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Re: Photos of Hurricane Sandy
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Posted on: 2012/10/30 2:24

Re: Photos of Hurricane Sandy
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Posted on: 2012/10/30 2:01

Re: Photos of Hurricane Sandy
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Posted on: 2012/10/30 1:22

Photos of Hurricane Sandy
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Posted on: 2012/10/29 23:57

Re: Political Insider: Ward F special election will help measure Healy's chance for re-election
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One Jersey City Ward F candidate says unity, not crime, is top issue

By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal
October 25, 2012 at 4:14 PM

When voters in Jersey City’s Ward F head to the polls on Nov. 6 to select a representative on the City Council, among the choices will be at least one candidate who says crime is not his top issue.

Tyrone Ballon, 50, who ran unsuccessfully for the Ward F seat in 2009, said he believes crime is indeed an important issue for residents, but the first issue he plans to tackle, if elected, is disunity among the ward’s residents.

“One person can’t change Ward F,” Ballon told The Jersey Journal yesterday by phone. “The people must get together to change things.”

Ballon, a PATH train dispatcher who lives on Kearney Avenue with his wife, four children and granddaughter, said he hopes as councilman he would be able to bring together the various constituencies in the ward.

“The people seem to like the voice of an elected official,” he said. “When an elected official makes a cry out, an appeal . . . the people respond to it just by virtue of the person’s position.”

Ballon’s decision not to name crime as his top priority puts him at odds with the other contenders in the race, who say they would tackle public-safety issues first. But Ballon said with only seven months in office, the winner wouldn’t have time to address that problem.

Local nonprofit administrator Diane Coleman, anti-crime activist Debby Walker, and Ward F Councilwoman Michele Massey are duking it out with Ballon for the Ward F seat.

Massey was appointed in December 2011 to replace former Ward F councilwoman Viola Richardson, after Richardson won a similar special election last year to become a councilwoman at large.

Richardson’s Ward F term doesn’t expire until June 30, 2013, so the winner of this year’s special election will remain in the seat until then. ... candida.html#incart_river

Posted on: 2012/10/26 3:14

Re: Shouting match at Jersey City City Council meeting over expanding city's pay-to-play law
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Pay-to-play measure fails to advance after councilwoman changes vote two hours later

By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal
October 24, 2012 at 9:01 PM

Revisions to Jersey City’s pay-to-play law proposed by Ward E City Councilman Steve Fulop that were originally approved at tonight’s council meeting ultimately failed to advance when Ward F Councilwoman Michele Massey rescinded her support.

Massey was originally the deciding vote in favor of Fulop’s ordinance, which was competing with a similar measure proposed by Mayor Jerramiah Healy, Fulop’s political rival.

But two hours after Fulop’s measure was approved by one vote, Massey asked to take back her support, killing the measure for now.

The councilwoman’s decision led to a testy exchange between her and Fulop, who called Massey a “rubber stamp” for the Healy administration.

Healy appointed Massey to the Ward F seat last December, and supports her in a special election set for Nov. 6 that will determine whether she remains in the seat until July.

“Do not insult me,” Massey told Fulop. “You are so rude.”

“The last couple rubber stamps that were up here are no longer up here,” Fulop said, referring to two Healy allies who were voted off the council last November.

After Massey took back her vote, Fulop’s measure had support only from Fulop and council members David Donnelly, Rolando Lavarro and Nidia Lopez.

After the meeting, Massey said she had never intended to vote in favor of Fulop’s ordinance, which would restrict city vendors from contributing to candidates for the school board, the state Senate and the Assembly. Healy’s proposal, which the council approved unanimously tonight, would apply only to contributions to Board of Education candidates.

Massey, who arrived at the meeting about a half-hour late, just as the original vote for Fulop’s ordinance was wrapping up, said she rushed through the agenda because she was late and only later realized her error.

“I take full responsibility,” she said, adding she’d rather see Fulop’s measure “delayed” than adopted before her concerns are assuaged.

Fulop said he was “shocked” by her last-minute change-of-heart. He pledged to make some revisions and re-introduce it in three weeks.

Asked to comment on his use of the phrase “rubber stamp” to describe Massey, he said, “The track record is what the track record is.” ... ls_to_a.html#incart_river

Posted on: 2012/10/25 7:09

Fulop says city attorney's work for Healy campaign is a conflict
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Fulop says city attorney's work for Healy campaign is a conflict

Hudson Reporter
Oct 24, 2012

JERSEY CITY - The recent public dust-up between City Councilman and mayoral candidate Steven Fulop and Corporation Counsel William Matsikoudis may stem from political animosity related to the upcoming May 2013 mayoral race.

The two clashed recently during a City Council meeting, ostensibly over a recommendation to amend the city's pay to play law this week. But Fulop's dig on Matsikoudis, that he is "supposed to work for the mayor and council,"

left some people wondering whether there was a subtext to the argument.

Apparently, there is.

The Fulop camp has recently alleged that Matsikoudis - an ally of Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy, Fulop's opponent in the upcoming May 2013 mayoral race - is managing the Healy campaign.

Fulop and his allies point to the fact that Matsikoudis has been seen around town fielding potential City Council candidates for the Healy slate. He was, for instance, recently spotted with Deputy Mayor Kevin Lyons having a meeting with a possible Ward B candidate at a popular downtown restaurant.

And Matsikoudis reportedly held similar meetings with downtown activist Dan Levin. Team Healy recently announced that Levin will run on the mayor's ticket as his Ward E City Council candidate.

The Fulop camp has alleged that Matsikoudis is acting as the de facto campaign manager for Healy's campaign, a charge Matsikoudis denies.

"No I am not," Matsikoudis said when asked whether or not he is serving as Healy's campaign manager.

An advisor, only

Joshua Henne, spokesman for Healy's re-election campaign, said, "Bill Matsikoudis is a long-time trusted advisor who has been instrumental in so many of the ways Mayor Healy has made progress in Jersey City - from environmental cleanups and creating parks, to reducing crime and stabilizing taxes. Bill will continue to advise on putting together a campaign team as we move into 2013."

The difference between an "advisor" and a "campaign manager" might be slight and in name only. After all, recently listed Matsikoudis among the state's most influential people, precisely because of his leadership role on the Healy campaign.

But Fulop said the attorney's work for his rival's campaign colors his work for the city.

"Whether it's his support for the continuation of pay to play, his argument against a study of the police department, or his defense of the mayor's decision to give free cars to supporters, Bill's track record is consistent in working in the political interests of the mayor, and not the residents of the city. While the council has limited ability to remove him, my belief is that if Bill wants to work to reelect the mayor he should be on the payroll of the campaign, not the city."

(In the months leading up to the 2009 City Council and mayoral elections, the Healy camp tried to get Fulop to join the mayor's slate that year.

Matsikoudis was among the Healy emissaries who were dispatched to meet with and woo Fulop at that time.) Matthew Weng, staff attorney with the New Jersey League of Municipalities, said Tuesday that even if Matsikoudis is working for the Healy campaign that work does not constitute a conflict of interest - "so long as he is working on his own time and when he is supposed to be on the clock," Weng said.

Healy recently told the Reporter that he would be focused on the Nov. 6 election and would not be focusing on his re-election effort for May 2013 until after those elections had passed. A campaign manager and other campaign staff, he said, will not be announced until after the New Year. - E. Assata Wright ... te_lead_story_left_column

Posted on: 2012/10/25 7:04

Re: Political Insider: Ward F special election will help measure Healy's chance for re-election
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Political Insider: Jersey City's black pols have a lot to worry about

By Agustin C. Torres/The Jersey Journal
October 25, 2012 at 12:01 AM

The ruling black political leadership in Jersey City's Ward F has a big problem. It could be very close to losing its grip on the "black" ward seat on the City Council.

A special election for the post now held by Michele Massey is being held on Nov. 6. The other candidates are the Rev. Tyrone Ballon, anti-crime activist Debby Walker, and nonprofit social service agency founder Diane Coleman.

Massey was appointed to the council by Mayor Jerramiah Healy to fill a vacancy and the panel approved the choice in December. Although she was brought to the table by Councilwoman at large Viola Richardson, the previous Ward F council member, Massey gravitated to the Healy administration for support. Richardson is now the mentor scorned.

Unfortunately, Massey is on a listing Healy ship and she has only loose loyalty to the state Sen. Sandra Cunningham and Freeholder Jeff Dublin cartel. If Massey loses, it will be a blow to Healy, and a preview of his re-election chances. It also would give the appearance that Cunningham is losing influence in city government.
Which brings us to probably Massey's biggest rival, Coleman.

Word on the street is that the head of Building an Empire is working hard and effectively on her campaign. It helps to have assistance from folks who have ties to Healy's big rival, Downtown Councilman Steven Fulop.

The worry among black pols is that a Fulop victory in May, with the help of a sitting Councilwoman Coleman, might put an end to a number of patronage jobs in the Jersey City Incinerator Authority.

I expect that the black leadership, with political guru Joe Cardwell, may release the Kraken -- The Urban Times newspaper that is always dormant until it's needed for character assassination and endorsements.

Cardwell has returned from serving six months in federal prison for taking $10,000 in bribes in the state's largest sting operation in 2009. He probably still has about two months remaining in his six months of home confinement. He must have had "visitors" for deep confabs since his return and if The Urban Times is resurrected, don't expect to see Cardwell's name in it.

Urban Times or not, it appears the Ward F political status quo is in danger of a possible cracked foundation.

Update: right after writing this column last night, I received an email from Journal staff member Terence McDonald who was at the Jersey City council meeting. Massey came late to the City Council session and voted in favor of Fulop's version of a city pay to pay bill. Her's was the deciding vote. Now two hours later, she changed her mind and the Fulop version fails. The councilwoman has to keep checking her text messages, otherwise how can anyone run government? ... insider_jersey_citys.html

Posted on: 2012/10/25 7:00

Re: Shouting match at Jersey City City Council meeting over expanding city's pay-to-play law
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Jersey City council to take up competing revisions to pay-to-play ordinances

By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal
October 24, 2012

With two proposed revisions to Jersey City’s pay-to-play law on the agenda for tonight’s City Council meeting, council members are set to decide whether to follow the lead of Mayor Jerramiah Healy or his political rival, Ward E Councilman Steve Fulop.

Healy’s proposal entails one revision to the city’s four-year-old pay-to-play ordinance. Healy’s plan would bar the city from entering into contracts with vendors who contribute to city Board of Education candidates.

Fulop, meanwhile, has a much more expansive proposal that would prohibit city vendors from donating to campaigns of state Assembly or Senate candidates running in Jersey City districts.

Doing this, Fulop says, would restrict “wheeling,” the practice of donating to an aligned candidate to circumvent campaign-finance laws.

Fulop’s proposal would also bar vendors from contributing to political action committees, engaging in “get out the vote” drives or expressing support for any candidate in a city election.

At Monday’s council caucus, Healy’s council allies advocated for the mayor’s proposal, saying Fulop’s wide-ranging plan needs more investigation before possible adoption.

“Why don’t we just pass the less strict one, and (then) expand it?” asked Ward A Councilman Michael Sottolano.

Fulop urged the council to approve both measures, which are up for introduction at tonight’s council meeting, and give him three weeks to explain why his is the better plan. The measure would be up for adoption three weeks from today.
“If we are to do it, we should do it properly,” Fulop said.

The pay-to-play revisions were first proposed weeks ago by residents who are unhappy with a key Fulop donor winning a contract with the BOE in April, though neither measure set for a vote tonight would have prohibited that contract from being awarded.

Councilwoman at large Viola Richardson, a key vote, said she’s undecided on whether she’ll vote to introduce both measures or just the mayor’s.

Richardson noted that she’s inclined to vote with Healy this time around. Fulop’s plan to ban city vendors from contributing to state candidates may not be legal, she said. ... y_council_to_take_up.html

Posted on: 2012/10/24 23:13

Jersey City mayor's race, Fulop sitting on five times as much campaign cash as Healy
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In Jersey City mayor's race, Fulop sitting on five times as much campaign cash as Healy

By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal
October 22, 2012 at 1:02 PM

In the last three months, Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy and Ward E City Councilman Steve Fulop have each raised about $60,000 for the 2013 mayor's race, though Fulop has five times as much campaign cash on hand as Healy, according to campaign documents released today.

The documents show Fulop having raised $792,109 for his 2013 run, while his mayoral campaign is sitting on a war chest of nearly $500,000. Healy, hoping for a third full term, has raised $284,517, and has about $131,000 on hand, according to the records, filed with the state Election Law Enforcement Commission.

In a statement from his campaign, Fulop touted a high number of small donors, saying 60 percent gave $50 or less.

“Our fundraising is demonstrating exactly what our polling shows – that we have widespread grassroots support throughout Jersey City,” Fulop said. “Our message of restoring trust, confidence and a government structure that we can be proud of has clearly resonated with residents.”

Fulop's four council candidates, meanwhile, are sitting on an additional $228,872, putting the Fulop team's entire war chest at roughly $730,000.

The list of donors to Healy's camp is a who's-who of city officials, including the city's assistant business administrator, health director and tax assessor, as well as the attorney for the Jersey City Incinerator Authority and the chief of the city Municipal Utilities Authority.

Healy's campaign could not immediately be reached to comment. ... ulop_si.html#incart_river

Posted on: 2012/10/23 6:23

Re: Jersey City Government Corruption Scandal - 16 arrested
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FBI informant Solomon Dwek gets 6 years in prison for role in $50M fraud scheme

By Ted Sherman/The Star-Ledger
October 18, 2012 at 7:40 PM

NEWARK — Solomon Dwek — the informant behind the sweeping federal corruption sting that ensnared politicians, rabbis and even a black market kidney broker — was sentenced today to six years in prison for his role in an unrelated $50 million check-kiting scheme.

He was facing nine to 11 years under the terms of his plea deal, which led to his cooperation agreement with the government.

Federal prosecutors urged U.S. District Judge Jose Linares in Newark to impose a lesser sentence, citing the extensive scope of his efforts in a three-year FBI undercover operation that became the largest sting operation in New Jersey history.

The U.S. Attorney’s office filed what is known as a 5K letter to Linares, detailing the assistance Dwek provided to the investigation and asking the judge to depart from federal sentencing guidelines in acknowledgement of that cooperation.

Also seeking leniency was Dwek’s attorney, who cited his client’s history of mental illness. In court filings, Dwek was said to be suffering from bipolar disorder and chronic high anxiety, characterized by “ mental excitement, racing thoughts, irritability, illusory thinking, efforts to engage in multiple activities at the same time, poor insight and inability to foresee consequences.”

Dwek faces a second sentencing date tomorrow morning in Monmouth County on additional charges involving fraudulent bank loans.

Dwek, now 40, has been behind bars since June 2011, when Linares summarily revoked his bail for lying to the FBI about a rental car that had been reported stolen in Maryland, where his family now lives. The charges in the matter were later dropped.

The son of a respected Monmouth County rabbi, Dwek was first arrested in 2006 after he deposited a worthless $25 million check on a closed account at a PNC Bank drive-through window in Eatontown, and then quickly wired out all the money. The next day, he tried to do it again at another branch in Asbury Park before the bank — only then realizing there were no funds to back the first check — abruptly stopped the transaction as the second deposit was being made.

It was later revealed that Dwek had been running a $400 million real estate Ponzi scheme before he ran out of investors and needed to quickly cover a short-term loan that had come due. Facing 30 years in jail for the bank fraud, Dwek secretly entered into a plea deal following his arrest, agreeing to cooperate with the U.S. attorney in a bid to cut the amount of time he would serve.

That cooperation led to one of the most far-reaching, and at times bizarre, undercover sting ever seen.

Wearing a hidden video surveillance camera, Dwek targeted politicians, candidates for office, religious leaders, and ultimately a man who arranged black market kidney transplants for fees of $150,000 or more.

Posing as a corrupt developer, he offered cash bribes to dozens of elected officials and candidates for office in Hudson County and elsewhere to expedite phony real estate projects — one, an unbuildable luxury condominium development purportedly located atop a chromium waste site in Jersey City near the turnpike.

At the same time, he set up former business partners, rabbis and others who helped him launder millions supposedly siphoned out of his bankrupt real estate empire — along with cash he claimed was coming out of a knock-off designer handbag operation — through religious charities and organizations.

The sting, which became known as Bid Rig III, did not come to light until July 2009, when three mayors, two legislators, five Orthodox rabbis and dozens of others were arrested in a case that made national headlines.

Lawyers for many of those charged sharply criticized the operation, claiming that Dwek set up people in an effort to get out of jail.

Dwek himself raised the ire of Linares over the course of several trials, culminating with his bail revocation after learning Dwek had misled his FBI handlers over the stolen car report. The judge, calling Dwek a “consummate defrauder and an extremely cunning liar,” said Dwek had violated the terms of his cooperation agreement with the government.

Most of those charged in the case were either convicted or pleaded guilty. Of the 46 people ultimately arrested, 32 entered guilty pleas, four were convicted at trial, two were acquitted, one died, and charges were dropped against four.

With Dwek now sentenced, the case has only a few loose ends left. Just two others are still awaiting trial while one other defendant, who disappeared the day of the July 2009 arrests, remains a fugitive. ... ant_solomon_dwek_sen.html

Posted on: 2012/10/19 3:31

Jersey City announces plan to spend $5.8 million to resurface 57 streets
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Jersey City announces plan to spend $5.8 million to resurface 57 streets

By Ron Stein/The Jersey Journal
October 18, 2012 at 4:15 PM

Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy announced today that his administration will present a resolution to the City Council to request $5.8 million to resurface streets throughout Jersey City.

The resurfacing project would include 57 streets and nearly 15 miles of roadway.

“With the completion of this project, nearly 100 miles of roadway will have been resurfaced since 2005, including much awaited projects like Newark Avenue and Christopher Columbus Drive,” said Healy.

The funds for the project include $275,000 in federal grants, with the remaining $5,599,186.25 coming from the city.

Between 2005 and 2011, there were 25,000 potholes filled and more than 80 miles of roadway resurfaced, according to city officials. ... y_announces_resoluti.html

Posted on: 2012/10/19 3:20

Re: Did the NYPD Conduct A Widespread Surveillance of Jersey City Muslims?
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NYPD Spying Prompts New Jersey Bill To Advance; Requires Out-Of-State Agencies To Notify State

The Huffington Post
10/18/12 04:52 PM ET EDT

TRENTON, N.J. -- The New Jersey Assembly has approved a bill requiring out-of-state law enforcement agencies to notify New Jersey officials before conducting any counterterrorism surveillance in the state.

The measure was introduced in response to revelations of spying on Muslims in New Jersey by the New York Police Department.

Sponsor Charles Mainor, an assemblyman who is also a Jersey City police officer, says New York police targeted many innocent Muslims during their surveillance.

His legislation allows prosecutors to get an injunction blocking an agency from conducting surveillance if it hasn't complied with the notification requirements.

New York police deny any wrongdoing. New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa (kee-AY'-sah) also found the NYPD broke no state laws.

The notification bill passed Thursday on a 76-3 vote. It is yet to be considered by the Senate. ... -new-jesey_n_1982275.html

Posted on: 2012/10/19 3:14

Re: HUGE GAS PIPELINE COMING - through Jersey City
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Feds reject request to reconsider OK of $857 million natural-gas pipeline for NJ/NY

By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal
October 18, 2012 at 11:35 AM

The federal agency that in May green-lit Spectra Energy’s controversial proposal to build a natural-gas pipeline in parts of Hudson County has denied the city’s request that the agency reconsider its earlier decision.

The move is a setback for Jersey City and pipeline opponents, who are left with only one more option to stop the $857 million plan: a lawsuit filed in federal court.

Today’s decision is also a blow to Mayor Jerramiah Healy, who has made the pipeline fight a top priority of his administration.

Healy has vowed to initiate the federal lawsuit that now is the only avenue left for the city to stop the project.

In a 53-page ruling issued today, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission denied the city’s allegations that FERC’s approval of the pipeline plan failed to adequately consider risks associated with a possible attack on the pipeline, the economic consequences of the plan, and more.

FERC also rebuffed Jersey City’s claim that the agency is not a neutral party. The city had claimed that since the agency riles on the energy industry for its funding – FERC’s budget is paid for through fees and charges levied on energy companies – the body is biased in Spectra's favor.

The commissioners say in the ruling that they generally reject parties when they “raise a novel issue” unless they find that the parties couldn’t have presented the issue previously.

“To present this argument now is, in effect, an improper collateral attack on longstanding statutory funding provisions,” the ruling reads, noting that Congress established FERC’s self-funding mechanism in 1986.

The pipeline would add about 15 miles of pipe underneath parts of Jersey City, Bayonne and Hoboken before heading into Manhattan.

Opponents say the pipeline would threaten the safety of residents, in addition to discouraging new development along the pipeline route, some of which runs in the city’s lucrative Waterfront district.

Spectra officials have said the pipeline would be one of the safest in North America, and they touted changes they made to the pipeline route after hearing objections from community groups. ... t_request_to_reconsi.html

Posted on: 2012/10/18 16:14

Re: Oren Dabney / JCIA spend tax dollars with almost no oversight
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Posted on: 2012/10/16 16:38

Re: Shouting match at Jersey City City Council meeting over expanding city's pay-to-play law
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Jersey City mayoral candidates trade barbs over proposed revision of pay-to-play law

By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal
October 16, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Both main contenders in next year’s Jersey City mayoral race have agreed to revise the city’s pay-to-play laws, but that hasn’t stopped the two men from sniping at each other in the process.

The revisions, first proposed by a group of citizens unhappy with Ward E Councilman Steve Fulop’s ties to a Verona insurance agency that won a lucrative gig with the Board of Education this year, would prohibit businesses with no-bid BOE contracts from donating to mayoral or council campaigns.

The measure, which is set for an initial vote in front of the council next week, would also bar some city vendors from donating to so-called “super PACs,” groups that can spend unlimited dollars on political campaigns.

Though Fulop said at last week’s council meeting that he would support such a measure, Mayor Jerramiah Healy used last night's announcement of the proposed changes to take a shot at his political foe.

"Public confidence in the political process is weakened when Jersey City residents see a Board of Education that was elected with the heavy support of Steve Fulop, turn right around and hand no-bid contracts to Fulop's fundraisers," Healy said a statement from his campaign.

The two men are battling for the mayor’s seat in next year’s city election.

In return, Fulop noted that Healy opposed the city’s current pay-to-play ordinance when Fulop first proposed the measure in 2008. Only after Fulop lobbied successfully for the proposal to be placed on the November 2008 ballot for voters to decide did Healy's allies on the council support the initiative.

Fulop added a crack about Operation Bid Rig III, the massive corruption sweep that in 2009 sent one of Healy’s deputy mayors and two council allies to federal prison.

“With only seven months to go before he has to face voters, I guess the mayor has finally seen the light,” Fulop said in a statement from his own campaign. “Maybe now in his moment of clarity he will return the tainted donation from FBI informant Solomon Dwek that he promised he would four years ago.”

Dwek is the disgraced developer who acted as a confidential informant during the Bid Rig investigation.

Just last week, Fulop had a heated argument with Corporation Counsel Bill Matsikoudis over the proposed pay-to-play revisions, with Fulop saying he wanted them in front of the council next week and Matsikoudis saying he didn’t think the city could investigate and draft the ordinance in just two weeks.

In an Oct. 15 memo to the council, Matiskoudis writes that he and his staff plan to review the proposed revisions and tell the council before its next regular meeting whether the portion regarding Super PACs “passes legal muster.”

The city’s current pay-to-play ordinance bars contributions over $300 to a candidate, or $500 for a candidate committee. Those limits go unchanged in the revisions up for consideration next week.

The ordinance also bars businesses that receive no-bid city contracts from contributing to city campaigns. The revisions would expand to include businesses that receive no-bid contracts from the BOE.

That may not be legal, according to Heather Taylor, spokeswoman for statewide nonprofit The Citizens Campaign, which advocates for residents getting involved in local government.

Taylor noted that the BOE is an autonomous agency controlled by its own elected board.

"The city has no authority to regulate who enters into contracts with the public-school district," she said. "The way this is written, it's outside the city's jurisdiction."

Taylor said The Citizens Campaign urged the city not to include the Board of Education in its revision of the pay-to-play law. ... mayoral_candidates_6.html

Posted on: 2012/10/16 16:32

Re: Ward F (esp former E) voters-Diane Coleman in Nov
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Diane Coleman, running to be Jersey City's Ward F councilwoman, says crime is the biggest problem

October 15, 2012, 8:09 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

More than 12 years ago, Jersey City woman Diane Coleman founded Building an Empire, a nonprofit agency dedicated, she says, to “filling in the gaps” provided by social service groups to poor and low-income residents.

This fall, Coleman hopes to use her experience running the nonprofit to vault her to victory in next month’s special election to find a Ward F council member to replace Viola Richardson, who vacated the seat last November after becoming a councilwoman at large.

Coleman, 65, of Arlington Avenue, said she’s helped over 8,000 residents via Building an Empire, and could reach even more if she becomes Ward F’s newest council representative.

“The need is so great,” she said earlier this month inside her Martin Luther King Drive campaign headquarters. “These people are struggling.”

Coleman, nearly a lifelong city resident, said Ward F’s biggest issue is crime. The ward has been neglected, she said, adding that her nonprofit, located at Martin Luther King Drive and Bayview Avenue, is “in the heart” of all of the violence.

“Seniors are held hostage,” she said, adding that many of them are afraid to leave their homes to run errands. “Children are getting shot.”

If elected in November, Coleman said she plans to insist on “proactive” police patrolling in Ward F.

“If it doesn’t happen, I can just get 1,000 residents together and we’ll go down to the police chief’s office” to demand it, she added.

Coleman may be familiar to New Jersey residents for her minor role in the corruption trial of former Newark mayor Sharpe James.

Coleman, who testified under the name Diane Fuller-Coleman, told jurors in the trial that she was a “mentor” for James’ girlfriend, Tamika Riley, and that Riley gave Coleman the impression that she, Riley and another woman would be able to obtain a plot of city land for free.

James was ultimately convicted of steering city land to Riley, who then made hundreds of thousands of dollars by flipping the properties instead of redeveloping them.

Coleman, who said “Fuller” is her maiden name, said she had no choice but to testify the FBI told her if she didn’t, she’d be subpoenaed, she said and added that she “had no idea” what Riley had been up to.

“When I found out, I separated myself from her,” she said. “When it’s wrong, it’s wrong, and what she was involved in with the city of Newark was wrong.”

She is running against Michele Massey, Richardson’s appointed successor on the nine-member council.

Also in the Nov. 6 special election are anti-crime activist Debby Walker and pastor Tyrone Ballon. ... man_running_to_be_je.html

Posted on: 2012/10/15 15:35

Re: HUGE GAS PIPELINE COMING - through Jersey City
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FERC agrees to reconsider Jersey City's motion opposing Spectra pipeline

Oct 12, 2012
Hudson Reporter

JERSEY CITY - Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy announced Friday that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has agreed to rehear the city's legal petition regarding the Spectra Energy's natural gas pipeline. This new hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 18.

In May, FERC conditionally approved Spectra's application to build a natural gas pipeline that will cut through several cities, including Jersey City and Bayonne.

In response, Jersey City filed a 43-page appeal, officially known as a "Request for Rehearing." Among other things the city's appeal questioned the constitutionality of FERC's decisions and questioned whether the federal agency could fairly evaluate construction proposals for gas pipelines since the agency is funded entirely on fees generated by energy companies. The city's appeal argued that, since energy companies entirely fund FERC, FERC is biased toward those companies in a way that violates fundamental rights to due process.

The city's appeal cited research that found that, since 2010, FERC has approved nearly three dozen pipelines. In every case but one, the agency approved the pipeline route that the pipeline company proposed - despite the existence of dozens of other viable alternative routes.

For more than two years, Mayor Healy and the city have argued that this pipeline, which would be 30-inches in diameter with a possible pressure of 1,200 pounds per square inch, is the first of its magnitude to be built in a densely populated urban area near several transit hubs such as the Holland Tunnel and the New Jersey Turnpike. City officials - from engineers, to homeland security staffers, and economic development experts - have challenged Spectra's claims that the pipeline does not present a serious hazard.

The city has long argued that he pipeline should be re-routed underground and under the Hudson River.

Spectra has repeatedly opposed a Hudson River route without giving a reason for its opposition.

"The proposed route for this pipeline takes it by several schools, parks, ball fields, hospitals, critical transportation infrastructure, and dense housing within our city," Healy said. "Based on what we have seen from pipeline accidents across the country recently and in the past, including one yesterday in Nyack, New York, we know that incidents do happen, and one in Jersey City would be catastrophic."

Read more: Hudson Reporter - FERC agrees to reconsider Jersey City s motion opposing Spectra pipeline ... te_lead_story_left_column

Posted on: 2012/10/12 21:42

Shouting match at Jersey City City Council meeting over expanding city's pay-to-play law
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Shouting match at Jersey City City Council meeting over expanding city's pay-to-play law

October 10, 2012, 11:54 PM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

A discussion of proposed changes to Jersey City’s pay-to-play ordinance led to a shouting match at tonight’s City Council meeting between a top city attorney and Ward E Councilman Steve Fulop.

The argument grew so heated, with the two men shouting at each other and other council members yelling at them to stop, that Council President Peter Brennan took the unusual step of banging his gavel and ordering the attorney, Corporation Counsel Bill Matsikoudis, to return to his seat.

“How about a little respect for the city council here,” said Ward D Councilman Bill Gaughan after the dispute ended. “Take your petty nonsense outside.”

Matsikoudis and Fulop sparred after a few residents urged the council to expand the city’s pay-to-play ordinance to forbid political donors from receiving contracts with the Jersey City Board of Education.

Some of the residents told The Jersey Journal the impetus behind the proposed changes is a contract the BOE has with Verona-based Fairview Insurance Agency Associates. The residents say the contract was awarded because of political contributions Fairview officials made to Fulop, who has supported all nine current members of the school board, and BOE President Sue Mack.

Ryan Graham, the agency’s chief, contributed $2,600 to Fulop’s campaign, and the same amount to Mack’s failed bid to win a council seat last November.

When the topic of expanding the city’s pay-to-play law came up tonight, Fulop said he supports the idea, and wants the council to vote on it in two weeks. Matsikoudis said he doesn't think the measure can be drafted by then.

Matsikoudis soon left the table where he sits during the meetings to speak to Fulop from the podium where residents usually address the council.

“We all know why people want to extend it to the Board of Education,” Matsikoudis said. “Your number one contributor is benefiting from the Board of Education.”

Fulop called the charge “absolutely false,” noting that Graham contributed $1,000 in 2009 to the campaign team of Mayor Jerramiah Healy, Fulop’s political foe, and $2,500 in 2010 to Ward B Councilman David Donnelly, who was not a Fulop ally at the time.

Fulop then suggested that Matsikoudis hesitated from supporting the city’s pay-to-play ordinance before it was adopted in 2008.

“That’s a lie,” Matsikoudis said.

“You pushed back,” Fulop shot back.

The two men argued over each other until Brennan banged his gavel and ordered the conversation to end.

“Billy, sit down!” Brennan shouted at Matsikoudis, who returned to his seat.

The city resisted adopting a pay-to-play ordinance in 2008, but relented when Fulop ran a successful petition drive to have voters approve the ordinance via a ballot initiative. The council adopted the ordinance unanimously before voters had a chance to have their say.

Fulop is running in next year's mayoral race against Mayor Jerramiah Healy. Matsikoudis is a Healy ally. ... hanges_to_jersey_cit.html

Posted on: 2012/10/11 4:32

Re: Jersey City councilman wants crime panel, regular reviews of police department
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Measure requiring regular study of Jersey City Police Department rejected by City Council

Wednesday, October 10, 2012, 8:12 PM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

A measure intended to force Jersey City to perform a regular study of the efficiency of its Police Department failed to move forward at tonight’s City Council meeting, with opponents calling it a waste of money and possibly illegal.

The action was a major blow to Councilman at large Rolando Lavarro, who proposed the ordinance in an effort to address inequities in the city’s efforts to fight crime, Lavarro said tonight.

The council rejected the measure 5-4, with members Peter Brennan, Bill Gaughan, Michele Massey, Viola Richardson and Michael Sottolano voting against. Lavarro was joined in support by council members David Donnelly, Steve Fulop and Nidia Lopez.

The measure, which would have resulted in the hiring of a consultant to review the Police Department every four years, was opposed by the city’s top attorney, who called it an illegal infringement on the mayor’s power to hire consultants. Police brass also opposed the ordinance.

Richardson, a retired police officer, said tonight that studies are “a waste of money,” and she vowed never to vote for another one.

“We get nothing from it,” she said.

The measure would have also created a three-member council committee that would have identified potential consultants and devised criteria for the quadrennial study.

Lavarro rejected Corporation Counsel Bill Matsikoudis’ claim that the measure would have been illegal. A council composed of part-time members with part-time aides cannot use its investigative powers without outside help, he said.

“It essentially renders us toothless and powerless,” he said.

Police Chief Tom Comey appeared at last night’s council caucus to voice his own objections to the measure, saying he didn’t want the city to spend any money on it.

“I think I’d rather pay for the cops on the street,” he said ... quiring_regular_stud.html

Posted on: 2012/10/11 3:39

Re: Stop the Planning Board from making Peter Mocco's Liberty Harbor North into skyscraperville
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Changes to Liberty Harbor North plan in Jersey City receive OK from City Council

October 10, 2012, 9:53 PM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

Controversial changes to the massive Liberty Harbor North development in Downtown Jersey City were adopted tonight by the City Council, after a parade of more than 30 union members said the changes would lead to jobs for city residents.

The revisions to the decade-old plan would lead to higher residential buildings, wider streets and a new Hilton hotel, and the changes are required to get the stalled development moving, city officials said tonight.

The council adopted the measure by a 6-3 vote, with council members Steve Fulop, Rolando Lavarro and Nidia Lopez voting against.

Ward D Councilman Bill Gaughan said if the ordinance had failed, it would have jeopardized a $6.5 million loan backed by the city, led to the loss of the proposed hotel on Marin Boulevard and cost union members thousands of jobs.

“This is important to our economy,” Gaughan said. “Let’s all get together, let’s move this project forward, let’s create jobs.”

A parade of union members urged the council to adopt the plan, saying their lives depend on it. City resident Stacy Jackson said his wife works 12-hour days just to keep their household afloat.

“I got kids, I got five grandkids, and all of them are counting on me,” Jackson said.

Chris Langston, a member of the local sprinkler fitters union, said he has colleagues who have been out of work for years.

“They can’t feed their families, and we have a developer that wants to build in this economy,” he said.

Fulop – whose “no” vote elicited some boos from some of the dozens of union members in attendance – echoed thoughts he expressed at yesterday’s caucus, said tonight that some of the changes adopted tonight amount to a “sweetheart deal” for developer Brian Fisher.

Fisher is partnering with developer Turrunumn Murad to build the Hilton hotel. Under the new Liberty Harbor North plan, the hotel and residential facility that the two are building will have double the amount of units than it did in the original plan, though the square-footage of the facility remains the same.

Fulop said the site, formerly a city-owned lot Murad purchased in 2009 for about $12 million, is worth much more with the increased density, and the taxpayers should see some benefit.

“The city taxpayers, 250,000 of them, are entitled to those dollars,” he said. ... _liberty_harbor_nort.html

Posted on: 2012/10/11 3:36

Re: Dan Levin in talks to run with Healy
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Downtown Jersey City activist joins Jersey City Mayor Healy's slate

October 10, 2012, 12:45 PM
By The Jersey Journal

JERSEY CITY-- Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy announced today that community activist and Ward E candidate has joined his 2013 council slate, making Levin the first-announced member of the mayor's council ticket.

“Jersey City has come a long way and is moving in the right direction. I’m looking forward to working with Mayor Healy,” Levin said in a statement. “Together, we’ll roll up our sleeves, bringing about green and sustainable ways to make our city an even better place for all who live here. We’ll keep the progress going by fighting for stable taxes, sensible spending and sound solutions. Let us come together as one Jersey City.”

A former mayoral candidate, Levin has lived in Jersey City for 16 years, the release states.

He and his wife, Leonila Paunil, send their children Isabella, age 10, and John, age 12 to School 37 Cordero School and Middle School 4 Franklin School. For 10 years, as a small business owner, Levin ran and operated a custom picture frame store in Hoboken. He also served as vice president of the Hoboken Chamber of Congress.

Levin is also a past president of Civic JC – a city-wide good government organization. Levin helped found Bike JC and is a founding board of director for the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy – where he continues to serve on the advisory board, the release states.

Levin also served as president of the Harsimus Cove Association, a Downtown neighborhood association.

“Dan Levin knows real leadership means working towards solutions, not merely pointing out problems. That’s what genuine reform and good government is truly all about,” said Mayor Healy. “Dan’s run a small business, so he understands the struggles of his neighbors. Like me - and like my own children are doing today - Dan’s raising his family here in Jersey City. Dan Levin will be a terrific voice for Downtown families and the residents of Ward E.”

Ward E incumbent, Steven Fulop, is running for mayor. ... rsey_city_activist_1.html

Posted on: 2012/10/10 20:38

Re: Dan Levin in talks to run with Healy
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Levin joins Healy to keep the progress going in Jersey City

(JERSEY CITY, NJ) – Today, Mayor Jerramiah Healy announced community activist Ward E candidate Dan Levin as the first member of his 2013 council slate. Together, Healy and Levin will continue the progress being made to keep moving Jersey City in the right direction as a safe, vibrant place to live, work, visit and raise a family.

“Jersey City has come a long way and is moving in the right direction. I’m looking forward to working with Mayor Healy,” said Levin. “Together, we’ll roll up our sleeves, bringing about green and sustainable ways to make our city an even better place for all who live here. We’ll keep the progress going by fighting for stable taxes, sensible spending and sound solutions. Let us come together as one Jersey City.”

A noted community activist and organizer, Dan Levin has lived in Jersey City for 16 years. He and his wife, Leonila Paunil, send their children Isabella, age 10, and John, age 12 to PS 37 Cordero School and MS 4 Franklin School. For ten years, as a small business owner, Levin ran and operated a custom picture frame store in Hoboken. He also served as vice-president of the Hoboken Chamber of Congress.

Dan Levin is a hands-on leader dedicated to making life better for his Ward E neighborhood and all the families who live in Jersey City. Levin is founder and past president of Civic JC – a city-wide good government organization. Levin helped found Bike JC and is a founding board of director for the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy – where he continues to serve on the advisory board. He also served as president of the Harsimus Cove Association – a downtown neighborhood association – where he spearheaded the design of the successful and heavily-used multi-functional plaza at the Grove Street Path Station. Levin previously ran for Mayor in 2009 and for an at-large City Council seat in 2010.

“Dan Levin knows real leadership means working towards solutions, not merely pointing out problems. That’s what genuine reform and good government is truly all about,” said Mayor Healy. “Dan’s run a small business, so he understands the struggles of his neighbors. Like me – and like my own children are doing today – Dan’s raising his family here in Jersey City. Dan Levin will be a terrific voice for downtown families and the residents of Ward E.”

“First-hand, I’ve seen Mayor Healy handle adversity and lead us through rough financial times that wrecked havoc on other cities,” said Levin. “It’s no secret that, over the years, I’ve disagreed with Mayor Healy on a few things. But, I’ve always been impressed with how he never personally attacks his critics and is always open to discussion. Every day, Mayor Healy is working hard to make life better for all who call Jersey City home, who work here, and who are raising their families here. That’s why Mayor Healy has won so many people over. That’s why he won me over. And that is why I am proud to join the Healy Team.”

Mayor Healy and Dan Levin already have a history of working together for the best interests of Jersey City. They worked together on saving Power House and renovating Hamilton Park. And both have shown leadership during times of fiscal austerity to continue the efforts to save the 6th Street embankment and turn it into a park.

Healy and Levin are both motivated by doing what is best for Jersey City’s families and putting the public good first. Unlike some who give lip service to issues to score cheap political points and generate headlines, Healy and Levin actually follow through to provide results. As Ward E Councilman, Levin will continue working with Mayor Healy on the 6th Street embankment and bringing down crime. He’ll also work with Healy to continue committing Jersey City to the highest standards of ethical, open and transparent government. Levin wants to expand pay-to-pay laws to cover the Board of Education and for the city to adopt a stricter ethics code.

Please continue checking for the latest campaign updates, endorsements and news. With Mayor Healy leading the way, Jersey City continues to be recognized as a world-class city and model for development and revitalization. Mayor Healy’s making a real difference – whether its getting guns off our streets, reducing crime, creating new parks, protecting our urban environment or keeping taxes stable. In fact, this year, Moody’s upgraded Jersey City’s bond outlook to positive.

* * * * *
In November 2004, Jerramiah T. Healy became mayor in a special election to finish out the unexpired term of the late Mayor Glenn Cunningham who died in office. Six months later, he was re-elected to a full term by a record landslide. And in 2009, Mayor Healy was again re-elected by a resounding margin and without a runoff election. ... er-of-2013-council-slate/

Posted on: 2012/10/10 20:36

Re: Jersey City councilman wants crime panel, regular reviews of police department
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Jersey City officials slam effort to conduct regular studies of police department

October 09, 2012, 7:04 PM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

Top Jersey City officials came out strongly tonight against a City Council member’s proposal to conduct quadrennial studies of the Police Department to examine the department’s effectiveness.

The proposal, which Councilman at large Rolando Lavarro plans to introduce at tomorrow’s council meeting, is unenforceable, a violation of state law and a waste of money that would be better spent hiring new police officers, the officials said at tonight’s council caucus.

The measure “purports to do exactly what the Supreme Court says you can’t do,” Corporation Counsel Bill Matsikoudis said tonight.

Lavarro’s proposal would require the city to hire a consultant to conduct the study of the police department, in addition to forming a committee of council members that would identify possible consultants, identify the consultant’s criteria and more.

But the power to hire an outside consultant is the mayor’s job, and the council can’t require the mayor to do so, Matsikoudis said tonight.

“That’s taking away the mayor’s power to negotiate,” he said.

Police Chief Tom Comey made an appearance tonight to argue against approving the ordinance, which would require two affirmative votes by the council and withstand a possible mayoral veto.

The city has done a commendable job avoiding layoffs and demotions in a time of economic turmoil, Comey said tonight, adding that the money to conduct the study would be better spent elsewhere.

“I think I’d rather pay for the cops on the street,” he said.

Lavarro, who presented an outside attorney tonight affirming the ordinance’s legality, said there’s an “urgent need” for a review of the department, saying his measure “allows for transparency.” ... y_officials_slam_eff.html

Posted on: 2012/10/10 2:46

Re: Council approves federal loan to Hilton Hotel developer
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Jersey City councilman calls zoning change 'windfall' for foe's political donor

October 09, 2012, 9:18 PM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

A proposal that would nearly double the maximum number of units in a proposed hotel/residential facility in Downtown Jersey City led to a heated exchange at tonight’s City Council caucus.

The lot, known as the Tramz Hotel property, would see its maximum number of allowable units rise from 470 to 900 thanks to zoning changes in a measure up for adoption at tomorrow’s council meeting.

Ward E Councilman Steve Fulop tonight called the change a “windfall” for New York based developer Brian Fisher and his brother, who are partnering with developer Turrunumn Murad to build the facility on the formerly city-owned lot.

“The Fisher brothers are just getting a free 450 units,” Fulop said.

Brian Fisher is a big contributor to local campaigns, giving $11,275 to Mayor Jerramiah Healy and Healy-backed candidates since 2006, according to campaign documents. He also contributed $400 to Fulop in 2009, the documents show.

Murad purchased the property from the city for about $12 million in 2009, and then received a city-backed loan for about $7 million to clean up the property. Murad’s intentions were to build a roughly 300-room hotel by April 2014.

But the plan stalled until this year, when Murad said she planned to partner with the Fisher brothers to finally construct roughly 700 residential units and 200-room Hilton hotel. Under that agreement, the city would receive an immediate repayment of its loan.

Attorney Jim McCann, representing the Fisher brothers, tonight objected to Fulop’s characterization of the deal, noting that the size of the property remains at 1.2 million square feet, despite the added units.

“The units are going to be smaller than they were before,” McCann said. “There’s not any more square footage being allowed. The Fishers are not getting a windfall here.”

Fulop believes the city should seize the property because Murad is in “technical default” of her redevelopment agreement with the city, in the words of Jersey City Redevelopment Agency chief Bob Antonicello, and then sell it for its current value.

Antonicello told the council tonight that the process outlined by Fulop could take years, but Fulop told The Jersey Journal it would be “worth it.”

The property could be worth tens of millions more now than it was when the city sold it, he said.

Healy and Fulop are facing each other in next year's mayoral race. ... y_councilman_calls_z.html

Posted on: 2012/10/10 2:41

Re: Stop the Planning Board from making Peter Mocco's Liberty Harbor North into skyscraperville
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Van Vorst Park group in Jersey City objects to Liberty Harbor North changes

October 09, 2012, 3:55 PM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

A Downtown Jersey City neighborhood group is raising objections to a planned overhaul of the massive Liberty Harbor North redevelopment plan, telling City Council members in an email that the manner in which the changes were approved is “unacceptable.”

The revisions, up for final adoption at tomorrow’s council meeting, would allow skyscrapers up to 55 stories tall, among other adjustments.

The Van Vorst Park Association Board of Directors writes in an email to council members today that they are “highly dissatisfied” by the “lack of communication” between the city and the community about the changes.

“Not involving the community in a project of this size, which will greatly affect not only the entire cityscape, but also the immediate neighborhood districts, as a result of increased scale, density, traffic, etc. is simply unacceptable,” the email reads.

The Planning Board has already given the changes its OK, while the council approved it in an initial vote two weeks ago.

City Planner Bob Cotter has said that the changes do not add to the size of the project – the proposed buildings in the Waterfront development would be taller, but more slender, Cotter noted.

The council approved the proposal 6-2, with council members Steve Fulop and Rolando Lavarro voting “no.”

The men objected to a provision that would allow developer Turrunumn Murad of Tramz Hotel Group to partner with Brian Fisher to build a hotel along Marin Boulevard. The project, originally headed solely by Murad, had an $8 million loan backed by the city in 2009 that city officials say will now be paid back in full thanks to Fisher's involvement.

In a statement released today, Fulop said Fisher’s involvement is tantamount to property flipping.

“How the city council can allow a developer that failed to live up to their agreement benefit at the cost of taxpayers is astonishing,” Fulop said. “That’s millions of dollars pilfered from the city. That’s money that belongs to the taxpayers, not to supporters of the mayor.”

Mayor Jerramiah Healy -- Fulop's competition in the 2013 mayoral race -- objects, saying it is "absolute fiction" that Murad is profiteering from Fisher's involvement.

“They need assistance getting this project off the ground, and the Fishers – who have the knowledge, wherewithal, and track record – are able to provide that assistance," Healy said in a statement. "With this partnership, the city will get paid back the entire $8 million loan and the project will move forward thereby providing union construction jobs and greatly increased taxes to the City as to opposed to staying in limbo indefinitely, which benefits nobody." ... park_group_in_jersey.html

Posted on: 2012/10/10 2:29

Re: Jersey City's Hal Turner -- 'HATE' Radio Host is Hacked.
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North Bergen shock jock Hal Turner released from halfway house

October 05, 2012, 11:08 PM
By The Jersey Journal

Internet shock jock Harold "Hal'' Turner of North Bergen, who was convicted of threatening federal judges, has been released from a Newark halfway house, the Record is reporting on its website.

Turner left the facility this morning and now begins a three-year term of supervised release, the paper said.

He had been sentenced in federal court in Brooklyn in 2010 to 33 months in prison.

The case stemmed from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in 2009 by three judges that upheld a district court decision dismissing lawsuits that challenged handgun bans in Chicago and Oak Park, Ill.

Turner protested the decision with inflammatory remarks posted on the Internet. Prosecutors said he crossed the line by declaring, ``These judges must die.''

Turner had claimed his tirades were protected by the constitutional right to free speech.

Turner made headlines in Hudson County and beyond with his right-wing, anti-Semitic, racist rhetoric on both is Internet radio show and on his blog. He later claimed that the persona was created to root out radical groups such as white supremicists for the federal government.

According to the Record, Turner must remain under house arrest at his North Bergen condo for six months and will only able to leave home for work, medical , religious and legal reasons. ... _shock_jock_hal_tu_1.html

Posted on: 2012/10/7 3:26

Re: Journal Square: MAN GUNNED DOWN at 2pm - West Side Ave Playground is slay scene - now shrine grows
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Jersey City man guilty in killing, acquitted on weapons charges in 'confusing' verdict

October 05, 2012, 7:27 PM
By Michaelangelo Conte/The Jersey Journal

A Jersey City man was found guilty yesterday of aggravated manslaughter, but was acquitted on weapons possession charges in a verdict that his attorney called "confusing."

A Hudson County jury deliberated less than two days before finding Anthony Rose, 27, guilty in the shooting death of Dareus Burgess, 28, near a Jersey City park on June 8, 2009. Rose faces up to 30 years in prison when he is sentenced on on Dec. 7 by Hudson County Superior Court Judge Lisa Rose.

Defense attorney Richard Sonntag, who argued throughout the trial that the prosecutor's case was built solely on circumstantial evidence, said finding Rose guilty in the shooting and not guilty on weapons charges was "confusing." It's likely that Sonntag will appeal the verdict.

"The family finally got some sort of justice," said Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor Dave Rastogi, who thanked "an attentive jury" and investigators from his office. "But they lost him, and this certainly doesn't change that."

The gun used in Burgess' shooting was recovered months later by Asbury Park police in an area known to be Bloods street gang hangout, according to testimony. There was no evidence presented at the trial that connected Rose to the gun.

Rose showed no emotion after hearing the verdict, which was rendered around noon, after about 11 hours of jury deliberation. He has a prior conviction for drug distribution within 1,000 of a school.

Burgess' mother was in court for the entire three-week trial, but left afterward without commenting.

Police say Burgess was killed by Rose in a case of mistaken identity. On June 7, 2009, Rose's girlfriend got into a fight with a woman and it was broken up by a friend of Burgess, police said. Rose got into a fight with the man and returned to next day to get his revenge, but killed Burgess, who was near the park, police said.

Rastogi argued that Rose was near the park at the time of the killing and his car was seen driving away from the area afterward. Rastogi also presented a witness who told police he overheard Rose trying to obtain a gun hours after he was beaten up.

Another man testified Rose had asked him to get him a gun to settle a beef and had also asked him to kill a man that day. ... y_man_guilty_in_kill.html

Posted on: 2012/10/6 2:23

Jersey City councilman wants crime panel, regular reviews of police department
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Jersey City councilman wants crime panel, regular reviews of police department

October 04, 2012, 12:04 PM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

Jersey City Councilman at large Rolando Lavarro is pushing a measure that would result in a “thorough and comprehensive” study of the city’s Police Department every four years, and would create a council-led crime prevention committee.

The measure, which would revise existing city code, would give the council a “pro-active role in ensuring the safety of Jersey City residents,” Lavarro said in a statement. Lavarro, who is dubbing the measure the “Crime Prevention Law,” has been pushing some of these ideas for months.

“The Crime Prevention Law will utilize the council’s investigative powers and gather vital information that our Police Department can use to deliberate and implement comprehensive crime prevention solutions,” he said. “This ordinance is a first step in addressing the public’s outcry on crime and nullifies the administration’s objections to conducting a study of our police operations.”

The measure would provide “meaningful and cost-effective crime prevention solutions,” Lavarro added.

If the ordinance is adopted by the City Council, two months later the council would commission the study of the Police Department. A new study would be commissioned every four years.

The committee would consist of three members appointed by the council. It would conduct hearings, assist the city in identifying a consultant to conduct the department study, and have subpoena power.

City spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill declined to comment on the substance of Lavarro’s proposal, saying the city administration hadn’t had time to absorb it.

"This was just submitted to the agenda for next week's City Council meeting late this afternoon, and the Law Department has not yet had a chance to review the proposed ordinance," Morrill said yesterday. ... y_councilman_wants_c.html

Posted on: 2012/10/5 3:14

Wall Street Journal: Wine City, N.J.
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Uncorking the City
Wine City, N.J.

The Wall Street Journal
October 4, 2012, 9:20 p.m. ET


When a town or a neighborhood experiences a "renaissance," it usually happens in a series of waves: first come the artists, then the developers and finally the restaurants and shops. Eventually, someone will open a wine store. In fact, the presence of a shop with a good selection of bottles may be the best indication of an area's full blossoming.

The renaissance of Jersey City has been well documented; its growth as a wine city is less widely known. After a few visits, I'm happy to report that a Jersey City wine renaissance appears to be well under way.

Of course, a wine renaissance can occur only where there is already an appreciation of good food, and there are two particularly successful pairings in Jersey City right now: Madame Claude Café and Madame Claude Wine and, a few doors down on Jersey Avenue, Thirty Acres restaurant and Jersey Wine & Spirits.

Madame Claude's proprietors are Mattias Gustafsson and Alice Troietto, a husband and wife team. The couple has owned their small bistro for years, and recently decided to open a wine shop as well. The landlord of the wine shop wanted Mr. Gustafsson to open a restaurant in the location, but Mr. Gustafsson wanted to open a wine shop instead. He liked the bistro's Fourth Street location, though it's a 10-minute or so walk from his wine store.

Mr. Gustafsson grew up in Paris "in the Seventh," and his cultural heritage is readily apparent—from the selection of the wines (mostly French) to the writing on the store shelves (prices are written in chalk, a common practice in France). There are wines from other places as well, though Provence, Ms. Troietto's home, gets especially big play. One highlighted producer, Domaine de Terrebrune, is from Ms. Troietto's home town. Red, white and rosé versions are all offered. I purchased the red 2007 Chateau Terrebrune ($37). A "lovely wine with soft tannins," said Mr. Gustafsson. (He was right.)

The connection between Thirty Acres and Jersey Wine & Spirits is not as direct, though it's clearly collegial; the Thirty Acres website counsels would-be diners to check out "the lovely liquor store on our block called Jersey Wine & Spirits" for a bottle to bring along to the restaurant, which is now BYOB.

I followed that advice on the night of my visit to Thirty Acres, and found that the manager of Jersey Wine & Spirits, Chip Hughes, knew "exactly" what sort of wine I should pair with the Thirty Acres food. "Something with a lot of acidity—red or white. The food there is all about acidity," he declared. Although I'd also brought a wine of my own (a German Pinot Noir), I was happy to take Mr. Hughes's advice.

As Mr. Hughes and I browsed among the Loire Valley offerings (the store has a particularly strong selection of French and Italian wines), a well-dressed man approached Mr. Hughes. "Don't worry, he's a regular," said Mr. Hughes, who chose the 2010 Clos du Tue-Bouef Cheverny ($24) for me to take to Thirty Acres. The well-dressed man had liked it as well, said Mr. Hughes. The well-dressed man confirmed that this was so. The store has a strong following among local residents as well as Thirty Acres diners, said Mr. Hughes. As he put it: "We're kind of the bar, wine cellar and a waiting room for everyone."

Although Thirty Acres sounds like some sort of farm, it was actually named for a Jersey City arena built in 1921 for a boxing match. While the arena was designed to accommodate 80,000 people, Thirty Acres seats about 40—but the tables are almost always filled, as the press has been universally good for the restaurant that's been around for less than a year.

The chef and owner of Thirty Acres, Kevin Pemoulie, is an alumnus of both Craft and Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York, and his cooking history shows in a menu with an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients and unexpected combinations—like my cappelletti pasta with eggplant ricotta, tomato sauce, stravecchio and shishito peppers, a smart combination of savory and sweet. The same was true of the perfectly cooked pork chop paired with apples, seckel pear, escarole and onions that paired nicely with the Loire Valley red chosen by Mr. Hughes. (My German Pinot Noir from Villa Wolf was just as good.)

Wine drinkers who like to bring their own bottles might want to visit Thirty Acres sooner rather than later, as the proprietors are looking to get a liquor license sometime soon—maybe before the end of the year. I guess that's the next step in its own renaissance. ... 04578036592620101114.html

Posted on: 2012/10/5 3:12

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