Saturday, April 28, 2012

Another Sentencing Over the Case of the Missing Million Dollar Quarters

Toms River Man Whose Company Collected Coins From Hoboken Parking Meters entenced To Prison For Stealing Over $1 Million

Former city parking utility director [John Corea] previously sentenced to prison in theft case

TRENTON – Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced that a Toms River contractor whose company was hired by the City of Hoboken to collect coins from city parking meters was sentenced to state prison today for stealing over $1 million in parking revenues.

Brian A. Petaccio, 52, of Toms River, the owner of United Textile Fabricators LLC, was sentenced to five years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Francis R. Hodgson Jr. in Ocean County. Petaccio pleaded guilty on Sept. 30, 2009 to an accusation charging him with second-degree theft by unlawful taking for stealing approximately $1,175,000 in coins from Hoboken’s parking meters between June 2005 and April 2008. After an audit in 2007 uncovered parking revenue shortfalls, Petaccio and his company returned approximately $575,000 to the city. However, Petaccio admitted, in pleading guilty, that he diverted an additional $600,000 that was not reported to the city.

On April 2, 2012, John P. Corea, 48, former director of the Hoboken Parking Utility, was sentenced to seven years in state prison, including three years of parole ineligibility, by Judge Hodgson. Corea pleaded guilty to second-degree official misconduct, admitting that he became aware that Petaccio and United Textile had stolen a large amount of the city’s parking revenues, but did not take any steps to stop the thefts or notify the city. Corea also admitted that he steered three separate no-bid contracts to United Textile to collect, count and manage the coins from the city’s parking meters, and made false statements to the city council about the qualifications and experience of the company, which is a coin-operated arcade game manufacturer.

Corea and Petaccio were each ordered to pay $300,000 to the City of Hoboken in restitution for the $600,000 in revenue that was stolen from the city by Petaccio and not previously repaid.

Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey J. Manis prosecuted the case and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau. The charges resulted from an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice and the New Jersey State Police. The investigation was conducted by Detective Sgt. Peter Layng of the State Police Official Corruption Bureau North Unit, and Sgt. Lisa Shea, Deputy Attorney General Manis, Deputy Attorney General Perry Primavera, and Administrative Analyst Kathleen Ratliff of the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau.

Link to Release:

Editor's Comment: To some this might be the conclusion of the case of the missing quarters at Hoboken HPU, but to this editor questions still remain is to who knew what and when. When Terry Castellano boldly stated at a City Council meeting, "It's all cleared up" , we should have known then to smell a rat and fast forward to 2011-2012, we know now that rat was indeed there and it has been sentenced. Its kind of a fat rat who was living off the fat of Hoboken for quite some time. Interestingly, under Ian Sacs , the new HPU Director parking revenues are way up so I think its quite possible we are talking about more than a million dollars in revenue that was missing. Quite possible. No wonder why the Russos are so upset with Ian Sacs. He was upsetting a potential revenue stream. Key word is potential.

The question is how many more rats were at this "Quarter Party", and what was their knowledge and involvement? If "Quarter- Gate" has the potential to teach us anything, its not just the crime, its the coverup. ◦

Friday, April 27, 2012

Space Shuttle Flyby Hoboken this Morning- One Word Spectacular!

This morning, the Space Shuttle Enterprise flew by Hoboken on its way to JFK airport. It will become part of the Intrepid Museum's displays later this Summer. Below are a few photos of the flyby in Hoboken and a video.

Video- Space Shuttle Enterprise Flyby Hoboken 4-27-2012:

More coverage is on my other website:


Great News from City Councilman Ravi Bhalla! Hoboken 2012 Budget Adopted!

Ravi sent the constituents of Hoboken this note about the passage of the budget...


Dear Friends,

I hope 2012 has been treating you and your family very well. I write to share some exciting news regarding our City's financial condition and recent progress in delivering more parks and open space in Hoboken.

2012 Budget Passed

For the fourth consecutive time, under the steady leadership of our Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Hoboken taxpayers have benefited from a tax decrease in the municipal portion of our tax bill. In this rough economic climate, this accomplishment is virtually unprecedented in the State of New Jersey. And we did it without having to lay off a single police or fire officer. The New Jersey Star Ledger has recognized Hoboken as standing out among all other towns in Hudson County in achieving a double digit decrease in municipal taxes from prior years.

We were able to achieve substantial tax relief despite the best efforts of some members of the City Council to obstruct Hoboken's progress towards fiscal honesty and responsibility. Over the last few Council meetings, some of my colleagues have been kicking and screaming in protest. But what constructive ideas have they put on the table? None. All I have heard from them is that we need to hire more police officers and other vague platitudes. But I ask you: how will increasing the size of our police department reduce the size of the budget and offer tax relief? It will only obstruct, not advance, this objective with no guarantees of enhanced public safety. The hypocrisy of those who want smaller government but a larger police and fire department is nothing less than astounding.

So how has Mayor Zimmer achieved this success? I quote my esteemed colleague, Vice President Peter Cunningham, who recently stated, "We are proud of the way we did it. Honestly. Sustainably. No tricks or gimmicks. We cut taxes while preserving needed services and reserving 3.6% of the budget for unexpected costs."

My friends, this is honest and effective government at work, and we should all commend Mayor Zimmer for the stellar results she has produced so far. I also wish to commend her entire financial and legal team, Vice President Cunningham, and my council colleagues David Mello, Carol Marsh and Jennifer Giattino for working together to move Hoboken forward.

Parks & Open Space

Mayor Zimmer has called 2012 "The Year of Parks" in Hoboken, and we are making substantial progress in delivering more open space and park space for both children and adults. The Sinatra Soccer Field construction has begun and is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2012. The City of Hoboken recently filed a lawsuit to stop the Monarch project, an offensive development initiative to build 12 story residential towers on a crumbling pier in the northeast part of Hoboken. Just last week two new parks, Legion Park and a pocket park on Jefferson Street were renovated and opened to the public. The Jackson Street Park was also recently re-opened for use. Finally, we are also moving forward on developing 1600 Park and the Hoboken Cove in the northern end of town. There is much more that is being done, but I can assure you that we are doing everything we can to preserve and develop more open space in Hoboken for the use and enjoyment of all of our residents.

Personal Notes

You probably have not heard from me for several months because of some significant personal changes in my life. My wife and I recently moved from the Shipyard community, where I enjoyed living for about 12 years, to a home on Garden Street near the Brandt School. Most significantly, earlier this year we had our second child, a beautiful baby boy named Shabegh Singh Bhalla. It is truly a joy to have a new little addition to our family.

As always, if you have any concerns, questions, or require assistance, I am only a phone call or email away. You can reach me at 201-647-6090 or I hope to hear from you soon!

All the best,

Ravi S. Bhalla
City Council President
City of Hoboken


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hoboken Parking Utility Eliminates Wait List at Municipal Garages

Here is another accomplishment coming out of City Hall that should benefit some motorists in Hoboken...

Residents can now enjoy instant access to garage parking

The Hoboken Parking Utility (HPU) announced today that the well-known waiting lists for parking in municipal garages that have forced Hoboken residents to wait for years at a time to get in have finally been eliminated. The successful sale of Hoboken University Medical Center cleared the way for residents to find relief from the most notorious waiting list of all at Midtown garage.

"When I took this job, I was handed a wait list for garages that in some cases was over 200 people and nearly three years long,” said Transportation and Parking Director Ian Sacs “After two years of careful management, organizational changes, and creative thinking from my staff, we can proudly say there is no longer a wait for anyone who wants to park in a municipal garage!”

The HPU manages five municipal parking structures. In 2009, four of five parking facilities had extremely long waiting lists while one was “under-parked.” While some garages have availability limited to certain options, everyone who wishes to park in a municipal garage may now do so.

Corrective actions to eliminate the wait lists included eliminating unauthorized/undocumented parking accounts in an early audit of all facilities, standardizing application and wait list procedures, rigorous tracking of occupancy statistics, creation of new options that better meet the needs of customers, clearer documentation about availability, and re-balancing parking to better match supply and demand throughout all facilities.

One of the most important changes to address the mismatch between supply and demand at municipal garages has been the introduction of the “Monthly Limited” parking option for Hoboken residents. This option is designed for residents who commute with their cars to work each day; they enjoy a 30% discount on the standard rate in return for committing to be out of the garage between 10am and 4pm on weekdays. As of March 2012, about 140 residents are signed up for that option.

This year, the HPU plans to upgrade the elevators and stairwells in all garages and address needed structural improvements, pending City Council approval of a bond ordinance. ◦

Reminder: Southwest Redevelopment Hearing Tonight - Please Attend

Below is a reminder form City Councilman Dave Mello on tonight's important SW Development hearing starting at 7pm....

Southwest Redevelopment Hearing Tonight - Please Attend

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

If you are at all interested in providing a smart growth future of our Southwest neighborhood, please attend our next Southwest Redevelopment Planning Board hearing TONIGHT at 7:00 PM at our Multi Service Center.  The bulk of tonight's meeting will center upon questioning by the legal representation of various property owners in the Southwest study area of our Planning Board professionals who wrote the study being considered.

The Multi Service Center is located at the SW corner of 2nd and Grand Streets.

Just showing your face for a few minutes will send a strong message to our planning officials and representatives that you take the responsible planning of our Southwest neighborhood very seriously, and expect that our Planning Board will do likewise.

I hope to see you there,

David Mello
Hoboken City Councilman at Large

The City of Hoboken, NJ 07030
cell: 917-699-1312
twitter: @djmello


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hoboken Public School District to offer summer enrichment program

BOE Slate Kids First and Superintendent Mark Toback continue to take the taxpayer money and put it back in the class room to enrich the children's education in Hoboken's District Schools. No wonder why the Old Guard behind Frank Pupie Raia and Michelle Russo want control of the School Board back. They want that cheddar back outside the classroom where they think it belongs. In their pockets. BOE elections are this November.

Here is yet another program to benefit children and not some patronage job mill that the "Old Guard" envisions...

Hoboken Public School District to offer summer enrichment program

Please see the attached form if you are interested in registering your child for the free summer program, which will run from June 25th through July 27th. Classes will meet from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Extracurricular courses will be offered based on students' interest. It will help us to plan for the program if interested parents complete and return the attached form, indicating the specific programs in which they are interested.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Updates from Hoboken Residents For A Public Waterfront

Updates from Hoboken Residents For A Public Waterfront

Good evening,

Here are some quick updates from Hoboken Residents for a Public Waterfront:

1. Shipyard Associates has again requested to re-schedule their hearing in front of the Hoboken Planning Board.  The hearing is now scheduled for:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012 – 7:00PM

Wallace School gymnasium

1100 Willow Avenue (intersection of 11th and Willow Ave.)

2. As expected, Shipyard Associates has appealed the Hudson County Planning Board's decision to deny their application.  They will now have to present their entire application to the Board of Chosen Freeholders (the legislative branch of the county government).  We are expecting a public hearing to be scheduled in May and will keep you updated on the timing.  Freeholder Anthony Romano is Hoboken's representative on the Board of Chosen Freeholders.  Correspondence reiterating the importance of this matter can be sent to him at the following address:

Freeholder Anthony Romano
567 Pavonia Avenue
Jersey City NJ 07306

3. These update emails now reach 519 concerned residents of Hoboken, and the list continues to grow every day.  We are honored to receive emails of well wishes and support, but we cannot get complacent.  Please spread the word to your friends, family and neighbors.  Our electronic petition is still open for signatures ( and our inbox is always open for suggestions or questions.  Attendance at public hearings still remains the MOST IMPORTANT way to fight this project!

4. Thank you to everyone who attended the Fund for a Better Waterfront comedy night. It was a great success and everyone had a great time.  They have been great friends to our cause since day one and we were thrilled to see them throw a successful fund raiser.

Hoboken Residents for a Public Waterfront

@HobokenRPW on Twitter


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Open Letter to the City of Hoboken from 300 Washington Street Residents and Owners

The residents and owners of 300 Washington Street would like to extend their thanks to the many people of Hoboken who helped them in time of need with respect to the fire that took place there on 2/19/2012 that destroyed the landmark building….

An Open Letter to the City of Hoboken:

The residents and owners of the 300 Washington Street fire would like to express our deep appreciation and gratitude to all for your love, support, and generosity during this most difficult time.  The outpouring we have received has been overwhelming. While we may have lost our belongings and our beloved historical building, we have witnessed the kindness, beauty and generosity that embodies Hoboken.  You have come to our aid with donations, kind words, and a loving hand.  For that you will always be in our hearts.
Artwork by Ricardo Roig

We especially want to thank the first responders, including: Chief Richard Blohm and the Hoboken Fire Department, Chief Anthony P. Falco, Sr. and the Hoboken Police Department, Director of Public Safety John Tooke, Hoboken Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and The Hoboken Office of Emergency Management. In addition, we extend our gratitude to Mayor Dawn Zimmer and her staff, the Hoboken Rotary Club, and St. Peter and Paul’s Church, who all worked tirelessly to ensure that the displaced residents had food, shelter, and comfort. The support continued well after the fire. Many of these groups and individuals have helped us as we work towards the rebuilding process. Without such support, this process would have otherwise been a daunting task.

We would very much like to thank everyone who made donations of clothing, household items, and money to help us get back on our feet. Thank you to the local businesses that hosted events for us or donated gift certificates to raise funds. We send our appreciation to all of the Hoboken residents, volunteers, local business owners, charity and social group organizers, website owners, bloggers, newspapers, and other media outlets who helped spread the word and raise awareness of our situation and the efforts to raise funds. The list of supporters spans pages. While we can’t name them all here, we are eternally grateful for each and everyone’s help.

As numerous Hoboken residents have mentioned to us, our building was one of beauty that embodied the life blood of Hoboken.  We hope to rebuild and bring back the splendor of it for everyone to enjoy again, as we once did.

Sincerely and with the utmost thanks and appreciation,

The residents and owners of 300 Washington St:

Paola Buendia, Mark Donovan, Ralph Russo, Tiffany Shenman, Fred Volze, Michael Sinensky, Kevin Rose, Bethany Rose, Leigh Treiling, Eric Treiling, Kate Lopez, Kathy Griffin, Monica Yang, Billy Woods, Daniel Woods, Ricky Palmer, Caroline Madrak, Stacey Molski, Stephanie Garman, Collin Kamm, Chris Ludgate, Anthony Rea, Kee Seymore, Shedrick Pelt, Joe Giletti, Carrie DePetris, Michael Donohue  and Derrick Hicks


No More Jabberwocky! Time For The Good Governance Movement to Coalesce

There is a one man/woman show going on over at with a poster named Jabberwock who is running off at the keyboard with divide and conquer animus reminiscent of paid for political operatives or Machiavellian masterminds. He/she, while identity still unknown is advocating for another reform/good governance alternative to Mayor Zimmer and for lack of better term lets call it "The Third Way". In one of his/her posts after being a bit flushed out and cajoled by yours truly they state:

"If Michael Lenz were to run, he'd get my vote. If Carol Marsh were to run, she'd get my vote. If someone other than the long list of thieves runs, I'd give them strong consideration. If Dawn Zimmer can address some of, what I view, as disappointments or failures, I'll give her strong consideration. If she can't and if no one else steps forward, I'll probably vote for Patricia Waiters. It's just that simple." 

Folks this commenter loves Mike Lenz and Carol Marsh as shown in this comment in the thread:

Regarding Lenz: "I thought he talked a bit too much when he was on the council, but that aside, IMO he was one of the best council persons this town has ever seen...he actually was the best. Do you share such a low opinion of Carol? (i.e., she's better than a subway rat?) She seems to have the most "lenz-like" positions of those currently serving on the council and perhaps the best serving council member right now. (that Jen girl ain't bad, but just for the sake of experience, my pick is Carol.)"

It should be noted that if Dawn Zimmer was not running for re-election of course Carol Marsh would get my strong consideration for Mayor in 2013, I supported her back in 2005. But the fact is Dawn Zimmer will run for re-election by all accounts so to me the discussion is moot. 

Editorial Note: I am only responding to the commenting nonsense of Jabberwocky.

Folks whats going on around here Lenzbianism on Hoboken Patch? Or is it Just a Political Operative Prank? Probably a prank.

Jabberwocky from Wikipedia Commons
Of course Patch commenters are a limited bunch but I am sure the thread has more readers than commenters so this operative or true believer seems to be pushing for either Carol Marsh or Mike Lenz and seems to hope to gain traction. Now this is either a legitimate attempt to push some agenda or split reform/good  governance with a fake persona. Some feel it is the former and some the latter. What makes this poster absurd is that they would actually vote for Patricia Waiters over Dawn Zimmer who I actually like as a person but has switched sides so many times I truly don't know where she stands today.

I think that although Dawn Zimmer started out inexperienced she has the right temperament and has made many good moves for Hoboken including her greatest accomplishment, privatizing the HUMC and saving Hoboken from bankruptcy. She fought back against a City Council Minority that wanted to see that deal go down to destroy Zimmer politically Hoboken be damned, and it would have if they had succeeded. Council minority members Terry Castellano, Mike Russo, Tim Occhipiniti and Beth Mason have no sense of decency or doing the right thing. Just about everything that minority does as for political reasons and not for the betterment of the City of Hoboken.

Dawn Zimmer should be the choice in 2013 to be re-elected for Mayor. You don't have to agree with her 100% to give her your support. The opposing side seems to be coalescing around Ruben Ramos for Mayor in 2013. Beth Mason and Frank Raia still may jump in but judging by the turnout for Ruben Ramos this week at the Elysian Cafe he seems to be the most likely choice against Zimmer in 2013 although things can change. Many of the usual Old Guard Cammarano supporters, developers and suck ups were there at Ruben's event. The opposition is already working out their differences and all I am suggesting in that we do the same on the side of good governance.

Dawn Zimmer and her husband Stan Grossbard have made tremendous sacrifices in time, money, and personal efforts for Dawn to be elected Mayor of Hoboken. It is preposterous, ludicrous and downright f*cking arrogant to the core for some in reform or even outside it to think that they can call the shots and make executive decisions out of some sense of entitlement because they plowed the road. They did plow the road but it was Dawn who got elected and quite frankly she earned the right to call the shots. Read up on the Faulkner act babies and grow up. As the Rolling Stones sang "You can't always get what you want". Learn to deal with the fact and understand that the power goes to the electable.

Editorial Clarification: Again, this is a response to Jabberwocky whoever they are and no one else. 

With that said I don't always agree with minutia of every one of the Mayor's decision but I urge all on the side of good governance and set aside your petty or real differences and get behind re-electing Dawn Zimmer for Mayor in 2013.  When you look at the viable opposition, you should realize that there is so much more at stake.

Below is a link to the thread on Path and an ode to Jabberwock who is free to blather on to his or her hearts content.


"Jabberwocky" by Lewis Caroll

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?

Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe. ◦

5th Ward City Councilman Peter Cunningham weighs in on the passage of Hoboken's 2012 Municipal Budget

5th Ward City Councilman Peter Cunningham weighs in on the passage of Hoboken's 2012 Municipal Budget in his latest email to constituents......

Dear neighbors, friends and family,

Dawn Zimmer and I have been working to control Hoboken’s budget since before we were elected to the council. We join a long line of citizen activists who understood that the only sustainable way to cut taxes was to reduce spending. This week, years of effort continued to bear fruit, as we again made historic progress with Hoboken's 2012 budget. New Jersey’s ”paper of record,” The Star Ledger recognized that achievement when it wrote: “In a 5 to 4 vote, the Hoboken City Council passed its calendar budget that drops the tax levy 17 percent from last year's [actually prior year’s] figures, putting the mile square city on top of the state for reducing taxes.”

We are proud of our record in cutting taxes. But we are just as proud of the way we did it. Honestly. Sustainably. No tricks or gimmicks. We cut taxes while preserving needed services and continuing to reserve 3.6% of the budget for unexpected costs. All achieved in the face of unrelenting obstructionism by minority council members Mason, Occhipinti, Russo and Castellano.

Minority members understand that the city’s fiscal success is their political catastrophe. That’s why they worked so hard to kill the HUMC hospital privatization which would have cost the City dearly in reduced services, loss of jobs, and financial and economic disaster. These four obstructionists failed in blocking the sale, but did manage to block a refinancing of Parking Utility bonds to the tune of $4 million which would have further shored up our reserves and provided additional tax relief in a responsible manner.

We persevered through the budget process in accordance with state statutes. We conducted open and transparent budget workshops. We made well thought out amendments to the introduced budget. And we passed a responsible budget which will provide for sound regeneration of surplus savings in future years, while preserving needed services and providing the most tax relief in the state.

Many thanks to Mayor Zimmer and her team, to my council colleagues, and to our many supporters. Working together we stayed the course and got the job done. Hoboken has a lot to be proud of.

- Peter Cunningham
5th Ward City Councilman
201-562-7071 ◦