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Politics aside, Carmelo is doing great things

Dear Editor: I read with interest your front page story on Carmelo Garcia and the controversy over his role as a member of the Hoboken Board of Education. I was very disappointed that you failed to recognize his role as an advocate of improving public education for our children or his service to our community as Director of Health and Human Services. Carmelo has always been an advocate of the "people" whether young or old, but also those who deserve or are in need of essential services. Mr. Garcia has always been an advocate of our children, and his passion for that cause is displayed both on the Board of Education and in Human Services. Hoboken has never been offered as much programming for our children or offered as many opportunities since Mayor Roberts appointed Carmelo to serve as a City Director. Subsequently, a member of the Board of Education, Carmelo has worked equally as hard to provide and promote cutting-edge programs in our schools. Unfortunately, politics becomes an unfortunate factor that undermines policy and performance. However, all one has to do is overlook words and focus on results to recognize the accomplishments that the Roberts' administration and Carmelo have achieved over the past four years. We are very proud to have Carmelo as a Latino leader in this community. Substance always wins over style, and I salute Carmelo Garcia for all he has given our city. Luz Marrero

School board and Curko reach retirement agreement

Curko set a retirement date. According to an agreement that was struck at a special (and brief) Board of Education meeting Thursday night, Curko will retire as board secretary immediately, and he will stay as business administrator until the end of the school year.

The kids aren't alright

Dear Editor:

A couple of weeks ago, I was walking pass Hoboken High School while some students were still gathered outside waiting to go in. I was appalled at the sights, sounds and smells as I passed. I am aware and have never judged a book by its cover; however, with pants hanging well below the waist and gathered two sizes too long at the bottom, girls' navels exposed, bandannas around students' heads, etc., I am concerned about our future citizens. The language from the mouths of some students between slang words and cursing, I wonder how anyone can possibly understand or respect those individuals. And lastly, the stale stench of cigarette smoke was most sickening. I thought I was walking through miles of dirty ashtrays.

Now let's go back in time, and some of you out there will remember when Mr. Gaynor was principal. First, there was a strict dress code, and students looked like they were prepared or being prepared for the outside business world. Second, though we did use slang language as a way of conversation at times, cursing was very seldom heard or not heard at all; we had respect for each other and more importantly, respect for ourselves. And lastly, smoking was prohibited anywhere around the school and surrounding areas. I remember getting detention because I was smoking in the park across the street from the school.

My question to our school supervisors, educators and principal is "what happened to authority and respect?" I know the dress code standards back in the 70's and 80's are too strict and impossible for many of the young people today; however, they could look a bit more decent and look like they actually fit into their clothes. As far as the language spoken, judging by the students I observed speaking in this manner, it may be an impossible task. The smoking issue most positively can be controlled. Just like the teacher that was standing holding the door open on 9th Street stopped a female student walking into school with headphones on and made her put them in her bag prior to her entering school. This is the same teacher that could have and should have prohibited the smoking near the cafeteria area.

If more teachers were visible outside of school and enforcing rules and regulations, which was how it was in the 70's and 80's, our young people may start having respect for the school system, people walking pass them and for themselves.

Debra Morrissette
A former HHS student

In this experiment, taxpayers get burned

I woke up the other morning and the coffee maker wasn't working right. It was the timer or something. I yelled to my wife. "Hon! We're going to have to move. The coffee maker stopped working. We need a new house."  "Are you nuts?" she replied.  "No, it makes perfect sense. A new coffeemaker would cost $39.95. But for just $300,000 or so we can get a new house."

Sorting it out at the Board of Ed

Dear Editor: Change is evolutionary...not revolutionary. While media circus with the Board of Ed may be confusing to most, there is some truth in there. There is a fundamental shift in philosophy and direction going on. In the end, these struggling, posturing and politics will deliver a better school system. For the parents of school children, know that the administrators, teachers and support staff show up every day to service your children to the best of their ability. For the taxpayer, know that controlling spending and putting the dollars where they are needed is a high priority. Over the past 11 years as a Board member I have listened to you and learned. I have fought and won many battles on behalf of the children. I believe the schools are better than a decade ago. Regardless of the past, we must continue to adapt and change to the needs of the community. I thank you in advance for your continued support. As a Board Secretary I will work hard through actions, not words. Please bear with us. Sincerely, David Anthony

Look at all of this escessive spending

Dear Editor:

After a holiday respite, I returned to reading about our municipal government in the local newspapers and found that, well, not much had changed.

First, the local daily reported a week or so ago that despite the fact that Hoboken is one of the smallest cities in Hudson County, the two highest paid municipal employees in the County are our Fire Chief, John Cassesa, and our Police Chief, Carmen LaBruno. In fact, according to the report, Mr. LaBruno is the highest paid police chief in the nation. That's a stunner. It would mean he earns more than, say, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, whose police force is at least a hundred of times larger and who is responsible for America's most important counter-terrorism efforts. I'm sure being police chief of any city is no easy job, but is Hoboken's police chief really worth more than Ray Kelly?

Second, I read that the School Board filled its soon-to-be-vacant business administrator slot with an assistant administrator earning more than $100,000 per year. One would assume that when a new permanent administrator is selected, he or she will earn at least as much as the assistant, saddling the taxpayer with more than $200,000 in executive salaries sitting atop the school system. In addition, I read that Patrick Gagliardi, the Superintendent, will probably be bought out of his contract, at the cost of several hundred thousand dollars. The School Board had just extended that contract this Spring, in the heat of the Mayoral and School Board campaigns, a decision that appears to have been politically motivated, was otherwise unnecessary at the time (since the contract was nowhere near expiring), and will now impose substantial severance costs on Hoboken's taxpayers. And then, as if that was not enough, I learned that David Anthony, a longtime Board member, is taking the Secretary's position, at a $37,000 salary, presumably to help the Board to keep track of all this spending, but that someone must have forgotten to check to see if the position was actually vacant. Apparently, it is not vacant, and so now we have two School Board Secretaries. With all of this money dancing around, is anyone paying attention to the interests of the students?

Lastly, not to be outdone, I read that our City's leader, David Roberts, at over $124,000, is the Hudson County salary king of mayors, earning $25,000 more than the mayor of Jersey City, one of the largest cities in our state. Mr. Roberts campaigned for re-election last Spring on a platform of fiscal responsibility. If, after five years as Mayor, his own salary level and those of other City officials are any indication, one has to wonder about that promise. Maybe he meant he'll be more responsible next year?

I think I'll go back to ignoring the newspapers for awhile. It's less painful that way, at least until the tax bill arrives.

Ricky Mason

City introduces $67M budget

MONEY MATTERS – On Oct. 19, the Hoboken City Council is scheduled to hold a

hearing on the 2005-2006 fiscal year budget.  

The Hoboken City Council has introduced a $67 million budget for the 2005-2006 fiscal
year that, while $5 million less than the year before, does include a possible 2 percent tax increase.

The budget can be amended with council suggestions (see sidebar) and will have a public hearing before the final vote, probably in October.

Ethics charges filed against Hoboken School Board President

Ethics charges allege that Hoboken School Board President Carmelo Garcia lobbied Superintendent of Schools Patrick Gagliardi to hire his brother for a custodial job; that Garcia then voted on his brother's employment; and that Garcia later tried to get a district employee to alter the meeting minutes to say he had abstained.

Hoboken City Council Postpones Rent Control Vote

Although the Hoboken City Council postponed a vote on several changes to the city's rent control ordinance, a number of residents voiced their opposition causing heated debates - to the point that the police were nearly involved - and stretching the meeting to three hours.