Thursday, December 31, 2009

Council Meetings

I saw the video of today's continuation of the 12/22 council meeting and I am still shaking my head about what went on. Please, we need more people to come to council meetings - next one is 1/5/10 - COW @ 6:30, Council @ 8:00 - the insanity has to stop. If we don't hold them accountable, who knows what kind of mess we'll find ourselves in. And we will be the ones footing the bill for their foolishness.

In my opinion, the Mayor is out of control. Power has gone to his head.

Anyone who disagrees with him, or is friends with the new councilman, has a political motive whenever they question the council, at least according to the mayor. That is not always the case. Even if it were true, wasn't it politics that got him elected? Now he doesn't like politics? Going must be getting rough.

Just because the press was there, he accused a citizen of making remarks and asking questions just because the press was there. This woman has asked questions of the council for months - press or no press.

Then the Mayor tried to tell this citizen that she had not actually asked any questions - I believe he told her "You thought you did", or words to that effect. The video will have the exact wording. And when the council woman wanted to answer one of the questions (that the mayor said wasn't asked) the mayor denied her permission to do so. What?!!??

According to Marlin's Rules it seems that questions are only questions if he thinks they deserve an answer and council members are not permitted to speak without asking for his permission. This is insane!

Please get yourself to a council meeting and stop this train wreck.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Suits Just Keep Coming

Hackensack police chief named in another lawsuit
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Last updated: Thursday December 24, 2009, 8:50 PM
BY PETER J. SAMPSON
The Record
STAFF WRITER
10 Comments Embattled Hackensack Police Chief Ken Zisa has been named in yet another lawsuit, the fourth this year by members of his department, on charges of scheming to extort political contributions and votes, and retaliating against officers who fail to do his bidding.
Three new plaintiffs – Officers Allen Borntrager of Midland Park, Frank Cavallo of Hackensack and Rocco Duardo of Saddle Brook – joined two of the officers who filed complaints last summer – Lt. Vincent Riotto of Hackensack and Sgt. Scott Sybel of River Edge – in the latest suit in U.S. District Court in Newark.
The 22-page complaint, which was filed electronically late Wednesday, mirrors the allegations previously raised against the chief and a cadre of allied officers.
“As long as Zisa and his cronies continue to harass and retaliate against my clients for exercising their First Amendment rights, I will continue to bring lawsuits … to defend their rights,” said Mark B. Frost, a Philadelphia attorney who is now representing nine current and former officers in two federal suits against the chief and the city.
The latest complaint alleges that the officers are being harassed and brought up on false charges because of their involvement in or association with plaintiffs in the earlier lawsuits, Frost said today. Thirteen officers are now suing the chief in federal and state court.
Cavallo’s cousin Ralph, and Duardo’s brother, Anthony, were among six plaintiffs, including Sybel and Riotto, who sued the chief, the city and a handful of officers on June 24 alleging civil rights and racketeering violations.
Borntrager, the 100-member department’s lead firearms instructor, claims he was punished for failing to wear his hat – his only instance of discipline in 14 years. That punishment, he alleges, was retaliation for associating with Sybel, his supervisor, and other officers suing the chief and for his unwillingness to donate funds to Zisa and his candidates.
In the two suits filed by Frost and co-counsel John J. Zidziunas of Jersey City, the chief is accused of using his office for financial and political gain by “extorting” money from the ranks of his department to support his candidacy in state Assembly races, as well as candidates for other public and union offices.
Zisa, who was appointed chief in 1995 by his brother, former Mayor Jack Zisa, and served as a state assemblyman from 1994 to 2002, has denied any abuse of office and suggested the allegations were politically motivated attacks by disgruntled officers.
Asked for comment today, Zisa said, “Sounds to me like the same bogus allegations.”
City officials declined to comment, but Stephen Lo Iacono, the city manager, noted the cost of defending any litigation is always a concern.
“Especially in the environment that we are in,” he said. “And again, where these lawsuits are coming from, is an additional concern, and it’s something that we have to deal with.”
The other defendants in the new suit are Captains Thomas Salcedo and Danilo Garcia and Sgt. James Smith. They did not return a message seeking comment.
During the 2008 election for state union delegate, the suit alleges, one captain strode around police headquarters with a sign on his back telegraphing the chief’s favored candidate while a sergeant guarded the ballot box, demanding to see how each officer voted and recording the names of those who refused to divulge their ballot.
Officers were warned that failing to disclose their ballot would be considered a vote against the chief and a show of disloyalty, the suit said.
In other claims, Cavallo said he suffered retaliation from Zisa and Smith after reporting Smith for allegedly making derogatory racial remarks and using excessive force against a Hispanic suspect in an alleged burglary attempt. Cavallo was brought up on charges of using improper tactics, but the allegations were later found to be unwarranted, the suit said.
Duardo claims he was falsely accused of leaving his shift early and subjected to an internal affairs investigation and verbal reprimand by Zisa because of his brother’s participation in the earlier suit. Duardo also alleges he was wrongly brought up on charges of insubordination and lying by Smith.
Riotto and Sybel both cite instances of alleged retaliation in which they were ordered by Salcedo to list medications they use and to provide urine samples, in violation of federal law and state attorney general’s guidelines. The tests came back negative, the suit said.
Sybel also alleges he was wrongly suspended for two days for failing to write up Borntrager for removing his hat when he was sick and had difficulty hearing, according to the suit.
After filing suit in June, Sybel was transferred from patrol to the housing division — “a less desirable position that is used as punishment” — and ordered to work a 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift, in a move designed to take time away from his family and other activities, the suit said. He also claims he has been given fewer opportunities to work on special overtime details.
The two-count suit accuses the defendants of violating the officers’ right to free speech and association and alleges city policies and customs encouraged the chief to believe he could violate his officers’ rights with impunity.
The suit seeks an order enjoining the city from continuing such practices as well as unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
Staff writer Monsy Alvarado contributed to this article. E-mail:sampson@northjersey.com
Page 1 2 >>
Embattled Hackensack Police Chief Ken Zisa has been named in yet another lawsuit, the fourth this year by members of his department, on charges of scheming to extort political contributions and votes, and retaliating against officers who fail to do his bidding.

Three new plaintiffs – Officers Allen Borntrager of Midland Park, Frank Cavallo of Hackensack and Rocco Duardo of Saddle Brook – joined two of the officers who filed complaints last summer – Lt. Vincent Riotto of Hackensack and Sgt. Scott Sybel of River Edge – in the latest suit in U.S. District Court in Newark.

The 22-page complaint, which was filed electronically late Wednesday, mirrors the allegations previously raised against the chief and a cadre of allied officers.

“As long as Zisa and his cronies continue to harass and retaliate against my clients for exercising their First Amendment rights, I will continue to bring lawsuits … to defend their rights,” said Mark B. Frost, a Philadelphia attorney who is now representing nine current and former officers in two federal suits against the chief and the city.

The latest complaint alleges that the officers are being harassed and brought up on false charges because of their involvement in or association with plaintiffs in the earlier lawsuits, Frost said today. Thirteen officers are now suing the chief in federal and state court.

Cavallo’s cousin Ralph, and Duardo’s brother, Anthony, were among six plaintiffs, including Sybel and Riotto, who sued the chief, the city and a handful of officers on June 24 alleging civil rights and racketeering violations.

Borntrager, the 100-member department’s lead firearms instructor, claims he was punished for failing to wear his hat – his only instance of discipline in 14 years. That punishment, he alleges, was retaliation for associating with Sybel, his supervisor, and other officers suing the chief and for his unwillingness to donate funds to Zisa and his candidates.

In the two suits filed by Frost and co-counsel John J. Zidziunas of Jersey City, the chief is accused of using his office for financial and political gain by “extorting” money from the ranks of his department to support his candidacy in state Assembly races, as well as candidates for other public and union offices.

Zisa, who was appointed chief in 1995 by his brother, former Mayor Jack Zisa, and served as a state assemblyman from 1994 to 2002, has denied any abuse of office and suggested the allegations were politically motivated attacks by disgruntled officers.

Asked for comment today, Zisa said, “Sounds to me like the same bogus allegations.”

City officials declined to comment, but Stephen Lo Iacono, the city manager, noted the cost of defending any litigation is always a concern.

“Especially in the environment that we are in,” he said. “And again, where these lawsuits are coming from, is an additional concern, and it’s something that we have to deal with.”

The other defendants in the new suit are Captains Thomas Salcedo and Danilo Garcia and Sgt. James Smith. They did not return a message seeking comment.

During the 2008 election for state union delegate, the suit alleges, one captain strode around police headquarters with a sign on his back telegraphing the chief’s favored candidate while a sergeant guarded the ballot box, demanding to see how each officer voted and recording the names of those who refused to divulge their ballot.

Officers were warned that failing to disclose their ballot would be considered a vote against the chief and a show of disloyalty, the suit said.

In other claims, Cavallo said he suffered retaliation from Zisa and Smith after reporting Smith for allegedly making derogatory racial remarks and using excessive force against a Hispanic suspect in an alleged burglary attempt. Cavallo was brought up on charges of using improper tactics, but the allegations were later found to be unwarranted, the suit said.

Duardo claims he was falsely accused of leaving his shift early and subjected to an internal affairs investigation and verbal reprimand by Zisa because of his brother’s participation in the earlier suit. Duardo also alleges he was wrongly brought up on charges of insubordination and lying by Smith.

Riotto and Sybel both cite instances of alleged retaliation in which they were ordered by Salcedo to list medications they use and to provide urine samples, in violation of federal law and state attorney general’s guidelines. The tests came back negative, the suit said.

Sybel also alleges he was wrongly suspended for two days for failing to write up Borntrager for removing his hat when he was sick and had difficulty hearing, according to the suit.

After filing suit in June, Sybel was transferred from patrol to the housing division — “a less desirable position that is used as punishment” — and ordered to work a 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift, in a move designed to take time away from his family and other activities, the suit said. He also claims he has been given fewer opportunities to work on special overtime details.

The two-count suit accuses the defendants of violating the officers’ right to free speech and association and alleges city policies and customs encouraged the chief to believe he could violate his officers’ rights with impunity.

The suit seeks an order enjoining the city from continuing such practices as well as unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Staff writer Monsy Alvarado contributed to this article. E-mail:sampson@northjersey.com

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Cultural Arts Center

If the City buys the old Masonic Temple to use as the new Cultural Arts Center, are they going to sell the old center to pay off the bonds they are planning to float for the purchase?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

More News That Involves Hackensack

Seems that questionable ethics issues usually have a Hackensack link. Maybe the firm that recommended changes at HUMC could come in and give our City Departments some suggestions.

http://www.northjersey.com/recap/121509_Top_Bergen_County_detective_moonlighted_for_Hackensack_University_Medical_Center.html

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hackensack in The News

Several articles today about Hackensack - busy, busy, busy

EMT's - Ironic how City Manager says mutual aid is one of the reasons this is working out "very well". Isn't the fact that mutual aid was not figured into the numbers the reason he said we went over the cap? Spin, Spin, Spin
http://www.northjersey.com/news/79032267.html

Officer Ferraioli's article
http://www.northjersey.com/news/79030552.html

Officer Ferraioli's Internal Affairs Hearing
http://www.northjersey.com/news/121009_Officer_denied_ability_to_talk_to_attorney_while_handing_over_home_computer.html

Sorry, missed this one in original post. Way to go HFD!
http://www.northjersey.com/news/79030822.html

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

12/7 & 12/8 meetings

No video of COW meeting available. Wish there was because there were a couple of issues of interest.

If I get the Council video it will be posted here. The actual business was rather mundane. But it is apparent that they all need to get thicker skin. One of the council members complained that when he was elected he didn't expect the "verbal abuse" from the public and doesn't like it. That's life in big city politics. If you don't like it, resign. Also, after the meeting was over and the public video taping was done, the city clerk was yelling about freedom of speech. Priceless! Wish that was on video.

It's interesting to note that it seems they all are very cognizant of the public taping of these meetings, especially the city clerk. To the best of my knowledge, the city clerk should not address a citizen during the public portion, unless she is specifically asked a question , or, in the case of Hackensack meetings, has the mayor's permission. She jumped down some one's throat about what supposedly happened at the COW. She apparently took offense at something that was said during that meeting.

It seems that at the COW a resident who is very vocal got under their skin. They consider him rude and disruptive. He may not have the best people skills, but neither do they. They really should look in the mirror. When this person said he's on medication, the city attorney thought it was appropriate to say "Apparently not enough". And then he wanted it put on the record that this person needs more medication. What the ... Also when this person was told his 5 minute time was up, he said "A lot of peoples' time is up". One council member apparently took that as a threat and asked that it be put on the record, except he twisted the words. Someone should really should check the minutes of that meeting and see what exactly is on the record.

A small item of interest at the COW is that the "routine" renewal of Bergen Risk as third party administrator was scheduled to be on the 12/8 Council Agenda. Apparently the city attorney had second thoughts about this and informed the city manager that it needed to be advertised on the website. Which it now is, at http://www.hackensack.org/controls/eventview.aspx?MODE=SINGLE&ID=480 BUT with a 12/1 date. Guess it wasn't so routine. Wonder what made them do it correctly this time and why they back dated the notice.

Also at the COW a council member specifically asked that research be done regarding a particular person's attendance at all meetings - whether it be to ban him or have extra security is not clear. And she asked what other meetings he goes to. Apparently, he was in the vicinity of the Shade Tree meeting and someone reported to the council that they were supposedly scared by him. It seems that a family member of one of our leaders is on that board and possibly she is the one who made that request. Sure, have the city attorney research that ... we'll see how that ends up.

Why does this matter? Because if they can target him, they can target any one of us that they do not like. How would you like to have special security at every meeting you attend? Do you want to have to pay for the city attorney to research this and for the special security?

To be clear, I am not saying that this person has model behavior - but he does not appear to be a physical threat to anyone. There are options other than to ban him from meetings or follow him around and antagonize him. Doesn't our council (and our police dept) have anything better to be concerned about?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

2010 Council Meetings

Starting in January the Committee of the Whole and Council Meeting will be on the same night - Tuesdays at 6:30 & 8:00. Make one of your Resolutions for 2010 to attend more City meetings.

The schedule is available on the City website
http://www.hackensack.org/filestorage/43/94/2010_Meeting_schedule.doc

Friday, December 4, 2009

Zisa Speaks Out

This was in Hackensack Chronicle today.

http://www.northjersey.com/news/78493717.html?c=y&page=2

Kudos to Mark Bonamo for getting the interview.

With regard to the pending internal affiars matter:
"It really doesn’t matter whether or not the guidelines are formally adopted," said Zisa. "What matters is the conduct of the officer, and the way that the investigation was handled by the department."

Any thoughts on this quote, or anything else in the article?


And on a related matter

Cop is denied subpoenas
Saturday, December 5, 2009
BY MONSY ALVARADO
The Record
STAFF WRITER
0 Comments HACKENSACK — City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono ruled this week that he will not issue subpoenas for an ongoing policeman's disciplinary hearing that were requested by the officer's attorney.
In his ruling, Lo Iacono, who is serving as the hearing officer in the proceedings, said he could not issue the subpoenas because he needed more information about the subject of the witnesses' testimony. He said that without the information, it would be "impossible to evaluate whether such testimony is relevant, privileged, or in any other way improper."
Patrick Toscano, who is representing Officer Anthony Ferraioli, said the ruling shows the city manager is not being impartial. He has requested that Lo Iacono recuse himself as the hearing officer.
"There is no doubt on this end that no matter what the evidence reveals, you will rule against my client,'' Toscano wrote in a letter addressed to Lo Iacono. "Your latest ruling denying my request to subpoena and produce witnesses who will undoubtedly clear my client of all of these specious charges is a vagrant disregard for his procedural and substantive due process rights."
Lo Iacono, who has an attorney advising him on the proceedings, declined to comment Friday, saying he cannot speak about the hearing.
Toscano wanted Lo Iacono to issue a dozen subpoenas calling witnesses to either testify or produce documents or videotapes for the hearing.
Ferraioli, who is suspended with pay, is accused of posing as an internal affairs captain in an online forum. Chief Ken Zisa, who is among those Toscano wants to subpoena, has filed several administrative charges against Ferraioli. The officer could lose his job if he is found guilty.
During the first day of hearings, Toscano said it was Ferraioli's girlfriend who was responsible for the postings, and that the case should be dismissed.
The subpoena issue dates back to September, when Toscano sent the subpoenas. But Philip George, the counsel representing the Hackensack Police Department in the matter, objected to the subpoenas, saying they were improperly issued and sought irrelevant information. Last month, Lo Iacono quashed the subpoenas, writing in his opinion that Toscano lacked the authority to issue them, and that only the hearing officer can send them in such cases.
The decision prompted Toscano to ask Lo Iacono to serve the subpoenas.
This is the second time that Toscano has asked Lo Iacono to withdraw from hearing the case. In September, Toscano argued that Lo Iacono was in conflict because as city manager he has a working relationship with Zisa. But Lo Iacono denied the motion, telling Toscano he would be fair.
Ferraioli's disciplinary hearing is scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. on Thursday.
E-mail: alvarado@northjersey.com
HACKENSACK — City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono ruled this week that he will not issue subpoenas for an ongoing policeman's disciplinary hearing that were requested by the officer's attorney.

In his ruling, Lo Iacono, who is serving as the hearing officer in the proceedings, said he could not issue the subpoenas because he needed more information about the subject of the witnesses' testimony. He said that without the information, it would be "impossible to evaluate whether such testimony is relevant, privileged, or in any other way improper."

Patrick Toscano, who is representing Officer Anthony Ferraioli, said the ruling shows the city manager is not being impartial. He has requested that Lo Iacono recuse himself as the hearing officer.

"There is no doubt on this end that no matter what the evidence reveals, you will rule against my client,'' Toscano wrote in a letter addressed to Lo Iacono. "Your latest ruling denying my request to subpoena and produce witnesses who will undoubtedly clear my client of all of these specious charges is a vagrant disregard for his procedural and substantive due process rights."

Lo Iacono, who has an attorney advising him on the proceedings, declined to comment Friday, saying he cannot speak about the hearing.

Toscano wanted Lo Iacono to issue a dozen subpoenas calling witnesses to either testify or produce documents or videotapes for the hearing.

Ferraioli, who is suspended with pay, is accused of posing as an internal affairs captain in an online forum. Chief Ken Zisa, who is among those Toscano wants to subpoena, has filed several administrative charges against Ferraioli. The officer could lose his job if he is found guilty.

During the first day of hearings, Toscano said it was Ferraioli's girlfriend who was responsible for the postings, and that the case should be dismissed.

The subpoena issue dates back to September, when Toscano sent the subpoenas. But Philip George, the counsel representing the Hackensack Police Department in the matter, objected to the subpoenas, saying they were improperly issued and sought irrelevant information. Last month, Lo Iacono quashed the subpoenas, writing in his opinion that Toscano lacked the authority to issue them, and that only the hearing officer can send them in such cases.

The decision prompted Toscano to ask Lo Iacono to serve the subpoenas.

This is the second time that Toscano has asked Lo Iacono to withdraw from hearing the case. In September, Toscano argued that Lo Iacono was in conflict because as city manager he has a working relationship with Zisa. But Lo Iacono denied the motion, telling Toscano he would be fair.

Ferraioli's disciplinary hearing is scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. on Thursday.

E-mail: alvarado@northjersey.com

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Odds & Ends ... and maybe some rambling

Fox 5 is supposed to do Part II. Don't know when. I've heard that the City is upset that the media got a hold of the tape and is taking action involving the television station. Don't know if that's true. But it seems to me that the citizens would be better served if the City took some action regarding what was heard on the tape rather than how the media got the tape. Kind of like shooting the messenger.

Also heard that more subpoenas are being issued - for what and who I don't know. But, I do know that citizens will be footing the bill for any additional attorneys that are hired. And those attorneys should be looking out for the best interests of the citizens of Hackensack, not necessarily for the individual who has been served.

According to the County Seat there are "Nearly 1,000 New Hospital Parking Spots" in the new garage. Well that's one way not to get pinned down to a number. Are there 1,000, 700, or 900 - what's the best guess today? The reason it matters is that the formula for determining the air rights fee is based on the number of parking spaces. The City is not getting taxes for this property because the hospital is running it, not a 3rd party. So, the air rights are in lieu of taxes. We should be getting both!

The way the County Seat article on the 2nd Ward Town Hall meeting reads, I'd think the reporter was at a different meeting. If you'll notice, 3/4 of the article is about what the City reps had to say and only 1/4 is devoted to the citizens' issues. It also says "These were addressed by the council and Zisa". If by "addressed" it is meant that a non-answer was given, then yes they were addressed. But to me addressed means that a solution was arrived at, or it was promised that it will be. No answers, no solutions. Same old song and dance.

By the way, as I recall, it was Citizens For Change that pledged to address issues within each Ward, not the 4 incumbs.

Christmas Tree Lighting (I don't have to call it a "Holiday Tree" do I?) is Monday, December 7th at 5:30 pm at Courthouse Green.

Restaurant Week starts Friday, December 4th - check uppermain.org for participating restaurants. There will be a Trolley on Main (might just take the free ride)

COW follows tree lighting ceremony on 12/7
Council Meeting 12/8

Happy shopping to all!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Really?

In today's Chronicle article City Manager says that residents weren't really using the parking spaces on Prospect. Really? So the 2 handicapped women who were at the meeting and told you that they use those spots were lying? Come on Mr. LoIacono, you can't really mean that.

How about the FACT that the Developer's Agreement with the hospital was never once mentioned by the Council or City Manager at the meeting when this was voted upon?

Or this quote from Mr. LoIacono -"This is a decision that is entirely based on safety and traffic". That would be untrue, in my opinion, when the genesis for this decision was a Developer's Agreement, not a traffic study.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

2nd Ward Town Hall Meeting

There were nice presentations from Health Dept (get your flu shot), Boys' & Girls' Club (programs for kids), Recreation Dept (expanding adult/senior programs), Police Dept (volunteer for programs), about rehab of Polifly Park and USDA rep about goose problems.

Questions were varied - briefly, they were:

Illegal (basement) apartments - call building department

Stony Hill hotel - no details yet. Owner is negotiating with chains. Nothing to report.

Recycling electronics - senior citizens should call DPW to pick up for free.

Traffic coming off Summit onto side streets - hopefully will be looked into.

Waive permit fee for sidewalk repair violations - probably not

Will mayor's chair rotate again - probably

Commercial vehicles parked in residential area - call Chief if police don't respond

Taxes - "economy of scales" (can someone tell me what that means?)

No comment on Fox 5 report except - lawsuits are without merit & "vigourously defending", there is no policy regarding civilians in police vehicles - it is not discouraged, suing police department is growing trend

Parking on Prospect between Essex & Atlantic - residents can register to get a parking sticker (didn't Mayor say no stickers at last council meeting - it's on the tape) to park for free from 6pm to 8am in the garage. If you're home during any other hours, guess you're out of luck. If you want a dedicated space 24/7, you can get a monthly spot for $25/mo. Residents should be getting a letter in the mail.

Did I miss anything?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Fox 5 Report

This week Fox 5 aired an investigative report on Hackensack Police Department. The tape that was played was really disturbing to most people. Makes you wonder how many times things like this happen and the conversation was not recorded.

Police get suspended for things like using the wrong radio and other minor infractions. If there is not action taken regarding the Captain using a city vehicle to transport his child (in the front seat) and being dressed like he's going to play softball while driving the vehicle, then point proven regarding favoritism and retaliation. Let's see what, if anything, happens.

The video can be viewed here:

http://www.myfoxny.com/subindex/news/investigative Hackensack Shakedown?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

League of Municipalities is this week

So, if you notice little less activity around City Hall and other sites, that's why.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/11/more_than_20k_nj_lawmakers_exp.html

I think administration should give a full report on any workshops they attended and I hope that a few of them attended open government, public meetings or public records workshops if they were offered.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

November 10 Council Meeting

Because of the lenght of this week's meeting (2 1/2 hours) the video is in 5 posts. Read posts from bottom to top - use menu on the left to read in order. The video is in order from top to bottom within each post.

The video has to be cut & compressed to fit on this site. If someone has another site to post this on, please leave the info as a comment.

November 10 Council Meeting Part V

Public Comments cont.




video



video



Closing Remarks



video

November 10 Council Meeting Part IV

Consent Agenda Items (Res 396-09 thru 418-09)



396 Use of North Arlington Pistol Range

397 St Paul's Lodge Club License

398 Public Health Priority Funding

399 Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Grant

400 2010 State Health Services Grant

401 & 402 Edward Byrne Memorial Grants from Paramus

403 Community Dev Block Grant - Foschini Park

404 Tax Refunds

405 Green Acres Grant - 2nd Ward Park

406 NJ Transit Rail Line (opposition to current Passaic Bergen Light Rail Plan)

407 2007 Recycling Tonnage Grant

408 Esplanade Park Improvements (from HUMC $1mil)

409 Administrative Officers Contract - HPD

410 Lease of 155 Hudson St for satellite police station

411 Developer's Agreement - Denholtz 30 Woodridge Ave child care center

412 Sale at auction of 163 Liberty St

413 Agreement with MICCOM EMS Call Screening

414 No Further Action Letter Green Acres Johnson Park Riverwalk

415 Comm Dev Block Grant Applications

416 Individual Tax Interest Refund

417 Authorization for Issuance of Alcoholic Beverage Card

418 Area in need of Redevelopment 414 Hackensack Ave


Consent Agenda & Public Comments Part I

video

Public Comments & Air Rights

video

Public Comments & Air Rights

video

Public Comments & Air Rights

video

The rest of the public comments will be on the next post

November 10 Council Meeting Part III

No Parking on Prospect continued

There is a technical issue with the next part of the video. It will be posted when the issue is resolved. (It has been posted - last video on Part II) Video continues after that section.

At this part a grad student spoke but it was not on the parking ordinance

video

No Parking Comments continued

video video

Last section with regard to Prospect parking

video

First Readings to be voted on 12/8

Resolutions 387 & 388

387 - Permit required for Storage Containers

388 - Parking Meter Change to uniform amounts

video

Resolutions 389 thru 395

389 - Air Rights HUMC bridges

390 - $2,000,000 Sewer Repairs

$1,900,000 Bond

391 - Public Defender App Fee to $200

392 - Handicapped Parking Space 475 Colonial

393 - Handicapped Parking Space 230 Polifly

394 - Handicapped Parking Space 12 Frederick

395 - Payment of Bills

Current Fund $16,442,926.58

Grants 157.86

Payroll 266,684.76

Self Insurance 157,353.94

Public Parking 20,484.98

Capital 454,456.41

Trust Account 53,309.59

video

Saturday, November 14, 2009

November 10 Council Meeting Part II

More No Parking on Prospect - this is in several parts
Total for this ordinance was about an hour

video video video video video


video

continued on next post

November 10 Hackensack City Council Part I

This was a long meeting (2 1/2 hours) and I can't fit all the video on one post. The rest of the video will be posted tomorrow.

Meeting Opening

video

Arcadia Road Improvements

video

Arcadia Road comments

video


No Parking on Prospect
video
video

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Parking on Prospect

SEE CORRECTION*

Last night the City approved eliminating all parking on Prospect between Atlantic & Essex (vote was 4 to 1). This is despite the fact that the City has made no provisions for handicapped parking for the residents of the apartments and that they have not finalized the arrangements for resident parking. Are residents who live in those apartments going to have to pay to park at their own homes?

The reason given for this decision was "safety issues", although nobody presented a single shred of evidence as to what those safety issues might be - even when asked. And the council was asked many questions, for about an hour, and did not come up with satisfactory answers and sometimes the only response was just blank stares.

What was not said by the Mayor or City Manager is that last night they were merely putting a rubber stamp on the decision that was made over a year and half ago to eliminate the parking upon the issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy for the Cancer Center parking garage. It is in the Developer's Agreement that was signed in February 2008.

Further, there are going to be turn restrictions at the garage - right turn only. So the residents on Prospect will have to come from First or Second to turn into the garage. I believe, since the wording in the agreement is "provide for ingress and egress to the Parking Garage by right turn only" that all traffic leaving the garage will then be funnelled out onto Prospect. Yup, that's going to relieve traffic on that street.

It appears that all of this is only going to make it more difficult for the residents of those apartments. Why are they doing this?

This could be why. Also in the Developer's Agreement (page 3, paragraph 5 and page 4, paragraph 6) is wording that clearly states the City's intention to acquire 64 Prospect "(i)n order to accomplish the improvements at and in the vicinity of the intersection of Prospect Avenue and Atlantic Street". Basically it says that HUMC will try to acquire this property on its own. If it cannot do that, "the City agrees to issue an offer letter pursuant to the Eminent Domain Act and thereafter to utilize its power to acquire". At paragraph 6 it states "If the parcel is acquired by HUMC without the need for condemnation, the parcel shall be conveyed to the City for nominal consideration"
* CORRECTION - ONLY PART OF THE PROPERTY IS COVETED BY THE CITY, BUT WHICH PART? AGREEMENT DOES NOT SPECIFY.

Clearly, the reason for eliminating the parking is not as simple as a "safety issue". I guess it could be stretched to make that argument because all of the development by the hospital has created an unsafe residential environment. The real reason seems to be because the City entered into this agreement with HUMC and must abide by it - tenants be damned. Since the City provided no proof of any other reason, the wording of the Developer's Agreement is all I have to go on.

The fact that neither the Mayor nor City Manager (the only 2 permitted to speak according to Mayor's rules) mentioned this agreement as the reason for the ordinance makes me wonder if they even know this. If they do know it and did not state that when asked about it, well, in my opinion, that would be a lie of omission. Shame on you, Mr. Mayor & City Manager.

This is going to make it difficult for people who live there to find free parking and, as of right now, there is no provision for handicapped parking. But that seems to be the least of their problems because now the bigger question is, are the residents of 64 Prospect going to be forced out of their homes?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Meeting Reminders

Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting Monday November 9th


Council Meeting Tuesday November 10th - check the previous (Oct 20) meeting minutes to see if there are any proposed ordinances of interest to you. Even if there aren't come and speak for your 5 minutes at the public session.

These are the only meetings this month - be there if you can

ALSO - 2nd Ward meeting @ Hillers on 11/23

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The seeds of change have been planted

Now let's see who Christie appoints to key posts. Any idea who is being considered for Attorney General?

http://www.northjersey.com/news/governorsrace2009.html

And closer to home, Hackensack City officials should be thinking twice now that the Dem Freeholders were defeated. Congrats to John & Rob.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Aloia replaced in special services district

Tuesday, November 3, 2009
BY MICHAEL GARTLAND
The Record
STAFF WRITER

Embattled schools superintendent Robert Aloia will no longer serve as head of the Bergen County Special Services School District, according to Charles Grillo, president of the district’s board.
Howard Lerner, an assistant superintendent with both the county’s special services and technical districts, will replace Aloia as special services’ interim superintendent. Grillo said the special services board will vote formally to replace Aloia at its meeting Nov. 12.
“We can’t fire him, because we don’t have a contract with him,” Grillo said.
Aloia’s employment agreement is with the technical district, which has an inter-local agreement with the special services district, allowing them to share administrative costs.
One administration oversees both districts, but Aloia continues to act as the head of the technical district, which has hired an attorney to handle the termination of his employment there.
Aloia has been a subject of criticism since April for his handling of both districts’ finances, excessive travel and meal expenses and the purchase of two electron microscopes. Both school boards, the unions that represent teachers in the districts and County Executive Dennis McNerney all have called on him to resign. The state Department of Education is investigating the districts’ finances.
Aloia did not return a request for comment Tuesday.
Elyse Schifrien, co-president of the union that represents teachers in the special services district, said she did not have a problem with Lerner serving on an interim basis.
Lerner previously served as director of special services for Wayne schools. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
“I’m thrilled that they’ve replaced Robert with someone else,” Schifrien said.
E-mail: gartland@northjersey.com
Embattled schools superintendent Robert Aloia will no longer serve as head of the Bergen County Special Services School District, according to Charles Grillo, president of the district’s board.
Howard Lerner, an assistant superintendent with both the county’s special services and technical districts, will replace Aloia as special services’ interim superintendent. Grillo said the special services board will vote formally to replace Aloia at its meeting Nov. 12.
“We can’t fire him, because we don’t have a contract with him,” Grillo said.
Aloia’s employment agreement is with the technical district, which has an inter-local agreement with the special services district, allowing them to share administrative costs.
One administration oversees both districts, but Aloia continues to act as the head of the technical district, which has hired an attorney to handle the termination of his employment there.
Aloia has been a subject of criticism since April for his handling of both districts’ finances, excessive travel and meal expenses and the purchase of two electron microscopes. Both school boards, the unions that represent teachers in the districts and County Executive Dennis McNerney all have called on him to resign. The state Department of Education is investigating the districts’ finances.
Aloia did not return a request for comment Tuesday.
Elyse Schifrien, co-president of the union that represents teachers in the special services district, said she did not have a problem with Lerner serving on an interim basis.
Lerner previously served as director of special services for Wayne schools. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
“I’m thrilled that they’ve replaced Robert with someone else,” Schifrien said.
E-mail: gartland@northjersey.com

Monday, November 2, 2009

2nd Ward Meeting

Second Ward Neighbors Invited



The Hackensack City Council will host a town hall-style meeting of the city’s Second Ward at 7 p.m. on Monday, November 23 at the Fanny Hillers School, 56 Longview Avenue. All community concerns will be discussed and ample time will be devoted to citizens’ questions.



In addition to elected officials, the city manager as well as officials from the police, recreation and health department will be available to provide information. Representatives from the newly-established Boys and Girls Club of Lodi and Hackensack will attend. Light refreshments will be served.



For more information, contact the city manager’s office, 201-646-3900.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bergen County Freeholder Election

Herald News Editorial: Freeholder boards need more dissent
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Herald News



FORMER President RichardNixon made his political comeback by tapping into a new base — a group he once described as the "great silent majority," that is, a majority of Americans whose opinions were rarely heard or appreciated by the powers that be.
Over the past few years, the boards of freeholders in both Bergen and Passaic counties have formed their own great silent majorities. In fact, they are super majorities, composed entirely of Democrats, fairly elected by the people, but who because of their "great silent majority" of power, are rarely open about the way they conduct the people's business.
We believe it is time to break that code of silence. It is time for these boards to operate with more transparency. It is time to end the era of consent agendas, where a county's big decisions are conducted behind closed doors and then merely signed off on in the public arena by unanimous votes with no discussion. Taxpayers in these two counties pay some of the highest taxes in the land; at the very least they deserve county officials who are accountable and answerable for their actions.
The only way that can happen, as we see it, is for an end to one-party rule. It is time to crack open the "great silent majority" in both Bergen and Passaic counties.
In Bergen, two Republican challengers, John Driscoll and Robert Hermansen, have vowed to more closely scrutinize budgeting, and to at least slow the process of public spending. Their opponents, Democratic incumbents Julie O'Brien of Ramsey and Vernon Walton of Englewood, are part of the problem. An example is the recent travel and dining expenses of administrators in the Bergen County Technical and Special Services school districts. O'Brien and Walton sit on the vocational schools committee, which oversees the districts' spending.
In Passaic, the Republican challengers are Michael Marotta and Deborah Ciambrone of Wayne and Ed O'Connell of Wanaque. Like other taxpayers in the county, they have grown frustrated at the mismanagement of county budgeting, from the Preakness Health Care Center upgrade, which ended up costing more than twice its original $45 million budget estimate, to the loss, because of inaction, of a $1 million federal grant for renovation at Lambert Castle. Of the Democrats, only Freeholder Director Tahesha Way is an incumbent. Her running mates are Haledon Mayor Domenick Stampone and Evangeline Gomez of Hawthorne. Of the three, only Gomez shows any inclination that she would be willing to buck the status quo.
In the end though, we feel the freeholder boards in both counties need new blood, and especially, new and loud voices of dissent.
In Bergen County, The Herald News endorses Republicans John Driscoll and Robert Hermansen for freeholder. In Passaic County, The Herald News endorses Republicans Michael Marotta, Deborah Ciambrone and Ed O'Connell for freeholder.
***
In the race for Passaic County clerk, we find both candidates, Democrat Keith Kazmark and Republican Kristin Corrado, articulate and informed about an office that oversees many important functions of county government. We admire Kazmark's passion for public service and his eagerness to bring technical innovation to the office. But we feel that Corrado, given her legal experience across a wide spectrum, and in particular in regard to deeds, mortgages and wills, to be better qualified for the position.
The Herald News endorses Republican Kristin Corrado for Passaic County Clerk.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

October 20, 2009 Hackensack City Council

I'm not the most tech savy person, so it might be a little rough and it is out of order. But I am determined and I finally figured out how to post this. I'm still working on the process. I hope I didn't leave any parts out. I apoligize that it's out of order, but at least it's here.


Here is video of the 10/20 council meeting. There is an interesting part is at the end, so be sure to watch that one.




2nd section (first is below)
video

3rd part
video

4th part
video

Bill Brennan addresses the council
video


Last video - watch the end of this - after Councilman Labrosse speaks @ 14:50 the Mayor makes an inappropriate comment - unbelievable!

video


this 2nd part should also be after Bill Brennan
1st part below (the mic stopped working)

video

start of the meeting
video

1st part of above (should be after Brennan)
video