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Re: Liberty Harbor Developer Companies Declare Bankruptcy
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Bloomberg News
Jersey City Developer Liberty Harbor North in Bankruptcy

By Steven Church and David Voreacos - April 19, 2012

Liberty Harbor North Inc., a developer of waterfront property opposite Manhattan in Jersey City, New Jersey, filed for bankruptcy to resolve a $21 million court judgment related to the urban-renewal project.

Company President Peter Mocco, a former mayor of neighboring North Bergen, put three companies affiliated with the Liberty Harbor community into bankruptcy to settle a legal dispute with a former landowner.

“We need the quick definitive action of the bankruptcy court to permit me to enter into a settlement,” Mocco said today in an interview.

Liberty Harbor North controls land worth $350 million, the company said in court papers filed April 17 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Newark. The project itself is not in bankruptcy and has adequate cash flow, Mocco said.

The development is an example of “new urbanism,” which relies less on cars and more on public transportation in creating a sense of community, Bob Antonicello, executive director of the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency, said in a telephone interview.

It is monitored by more than 500 security cameras, served by two light-rail stations, and sits within walking distance of PATH trains run by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, Mocco said.
Redeveloping Cities

“People have really looked at this and said this could be a striking example of how to redevelop cities,” Antonicello said.

The bankruptcy filing is “very disappointing,” he said.

“When the developer files a bankruptcy and thinks it won’t impact the future development, that’s ludicrous,” he said. “At the end of the day, bankruptcies have a stigma. This will be a stigma on what has the potential for being a jewel on the Hudson. This cold, calculating business move could have a very damaging effect on the city.”

Mocco said Antonicello “doesn’t appreciate or have knowledge” of the need to settle the land dispute in bankruptcy.

“In order for me to do that, I have to take advantage of the tools the bankruptcy court has given to us,” he said.

The condominiums and town houses at Liberty Harbor sell for about $350,000 for a one-bedroom unit to $1.8 million for five bedrooms. About 650 of the units are occupied, and many of the residents work on Wall Street, Mocco said.
Four-Acre Parcel

The finished project will have as many as 10,000 residential units spread over 80 acres, Mocco said.

The legal dispute involves a four-acre parcel of industrial land once owned by Ron, Lynn and Katherine Kerrigan, he said. The family sued the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency, which pursued an eminent-domain action on behalf of Mocco, Antonicello said.

A jury awarded them more than $18 million for the taking, a judgment upheld on appeal, Mocco said. With interest, their claim is now worth about $21 million, according to court papers filed with the bankruptcy court.

Mocco and his wife, Lorraine, signed a personal note and guarantee to the agency, Antonicello said. The agency is now pursuing a collection action against the Moccos in state court, according to Antonicello.
Biggest Creditors

“This bankruptcy filing has nothing to do with the economic downturn and the recession,” Antonicello said. “This is more the result of a strategic bankruptcy where people have the resources but perhaps not the will to work through their difficult times.”

The Kerrigans and the Redevelopment Agency are listed as Liberty Harbor North’s biggest unsecured creditors. Liberty Harbor North owes creditors about $44 million, according to court papers.

The three companies that sought court protection each listed different debt figures. Some of the debt was jointly owed by at least two of the companies, including the Jersey City and Kerrigan liabilities.

The bankruptcy was first reported by the Jersey Journal newspaper.

The case is Liberty Harbor North, Inc. 12-19964, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of New Jersey (Newark). ... orth-files-for-bankruptcy

Posted on: 2012/4/20 17:54

Re: Hudson County Prosecutor's Office Homicide Squad: Top Cop & 2 Ex-officers Surrender in Fraud Case
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Trevor Williams of Jersey City pleads guilty to bribery cover up

Friday, 20 April 2012

Two sheriff’s officers have pleaded guilty in scheme involving the bounty hunters

Trevor Williams of Jersey City, a bounty hunter, pleaded guilty Friday to trying to cover up commercial bribes that his boss, another bounty hunter, allegedly paid to an insurance company executive.

Two Hudson County sheriff’s officers previously pleaded guilty to official misconduct charges and are awaiting sentencing for assisting the bounty hunter, Adel Mikhaeil, 47, of Jersey City, in an alleged criminal scheme. The charges are the result of an investigation by the state Division of Criminal Justice, the State Police and Hudson County prosecutor’s office.

State Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said Williams, 39, who worked for Mikhaeil, pleaded guilty to third-degree hindering apprehension or prosecution and fourth-degree fabricating physical evidence before state Superior Court Judge Stuart A. Minkowitz in Morristown. Under a plea agreement, the state will recommend that Williams be sentenced to 364 days in a county jail and a term of probation.

Deputy Attorney General Anthony A. Picione is prosecuting the case. Minkowitz scheduled sentencing for Williams for May 25.

In pleading guilty, Williams admitted that he helped to cover up $92,000 in commercial bribes that Mikhaeil allegedly paid to an insurance company executive in return for business. The executive, John Sullivan, 45, a former vice president for Sirius America Insurance Co., pleaded guilty on May 30, 2008 to commercial bribery and financial facilitation of criminal activity. The state will recommend that he be sentenced to 364 days in the county jail and a term of probation. Another employee of Mikhaeil’s, George Formoe, 45, of Ridgefield Park, also pleaded guilty to covering up the payments. He faces probation.

Charges remain pending against Mikhaeil, who was indicted on Sept. 29, 2008. Minkowitz Fridayt scheduled Mikhaeil to go to trial on May 30. Mikhaeil is also charged with paying sheriff’s officers to sign false documents called “body receipts” indicating that he had captured fugitives who, in reality, had been apprehended by authorities. By claiming he caught the fugitives and presenting the false body receipts, Mikhaeil collected higher fees from insurance companies that insured the fugitives’ bail bonds. He faces second-degree counts of conspiracy, official misconduct, offer of unlawful benefit to public servant for official behavior, commercial bribery and money laundering, among other charges.

While a bounty hunter does receive a fee for locating a fugitive who is already in custody – what is called a “paper transfer” – the fee is lower than for a “physical apprehension,” when the bounty hunter actually locates and arrests a fugitive who is at large. The fraudulent body receipts also had the effect of reducing the amount of bail forfeited, resulting in savings for the insurance companies that insured the bail bonds but a loss of funds to the counties where the fugitive jumped bail and the state government, which divide the forfeited funds.

On July 14, 2009, former sheriff’s officer William Chadwick, 56, of Keansburg, pleaded guilty before Superior Court Judge Salem Vincent Ahto in Morristown to second-degree official misconduct for signing false body receipts for Mikhaeil. The state will recommend that Chadwick be sentenced to five years in state prison. Chadwick forfeited $5,500 in illegal cash gifts that he admitted receiving from Mikhaeil.

On Jan. 12, 2010, a second former sheriff’s officer, Alberto Vasquez, 43, of Apex, N.C., pleaded guilty before Ahto to third-degree pattern of official misconduct for signing false body receipts for Mikhaeil. The state will recommend that Vasquez be sentenced to 270 days in a county jail and a term of probation. He forfeited $3,500 in illegal cash gifts that he admitted receiving from Mikhael. Both former sheriff’s officers will be permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey.

On Feb. 5, 2009, another person named in the indictment, James Irizarry, 43, of Mohnton, Pa., pleaded guilty to commercial bribery before Ahto. Irizarry admitted he took bribes from Mikhaeil in return for hiring Mikhaeil to recover fugitives for his former employer and for approving Mikhaeil’s invoices for payment. Irizarry worked for a firm that locates fugitives for insurance companies that insure bail bonds. The state will recommend that he be sentenced to 364 days in the county jail and a term of probation. He forfeited $5,000 Mikhaeil gave him.

The defendants were prosecuted by Deputy Attorneys General Picione and Jeffrey Manis. They led the investigation along with Det. Sgt. Myles Cappiello and Det. Sgt. Neil Hickey of the State Police Official Corruption North Unit; Det. Scott Donlan and Analyst Alison Callery of the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau; and Det. Sgt. Mary Reinke of the Hudson prosecutor’s office. ... uilty-to-bribery-cover-up

Posted on: 2012/4/20 17:51

Re: Montgomery Gardens Area: Pack of teens surround man, beat him with brick and shoot him in neck
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Jersey City man sentenced to 40 years in prison for role in fatal 2009 attack

April 20, 2012
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

A 20-year-old Jersey City man was sentenced today to 40 years in prison for the 2009 felony murder of a 26-year-old man who was beaten with a brick, kicked and punched by nine boys in a deadly game of "knock out."

In handcuffs and wearing a green Hudson County Corrections Center uniform, Lucius Smith today apologized to the victim's mother before Superior Court Judge Fred Theemling handed down the sentence.

"I am sorry what I did. I am sorry what happened to your son," Smith said. "I think about it every day.”

Smith, 20, must serve 85 percent of the 40-year sentence before he is eligible for parole.

A jury convicted Smith in March of felony murder, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and aggravated assault.

A total of nine juveniles ranging in age from 13 to 17 were charged in the Feb. 24, 2009 attack on Carlos Orlando Quinones, 27, of Monitor Street, but four had their charges waved up to criminal court for prosecution as adults.

Speaking on behalf of the mother, who was too distraught to testify, Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor Laura Magnone told the court the mother’s life had "drastically" changed after the loss of her youngest son, an incident that led to her losing her job and suffering from various illnesses.

Describing Quinones as a "good" and "quiet" person, Magnone said he had come from Puerto Rico to New Jersey to find work and become an organ donor after his death.

Asking for Smith to be sentenced to 50 years behind bars, Magnone described him as the leader of the group and the person who struck the victim with the brick. Magnone said that Smith had made a statement to authorities saying that the boys often played “knock out,” a game where they would approach a homeless person and hit him with a brick until he lost consciousness.

The other alleged attackers charged as adults were Markise Dawson of Claremont Avenue and Augustus Bey of Dwight Street, who were both 17 years old when waived up to criminal court, and Tyshaun Shannon, of the Montgomery Gardens housing complex, who was 18 years old.

Asking today for the minimum sentence for his client, defense attorney Jim Sheehan asked the judge to consider that Smith's age was 17 at the time of the attack, adding that his client was one of "many, many individuals" involved in the incident.

“To see that on tape was shocking to everybody, but it was the group mentality, the pack mentality," Sheehan said."The defendant has been remorseful from day one."

Sheehan added: “If there was a time machine and he could back and change what happened that night he would.”

Smith's mother, two sisters and brother spoke on the defendant’s behalf.

"This is my baby boy," his mother said through tears "He did wrong."

A witness to the 2009 attack told police Quinones was walking at Cornelison Avenue and Florence Street when the boys surrounded him. When Quinones resisted and the boys found he had no money, the homicidal attack began, Magnone said.

Quinones was left in critical condition and in a coma at the Jersey City Medical Center, and it was days before police were able to identify him. He never regained consciousness before he died on March 3, 2009 as a result of injuries from the attack. ... man_sentenced_to_4_2.html

Posted on: 2012/4/20 17:47

Jersey City City Council introduces measure to expand Newark Avenue Restaurant Row
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Jersey City City Council introduces measure to expand Newark Avenue Restaurant Row

March 28, 2012, 6:36 PM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

Restaurants along Newark Avenue between Kennedy Boulevard and the Pulaski Skyway in Jersey City will soon be a part of the Newark Avenue Restaurant Row, thanks to an ordinance given tentative approval by the City Council tonight.

The move is a part of the city’s effort to attract new businesses to the area. Restaurants in a Restaurant Row are exempt from state laws that prohibit establishments with liquor licenses from opening within 520 feet of one another.

Restaurant Row eateries are also able to obtain city entertainment licenses without having to apply for a zoning variance.

The measure passed 6-0-1, with Council President Peter Brennan abstaining and council members Steve Fulop and Michele Massey absent. It requires one more vote before it’s adopted.

The council shot down a similar ordinance at its March 15 meeting because it also included one restaurant on Bright Street. Council members called that “spot zoning,” and the city revised the ordinance to exclude that restaurant. ... y_city_council_intro.html

Posted on: 2012/3/28 20:22

public hearing on proposed $469 million Jersey City budget
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Poor participation for public hearing on proposed $469 million Jersey City budget

Wednesday, March 28, 2012
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

Only four Jersey City residents offered their thoughts on the proposed $469 million city budget during a public hearing at tonight’s City Council meeting.

The residents, three of which are regular critics of city administration, mostly offered a negative view of the budget, which comes with no municipal tax increase.

Yvonne Balcer raised objections about the city’s compensated absence liability, or the amount of money the city owes workers for unused sick and vacation time. If the city’s entire workforce retired today, the city would owe $64.6 million for unused absences.

“The city’s in bad shape,” Balcer said.

Jayson Burg, who is seeking a seat on the Board of Education, questioned why the city was budgeting $5 million in savings from a possible merger of the Jersey City Incinerator Authority and the Department of Public Works, when an independent consultant said the merge could save the city $10 million.

Burg’s question went unanswered tonight, but yesterday Mayor Jerramiah Healy called the $10 million figure “several years old” and likely “inaccurate.”

Dennis Overend asked the council to require the city to send out annual tax bills instead of releasing them quarterly. Meanwhile, Riaz Wahid questioned why the city budget projects skyrocketing unemployment claims, from $494,000 last year to $1.5 million in 2012. City Assistant Business Administrator Robert Kakoleski blamed last year’s roughly 300 layoffs.

“People are collecting unemployment,” Kakoleski said.

The council has given tentative approval to the budget. There’s no date set for its adoption. ... icipation_for_public.html

Posted on: 2012/3/28 20:15

Re: Embankment- Update Thread
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Jersey City proposes changes that would permit two towers on historic Sixth Street Embankment

Wednesday, March 28, 2012, 7:36 PM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

The Jersey City City Council gave initial approval tonight to changes to a Downtown redevelopment plan that would allow a developer to build two towers on a portion of the historic Sixth Street Embankment.

The changes are required by a tentative settlement the city reached last month with developer Steve Hyman, who has battled the city for years over ownership rights to the embankment. As part of the agreement, the city would purchase most of the roughly mile-long parcel for $7 million, while Hyman would retain one block.

Hyman, who purchased the embankment from Conrail in 2003 for $3 million, wanted to develop the entire property. The city, which hopes to use its six-block portion of the embankment to create a Highline-style park, sued, saying it should have been given first crack at purchasing the property.

The changes given tentative approval by the council, which only go into effect if the settlement is approved by all parties, would permit construction of the two towers, one 35 stories and the other 45 stories. They could contain a maximum of 400 residential units and 200 hotel rooms.

The city Planning Board would not be required to approve any plans to build the two towers. The changes approved tonight would merely amend the Luis Munoz Marin Redevelopment Plan, making construction of the towers possible.

The two towers would sit on a parking base, the roof of which would be level with the adjacent embankment block. The parking base would have at least one restaurant, which could be accessed from the city-owned portion of the embankment via a “decorate and well-appointed” walkway.

The measure passed 7-0, with council members Steve Fulop and Michele Massey absent. ... y_proposes_changes_t.html

Posted on: 2012/3/28 20:05

Re: Jersey City Medical Center CEO says Christ Hospital takeover 'a recipe for disaster,' offers to buy
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Bankruptcy court awards Christ Hospital of Jersey City to Hudson Holdco

March 28, 2012, 3:03 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

A bankruptcy court judge in Newark yesterday awarded bankrupt Christ Hospital to the parent company of two for-profit hospitals in Hudson County.

Judge Morris Stern chose the $43.5 million bid by Hudson Holdco, which owns and operates the Hoboken University Medical Center and the Bayonne Medical Center, over the proposal by Community Healthcare Associates, which had planned to lease the hospital to the Jersey City Medical Center.

The Hudson Holdco bid, which had been endorsed by the Christ Hospital Board of Trustees, was roughly $600,000 more than the CHA bid.

Before making his decision, Stern said he was bound by precedent to defer to the board’s endorsement absent objection from the hospital’s creditors. Stern asked for the opinion of about a half-dozen creditors, all of whom said they did not object to Hudson Holdco’s bid.

CHA attorney Ken Rosen made a last-ditch effort to sway Stern, saying the bidding process was “corrupted” and that the Christ Hospital Board of Trustees made a “determination” long before last week’s auction that they would side with Hudson Holdco.

Stern responded by saying he found no evidence to back Rosen’s claims.

Paul Hebert, a spokesman for Christ Hospital, said hospital officials are pleased the judge selected the proposal the Board of Trustees and the hospital staff endorsed.

Christ Hospital filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month after a proposed acquisition by for-profit Prime Healthcare Services fell through.

In the initial bidding last week, CHA/JCMC emerged with the best and highest offer for the Palisade Avenue hospital, but the Christ Hospital Board of Trustees nonetheless recommended that the hospital be sold to Hudson Holdco. That prompted CHA officials to ask that the bidding be reopened.

After a live bidding process on Friday, Hudson Holdco was deemed to have the best and highest offer.

In its bid, Hudson Holdco says it will operate Christ Hospital as an acute-care facility for at least five years. It also pledges to hire back 100 percent of the hospital’s union staff and 90 percent of its non-union workers.

Jeanne Otersen, spokeswoman for Health Professionals and Allied Employees, the Christ Hospital nurses union, said she’s hopeful Hudson Holdco’s acquisition will be a new beginning for the hospital’s staff.

“Our job now is to make sure that the new owners live up to their commitments,” Otersen said.

In a statement, JCMC spokesman Mark Rabson said JCMC was motivated to bid for Christ Hospital in an effort to keep it open as a nonprofit facility. JCMC’s mission was strengthened by participating in the bidding process, Rabson added. ... _court_awards_christ.html

Posted on: 2012/3/28 19:40

Re: Downtown Jersey City is a walkers paradise (97 out of 100) according to
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The 25 Best Cities For Walking

These US towns made our top 25 cities for walkers list. Find out why here.

3. Jersey City, NJ

Walk Score: 85.2

Just over the Hudson River in New Jersey is this charming walkers' hot spot, which is among the top-ranked "Best Fitness Walking Cities," according to the American Podiatric Medicine Association. Hop between neighborhood farmer's markets in its historic neighborhoods or earn your walking bona fides trekking Liberty State Walking Trail, which spans the width of the state to the Delaware Water Gap—a whopping 130 miles!

Published March 2012, Prevention

Read more: ... sey-city-nj#ixzz1qO4KQn1j

Posted on: 2012/3/28 1:41

Re: Autonomous Incinerator Authority hasn't been paying its trash bills, Jersey City Council told
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Jersey City City Council to consider eliminating the Jersey City Incinerator Authority

March 27, 2012, 10:07 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

The Jersey City City Council is set to vote on an ordinance at its April 9 meeting that would eliminate the Jersey City Incinerator Authority, after a debate at last night's council caucus in which Ward E Councilman Steve Fulop said he'd rather vote on the issue once and for all.

Fulop had been tapped to sit on a committee that would discuss whether to fold the JCIA into the city Department of Public Works, or vice/versa. The city, seeking to consolidate services as a cost-saving measure, has been debating the proposed merger for more than a year.

After last night's debate, Corporation Counsel Bill Matsikoudis asked Fulop whether the councilman wanted an ordinance drafted that would eliminate the JCIA.

"Bring it on," Fulop responded.

In 2010, Mayor Jerramiah Healy attempted to merge the DPW into the JCIA, but the state stepped in, saying state statute forbids autonomous agencies from performing certain duties the JCIA would have to perform if it absorbs the DPW.

The planned merger would save about $5 million annually and eliminate around 80 jobs, officials say.

In a statement issued this morning, Fulop explained why he wants to skip the committee and go right to the elimination of the JCIA.

“There is really only one option that will reduce costs and increase accountability, and that is the elimination of autonomous agencies such as the JCIA,” he said. “Jersey City’s residents, the Mayor and this Council know that eliminating autonomous agencies is the the right thing to do and I intend to push this forward now. The tax relief is badly needed."

When the state halted the proposed JCIA/DPW merger, state Sen. Sandra B. Cunningham introduced a bill in the state Legislature that would permit the JCIA to perform duties it now cannot, such as park maintenance.

Cunningham denied that the legislation, which was approved by a senate committee last month, has anything to do with saving the JCIA, which is headed by Cunningham supporter Oren K. Dabney.

“It only legitimizes what the Incinerator Authority has been doing for as long as it’s been there,” she said. ... y_city_council_to_co.html

Posted on: 2012/3/27 14:24

Re: HUGE GAS PIPELINE COMING - through Jersey City
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Jersey City officials discuss strategy on proposed natural-gas pipeline

March 26, 2012, 7:59 PM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

Jersey City officials tonight blasted a federal report issued about a week ago that says the controversial Spectra Energy natural-gas pipeline proposed for parts of Hudson County would have limited adverse environmental impacts.

Speaking to a group of about 50 assembled inside City Hall, the officials said the report makes it all but certain that the four members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will end up giving the pipeline a green light.

The report, issued on March 16, disregards the city’s position that the pipeline would have adverse impacts on the environment, public safety and future real-estate development, Mayor Jerramiah Healy said tonight.

“Our concerns, once again, have not been heard,” Healy said.

City attorney Derek Fanciullo told the crowd that the timeline from here on will be “a lot faster” than they may think. If FERC’s decision, expected to come in mid-June, is favorable to Spectra, the city will have 30 days to make an initial appeal, and if that’s rejected, it will have 90 days to appeal to a federal circuit court, Fanciullo said.

“If nothing happens, in the worst-case scenario this may be done by the end of the summer,” he said.

Fanicullo added that he could not discuss the city's specific plan of action.

"If for nothing else, we don’t want them to know our strategy," he said.

Spectra proposes to add about 15 miles of natural-gas pipeline starting in Staten Island and running through parts of Bayonne, Jersey City and offshore Hoboken before heading into Manhattan. An additional five miles of pipe running from Linden to Staten Island would be replaced.

The Houston-based energy giant says the pipeline would be one of the safest in North America. It would create jobs and lower energy costs throughout the region, Spectra spokeswoman Marylee Hanley said recently.

Ward E Councilman Steve Fulop, who represents much of the area in Jersey City that the pipeline would travel under, noted that it is “rare” for so many elected officials to oppose unanimously a project the way Jersey City politicos have come out against the pipeline.

“This is a bad thing for Jersey City overall,” Fulop said. “I’m a believer that we can stop it.” ... ty_officials_discuss.html

Posted on: 2012/3/27 14:21

Re: Jersey City holds hearing about Comcast's effort to take over channel 1
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Residents: We want our JC 1 TV!
At cable hearing residents say they want more from Comcast

by E. Assata Wright
Hudson Reporter staff writer
Mar 25, 2012

Residents, members of the City Council, and Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy were all unified last week in what they want to see in the city’s next cable TV franchise agreement with Comcast.

The list of requirements includes continuation of Jersey City 1 TV and a dedicated public access channel; a station set aside for the Board of Education; discounted rates for senior citizens; a service suspension option for seasonal residents; equipment upgrades; improved training opportunities for lay producers; and scholarship, internship, and employment opportunities for Jersey City students.

Whether or not the city gets any or all of these “wish list” requests will depend on the state’s Board of Public Utilities.

In 1998, the city signed a 15-year local franchise agreement with Comcast to supply cable service to Jersey City residents. This agreement expires May 13, 2013, but the city is required by law to file a report this May 13 that evaluates Comcast’s service and details the future cable needs of residents. This report will be filed with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.

As a first step in this process, the city held a public hearing at City Hall last Tuesday so residents could discuss their experiences with Comcast and which services they’d like to see from their local cable provider in the future.

Based on the comments made at the public hearing before the City Council, the city will renew its cable franchise agreement with Comcast – but is likely to include its wish list of desired services and resources in the agreement.

“As the process moves forward, my staff will be reviewing the current agreement with Comcast to determine what provisions need to be added, omitted, or amended,” Healy said on Tuesday. “We will listen to the public’s concerns and weigh those issues as we work to develop a new contract with Comcast.”

Jersey City getting shortchanged?

According to City Clerk Robert Byrne, there are only a limited number of circumstances that would allow the city to deny a franchise renewal to Comcast: if the company hasn’t complied with its 1998 agreement; if Comcast’s service is poor; if Comcast lacks the financial or legal capacity to deliver service in the future; or if the company is unable to meet the future needs of the community.

Thus, it is unlikely the city will cut ties with Comcast altogether. But the city can build a number of requirements into its contract with the company that address service problems and other concerns residents raised last week.

In a nutshell, residents, including Mayor Healy, believe that Jersey City receives fewer services from Comcast than other communities receive from their local cable TV providers.

“In other cities, there’s actually money set aside for public access where there is a studio and people can receive training,” said resident and cable access producer Yvonne Balcer. “In Union City, you have a great [public access studio], where the public can receive training and there available equipment. That’s not the case here. In Jersey City, the public has to bring a finished product to the public access station [Channel 51].”

Another resident, Mia Scanga, who produces the public access show “Talking Politics” for Channel 51, agreed.

“Some of us, like myself and Yvonne Balcer, we’ve gone out and purchased our own equipment,” Scanga noted. “But video cameras and other equipment can be $2,000 or $2,500. A lot of people can’t afford that. We are not getting nearly the services at our public access station that other cites get. That [public access] studio on Kennedy Boulevard has nothing in it. In other cities, not only do people get a studio, they get trained how to film, how to edit.”

Throughout the hearing, several community members stated that Comcast’s rates, even for the most basic packages, are not affordable for seniors living on a fixed incomes. This, they argued, posed a problem should there be an emergency, since seniors without cable might miss important information that is broadcast on TV.

Others, including seasonal resident Jim Morley, complained that the city’s current agreement with Comcast does not allow customers to suspend their service during months of the year when they are living out-of-state. Local cable agreements in other cities allow for such service suspensions for “snow birds.”

One sticking point in the city’s new franchise agreement with Comcast could be whether the city is able to keep Channel 1, known as Jersey City 1 TV, a station dedicated to municipal government meetings and city news. City officials believe that Comcast may want to capture the channel for its own purposes.

“My understanding is that 30 yeas ago the cable company gave this station to the city because no one would watch it,” said Esther Wintner. “Over the course of the past 30 years, the city has worked hard to brand this station. It is now ours. There are a lot of people here who look forward to that JC 1 TV, and they should be watching that JC 1 TV. In my home I call the television the Idiot Box. But if anybody is going to turn it on, that should be the first thing that they see.”

Board of Public Utilities: ‘Final arbiter’

Some residents at the hearing suggested cutting ties with Comcast altogether, especially if the company appears unwilling to offer all the services the city is likely to request.

Byrne, however, said that completely severing ties with Comcast is not possible, since it is the company that built up Jersey City’s cable infrastructure and, as such, it has the permanent right to offer local cable service, unless the city can make a strong case against renewing the franchise agreement to the Board of Public Utilities. Still, he insisted the city has negotiating power and leverage.

“Comcast has to be reasonable,” explained Byrne. “The final arbiter in all this is the Board of Public Utilities. They are the mediator if one side or the other makes silly requests. If we’re not reasonable, the BPU is not going to approve our ordinance [to renew the franchise agreement with Comcast]. But at the same time, if Comcast denies all the things we’re asking for the BPU will intervene on our behalf and require that Comcast negotiate.”

Read more: Hudson Reporter - Residents We want our JC 1 TV At cable hearing residents say they want more from Comcast ... ndary_stories_left_column

Posted on: 2012/3/26 21:08

Re: 'Jersey Shore' Spin-Off in Jersey City
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Filming wraps up for Snooki, JWoww spinoff

Monday, March 26, 2012, 6:05 PM
By Stephanie Musat/ For The Jersey Journal

With a hug goodbye and the reminder of Snooki's pending child, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and Jenni "JWoww" Farley got into their own cars and drove away from their Mercer Street home to end their spin-off filming, closing five weeks of production that took over downtown Jersey City.

"Don't forget I'm pregnant," Snooki yelled to JWoww, before she climbed into her Cadillac and drove away from a film crew taping her exit to end the show.

Before their emotional goodbye, leaving to go to the Westin Hotel, the two walked down Mercer Street to thank neighbors with cookies and oranges.

But only four people answered - two people slammed the door in their face, and one was planted by the production team.

Even if they slammed the door, Snooki replied with an upbeat "Love You," before shoving a cookie through the mail slot and walking to the next door.

Earlier in the day, the boyfriends - Jionni LaValle and Roger Matthews - loaded cars with animal print suitcases and Snooki's favorite alligator. The couples began playing tricks on each other, with LaValle pouring water out of their window onto Matthews.

You might still see production teams around town, as their filming permit goes through next week.

"I'm happy that they're leaving," said Linda Jameson, who stopped by the house to check out the stars. "They didn't bother me much, but at least it's one less thing to worry about."

She said filming didn't interrupt downtown too much, but when production was happening, it was clear that they were out of their element.

"I don't have to worry about being stopped when they're filming or worry about what restaurants to go to in case they are there," she said.

Despite the "annoyance" she said she will tune into the show when it airs on MTV to see how they portray Jersey City.

There was the biggest crowd outside the house today besides the first week of filming, as people took out their camera phones to catch the duo and their significant others as they packed their cars before leaving.

"I wanted to get a picture before they leave," said Nicholas Remin. "It's cool they spent some time here, it gives some place else in New Jersey exposure. But I don't think they liked it very much."

He said he thinks the show will be boring, mostly because there isn't a lot of action in Jersey City. He said the city was a poor choice for the spin-off because it's not "very lively," but is still excited to tune in.

"My town will be on television," he said. "I can say I went to that restaurant or that bar. That's pretty cool." ... aps_up_for_snooki_jw.html

Posted on: 2012/3/26 20:58

Re: Former Jersey City council candidate Lori Serrano pleads not guilty
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Former Jersey City council candidate argues federal prosecutors targeted her because she's a Democrat

Wednesday, March 21, 2012, 5:16 PM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

Lawyers for Lori Serrano, the Jersey City City Council candidate arrested in the 2009 corruption sweep, argue in a new court filing that Serrano’s mail-fraud indictment should be dismissed, saying the U.S. Attorney’s Office discriminated against her because she is a Democrat.

Serrano, and other Operation Bid Rig III defendants, were arrested and prosecuted so Gov. Chris Christie, the former U.S. Attorney and then gubernatorial candidate, could gain an “unfair advantage” over Democrats in the 2009 state election, the March 19 motion reads.

Serrano, a former Jersey City Housing Authority chair, is charged with not reporting a $5,000 cash payment from confidential informant Solomon Dwek on campaign-finance documents.

“Prior to her meeting with government agent Dwek, she was never identified as one who would take bribes,” reads the 13-page motion. “With no history of public office, there was no legitimate reason for her to be targeted.”

Serrano’s lawyers also argue that there is no merit to the mail fraud charge, which stems from federal prosecutors’ assertion that she mailed a “materially false” campaign report that did not have any reference to the Dwek payment.

The indictment contains no specifics that lend it “constitutional muster,” the motion reads.

Serrano was originally charged with conspiracy to commit extortion under color of right, an indictment that was thrown out after a federal judge ruled in May 2010 that candidates for public office cannot be charged with corruption under the federal Hobbs Act.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office subsequently filed a superseding indictment charging Serrano with mail fraud. She pleaded not guilty in federal court in December.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment on Serrano’s motion.

Both sides are due in court again in May. A specific date has not been set. ... y_city_council_can_5.html

Posted on: 2012/3/23 18:58

Re: Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini -- convicted of bribery
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Former Jersey City deputy mayor scheduled to report to prison has been hospitalized, her attorney says

Wednesday, March 21, 2012, 3:19 PM
By Michaelangelo Conte/The Jersey Journal

Less than two weeks before she was to enter federal prison, the attorney for corrupt former Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini said today that she is hospitalized due to several strokes
and other health issues suffered following recent knee surgery.

"During her recovery from the knee surgery she developed a series of mini-strokes and an irregular heartbeat that has been difficult to control with medication, so she has been re-hospitalized," said attorney, Peter Willis.

The former burlesque dancer yis also experiencing erratic blood pressure, he said.

The 76-year-old was one of more than 40 people arrested in July 2009 as part of the massive federal Bid Rig III probe. The former treasure for the Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy's reelection campaign in 2009 was accused of accepting campaign contributions from FBI informant Solomon Dwek in exchange for a promise of helping him get approvals for his supposed real estate deals.

In February 2010, she was convicted of two counts of bribery for accepting two $10,000 contributions. Key evidence presented by prosecutors at trial was testimony by Dwek and the hidden videos he recorded. Four months later, Beldini was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to surrender to a Texas prison.

Beldini remained free on bail but after losing an appeal last September, prosecutors filed a motion to revoke her bail. Willis then filed a motion requesting the court stay her sentence indefinitely due her numerous health problems. He said she needs medications that may not be available in prison and has an abnormal heart beat that could require a pacemaker soon.
In his ruling, US District Court Jose Linares said Beldini will get adequate care in prison and set April 3 for her surrender.

Willis said Beldini underwent knee surgery about a year ago and afterward had continuing recurrences of blood infections that affected the knee. About 10 days ago she was admitted to have the knee operated and to get antibiotics intravenously, Willis said, adding that afterward, she suffered the health issues requiring her ongoing hospitalization.

Willis said by the end of the week he will file a new motion asking Linares to stay Beldini's sentence again.

The US Attorney's Office could not immediately be reached to comment on this matter. ... _city_deputy_mayo_11.html

Posted on: 2012/3/22 14:19

Jersey City holds hearing about Comcast's effort to take over channel 1
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Jersey City holds hearing Wednesday about Comcast's effort to take over channel 1

March 19, 2012, 3:00 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

The future of JC1TV, the channel Jersey City uses to air City Council meetings and other governmental programming, is at stake as the city begins negotiating its new franchise agreement with Comcast.

The cable giant’s current 15-year agreement with the city is set to expire in May 2013, and Comcast wants to gain control of channel 1 in Jersey City so it can offer it for its On Demand programming. In every other Comcast system in New Jersey, channel 1 is dedicated to On Demand, according to a Comcast spokesman.

Jersey City negotiated control of channel 1 when the city received its current deal with Comcast back in 1998. City officials want to retain the channel, saying they have spent the last two decades branding the station as the one for Jersey City residents to find city-centric programming.

“If people have any interests in civics in Jersey City, they know to turn on channel 1,” said city Clerk Robert Byrne.

On Wednesday, the city will hold a public hearing on the Comcast agreement. Byrne urged residents to come offer their praise or criticism of the cable company.

Comcast spokesman Jeff Alexander confirmed Comcast would like to use channel 1 for its On Demand programming, and move JC1TV elsewhere.

“For some time, we have been interested in bringing the service to channel 1, and have proposed relocating the city’s public information and government channel to another position on the lineup,” Alexander said.

The channel, no matter where it’s located, would still be available to all Comcast subscribers in Jersey City.

The public hearing on Comcast begins at 6 p.m. on Wednesday in the council chambers at City Hall, 280 Grove St. ... y_holds_hearing_wedn.html

Posted on: 2012/3/20 10:26

Re: In New Jersey, a Battle Over a Fluoridation Bill - fluoride will be added to Jersey City water
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Should NJ add fluoride to water?
Legislators will vote on mandate popular in other states

by Adriana Rambay Fernández
Hudson Reporter staff writer
Mar 11, 2012

Heated debate has ensued in the last few weeks about pending legislation to inject fluoride into New Jersey's water. The legislation has passed through both legislative health committees and will soon move to the Assembly floor for a vote.

Sponsors of the bi-partisan legislation have said that adding fluoride to public water will reduce the prevalence of tooth decay, but opponents argue against the measure, citing the cost, potential health risks, and lack of choice in the matter if the state mandates the practice.

Local advocacy groups are attempting to thwart the legislature’s efforts to “medicate the water supply,” calling fluoride a toxic chemical that can not be regulated once it enters the public water system.

Introduced in the 1940s

New Jersey ranks 49 out of 50 states, second to last to Hawaii, in its percentage of population that drinks fluoridated public water at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommended therapeutic level of one part per million, according to the New Jersey American Dental Association.

Michigan was the first state to fluoridate the water supply in 1945 after scientists discovered that people living near water supplies with higher levels of fluoride had less cavities. Fluoride was introduced into the New York City water supply in 1964.

In the 1970s, Jersey City water was fluoridated for a number of years before the practice was stopped due to opposition. As a Jersey City councilman in 2002, current Mayor Jerramiah Healy sought to return fluoridation and introduced a resolution that was never enacted upon.

Only 13 percent of New Jerseyans drink fluoridated water, according to data from the CDC. Several communities in Gloucester, Monmouth, and Somerset counties, among others, currently fluoridate their water.

Link to tooth decay

Almost all water contains fluoride, which is a naturally occurring mineral. But at low levels it is not sufficient enough to prevent tooth decay. Studies have shown that fluoridation of water can reduce tooth decay by about 60 percent. Despite the prevalence of fluoride in a number of products such as toothpaste, mouthwash, and gels, the CDC continues to recommend fluoridating water and listed it as one of the 10 most valuable public health measures of the 20th century.

Senator Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex) said in a statement, “By fluoridating our public water supplies we can directly improve the dental health of all New Jerseyans in the least expensive and most effective way possible. He is the chairman of the Senate Health Committee and sponsor of the bill.

Fear of risks

There are some downsides of fluoridation, even according to the CDC.

According to the CDC, children under age 8 and younger exposed to excessive amounts of fluoride have an increased chance of developing pits in the tooth enamel. Excessive consumption of fluoride over a lifetime may increase the likelihood of bone fractures, and may lead to pain and tenderness of the bone, a condition called skeletal fluorosis. According to the EPA, it is likely that some children 8 and younger are exposed to too much fluoride, at least occasionally while their teeth are forming, because of their high fluid intake relative to their body weight and/or because of high natural levels of fluoride in their local drinking water.

However, the CDC claims that as long as you follow toothbrush guidelines for your child, it is highly unlikely that they will become overexposed to fluoride. Children under 2 years of age should not brush with fluoride.

Fluoride opponents argue that there is very little control over how much fluoride a person consumes, due to its availability in teas and products made with fluoridated water. They say it shouldn’t be increased for everyone regardless of age and health. They also claim that the benefits of fluoride are topical, and thus provides little benefit if ingested in water.

Costly, or cost-saving?

The New Jersey Dental Association, using CDC estimates, determined that fluoridating New Jersey’s public water supply would net an estimated savings of $108 million annually, or more than $2 million per week, in dental treatment costs.

On the other hand, some Water Utility companies oppose the use of fluoride due to the added cost they estimate in the hundreds of thousands to millions – a cost that could be passed to costumers.

“Start-up capital expenses would be $1 billion to $2 billion on the drinking water side and $3 billion to $5 billion on the wastewater treatment side,” said Ron Farr of the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission during a Senate hearing last month.

Assemblyman Herb Conaway, a major sponsor of the bill – who has fought for fluoridation for eight years – said it saves money in other ways. "Water fluoridation is a safe and effective way to prevent cavities in children and adults and saves money that would otherwise be spent on dental care by families and governments,” he said.

Conaway is a practicing physician and chairman of the Assembly Health Committee.

Proponents like Conaway also claim that fluoridation would benefit low-income families who cannot afford regular dentist check-ups. ... popular-in-other-states-?

Posted on: 2012/3/18 19:15

In New Jersey, a Battle Over a Fluoridation Bill - fluoride will be added to Jersey City water
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In New Jersey, a Battle Over a Fluoridation Bill, and the Facts

The New York Times
Published: March 2, 2012

For all its renown as an engine of pharmaceutical and biotechnology progress, New Jersey has long lagged in what public health officials call one of the 10 biggest health advances of the last century: fluoridating its water.

While 72 percent of Americans get their water from public systems that add fluoride, just 14 percent of New Jersey residents do, placing the state next to last, ahead of only Hawaii, and far behind nearby New York (72 percent), Pennsylvania (54 percent) and Connecticut (90 percent).

A bill in the Legislature would change that, requiring all public water systems in New Jersey to add fluoride to the supply. But while the proposal has won support from a host of medical groups, it has proved unusually politically charged.

Similar bills have failed in the state since 2005, under pressure from the public utilities lobby and municipalities that argue that fluoridation costs too much, environmentalists who say it pollutes the water supply, and antifluoride activists who argue that it causes cancer, lowers I.Q. and amounts to government-forced medicine.

Public health officials argue that the evidence does not support any of those arguments — and to the contrary, that fluoridating the water is the single best weapon in fighting tooth decay, the most prevalent disease among children.

But they also say they are fighting a proliferation of misleading information. While conspiracy theories about fluoride in public water supplies have circulated since the early days of the John Birch Society, they now thrive online, where anyone, with a little help from Google, can suddenly become a medical authority.

“In the age of the Internet, it’s very easy to spread many of these rumors,” said Barbara F. Gooch, the associate director for science in the Oral Health Division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “People go looking for information about why this is bad, and they find it pretty easily.”

So while William Bailey, the acting director of the Oral Health Division and the chief dental officer of the United States Public Health Service, calls it “the ideal public health measure,” opponents online argue the unproven allegation that the Nazis used fluoride to sedate concentration camp victims.

Jennifer DiOrio, a high school teacher who lives in Bedminster, said she began reading about fluoride online recently after a neighbor mentioned concerns, and now she tells colleagues and others the dangers of the legislation. “They are medicating us without our consent, and it’s unethical and illegal,” she said.

Grand Rapids, Mich., became the first community in the United States to fluoridate its water, in 1945. The practice spread after a study showed that children there had 50 percent to 70 percent less tooth decay over the next 15 years than children in communities without fluoridated water.

Since then, many other studies have shown that adding fluoride to water decreases tooth decay by an additional 25 percent, on top of the benefit from twice-a-day brushing, for children and adults. Water providers would typically pass on the cost to customers, but the C.D.C. says that every dollar spent on fluoridating water saves $38 in dental costs.

The federal government’s Healthy People 2020 initiative aims to have 80 percent of Americans receiving fluoridated water within the next eight years. Twelve states have laws providing for statewide fluoridation, the C.D.C. said.

In New Jersey, water providers typically serve several towns, meaning that all must agree to fluoridate their water — and typically they do not.

Opponents and supporters of the fluoride legislation believe it has a higher chance of passing this year, in part because it has bipartisan sponsorship. Gov. Chris Christie has not said whether he would sign the bill if it passed.

The state’s League of Municipalities has opposed the bill, concerned about the cost of what it calls an unfunded mandate. The New Jersey Utilities Association testified against it, arguing that it “is known to have adverse health effects in certain quantities” and that it would cost water companies anywhere from $400,000 to $64 million.

“We think the cost benefit is not there,” said Karen Alexander, the president of the association.

Many opponents say their information has come online, from national groups like the Fluoride Action Network and Citizens for Safe Drinking Water, which argue that fluoridation would cost $5 billion statewide. On their Web sites, the groups argue that fluoridation would lead to fluorosis, a rare staining of the teeth. They say fluoride has many adverse health effects, including bone cancer, and no proven benefit.

But public health officials say that the National Academy of Sciences examined the studies linking fluoride to lowered I.Q. and could not substantiate them. Similarly, two large and recent studies, one from Harvard and the National Cancer Institute, the other in California, found no link between fluoride and bone cancer. Fluorosis in the United States, they say, tends to be barely visible.

“The opposition can point to one or two studies that say this or that,” said Dr. Bailey, of the C.D.C. “We look at the overall weight of the evidence and what expert panels have said.”

There are several ways to fluoridate water, depending on the water system, said Kip Duchon, the national fluoride engineer for the C.D.C. But they are not cost-prohibitive, and most are simple, he said.

Jared Martin, 27, who started a No Fluoride New Jersey page on Facebook after reading about the bill and fluoride online, acknowledged that there was evidence to support fluoridation.

“That’s the thing,” he said. “When you’re searching the Internet, it depends where you’re looking.” But he was made suspicious, as were many opponents, when the federal Department of Health and Human Services revised the recommended level of fluoride in water to avoid the possibility that children would receive too much. The recommended level had been 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter; the department last year advised that it not exceed the lower end of that range.

In the last four years, about 200 municipalities nationwide have stopped fluoridating the water. Antifluoride groups cite this as evidence that more people are acknowledging the dangers.

But many of those places ceased for financial, not health, reasons. And nationwide, the trend has been toward more people receiving fluoridated water. San Diego, long the largest city not to fluoridate, began doing so last year. Atlantic City also did so, citing the health benefits.

Some opponents argue that the state could less expensively fight tooth disease by promoting good toothbrushing or fluoride treatments in schools.

But Senator Joe Vitale, a sponsor of the legislation in New Jersey, said, “That’s not going to happen in cities like Newark or Camden or Paterson, where they can barely keep the lights on.”

Cavan Brunsden, a pediatric dentist in Old Bridge and a supporter of the bill, noted that many states went further — New York, for instance, has begun requiring dental visits as a condition of attending school.

Not fluoridating the water, he said, is “an egregious example of the state not fulfilling the health care needs of its citizens.”

“It reduces decay whether you live in Newark or Short Hills,” he said. “Science has proven it. It’s unfortunate that science isn’t part of the debate.” ... ts.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

Posted on: 2012/3/18 19:13

Re: Jersey City Medical Center CEO says Christ Hospital takeover 'a recipe for disaster,' offers to buy
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Buyer for Christ Hospital in Jersey City to be chosen Monday

March 16, 2012, 3:03 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

The likely new owner of Christ Hospital in Jersey City will be revealed at a live auction on Monday.

The 140-year-old medical facility on Palisade Avenue filed for bankruptcy protection last month, almost immediately after a deal to be acquired by for-profit chain Prime Healthcare Services fell through.

On Monday, an auction at the Morristown offices of Christ Hospital attorneys will decide which bidder will acquire the financially beleaguered medical center.

Among the reported bidders are the Jersey City Medical Center, partnering with Bloomfield-based Community Healthcare Associates; Hudson Holdco, owners of Hoboken University Medical Center and Bayonne Medical Center; and the owners of Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center.

CHA and JCMC officials say what’s at stake is the future of health care in Hudson County.

“Christ has to stay viable for Jersey City to continue to have high-quality health care,” JCMC CEO Joe Scott told The Jersey Journal last week.

Scott said he thinks JCMC can staff about 150 beds at Christ Hospital, in addition to moving JCMC’s pediatric-care staff there and consolidating some other services.

“One hospital, two campuses. That’s our vision,” he said.

Bill Colgan, a managing partner of CHA, noted that the JCMC/CHA bid for Christ Hospital is the only offer that would keep the hospital a nonprofit institution. CHA’s vision of the future of Christ Hospital is similar to the hospital’s current role in the community, Colgan said.

“There’s no talk about any immediate change,” he said.

CHA, which would own Christ Hospital and lease a portion to JCMC, owns two medical facilities: the Barnert Medical Arts Complex in Paterson and the William B. Kessler Memorial Hospital in Hammonton.

Richard Lipski, a Woodcliff Lake-based anesthesiologist whose MHA LLC owns Meadowlands Hospital, said his plan for Christ Hospital is similar to his plan for Meadowlands, which MHA acquired in 2010 from the owners of JCMC for $17.55 million.

Lipski said MHA turned a struggling nonprofit into a successful for-profit hospital, and it can do the same for Christ Hospital.

“We know how to organize, and we hope we can succeed there, too,” he said.

Hudson Holdco did not return requests for comment.

Renee Steinhagen, who heads the nonprofit law center NJ Appleseed, said she favors JCMC’s bid to acquire Christ Hospital. She noted that she hasn’t seen the specifics of the bids.

“I want it to remain a nonprofit operated in the model of the way Jersey City (Medical Center) has been operating,” she said. “The models of the for-profits that we’re faced with are not models of for-profits that I endorse.”

NJ Appleseed opposed the proposed Prime takeover and Hudson Holdco’s bid for HUMC.

After Monday’s auction, a hearing to confirm the results will be held Tuesday at 2 p.m. in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, 50 Walnut St., in Newark. According to Scott, the bankruptcy judge can accept the winning bid or reject it. ... christ_hospital_in_j.html

Posted on: 2012/3/16 15:21

Goldman Sachs on Jersey City waterfront 'tense' after negative remarks by departing executive
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Workers say Goldman Sachs on Jersey City waterfront 'tense' after negative remarks by departing exec

March 16, 2012, 3:00 AM
By Stephanie Musat/ For The Jersey Journal

The atmosphere at Goldman Sachs offices on the Jersey City waterfront has been “tense” since a Goldman executive director, Greg Smith, blasted the company on Wednesday in a New York Times op-ed piece and quit his lucrative post.

Smith described a company that he says has lost its way, is only interested in making money, and has managing directors who refer to their clients as “muppets.”

Two Goldman employees, who asked to remain anonymous, said yesterday the op-ed rocked the Jersey City office because it was so unexpected.

“I heard of the letter after it exploded online,” said one employee. “It was hard to read. It made our company look really bad. It’s going to take a lot of damage control.”

The employee said he takes his work very seriously and only makes decisions that are in the best interest of his clients.

He said he found the “muppet” claim very disturbing.

“I truly believe that this decline in the firm’s moral fiber represents the single most serious threat to its long-term survival,” Smith wrote.

Another Goldman Sachs employee said it was shocking to read the content of the letter, but he believes the company’s reputation will be still be positive.

“We serve our clients in the best way we can,” he said. “The language he used in the letter was harsh, but that’s Smith’s opinion.”

The Washington Post reported that Goldman Sachs shares dropped 3.4 percent in New York trading yesterday. ... y_goldman_sachs_on_j.html

Posted on: 2012/3/16 15:19

Re: Red light traffic camera
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Jersey City installs sixth set of red-light cameras at Duncan Avenue and Kennedy Boulevard

March 16, 2012, 3:00 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald - The Jersey Journal

Jersey City’s sixth set of red-light cameras was activated at Duncan Avenue and Kennedy Boulevard this morning just after midnight, giving motorists 30 days until they start receiving tickets for blowing through a red light there.

The city is in the process of installing the cameras at 11 of the city’s most dangerous intersections. Previous intersections approved for the cameras include Kennedy Boulevard and Communipaw Avenue and Jersey Avenue and 18th Street.

Though city officials expect to net $7 million annually once all the cameras are installed, they have stressed that their primary goal is safety.

“The intent of our road-safety program is to get drivers to obey traffic signals,” said Police Chief Thomas Comey. “The purpose of this program is to improve public safety and reduce collisions resulting from red-light violations.”

Motorists can also receive tickets for not coming to a full stop before turning right on red at the intersections.

The trial period for the Duncan Avenue and Kennedy Boulevard cameras ends on April 15.

The remaining intersections with activated red-light cameras are: Newark and Tonnelle avenues; Sip Avenue and Routes 1 and Montgomery and Merseles streets. ... y_installs_sixth_set.html

Posted on: 2012/3/16 15:14

Re: Journal Square two apartment towers - 54 & 38 stories
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Jersey City signals it wants developer of massive Journal Square project to act, or face default

March 10, 2012, 3:03 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald - The Jersey Journal

In April 2009, Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy stood on a 1.5-acre site adjacent to the Journal Square PATH station and hailed an imminent twin tower project as a “great step forward” for the city.

The project two towers, one 58 stories and the other 38, sitting atop a seven-story retail and parking base with a rooftop terrace would begin later that year, and be completed in three years.

It’s now three years later and the site remains vacant, save for weeds and the occasional soda can or beer bottle surrounded by metal fencing.

The twin tower project appears to be nothing more than a dim fantasy, but that may all change soon. City officials say they want the heart of the city to see the same kind of development that’s occurred Downtown.

“Journal Square is really the next area, and Journal Square is primed and ready for a project,” said Jersey City Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Bob Antonicello.

For years, the Journal Square project was stalled, with main investor Multi-Employer Property Trust (MEPT), of Washington, D.C., blaming the poor economy for its inability to find a partner to help it with financing, according to Antonicello.

After missing an August 2011 deadline to put a shovel in the ground, and then missing a second deadline of Dec. 31, 2011, MEPT has until April Fool’s Day to get the project started in earnest, Antonicello said.

“The issue that we had really with MEPT was this process was kind of ready, aim, aim, aim, aim ... and they never fired the gun to actually go vertical,” he said.

MEPT did not return a request for comment.

If the April 1 deadline passes without movement on the project, MEPT will be in default of its agreement with the JCRA, and the city agency can find someone else to help realize the long-awaited proposal, Antonicello added.

Healy said he stands by the JCRA’s latest bid to move the project forward.

“The redevelopment of Journal Square is a major priority for this administration and we support any and all actions that the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency takes so that construction may begin as soon as possible,” Healy said.

The proposal consists of 50,000 square feet of retail space on the basement, ground and second levels; 330,000 square feet of parking on five levels; and 1.24 million square feet of residential space, including about 1,500 units. ... y_signals_it_wants_d.html

Posted on: 2012/3/10 13:03

Bayonne Board of Ed passes proposed budget that will hike school taxes by 2 percent
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Bayonne Board of Ed passes proposed budget that will hike school taxes by 2 percent

March 04, 2012, 7:00 PM
By Andrew Steadman - The Jersey Journal

The Board of Education has adopted an operating budget for the upcoming school year that will raise school taxes by 2 percent for the average property owner.

The increase represents the first hike the in the local school tax levy in the past four years, district officials said.

The 2 percent hike was prompted by a diminution in federal aid, a 250-student enrollment increase, and having surplus money than in previous years; and it is the highest increase allowed under state law, officials said.

At a special meeting on Thursday , the Bayonne Board of Education adopted a proposed $113.5 million operating budget that calls for $58.2 million to be raised from local taxpayers, a $1.1 million increase in the school tax levy over the current budget year, which ends June 30.

The $113.5 million figure represents a slight decrease from the current year's $114 million operating budget. But the current budget contains a $1.8 million one-shot federal grant and more than $3 million in surplus revenue, money the proposed new budget will not contain, according to district accountant Brian Buckley.

Board of Education president William Lawson said a lack of state funding was another factor influencing the Board's decision to raise the tax levy.

"This district is the most under-funded district in the state of New Jersey, according to their own formula," Lawson said.

Bayonne schools will receive $52.8 million in state aid for the 2012-2013 school year, a 5.6 percent increase over the current year. But district Business Administrator Leo Smith said that the combined federal and state aid figure was around $59 million four years ago.

The proposed budget must still be approved by the Lawson said the proposed budget still must be approved by the Hudson County office of the state Department of Education and reviewed by the Board of School Estimate on March 28, Lawson said.

The Board of School Estimate, comprised of Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith, City Council members Debra Czerwienski and Ray Greaves, and Board of Education members Lawson and Michael Masone, can remove appropriations from the budget but cannot add spending, officials said. ... ard_of_education_pas.html

Posted on: 2012/3/10 12:30

Re: Jersey City Medical Center CEO says Christ Hospital takeover 'a recipe for disaster,' offers to buy
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Freeholders: Jersey City's Christ Hospital must stay open as acute care facility

Friday, March 09, 2012, 1:42 AM
By Charles Hack/The Jersey Journal

The Board of Chosen Freeholders unanimously passed a resolution tonight in support of keeping Christ Hospital in Jersey City Heights open and operating as an acute care hospital.

Freeholders voted to pass the resolution at their Board meeting at the Administration Building Annex, 567 Pavonia Avenue.

The resolution stated the community hospital has provided an "invaluable and irreplaceable service" to Jersey City and surrounding area.

Last month Christ Hospital filed for bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court after the California-based for-profit Prime Healthcare Services withdrew a bid to acquire the hospital.

A request for new bids went out recently to seek new buyers to acquire the hospital.

"We will no longer be accepting the closure of any health facility, especially Christ Hospital," Freeholder Chairman Eliu Rivera said at the meeting. "As long as it continues to provide quality health care for the residents of Hudson County we have no problem, but anyone who wants to build luxury condos or whatever will have a tough fight."

The resolution also supports the aims of the Save Christ Hospital coalition, a group that has opposed the sale of the hospital to a for-profit entity.

The group wants an "open, public process with meaningful community participation" in the reorganization or sale of the hospital and members want the hospital to remain as a health care facility "in perpetuity."

"This is a unique issue," said the group's president Paul Bellan-Boyer, before the freeholders took a vote. "People from all over the county have come together on it, remarkably, because of how important the hospital is."

Freeholder Bill O’Dea predicted "dire" consequences if the hospital were to close.

"We’ve had two hospitals in the city close in recent years, which means we have cut the amount of coverage to 250,00 people," said Freeholder Bill O’Dea.

"The travel time for people that live in this area and people who live in the Heights to the closest acute care medical facility if the hospital (Christ Hospital) were to close would result in deadly and dire results," O'Dea added.

St. Francis Hospital in Hamilton Park closed in 2002 and Liberty Health's Greenville closed in 2008. St. Francis was converted into luxury condominiums and the former Greenville hospital is set to become a charter school. ... s_jersey_citys_chris.html

Posted on: 2012/3/10 0:23

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Jersey City Takes A Flying Leap Toward Powerhouse Renovation

March 9, 2012 -
By Antoinette Martin

JERSEY CITY-A crucial step toward stabilization and redevelopment of the downtown Powerhouse structure was achieved as a specialized engineering firm using the tallest available crane accomplished inspection of 200-foot tall smokestacks in anticipation of installing a new roof below them.

“Today was a milestone for both the Powerhouse and all those concerned about this magnificent structure,” says Bob Antonicello, the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency’s executive director, when the specialized crane arrived two weeks ago.

The 1908 Powerhouse, which houses a PATH substation, is envisioned as iconic centerpiece for a $100 million redevelopment project creating an arts and entertainment district in and around the building. The area is to have shops, markets, galleries, performance space and “alternative” office space in a pedestrian-friendly environment, according to the plans.

The first step, though was JCRA launching a multi-year program to stop further deterioration of the long-abandoned structure, which despite its inherent Romanesque Revival-style glory had become an eyesore with large trees growing out the windows and a crumbling roof. Over two years, all of the building’s monumental windows were boarded and sealed.

The issue then became, according to agency project manager Mary Noonan: “How could we find out if the smokestacks were in good enough shape to proceed with replacing the roof?” Beyer, Blinder, Belle, the New York-based architect for the project, brought in an engineering group called Vertical Access, which used a crane that is one of three in the world, and the only one of its size in the United States. Engineers aboard the crane conducted visual and camera inspections of both the exterior and interior of the towering stacks, Noon said. They are expected to report the results to the agency next month.

The enormous brick structure, situated near the 55-story Trump Plaza Residences tower built in 2008, was originally the powerhouse for the Hudson & Manhattan.

The JRCA and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey are working on an agreement that would transfer full ownership of the building to the agency in return for a replacement site for the PATH substation. ... se-Renovation-319483.html

Posted on: 2012/3/10 0:19

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State Supreme Court rules Jersey City and 911 operators shielded from suit filed by victim of 2005 family massacre

March 09, 2012, 11:19 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

The state Supreme Court delivered a huge legal victory to Jersey City yesterday, ruling unanimously that the city and its 911 operators cannot be found negligent in the case of a Jersey City boy who was stabbed multiple times in a 2005 attack that killed his mother and siblings.

The state Legislature has decided that the overall benefits of an enhanced 911 system require that public entities and their employees be shielded from costly lawsuits for negligent mistakes, the court decided.

Justice Barry T. Albin wrote in the decision that the Appellate Division erred in ruling that 911 operators are not entitled to immunity for careless mistakes made when dispatching police, fire, or first-aid personnel to the scene of an emergency, but that the operators are immune for such mistakes when assisting the police in an ongoing investigation. The ruling reversed the Appellate Division and held that 911 operators the in Wilson case as well as the city itself "are immune for any negligence causing civil damage to plaintiffs."

The civil suit against the city and two 911 operators was filed by Paris Wilson, the young boy who was attacked along with his mother and two siblings inside their Wegman Parkway apartment on Sept. 20, 2005. A man in a neighboring apartment called 911 about someone screaming “next door,” but he gave operators an incorrect address.

The Wilsons lived at 207 Wegman Parkway, which has an alternate address at 185 Martin Luther King Drive. The man who called 911 gave the address as 185 Wegman Parkway, according to yesterday’s ruling. When the police went to that address, they found an unoccupied home, and left.

It wasn’t until 30 hours after the attack that Wilson, who survived being stabbed in the arm, chest and side, was able to call 911 and give authorities the proper address. He was 9 years old at the time.

Dwayne Wilson, Paris Wilson’s uncle, pleaded guilty in September 2010 to three counts of aggravated manslaughter for the attack, and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

In the suit, Paris Wilson accuses the city and the 911 operators of engaging in negligence, gross negligence, or wanton and willful disregard for the safety of others. The suit claims that delays caused by the 911 operators contributed to the death of his mother, Marcia Wilson, 35, and sister Dartagania and brother DeQuan, who were both 11.

A trial court dismissed the charges against the defendants, which originally included a dispatcher and two police officers. An appellate court in August 2010 allowed the suit to move forward against the city and the 911 operators. Yesterday’s decision reverses that ruling.

In the ruling, Albin remands the suit back to the appellate court to decide whether the 911 operators’ actions “constituted wanton and willful disregard for the safety of persons,” which would deny them protection under the state’s immunity statute.

City officials hailed the court’s decision.

“This was a tragic incident, but we are satisfied with this decision because the taxpayers should not bear the brunt of this horrible event for which neither the city nor any of its workers bore any responsibility,” Mayor Jerramiah Healy said in a statement.

Wilson’s attorney did not return a phone call requesting comment. ... eme_court_rules_jers.html

Posted on: 2012/3/9 12:32

Re: Did the NYPD Conduct A Widespread Surveillance of Jersey City Muslims?
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NJ interfaith leaders speak out on NYPD tactics

Associated Press - March 8, 2012, 4:35 p.m. ET

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — New Jersey Muslim leaders joined with other religious officials Thursday in demanding reassurance from authorities that no one is being spied on because of their faith, as calls for an investigation into NYPD surveillance activities in New Jersey continued to grow, and the U.S. attorney general said he was reviewing the matter.

At an event in Jersey City featuring mosque, synagogue and church leaders, several said they were in solidarity with Muslims who felt that reports of the New York Police Department conducting surveillance of mosques and Muslim student groups in New Jersey and elsewhere had crossed the line beyond acceptable counter-terrorism methods.

"We as people of faith need to speak out to the police, and to any other organizations which we trust to take care of our security, to make sure that they understand that we do not feel more secure when they are singling out Muslims, or any group of any faith, as a so-called measure of our security," said Rabbi Elliott Tepperman of Bnai Keshet in Montclair. "We ask them to keep us all secure, regardless of faith, and to investigate people who are doing bad things, not people because they are of one religion or another."

Archbishop of Newark Rev. John J. Myers said in a statement that although authorities were tasked with keeping the public safe, they needed to do so within the confines of the law and without infringing on people's religious freedoms.

Meanwhile in Washington, Attorney General Eric Holder said during questioning at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing that he was disturbed by what he'd read about the New York Police Department conducting surveillance of mosques and Islamic student organizations in New Jersey. Holder said he was reviewing the matter, including letters from New Jersey officials complaining that they were kept in the dark about the surveillance.

The New York police monitored Muslims in New Jersey at businesses and their mosques in a surveillance operation that was disclosed recently by The Associated Press in a series of news stories.

New Jersey's top FBI official said Wednesday some of the NYPD's activities in New Jersey had undermined trust and hard-fought relationships between Muslims and law enforcement in the state. Special Agent in Charge of the Newark Division, Michael Ward, said the NYPD had been a valuable member of a Joint Terrorism Task Force but that it was problematic that he didn't know the extent of NYPD operations conducted by its intelligence unit outside the confines of the task force.

Ward had initially been invited to speak at a Paterson mosque Thursday, but mosque leaders postponed the meeting.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as well as NYPD officials, have defended their activities in New Jersey as legal and warranted.

Bloomberg said Thursday at a mayors' conference in Chicago that the NYPD had a "daunting task" and had to be perfect every day to prevent terrorism.

He called the NYPD the best police department in the world and said 14 attacks had been stopped since 9/11, without anybody dying.

Mohamed El Filali, executive director of the Islamic Center of Passaic County who organized the interfaith press conference Thursday at St. Peter's College in Jersey City, said he appreciated the head of the FBI and other law enforcement officers saying they wanted to maintain good relationships with Muslims in the wake of the NYPD revelations, but that words could only go so far.

"Open forums are good, but an investigation is a lot better," El Filali said. "Hopefully the attorney general is collecting the information quick enough so a formal investigation will quench our desire for definite answers."

Associated Press writers Pete Yost in Washington and Don Babwin in Chicago contributed to this report

Posted on: 2012/3/9 12:27

Re: Corruption indictments hit Louis Manzo and brother Ronald -- charges they accepted $27,500 in bribes
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Political Insider: Manzo says he would like to return to his hometown
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March 03, 2012, 5:24 PM
By Agustin C. Torres - The Jersey Journal
PHOTO: Terence McDonald - The Jersey Journal

He sat in the corner booth of the VIP diner in Jersey City looking just a tad grayer than the rainy Thursday.

Former assemblyman and longtime city politico Louis Manzo was dressed in his seasonal attire -- a gray v-neck sweater over a baby blue button-down shirt and a red-pattern tie. Manzo seemed relaxed, and he should be, after a U.S. District Judge dismissed the indictment against him, last month. He had been one of 46 people arrested by the FBI on either corruption or money laundering charges in 2009.

On the way to the diner booth, he had been stopped by a waitress and several customers in the Journal Square diner who recognized him and shook his hand.

He drove up from the Jersey shore where he has been living with his mother during his legal ordeal. Running for mayor had cost him a personal fortune of more than $1 million. Right after the unsuccessful campaign for mayor came the arrest and indictment. It was followed by 2 1/2 years of legal defense, and despite a break in legal costs, it still led to the loss of his Brunswick Towers home and any employment opportunity -- even at a fast food joint.

It was the first time I had chance to meet him when it wasn't behind a federal court room railing.

His disposition was sunnier than the weather, but also nostalgic.

"I drove down by my old neighborhood," he said. "It looks the same." This was on West Side Avenue down by St. Al's, a nice area near the entrance to Lincoln Park.
"I'd like to come back to live here, once I can afford to move," said Manzo who finds the winters along the coast a bit boring and prefers the hustle and bustle of returning "bennies" in the summer.

"This is my hometown," he said. "The energy and people -- I love it here."

Manzo's mood is different from the days after his indictment. Listening to him on the telephone then was like being a volunteer on a suicide hotline, except I was the wrong guy to offer help.

"I wanted to end it all," Manzo said at the diner. "How could I face anyone after the federal government said attacked my integrity? I had no life left."

I felt bad when he talked that way down the shore -- "the indictment is the punishment," he says.

Once, he was on a cellphone walking on a boardwalk in Belmar when talk about the undiscovered country started. I suggested that if he felt that strong about it, then go ahead and do it with flair -- swim to France. It was dark humor.

"Don't think I wouldn't," he'd respond.

And yet, here he was at the VIP. I asked: Did anyone talk to him after the arrests?

He thought about this for a second. Manzo said that in the early days of his legal troubles, when he felt lowest, he credits his former chief of staff in the Legislature, Mark Albiez, with keeping him focused on dealing with his legal problems, while former colleagues and friends treated him as an outcast, as if he never existed. Albiez is now chief of staff for Union City Mayor and Sen. Brian Stack. Manzo and Stack were not the friendliest after his failed election campaign in 2009. The Union City mayor thought the Jersey City politician had a better shot at running for county executive and Manzo felt he didn't receive much, if any, support.

Since the end of his legal headache, Manzo has been in demand among other defense attorneys whose clients are still fighting their Operation Bid Rig III indictments. Manzo seems to have found some purpose by becoming an expert on this federal case, but he doesn't see a big future as some kind of paralegal.

"The only people left in this thing are two minority women -- (unsuccessful City Council candidates) Lori Serrano and LaVern Webb-Washington," he said. "I will do what I can to keep them out of jail."

Manzo said someone like Webb-Washington has no chance in the legal system. He said that while other people have private defense attorneys waiting for them in the courtroom, Webb-Washington waits at the defendant's table for her public defender to make an appearance -- she doesn't seem to be a priority.

Manzo is beating the "there is corruption in the U.S. Attorney's Office" drum and he doesn't intend to stop pounding it. There were hints, although he would not

confirm it, that there may be a lawsuit against the federal government to recover legal fees. I see a potential lawsuit as another opportunity for Manzo to get his charges against the feds into a public record.

He passionately expresses his sour feelings about prosecutors and the FBI, although he said the agents who came to arrest him were very kind and polite by not handcuffing him until they reached the federal vehicle that fateful July 23, 2009. His lament that day -- other than the arrest -- was that he was one of the last to arrive at the federal building in Newark and the bagels, juice and coffee spread for the defendants was gone.

During a long and convincing monologue at the diner on prosecutorial misconduct, I looked under the table. He asked what I was doing and I smiled and told him that I wanted to see if he really needed a soap box while seated.

So what will Manzo do now? "I'll probably do some writing," he said. A first draft of a book on the inside of the Operation Big Rig sting and his dealings with the U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI is nearly completed.

If he moves back to Jersey City, would he also return to local politics, run for office again?

"Who would want me after this?" he laughed.


-- In 2004, New Jersey was ranked 43rd in the nation as to female representation in the state legislatures, according to the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), which has tracked this sort of thing since 1975, according to Rutgers University's Eagleton Institute of Politics.

With the appointment of three women to fill vacant seats in the Assembly, the Garden State has risen to 10th, its first appearance in the top ten since CAWP, an Eagleton off-shoot, tracked national figures. Women hold 11 seats -- eight Democrats and three Republicans -- in the Senate and 24 seats -- 15 Democrats and nine Republicans -- in the Assembly.

"New Jersey's success demonstrates how women can build their numbers," says CAWP Director Debbie Walsh. " ... They're leveraging professional experience and community involvement to show they're winners. And they're learning how politics works at the local, county and state levels, getting to know the decision-makers and power brokers so they're well-positioned when a vacancy occurs."

Two of the three add-ons are Republicans who were appointed to fill vacancies caused by the deaths of Republican assemblymen. Betty Lou DeCroce replaces her late husband, Assemblyman Alex DeCroce, while Donna Simon fills the seat of Assemblyman Pete Biondi, who died after being re-elected. Both women will have to run in special elections in 2012 for the remainder of the terms, which end in January 2014.

Simon was a member of the Readington Township Committee, while DeCroce was a deputy commissioner of community affairs in Gov. Chris Christie's administration.

Gabriela Mosquera, a Democrat who won an Assembly race in the 2011 elections, was removed for not meeting the state's residency requirement. Suddenly she was the obvious candidate to fill the 4th District seat on an interim basis. She will have to run in a special election in November 2012 to keep her seat.

It sounds like Jersey politics as usual, male or female.

-- I see the administration of Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy pulled out that old nugget mined by the late Mayor Glenn Cunningham. It was announced that there are plans for a "mini-city" to rise up along Route 440 on 100 acres of chromium-tainted land.

We must be within a year of the next municipal election -- May 2013, yup.

Do you remember just before the May 2009 election, when a tent went next to the vacant lot where the old Hotel on the Square stood. While it rained before mostly labor union members, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez stood under the tent and endorsed Healy for mayor and both of them talked about the skyscraper of steel and glass that would be constructed.

The lot is still empty -- like the promises.

Remember the "Vision for Journal Square" development public presentations. We were getting a Champs-Elysees face-lift. Chumps-this-way is more like it.

How's that Powerhouse Arts District going?

The reason you got this "mini-city" announcement is because we are about to get mesmerized by a lot of smoke and mirrors for months, right up to next May's race. Also, Healy and company did not like the criticism that all those wonderful things he mentioned in his State of the City speech only made the city's Downtown look good.

Look for many ribbon cuttings, pseudo feel-good press releases, and extra number of senior citizen picnics.

Healy already managed to postpone the reval until after the election for glaringly obvious reasons. Although, those Mercer Street folks who live near Snooki and JWoww may have benefitted by the reval, if it held on time.

I'm waiting for when it's announced that the mayor is close to coming up with cures for the top three diseases facing mankind. There's a lot of catching up to do after a decade of nada accomplished.

One tip: If you want something done for your neighborhood, now is the time to ask City Hall.

-- On March 12 Congressman Bill Pascrell, who will be battling U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman for the new 9th District that includes Secaucus and part of Kearny, is hosting a fund-raiser. It is Pascrell's annual St. Patrick's Celebration at The Brownstone in Paterson. There are three donation levels, $300, $500 and a $1,000 PAC sponsorship.

Hudson County should be well-represented. I expect, of course, Joe Waks, the Bayonne Municipal Service director and former Pascrell staff member, to show up, more than likely Freeholders Bill O'Dea and Jeff Dublin, North Bergen Mayor and Sen. Nick Sacco, and others. Anyone who says they ain't going, let me know.

Pascrell says a couple of guests from Pennsylvania will attend. They are Congressmen Robert Brady and Mike Doyle, both Democrats, of course.

-- Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith must be doing a rain dance and praying for heavy wet weather today. A judge has given the Bayonne Tenant Organization time to get new signatures and refile their petition seeking a referendum on the future of the city's rent-control ordinance.

The City Council adopted a vacancy decontrol ordinance in November. The measure allows landlords to remove an apartment from rent control restrictions after a tenant moves or is legally evicted. The tenants' group are trying to kill that legislation that is being heavily backed by developers and real estate interests.

They have until next Friday to get 850 signatures and submitted 1,000 in December. City officials said the petitions were no good because the group only had their name on the cover page instead of every page.

Saturdays are a good day to collect signatures in front of supermarkets and other shopping areas. I'm amazed. In the past, an elected official who supports such legislation could kiss his political career good-bye.

Now its rain praying time. ... insider_manzo_says_h.html

Posted on: 2012/3/3 19:52

Re: 'Jersey Shore' Spin-Off in Jersey City
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Snooki, JWoww to film Jersey Shore finale special in New York tomorrow

March 03, 2012, 3:42 PM
By Stephanie Musat - The Jersey Journal

Any Snooki or JWoww sightings in Jersey City will be limited tomorrow as Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and Jenni "JWoww" Farley will be filming the season finale special/recap to "Jersey Shore" in New York.

The two will join six of the eight cast members at MTV Studios to recap the last season, reminisce about their antics, and possibly reveal some more information about their spin-off that they are currently filming out of a firehouse on Mercer Street.

Filming begins at 4:30 p.m. and tickets are sold out.

Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino and Ronnie Ortiz-Magro will not be at the shoot.

Here's the description of the show from MTV:

Join Amy Paffrath and the cast as you're invited to mingle, ask questions, and interact with Pauly D., Vinny, Snooki, Deena, Sammi, and Jwoww as we shoot the season finale special to the biggest show on television.

Come prepared to have a great time and be on television! You'll make the club scene feel real, acting as the eye candy at the party as we shoot each finale segment. The evening will also feature; food, drinks, trivia, games, a special raffle and much more. Not to mention a sneak peek at the season finale and a special preview of "The Pauly D Project" and the new season of "Punk'd".

Come party with us. With this cast of characters, you never know just how outrageous Jersey can get! ... ww_to_film_jersey_sh.html

Posted on: 2012/3/3 19:23

Jersey City artist to be featured in upcoming episode of "The Simpsons"
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Jersey City artist to be featured in upcoming episode of "The Simpsons"

March 02, 2012, 7:49 PM
By Stephanie Musat - For The Jersey Journal

Jersey City artist Ron English is getting the yellow treatment as he is transformed into a Simpsons character for an upcoming episode of The Simpsons, airing Sunday on FOX.

English is joining Robbie Conal, Shepard Fairey and Kenny Scharf as the four artists get characterized for the episode titled "Exit Through the Kwik-E-Mart" - a parody of 2010's documentary "Exit Through the Gift Shop."

The documentary follows a French immigrant and his obsession with street art.

English, who uses his art as a cultural commentary, has been recognized as one of the top modern artists today. He has taken heat and found himself in dicey circumstances for transforming commercial billboards into socio-political messages. McDonald's, for one, has been in the line of fire of English's wrath. English's Ronald "McSupersize" paintings got prominent play in the popular documentary "Super Size Me."

"I want to make art that has a political signifcance but isn't a political cartoon," he told The Jersey Journal in a previous interview. "My intent is for it to be more universal and less dogmatic."

English found his way to Jersey City after rents for studio and living space in New York City rose through the roof.

"It went from $4,000 to $12,000 a month," he said. "Since my wife and I had many good friends here and wanted to raise our kids in a nicer environment with parks, we decided to move here."

No matter where he's doing his art, English says it reaches many more eyes than ever before, including his first appearance on the show. ... y_artist_to_be_featu.html

Posted on: 2012/3/3 19:16

Jersey City swears in 27-year-old lobbyist as new deputy mayor
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Jersey City swears in 27-year-old lobbyist as new deputy mayor

March 02, 2012, 5:31 PM
By Terrence T. McDonald - The Jersey Journal

Jersey City lobbyist Raj Mukherji, chair of the Jersey City Housing Authority, was sworn-in as the city’s newest deputy mayor in a ceremony at City Hall today.

Mukherji, 27, of Ogden Avenue, said he hopes he can help the city attract capital investments and jobs, in addition to funds from Trenton and Washington D.C.

“Everyone's suffering right now: businesses, unions, the taxpayers,” he said. “But I think there are creative ways that we think outside the box that we can find solutions.”
Mukherji, a managing partner of lobbying firm Impact NJ and a U.S. Marine, officially replaces Leona Beldini, who was arrested in the massive 2009 corruption sweep and sentenced to three years in prison after she was found guilty of accepting $20,000 in illegal campaign contributions.
When he was appointed to the JCHA, he replaced Lori Serrano, who was later arrested in the same sweep that ensnared Beldini. Serrano, awaiting trial on one count of mail fraud, has pleaded not guilty.

Asked how he feels following in the footsteps of two Operation Bid Rig III defendants, Mukherji said, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift.”
Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy noted that the appointment of Mukherji, who is of South Asian descent, is a nod to Jersey City’s burgeoning Asian population, which represents about 24 percent of the city, up from 16 percent a decade ago, according to Census figures.

“Raj’s extensive public-affairs experience will enable him to effectively advocate for our city in Trenton and Washington,” Healy said. "His service at the Jersey City Housing Authority has shown him to be a tireless public servant and consensus builder."

Jersey City’s other deputy mayor, Kabili Tayari, earns a $110,056 salary, but Mukherji said he will only take $1 annually for his new role, citing “the austere economic climate.” He also said he will decline the city car he is eligible to receive.

“Fortunately, I’ve been blessed in my young adult private-sector career to be in a position where I’m able to do that,” Mukherji said.

Mukherji has contributed in recent years to the campaigns of some Hudson County politicos, like state Sen. Sandra B. Cunningham and Assemblyman Ruben Ramos. He contributed $2,500 to Healy’s 2009 mayoral campaign, $100 below the legal limit. ... y_swears_in_27-year-.html

Posted on: 2012/3/3 0:28

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