City Hall e-mail interceptor gets five years’ probation

Patrick Ricciardi, who pleaded guilty in federal court last year to having intercepted mayors from (and to) the mayor’s office, received five years’ probation in court in Newark on Friday. Ricciardi was sentenced on three counts, but will serve the sentences concurrently.
Ricciardi, the former head of information technology at City Hall, will also have to make restitution in the amount of $13,475, and cannot hold any more government IT jobs.
The appearance was interesting in that Mayor Dawn Zimmer (whose administration first tipped the FBI off to the purloined emails) and the judge both made remarks about Hoboken politics.
The FBI has said that Ricciardi gave the filched e-mails to two other town officials, but so far, neither has been arrested in connection with the crime.
On Friday, Mayor Zimmer released her letter to Judge Esther Salas about the sentencing. In her letter, which can be read in its entirety at hudsonreporter.com, Zimmer asks Salas to take the matter seriously particularly with Hoboken’s history of corruption.
Zimmer says that the matter affected union negotiations. She also says she incorrectly blamed the city’s attorney for the leaks in the beginning, which created “mistrust.” “This was not a political prank or victimless crime,” Zimmer writes.
Because the sentence was announced in court just as the paper was about to go to press on Friday, more details on the matter will be included at hudsonreporter.com.

Zimmer to kick off reelection campaign Aug. 14

Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Hoboken’s first female mayor who has served in that capacity since 2009, will kick off her reelection campaign on Wednesday, Aug. 14, during an event held at the restaurant Little Town N.J., the mayor said last week.
Zimmer will face state Assemblyman Ruben Ramos Jr. in the election, which will be held Nov. 5. Ramos is running on the Vision for Hoboken slate, along with council-at-large candidates Laura Miani, Joe Mindak, and Eduardo Gonzalez. Zimmer has not officially announced her ticket. The city’s current sitting councilmen-at-large, Ravi Bhalla and David Mello, have both expressed interest in joining the mayor’s slate again, but have come just short of declaring their candidacy. The mayor is expected to reveal her slate, which may include a third candidate to fill a currently empty seat, at the event.
The event at Little Town NJ will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The restaurant is co-owned by Albie and Chris Manzo of the reality show “Real Housewives of New Jersey.”

Park at city’s northern entrance to partially open soon

The long-awaited new Hoboken park between the Willow and Park Avenue bridges has arrived!
The city is now inviting leagues, teams, and community organizations to apply for the use of field space at 1600 Park for the remainder of the summer. The multi-use field, which can accommodate a variety of sports, is expected to open on a preliminary basis in early August.
“We are so glad to open up this new field to all the teams, leagues and other members of the community looking for a place to practice or play a match,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “The field will also be open to all members of the public for a pickup game or practice whenever it is not reserved.”
Years ago, the spot was slated for development, but activists and officials fought for it to be saved for open space.
Groups interested in applying for field can download a permit request form http://www.hobokennj.org/docs/rec/activity-field-cafe-permit-request.pdf and email it to recreation@hobokennj.org or contact the Recreation Division at (201) 420-2012 with any questions.
Additional construction at 1600 Park, including restroom facilities and the dog run, will continue. Until the lights are connected in a few weeks, the field will be available for use only during the day through sunset.

Hoboken police to hold National Night Out in Church Square Park

The Hoboken Police Dept. and Chief Anthony Falco Sr. will host the Hoboken edition of the National Night Out Against Crime, an annual, nationwide event that allows community workers to give back to the community and highlight the role of the community in keeping it safe.
The event will take place Tues. Aug 6.
This year, the event will be held in memory of recently deceased municipal employee Freddie Moret, who assisted the growth of Hoboken’s National Night Out in recent years.
“We appreciate all Freddie has done for us over the years, and we are looking forward to presenting a plaque to his family that will in some small way allow us to honor the memory of one of Hoboken’s most cherished volunteers,” said Falco in a statement.
The annual event will take place in Hoboken’s centrally located Church Square Park, where a large slate of family and youth-oriented activities is scheduled to take place throughout the late afternoon and into the evening.
This year, in addition to our usual exhibits and attractions and educational kiosks and tables, the department has also added a Proclamation Ceremony that will take place at City Hall at 4 p.m. This ceremony will be followed by a parade to Church Square Park, led by the recruits of the department’s Junior Police Academy.
Many local businesses, in addition to numerous Hudson County police agencies, will all be out in full support of this “night out against crime.
There will be events and activities for children, including a bounce house and free ice cream.
For further information, please contact Sergeant Melissa Gigante at gigantem@hobokenpd.org or visit the Hoboken Police Department website at www.HobokenPD.com.

City to hold Spaghetti Dinner Block Party

Tickets are available for the City of Hoboken’s upcoming Spaghetti Dinner Block Party, which is set to take place Thursday, Aug. 29 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sinatra Drive between First and Second Streets.
Tickets cost $20 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under. A table of 10 costs $200. Seating is limited.
Dinner includes four kinds of pasta, meatballs, sausage, eggplant, salad, bread and dessert. Wine, beer, water, and soda will also be available at additional cost and sold to raise funds for the Hoboken Volunteer Ambulance Corps. Outside alcohol not permitted. Coolers will be checked at the entrance.
Live music to be announced
Tickets can be purchased on the second floor of City Hall in the Dept. of Cultural Affairs.
Checks should be made out to the City of Hoboken and can be mailed to the Hoboken Division of Cultural Affairs, 94 Washington St., Hoboken, NJ 07030. Include a piece of paper with your name, address & phone number and how many tickets you would like to purchase.
For more information, call 201-420-2207 or gfallo@hobokennj.org.

Sires, Menendez press helicopter issue in meeting with FAA

An official from the Federal Aviation Administration vowed to hold a symposium on the impact of tourist helicopters on Hudson County residents last week after meeting with U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Representative Albio Sires (D-8th Dist.) at the senator’s office in Newark, according to a press release from Sires’ office.
The summit will take place at some point in the next month, according to the release.
The issue of low-flying tourist helicopters on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River has come to a head in the past year, as flights have increased here due to a ban on tourist helicopters over the East River last year. Since the spring, New Jersey residents have responded, saying that their well-being should not be jeopardized so that tourists can see Manhattan.
“People should come over here and see our parks and rent a bike and ride the waterfront,” said Brian Wagner, one resident, at a press conference earlier this month. “We’ve got great views, but they’re also views we want to enjoy on Saturdays with our families.”
Residents from Bayonne to North Bergen have complained about both the noise and the safety risks of such low helicopters, prompting Sires to hold a press conference with various mayors from around the area to discuss the issue. On Monday, he followed through on his earlier promise to meet with the FAA and attempt to convince it to ban such flights over New Jersey.
“We’ve got to do something about this,” said Sires. “The business of having tourist helicopters at our expense is unacceptable.”
Menendez was not present at the press conference last month, which was held in Hoboken, but offered his Newark offices as a setting for the talks, and said afterwards that he is “committed to exhausting every one of our options in providing our communities along the Hudson River the relief they need.”
The meeting was also attended by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, and Chairman of the Hudson County Board of Freeholders Anthony Romano. From the FAA, Regional Administrator Carmine Gallo and Air Traffic Manager at the Newark Air Traffic Control Tower Russell Halleran were in attendance.

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