Friday, October 18, 2019

Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher: "My Debate with An Empty Podium"

Official release:

Dear friends and neighbors – 

Yesterday my opponent was a no-show for the 2nd Ward Candidate debate.  

What should have been an opportunity for you to hear from both candidates, their stance on important issues turned into an opportunity for me to address nineteen questions by longstanding Hoboken political reporter Al Sullivan on topics important to 2nd Ward and Hoboken residents.  I am including the entire “debate” (broken into 1st half and 2ndhalf) as well as links to each individual topic (below).  I hope you watch all or part as I believe it will give you a sense of what I stand for and how I am always focused on putting you and Hoboken first.  
We covered a LOT of ground, I had a lot to say (shock!) and a few too many "um's", but I am thankful to the Hudson Media Group and Al Sullivan for the opportunity to discuss so many issues that are affecting Hoboken.  

The list was long and broad and includes the following topics, in the order they were asked.  You can click on any to take you directly to the video (each about 2-4min in length):  

I have also listed each question below (verbatim, after my signature), including links and the minute markers for each, so you can scroll to the topics that are most interesting to you.  
I hope you will take away from this that being your representative on the City Council requires a lot of focus and effort on many issues, small to big, simple to complex.  It is a job I take seriously and one I really love to do for you.  

Please help me get out the word about this important election and forward to anyone you think may be interested in watching.  And feel free to email me at or call me at 201/208-1674 to discuss this or anything else that is important to you.  Reminder to visit MY WEBSITE where you can find the DONATION link to help with my re-election campaign and even read about the work I did FIGHTING AGAINST THE MONARCH PROJECT that started in 2011, before I was on City Council.  I have always been in the fight for our waterfront, and always will be.  If you still have any questions that you want me to answer that will help you get to yes, if you are not there already, please just let me know.
Hoboken City Council, 2nd Ward
Engage. Inform. Advocate.
“More Voices are Better”
Follow me on Facebook or Twitter

56:20 – Because you mention big city issues, probably the overwhelming one is the fact that OVER DEVELOPMENT, even though the Zimmer administration which you were a part of, was a staunch opponent of, the population of Hoboken has doubled, maybe more over the last 30 years bringing a host of problems, what are those issues, and what do you propose doing about some of those issues?
53:32 – You are in one of the most political cities on the planet.  One of the things that has changed over the last four years is the concept of what a “Reformer” is.  You mentioned in your opening that you’ve done things with the mayor yet it’s clear that you have opposed the mayor on political issues so WHAT IS A REFORMER, how has it changed, and what is your relationship with the mayor.
50:32 – Now you have talked about I guess creating a commercial redevelopment for the north end and jobs, but one of the things and the big problems is there is not enough affordable housing.  How do you balance JOB CREATION VS AFFORDABLE HOUSING in an environment where let’s face it, Hoboken is a posh area for people to want to live in and pay top dollar to live in.  How do you do those two things? 
47:58 – Now you mentioned in your opening you were partly responsible for the MONARCH opposition.  You are also, because of where you live, you are also in conflict as a council person.  How do you still think you can be a champion for the opposition of Monarch as a council person when you are conflicted you really can’t vote that way because you are part of the residents that’s impacted by it?  How do you resolve that conflict?
45:30 – One of the things that came up recently I guess one of the unions maybe more of the unions wanted to water down HOBOKEN’S PAY TO PLAY.  Hoboken has an amazingly strict pay to play that is much stricter than the state.  What is your position on that? Are you willing to bend to the unions or is there a flexible place you can go where you’re willing to open up the process a little more or do you want to stick to the kind of pay to play that has become symbolic of reform and in Hoboken.
43:04 – Let’s talk about the second ward since you represent the second ward.  What do you see are the upcoming critical issues for that part of town I mean every part of town has a singular issue that’s exclusive to their part.  What do you see as the overriding ISSUES IN THE SECOND WARD that you are going to face over the next four years if you are re-elected. 
41:11 – Now, one of the things that makes Hoboken attractive is its access to Manhattan and you know the problem is you have ferries that are now over crowded, you have, um, buses that are overcrowded, and you have a light rail that leaves you off at ninth street and if you live on 15th Street, you have a long walk.  What types of TRANSPORTATION elements can you as a council person work to alleviate some of those, in particular the light rail which we have been trying to get one at 14th street I think? What do you do for that?  How do you address that?
37:55 – Now, one of the interesting things about Hoboken is its POLITICS in general.  And how things have would up in strange places.  The alliances that are forming for this election are completely different from what they were in the past.  Now, you have Councilman Russo who appears to be supported by Bhalla, or at least not opposed by Bhalla.  How important are the NEW ALLIANCES that you are making and who do you see as vital to getting things done that crossover tradition boundaries that was old Hoboken vs new Hoboken.
34:50 – One of the critical issues that has been going on in Hoboken since I was there and I lived there for about four years um WATER MAIN BREAKS, INFRASTRUCTURE, and these things. And you made a deal with Suez ok.  How good of a deal is that and how do these various elements that you are working on go towards helping the infrastructure the underground infrastructure in the city.  Has it improved?  Is it potentially going to get better?  Or are we still doing patchwork?
31:56 – Now, one of the problems in Hoboken is lack of open space and parks.  The big issue, the big fight right now is UNION DRY DOCK.  Now, the council and the mayor seem to be on the same page for this one.  What do you see as the progression?  What is going to happen over the next year as far as that?  What is the council going to do?  What do you think it has the ability to do? And do you think you’ll be successful?
30:00 – Now Hoboken has done something interesting that I have not seen elsewhere in a SPECIAL IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT.  I mean I have seen maps where they have been very convoluted.  You have an entire town that is a Special Improvement District.  What are the benefits?  How do you help those people who are off the beaten path?  Is it fair? In other words, someone paying taxes on Washington street or whatever you call it into the system [me: assessment] as opposed to Jackson St. or Jefferson or someplace.  What does the system look like and how to you make it fair for everyone?
26:42 – Well, we did get a question from Facebook but it had nothing to do with you.  It is wondering WHERE YOUR OPPONENT IS.  Frankly, we don’t know.  But, you know, she is somewhere out there and we hope she is listening because it is very informative.  But if she shows up, we will ask her the questions too.  But I don’t think so. 
26:22 – PARKING.  The number one problem for many of us.  One of the criticisms and it comes from outside of Hoboken is that someone who works in Hoboken mentioned it to me – and the fact is there is not a lot of street parking yet you have these parking structures that largely go unused.  How do you encourage people to start using those facilities and what other means are at your disposal to improve parking or make people use other forms of transportation?
22:50 – One of the interesting things about Hoboken is that in each of these elections the word civility tends to pop up and this election is no different there is a lot of undercurrent of anger and distrust and how do you build… you know we talked about how you worked together with a lot of the Council people but there is also this sense of BUILDING TRUST with the administration because people don’t trust this administration and I don’t completely understand why.  And some of the council people don’t trust each other.  How do you deal with that?  How do you return to “we are not enemies, not mortal enemies”?  How do you tone down that civil discourse?       
19:40 – As a follow up to that, Frank Raia, Pupie, has got a hearing next week for a new trial.  He’s trying to get a retrial.  And the problems seem to have become symbolic with the dishonest part of elections. Pay to play is part of that process. How do you keep these ELECTIONS HONEST?  
17:21 – In your monologue, you talked about your accomplishments.  You got four years ahead of you that you want to accomplish.  Is there a road map of what you would like TO ACCOMPLISH IN THOSE FOUR YEARS?  
14:24 – In your neighborhood again, not just the Monarch which I believe is eventually going to become a park, you have the WEEHAWKEN COVE, and I am pretty sure the Half Moon is sunk there because everything else is sunk there.  What do you do about it?  What kind of things will that...  There is an opportunity there of some sort.  Besides you can’t lift the boats out of there.  You can do something else there.  There is a waterfront there.  It is something that just sort of seems forgotten.  WHAT VISION DO YOU HAVE for that?  
10:18 – We have a Facebook question.  This is good.  Where do you stand on the RESIDENTIAL PARKING PERMIT?  Should it be raised from $15 if yes to what price and for what reason?  
6:00 – One of the questions we just got is your POSITION ON E-BIKES.  I presume that means scooters also and a variety of other modes of transportation that are not conventional cars.  And I want to know if they have snow tires.  What is your position on those elements in the community?
3:49 – Now I am not sure about this last thing from Facebook.  Was there a tax increase this year? [me: there was].  How do you KEEP TAXES STABLE and how do you avoid those?

5th ward candidates debate the questions of the day for Hoboken

This fifth ward debate with the three candidates: Tim Crowell, Phil Cohen, and Nicola Maganuco is courtesy of the Mile Square Theater and "The Pulse with Peter B."

Questions are presented by moderators Peter Biancamano and Joshua Sotomayor Einstein.

Talking Ed Note: A wide variety of topics is covered in this discussion. Among them: taxes, transportation, housing, Hudson County and its relationship to Hoboken.

Of note, this is the only ward forum where any of Ravi Bhalla's backed council ward candidates have shown up. In three earlier council debates, one being set a month in advance, none of the Team Bhalla candidates appeared.

In the first ward, Migdalia Pagan Milano did not appear with Councilman Michael Defusco.

Yesterday for the second ward forum, Nora Martinez Debenedetto did not show up with Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher.

Hudson Media Group hosted a forum for the second ward candidates.
Of the submitted questions from the audience was this one, "Where is Nora?"

Earlier, Cristin Cricco Powell followed suit and her empty podium hosted nothing but crickets between sixth ward candidates Frank Rosner and City Council President Jen Giattino.

Apparently, it's really difficult to have a political consultant out of Rhode Island be everywhere and do everything on behalf of Ravi Bhalla's council slate.

The more you know...

Councilman Peter Cunningham: 'Special interest is driving the NJ Transit project not Hoboken residents'

Official release:

Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

Many thanks to all who attended both the above important rail yard community event and the 5th Ward Debate on Tuesday.  It's too bad these occurred on the same night.

The Debate was planned well in advance, but the rail yard meeting was pulled together at the last minute due to concerns expressed by a number of City Council members including me.

I am also writing to reaffirm my statement that Union contributions are driving this railyard project.  In fact, the Unions recently announced their support of Mayor Bhalla's city council candidates.  In turn, there will be an absolute expectation of 100% support on their part, if elected, of the Mayor’s agenda.

For those who missed it, here is a link to the Union endorsements.

Here's also a video link of the council meeting in which Russo pushed this project.  When I told him that it is simply about the Union money, his very clear response was YES, they are developers.  Russo voted no for a community meeting, and Emily Jabbour abstained.  I know Jabbour was supportive of the Mayor's plan.  But I, along with a member of the public, called attention to possible conflicts of interest if campaign contributions were made to her at some point - and she abstained.

Courtesy of Hudson County View - Video 

There's much more to report as we enter the last three weeks of the City Council campaign.  Again, I am strongly recommending Tim Crowell in the 5th Ward.

Please stay tuned, and let me know if you have any questions.


Councilman Ruben Ramos: "Never Giving up the Fight for Hoboken, Changes Coming to Paterson Plank Road!"

Official release:

Dear friends,
Together, we are moving the city forward thanks to our hard work and advocacy. I am always eager to listen to residents and work with different stakeholders to get things done for Hoboken. Below are some of the projects that we have been working on for a long time that will soon be coming to fruition.  
Improved Timing for Paterson Plank/Light Rail Traffic Light
For so many of us that regularly commute into and out of Hoboken the drive can be terribly frustrating. Having to sit at the Light Rail crossing in South West Hoboken while traffic builds up, especially during morning and evening rush hours is a nightmare. 
picture credit petition/Corey Best
After years of advocacy, we have successfully worked with NJ Transit to install a brand new camera system on the side streets intersecting the Light Rail crossings which will update the traffic signal system.  We had been told for years that there was nothing that could be done to remedy this problem but we refused to take no for an answer. As a result of these changes, there will be more time in between each cycle of the light and if there aren’t any cars the signal will skip the cycle allowing traffic to flow more efficiently. This has been an ongoing issue for residents for years and this represents a positive step for not just South West Hoboken but for all of our city’s residents that travel in and out of Hoboken. 
Improved Lighting for Train Trestles
In other exciting news, NJ Transit has installed lighting under the train trestle on Jersey Avenue, Marin Boulevard and Grove Street. With so many Hoboken residents walking from Hoboken to Downtown Jersey City, it was necessary for us to work with NJ Transit to make that area safer and easier to walk at night. 
These types of accomplishments cannot get done without your support and advocacy over the years. We have been able to accomplish so much together and I hope that we can continue to push the 4th ward forward for years to come.  Please contact me at any time on any issue that is important to you.  
Thank you,
Councilman Ruben Ramos
Hoboken City Council, 4th Ward
Real Leadership for a Better Hoboken
*Please follow me on Facebook and Twitter to see more updates on Hoboken.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Hoboken Council members tear into "No Show" Ravi Bhalla and his failed attempt to ram through Railyard Plan with Stronger Foundations PAC

After Mayor Ravi Bhalla's retreated on his efforts to shovel through the Railyard Redevelopment plan late yesterday, a series of official releases have followed from the City Council.

Official release: Councilman Peter Cunningham

Councilman Cunningham: Bhalla, Russo Attempted to Rush Railyard Development to Appease Union Political Donors 

At the October 2 City Council meeting, the administration had requested a vote to approve amendments to the Hoboken Yards Redevelopment Plan, which include the construction of two 300+ feet buildings and improvements to Warrington Plaza. Seeing that the Mayor had not sought community input on the project and failed to produce traffic and feasibility studies, the City Council voted to table the matter until a citywide public hearing could be held so all residents could be afforded the opportunity to have their voices heard and ask questions about the redevelopment plan. 
At last night’s community meeting, residents expressed a great deal of concern about the magnitude of this project. Instead of coming out to listen to his constituents and presenting his reasoning for the amendments, Mayor Bhalla chose to continue spreading misinformation on Nixle about the project while taking credit for a delayed vote that was in fact already done by Council President Jen Giattino. 
“Mayor Bhalla has purposely continued to misrepresent the size and scale of this project to Hoboken residents for his own political gain,” said Councilman Peter Cunningham. “The administration has failed to follow the proper redevelopment amendment protocols to weigh how this could potentially negatively impact our existing community. With Councilman Michael Russo’s support to rush through this approval process, it has become abundantly clear that the two are only concerned about appeasing their union donors and protecting their own campaign contributions. This is the largest redevelopment project in Hoboken’s history and we cannot afford to let politics influence the decisions that will affect our city for decades to come.” 

Official release: Council President Jen Giattino

Council President Jen Giattino Delays Vote on Hoboken Yard Redevelopment Plan to Address Residents’ Concerns 
At the City Council meeting two weeks ago, a vote was delayed on amendments to the Hoboken Yard Redevelopment Plan until residents had the opportunity to express any concerns about the project in a public forum. Within days, the administration announced a community meeting to discuss the plan just one day before the City Council was being asked to again vote on the largest redevelopment project in Hoboken’s history. 
Council President Jen Giattino immediately recognized that less than 24 hours was not nearly enough time for Council members to consider residents’ feedback and make an informed decision about the future of the project. Last week, Council President Giattino asked for the vote to be postponed and carried over to next month’s meeting. 
“As elected representatives of Hoboken, it is our responsibility to listen to the concerns of residents and always vote on policies that are in the best interest of our city,” said Council President Jen Giattino. “When we ask for community feedback, we need time to digest the responses we receive to properly address the issues that are presented to us. One day, just 24 hours, is simply not enough time. It’s unfortunate Mayor Bhalla did not personally field the concerns of Hoboken residents after having asked us to approve a massive redevelopment plan. I’m happy to see the Mayor support the proactive decision made by myself, with the support of several of my colleagues, to suspend a vote until we further review the project with input from the community.” 

Official release: Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher

Councilwoman Fisher Thanks Residents for Attending Community Meeting on Hoboken Railyard, Questions Mayor’s Absence

Last night, over 100 residents and the entire City Council attended a community meeting to share their feedback about the long discussed Hoboken Yard Redevelopment project. During the meeting, the project’s developer, LCOR, and other stakeholders presented residents with an overview of the plan and how it will affect Hoboken in the future. Conspicuously absent, however, was Mayor Ravi Bhalla. 

Before presentations began, Council President Jen Giattino expressed she would not hold a vote on the project at tonight’s City Council meeting to allow for further review, but immediately after the meeting ended, the administration sent out a Nixle alert taking credit for the postponed vote. 

During the meeting, neighbors raised a number of questions about traffic and parking, the environmental impacts of the building and the extent of future development. Brian Barry, of LCOR, presented their plan and gave important context to it. A representative from Maser Engineering gave some color on the traffic study they conducted, but failed to elaborate on exact findings. 

“I am glad that Council President Jen Giattino’s plan to have the resolution tabled is what will happen. We said from the start that 24 hours would not be enough time to receive resident feedback on this important legislation that will affect existing Hoboken residents, business owners, and municipal services,” said Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher. “I think last night’s meeting was extremely constructive, because so many people with differing opinions came together, and we all came out a little more knowledgeable. I was disappointed Mayor Bhalla did not attend the meeting to hear directly from his constituents, but I am glad we did right by the residents of Hoboken in ensuring no decision will be made tonight. I am open to hosting another public forum before a vote takes place. I can promise to be there, and hope that Mayor Bhalla can make time to attend, as well.”

Official release: Councilman Mike DeFusco

Councilman DeFusco Steps Up to Lead Community Conversation About Hoboken Yard Redevelopment Plan in Mayor’s Absence 
While the administration touted a public discussion about the proposed amendments to the Hoboken Yard Redevelopment Plan, Mayor Ravi Bhalla failed to attend last night’s community meeting to listen to residents voice their concerns and ask questions about the project. In his absence, Councilman Mike DeFusco, who chairs the City’s Council’s Southern Development Subcommittee, fielded questions from close to 100 residents about the plan alongside the developers and other stakeholders in the project. 
“Last night, Mayor Bhalla failed to deliver on his promise to hear the concerns of residents about a redevelopment plan that could forever alter downtown Hoboken and our entire city,” said Councilman Mike DeFusco. “The Mayor’s absence from this critical community meeting, one that was scheduled by his own office, further shows he is continuing to hide behind our emergency alert system to communicate with residents instead of meeting with them face to face. Given the growing concern about additional traffic in our neighborhood, it is important for us to make traffic and feasibility studies available for everyone to review before a second vote is held by the City Council. I remain committed to a responsible redevelopment plan in southern Hoboken and I’m confident that once the appropriate documents and information are made public, we can move a plan forward by years end. 
Councilman DeFusco supports the Council President’s decision to postpone a vote on the project until the feedback received last night can be reviewed. 

Ram-it-Through Ravi Bhalla backs down on his Big Construction Union PAC friends redevelopment in face of community blowback

Ravi Bhalla's attempt to ram through
his construction union's PAC plans
for Hoboken are stalled, for now.
In an oddly timed announcement the night before a City Council meeting set to vote again on Mayor Ravi Bhalla's Special Interest big union construction redevelopment plan, the mayor blinked.

Late last night, Ravi Bhalla put out an email announcing a retreat on the vote for the Railyards Redevelopment Plan he put up previously. As they say in politics, everyone claims to parent a winner but a loser is an orphan.

The Ravi Bhalla retreat came with a canard planted blaming the City Council for an "amendment" that is no amendment; it's an enormous redevelopment plan totaling almost three million square feet full bore.

The blowback from the community comes with activists angered by Ravi Bhalla's previous attempt to ram through the redevelopment with no community announcement, nor any public meeting to discuss his proposed open-ended three million square foot redevelopment featuring a 28-story residential building at the lower end of town for starters.

An endorsement of Bhalla's entire council slate late last month by Stronger Foundations, the operating engineers union PAC was kept secret until discovered by community activists and publicized here and elsewhere, leading into the previous council meeting and further angering the public. It put his entire council slate in jeopardy heading into the November election.

The retreat by the mayor's office is temporary and means the political pressure to strongarm an approval right before the council ward elections are staved off, for now.

 The imminent threat of Dark Money efforts from special interests inside and outside Hoboken aligned with Ravi Bhalla and his ambitions for higher political office is greatly heightened.

The next wave of political assaults on Hoboken can be expected shortly. Stronger Foundations pumped over $70,000 backing Ravi Bhalla for mayor in 2017 officially and its union members stuffed into the Multi-Service Center in a show of force last night to no avail.

They'll be back. They'll all be back. Brace for impact Hoboken.

Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher: 'Hoboken stood up for itself against Ravi Bhalla's big Redevelopment Plan'

Official release:

Dear friends and neighbors – 
A few quick comments first on tonight’s City Council Agenda, then an update from last night’s meeting:
As disclosed last summer, the second benchmark date for the Monarch settlement is tomorrow with a resolution that conditionally designates Shipyard Associates as the developer of the DPW site and allows the city to enter into a cost sharing agreement with them.  Basically this is just a perfunctory step in any redevelopment project that provides that the developer pay for the City’s project related costs.  There is another one of these agreements on the agenda for another project as well at 931 Madison.  I expect this to be passed unanimously on consent.  The only reason it may get pulled for discussion would be for political purposes – to make it more visible that I will again refrain from voting on the resolution.  
Why do I refrain from voting?  I have taken the position for my entire time on the City Council that because I, like over 400 of my neighbors, have a view impact if Monarch is built, the ethically right thing to do is refrain from voting.  I know there is a pathway for me to vote given the impact to me is shared with many others and because Monarch was a platform issue for me – meaning people voted for me specifically because I led the public advocacy.  But I believe strongly that any settlement or activities relating to Monarch will need to have unanimous support of the Council to pass.  And so far this has been the case – it is either a good deal for all stakeholders and everyone gets behind it – like the current settlement, or it isn’t – like the one from two years ago.  And please note that through my continuing advocacy to make sure Hoboken is never the underdog in any development related matters - by bringing better financial and real estate tools to all negotiations - this benefits all real estate related discussions including Monarch.
There are no votes on either of these on tonight’s agenda.  I know many members of the community have asked if legislation on each of these would be put forth prior to the upcoming election, so I wanted to let you know there will not be any votes on these tonight.
We came.  We saw.  We are carrying.  
First and foremost, I am so proud of all my neighbors who came out last night and who emailed me with comments.  We had a full house at the Multi-Service Center including all nine council members.  And I know you are probably tired of me saying this by now, but I really believe that more voices are better.
The meeting itself I felt was very constructive overall.  City Council President Giattino informed the group upfront that the vote on the plan will not be tonight, but rather will be carried to a future meeting.  I think this actually allowed for a better discussion as it took the pressure off.  She had directed the administration on this last week but due to a glitch on the online agenda I didn’t see it until late yesterday.  You may have seen last night that the mayor, who did not attend the meeting, sent out a Nixle alert after the meeting asking the Council to table the vote to give time for more public input.  
Our neighbors raised a number of questions about traffic and parking, the environmental impacts of the building, and future development.  Brian Barry of LCOR (the developer) presented their plan and gave important context to it.  A traffic engineer from Maser engineering gave some color on the traffic study they did (for LCOR) but limited her comments to say that traffic would be worse (shock).  Councilman DeFusco suggested that the Council not vote again until the public can see the traffic study.
LCOR’s presentation.  Brian Barry gave the same presentation he had given to me and other council members.  He stressed the level of activity between all the stakeholders (NJ Transit, Port Authority, NJDEP, Governor Murphy’s Office) to get to this point.  And walked the crowd through all the constraints on the site that led to the proposed amendment which I think many in the crowd appreciated including:
he felt that the future development site was not buildable if the RBD resist structure is built (I still question this).  
  • He told the crowd that the reason for changing the use of the second building from commercial to residential is due to the footprint constraint – they need 30,000 square feet per floor for a commercial tenant, and they only have 16,000 square feet there because of RBD.
  • He also felt the residential use will probably be smaller footprint apartments and more transient type residents given its location between an active railyard and observer highway (he stressed it probably would not attract a lot of families).  
  • He indicated that the buildings that were presented are just massing and not the final design – meaning they do not plan to build just blocks as presented (that actually may mean they get taller, but skinnier/more architecturally interesting).  
  • In terms of timing, he indicated he will need two full years to deliver an actual redevelopment agreement, but getting approval for the plan provides the confidence to spend all the money etc. on the various necessary studies, reports, and technical plans.
So where does that leave us?  In a nutshell, this is about the differences between the developer’s priorities and the City’s.  But that is no different than any development that happens in Hoboken.  The goal is to find as much common ground as possible and enough common ground that it works for all parties.  The challenge here is that for Hoboken, the potential population growth that we face is at the root of all of our quality of life concerns.  And most development – especially residential – feeds this growth.  So tonight we saw the passion from our neighbors concerning traffic congestion, stress on our infrastructure and lack of capacity on all of our transportation lines, and concerns about what adding 500 transient residents to our downtown area might look like.  Now it is up to us – and by us, I mean the public, the developer and your elected representatives - to find the pathway to enough common ground that can work.
A lot more to come…
At the end of last night’s community meeting at around 945 pm, I spoke with representatives of the union that I have referenced before who have been behind attack ads and recently endorsed a number of Hoboken candidates, including my opponent.  That union has 38 Hoboken members, several in the room last night. These are people I have met before and to me it was the same kind of constructive conversation I have always had with them.  I believe I was able to get them to understand the importance of public input in large developments such as the Rail Yards and they expressed their frustrations with the project taking 14 years.   As if on cue, we were interrupted by Vijay Chaudhuri, the City’s Communications Director and the mayor’s former campaign manager who said “the Mayor is on the phone and wants to speak with both of you...”  Five minutes later the City’s Nixle alert went out with the mayor asking the Council to delay its vote.  But even more incredible is his statement actually suggests that the proposed amendment is now somehow the City Council's and not his.  I can only shake my head...
Tonight is the last council meeting before Election Day which means hopefully the end of what is tragically known as “silly season”.  And no one is more relieved than me.  Hopefully beginning November 6th, we can just get back to business and leave the unfortunate election politics that Hoboken is known for behind.   
As always, please forward to anyone you think may be interested in this.  And feel free to email me at or call me at 201/208-1674 to discuss what you have read or anything else that is important to you.  If you haven’t already, visit MY WEBSITE is up and running where you can find the DONATIONlink to help with my re-election campaign and a lot of information including my PLATFORM and all of my PUBLIC STATEMENTS. Thank you to everyone who has told me they are supporting me, to those who have already shown their support, and to all of you who will be voting for me on November 5th.  If you still have any questions that you want me to answer that will help you get to yes, if you are not there already, please just let me know.
Hoboken City Council, 2nd Ward
Engage. Inform. Advocate.
“More Voices are Better”
Follow me on Facebook or Twitter

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Councilwoman Jen Giattino: 'Tonight's meeting on the hidden major development pushed by Ravi Bhalla'

Official release:

Dear friends and neighbors,
I hope you can join me tonight for a critically important public meeting about a proposed amendment to the Hoboken Rail Yards Redevelopment plan.  It is taking place at the Multi-Service Center at 124 Grand St. at 7:00pm.  Despite this proposed development being something that affects all Hoboken residents, and will shape the future of our city, the administration has provided little information about this significant amendment they have proposed.  

I joined six of my Council colleagues in voting to table the amendment at our last Council meeting, until members of the public had a chance to weigh in on the proposal which now includes, among other things, a 50% increase in height from 200’ to 300’ of the office tower that was proposed adjacent to the terminal and converting what was a 330 foot office building at the base of Washington and Bloomfield, to one that will be all residential.  
My position on this prior to the upcoming election may lead to me being attacked like Councilman Doyle was after he voted ‘no’ on the Hilton Hotel last year by a labor union, the same union who recently endorsed candidates running for office from Hoboken including my opponent.  But I won't be dissuaded from ensuring that a project of this scale begins with public input. I am in favor of developing this site, union labor for projects of this scale and bringing important tax revenues to our city, but the public must be aware and involved in such an important topic. 
Please join us tonight at 124 Grand St. at 7:00pm for this important community meeting.
Please reach out to me with any issues, questions or concerns you may have.
Vote Jen Again
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