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Messages - stephen

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News / Re: Jersey City Parking Authority
« on: 07-26-2013, 04:48pm »
“The parking authority has been a cesspool of political patronage ..."


This is GREAT news. Until now you had to know the right person to call in each department to really get things done -- an insiders club. Having a single number to a single department where actual "case management" will occur and be measured is absolutely critical to any customer/constituent services agency.

Well done Mayor :fulop:!

Will I be allowed in if I'm not .... a) walking a dog b) pushing a stroller c) sporting a handlebar mustache e) a Fulop supporter???

Will you give it rest already? You're a bitter old man and you're still quite young.

And whose responsibility is it to remove the signs afterwards?

JCPA says it's on whoever requested the permit.  My questions:

1.  Do THEY know that?
2.  Do they GIVE A SHIT?
3.  Are they FINED if they don't?

JCPA is next to useless.  A bunch of people got ticketed on Saturday per a no parking site for a work-site that wasn't active and they didn't have a permit to work on Saturday anyway.  The directors response to having this pointed out?  "I have instructed my officers not to ticket in the future."  When I asked about nullifying the existing tickets I got a bureaucratic shrug.


JERSEY CITY — Once an unfashionable town named after an unfashionable state, this has become a place of bike lanes and brunch spots, organic farmers’ markets and free yoga in the parks. Brought on by the swell of affluent young residents who followed financial firms across the river, strollers now crowd the sidewalks and shimmering towers filled with luxury rentals line the waterfront. Kumon, the supplementary after-school program of the anxious elite, occupies a shiny storefront downtown.

Through all of this, however, Jersey City politics have stayed stubbornly within the mold of Frank Hague, the early-20th-century mayor and political boss who set the standard for corruption, even by New Jersey standards. Newly vigorous community groups have complained of projects stumbling because of bureaucracy. Developers have accused the city of playing favorites with tax abatements. A bribery scandal has swirled around City Hall.

But on Monday, Jersey City will swear in a new mayor, one whose campaign slogan — “enough” — and impressive résumé seem to match the city’s new ambition.

The new mayor is Steven Fulop, a 36-year-old former trader at Goldman Sachs. After 9/11, he took a leave to serve in the Marine Corps, and upon his return from Iraq worked his way up as a city councilman, helping to organize community groups and crusading for better schools and stronger ethics laws.

“It’s a breath of fresh air,” said Tony Frier, who moved here two decades ago and opened the 9th and Coles Tavern with his husband three years ago. “There was so much bureaucracy and red tape, it was bogging everything down. There was no progress being made. He’s got a vision. It’s going to give everybody new life.”

Mr. Fulop, a Democrat, has built a reputation as a reformer, impressing even his former adversaries with his plans to standardize tax abatement procedures, restructure the Police Department to reduce crime in neighborhoods that have been left out of the city’s rebirth, and produce greater civic involvement from the financial firms that have made this area Wall Street West, including the creation of a program to offer summer jobs to local students.

“People are finding us across the river, and I want to expand that,” Mr. Fulop said. “Historically, people outgrow the West Village, come here and then move to the suburbs. Our goal is to stop that last move.”

Already, more families with children are staying. Tribeca Pediatrics has an outpost across from Hamilton Park, which was rebuilt by neighborhood groups after years of occupation by the Latin Kings.

Still, the city’s public schools remain under state control, with all but a handful classified as failing. Residents pay premium taxes, even as garbage cans overflow and potholes go unrepaired. Though downtown neighborhoods have gotten safer, neighborhoods farther out still struggle with high crime rates. Many have long suspected that the city’s recent success was due to its proximity to New York, and not because of, but in spite of, the city’s political establishment. Hudson County residents have reason to temper their optimism: the fresh-faced new mayor of Hoboken, Peter Cammarano, was one of 44 officials swept up in the bribery scandal that brought down Jersey City’s deputy mayor four years ago.

The second of three sons born to immigrants from Israel and Romania who own a deli in Newark, Mr. Fulop grew up in Edison, N.J., and like so many of his new constituents, moved here to work for Goldman. He bought an apartment near the waterfront in 2000, figuring the influx of financial firms would make the city a good investment.

After his tour in Iraq, he ran unsuccessfully for Congress before narrowly winning a seat on the City Council in 2005. Four years ago, Mr. Fulop expanded his political influence by sponsoring a winning slate of school board members. More recently, he helped bring in a longtime veteran of the New York City schools, Marcia Lyles, as superintendent.

And he has hammered city officials about ethics violations since 2009, when the sweeping corruption investigation known as Operation Bid Rig ensnared several dozen Hudson County politicians, including several associates of Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy, on charges of accepting bribes from a developer.

“I don’t think people realize how much that left an impression on the city,” said Shelley Skinner, who met Mr. Fulop after he responded to an e-mail complaining about the quality of the schools, encouraging her and a group of parents to organize. “O.K., Hudson County is corrupt, but this is what our tax dollars are going toward? People with kids think, ‘I’m not getting a quality school because of this?’ ”

“After his election, so many of my friends said, ‘We can stay,’ ” she said.

The election was nonpartisan, expensive and rollicking. Mr. Healy and Mr. Fulop together spent about $2 million.

Mr. Healy was endorsed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor Cory A. Booker of Newark, and, remarkably in a city with little national profile, President Obama. But Mr. Fulop ran ads with footage of Mr. Healy, who was not accused in the bribery scandal, meeting with the developer who had been at the heart of it. A week before the election, Mr. Healy found himself explaining a long ago incident in which he had been photographed naked on his front porch.

Mr. Fulop won with 52 percent of the vote, winning over new residents but also what he calls “the born and raiseds.”

“They saw in Steve a young guy with new ideas who was going to turn the city around,” said Junior Maldonado, the incumbent councilman Mr. Fulop defeated in 2005, and who later turned into a supporter. “I have been watching him developing a vision and a mission for Jersey City, and I liked what I saw,” he said. “I think the people in Jersey City radiated to his message.”

Since his election, Mr. Fulop has held meetings with residents and sent out surveys to ask them what they want from City Hall. He has hired Howard Safir, the former commissioner of the Police and Fire Departments in New York, to reorganize the Police Department. He has done away with a fleet of city cars.

It is a sign of the new Jersey City, and the excitement surrounding its new mayor, that his inauguration will be filmed for an episode of Cake Boss.

General / Re: Yay, Jersey City!
« on: 06-26-2013, 02:41pm »
5. Fremont

The boringest place on earth.  That kid will grow up to hate you.

Having (attempted to) deal with the traffic & engineering department in Jersey City, I can tell you they that they don't seem to care.  9 months ago I suggested a number of measures to reduce traffic speeds and make good on the ordinance for "complete streets" that the municipal council voted into law unanimously in the summer of 2011 [1].  The simple implementation of "daylighting" to increase visibility can help avoid many accidents [2], and maybe even this one.  But nothing has been done to this end.

Council-woman elect Candice Osborne is well aware of this issue and I look forward to the Fulop administration cleaning house to get a traffic & engineering department who consider bicyclists and pedestrians as equal partners in the roadway with drivers.

I will be bringing this up at the East District Captain's Meeting tonight at MS4 on Bright Street, in the library.  Join me.  Starts at 7:00 PM.

Natasha was a fantastic person.  Such a loss.



Restaurants & Bars / Re: Grove Square Restaurant
« on: 06-24-2013, 04:50pm »
"Really?  Like this is..... fuckin like.... like.... people actually live here?"

The longer we can keep certain people believing Jersey City to be a hell hole, the better.

That's it, no more SeeClickFix'ing for me!

According to the planning board agenda:

Address:  532 - 536 Jersey Ave & 168-172 Columbus Drive
Block: 12704, Lot: 20, 21, 28, 29
Zone: Newark Avenue Downtown Redevelopment Plan
Description: New 7 story, 76-unit residential building with ground floor retail.
Deviation: Front yard setback.
Decision: Approved.

I run through that area. It's a confusing area right now due the tracks, road and construction.  I triple look before crossing that junction.

Restaurants & Bars / Re: Grove Square Restaurant
« on: 06-21-2013, 09:47am »
There used to be a park bench 20 feet in front of his establishment. He cut the bolts and moved it. Yes, this is the person we're dealing with. And now he has a liqueur license. If you think it's bad now, just wait until he starts terrorizing the residents of Bay Street with his "wine bar" entrance and then his so-called "speakeasy." (Pro tip: If you advertise a speakeasy, it isn't a speakeasy. It's simply a club in a basement.)

Jeff needs a serious attitude adjustment. He needs to understand that success of his business is directly related and reliant on the social capital built by organizations such as the HDSID that produces the farmer's market and Groove on Grove. And if it wasn't for the community efforts of the Harsimus Cove Association, there would be no Fitzgerald-Holota Plaza for him to profit off of.

I've been watching Jeff build that place out for months. He's put a lot of work into it, a great vision. That location has been empty for years and desperately needs a community-minded social business to complement the plaza.

Downtown / Re: Ideas for the neighborhood
« on: 06-18-2013, 11:47am »
We need a good office supply store, too.

As well as a market that stays open past 8pm.  (P&K is starting to experiment with staying open until 10pm while they take inventory.)

And a market at Grove PATH that does good "grab and go" meals.

As for me, I'd like to see independent/local business owners rather than national chains.  So, instead of TJ's or WF's, how about Garden of Eden or the like?  Same goes for frozen yogurt. (In fact, I think a place is opening up at the corner of Grove/Newark.)

While I don't know of any Spanish tapas, many restaurants do serve small plates such as Skinner's Loft, LITM, Park & Sixth and Orale.

While Beechwood has about the right selection of baked goods and pastries, the quality of their desserts leaves much to be desired.  If they step up their game, it's a great place to get an opera cake and a fruit tarte.

So far, no TVs installed. So that's a huge plus right there. Only getting patrons will help keep the vision alive. Hairy, what would you rather see there?

Spoke to Jeff, the owner this morning.

While it sounds like a lot of places at one, it looks like they will be separate enough to carry their own identity.  For example, the wine bar has it's own entrance on Morgan and is separated by a wall with big windows into the bistro.

He's planning on keeping the bistro open 24 hours.

The speakeasy downstairs will also have it's own entrance. It won't be a nightclub, open all the time with DJs, rather it will host events from comedy to jazz to rock shows.  He assured me the sound proofing is above and beyond because he doesn't even want to hear the music downstairs in the bistro, which is planning to have a brasserie feel to it.  Apparently he already knows Dancing Tony (who can book shows there?) but also told him about Art House and Bryan Benninghove-- his eyes lit up when I said "gypsy jazz" as he really wants someone to be playing in the bistro in the evenings.

The whisky bar will eventually be where the Dunkin' Donuts is and will also feature coffee and it, again, will be it's own space with a passthrough in the wall for pizza delivery from the other side.  Slick.

He's planning on opening in 4 to 6 weeks.

Government & Politics / Re: Vandalized sign
« on: 05-07-2013, 08:57am »
Re-order signs that have disappeared here:

So if voters don't care about a naked picture 8 years ago, why does Healy?  He did himself a ton of hurt by making any sort of comment on the incident.

It's there due to the heightened security threat due to the Boston bombings and, you know, you've got to protect Wall Street west or make it look like you are.

Calendar / Re: Historic Preservation Commission Meetings
« on: 04-22-2013, 02:54pm »
New York SMSA Limited Partnership (Verizon Wireless) wants to install cellular antennas on the roof of 238 Fifth Street. They are first seeking a "certificate of appropriateness" from the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) due to the address being within the Harsimus Cove Historic District.

Read the HCA's position on the antennas:

The Harsimus Cove Assocaiton was satisfied with neither the location nor the time of the public hearing regarding the closing of the Pulaski Skyway's inbound lanes for two years while the span is repaired.  We wrote a letter to Assemblyman Ruben Ramos who represents the 33rd District and also sits on the Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities committee. We have asked for another hearing.

Downtown / Verizon Cellular Antennas on Fifth Street
« on: 04-19-2013, 03:03pm »
On the evening of March 17, the Harsimus Cove Assocation (HCA) distributed 80 letters to Fifth Street residents on the same block as of 238 Fifth Street. (Read the letter.)  Verizon is applying to the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) to get approval for this project.  There are issues with the appropriateness of this project given that it is visible from the public right of way from many vantage points and that it would compromise the integrity of the Harsimus Cove historic district.

About 20 residents showed up to the meeting and half of those spoke out against the application during the public hearing.  After more questioning by the HPC largely based on the points we made, Verizon decided to withdraw their application and to come back in the future with revised plans.

Verizon has since submitted revised plans and they are on the next meeting's agenda.

Historic Preservation Commission Meeting
Monday, April 22, 6:30 PM
Council Chambers, City Hall, 280 Grove Street

It is imperative that all concerned parties appear at the meeting and be prepared to make remarks during the public speaking portion of the meeting.

Verizon's revised sims and plans:

Architectural drawings of the plan:
Simulation of the roofline from the east:
Simulation of the roofline from the west:

Some things to note:

1. The number of antennas has been reduced from 12 to 6.  That makes it 2 per cluster instead of 4.
2. The shed has been removed and will no longer be a visual obstruction from the Erie/5th vantage point
3. The cluster that was on the SW corner has been pushed back but still on the very edge of the building.  It will now be referred to as the west cluster.


I've been in touch with the SHPO based on the following tip from this blog, "What to Do if a Cell Tower is Proposed in Your Neighborhood."

Neighborhoods listed as historic districts by the National Historic Preservation Act may have more protections against a cell tower than non-historic neighborhoods. A tower cannot be placed in a historic neighborhood if it can be demonstrated that the tower negatively affects the neighborhood's historic quality.  The Irvington neighborhood was designated a historic district last year, and Kirk Ranzetta helped the neighbors appeal the issue to Oregon's State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).

Ranzetta says wireless companies are required to file an application with SHPO, and SHPO has to agree that the neighborhood will not be adversely affected. "The applications are not always full or not always as accurate as they probably should be," Ranzetta says. Neighbors can then file a notice of objection to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). "It's a little bit more of a legal challenge," Ranzetta says, and the FCC is legally required to respond to the objection.

According the SHPO, Verizon and any other mobile carrier who wants to install antennae in a historic district, they must go through the Section 106 process as defined by the Historic Preservation Act.  This process requires that the applicant conduct an "alternatives analysis" whereby the applicant demonstrates their justification for the chosen location with regard to other options. According to the SHPO, Verizon has not yet submitted their alternatives analysis, but this is not abnormal. Applicants often conduct it after community consultation has happened. Given that several members of the community specifically asked about this topic at the last HPC meeting and the given that Verizon has not conducted the alternative analysis, the HCA will request that the analysis be done before any City agency, board or commission grant approval.  In short, we have unanswered questions this analysis would answer.


On the heals of Verizon is AT&T.  While they are not on the agenda for Monday's meeting and we have not received any plans or sims, we are in touch with the attorney representing their application.  I bring this up now so as to give you an accurate vision of the scope of what's going on at 238 Fifth.  Will T-Mobile be next?

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