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Re: IRONMAN - Military Reserve-Aid
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Jersey City Councilman Fulop finishes in top 20 percent at Ironman U.S. Championship

August 13, 2012, 3:00 AM
By Anthony J. Machcinski/The Jersey Journal

Jersey City Ward E Councilman Steven Fulop, was one of several local athletes who completed the daunting Ironman U.S. Championship Saturday in New York.

The competitors, who also included Martin Skolnick of Hoboken and Daniel Kelly, a dean of a Jersey City parochial school, had the challenging task of completing the 140.2-mile event a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and a full marathon that saw the race finish in New York’s Riverside Park.

Fulop, 35, finished the race with a time of 11:58:14, good enough for 619th place out of 2,739 competitors, which placed him in the top 20 percent. He was 116th in his 35-to-40 age category.

“I broke 12 hours and that was better than I could imagine,” Fulop said. “I came in just under the wire.”

„3„Fulop quipped he was not fazed by having to swim through sewage in the Hudson River, having been prepared after several years of Hudson County politics.

Fulop was one of 28 people who raised $250,000 for Reserve A Team, a charitable organization that supports the military.

Fulop said he was saddened the race was marred by the death of a competitor during the swimming stage.

Skolnick finished 895th overall with a time of 12:35:05. Kelly, who serves as the dean of juniors and seniors at St. Anthony High School, finished 1,362nd with a time of 13:40:40. ... y_councilman_fulop_f.html

Posted on: 2012/8/13 14:46

Re: One person dead, one wounded, after shoot-out in parking lot of Jersey City diner
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Cops nab fugitive wanted in fatal crash outside Jersey City diner

August 12, 2012, 4:00 PM
By Charles Hack/The Jersey Journal

A Jersey City fugitive charged with leaving the scene of a fatal crash during a shootout in the parking lot of a Communipaw Avenue diner in June was arrested early Saturday morning after police received a tip on his location, authorities said.

William A. Sparrow, 26, of Ocean Avenue, was carrying 19 bags of suspected heroin and a loaded handgun when he was arrested on Stegman Street after a brief chase at around 3:22 a.m. Saturday, police said.

Sparrow, 26, had been wanted by the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office on charges of leaving the scene of a fatal accident and weapons offenses, including possession of a firearm by a felon, in connection with a shootout on Al's Diner on June 17, reports said.

Authorities say that Sparrow was driving a Lexus that was fleeing from gunfire when his car struck a garbage container that fatally crushed a Jersey City man at Al's Diner on June 17, officials said.

After his arrest, Sparrow was handed over to the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office.

On top of the charges he faces for the June 17 incident, Sparrow now is charged with possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, unlawful possession of a weapon, drug possession with intent to distribute, drug possession near a school, certain persons not to have weapons, reports said.

Acting on a tip, police officers approached Sparrow, who was sitting in the passenger of a Nissan Maxima that was doubled-parked on Stegman Street between Ocean Avenue and Martin Luther King Drive at 3:22 a.m., reports said.

As Sparrow got out of the car, cops noticed a bulge in the left side of his waist band that he was attempting to cover with his right hand, reports said.

As cops ordered Sparrow to turn to face them, he fled and while he running he reached for a loaded Smith and Wesson, .22 revolver, reports said. One of the officers pushed him to the ground and he dropped the gun, but fled to an alley where cops were able to handcuff him, reports said.

Sparrow was found to have 19 bags of suspected heroin in his front right pocket and $220 in cash in his front left pocket, reports said. Police said Sparrow gun had was loaded with six rounds.

Police say that on June 17 Sparrow fled after the Lexus he was driving struck a garbage container that fatally pinned Jason Jenkins, 29, of Bergen Avenue in Jersey City, against a concrete wall. A passenger in Sparrow's car was struck at least twice by the gunfire but has since been released from the hospital, authorities said.

Two other Jersey City men, Lamont Settles, 28, and Nasir Barnes, 23, were arrested in June on two counts of attempted murder in connection with the incident. Police say Barnes and Settles opened fire on a Lexus, wounding the passenger. ... anted_in_fatal_crash.html

Posted on: 2012/8/13 2:22

Political Insider: Mainor must pick a chair to aim for when music stops
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Political Insider: Mainor must pick a chair to aim for when music stops

August 11, 2012, 6:13 PM
By Agustin C. Torres/The Jersey Journal

These are the last months of Charles Mainor as the Jersey City assemblyman in the 31st Legislative District.

Mainor has crossed state Sen. Sandra Cunningham and he is persona non grata among black leadership in the Jersey City Democratic Organization. His future, or lack of it, is a spillover from the debate over merging the Jersey City Incinerator Authority into the Department of Public Works. Cunningham prefers that the JCIA eats the DPW.

The senator is trying to save her extensive patronage in the JCIA and keep the autonomous agency's executive director and Cunningham loyalist, Oren Dabney, in power. This is why the JCIA commissioners gave Dabney a five-year salary package replacing an agreement with two years remaining. It gives Dabney security.

Cunningham had a Senate measure in Trenton approved that would allow Jersey City to place the city's DPW in the JCIA -- under Dabney's control. And here's where Mainor got in trouble. Cunningham needed to find someone to sponsor an Assembly version of her Senate bill. Smelling controversy and perhaps fatally trying to prove that he's his own man, Mainor refused to host such a bill. Ever since his rejection, there has been a cold division between him and Cunningham and her allies, including county Freeholder Jeff Dublin.

One other important reason for the split is that Mainor is being somewhat advised by Hoboken NAACP president Eugene Drayton, a former inside member of the old camp headed by then-mayor Glenn Cunningham, who died in 2004. Drayton is no longer a favorite in the Cunningham circle.

Mainor's only political avenue open to him is the one that leads to the Mayor's Office. The interesting thing is that he will probably receive support for a mayoral run -- not so much because people believe he's the person for the job, but because his ticket would be a vehicle for the ambition of others. Two who could very well run on a Mainor ticket for council seats are businessman and activist Bruce Alston and school board member Sterling Waterman, should he first fail to latch another slate.

Alston is not expected to wait for Mainor to declare himself a candidate for mayor -- if he ever does. The activist is expected to be among those who will run this November in the special election for the Ward F council seat now held by Michele Massey. Massey was appointed to the post by the council on the recommendation of Councilwoman at large Viola Richardson, who then watched in chagrin as Massey found a spot within Mayor Jerramiah Healy's administration. Other possible special election hopefuls include Diane Fuller-Coleman, a social services agency director who has an interesting history and is considered close to Healy rival Councilman Steven Fulop. Other possibles are unsuccessful mayoral candidate Ronnie-Calvin Clark, and health aide and anti-crime activist Debbie Walker.

Please, don't contact me about how some folks may be ineligible because of residency requirements. Very few candidates are tossed out of a race once they come up with a city address, any address.

As for Mainor, we should get a solid read on his future when members of his legislative staff, including capable chief lieutenant and past roundball star Courtney Wicks, move on to other jobs.

Who would replace Mainor in the 31st District? Chief among the possibilities is Hudson County Freeholder Jeff Dublin, head of the JCDO. Dublin would like to see his buddy, police detective DeJon Morris, replace him on the Board of Freeholders.

If not mayor, Mainor could be among several people interested in targeting Calvin Hart's job as head of the local chapter of the NAACP. Calvin should already know that there are many eager to replace him.


-- Cunningham found her Assembly sponsor for the bill that is expected to save the JCIA and Dabney. Assemblyman Sean Connors, another local guy serving in Union City Sen. Brian Stack's 33rd Legislative District, did the honors, saw the measure approved, and Gov. Chris Christie signed it into law. It must have had Stack's approval because I can't see Connors doing this on his own -- unless the Union City boss has no power over Connors.

-- Today, Steven Fulop does what he has metaphorically trained to do for years. Swim through sewage -- literally. He is a competitor in the Ironman U.S. Championship, a 140-mile triathlon. It requires competitors to swim, bike and run in a 13-hour event that starts in New Jersey and ends in New York. The first leg is the 2.4-mile swim in the Hudson River.
Unfortunately, since Wednesday millions of gallons of raw sewage have been spilling into the river by Tarrytown, N.Y., and while repairs have been were underway, the flow is contaminating the river, including the swimming course. Competition officials monitoring the situation and they say the contest is a go. Healy agrees. Fulop is keeping his mouth shut.

-- Since I'm earning my weekly Fulop envelope, as some critics claim, let me add that at last week's packed Puerto Rican parade dinner at Puccini's people heard Healy and Fulop speak. The mayor did not make any of those "tardy" jokes he used at a flag raising ceremony and instead his comments used several simple Spanish phrases. Fulop surprised everyone by making a five-minute speech, entirely in Spanish. The delighted crowd was told he has been studying Spanish, no doubt to say "vote for me." Check out the video.

Lane Bajardi

-- I can't end this column without mentioning the $2 million lawsuit Hoboken activist Lane Bajardi and his wife, Kimberly Cardinal Bajardi, filed against Nancy Pincus, a Zoning Board member and the blogger also known as Grafix Avenger, and a bunch of John Does. According to court papers, the complaint is that Lane Bajardi is made to look like he is an anti-Semitic political operative and FBI informant who engages in tax evasion.

There was a comment by Grafix Avenger (Pincus) on a Jan. 26, 2012 Hoboken Patch story urging state officials to investigate the couple, saying their child "would be better off being raised by wolves," according to the court documents. The subject of the Patch post was Mayor Dawn Zimmer's State of the City address.

The Bajardis call the comments "false and defamatory."

When a Journal reporter talked to Mile Square blogger Roman Brice about the lawsuit, the first thing Brice, aka Smarty Jones and "Da Horsey," demanded to know was how The Journal acquired the filed papers. He wanted to know if it was "Augie."

Et tu Roman. I did hear from sources that the effort to serve papers on the blogger is worthy of a "Bourne" movie.

A jury trial is being requested in this civil case. This would be entertainment.

-- We'll talk about federally indicted West New York Mayor Dr. Felix Roque, who allegedly hacked a recall Roque website, later in the week. It seems a bit anti-climatic. Meanwhile, God is great. BTW, this phrase is used often by the mayor. For instance: How's the hot dog, mayor? "God is great, and so is the mustard."

-- Freeholder Chairman Eliu Rivera of Jersey City was not at this week's scheduled meeting. He is in Puerto Rico (most of the time these days). Freeholder Anthony Roman of Hoboken chaired the session.

-- A resolution of note was approved by the freeholders. The county lawmakers and County Executive Tom DeGise ask that Hudson residents remember Army Staff Sgt. Raul M. Guerra, 37, of Union City who lost his life on July 4 in Spin Boldak, a town in the souther Kandahar Province of Afghanistan. Guerra was a multi-decorated veteran of campaigns in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He leaves behind a wife and son.

-- A fun thought: Camden wants to do away with its Police Department and use county cops. Now they are thinking of having countywide police. Imagine doing that in Hudson County.

Can you see all those Jersey City West police on patrol in Union City as part of a countywide force? For less pay, of course;). What happens to all those police boats? Would there be one police chief and who, if anyone, does he or she answer to?

OK, we know it will never happen. It would be like believing unicorns are real, or there would be walking police beats, or a less costly regional fire department. No way.

Next week or sooner. ... _insider_mainor_must.html

Posted on: 2012/8/13 2:20

Jersey City police K9 Astro helps collar man with loaded gun, cops say
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Jersey City police K9 Astro helps collar man with loaded gun, cops say

August 12, 2012, 7:55 PM
By Charles Hack/The Jersey Journal

An armed Jersey City man was arrested with the help of police dogs after fleeing from police early yesterday morning, police reports said.

Darren Exum, 21, of Randolph Avenue, was charged with possession of firearm in a park, resisting arrest, obstructing a governmental function, certain persons not to have a weapon, unlawful possession of a handgun, and possession of a defaced weapon.

Police were called to Audubon Park on Stegman Street on the report that someone was showing off a gun to a group of friends at 11:58 p.m. Saturday evening, reports said.

As police approached the group sitting on a bench, Exum -- who appeared to have the handle of a gun under his T-shirt -- got up and ran, reports said.

Cops chased him east on Stegman Street into the backyard of a property near Wegman Parkway, where he vanished, reports said. K-9 units from the Port Authority and Jersey City Police Department responded, reports said.

JCPD dog Astro found the 21-year-old hiding in a backyard of a property, reports said. When the dog's handler released him, Astro bit the suspect until he stopped resisting arrest, reports said.

Police found a 9mm handgun loaded with seven rounds in the backyard next door, reports said, noting that the gun's serial number had been removed.

Exum was treated at Jersey City Medical Center for dog bites and was cleared for incarceration, reports said. ... y_police_k9_astro_he.html

Posted on: 2012/8/13 2:01

Re: Proposal to dissolve the Jersey City Incinerator Authority
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New law lets Jersey City Incinerator Authority grow, perhaps merge with DPW

August 10, 2012, 11:22 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill into law last week that allows the Jersey City Incinerator Authority to expand its services, and makes possible a long-discussed merger of the agency with the city Department of Public Works.

The JCIA is the only incinerator authority in the state. Some political observers in the city claim the bill, sponsored by state Sen. Sandra B. Cunningham, was drafted solely to protect the city agency, which some politicos want to dissolve.

The JCIA, founded in 1951 and currently headed by Cunningham ally Oren K. Dabney, was limited by the previous state statute to the operation of waste disposal only. The bill signed by Christie permits it to perform additional services, including recycling, which the agency has performed for years.

The city has debated for years whether to merge the JCIA and the DPW. Mayor Jerramiah Healy originally favored folding the DPW into the JCIA, but the state in 2010 halted the action, saying state statute prevented the JCIA from performing some of the DPW's duties. The bill Christie signed into law last week changes that.

Healy has since endorsed a plan to keep both entities alive.

Ward E Councilman Steve Fulop has attempted to dissolve the JCIA, but hasn't found majority support on the City Council. Fulop's last attempt, in April, led to a three-hour hearing at which hundreds of JCIA workers and their supporters blasted Fulop and claimed the merger would result in massive layoffs.

Fulop, a mayoral candidate in the 2013 city election, called the new bill "another example of taxpayers losing."

"Expanding autonomous agencies doesn't help the taxpayer in any way shape or form. It only creates a mechanism for abuse and patronage beyond the taxpayers' view, as we saw with the Dabney contract," he said.

The JCIA commissioners two weeks ago awarded Dabney a new, five-year contract that comes with a nearly 5 percent pay hike that Dabney later said he would not accept.

Assemblyman Sean Connors co-sponsored Cunningham's bill with Assemblyman Jason O'Donnell ... ts_jersey_city_incin.html

Posted on: 2012/8/10 15:28

Re: JC needs $22 million for payouts for unused sick, vacation & compensatory time to city retires
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N.J. Towns Borrow for $200,000 Farewells Christie Abhors

By Terrence Dopp - Aug 10, 2012 12:01 AM ET

Jersey City, New Jersey’s second- largest municipality, borrowed $19 million in the past two years to cover retiring workers’ unused sick and vacation time. Similar deals by other communities are helping double the penalty the state and municipalities are paying on their bonds.

While Governor Chris Christie wants those payouts eliminated, the current legislative session ended in June without lawmakers acting. The impasse between Christie, 49, and Democrats, the majority party in the Senate and House, has been going on since the Republican governor took office in 2010.

“I will not compromise on the issue that we should no longer have cash value attached to sick leave,” Christie told reporters on Aug. 6 in Middlesex. “That’s a matter of principle for me.”

Christie calls the payouts “boat checks” because they can top $200,000 and some retirees use them to buy watercraft. Growing obligations for workers’ retirement benefits have stressed city budgets from San Jose to Long Beach, New York. Officials say some perks can no longer be sustained as they struggle to balance revenue with spending.

In New Jersey, 428 municipalities faced liabilities of $825 million as of May 2011 for accumulated sick and vacation days, according to Christie’s office. Boat checks and New Jersey’s $42 billion unfunded pension obligation are helping raise borrowing costs for the state and its cities in the $3.7 trillion municipal-bond market.

Penalty Paid

New Jersey and its localities are paying an average yield penalty of 0.57 percentage point over AAA securities to borrow for 10 years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The gap is more than double the five-year average. It was 0.35 percentage point the day Christie took office.

Towns in New Jersey paid workers $43 million for unused sick and vacation time in 2010, according to Christie.

Jersey City, a community of almost 248,000 across the Hudson River from downtown Manhattan, has made payouts to 343 retirees since the governor vetoed a bill in late 2010 that would have capped the checks at $15,000. Christie also spurned a $7,500 limit.

Newark, East Orange and Hackensack have also borrowed to make the payments as workers retired ahead of Christie raising their pension and benefits contributions.

“The reforms in Trenton caused a stampede to the door,” Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, a Democrat, said in a telephone interview.

Borrowing Costs

A Jersey City general-obligation bond due in 10 years and rated Aa3, Moody’s Investors Service’s fourth-highest grade, traded Aug. 6 with an average yield of 2.71 percent, 1.02 percentage point above top-rated municipals with similar maturity, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That yield difference is down from a 1.23 percentage-point spread on a Dec. 21 trade in the week the city sold the bonds.

Jersey City, which has a budget of $485 million, will continue to be squeezed by the cost for unused leave payouts unless Christie and lawmakers act, Healy said. A cap would be a good start, and then the payments could be lowered or eliminated in the future, the mayor said.

“The governor in his search for the perfect has abandoned the good,” Healy said. “To carry on in this fashion is just not sustainable for any city, any government or the taxpayers.”

The governor had sought a plan that would have required employees to burn through amassed sick time before using new days off. Democrats have balked at that provision, saying the state can’t strip employees of a benefit they’ve already earned.

‘Retirement Fund’

“Sick leave should be for when you are sick -- not a supplemental retirement fund,” said Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, a Republican from Little Silver who sponsored a bill to stop workers from amassing the payouts.

Even a $7,500 cap would cost taxpayers $3.25 billion if all 434,000 public workers retired, Christie said.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a Democrat from West Deptford, in February proposed legislation that would stop current employees from amassing more for the payments and end them for new hires. Christie called the plan “encouraging.” No hearings have been scheduled on Sweeney’s measure.

Public-employee retirements in New Jersey jumped 45 percent in 2010 as Christie pushed proposals to raise their pension and health-care contributions, and 10 percent last year as he enacted them. Workers are retiring at a slower pace this year, and filings are on track to drop 30 percent in 2012, based on data from the state Treasury Department as of July 20.

800 Retirees

Julien Neals, business administrator in Newark, said he doesn’t expect a repeat of 2010, when the state’s largest city had to borrow $7 million to cover checks to more than 800 people for unused sick and vacation days. The city caps the awards at $15,000, he said. Yet with an additional 80 police and fire retirements expected this year, Neals said the payouts will still put a dent in the budget.

John Mousseau, a portfolio manager at Cumberland Advisors in Vineland, New Jersey, said allowing workers to cash out unused days is a “meat-ax” issue: someplace local governments can make a big dent in spending with one trim. The expense is weighing on cities as they deal with less state aid and higher pension contributions, he said.

“Here’s another thing that is wrong, and clearly it needs to be changed,” said Mousseau, whose firm manages $2.2 billion, including $1.2 billion of municipal bonds. “What you’re doing is raising another liability at an increasing rate for really what is no reason at all.”

Following are pending sales:

ENERGY NORTHWEST, which provides electricity to 1.5 million customers in Washington, is set to borrow $777 million of electric revenue bonds, including taxable debt, as soon as next week, Bloomberg data show. Bond proceeds will help finance fuel purchases and capital upgrade, according to bond documents. Standard & Poor’s rates the bonds AA-, its fourth-highest grade. (Added Aug. 10)

CALIFORNIA plans to issue $10 billion of revenue-anticipate notes as soon as soon as next week. The notes are rated MIG 1, Moody’s highest short-term grade. (Updated Aug. 9) ... ells-christie-abhors.html

Posted on: 2012/8/10 14:27

Re: Jersey City mayor, City Council members clashing over police director appointment
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Jersey City council confirms new acting police director

August 10, 2012, 3:03 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

Jersey City now officially has an acting police director, with the city’s assistant business administrator taking on the role for an additional $10,000.
The City Council approved the appointment of Assistant Business Administrator Robert Kakoleski to replace Samuel Jefferson, the former police director, who retired in February. Kakoleski will see his pay boosted to $126,404.

He will perform both roles simultaneously.

The Police Department is headed by a police director, who acts as the administrative leader of the department, and a police chief, who runs the day-to-day operations.

Mayor Jerramiah Healy initially attempted to have Police Chief Tom Comey handle both roles after Jefferson’s retirement, but the City Council balked, with members saying they weren’t comfortable with Comey acting as his own boss. Comey would have served with no extra pay.

Kakoleski, who was fiscal officer for the Police Department before being named assistant business administrator in 2010, began serving as acting police director on an interim basis after the council rejected Comey’s appointment in May. Healy was able to appoint Kakoleski for a 90-day period before seeking the council’s approval.

Explaining the pay boost, city spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill said Kakoleski is “taking on a significant amount of additional duties.”

“If a full-time replacement was hired for police director, the salary would be close to $150,000 plus benefits,” Morrill said. “Kakoleski’s additional pay expires once he is no longer acting director.”

Comey urged the council in a letter to appoint Kakoleski, saying “any change in leadership will have a detrimental effect” on the department.

Councilman at large Rolando Lavarro was the only council member on the nine-member body to vote against Kakoleski’s appointment. Lavarro said he wants an operational study of the department to gauge its effectiveness, and he won’t favor any appointee who doesn’t pledge to conduct such a study. ... y_council_confirms_n.html

Posted on: 2012/8/10 14:13

Re: IRONMAN - Military Reserve-Aid
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Jersey City Councilman Fulop to participate in Ironman U.S. Championship tomorrow

August 10, 2012, 9:42 AM
By Daniel Reyes/The Jersey Journal

The realm of Hudson County politics may have prepared Ward E Councilman Steven Fulop for more than just a bid for Jersey City mayor in 2013.

It has helped prepare the Downtown councilman to participate in tomorrow’s Ironman U.S. Championship. The grueling 140-mile triathlon that combines swimming, biking and running in a 13-hour race that will start in New Jersey and end in New York.

“Ironman is the ultimate challenge,” said Fulop, 35, adding that it takes a strong mind as well as a strong body to finish.

“Challenging one’s self constantly is a good thing.”

Fulop says he’s been training every day for seven months from 5 to 7:30 a.m. for the race that will start with a 2.4-mile swim in the Hudson River. The competition will transition into a 112-mile bike ride on the Palisades Parkway in Bergen and Rockland counties, before a full 26.2-mile marathon that begins in Fort Lee and concludes in New York’s Riverside Park.

Fulop has raised more than $17,000 for the charity Reserve Aid, which benefits the families of deployed soldiers. Fulop, who served in the Marines in Iraq, hopes to break $20,000 before tomorrow’s race.

“It gives you the perspective that no matter how hard Saturday will be for me, it pales in comparison to what some of those people who are overseas in deployment (face).”

He says that Jersey City residents made the majority of the donations.

“It’s been inspirational,” he added.

“Completion (of the race) is important, (but) we’re trying to hit milestones as far as raising money for a great charity.”

Fulop is one of 30 members of the Reserve Aid team, which is looking to raise $1,000 for every mile of the 140-mile race.

Despite all his preparation over the previous seven months, the councilman admits he’s a little bit nervous.

“I can do each of the components individually,” he said. “The running, in theory, is my strongest, (but it) might not be after everything. I’m a little nervous; I’m not going to lie.”

But Fulop is no stranger to such races, having completed the New York City Marathon and a variety of other triathlons.

“Despite the pain you’re going through it’s all worth it in the end.”

Still, Fulop feels well prepared.

“Maybe the world of politics in Hudson County has gotten me ready for the Ironman more than anything,” he said, laughing. ... councilman_fulop_t_1.html

Posted on: 2012/8/10 14:09

Re: Judge Gallipoli brings case for building new courthouse to Hudson freeholders
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Light looks green for freeholders resolution to begin property dealings for new courthouse

August 08, 2012, 3:00 AM
By Agustin C. Torres/The Jersey Journal

The Hudson County Board of Freeholders is expected to approve a resolution Thursday authorizing the county Improvement Authority to begin negotiating for the acquisition of property for the construction of a new courthouse in Jersey City.

A new facility will replace the courts located in the county Administration Building at 595 Newark Ave. but not those in the adjacent William J. Brennan Courthouse, which is listed on both the state and federal register of historic places.

Former Superior Court Assignment Judge Maurice Gallipoli told the freeholders in 2010 of leaking problems at the Brennan Courthouse, which also contains the Civil Division and of the need to replace the Administration Building's court facilities, which houses the Criminal and Family divisions.

The freeholders have commissioned studies since 1988 that have labeled the administration building inadequate, calling for it to be replaced. In 1993 the projected cost was $60 million. In 2010, Gallipoli said the cost is more in the range of $291 million to $366 million. He asked the freeholders to at least agree on a site for the new courthouse and establish a realistic timetable for construction.

The location of interest for a new courthouse has not been revealed but county sources say there are tracts of land available not far from the present court complex, near Central Avenue. Any eventual purchase of property will be made on recommendation by the county executive and a vote by the freeholders. ... green_for_freehold_1.html

Posted on: 2012/8/8 16:02

N.J. officials charge Jersey City hedge fund, executives with fraud
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N.J. officials charge Jersey City hedge fund, executives with fraud

Wednesday, August 08, 2012, 11:27 AM
By Ed Beeson/The Star-Ledger

State officials have sued a Jersey City-based hedge fund and its executives over charges that they defrauded dozens of investors and sold about $12 million worth of unregistered securities.

The charges were levied against Osiris Partners and an affiliated entity, Osiris Fund Limited Partnership, and 10 individuals who either worked for the firm or sold unregistered interests in the hedge fund, the state attorney general’s office said today in a statement. Among those charged were the firm’s chairman, Peter Zuck, 62, of Middletown, whom the state said also was a three-time convicted criminal.

About 76 investors who bought into the Osiris fund between mid-2009 and the end of 2011 were victims of the alleged fraud, state officials wrote. According to the complaint, the firm violated multiple provisions of the state’s securities law, including producing phony investor account statements, overstating the value of Osiris fund’s assets to generate higher management fees and conceal losses. The fund firm also employed unregistered agents to sell limited partnership interests in the Osiris fund and failed to disclose Zuck’s criminal background, which include convictions for securities fraud, officials wrote.

“We allege these defendants enriched themselves by pocketing at least $4 million of investors’ hard-earned money from the fund while they concealed substantial losses,” Attorney General Jeff Chiesa said in a statement, adding that the state is seeking to freeze the defendant’s assets. The state also named four individuals as relief defendants.

“This case clearly illustrates why we urge consumers to perform their due diligence before investing their money,” said Eric Kanefsky, acting director of the state Division of Consumer Affairs. “Unregistered people selling unregistered securities are serious red flags, as is any past criminal history in the securities industry.”

State officials did not immediately have defense counsel information for Osiris. A phone number for the firm was disconnected. ... ls_charge_jersey_cit.html

Posted on: 2012/8/8 15:54

Katie Couric new show promo filmed in Hamilton Park & Newport Mall
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Posted on: 2012/8/7 14:43

Jersey City 'klepto' cat appears on Animal Planet's Bad Dog
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Release 'The Kraken': Jersey City 'klepto' cat appears on Animal Planet's Bad Dog

August 03, 2012, 5:18 PM
By Daniel Reyes/The Jersey Journal

Hide your umbrellas and hide your bread, Harold the cat is snatching up everything in his Downtown Jersey City apartment.

The 20-month-old cat, also dubbed "The Kraken," is getting the reputation for being a bit of a kleptomaniac after appearing on Animal Planet’s show “Bad Dogs” about misbehaving pets on July 28.

The nickname "The Kraken" comes from the fact that Harry is a “force to be reckoned with”, says his owner Kayt Hester, a tape artist.

“He was always kind of a strange kitten,” says Hester, adding that after four months in a tiny apartment, moving to a bigger place in Downtown Jersey City sparked Harry’s inner-klepto.

"He would form an attachment to things, various objects," she said.

One of those attachments was to Hester’s filter from her Brita water pitcher.

She originally blamed her boyfriend, Alex Heitzenrater of the bands Aminal and Winner Takes All, for the runaway filter, which would often appear at the bottom of the stairs.

It wasn’t until she saw the theft in action that Hester finally realized the true culprit.

In addition to the filter, Harry, who has his own YouTube channel and Facebook page, is also known for stealing a purple umbrella, anything in a “crinkly package” like Ritz crackers and full loaves of bread.

"I've never seen anything like this,” says Hester.

Harry also gets his joy from tormenting Hester’s older cat Pixie, which often leads to either a timeout in the bathroom or a squirt from the spray bottle, appropriately called “The Peace Maker.”

Hester insists he’s a great cat and is always a source of entertainment.

“We don't want to stop all of (his bad habits) because they're entertaining," she said laughing. “I've never seen anything like this, I think he's ultra intelligent."

Animal Planet came to Hester’s apartment to film Harry in action in May.

“They contacted me in the middle of nowhere after finding Harry's YouTube page," said Hester. "It was a hoot, it was a lot of fun."

"He was definitely camera shy," she added. “He was hiding the whole time pretty much."

When not looting the apartment, Hester says that Harry loves “sitting on the window and giving dirty looks to the dogs and cats that walk by.” ... e_kraken_jersey_city.html

Posted on: 2012/8/4 3:53

Re: HUGE GAS PIPELINE COMING - through Jersey City
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Pipeline construction in Jersey City could force animal shelter to move or shut down

August 03, 2012, 9:15 PM
By Matthew McNab/The Jersey Journal

Officials at Hudson County's largest animal shelter are scrambling for answers after they learned this week that the planned natural gas pipeline is scheduled to literally go through its backyard.

And because of that, the Liberty Humane Society, located on Jersey City Boulevard outside Liberty State Park, may be forced to move.

Workers for Spectra Energy, the company that plans to construct a 20-mile pipeline through parts of Hudson County, were taking soil samples near LHS in preparation for the project and told staff members there that construction on their property could start in as soon as two weeks.

Jersey City has filed challenges to the rulings that allowed Spectra to have the pipeline pass through the city, but Spectra appears to be moving forward. Jersey City owns the land where the animal shelter sits, but Spectra has filed for eminent domain hearings to seize the property, city spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill said.

"We have been saying for more than two years now how the proposed Spectra pipeline poses a serious public safety and health risk," Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy said. "Now with one of their first site visits in Jersey City, the energy company has proven our point and shown a total lack of concern for our city and the animals living at the Liberty Humane Society."

The construction would not effect the LHS building, said Irene Borngraeber, JHS director of development and operations, but it would rip up the dog run and everything else behind the building.

"They avoided the building, but they have no problem taking the rest of the land," she said.

The destruction of the dog runs and open space for animals to roam would put LHS out of compliance with the state.

"We have no idea what's going to happen if we go out of compliance because of this," Borngraeber said.

LHS, which takes in almost 2,000 animals a year and boasts a 92 percent adoption rate, signed a 45-year lease with Jersey City in 2004. Since then it has slowly grown - and there are plans for more expansion, Borngraeber said.

If the shelter is going to be uprooted, LHS Board of Directors President Andy Siegel said, LHS wants Spectra to help them find a new location.

"Help us perform our function and find a new location," he said. "We're not getting any benefits from this pipeline, yet they're going to put these animals under duress forever because of it. They put a value on this land, but not on the animals." ... onstruction_in_jerse.html

Posted on: 2012/8/4 3:47

Jersey City council approves muni budget that keeps taxes virtually flat
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Jersey City council approves muni budget that keeps taxes virtually flat

July 31, 2012, 10:50 PM
By Charles Hack/The Jersey Journal

The Jersey City City Council voted 7-2 tonight to adopt a $485.6 million 2012 municipal budget that will hike municipal taxes a fraction of a percent.

For a property valued at $100,000, municipal taxes will increase for the year from $3,451 to $3,478 or $27, said Robert J. Kakoleski, an assistant business administrator.

"We are not collecting more in taxes but unfortunately our taxpayers are paying a little more," Kakoleski said, attributing the drop in ratables to successful tax appeals.

In a statement after the vote, Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy credited "the streamlining of government and fiscal restraints" of his administration for keeping a lid on taxes.

"However, because of the high number of recent tax appeals the tax rate had to be adjusted upward prior to adoption by the City Council," Healy said.

Council members Steven Fulop and Rolando Lavarro voted against the budget and accused Healy of playing politics with the budget.

Lavarro and Fulop accused the Healy administration of holding of tax increases until after the 2013 election predicting that tax payers will be slapped with a "hidden" tax as a result of revaluations.

"The revaluation is bad news for Jersey City," Lavarro said. "The whole process was to provide a cover for deferring increases to 2013."

In a statement Fulop said: "This is exactly what Team Healy did right around the last election before he crushed homeowners with a huge tax increase post election, only this time it is far worst as it is the delayed tax revaluation."

With the school and county taxes included, a property owner with a property valued at $100,000 will see a $176 tax increase in their overall tax bills that should start appearing in mailboxes by the end of next week, officials said.

Kakoleski said that state aid remained unchanged from 2011 to 2012 at $63 million The city expects an increase of new revenues of $2.3 million from red-light cameras and $1.9 million from the sale of the old Jersey City Police Department headquarters at 8 Erie St.

While civilians salaries and benefits fell by $1 million, police and firefighters salaries increased by roughly $5 million, Kakoleski said.

Council members approved budgeted amendments that included an additional $2.3 million for the Jersey City Improvement Authority, the first of three installments to repay the $6.9 million debt the authority owes to the Hudson County Improvement Authority. The budget also included a small increase in the JCIA budget, from $27.9 million to $29 million, officials said. ... council_approves_m_1.html

Posted on: 2012/8/1 5:11

The futility of gun control
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Brown: The futility of gun control

August 01, 2012, 12:01 AM
By The Jersey Journal


"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." — The Second Amendment

Whether it is college campuses, Amish communities, or other gun-free zones, bloodthirsty maniacal men will find a way to quench their cravings. Therefore, gun control laws do not work -- because they are based on the erroneous assumption that criminals will obey the law. They don't and won't; hence leaving law-abiding citizens defenseless in the face of danger, as so happened that tragic July evening at the Aurora, Colorado movie theater where guns were not permitted, and a man who called himself "The Joker" went on a shooting rampage.

In addition to the need for self-defense, our Founders understood the bearing of arms was essential to protecting this country from tyrannical governments. Fresh on their minds was the revolutionary clash between the tax-happy British government and a population of armed and ragtag citizens with the dream of freedom burning in their souls.

Much to the dismay of gun law activists who claim the Second Amendment pertains solely to "militia" (military) service, and who predictably crawl out from underneath their rocks after every mass shooting, the 2008 Supreme Court Case, District of Columbia v. Heller, ruled the Second Amendment indeed secures an individual's right to possess firearms, regardless of military service. Nonetheless, these activists continue their march ever forward, in an endeavor to infringe upon that which "shall not be infringed."

It is really about perspective. Every life is precious. Each of the 12 lives snuffed out in that Colorado movie theatre is 12 lives too many representing untold numbers of family members whose lives are forever changed. No amount of gun control will bring them back nor will it stop the next psychopath from taking his rage out on society. Zip. Zero. Zilch. If every last gun was shipped across our borders fast and furiously, murderers would still find a way to kill.

This conversation is not about gun control; it's about people control. Gotham City, er, Chicago, has one of the strictest gun laws in the country--so severe, the laws were deemed as unconstitutional awhile back. But that didn't stop former Mayor Richard Daley and current Mayor Rahm Emanuel from attempting everything in their power to maneuver through the gray areas and around the red tape, God bless them. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, over Memorial Day weekend 12 people were killed by gunfire and 45 were shot and wounded. In the time it takes to play a major league soccer match (90 minutes), 13 people were shot. By mid-June, murder was up 35 percent from last year with 228 people killed. Statistically speaking, our troops are safer in Kabul, Afghanistan than in Chicago. Where was that story in the national news?

Less might be more when it comes to gun regulation. According to the Washington Times, violent crime peaked 25 years ago when just "a handful of states" had conceal-carry laws. To no coincidence, gun sales have increased over the past four years, and currently 41 states have differing versions of gun-carrying laws, yet violent crime has decreased according to the FBI in June. According to Pajamas Media, "States with the highest gun ownership have the lowest firearms homicide rates" and "States with the lowest firearms ownership average the highest firearm and non-firearm homicide rates."

Gun control activists have it all wrong because they make incredibly naive assumptions about human nature. Given the chance others were packing heat in theater number 9 at the Century 16 in Aurora, Colorado; the story may have ended much differently for the cold-blooded killer.

View full sizeCagle CartoonsSUSAN STAMPER BROWN

Brown is an opinion page columnist, motivational speaker and military advocate who writes about politics, the military, the economy and culture. Email Susan at or her website at ... futility_of_gun_cont.html

Posted on: 2012/8/1 5:08

Re: Jersey City agency OK's controversial 5-year contract for director
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Records show Jersey City Incinerator Authority director Oren Dabney is not lowest paid of 6 autonomous agency chiefs

July 28, 2012, 3:00 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

When the Jersey City Incinerator Authority Board of Commissioners voted last Tuesday to award JCIA executive director Oren K. Dabney a new five-year contract with a nearly 5 percent pay hike, the city agency’s attorney compared Dabney’s salary to the pay of the city’s other agency chiefs.

Six autonomous city agencies operate with their own governing bodies, though some rely in large part on city funds for their budgets. The executive directors of the other agencies “get a lot more” and do less than Dabney, JCIA attorney Timothy J. Hawkes said Tuesday night.

“He’s actually getting less than them,” Hawkes said.

But that’s not quite true. Dabney, whose current base salary is $120,205, is not the highest paid agency chief, but he’s certainly not the lowest, according to records obtained by The Jersey Journal.

Maria Maio, who heads the Jersey City Housing Authority, has the distinction of being the highest paid agency chief in Jersey City. Her 2011 salary was $173,276.

Dan Becht, executive director of the city Municipal Utilities Authority, earned $139,857 last year, while Bob Antonicello, chief of the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency, brought in $134,270. Dabney’s $120,205 in 2011 brings him in just below Antonicello.

Just below Dabney is Mary Paretti, chief of the Jersey City Parking Authority, who made $113,565 last year. Coming in as the city agency chief with the lowest base salary is Priscilla Gardner, director of the Jersey City Free Public Library. Her 2011 base salary was $113,162.

The salary hike granted to Dabney last week, which would bring his new base pay to $126,215, is not sitting well with city officials.

Mayor Jerramiah Healy expressed dissatisfaction, saying he wasn’t aware of the terms of Dabney’s new contract, while four City Council members are calling on the entire JCIA board to resign because the board was ready to approve Dabney’s contract last Tuesday without reading it first. ... ow_jersey_city_incin.html

Posted on: 2012/7/30 16:38

Jersey City election will be a horse race
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Jersey City election will be a horse race

Jul 29, 2012 The Hudson Reporter

No-name candidates aren’t really “no name,” according to supporters of Jersey City Councilman Steven Fulop, responding to last week’s column. Fulop appears to be trying to expand his appeal to voters without risking the loss of his base in Ward E. This is a risky proposition, since at some point he may have to reach out to candidates who are not totally aligned with his philosophy or who don’t have the approval of those who elected him to the City Council.

In reaching out to other sections of the city, he appears to be trying to avoid taking on people who are considered old hacks or who have had too many ties to the old guard.

Unfortunately for Fulop, some of these people have the ear of their communities, such as Councilwoman Nidia Lopez, who has won the respect of many people who formerly opposed her. To run a candidate against her risks alienating a group of voters Fulop may need to win as mayor.

At this point, it appears that Jersey City may be a race between Fulop and Mayor Jerramiah Healy, and perhaps an African-American candidate who some believe might be Assemblyman Charles Mainor. Rumors also report that former mayor and state Senator L. Harvey Smith may be looking to return to the City Council, perhaps in a Ward A race. But on whose ticket?

While everybody is courting Assemblyman Sean Connors as a possible council candidate, one source suggests that Connors may replace Healy as the mayoral candidate against Fulop – perhaps edging out outgoing Councilman Bill Gaughan, who rumors indicate might covet Connor’s seat in the Assembly.

But sources close to Connors say he’s not interested in leaving the Assembly at this time, although he has to walk a fine line between his interests and keeping all the political parties happy. And the whole idea behind pushing Connors for mayor may have originated with Healy people looking for another horse to ride in order to keep from being swept out of municipal jobs if Fulop wins.

Will Mason run for the state Assembly?

This also poses some interesting issues for Hoboken, where Assemblyman Ruben Ramos is likely seeking to challenge Mayor Dawn Zimmer in next May’s municipal election. Second Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason is reportedly considering a run for the Assembly. The problem is that she would seek Ramos’ seat. One of the two Assembly seats in state Sen. Brian Stack’s district would have to go to a Latino. If Mason was to replace Ramos, then the Jersey City seat currently occupied by Connors would have to go to a Latino instead. If all this sounds to you like an elaborate game of musical chairs, you’re right.

While practically everybody says they are running for mayor in Hoboken to challenge Zimmer, the opposition will have to settle on someone – if not Ramos, then Frank Raia or some unnamed candidate. One report suggests that a compromise candidate might be Freeholder Anthony Romano, a real dark horse, but someone without a lot of the political baggage other candidates currently carry.

Party time for Hudson Republicans

Two local Republicans will be going as alternative delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Aug. 27, part of a group of about 50 delegates statewide that will set the agenda for the November election and help build the platform that Mitt Romney and his as-yet to be selected vice presidential candidate will run on.

Hudson County Republican Chairman Jose Arango will be among those who will represent Hudson County, serving as alternate delegate for Gov. Christopher Christie and former Gov. Tom Kean Sr.

Arango said Republicans will gear up in Hudson County for the November election just after Labor Day, hoping to siphon off enough votes from the Democrats in Hudson County so that New Jersey will swing to Romney, and possibly allow State Sen. Joe Kyrillos to beat U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez.

“Menendez needs to come out of Hudson County with an 80,000 vote majority,” Arango said. “If Kyrillos gets 20,000, then Menendez needs 100,000 votes. My job is to try and get Kyrillos 35,000 votes so he can win in the rest of the state.”

Romney, however, will likely do better in Hudson County than Kyrillos will, Arango said, partly because many of the Cuban American areas of the county are likely to vote against President Barack Obama, but stay loyal to Menendez.

“Bayonne usually goes Republican for president,” Arango said, noting that there is a strong Republican presence in Hoboken, Jersey City, West New York, North Bergen, Kearny and Bayonne.

“There are members of the Tea Party who think the rest of us are too liberal, but they will vote Republican,” Arango said.

Arango believes that former Bayonne Councilwoman Maria Karczewski, who is running against Democratic Rep. Albio Sires, will bring together many of the Republicans and pose a strong challenge against Sires in November.

New prosecutor might come from Union City?

Meanwhile North Bergen’s Municipal Prosecutor Julio Morejon, who is a resident of Union City, is looking to replace Ed DeFazio as county prosecutor. Although DeFazio does not want to give up the position, he has been nominated to the Superior Court by Republican Gov. Christie. DeFazio’s second five-year term expires this month, and typically the governor selects the new prosecutor. This also has to be reviewed by a Senate committee, of which Union City Mayor and State Senator Brian Stack is a member.

A profile of Morejon is in this weekend’s Union City Reporter and West New York Reporter.

Is Stack provoking Sacco?

Several bills introduced in the state Senate by Stack have people thinking that this may be another way to get at his neighbor, state Senator and North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco.

Bills on accumulated sick time and other issues seem to be aimed at Sacco as if Stack is deliberately picking a fight.

Stack once believed that legislation introduced by Sacco and then State Sen. Bernard Kenny to limit public officials to one elected position was a move designed to prevent Stack from seeking a seat on state Senate. This motivated him to run sooner than he might have and eventually forced Kenny to retire. ... ns_lead_story_left_column

Posted on: 2012/7/30 16:35

Re: Downtown developer suing city, says officials tried to force him to hand over 7 "affordable" condos
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New affordable housing apartments in Jersey City to be set aside for artists

July 30, 2012, 11:12 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

JERSEY CITY — Jersey City took possession recently of seven residential units in a Downtown tower that it intends to set aside as affordable housing for artists.

The lofts, located on the second floor of the 68-unit Washington Commons, 311 Washington St., were the focus of a lawsuit filed last year by the developer, Neil Sorrentino.

Sorrentino claims the city promised to pay him the cost of construction for each unit, while the city says it agreed to pay $1 per unit and no more. A federal judge in January dismissed Sorrentino’s suit.

City officials, including Mayor Jerramiah Healy and Corporation Counsel Bill Matsikoudis, took The Jersey Journal on a tour last week of the units to show off what it won after Sorrentino’s suit failed.

The lofts, located on the outer edge of the Powerhouse Arts District, are not ready to be occupied. In one, a coffee table was crammed inside a bathroom. In another, there was no flooring. City officials say the apartments may be completed by early 2013.

“We think it’s just another step in bringing back an exciting arts and entertainment district,” Matsikoudis said.

There are two city buildings with affordable housing specifically for artists, 140 and 150 Bay St.

Artists interested in the affordable housing must be certified by the city Artist Certification board that has certified nearly 500 artists citywide. For more information, call (201) 547-5010. ... y_readying_seven_new.html

Posted on: 2012/7/30 16:31

Jersey City cop kills pit bull after it bites woman
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Jersey City cop kills pit bull after it bites woman, police say

July 30, 2012, 3:03 AM
By Charles Hack/The Jersey Journal

Jersey City police shot and killed a pit bull yesterday afternoon after the dog attacked a woman and her child, an official said.

But a relative of the dog’s owner insisted yesterday the dog was just being playful.

Officers were called to Wegman Parkway near Van Cleef Street around 1:35 p.m. on a disturbance complaint involving three pit bulls, Police Lt. Edgar Martinez said.

As police were arriving, three unleashed pit bulls charged at the woman and her young child and one of the dogs bit the woman on her arm, Martinez said.

A police officer fired multiple shots at the dog that bit the woman and the animal collapsed in the driveway of an apartment building, Martinez said.

Jersey City Animal Control and Emergency Services Unit officers responded to the scene and secured the other two dogs, which were unharmed, reports said.

The woman was treated at the Jersey City Medical Center for the bite to her arm and the child was also taken for observation after being traumatized by the incident, Martinez said.

The police officer was also treated for post-traumatic stress after the shooting, Martinez said.

Martha Rush, whose nephew owns the dogs, told The Jersey Journal yesterday that she was moving the dogs from the backyard of her home to the garage in the front when the dogs got loose.

Rush said the dogs meant no harm to the woman who police say got bit, but the woman panicked and screamed and that further excited the dogs.

“They were playing but she had no idea they were playing,” Rush said. “I kept telling her, they ain’t going to bite you.”

Rush said a police officer arrived, fired a couple of warning shots in the air and then fired at the male dog, Simba, several times. Neighbors said around five or six shots were fired. Rush said she did not see the dog bite the woman.

Rush and another relative brought the two other female dogs, Nicky and Free, into the house, they said.

“The dogs were no problem at all, they were only barking,” said Fakher Fahmy, owner of a neighboring property. “I feel sorry for the dogs.”

Family members said they are distraught about Simba’s death.

“That was our family dog,” said Ty’Jahnal Rush, 12, a cousin of the owner. “He was a good dog to us ever since we got him. He played with us. He never bit us.” ... y_cop_kills_pit_bull.html

Posted on: 2012/7/30 16:28

Re: 'Jersey Shore' Spin-Off in Jersey City
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Aired 7-26-2012
Scnes from Made With Love, Powerhouse Lounge, K9dergarden.

Posted on: 2012/7/28 5:48

Re: Jersey City agency OK's controversial 5-year contract for director
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Jersey City council members call for resignations over new pact for agency chief

July 26, 2012, 5:15 PM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

Four Jersey City City Council members are calling for the resignations of all seven Jersey City Incinerator Authority commissioners for awarding JCIA chief Oren K. Dabney a five-year contract this week.

The council members are also calling the state attorney general to investigate the action.

Ward E Councilman Steve Fulop, who has led the charge to dissolve the JCIA, said today he objects to the commissioners approving the contract even though some said they hadn’t seen the pact, which comes with an initial pay hike of roughly 5 percent.

“From a basic public policy perspective, there are so many things wrong with what the JCIA board did,” Fulop said in a statement.

The seven-member JCIA board unanimously awarded Dabney the contract at its meeting Tuesday. Dabney wasn’t due for a new pact until 2014, but the JCIA board acted two years early as a reward for “superior services,” according to a resolution memorializing the decision.

At the meeting, commissioners asked to see the contract, but Commission Chair Phillip Flood urged them to vote on the agreement before reading it. JCIA attorney Timothy J. Hawkes told them it was the “same contract” the board approved in 2009, though the new agreement comes with a salary that’s 4.8 percent higher than the one in the 2009 contract.

Neither Hawkes nor Flood returned repeated phone calls requesting comment.

Fulop’s colleagues David Donnelly, Rolando Lavarro and Nidia Lopez joined him in objecting to the action. Donnelly and Lavarro plan to run on mayoral candidate Fulop’s ticket in next year’s city election.

“This lacks basic leadership when you give yourself a raise while laying off low-level employees and not paying basic bills,” Donnelly said in the statement. “This is just wrong.”

Council members interrogated Dabney earlier this year when they discovered that the JCIA hadn’t paid more than $7 million in overdue bills, a debt that Dabney blamed on insufficient city funding. The council later approved a $6.8 million payment to the JCIA to cover some of the debt, over Fulop’s and Lavarro’s objections.

"Given the scrutiny the agency is under for its mountain of debt, this action by the JCIA board makes absolutely no sense," Lopez said in the statement.

In addition to the A.G. investigation and the JCIA resignations, the four council members said they will re-introduce a city measure intended to dissolve the JCIA and merge its functions into the city of Department of Public Works. The measure stalled in April after hundreds of JCIA workers and their supporters voiced their objection.

Yesterday, Healy’s office said the mayor was unaware of the terms of Dabney's contract and that the mayor does not support a pay increase. Today, Lavarro questioned that statement.

“I don’t know how the mayor can say he didn’t know when his own employees sit on the JCIA board,” Lavarro said. “Either he is not engaged in city government or is not being forthright. Either way it’s bad for the city, taxpayers and the average worker at the JCIA.” ... y_council_members_ca.html

Posted on: 2012/7/27 2:05

Re: Lyles tells Jersey City parents state schools chief played no role in appointment as superintendent
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Jersey City school activists critical of new superintendent appointment process point to councilman’s 2011 email

July 26, 2012, 3:03 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

A recently leaked email from Jersey City Ward E Councilman Steve Fulop has reignited fears in some quarters that acting state Education Commissioner Chris Cerf is behind the pending appointment of the new schools superintendent.

The email sent by Fulop on May 2, 2011 to about a dozen supporters and four current school board members is considered a smoking gun for critics who claim that Marcia V. Lyles, tapped last month by the Board of Education to lead Jersey City’s 28,000-student public-school district, is Cerf’s handpicked choice.

The email’s subject line is “Cerf meeting,” and the message reads, “Please keep in confidence as always. We are meeting at (address redacted) Arlington Ave tomorrow (Tuesday) at 6 p.m. See you then.”

BOE members Marvin Adames, Carol Harrison-Arnold, Carol Lester and Sterling Waterman received the invitation, as did local education advocates Ellen Simon and Shelley Skinner and three others. The Arlington Avenue residence is the home of a Fulop supporter.

Attendees who spoke to The Jersey Journal deny that Lyles’ name came up. Fulop said he used recent school election results to show Cerf that Jersey City parents are “more engaged” than in the past.

“The conversation at that point was that the public is voting in record numbers and that they are engaged (and) that the state needs to give back local control,” he said.

Still, for parents and local leaders who believe Lyles is Cerf’s handpicked choice, the email is evidence of back-room deals at the expense of Jersey City students.

“Why would this have to be some secret meeting? That’s what I’m asking,” said local activist Riaz Wahid, who has emerged in recent months as a frequent critic of the BOE’s selection process and of Fulop’s involvement with the school district.

The timing of the May 2011 meeting is key. Just a week before, Harrison-Arnold and Adames present at the meeting, but not sitting board members yet won election to the board, defeating two members who were partial to former superintendent Charles T. Epps Jr.

After her election, Harrison-Arnold told a group of supporters, “Dr. Epps, you’re out!” Sure enough, within five months, Epps’ December 2011 departure was set.

Harrison-Arnold told The Jersey Journal yesterday that Epps, not Lyles, was a topic of conversation at the May 3, 2011 meeting on Arlington Avenue.

“The only discussion at that meeting was getting rid of Epps and local control,” she said.

Cerf’s office told The Jersey Journal in June that he had no hand in Lyles’ selection and, asked to comment about the email, Cerf spokeswoman Barbara Morgan said the May 3, 2011 meeting was nothing unusual.

“The acting commissioner has conversations on a regular basis with a wide variety of constituents many of whom are elected officials that contact him to facilitate meetings to discuss issues that are of import to the people they represent and this was one such occasion,” Morgan said.

Last week, Lyles called the idea that Cerf is responsible for her being named Jersey City’s next superintendent “really wild.” ... y_school_activists_c.html

Posted on: 2012/7/26 15:48

Re: Red light traffic camera
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Jersey City to resume red-light camera operation at Kennedy & Communipaw

July 25, 2012, 12:41 PM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

Jersey City may resume issuing traffic tickets from the red-light cameras at Kennedy Boulevard and Communipaw Avenue today, one day after Gov. Chris Christie said the cameras that had been suspended statewide have been authorized for operation.

The city stopped issuing tickets using the red-light cameras at that intersection last month, after the state suspended 63 of the 85 cameras in the state because of concerns that the yellow lights at the intersections may not have been timed as per state law.

Jersey City has eight intersections with activated red-light cameras, and a handful more are on the way. The newest cameras, at the foot of Newark Avenue where it meets with Routes 1&9, will be activated Aug. 5.

The cameras at Kennedy Boulevard and Communipaw Avenue were the only cameras in the city the state ordered suspended until the yellow-light timing was certified. In May, city officials said those cameras were responsible for 20,000 tickets and $1.7 million in fines from May 2011 to April 2012. ... y_to_resume_red-ligh.html

Posted on: 2012/7/26 1:34

Jersey City agency OK's controversial 5-year contract for director
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Jersey City agency OK's controversial 5-year contract for director

July 25, 2012, 7:48 PM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

The Jersey City Incinerator Authority Board of Commissioners Tuesday night awarded JCIA chief Oren K. Dabney a new, five-year contract that comes with a nearly 5 percent salary hike.

The new pact, approved unanimously by the seven-member board, gives Dabney a base salary of $126,215, a 4.8 percent increase from his current pay. He will also be entitled to annual increases of up to 4 percent after the first year.

Dabney's current contract was not set to expire until 2014. The commissioners awarded him the new agreement, which starts Aug. 1, and also provides Dabney with a JCIA-paid car, as recognition of "superior services rendered," according to the resolution awarding the new pact.

The JCIA is an autonomous agency founded in 1951 to pick up and dispose of city trash. It employs around 140 workers, and its roughly $33 million annual budget is funded mostly with city dollars.

Asked to comment, Dabney said he thanked the board "for their unanimous vote of confidence in me to continue to make Jersey City a cleaner, greener and healthier environment."

Dabney's new agreement also provides him with full compensation over the term of the contract, including health and pension benefits for life, if the JCIA terminates the contract or eliminates Dabney's position.

This provision could be pivotal since city officials are mulling whether to eliminate the JCIA entirely and merge its functions with the city Department of Public Works. Dabney's 2009 contact included the provision as well, but it was absent in the five-year contract approved in 2004.

Mayor Jerramiah Healy issued a terse statement indicating unhappiness with Dabney's new salary hike.

"We're going to review all of the contracts for the executive directors of all the autonomous agencies to make sure that there are no raises inconsistent with the fiscal restraints we've placed on all city directors and employees for the past three years," Healy said.

Ward E Councilman Steve Fulop, who is behind the push to dissolve the JCIA, noted that the city agency came under fire recently when the City Council discovered that the JCIA hadn't paid more than $7 million in overdue bills.

"It makes no sense to give a contract extension when the old one is not even close to being up, and furthermore the JCIA hasn't even been paying its bills," Fulop said. "This is exactly what we warned about months ago when the mayor and director pushed back against the consolidation plans. "

The seven-member board was set to approve Dabney's new contract sight unseen Tuesday night. After JCIA attorney Timothy J. Hawkes described the pact as the "same contract" the board had previously approved for Dabney in 2009, Commissioner Michael Rooney said he wanted to see the document before voting to approve it.

"He's entitled to see it," said Commissioner Roger Hejazi.

"He can see it after the meeting," Commission Chair Phillip Flood said before calling for a vote.

Flood and Hawkes did not return phone calls requesting comment. ... y_incinerator_authoi.html

Posted on: 2012/7/26 1:29

Re: Lyles tells Jersey City parents state schools chief played no role in appointment as superintendent
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Watch NJ Today: July 25, 2012 on PBS. See more from NJToday.

Posted on: 2012/7/26 1:25

Re: Jersey City Government Corruption Scandal - 16 arrested
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Two ex-Jersey City candidates all that remains unresolved of 'Bid Rig'

July 24, 2012, 3:03 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

Three years ago yesterday, federal prosecutors rocked the Hudson County political establishment with their arrests of 44 politicians, public officials and rabbis on money-laundering and public corruption charges.

Dubbed Operation Bid Rig III, the sting put two Hudson County mayors behind bars, along with a Jersey City deputy mayor, a state assemblyman, the Jersey City City Council president and dozens of other public officials and failed political candidates.

After three years of guilty pleas, jury trials and acquittals, the only defendants from the sting’s political track remaining to be prosecuted are Lori Serrano and LaVern Webb-Washington, both failed council candidates in the 2009 Jersey City municipal election.

Like many of the other Bid Rig defendants, Serrano and Webb-Washington are accused of accepting cash bribes from federal informant Solomon Dwek. The two women have pleaded not guilty to fraud charges.

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said Bid Rig showed public corruption is “still a problem” in the Garden State.

“People’s perceptions about how public officials behave and their confidence in the people who serve them is undermined by the number of people who abuse the privilege and opportunity of public service to enrich themselves,” Fishman said yesterday by phone.

Since last year’s second anniversary, there have been few developments. Former Jersey City housing inspector John Guarini was sentenced to six months in prison for accepting bribes, while charges against former Jersey City health officer Joseph Castagna were dropped in January. Former Secaucus mayor Dennis Elwell entered federal prison to serve his 30-month term.

Webb-Washington pleaded not guilty in September 2011 to four fraud counts, and lawyers in her case are expected back in court Aug. 15. Serrano pleaded not guilty to mail fraud in December 2011, and her lawyers in March filed a motion seeking to dismiss her case. A motion hearing in Serrano’s case was postponed last week.

Meanwhile, in February, a federal judge threw out all charges against former assemblyman and failed Jersey City mayoral candidate Lou Manzo, who was facing two counts of bribery and one count of failing to report a felony.

It was the second time since Manzo’s arrest three years ago that the judge threw out charges against him.

Fishman said he doesn’t use a conviction rate to measure his happiness with a particular operation.

“Are the investigations and prosecutions consistent with the mission of the Department of Justice ... that’s what matters,” he said.

Manzo has not been shy about his feelings regarding Bid Rig. He contends that the entire case was an abuse of power by prosecutors who were not even authorized by their superiors to run the kind of sting that landed Manzo behind bars.

Today, Manzo, 57, is living at the Jersey Shore with his mother, his money gone and his former friends and political associates not returning his calls. He’s working on a book about his case and “misconduct” in the Justice Department.

“Yeah, my case was thrown out, but I suffered worse of a punishment or as much of a punishment as if I had gone to trial and had been convicted,” he said. ... ey_city_candidates_a.html

Posted on: 2012/7/24 16:36

Re: Tachair Bookstore - Newark Avenue
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Photos from the
grand opening.

Posted on: 2012/7/23 4:00

Lyles tells Jersey City parents state schools chief played no role in appointment as superintendent
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Lyles tells Jersey City parents state schools chief played no role in her appointment as superintendent

July 20, 2012, 3:00 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

Jersey City’s prospective new schools superintendent yesterday met with the public for the first time since the Board of Education voted to select her to succeed former schools chief Charles T. Epps Jr.

Marcia V. Lyles gave a speech at School 7 yesterday outlining her vision for Jersey City’s public schools and addressing the controversy that has surrounded her appointment.

Lyles, who declined to give her age, denied that state Acting Education Commissioner Chris Cerf who, like Lyles, is a graduate of the Broad Superintendents Academy had anything to do with her appointment.

Those accusations are “really wild,” she said to a crowd of about 20 inside School 7.

“I have not spoken to Chris Cerf since June 2009,” Lyles said.

Lyles’ appointment has met with a firestorm of criticism from a group of parents, teachers and local leaders, many of whom wanted the board to pick interim Superintendent Franklin Walker to succeed Epps, who stepped down in December.

Several parents who spoke yesterday blasted the “process” by which Lyles was chosen, accusing the board of not including the community in the selection process. A few noted that their feelings about Lyles were not “personal.”

The prospective superintendent did have some fans in attendance, including Felicia Noth, who has a son enrolled at School 5. Noth told Lyles she is “very happy” that Lyles is ready to take charge of the 28,000-student district.

“Personally, I’m excited for new leadership in the district,” she said, adding that a “thriving” public-school system is what Jersey City needs.

Susan Curry, organizer for parents group Statewide Education Organizing Committee, said she wasn’t impressed by Lyles’ speech, calling it “boiler plate, Broad Academy stuff.”

“This is all about politics. This is all about favors,” Curry said.

In a brief interview with The Jersey Journal, Lyles said she intends to make Jersey City the final stop in her 40-year education career.

She also addressed complaints that Walker should have been named superintendent instead.

“I completely understand people wanting to have someone they know,” she said. “Part of my job will be, two years from now, to convince some of them that I’ve done a good job.” ... s_jersey_city_parent.html

Posted on: 2012/7/20 15:39

Re: Healy administration, Vega recommend sweetening tax abatement for 77 Hudson
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Settlement between Jersey City and developer will cost city $900K in tax revenue

July 19, 2012, 8:23 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

A legal settlement between Jersey City and the developer of a Downtown luxury condo complex was given initial approval by the City Council yesterday, with city officials saying the deal will cost the city about $900,000 in revenue over three years.

The settlement would end a lawsuit filed by developer K. Hovnanian in 2009 that argued the city showed “bias” by not amending a tax-break deal for Hovnanian’s 420-unit 77 Hudson St., as the city did with a similar complex on Second Street.

Under the terms of the settlement, which was approved yesterday by a 6-3 vote, the city amended its 20-year tax abatement with Hovnanian by reducing the developer’s annual service charge to the city from 16 to 11 percent of its annual gross revenue for the first three years of the deal.

The decreased payments from Hovnanian amount to $892,500 over the course of the three years, city spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill said.

Hovnanian says sales at 77 Hudson St. have “languished,” with 85 units unsold, according to the city.

The change would only affect units unsold as of July 18, 2012.

Hovnanian asked for the amendment in 2009 to “level the competitive playing field,” its attorney said at the time. The city, which denied Hovnanian’s request then, had previously granted a deal to the developers of the 269-unit Crystal Point condo building on Second Street that was identical to the one requested by Hovnanian.

Council members Steve Fulop, Rolando Lavarro and Viola Richardson voted against the settlement, which will be voted on again before it is finalized.

Corporation Counsel Bill Matsikoudis told the council Monday he wants to settle the dispute because he believes the judge in the case has indicated “some favorability” toward Hovnanian’s claims. ... y_council_approves_s.html

Posted on: 2012/7/19 15:44

Jersey City developer Peter Mocco agrees to pay $21 million to family whose land was seized by city
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Jersey City developer Peter Mocco agrees to pay $21 million to family whose land was seized by city

July 19, 2012, 10:13 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

High-powered Jersey City developer Peter Mocco has agreed to pay a family $21 million in installments over the next six years for land the city seized for the Liberty Harbor North development in Downtown.

The agreement requires Mocco to hand over $10 million to the Kerrigan family by the end of this year, and additional sums annually until the entire judgment is paid off by the end of 2018.

The Kerrigan family owned a 3.4-acre site at the foot of Jersey Avenue that the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency seized via eminent domain in 2004 so the property could become part of the mammoth Liberty Harbor project.

The city paid the family $1.2 million for the waterfront property. But a jury in 2008 determined the actual fair market value to be $18 million, which with interest has risen to $21 million.

The Kerrigans, seeking payment of the 4-year-old judgment, sued Mocco, the JCRA and the city last year. This settlement will put an end to that suit.

Bill Ward, the Kerrigans’ Florham Park attorney, said the family views the settlement as the best prospect for the $21 million judgment to be fulfilled.

“This is the best option for the Kerrigans,” Ward said.

Mocco said he too is pleased.

“While I was originally advised that the property was going to cost $1.8 million, my faith in Jersey City is such that even though I was ultimately delivered a bill of $20 million, I still have faith in Jersey City and I’m committed to paying the $21 million,” he said.

JCRA Executive Director Bob Antonicello was less enthused. Antonicello said the agency is “cautiously optimistic” that the Kerrigans will finally get their money, adding that he’s still concerned about the “fragility” of Mocco’s finances.

The LeFrak family, he said, has built more than 4,700 housing units, 1.2 million square feet of retail space and over 4.5 million square feet of office space since 1980. Since 1983, Antonicello said, Mocco has “constructed 315 units and a beer hall.”

“No one has been given more by the City of Jersey City for less than Peter Mocco and has done so little with it,” he said.

Mocco declined to respond. ... y_developer_peter_mo.html

Posted on: 2012/7/19 15:15

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