Furey: January 2009 Archives

Chapter 9 Bankruptcy For Hoboken?

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Well things are going to hell in a hand basket for Hobokenites. The HUMC (Hoboken University Medical Center) appears to be hemorrhaging money. Taxpayers are demanding union givebacks. People are clamoring for a property tax revaluation, claiming the system is uneven.

408 years ago, Shakespeare wrote "something is rotten in the state of Denmark", and I think the same could be said for our city today.

Rather than bore you with details, I will stress again, we need to analyze where Hoboken's money is coming from and where it is being spent. We need more transparency. We need to use national averages as a tool for negotiating contracts, not contracts that were written up behind closed doors by friends and family members on both sides of the negotiating table.

Taxpayers are concerned, and misinformation is rampant. I think we all need to realize that we are in a huge mess here and the old ways of doing things isn't going to work anymore. If we continue down this road, you know what will happen? Hoboken declares bankruptcy. The 'collective bargaining agreements' that the unions hide behind become moot, when old contracts can become invalid (a state judge decides this).

Vallejo, California voted (the city council did this, 7-0 by the way) to declare Chapter 9 bankruptcy did this in September 2008 when police, fire and public employee contracts became a problem.

Remember, people. Its revenue versus income. If you are on the side of public employees, then we have to reassess our city property taxes for everyone. If you are on the side of taxpayers, then we have to analyze where the money is being spent - we have to ask how did our budget balloon to $121 million? Vallejo spent 74 percent of its $80 million general fund budget on public safety salaries, which was significantly higher than the state average.

I'm on both sides, even if my friends don't see it that way. I feel for those city workers who have families to feed. I feel for the taxpayers. But we can't continue down this road with the "same old" Hoboken philosophy. I don't think we are at the point where we need to declare Chapter 9. But if we keep doing nothing, then we will.


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Hoboken has a fiscal crisis. We went from a budget of around $50 million to around $120 million in a very short period of time. It's not like we didn't know this was coming.

This needs to be fixed.

What will fix it?

I'm not sure. I am not a member of city council. I'm not a fireman. I'm not a policeman. I'm not a city worker. I'm a taxpayer. I'm a homeowner that was paying his taxes last year for services and amongst the other taxpayers who are paying up to 84% more in taxes. We have to address this tax burden.

Something is wrong with that.

I don't know what the solution is, i'm not an accountant. But, I think it is in the best interest of everyone within Hoboken, from taxpayer to city worker, to analyze our current fiscal situation. Then, we need to come up with solutions that make sense for everyone. Everyone, being the taxpayers and the hard working employees of our town.

We need to review the following:

1. Are we taxing properly?
Are the city taxes (property, commericial, industrial) in line with where we should be in 2009? Or are taxpayers still getting taxed like it's 1979. We need to review this.

2. Are we utilizing our taxes properly?
We need to review where the money is going. To all departments and services. We need to use national averages and other cities as an example to get proper baselines for the use of our funds. We need to make sure there is proper use of our subsidized housing to ensure the right people are living there.

That's all. How this will affect everyone, from taxpayers to city workers, should be done in a fair, logical, but compassionate way. There are people, from taxpayers to city workers, who are rightfully concerned about this situation.

But something has gone massively wrong in our town that I have lived in for 14 years. We can't look at the budget today and think that a 100+% increase is normal. Something must be done.

2008 Eagles Season Perspective

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What a wild season!! For me, I have been saying we have been playing with house money, and just was happy to watch our Eagles romp over Dallas in Week 17 and destroy the Giants at home last week. I would have been 10x more unhappy with losing last week over this week and probably even would have hurt much, much worse if we didn't win the Super Bowl. Hats off to the Eagles for even getting this far, and congrats to Steelers and Cardinals fans.

A few quick hits to end the Eagles season...

1. Defense wins championships. You hear that mantra all the time. Up until today's game our defense is what carried our team to the NFC Championship, but let us down in the big game. Letting up 32 points, and 3 touchdowns by Fitzgerald is the fault of the defense and coach Johnson.

2. Sometimes I'm tired of hearing how the Eagles need a #1 wide receiver, but after watching Fitzgerald make a 37 year old quarterback look like Steve Young, you wonder a bit. I think we have a good cast of "B" WRs, but hope the Birds make some moves in the offseason.

3. The Cardinals/Eagles was a winnable game, I think the key was the Eagles not adjusting until the second half on defense. If they played the first half defensively like they played the second half, Eagles would be going to the Super Bowl.

4. I'm still thinking that only a few weeks ago everyone, including myself, figured the season was over and today you have people cursing the high heavens that we didn't go to the Super Bowl. Today's game was a perfect example of our entire season, we should never have been down 24-6 to begin with, and that falls on the coaches for being underprepared for today's game.

5. I still think McNabb is a very good quarterback. I still think Reid is a very good coach. Sadly, none can really be called "excellent" until they get a Super Bowl ring. 5 Championship games in 8 years is remarkable, but if you are the owner, something has to be done to fix this. Personally, I think the first step is getting Reid to step down from the GM spot. He had multiple years at the coach/GM position and we need to get someone in there to evaluate talent & the draft day trades a bit better.

Bonus...my top 5 draft or free agent needs...in order of true needs...

So the season is over, where do the Birds need to fill up holes? I still believe that the Eagles have a good core group, i'm not one of those fans who are howling for Reid or McNabb to go (but firmly believe that Reid needs to step down from GM...the experiment is over and no Super Bowl rings means that we have to change something).

Remember that next season, both Runyan and fellow offensive tackle Tra Thomas are among the Eagles' seven potential unrestricted free agents. That group also includes safeties Brian Dawkins and Sean Considine, tight end L.J. Smith, running back Correll Buckhalter and cornerback Joselio Hanson. Receiver Hank Baskett and Nick Cole are both eligible to become restricted free agents.

1. Offensive Lineman. I'd be shocked if the Birds don't use 1 of the 2 1st round picks on someone to replace Runyan or Thomas. Expect Andrews back next year barring any setbacks from his depression, and I would think they slide him to the outside.

2. Safety. I expect that the Eagles will sign Dawkins to a 2 year deal or something, but we have to build for the future now. I love his heart and hard hits, but Dawk is a liability in coverage. Everyone knows it. We need to get some young talent in the secondary.

3. Defensive end. Trent Cole can only do so much alone. This is a definite top 3 draft pick, depending on who falls where. Everyone is double teaming Cole and if the Birds get a great defensive end (Julius Peppers is going to be a free agent for example, imagine landing him...) - we would have an incredible line.

4. Running back. We need to either sign Buckhalter or get another younger 3rd down back or both. Westbrook is an exceptional player, but isn't capable to go the entire season as the only running back. Every year we hear by week 12 that he isn't practicing anymore. The guy needs help.

5. Wide Receiver. I would hope that the Birds pull something out of their hat this year and maybe grab Boldin as a free agent. Imagine Boldin, Jackson and Curtis as #1, #2, #3 WRs, and that wouldn't be too shabby. I wouldn't cry if the Eagles package both #1's, trade up to the #7 or 8 spot and get Crabtree. As much as i'd rather save both those picks for two GOOD players, the Eagles need a "sexy" pick for once. Something like that would placate the fans tremendously during the offseason.

Classic Picture...

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This was from last week's game for Eagles vs Giants.

I saw this on the TV and was happy that Getty images also captured it. If you don't know who this is, that's fine. If you do, enjoy.

The Day Of Infamy

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My weekend was good. If you didn't read, I was interviewed by the Philadelphia Daily News about my Eagles club here.

Of course, after reading the article I was happy, then the comments came along. I guess what Tina Fey said yesterday at the Golden Globes says it all..

There's a few non-championship playoff games that go down in our collective sports history that I remember as the "best" ever. I'm sure to say that beating the Giants, the #1 seed, at East Rutherford, with all the hype surrounding this game...was unbelievable. There were moments i'm watching the game in disbelief, much like some of the Phillies game this season, where i'm watching history happen. I honestly believe that just some things are starting fall into place to make this a magical year.

Rivalries are made by games like this. The Giants fans were giving me grief all week long, but most were secretly nervous. For good reason. Giants lost 3 of their 4 regular season games, and lost the momentum of their 11-1 start.

Most sports writers and newscasts have covered what happened yesterday. I can go over the obvious, but they have already done so. The better team won.

One thing that always has gotten me over my years here is how Giants fans complain that Eagles fans are so proud of their team even though we haven't won a Super Bowl. The proof is in our recent history. We have been to five NFC Championship games in the last eight years. Everyone has a different measure of success. To me, the Eagles have been a successful team, albeit without the rings to prove it, for the better part of this century.

Eagles are on to Arizona, the House Of Cards, and are the early favorites. We can only hope that the Birds don't deflate after this big win, or look past the Cardinals. This has been just a great year to be a Philadelphia sports fan, and win or lose next week, it's just been a wild, fun year. No matter what happens in the upcoming games, I have had one of the most memorable years as an Eagles fan with two critical wins over our NFC East rivals.

Birds Of A Feather

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I'm sure we are in for an interesting week at work.

Suffice to say, i'm having fun at the moment. This is the best part of football. The excitement leading up to the game day. The trash talking. The news and analysis. I'm having a blast, considering that only a few weeks ago it seemed like our season was over.

The Eagles are playing on borrowed time. They know it. The big question will be for how long. Can they keep the momentum going for three more games?

Giants are a good team, and entered the post season losing 3 of their last 4, after starting at 11-1. They certainly are the favorites, with homefield advantage and their players are rested for an extra week.

The Giants & Eagles both have two similar objectives for this game:

1. Focus on the run game. Eagles will focus on Jacobs/Ward and Giants focus on Westbrook. Shut them down and that's a key to winning a big battle. You saw what the Eagles did to Adrian Peterson, and I expect they will take the same battle to the Giants RBs.

2. Put pressure on the quarterbacks. The Giants pass rush in the 2nd half of the season has been nonexistent, after putting 30 sacks on the books in the 1st half. The Eagles defense has been very good for the last few weeks, and been able to stop the run effectively and get the quarterbacks out of their rythym with good bliztes. Giants need to figure out a way to get McNabb out of the pocket, he is most dangerous if he has time to sit back and pick apart the Giants defense.

That's where they have two common objectives. The Giants need to just stay committed to the run game. The biggest Eagles weakness is late in the game, when a team has been pounding the ball, and they start to let up bigger and bigger running plays. Also, I fully expect that if the Giants can utilize Kevin Boss more, that would be a key to the blitz happy Eagles - have Boss ready as a 'outlet' pass if Eli sees the blitz.

If i'm the Eagles, my goal would be keeping 8 in the box (Dawkins), and force Eli to beat us with his arm. I'm not scared of Toomer, Hixon or Smith, no more than Giants fans are scared of Jackson, Curtis or Avant. Certainly any of those WRs are capable of a big play, but none are a threat like Plaxico would be, often drawing double coverage.

I laugh at all the similarities to the 2008 Eagles to the 2007 Giants. 2007 Giants were a #5 seed, they barely made the playoffs, their coach was under heavy scrutiny from their fans, they went to Tampa and won, only to face the #1 seed Cowboys...and we know the rest.

This year we have the #6 seed Eagles, who barely made the playoffs, their coach is under heavy scrutiny from their fans, and they went to Minnesota and won, only to face the #1 seed Giants...and we will soon know the rest.

If you are around this weekend, and an Eagles fan, you know the bar where The Philadelphia Eagles Club of Hoboken gathers - Mulligan's! Also if you are on Facebook, we now have a Facebook group formed, just search for it and feel free to join us.

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This page is a archive of recent entries written by Furey in January 2009.

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