Apr 07, 2013 | 5404 views | 1 1 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
LEGACY ISSUE – Mayor Dawn Zimmer held a press conference on Wednesday in City Hall to address recent water main breaks. She held the former administration responsible for the “short-sighted” choices she said they made. (See brief.)
LEGACY ISSUE – Mayor Dawn Zimmer held a press conference on Wednesday in City Hall to address recent water main breaks. She held the former administration responsible for the “short-sighted” choices she said they made. (See brief.)

Mayor Dawn Zimmer speaks out on water main issues

Mayor Zimmer held a press conference on Wednesday to discuss why recent water main breaks were happening around Hoboken and how to address the issues with United Water. Zimmer started by saying that if anyone suffered a loss and needs to submit a claim due to the water damage, they can call Debra Hummel at (201) 750-3408. Zimmer also asked the community to be the first responders and call (201) 487-0011 immediately if they see water coming from the street.

Zimmer said that today Hoboken is paying for investments that should have been made long ago. Zimmer said the administration of Mayor Anthony Russo, in the early 1990s, sold profits and a 30-year revenue stream for a one-time payment to plug budget holes. Zimmer said that Russo sold off $240 million in potential revenue and $100 million in potential profit for a sum of $13.2 million and that this money was not used to invest in the infrastructure.

“Our agreements with United Water do require that they spend a small amount annually in capital expenditures or repairs – $350,000 per year,” said Zimmer. “About 80 percent of that is spent just repairing our broken mains, and there is little left over for infrastructure improvements.”

Zimmer will be looking into a buy out with United Water in order to renegotiate the contract agreements, currently set until 2024, she said.

Senator Brian Stack announces Assembly running mates: Carmelo Garcia and Raj Mukherji; Bhalla running as well

State Senator and Union City Mayor Brian P. Stack unveiled his running mates last week to represent the 33rd Legislative District – including Union City, parts of Jersey City, Hoboken, and Weehawken – in the New Jersey Legislature. The State Assembly candidates running on the Stack ticket will be Hoboken Housing Authority Executive Director Carmelo G. Garcia and Jersey City Deputy Mayor and Housing Authority Chairman Raj Mukherji.

Having received the backing of Hudson County Democratic Chairman Mark Smith and the Hudson County Democratic Organization, all three candidates will run on the HCDO line in the June primary election.

“Deputy Mayor Mukherji’s leadership has resulted in tremendous progress at the Jersey City Housing Authority. He is also a former technology CEO and U.S. Marine reservist who brings to the table a law degree and an Ivy League Master’s degree. It’s worth noting that Raj started two successful companies as a young adult, demonstrating an understanding of the business world,” said Stack. “Despite Raj’s young age, I am confident that his energy, experiences, and talents will serve the residents of the district well.”

“Hoboken Housing Authority Director Carmelo Garcia is a visionary leader who continues to enhance the local quality of life for local residents. Carmelo was the youngest elected school board member in Hoboken, the first ethnic minority to serve as the city’s Director of Health and Human Services, and the first Latino Executive Director who is a product of the Hoboken Housing Authority.” Stack added, “His drive and commitment make him a welcome addition to our ticket.”

Garcia said last week that he plans to keep his job as Hoboken Housing Authority executive director. “I would not commit [to Assembly] unless I knew it would not conflict with my job as executive director,” he said.

Due to a 2012 amendment known as the Hatch Act Modernization Act of 2012, someone can still run for a public partisan office as long as their salary is not 100 percent federally funded, Garcia said. Garcia said his job is not 100 percent federally funded.

Meanwhile, Hoboken Councilman Ravinder Bhalla announced Tuesday that he has filed to run for Assembly as well. The Democratic primary will be held in June. However, Bhalla said in a release that he has not yet made a final decision to seek the Democratic nomination. If he does, he will have an uphill battle to get the nomination, since he’ll be running against the Stack candidates.

“At this time I have not made a final decision to seek the Democratic nomination. Over the next several weeks I will be speaking to residents of the 33rd Legislative District about their concerns and based on those conversations I will decide whether or not to run in this year’s primary election," Bhalla said in a press release

Community meeting scheduled for Western parks acquisition

All members of the community are invited to attend a meeting on Monday, April 8 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Connors School, 201 Monroe St., on parks acquisition in Western Hoboken.

Mayor Zimmer will answer questions and provide updates on the status of acquiring land for parks envisioned in the City’s Open Space Plan: a Southwest Park at Jackson Street and Newark Street, a park at Seventh and Jackson St. (known as the Pino site), and a park at the 6-acre BASF site at Eleventh and Madison St. (formerly known as the Henkel/Cognis site).

The meeting previously scheduled for April 2 on the Southwest Park is being combined with the meeting scheduled for April 8.

Senior bingo moved, Atlantic City scheduled

After many senior citizens piled into City Hall recently to complain about the delay of the Multi-Service Center bingo, the city has moved bingo services to a new location and coordinated a trip to Atlantic City. Senior bingo and social activities will be relocated from the Elks Lodge and expanded as of April 8 through June 30, the city said last week.

Activities will be held Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 220 Adams St. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 221 Jackson Street (times to be announced).

A bus ride to Showboat Casino in Atlantic City will be held on Tuesday, April 16. The bus will leave the Multi-Service Center at 10 a.m. The cost is $25.

Superintendent Toback responds to out-of-state job hunt

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mark Toback said Wednesday that he “explored another option but decided not to pursue it,” in response to two articles in a Manchester, New Hampshire newspaper that said he was up for a superintendent job there.

Toback has been the superintendent of schools in Hoboken since early 2011. Two articles in the New Hampshire publication UnionLeader.com said that Toback was among three final candidates being considered for a job; one interview was at a community forum of over 100 attendees. A follow-up article then said that Toback withdrew his candidacy without giving a reason.

Toback said Wednesday that the Hoboken Board of Education was aware of his candidacy. “I was upfront, it was no surprise for them,” said Toback.

Board member Jean Marie Mitchell told the Reporter that she presumed the issue at the forefront for Toback was the New Jersey budget cap for superintendents. Toback confirmed this was a factor.

“The whole issue of salary caps is on the minds of anyone who is working in the state of New Jersey as a superintendent,” said Toback. “The people who you supervise could be making as much as you are making, or even more.”

Toback said that opportunities open often up nationally for superintendents and that this was one opportunity he explored but decided not to ultimately pursue.

According to the original article, Toback said the following of Hoboken, "Nobody wins if the superintendent walks. But there are things that can be done well in advance [of problems developing]. Right now, the district is engaged in a strategic planning process." He was referring to the school board process to establish long-range goals for the district.

However, an article the following day said, “Mark Toback, superintendent of schools in Hoboken, N.J., said he withdrew his name from consideration Tuesday evening before the school board interviewed him. Toback, who said Manchester treated him fairly, declined to give a reason. ‘That's something I prefer to keep confidential, personal,’ Toback said in a phone interview from Hoboken.”

Junior Planning Day at Hoboken High School

Hoboken High School will hold its 10th Annual Junior Prep Day on Thursday, April 25. Approximately 120 juniors will sign up for workshops and panels and they will have completed a resume and career interest assessment.

Volunteer registration is being held now until Friday, April 19. No walk-ins will be allowed to volunteer on the day of the event. If you wish to volunteer for the event, you can email cdelia@hoboken.k12.nj.us and include your name, profession, address, name of business, phone, email and preference of panel or workshop(s). The Junior Prep Day opens with a registration and breakfast at 8 a.m. and workshops are scheduled to run until 2:50 p.m. with a lunch in the middle.

Students have been instructed to dress as if they were going on a job interview and both Resume Review and First Impression workshops are required for all students.

Mobile fashion truck to launch

A mobile fashion boutique, Nomad, is set to hit the road and roll up its doors outside of the Village Pourhouse, 205 First St., for a grand opening celebration on Saturday, April 13. The launch party will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will offer drink specials.

Nomad is a fully functioning boutique on wheels that operates out of the back of a 24’ long renovated stepvan with roughly 100 square feet of shopping space. The rear door rolls up, steps are attached, and it’s transformed into a boutique adorned with racks of trendy ladies’ fashions, accessories, and jewelry. Nomad showcases the work of local designers and artisans, and offers a wide selection of handmade merchandise.

The carefully curated mobile fashion boutique offers ladies’ fashions for under $100. The inventory is handpicked by Jessie Goldenberg, founder and CEO, who established Nomad after observing the overwhelming success of the food truck industry and the growing trend of pop-up shops.

“I want to build a (mobile) place where my customers - young, creative women - can have fun shopping without breaking the bank,” says Goldenberg, “A place that is convenient and affordable, inspiring and intimate. And of course there should be good music.”

For more information, or to book a private event with the truck, visit www.thenomadtruck.com.

Hoboken Dual Language Charter School to host ‘Sabor De Hola’

Hoboken Dual Language Charter School (HoLa) is set to host its third annual flagship fundraising event on Tuesday, April 16 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., at The Chart House in Weehawken. Many local businesses have committed support to assist HoLa in raising the funds necessary to build classrooms to accommodate the fifth Grade for next year.

The Sabor de HoLa will bring both HoLa families and the extended local community together to enjoy many local Spanish and Latin American flavors. The evening will consist of restaurants showcasing sample portions of their famous dishes and desserts.

Participating restaurants, businesses and sponsors include: 10th and Willow Bar and Grill, Biggies Clam Bar, BuyRite, Carmencita’s Flans, Christopher Street Cookies, Federal Wine and Liquor, Ganache, Green Rock Tap and Grill, Hudson Cakery, Johnny Pepperoni, Karma Kafe, La Bodeguita Del Medio, Luca Brasi’s, My Mom’s Desserts, Nanking, Room 84, Sushi House or Hoboken, Taco Truck, Teak on the Hudson, Terato Wines International, TGIC Importers, The Cuban, The Dining Room at Anthony David’s, The Fig Tree, The Hoboken Gourmet Company, The Little Grocery, The Madison Bar and Grill, The Village Pourhouse, Torico’s Ice Cream, and Whole Foods Market.

Event sponsors include Boutique Realty, Liberty Realty, Tarrytown Honda, Minervini Vandemark.

In addition to the food tastings, attendees are invited to participate in the silent auction, live auction, raffle drawing and enjoy music and entertainment by Tim Nelson, Mile Square Events. Tickets for the Sabor de HoLa are $100 per person and are available on the school’s website www.holahoboken.org or can be purchased at the door. For more information, contact Staci Manoukian or Jennifer Staltaro at sabor@holahoboken.org.

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April 07, 2013
As is often the case, Toback is being disingenuous here, if not outright dishonest. According to the story in the Manchester paper, the school board did interview him. He withdrew just hours before the board vote on the candidates. He went through the entire process except the actual vote, even forcing a one-day postponement of the public hearing on the Hoboken school budget so he could be interviewed in Manchester on that Tuesday--an interview he denies happens.

Also, Toback once again makes it clear that he hates any effort to rein in the state's out-of-control school spending, especially in Hoboken. Before he even started as super here, he allowed the Kids First-controlled school board to sue the state so he could avoid Gov. Christie's cap on superintendents' pay. But he lost that grab for more money. To this day, though, he never misses a chance to take a shot at the cap, as he does in this article. He just hates the idea of any limits on the outlandish pay of supers, which is tens of thousands of dollars a year more than anything they would earn in the private sector. But in this case, his knock against fiscal responsibility is completely gratuitous--the old Manchester super earned less than Toback gets in Hoboken, and the new super would probably start as a lower level. He just wanted to knock the cap when he had a chance even though it was not an issue in this case. Toback is still bugged by a sensible NJ state policy intended to rein in the greed of superintendents and other education bureaucrats who already have a nice racket going by rigging the rules of who's allowed to be a super by law and who's not.