The first would propose a study to designate the Neumann Leather complex an area in need of rehabilitation.

“This is how we can protect the artists within this thriving creative community, preserve dozens of small businesses and more than 200 local jobs, and as much as possible restore rather than demolish our iconic historic buildings,” added Mayor Zimmer.

In addition, an interim cost agreement for the analysis of a proposal for a Hoboken Arts Center on the western side of the City will also be presented to the City Council. The agreement would require the proposed redeveloper (Water Music) to pay for the City’s costs associated with reviewing the redevelopment proposal, it’s financial feasibility, and its impact on the community.

The Zimmer Administration has also been closely monitoring the bankruptcy proceedings for the Monroe Center and has been strongly advocating its position that the priority should be the preservation of the artists at affordable rents.

The City is also launching a “Hoboken for the Arts” campaign to promote the arts through the City website. The website, http://www.hobokennj.org/arts, will feature not only City-sponsored arts, but all upcoming arts events in Hoboken that are submitted. Artists can submit event information by emailing gfallo@hobokennj.org. The City is also establishing a Cultural Arts Resource Guide to help promote local artists. It is free of charge to sign up, and a link is available on the City website at http://www.hobokennj.org/arts.

Link: http://www.hobokennj.org/news/mayor-zimmer-highlights-efforts-to-preserve-and-expand-the-arts/
Share/Bookmark

Kids First Meet and Greet 9-11 am at Dr. Leon Gold's

Come meet the Kids Frist Team of Clifford Godfrey, Jean Marie Mitchell and Steven Feinstein at the backyard of Dr.Leon Gold a current Hoboken Board of Education member. The event is tomorrow April 16th from 9-11am and is at 823 Washington Street.


Share/Bookmark

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Disgusting Commentary on Hoboken Journal

The political season is closely reaching its apex in Hoboken. Last night and today remarks were made on this site that clearly crossed the line that were racist and homophobic in nature on the thread about Beth Mason attempting to get Stevens students to hold signs for $25 a person. These remarks have no place in political discourse and and do not represent the pluralistic values I strive for in my political and community activities.

The Hoboken Journal does not endorse such intolerance and when I get a chance I will delete the offensive material but for now it will remain as a reminder that we have a long way to go as a species in developing into a higher realm of decency.

- The Editor ◦
Share/Bookmark

Superintendent's Report April 12th- Ohaus, Adult Ed, Partnership and Rules Oh My!

Mark Toback issued this Superintendent’s Report Tuesday April 12, 2011 at the last Hoboken BOE meeting. It sheds some light on the Paula Ohaus issues (yes numerous) as well as some of the other positive developments for the school. Here is his full report:

Closed Session/Open Session Comments Regardimg Mrs. Ohaus:

Tonight many of you are here because you are concerned about the resignation of a highly regarded teacher.

In case you are not aware, Mrs. Ohaus sent me an e-mail at 11:13 PM on Monday night indicating her desire to rescind her resignation. Out of respect for her wishes, I would like to pull item #40 from the agenda which is the resolution regarding her resignation.

At the same time, Mrs. Ohaus received what is commonly referred to as a RICE notice. The RICE notice allows employees to determine if any discussion with the BOE regarding her employment is public or private. Her written request is to make any discussion public. I am glad that she has taken this approach to include the public because there are many harmful rumors out there that can be put to rest.

Normally, I would ask the BOE to go to closed session to discuss a meeting that I had with Mrs. Ohaus on April 5 because I planned on discussing this with the BOE because there are many questions about this meeting. I met with Mrs. Ohaus on April 5 and a few hours after the meeting, Mrs. Ohaus resigned her position. I can certainly understand why many of you would be interested in knowing about this meeting.

As I am new to the district, I have been learning as much as I can about the district from a variety of sources. With regard to the high school theatre program, I have a collection of e-mails between Mr. Carter and Mrs. Ohaus regarding a variety of issues. I also have a meeting summary that Mr. Rusak provided to me following an athletics and cultural arts committee meeting of the Board of Education. Mr. Davis has also expressed to me some concerns about the approval of employees who worked on the play based on NJ School Contract Law, administrative code, statute, IRS regulations, and of course, Hoboken BOE policies. My interest in having the meeting on April 5 was to accomplish a number of objectives.

The first objective was to share these concerns with Mrs. Ohaus and to hear for myself what her opinion was on each of the matters. It would not be fair to not hear her point of view regarding these concerns. It would not be proper for an employer to not provide an employee and opportunity to speak about these matters.

Another objective was to clarify expectations. If there are problems that can be resolved, it makes sense to provide clear direction to employees regarding what is expected in the future. Failure to do so would be a failure on my part to do my job as Superintendent of Schools.

Based on discussion with Mr. Davis, I became concerned about the financial practices associated with the play. I found that Mr. Davis had addressed some of the contracting and purchasing issues directly with Mrs. Ohaus. He also has expressed concerns about insurance and IRS problems related to payroll. At the same time, I found that one areas that has not been addressed was the accounting of cash. As a former School Business Administrator, I am aware that the most common way where school district employees end up in a bind is when cash is not properly accounted for within the student activities account. Mrs. Ohaus brought along two employees to the meeting who demonstrated adequately that they are in fact accounting for cash in a proper manner and that they had back up documentation to support the bank deposits in general although I did find there was a surplus of $41. The point is that the general practices for handling cash seem to be adequate to prevent fraud from taking place thereby protecting the district employees.

Another topic of discussion about why Mrs. Ohaus requested that the next play, Alice in Wonderland, be held on June 17. The play was approved on the district calendar to take place in late May. Mrs. Ohaus was interested in holding Alice in Wonderland on June 17 which is the last few days of school. I did not think that was a good idea considering the academic focus students need to have at the end of the school year. I still do not believe that having a school play on the final days of school is a good idea.

After resigning, Mrs. Ohaus notified me that she could not produce Alice in Wonderland within the previously established timeline. However, I will be meeting with Mrs. Ohaus on Wednesday to further our discussion and to perhaps redefine what we can do for a spring theatre event.

Much has been made about the issue of charter school students taking part in Hairspray. Other than to create other questions and tension between the oboken School District and and the three Charter Schools, I see no purpose for the focus on Charter School students in the play. This is not an issue with charter schools but rather a general issue related to supervision of students and liability for the school district. There were a handful of students from a number of different schools involved in the play including a student who I have been told live in Hoboken, an exchange student, and a student who supposedly lives in Hoboken but also supposedly attends an out of state school.

This is my point. It is not good when a School Superintendent is not able to easily access information about students who are involved in school activities or school programs and their information is not readily available should there be a problem. Information is not on the centralized computer system. Medical records are not
available. Another key question for consideration...Who would be financially responsible for the non-Hoboken High School students if they were injured as a direct result of their participation in the play? How could we justify this to an insurance carrier, especially because the participation of students from other schools is specifically prohibited under BOE policy 6145 Eligibility Standards For Participation in All Extra Curricular Activities. The relevant part of the policy reads as follows and was approved in November of 2010....

1. To be eligible to participate in extra-curricular activities, a student must be enrolled in the district. Hoboken residents enrolled in a school that is not operated by the Hoboken Board of Education (charter schools or private schools) shall not be eligible to participate in extra-curricular activities. However, pursuant to NJSIAA guidelines, if a charter school does not offer a particular sport that is offered by the district, resident students attending that charter school may participate in that sport upon the agreement of the Hoboken High School principal and the principal of the Charter School.

This is a direct violation of the school district policy. Mrs. Ohaus stated that she was not aware of this policy and that she has included students in her plays for a number of years and has been allowed to do so without issue. I also want to bring up another point...even though there is a violation of policy and a variety of other issues...at no time during our meeting was Mrs. Ohaus asked to resign, told she would be fired, or any other variation you can think of. This is why I was truly surprised when she resigned.

Even though I have to be concerned about the financial and insurance concerns, I am also deeply concerned about how all students are identified to partake in the play. In other words, Are there students from Hoboken High School who were unable to participate and what provisions are made for students from the Connors, Wallace, and Callabro Schools to participate? Mrs. Ohaus claimed that Hoboken High School students were not denied a part in the play in favor of students who attended other schools. I was relieved to hear about this.

Mrs. Ohaus also noted that there were three students from Hoboken High School were originally removed from the play for eligibility reasons related to grades but that those students were later reinstated. I later found from Ms. Piccapietra that there were five Hoboken High School students who participated in the play that were ineligible to participate based on the standard applied previously--failure in two or more subjects the previous marking period. This practice of allowing students to participate in plays who are failing two or more subjects is a violation of district policy 6145. Naturally, as the academic leader of the district, I should be concerned that students who are failing two or more subjects should also be allowed to partake in the Hairspray. If five students on the soccer team were found to be ineligible after the season, there would be serious consequences for the school, any victories would become losses in the record book, and the NJSIAA would get involved.

There are adults involved in the production of the play. I asked Mrs. Ohaus about this practice because I was concerned about how these individuals are approved and how they are involved with the students. Some of the volunteers are not directly supervised by a certificated teacher as we would other volunteers and this is an issue. For example, we discussed the role of volunteers who help backstage with makeup and hair. We then had a discussion about alumni being involved in plays and she said that when there is a shortage of actors alumni are involved. What type of background checks and other procedures for involving these adults in plays still remains unclear to me.

I spoke with Mrs. Ohaus about transporting students in her car, in particular after the St. Patrick’s Day Parade this year. She told me that she could not remember if she transported students on that day. However, I have read parent accounts of how she has transported students to colleges and to the doctor’s office which is a very nice thing to do but also in violation of BOE policy.

We then discussed another practice of hers where students are sleeping over at her house. As a new person in the district, I think it is more than reasonable to discuss this practice. I am not aware of any other situations during my career where students are invited to a sleepover at the house of a teacher.
Nonetheless, Mrs. Ohaus discussed the fact that students did sleep over at her house and the most recent sleepover was during President’s Day recess. I also asked about transportation arrangements. Mrs. Ohaus stated that students are most commonly transported to her house by car and that students have written permission from their parents to sleep over. She also stated that other students traveled to her house by train. In any event, I see the potential for liability for the school district and it is therefore justifiable to question this practice based on the many possible ways that a staff member could be held liable for a variety of problems.

Another topic of discussion was the official Facebook Page that is identified in the program. Because of the many issues related to liability for teachers using Facebook, Mr. Carter provided very clear direction to employees about using Facebook. Mrs. Ohaus said she was not aware of any of the content of the page and she did not create the page. For the record, there is no official Facebook page or any other board sanctioned web presence for the theatre program.

In addition to Mrs. Ohaus and I, the meeting was attended by Mr. Enrico who served as Mrs. Ohaus’ union representative and Mr. Rusak. Mr. Ramos and Mrs. Lisa from HHS also attended the first fifteen minutes of the meeting because they were responsible for accounting for the cash from the play.

On Wednesday, I will have another meeting where we will continue our discussion about the Theatre program. I look forward to meeting with her tomorrow to further discuss her work with the district.

SUPERINTENDENT REPORT
Unfortunately, much of the good news I have to share with the BOE is overshadowed this month with other issues. Board Members you will be happy to know that significant progress has been made in a number of areas. One part of my monthly report will always be some information about how the district is moving forward academically. This month there is much to report.

Partnerships are very important in public education today. Partnerships with other institutions allow the district to accomplish things on behalf of students that could not be accomplished otherwise. I am happy to report that we are fostering a number of partnerships that will only help our students and our parents.

You have asked me to work to continue the groundwork established by Mr. Carter to develop some adult education programs. I completed a survey where 75 residents responded to a request for input. Mr. Fitzgibbons and I met with officials at the Technical School to discuss some possible options and the results of the survey. You have a copy of the draft for the Hudson Technical School Flyer for Adult education and you will see that Hoboken is a location for a number of classes including financial planning, digital photography, web design, intro to personal computers, Latin Dance Mix and Zumba.

As an added bonus, we have worked together to re-establish a Saturday Children’s Academy for our younger students from ages 7 to 14. The program is open to students from other communities as well. You can see there is a wide range of classes including classes about renewable energy, eating healthy, dance, business, and mandarin Chinese. You can see there are many exciting programs. The technical school must go through the normal processes required to use the facilities.

A note for all of our residents interested in any of these programs... these are opportunities that exist that will go away without adequate enrollment. The technical school has requirements that they not lose money on their programs so they will establish minimum class sizes. Likewise, they have maximum class sizes and so if you wait to register, you may not be able to to participate once the maximum class size is reached. Once the Technical School finalizes its offerings, the information will be shared with the community through our web site and also with the flyer the technical school mails throughout the county.

A quick report on another developing partnership- Hudson County Community College representatives have another meeting in district on Tuesday to evaluate how some of our elective classes like accounting and psychology can earn dual credit—meaning students who will receive their five high school credits as well as three college credits from the community college. We are also looking at some other options after school to allow students to take classes once the school day is over.

You will note that there is a revision to the graduation policy and regulations related to advanced options for high school graduation. This revision has been put together with the NJSBA policy service that the district uses and enables a variety of new learning opportunities for high school students. There are many ways to be a successful high school student and this policy allows students to pursue unique learning opportunities provided their educational interests are approved.

Hudson County Community College is also a partner identified for our adult school program. At this point, there are interested in offering four to six college course at Hoboken High School this fall. Those plans will also be further reviewed next Tuesday. We have something very nice this month that will enhance learning opportunities for middle school students and this could not be happening at a better time. You will see on the agenda the request for you to approve item #24 which involves the adoption of instructional new science materials for all students in grades k through 7 at a cost of approximately $91,000. This is significant because the NJDOE will be implementing new CCCS science standards for the next school year. The Foss science materials have already been used by the NJDOE in their development of model lessons to support teaching of the new CCCS for science. The materials are supported and were developed through the National Science Foundation. The students of the Hoboken Schools have not received new science textbooks and learning materials at the elementary level for at least ten years and the new standards as well as the need to update materials due to age make this resolution very important for our science program. I like the lessons because they are hands on discovery based learning modules.

In other partnership news related to the new science curriculum, I am happy to report that I was able to meet officials at Stevens Institute of Technology to learn about their outreach program and possible ways to partner with them. As a result of a significant grant Stevens received, it appears they will be able to help us with training our staff to utilize the new science materials to the greatest potential. I wanted to take a moment to speak about both discipline and attendance at the high school. I am happy to report that the suspension rate at the high school has decreased by from 29 suspensions in February to 14 suspensions in March. This represents a 52 percent decrease and is attributable to changes in approach in terms of accountability and fuller implementation of the in-school suspension program. This is the lowest number of suspensions for the entire school year.

I am also happy to report that our recent efforts to improve student attendance have also been very successful. Since our implementation of the existing BOE policy for student attendance, we have seen a 41% improvement in reduction in the number of students absent.

RETREAT-the open date that we have is May 23.
In closing my report, I would like to take a moment to recognize the retirements of eight long time district employees.
Veronica Scappatori-Teacher at Wallace School
Bart Reilly-Principal of Wallace School
Irene LaBruzza-School Nurse at Hoboken High School
Kenneth Turso-Sixth Grade Social Studies Teacher at Connors
Anne Marie DeMaio-Fifth Grade Teacher at Calabro School
Pasqua Cioci-Transportation Aide/Security Guard
Michael Jacobson-Teacher at Wallace School
Michael Craven--Transportation Coordinator and 39 year veteran in the transportation department ◦
Share/Bookmark

Desperate Beth Mason Bankrolls Stevens Students to have Signage

Yet another update:

This message from a Senior at Stevens who is in the same fraternity as the brother that sent out the email about Beth Mason and her attempt to get signs at $25 a pop. I did not anticipate the fallout from this story to be as big as it was. After all it is perfectly legal to pay campaign workers but politically stupid to try to obviously pack the house with faux supporters. Intelligent Hoboken voters can usually see right through that stuff. I was able to speak with this gentleman (Senior whose name is withheld) and he was quite understanding and composed. Without further adieu:

To Whom It May Concern:

As you can see by my signature, I am a graduating senior and well respected member of the Stevens community and the Sigma Chapter of Beta Theta Pi.

I would like to formally apologize for one of my brother's actions. He did not realize what he was doing and we as a fraternity did not realize what was going on.

I would like to propose that you kindly remove our fraternity from the article, but please leave the article in general up, so students at Stevens do not make this mistake again.

As a student who was attending Stevens during the Peter Cammarano incident, it was disgraceful to my university and myself as I did not like the feeling in the pit of my stomach knowing that our cherished university was being linked with a criminal. This time, the incident hits home as our cherished fraternity, that has been in Hoboken since 1879, and even lives at the original mayor's home, has now been linked with a criminal like act of Beth Mason.

I can assure you that this will never happen again and that the Sigma chapter always has Hoboken in it's hearts and minds when it comes to giving back to the community. We are partnered up with a local church and routinely work in their lunchtime ministry cooking and feeding the homeless in addition to helping preserve the historic church located near campus. We also recently won an award for being the most recognizable Greek House during the Hoboken Park cleanup two Sunday's ago and were recognized by our Inter-fraternal Council with the award for organizing, running, and having the best participation percentage at the event. In addition to that, we also have an upcoming philanthropy event where we are raising money for The Hoboken Boys and Girls Club, and as of yesterday, we have already raised nearly $500, before the event will even take place.

I hope you can please consider removing our fraternal name due to our realization of our mistake and in good faith of the pride that our chapter takes in itself, and our beloved community that surrounds it. If you have any further questions/comment I would love to hear them and I am open to suggestions you may have for future Philanthropic events to help the city of Hoboken, as we at Beta Theta Pi are always looking to give back to our community in our striving for excellence.

Sincerely,
(redacted)

Stevens student
Stevens Institute of Technology 2011

Another update: I removed the identifying numbers and put the disclaimer about the fraternity. I posted this story in no way to start a witch hunt on what appears to be a student that just wanted some easy cash. Perhaps he didn't know what is at stake, or perhaps he did. If he truly wanted to support Beth Mason he has that right; I just wanted to draw the distinction between a volunteer and a paid worker for the Beth Mason campaign. Beth Mason doesn't have a lot of core support outside of Applied Housing so it makes sense that she would try to buy the appearance of support.

I was spammed last night from what appears to be an automated program to generate text messages. I received over 300 text messages in 15 minutes. Coincidence? Maybe or maybe not. I also had other posters insinuate that I am homosexual which is not true but even if it was displays an intolerance that is not acceptable in my world view.

Update: Per multiple requests I have removed the name behind the email below. It should be noted that this email contained nothing personal in nature in its subject matter. Apparently not every Stevens student knows that Beth Mason's money is likely bankrolling corruption (Mike Russo and Tim Occhipinti)  this election season. Maybe its time that they reach at to Dr. Wharton who has attended some recent City Council meetings and focuses much of his research on political corruption. Hoboken has been giving him  lot of material lately. Cammarano, Occhipinti, Russo, and now Beth Mason, are all part of it. If Beth Mason chooses to financially back Mike Russo, then she too is corrupt.

Of course there is nothing wrong with a student trying to make a buck but you would think after the Peter Cammarano debacle students at Stevens would be a little more careful when it comes to candidates whose ambition is so brazen that ethics fly out the window. Perhaps history will repeat itself.

Original Post: The Hoboken City Council Candidates forum is tonight for both the 2nd Ward and the 5th Ward at our Lady of Grace Annex starting at 7:30PM. It would appear Beth Mason, ever so desperate to look like the front runner that she isn't has sought to pay Stevens Students $25 a pop to hold pro Beth Mason signage before the meeting. Nothing illegal if they are paid by check (wasn't always done that way by Beth) but surely a sign of desperation and foolish expenditures. Reminds me of the Kim Glatt cheerleaders from Union City. Kim came in 4th place in the November 2009 mayoral race. Here is an email forwarded to me from a Steven's student (name witheld) looking to get his pals a quick $25 bucks.

Hello,

I was wondering if you could forward this to the rest of your house.

I am a brother of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity and I have been working for the Beth Mason campaign for the past couple of weeks trying to get people to register to vote in Hoboken. Tonight there is going to be a debate tonight at 7 to a little after 9 or so and basically the gentleman I am working for would like 100 people or so to stand out side of the debate and hold up signs for Beth Mason and picket line. You will be payed 25 dollars to do this. If you would like to do this we will be meeting outside of the Beta House at 6:40 tonight. Also if you want to do this please email me with your full name and phone number at (email witheld). We need a good showing for this and its an easy 25 dollars to hold a sign. Hope to see you tonight.

Thank you,

(name withheld)
Stevens Institute of Technology 2012
Civil Engineering
Beta Theta Pi (not representative of the Fraternity, on his/her own behalf only)
Share/Bookmark