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Re: Canco Lofts
#1
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Quote:
MCA wrote:
I don't know but the discrepancy between reality and the visuals on their web site is prize-worthy.

And from the contact page:

Canco Lofts Sales Center
50 Dey Street
Jersey City, NY 07306 (sic)
(201) 876-8686
info@cancolofts.com

Update: the contact page has now been corrected to say Jersey City, NJ. Thanks, Canco folks!

Back off topic, Little India has many excellent places to get chaat. Two of them, Satkar and Bengali Sweet House, are actually recommended as some of the best places in the NY/NJ area by the NYT (see Mumbai to Midtown: Chaat hits the spot).

Posted on: 2007/5/1 4:44
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Re: Who's running for school board -- 11 candidates vie for three seats on JC Board of Education
#2
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TODAY IS ELECTION DAY!

Take a second out of your busy day and vote for three of the following candidates:

3A Jenny Garcia
4A Benjamin Lopez
8A William P. Frasca
10A Jenny E. Campbell

Posted on: 2007/4/17 15:32
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Re: Who's running for school board -- 11 candidates vie for three seats on JC Board of Education
#3
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Hopefully we will be getting substantive replies from the candidates between now and 2pm tomorrow. Right now, I am leaning toward Sue Mack's endorsements and a candidate supported last year by Mr. Fulop:

3A Jenny Garcia
6A Michael Esposito
9A L. Terry Dehere


However, I welcome more information about any and all of these folks, specifically their intentions if elected.

Posted on: 2007/4/16 16:04
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Re: Who's running for school board -- 11 candidates vie for three seats on JC Board of Education
#4
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This suggestion might be too late, but as there appear to be no endorsements planned by any person or group whose views I support and/or respect, here goes:

Althea, would it be possible for JCFBS to ask all 11 candidates to post on this thread (1) why they are running for the Board of Education, and (2) what they will do if elected? I think taking the time to reach out directly to concerned and motivated voters would be more beneficial than letting our local media act as a filter to get their message out. Thanks in advance for considering this.

Posted on: 2007/4/13 15:21
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Re: American Can/ Canco Lofts
#5
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Posted on: 2007/4/12 20:47
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Re: McGinley Square: Council to weigh courthouse condos abatement deal
#6
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Of course you insinuated it. It's all over your "It's embarassing to suggest a property in McGinley Square in 2007 not receive an abatement at all (clearly directed at my original "Here's a thought" comment), while they're still being handed out like Halloween candy on the "gold coast" (note the lack of a period between the two clauses, suggesting a continuing thought, i.e., my support or at least acquiescence for Downtown abatements, with no supporting evidence).

I agree with you about the value of abatements when legitimately needed. My point, perhaps not well stated, is that, 20+ years after the building boom began in Newport, this city is well past the point of needing 'artificial' incentives (i.e., tax abatements) to lure development. At this point, and in my opinion, there is more than enough commercial and residential development everywhere in JC (aided of course by said abatements) that we can and should quit abatements cold-turkey. Any litigation that may arise can be fought--and likely won--if the administration would only grow a spine. What the city should be doing is providing 'real' incentives for development such as improving the schools, roads, mass transit options, sewer system and city services, which would draw in new residents while improving the quality of life for existing ones. (Whether the revenue from PILOTs helps or hinders us from doing this is a whole other debate.)

Re: the West Side, everyone I know considers Kennedy Blvd. the eastern border of the West Side. If you grew up near the park but east of Kennedy, then you didn't live on the West Side (but at the time, this was a good thing).

Finally, I'll "manage to see past the occasional typo and misspelling" after you do.

Posted on: 2007/4/12 1:59
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Re: McGinley Square: Council to weigh courthouse condos abatement deal
#7
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So my suggestion is "embarassing," (sic) is it?

For the record, I am, at this time (because I'm sure you'll search my previous posts for evidence to the contrary), against tax abatements in any and all parts of JC, due to the unchecked and rapacious development allowed by this and previous administrations. To insinuate that I don't have a problem with, or even support abatements Downtown just because I don't mention it in my post, might be a better example of a knee-jerk reaction.

PS - Neither this development or McGinley Square is considered the West Side, brother.

Posted on: 2007/4/11 23:08
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Re: McGinley Square: Council to weigh courthouse condos abatement deal
#8
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So the developer went from demanding a mega-super-sweetheart tax abatement deal (25 years, 12 percent gross annual revenues), negotiated down to a super-sweetheart deal (20 years, 15 percent) and would now agree to the regular sweetheart deal (20 years, 16 percent)? Is our Council finally growing some cojones?

Here's a thought: with the recently completed Bergen Avenue streetscape improvements, continued development around McGinley Square and the nearby Beacon, and a prime location a 10-minute walk from Journal Square and a half-block away from St. Peter's College, maybe this proposed development doesn't need an abatement at all. Call me crazy...

Posted on: 2007/4/11 16:41
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Re: Sawadee Thai Restaurant
#9
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The paper is down from the windows. Won't be long now.

Posted on: 2007/4/10 20:46
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Re: Who's running for school board -- 11 candidates vie for three seats on JC Board of Education
#10
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Who's running for school board - part two
Eleven candidates on ballot for April 17 election

Ricardo Kaulessar
Reporter staff writer | 04/06/2007

Last week's edition of the Jersey City Reporter profiled the first six of the 11 candidates running for the three seats on the Jersey City Board of Education.

This week's edition features the other five candidates.

One incumbent is running again, Angel Valentin. The other 10 candidates are: Moses Ballon, Jenny Campbell, Terry Dehere, Michael Esposito, William Frasca, Jenny Garcia, Ben Lopez, Gerald McCann, Aida Sanchez, and Arnold Williams. This year's elections take place on April 17 from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The board consists of nine members with three-year terms. Members take on an advisory role to state-appointed Schools Superintendent Charles Epps.

The board oversees one of the largest and most heavily funded school systems in New Jersey, with state aid of $425 million for the 2006-2007 school year, which will be decreased by over $3 million for the next school year. The total budget for the Jersey City school system is $599 million for the present year of 2006-2007. The school board approved the budget for the 2007-2008 school year at $632 million at a special board meeting on March 29, an increase of over $33 million.

The Jersey City school system is currently under state control and has been since 1989. But legislation was approved in 2005 that will start the process of moving control back into city supervision in the next couple of years.
Meet the rest of the candidates

Here are quotes from five of the candidates running for the board. They were asked why they are running, and what issue they will tackle if elected.

Ben Lopez
Lopez is currently the director of the Hudson County Department of Family Services, former business administrator for Jersey City, and a former city councilman. He is a graduate of Ferris High School and Princeton University.

After graduating from Princeton University, Lopez worked for the C.E.T.A. (Comprehensive Employment and Training Act Program). He also served as the executive director of the Jersey City Employment & Training Program.

"I am a product of the Jersey City school system and I am concerned with the conditions of the school system. Through my work as the director of family services, I come across many young people who graduate with an inability to progress further. Because of my direct involvement with the failings of the school system, I want to go in there and be part of the solution."

"First thing when elected is I would recommend to the state an inspector general to go with board members to identify physical plant problems that affect our children's education."

Gerald McCann
McCann was the Jersey City mayor from 1981-1985, 1989-1992; removed from the mayor's office in 1992 after being convicted in federal court on charges of fraud and tax evasion (for business activities unrelated to the office of mayor).

He was the special projects manager for the Jersey City Incinerator Authority from 2002 to 2005. He currently works in real estate development.

"I look at the other board members and I see that I have it all in one person in terms of the experience with the public school system. I have a degree in secondary education, and I taught at Ferris High School and at St. Peter's College. When I was mayor, I got two schools built, School 28 and 17."

"Obviously, [the big issue] is the budget. I went to the last Board of Education meeting where they were about to pass the budget for the next school year. But I was only one to point out that they did not have a balanced budget, as their revenues came up to $599 million but the budget had increased to $632 million, a $41 million difference."

Aida Sanchez
Sanchez worked as an officer manager/assistant for late Mayor Glenn D. Cunningham. She is employed currently as deputy coordinator with the city's Office of Emergency Management. She was born and raised in New York City and has been a Jersey City resident for 14 years. She worked as a computer support specialist for Shorter Securities in Jersey City. She is married with two children, an 8-year-old and an infant.

"Primarily, why I want to serve is I would like to be a voice for those parents and students who are lost in the system run by the state. And I am trying to be a part of the solution rather than complaining, which is the best course to take."

"First thing I would do if elected is I would like to talk to the parents one-to-one, and especially visiting and communicating with those parents who are working and don't have the time to be involved."

Angel L. Valentin
Valentin is a Jersey City native who has served on the Jersey City Board of Education since 2002. He is a graduate of Ferris High School in Jersey City and Livingston College-Rutgers University with a degree in Media Arts/Communication and Puerto Rican Studies. He currently works as a special grants manager for the Jersey City Employment and Training program. He is the father of two children who are attending Jersey City public schools.

"There is still a lot of hard work to be done in terms of a secondary school initiative that will break up the schools into small communities. Also I want to start working on an extended day program for all the city's schools especially as we have a lot of single parents working."

"First issue is the extended day program to start this coming September, and there are safety issues at our high schools, especially at Dickinson High School. We need to have a freshman academy for Dickinson as soon as possible."

Arnold Williams
Williams runs an urban marketing business, Intellectual Media Group, in Bayonne.

He was born and raised in the Greenville section of Jersey City. He received a degree in business administration from New Jersey City University. Has been a community activist for about 25 years.

"I want to deal with the issue of a school system that is run by people who do not live in Hudson County, and many of the teachers in Jersey City have kids in private schools."

"If elected, I would look at primarily less hours should be spent by teachers in the classroom and invest more time in the homework aspect. Also I would look at what resources we can commit to some of the students who are not college-bound, and help them to find out what particular study they want to pursue."

Posted on: 2007/4/8 15:11
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Re: Canco Lofts
#11
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Just can't stay away


I don't know but the discrepancy between reality and the visuals on their web site is prize-worthy.

And from the contact page:

Canco Lofts Sales Center
50 Dey Street
Jersey City, NY 07306 (sic)
(201) 876-8686
info@cancolofts.com

Posted on: 2007/4/5 19:45
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Re: Who's running for school board -- 11 candidates vie for three seats on JC Board of Education
#12
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From last year's school board election thread (and courtesy of r_pinkowitz), here were the results:

2006 Board of Education elections - Jersey City
Completed Precincts: 111 of 111 (100.00%)
Vote Count
Israel Nieves 635
Anthony R. Cucci 1,810
Paul Catsandonis 327
Samuel Gutierrez 286
DeJon V. Morris 366
Vernon Richardson 519
Edward Allen, Sr. 933
Justo DeJesus 510
Michael Esposito 999
Edward Cheatam 1,040
Heather Martin 453
Mahdi Hemingway 898
Jenny E. Campbell 414
William DeRosa 1,194
Personal Choice 24
Total 10,408[/quote]

As you can see, the difference between the 'top loser', Michael Esposito (endorsed by Steven Fulop), and the winner with the least votes, Ed Cheatam, was 41 votes.

YOUR VOTE MAKES A DIFFERENCE! Go to the JC Families for Better Schools candidates forum tomorrow night and make plans to vote on April 17th!

Posted on: 2007/4/4 21:25
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Re: Our Officer Mac has done us proud!
#13
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Congratulations, Officer...I mean Detective Mac!

Posted on: 2007/3/27 23:19
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Re: Criminal trend among Jersey City cops, firefighters?
#14
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From the title, I thought this was going to be yet another rant. The link to the WABC story is here.
Thanks for catching this, Dwntownguy.

Posted on: 2007/3/21 19:26
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Re: BOARD OF EDUCATION CANDIDATES PUBLIC FORUM ON APRIL 5TH
#15
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Is JCFBS planning to endorse a slate of Board of Ed candidates? I think it would be helpful to people who traditionally don't bother voting in BoE elections if groups such as this or Civic JC would let it be known (by posting here or through Op-Eds and letters to the editor in the JJ and JCReporter) who they think the best candidates are.

Posted on: 2007/3/20 18:43
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Re: Fiesta Grill (Filipino fast-food)
#16
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Nice review, but the actual "best bet" is to go with a friend or two, and order a combination meal each (rice or pancit along with two side dishes -- I almost always get sinigang (tamarind soup) and inihaw (grilled pork)) and get a short order of crispy pata (deep fried pig's knuckles, $5.95) or sisig (saut?ed pork belly served with a dash of lemon juice on a sizzling platter, $6.95) to share.

Posted on: 2007/3/18 5:59
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Corzine Signs First Major Tax Reform Bills
#17
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Corzine Signs First Major Tax Reform Bills

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Voters will be asked to merge towns, a new watchdog will investigate government spending, and corrupt officials will face mandatory jail and lose pensions under the first major property tax reform bills signed into law by Gov. Jon S. Corzine.

Corzine on Thursday signed the key pieces of the Legislature's seven-month effort to cut America's highest property taxes, but not the plan to cut property taxes by 20 percent for most homeowners. He said he will sign that bill in the coming weeks.

The laws he signed will:

Create a 22-member commission to ask voters annually to merge municipalities to try to cut local government costs. New Jersey has 566 municipalities, the most per square mile of any state. The panel's first report is due within two years of it being created.

Impose mandatory prison and forfeiture of pension and retirement benefits for public workers and officials convicted of corruption crimes.

Impose new school spending restrictions, including new rules on travel reimbursements (Ed: I suggest everyone start calling these the "Epps Rules" ); barring districts from redoing administrator contracts without public notice; giving the state power to revoke an administrator's certification if accounting practices aren't followed; and requiring the state to approve contract buy-outs for administrators.

Create a state comptroller to ferret out wasteful spending that critics contend promote high property taxes. The comptroller will be nominated by the governor for a six-year term and confirmed by the Senate.

Critics contend the final bill was watered down, but Corzine praised it Thursday.

"It gives us a lot of authority to do the things we need to do,'' Corzine said.

The office will have broad authority to conduct financial audits of all state agencies, local governments and school boards, along with ability to monitor and halt large contracts.

The office will cost $9 million to create. The governor said his staff is gathering names of potential nominees, but no job offers have been made.

TM & ? 2007 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries.

Posted on: 2007/3/16 3:27
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Re: Embankment- Update Thread
#18
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Defeated 4-3 (2 absent)

For: Fulop, Flood, Vega
Against: Brennan, Richardson, Spinello, Sottolano
Absent: Lipski, Gaughan (I believe it was mentioned that Gaughan was ill)

The reasons for the negative votes included: (1) not wanting to increase the city's debt service (Spinello & Sottolano), even though it was clearly explained before the vote -- verbally and in writing -- by Tom McGlynn of the EPC that, being a bridge loan, the cost to the city would have been miniscule; and (2) perceived competition from other unfunded park projects in her ward (Richardson), even though it was made clear that the $3.7 million already secured for the Embankment's acquisition and additional funds to be raised are entirely separate and do not compete with other park projects.

There was also a sentiment that since there had been little movement on the project (here they were either being disingenuous or haven't been paying attention the last few years), a wait-and-see approach would be best in applying for the loan.

Posted on: 2007/3/15 2:03

Edited by MCA on 2007/3/15 2:18:49
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The last matzo
#19
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The last matzo
Manischewitz moves out of its Jersey City factory

Tuesday, March 13, 2007
BY VICKI HYMAN
STAR-LEDGER STAFF

Matzo, despite more than three millennia of mediocre marketing (what advertising guru came up with "the bread of affliction!," anyway?), remains the go-to baked good for Jews during Passover.

It's scriptural heed to partake only of unleavened bread during the eight-day celebration, which commemorates the Hebrew exodus from Egypt, so hasty that the Israelites did not have time to let their bread rise. Though the recipe is ancient, the familiar crispy squares that we eat today date back only to 1932, when the founder of the Manischewitz kosher food empire opened a plant in Jersey City that would revolutionize matzo manufacturing. (One big change: Matzo traditionally was round.)

Indeed, the worse-for-wear 6-story building that rises above the cobblestones of Provost Street was once the very model of a modern matzo factory. But today, 75 years later, the last matzo will roll out of the 120-foot-long, hand-fired oven, parts of which date back to the factory's founding. R.A.B. Food Group, once The B. Manischewitz Group, is relocating its matzo-baking to a more efficient facility in Newark.

"Everybody agrees it's bittersweet," says CEO Jeremy Fingerman. "It was a glorious history there. It was a factory that lived well beyond the age of many factories in America."

The factory is also one of the last industrial buildings still in use in this historic warehouse district, now an artists' enclave beneath the glinting towers of Jersey City's new waterfront. It's been an unobtrusive neighbor, the only outward indication of its mandate the smell of toast that wafted through the streets.

"I walked over the there one day with my mother to see if you could actually buy matzo there," says sculptor Nancy Cohen, who lives nearby. "You couldn't. The loss is only the loss of whatever manufacturing is left in that part of Jersey City."

Rabbi Dov Behr Manischewitz founded his company in 1888 in Cincinnati, but realizing that his Jewish base remained in the Northeast, he opened the Jersey City plant in 1932 and eventually moved all operations there.

On the top story, workers combine flour (100,000 pounds a day) and water in huge industrial mixers. Then the dough is shunted through the floor into a machine that rolls the dough into progressively thinner sheets, scores them, and cuts them into perfect squares.

The dough is fed on metal conveyor belts through the oven. Broken pieces or matzo that isn't entirely flat are plucked from the conveyor and discarded as the crispy sheets cool on their way to the fourth floor, where they are boxed.

For half the year, the factory produces "kosher for Passover" matzo, which requires even stricter rabbinic supervision to ensure that the flatbread goes from mixer to box in less than 18 minutes, as per tradition. At the start of the Passover matzo-making season, each of the thousands of bricks in the oven are scrubbed clean.

The new plant, in an old Rokeach facility in Newark, is all on one level, and the oven itself is larger and made of stainless steel, which makes cleaning easier.

As for the taste -- well, it's going to taste like matzo. (That's the good news and the bad.) Workers even tested the water to make sure there wouldn't be a discernible difference between Newark matzo and Jersey City matzo.

Some of the equipment from the old factory will be auctioned, but the bricks, perhaps 10,000 of them, may be sold to collectors. Some historical artifacts from the plant will make its way to the new facility, including a plaque dedicated to the sons of Rabbi Manischewitz on the plant's 50th anniversary.

As for the Manischewitz property itself, which lies in the Powerhouse Arts District, the company sold it to developer Toll Brothers, which hasn't formally filed plans for the site and wouldn't comment on its future.

But neighbors say the company has been shopping plans for more high-rise towers to city officials, who okayed a similar plan on the site of a nearby tobacco warehouse. (That's where the 52-story tower by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas will rise.)

Members of the Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association protested those plans, and worry that the Manischewitz property will go the same route, which they say is contrary to a redevelopment plan that envisions a low-rise art and entertainment district there, with lofts and live-work condos in the old warehouses.

Neighbors wouldn't be so sad to see the 1960s-era addition off Marin Boulevard bite the dust, but they're concerned about the original factory building.

"It doesn't take much imagination to see it's a beautiful building," says Richard Tomko, the president of the neighborhood association. "Yeah, somebody painted it yellow and boarded up a bunch of the windows, and the cornice fell apart. It doesn't look that great now, but the bones and skeleton are there."

? 2007 The Star-Ledger

Posted on: 2007/3/13 13:54
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Re: Butler Building next Downtown battle site?
#20
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Resized Image
Source: artnet.com

The Butler Brothers Warehouse was erected in 1905. Covering almost an entire city block, the E-shaped, nine-story warehouse features corbelled cornices, parapets, decorative brick banding and entirely brick bearing walls. It was designed by Jarvis Hunt, one of the country's greatest architects at the turn of the 20th century.

Hunt designed three Medieval-style warehouses for the Butler Brothers Company (suppliers of Five and Ten Cent stores nationwide and the company that sold Sam Walton his first store), the other two standing in Chicago and Minneapolis. Renowned for his work at 1893's Columbian Exposition (an architectural event that ushered in the American Renaissance), Hunt also designed the Kansas City Union Terminal, one of the world's largest train terminals; the Newark Museum in Newark, NJ; the Great Lakes Naval Training Station, now on the National Register; Chicago Golf Club Clubhouse; and the Lake Shore Athletic Club.

Sources
JC Landmarks Conservancy
Warehouse Historic District by Rick James
Civic JC

Posted on: 2007/3/13 2:43
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Butler Building next Downtown battle site?
#21
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Jarrett Renshaw's newest LOCATION column:

Butler Building next Downtown battle site?
Monday, March 12, 2007

The unveiling of the design for 111 First St. wasn't the only noteworthy item to emerge from last week's news conference. Nor was it only the media and city officials paying close attention to the pomp and circumstance.

Bob Lier, owner of the historic Butler Building, was chatting up city officials and taking photos of the renowned architect Rem Koolhaas's block-shaped design, and not for posterity's sake.

City sources tell me that Lier has been quietly fighting with officials in his bid for a controversial approval at the Butler Brothers building that would call for the preservation of only the exterior walls and the construction of at least a 40-story tower to stretch from the center of the building.

Erected in 1905, the dark E-shaped brick warehouse is the largest within the district at nine stories tall. The designer was Jarvis Hunt, one of the country's greatest architects at the turn of the 20th century.

Sources tell me that Lier has pointed to the city's concession to Lloyd Goldman at 111 First St. as a precedent, and - now's the time to hold your ears - he may have a point, given recent events.
[emphasis added]

City sources say any discussion about destroying the Butler Building is nonsense. It's an "iconic" landmark. It demands preservation. It is second only to the Powerhouse itself.

Sound familiar?

Such adjectives and accolades were thrown around during the battle of 111 First St., but today these same city officials pretend they never said such things, and feign contempt if you attempt to compare their past comments with today's reality.

The city opened the proverbial door in its concession to let Goldman tear down 111 First St. and build high.

In fact, where city officials once talked about preserving the historic building, now they're gushing over the radical design of its replacement.

Precedent was set, and ignoring this fact and hoping it goes away is not the solution - that is, unless you don't care about preserving the spirit of the Powerhouse Arts District.

If serious, City Council and this administration need to properly - and legally - provide historic designation to the area that was stripped during the 111 First St. settlement.

If you don't, stop telling us you're serious about the redevelopment plan.

The same applies to the Manischewitz building, where Toll Brothers hope to join the ranks of the other high-rises in the Downtown area by skirting the spirit of the Powerhouse Arts District Redevelopment Plan.

The city's political elite seem split on the future of the site.

Some say Toll's proposal includes a gorgeous public plaza, so they should be able to tear down the building in exchange. Others cynically question why have a redevelopment plan if it's not followed.

As for Toll Brothers, they continue to refuse to discuss their plans - at least, not in public.

Copyright 2007 The Jersey Journal

Posted on: 2007/3/12 16:37
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Re: Rem Koolhaas to design 111 First
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?NJ.com

Posted on: 2007/2/26 21:15
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Re: State of the City Address - Mayor Healy
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Why did he campaign on the position of ending tax abatements for the waterfront, yet support them for Lefrak's Shore Club development, calling them good for the city?

Why did it take him over a year to implement the COMPSTAT police management system, the so-called centerpiece of his campaign?

Posted on: 2007/2/24 2:04
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Re: Councilwoman-at-Large Willie Flood's son arrested selling weed from her Mercedes at Wayne and Ba
#24
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Quote:
mrrogers wrote:
Why was he downtown and not in F ward where he lives.

The article says "Phillip Flood Jr., 28, of Wayne Street," though it doesn't specify which 'section' of Wayne -- there's a Wayne St. in what used to be called the "new houses" on Montgomery between the old Medical Center and the Turnpike, and then again further up the hill from Cornelison to Summit. I assume he lives downtown -- don't buyers come to where drug dealers live and not the other way around?

And the bonus: come election time, wave bye-bye to your Council-at-Large seat, Willie Flood.

Posted on: 2007/2/17 22:12
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Re: JJournal: Reservoir No. 3 will be preserved as open space
#25
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Quote:
NNJR wrote:
excuse my ignorance but does passive mean it will just allow to grow wild with no facilities or maintenance?

I'd like to see some activities setup, maybe contract with a local shop to sell different activities.

What summer/winter activities will be offered, for example can you ice skate there in the winter?

Go to the JC Reservoir Preservation Alliance website and find out.

Posted on: 2007/2/16 18:29
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Re: Rivalries between the city and county -- "This stuff has been going on 100 years," Healy said
#26
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City officials, pols and workers spend three nights in Atlantic City
Monday, January 29, 2007
By JARRETT RENSHAW
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER
First of three parts

Elected officials, city workers, volunteer board members and consultants from across Hudson County stormed Atlantic City during last year's annual League of Municipalities convention - and you, the taxpayer, got stuck with the bill.

A Jersey Journal review of records from the Atlantic City convention from each Hudson County municipality, Jersey City's autonomous agencies and county government shows that at least 265 people made the trek down the Garden State Parkway to the gambling mecca.

The three-day convention began Nov. 15, and many receptions were held the night of Nov. 14, when people began arriving.

The total tab is at least $115,363, or roughly $435 per person.

Since 1915, the League of Municipalities - a voluntary association with more than 13,000 officials from all of the state's 566 municipalities - has hosted an annual convention featuring seminars on governmental issues such as planning and crime prevention, women in government and labor relations.

The convention also has its ugly underside. Critics have derided it as a taxpayer-sponsored junket, where politicians and government employees party with vendors.

It is described in former Gov. James McGreevey's recent book as a "meat market," and was the scene of the start of the downfall of disgraced former County Executive Robert Janiszewski, who was confronted by federal agents in his hotel room there in 2000.

Policies regarding the trip differ by municipality, with some cities, like Jersey City, paying for lodging and expenses while others, like Bayonne, paying only the registration fee.

The more liberal policy in Jersey City cost taxpayers roughly $30,000 and the more conservative Bayonne policy cost taxpayers just $765.

"I think $30,000 once a year to get our directors and our policy people to attend seminars, that is certainly a reasonable expenditure of taxpayer money," said Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy
(emphasis mine).

Then there's Union City, which pays for nothing.

"To be honest, we never saw any value for our taxpayers in the convention, so we don't pay for it," said Mayor Brian Stack.

It's also not surprising that the less the local government pays for, the fewer people attend the convention. Jersey City and Hoboken, which both pay for everything, sent the most people, while Union City and Weehawken sent the least.

A Jersey Journal analysis turned up the following questionable - if not comical - expenses.

In a number of cases, attendees took their husbands or wives with them to Atlantic City and, it appears, charged taxpayers for their meals.

North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco spent $368.67 in taxpayers' money per night for a reception room, which his spokesman said was used to conduct "city business," though he refused to provide specifics. The room was rented for four nights; the convention lasted three nights.

North Bergen taxpayers paid $327 for Anthony Ferraro to attend the convention. He's not a city employee, he's the unpaid "driver" of Commissioner Theresa Ferraro.

Hoboken parking czar John Corea submitted an expense voucher for a $1,735.67 restaurant tab at the ritzy Borgota Hotel. He later withdrew the request.

The messy world of dual jobs reared its head, as a number of people cherry-picked the best offer. For example, Jersey City City Councilwoman Willie Flood allowed the city to pay for her lodging but accepted the $165 per diem (total of $495) from the city's Redevelopment Agency, where she serves as a commissioner. The city pays after the receipts are submitted while the Redevelopment Agency issues a check in advance (emphasis mine).

Records show that Hudson County and West New York both paid for Sal Vega to stay in Atlantic City, but a West New York official said Vega's county hotel room was actually occupied by his aide, who couldn't secure a room because he lacks a credit card. At the time, Vega was a Hudson County freeholder and West New York commissioner; he is now mayor of West New York.

Rep. Albio Sires, D-West New York, the former mayor of West New York, made the trek to Atlantic City despite the fact that he was no longer a city official. He won the U.S. House seat weeks earlier and had to relinquish his title as mayor, but city officials say the room was paid for before the election.

It appears it wasn't hard to get on the list of attendees in Hoboken. Even two members of the little-known Shade Tree Commission - which regulates tree planting in the city - got to spend three nights in the city that's "Always Turned On."

Posted on: 2007/1/29 14:03
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
#27
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away


You're wrong, Steve. It is not a thankless job -- you have our thanks. Keep up the great work. We've got your back!

Posted on: 2007/1/25 17:47
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
#28
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away


Quote:
loucheNJ wrote:
I think a little public humiliation is due our esteemed leaders.

Let the newspapers know how you feel. Write a letter to the editor.

Jersey City Reporter - editorial @ hudsonreporter .com
Jersey Journal - jjletters @ jjournal .com


On a side note, did anyone notice how red in the face Brennan got while he was giving his spiel? I swear I could almost see the steam coming out his ears. Now that's entertainment!

Posted on: 2007/1/25 15:59
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Re: Jersey City needs to be more aggressive to woo Merrill Lynch's 48 story/2.3mil sq ft of office s
#29
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away


GP, I appreciate you putting this piece up, as the Jersey Journal site is a pain to navigate, but I wish you'd be more diligent about labeling. For the record, this is Jarrett Renshaw's latest Location column. I know it's a small thing to some, but I like to know the author's name as well as whether it's a straight news piece or op-ed (obvious in this case), and if I have to go to the JJ site to get it, your posting ceases to be a time-saver for me. Thanks.

On topic: I don't know whether Councilman Fulop supports abatements or incentives in this case (I suspect not), but I do know that Mayor Healy campaigned on a platform of no further abatements on the waterfront -- a promise he has broken repeatedly, which I hope people will remember come election time.

Posted on: 2007/1/24 17:50
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Re: Jersey City's Parks and Open Space Master Plan
#30
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away


Quote:
Lindad wrote:
I am going to make City Hall's Meeting regarding the Embankment. To paraphrase one of our founding fathers, Ben Franklin, if we don't hang together, we will all hang separately.

I'm going to show up as well. Will someone be handing out MAKE MY PARK signs, or is this not that kind of meeting?

Posted on: 2007/1/23 20:31
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