Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hackensack defends developer's 30-year tax break

Hackensack resident Steven V. Gelber questioning Councilman John Labrosse, second from right, on Tuesday night about his three health-insurance policies, including coverage by the city and Hackensack University Medical Center, where Labrosse works in plant operations. Labrosse, the only incumbent running for a new term, declined to answer during the public session. The Record covered the meeting, but didn't report any comments from Gelber or other residents.
At the Nellie K. Parker Elementary School in Hackensack on Tuesday, blogger Victor E. Sasson approached two teachers or teacher's aides during recess, and asked them to sign his petition of nomination for the City Council election on May 14. Although they had been talking to each other, they said they couldn't sign the petition because they had to keep their "eyes" on the children. Later, a short, balding man with a white mustache came out and said he couldn't sign a petition on "city time," and that Sasson would have to stand across the street from the school, if he wanted to solicit signatures.

The Record's upbeat story on a 222-unit apartment building planned for State Street in Hackensack doesn't report residents' objections to a proposed 30-year tax break for the wealthy developer, Capodagli Property Co. of Pequannock (L-3).

At a City Council meeting on Tuesday night, officials introduced an ordinance allowing the developer to pay $1,200 in property taxes per unit for the first 7 years or a total of $266,400 a year.

Based on a partial assessment of a 226-unit apartment complex that is nearing completion on Hackensack Avenue, between two shopping centers, the State Street building would be paying only about a third of full property taxes, a city official said today.

Downtown spark?

City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono and council members defended the giveaway as necessary to develop the "blighted" State Street property, which, they said, is now yielding less than $80,000 a year in propert taxes.

They said the building, which will be called Meridia State and have only 141 parking spaces, will spark the renewal of Main Street, which is a block away. 

But the building won't be completed until January 2015. 

Young professionals

The Hackensack Avenue complex will be marketed as a perfect place for shopaholics to live. 

Let's hope for the sake of Main Street merchants the "affordable luxury" building on State Street isn't aimed at young professionals who have maxed out their credit cards.

The hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in taxes that won't be collected means Hackensack residents will have to wait longer to see their neglected streets paved, and can give up hope of ever seeing their own property tax bills stabilize.

Across America, large and small cities are making their downtowns more liveable in the hopes of attracting empty nesters and seniors, but Hackensack appears to be focusing on young professionals to bring about a renaissance.

Today's paper

If you expected to see local news on the front page today, you can forget about it. 

Editor Marty Gottlieb has got bigger fish to fry than Hackensack's future.

Errors, not corrections

On the front of Local, Road Warrior John Cichowski presents another column filled with numbers -- this one based on a report from the U.S. Census Burea -- and quotes from commuters he undoubtedly interviewed by telephone.

The problem is that the tired Cichowski has shown a propensity to misread and misreport numbers in reports, as he did on Sunday in his column on rollover crashes, according to a concerned reader:

"The Road Warrior continues to demonstrate an inability in his March 3 column to correctly report information from government reports, such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration annual traffic fatalities for passengers involved in vehicle rollovers.

"The Road Warrior's problems are so bad that he is unable to correctly report on a graph that is published in his own column.

"He indicated that rollovers account for 2 out of 3 SUV deaths in New Jersey.

"The graph in his column clearly shows that rollover deaths in SUV's have NOT exceeded 50% of all SUV deaths since the mid-1990's, with the average closer to 45% in the past 10 years.

"Readers should also always use caution when encountering any of the Road Warrior's published scientific information, which inevitably defies scientific laws."

Read the full e-mail to management on the Facebook page for Road Warrior Bloopers:

Help! I've fallen, and lost my glasses 


  1. Mr Sasson, I believe I told you that no campaign activities are permitted on city property. Tsk. Tsk.
    Did you ask Mr Labrosse about his insurance? You only give 1/2 the story, as usual. Actually, a non-story.
    I believe one or more of the prior owners of the State Street properties were not paying their property tax at all. Total assessment was $80,000. Now will be getting more than 3 times that per year while the site gets improved. That is really a raw deal for the city, isn't it?
    Do you ever have anything positive to say?

  2. PS I do not think you should post pictures of students on your website without their permission.

  3. That's ridiculous to bar campaign activities. It's an infringement of free speech. You've heard of that, I hope.

  4. Replies
    1. No I am not a lawyer, but I do know about some laws. If you seriously plan on running, you should know the law. As for your free speech "infringement", rules (laws)apply to free speech also. Please get the facts on when & where you can campaign.

  5. As for a comment I received about my desire to lessen aircraft noise and have streets paved, my platform is far wider than that:


    I am Victor E. Sasson, a former reporter and copy editor at The Record of Hackensack, and I have owned a home in Hackensack since August 2007. Now, I am running as an Independent for the Hackensack City Council on a quality of life platform. The election will be held on May 14, 2013, and I need 250 signatures from registered voters to get on the ballot. If elected, I will:

    Work with Teterboro Airport to reduce aircraft noise, and work with federal officials to get a mandatory curfew on flights between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.
    Get Hackensack to purchase more efficient vehicles, including hybrids, for the Police Department and other agencies.
    Explore government grants to add hybrids to the city’s fleet, and encourage the installation of more solar panels on city owned property.
    Start collection of garbage and recyclables after 6:30 a.m.
    Ban commercial landscaping work on Sundays.
    Encourage police to establish routine patrols of neighborhoods, if that isn’t being done now. Get police to crack down on speeders, stop-sign violators and loud motorcycles.
    Encourage the city to undertake a major program to repave streets.
    Have turn lanes installed on Passaic Street, at Summit Avenue, and at other traffic bottlenecks.
    Encourage the non-profit Hackensack University Medical Center to pay more to the city in lieu of taxes.
    Encourage the City Council to deliver a property tax cut to residents by passing along some of the additional tax revenue from major building projects, and gasoline and electricity savings.
    Call me with suggestions: 201-488-3012

  6. Regina:

    I am not a lawyer either, but I am a certified paralegal (FDU, 2010}, and someone who believes in challenging such notions that I or another candidate cannot collect signatures on the sidewalk in front of a school or at City Hall.

    If contributing millions to a candidate is free speech, so is collecting signatures, and that can't be infringed on a school sidewalk.

    If I had the money, I would hire a lawyer to challenge such restrictions. I also heard that the school board doesn't allow candidates to question one another, and asks that all questions be submitted beforehand.

    I guess you support that kind of censorship, too.

    As for the photo of students: Children, parents and teachers in a schoolyard that is not surrounded by a wall don't have an expectation of privacy.

    1. Victor since 2010? Three short years?? I have been a paralegal (certified also)for over 15 years, plus 5 years before that working in a law office. If you want to break the law, despite having been informed of the law, knock yourself out!

      Where do you get off even suggesting that I support censorship. You censor quite a bit on this blog.

      Parents sign releases whether or not they give the school permission to use their childrens' images. I am sure it was done for your stepson. So there very well may be an expectation of privacy on school grounds. Again, knock yourself out, see how many people you can tick off.

  7. I'd be content to just tick off you, but as a journalist for nearly 40 years I saw my role as someone whose job was to challenge authority. Sadly, young reporters no longer have those values.

  8. What? You're a parent? When did that happen?


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