Tuesday, September 27, 2016


From the desk of Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro:

Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro introduced a bill (A4184) that would establish an alert system in cases of hit-and-run incidents where someone has been seriously injured or killed. The aim of the bill is to aid law enforcement in pursuit of a fleeing hit-and-run driver by publishing information on road signs, to state employee and law enforcement cell phones, and to the media (similar to AMBER and Silver Alerts).

The bill was inspired by the efforts of the family of 21-year-old Zackhary Simmons, who was tragically killed due to a hit-and-run collision in Hoboken in late June.

“I hope this bill reminds drivers thinking of fleeing an accident that the whole state will be looking for you, and you will be caught,” Chaparro said. “I want to thank the Simmons family for working so hard on this bill and sharing their time and inspiring me to craft this legislation to honor Zack and encourage other drivers to stop and help an injured person instead of cowardly fleeing a scene.”

Zackhary Simmons, from Ramsey, was the light of his family’s life. The following statement is attributable to Rickey Simmons (Zack’s father) and Rickey’s fiancée Jennifer Jordan.

In his short 21 years on earth, Zackhary touched and impacted the lives of many for a lifetime. When you met him you were instantly drawn to him, feeling like you knew him forever and wanting to know more. One of his best friends said Zack literally had two goals in life: to take care of his brother who has autism, and to make his parents proud. He did just that and more as an honorable, respectable child who valued his family and nurtured those relationships. Those that knew him loved his personality, his spirit, and the way he lived - a strong leader with many followers.”

The incident involving Zack shook the community of Hoboken in June. An arrest was quickly made in the incident thanks to the hard work of the Hoboken Police Department’s Detective Bureau.

“As someone who lost a family member to a hit-and-run in Hoboken, I am thankful for the Simmons family’s courage and efforts to help make our streets safer and bring hit-and-run drivers to justice,” said Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “I thank Assemblywoman Chaparro for championing this legislation to provide law enforcement with a critical new tool to solve these tragic crimes.”

Similar alert systems have been implemented in California and Colorado, leading to a higher number of arrests in hit and run incidents. Assemblywoman Chaparro’s office is currently in talks with GPS apps with the hopes they will issue Zack Alerts to their users.

Victims or relatives of victims of hit-and-run incidents are encouraged to contact the office of Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro if they’re interested in expressing public support for the bill and would like assistance in doing so.

Hoboken Board of Education candidate forum set for October 20th

The Quality of Life Coalition announces:

Hoboken Board of Education Candidates Forum

Thursday October 20th, 6:30-8:30pm

The Elks Lodge 

1005 Washington Street, Hoboken, NJ 

The Hoboken QLC invites all Hoboken voters to the upcoming Candidates' Forum for the upcoming Hoboken Board of Education election.  All of the candidates have been invited and the public is invited to submit questions.  

Sponsored by the Hoboken Quality of Life Coalition and the Elks with Moderator Bob Bowden.

This year's registered candidates are as follows:

Jennifer Evans
Jessica Nelson
Sheillah Dallara
Francis "Chipper" Benway
Irene Sobolov
Jennifer Rossini

Public hearing on the 500 foot rule

Last night the City Council hosted the public hearing on the 500 foot rule. A number of local business owners and residents with council members shared different perspectives speaking to the past, present and future impact of a repeal or no change at all.

The new vendor the City of Hoboken is using doesn't appear to have the proceedings available for viewing yet. Live council telecasts are available at the linked City of Hoboken website.


The public hearing should appear on the above linked page when available. Recent meetings are listed at the above link on the page.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Political forum of the Century

The eMedia to announce Hillary Clinton "debate" winner but its Americans who decide some in early voting already have

Tonight Hoboken will hold a public hearing on repealing the 500 foot rule at 7:00 pm. The forum of the century; not an actual debate but more a group press conference of the major candidates follows at 9:00. It's not a debate as the forum is more akin to a press conference with consecutive answers of opposing candidates.

As MSV has predicted since the summer, the eMedia (Establishment Media) would suggest the polling indicates a tightening race after Labor Day. The so-called tightening is visible in the obvious weighting among the two parties and independents. (Guess which party benefits with this weighted ten point poll sample advantage? Answer: It doesn't impact similarly on Election Day.) As the "debate" is scheduled for this evening, there's expectations 100 million Americans will tune in making it the largest political event of its kind seen in US history.

The same eMedia polling: NBC/WSJ, ABC/WAPO, Reuters, etc. has mirrored their efforts to prop up the establishment candidate in Hillary Clinton. By any measure, it's been a heavy lift as Americans show resistance demanding change in the wake of terrorist attacks at home, race incited rioting, Obamacare's ever rising heavy premium increases (with more on the way) and a sense of malaise no matter the eMedia's cheerleading.

The middle class is shrinking as a base of full time jobs are being outsourced or insourced with a replacement population competing at all levels of employment. Those dependent on steady manufacturing jobs find themselves competing for lesser work with immigrants crashing the borders further lowering their unsteady earnings in an environment where both jobs and wages are depressed and stagnant over years.

While most Americans have not voted and the outcome weighs in the balance, Florida's early voting is tallied and for the first time ever a Republican presidential candidate appears to have beaten the Democrat's presidential candidate. Handily.

The early voting Florida numbers according to initial reports 43% to 37% Trump over Clinton with 17% to independents. (Based on absentee ballot request by party id.)

In another surprise, a CNN political analyst says Hillary Clinton faces a similar deficit in Ohio, is not expected to campaign there in the near future and appears to have capitulated that perennial battleground outright heading into Monday's night's debate. The suggestion is she needs to pool resources for other states and Michigan is looking worrisome with Colorado surprisingly in play.

The changes demonstrated in the two biggest battleground states historically playing pivotal roles in several of the most recent elections indicates the 2016 presidential sweepstakes is facing a new dynamic regardless of the outcome.

Both major party candidates face major questions under the spotlight. Trump who has put away double digits of opponents earlier called the best field of Republican candidates in history is continually questioned for his acerbic style and personally attacked seeing name calling like no presidential aspirant since George Wallace. The latter invited such attacks the former has not.

With one candidate remaining in his path, it's Hillary Clinton's own lengthy problematic history with her health being severely questioned. The eMedia never explained how her changing health explanation after a collapse at a 9-11 memorial in New York City changed from dehydration to pneumonia yet she appeared not two hours later saying she was "fine." Can she make it through the 90 minute forum?

A new color adjusted video on Twitter of Hillary Clinton collapsing outside a waiting vehicle clearly shows her right foot dragging as she's tossed into a SUV.

Tonight we're closer to Election Day, some answers and not a little spin.

Councilman Peter Cunningham: Important legislative matters

From the desk of Councilman Peter Cunningham:

Dear neighbors, family and friends, 

There are a couple of significant legislative matters facing Hoboken which you should be aware of: 1) a demolition ordinance to protect historically significant buildings; and 2) an ordinance to repeal the famed 500 foot rule which pertains to liquor license locations.

Recently I wrote and expressed my concern (along with many of my neighbors) with how buildings of historical significance were being severely altered and taken down,  They were dangerously affecting the structures of adjacent buildings.  At last Wednesday night's Council Meeting, we took a significant step to protect Hoboken's historic past.  On first reading, an ordinance to protect historically significant buildings was passed 9-0, and I thank my council members, the Hoboken Historic Commission and members of the public for their support.  There's more work to be done, but this is an important first step.

Secondly, there's an important meeting tomorrow night at City Hall for the general public on the City Council's potential repeal of the 500 foot rule.  Outright repeal, I cannot support.  However, if an amendment is carefully crafted to avoid the creation of "bar row" and encourage more appealing restaurants, that's different.

My council colleague Tiffanie Fisher did a terrific job laying out the history, current considerations and what should be considered on such an important matter.  Please read her piece at  http://www.hobokenhorse.com/2016/09/councilwoman-tiffanie-fisher-your-voice.html.

Please pass along to your friends and neighbors, and let me know your thoughts.

Thanks, Peter

Mayor Zimmer announces October 18th fundraiser

Click here to to RSVP and purchase your tickets online
We look forward to seeing you there

Friday, September 23, 2016

Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher: Your voice needed on the 500 foot rule

From the desk of Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher:

Dear Hoboken friends and neighbors – 

Monday night there will be an important debate – and I don’t mean the Presidential one that begins at 9pm!  There will be a public meeting at 7pm at City Hall to discuss and debate whether for the second time since the law was established in 1966, we should repeal what is known as the “500 ft rule”. 

If the law is repealed outright, you may find yourself with one, more or many bars, restaurants or liquor stores on your block that were not there previously.  To some this may be welcomed and to others this may not.  IT IS CRITICAL THAT YOU ATTEND AND/OR WATCH THIS MEETING TO LEARN MORE AND VOICE YOUR SUPPORT OR CONCERN.  IT IS CURRENTLY CONTEMPLATED THAT THE CITY COUNCIL WILL VOTE ON REPEALING THIS LAW ON OCTOBER 5TH.  5 VOTES ARE NEEDED TO PASS IT.

The 500 ft rule was put in place 50 years ago in 1966, repealed in 1987 and re-instated in 1991 for the same reasons it was put in place 25 years earlier: due to quality of life (noise and public nuisance) and safety issues that occur within areas with concentration of bars. The rule basically says that no liquor license can move to a location that is within 500 feet of another same kind of liquor license (simply put there are liquor store licenses and restaurant / bar type licenses).  When the rule was put in place, existing locations were grandfathered in.  That is why you see rows of bars and restaurants near the PATH and on lower Washington, 1st and 14th streets.  

Approximately 10% of all municipalities in New Jersey have local laws that limit “Alcohol Saturation” to prevent concentration of liquor licenses in small areas.  The ones I have read range from as short as 400ft up to 2500ft.  A few of these include Bloomfield, East Rutherford, Point Pleasant, and Middletown.  Also, NYC city has it as well.  They seem to be more prevalent in places that have compact areas with high density and / or significant tourism and / or areas that have combined residential and commercial use.

Effectively, there are currently two governing rules that determine where a liquor license can go:
-          500 ft. rule – which basically has no exceptions
-          Zoning laws – enforced either by Planning Board or Zoning Board.  If bars and restaurants are not permitted within a zone, or are conditionally permitted, a bar / restaurant owner would have to go before the ZBA or PB for a use variance or approval for a conditional use.  In each case, neighbors within 200 ft would receive notice in advance, agendas are publicized and members of the public can voice their views on the application.
If the 500 ft. rule is repealed outright, then restaurants and bars could consider locations ANYWHERE in Hoboken.  In most cases, zoning board or planning board approval would be required.  However, in the following areas, Bars and Restaurants are permitted uses and require NO APPROVAL TO OPEN: 
-          The Central Business District (Washington south of 4th, east and down to the PATH)
-          The Planned Urban Developments in the I-1(W) zone – Shipyard, Maxwell and Hudson Tea complexes
-          Select redevelopments areas within the western I-1 zones.
That means if you live in or adjacent to any of these areas, you would not get the benefit of receiving notice before a new restaurant or bar opens.  And in these locations, demographics are business friendly, barriers to entry are low, and therefore the risk is higher that we would see an increase in bars and restaurants in these areas.  Here is the link to the current Hoboken zoning map: http://www.hobokennj.org/docs/communitydev/Zoning-Map.pdf

The short answer is no.  The state of NJ restricts the number of licenses to municipalities based upon population – with 52,000 people we would be allowed ~24 liquor licenses.  Hoboken has approximately 143 current liquor licenses (28 liquor stores, with the remaining consumption ones like restaurants and clubs).  This is because when the law was put into place, they grandfathered in existing licenses.  However, there are a handful of inactive licenses that may become active – so it will feel like there are more restaurants and bars.

For a couple of reasons.  One – after speaking with a few license owners, council members felt the current market dynamics in Hoboken make it difficult for restaurants and bars to operate. This specifically relates to those license owners who do not own their actual location and may be suddenly in a situation where their landlord increases their rent dramatically, and they do not have clear alternatives to move their business.  Two – because there is a perception that repealing the 500 ft rule will result in more restaurants moving into the emerging / western/underserved areas of Hoboken (transferring from other locations).   Unfortunately, history suggests that this would not materialize, but rather restaurants and bars, - if given the choice to go anywhere without limitation – would choose a location in one of the vacant stores in the busiest part of lower Washington / Newark / PATH area over a distant area on the west side of Hoboken with no traffic, low population density and that is not zoned for restaurants (thus requiring a trip to the zoning or planning board) over moving to.

I am wholly supportive of trying to find ways to facilitate more restaurants in emerging areas of Hoboken, but I believe an all-out repeal of a 50 year old rule that was put in place not once, but twice, due to the community risks relating to concentrations of liquor licenses in our tiny, densely populated town is not the right path, and actually will have the opposite of the hoped for effect in the emerging areas of Hoboken as restaurants and bars will have unfettered access to the busiest business friendly locations in Hoboken.  I think a better path is a combination of a more robust public process, select zoning changes and AMENDING the 500 ft rule (vs. appealing outright) to potentially create areas with special needs. 

I also believe that EVERY stakeholder in Hoboken should have the opportunity to voice their opinion and that any decision should reflect this input and from others including Hoboken Police Department, Hoboken ABC, License Owners and Zoning and Planning officials. The public meeting set up for this Monday is a start, but is hardly sufficient to reach all stakeholders.  I do not think blindly repealing the rule without giving full consideration to all stakeholders is appropriate, or responsible for our community.

This just feels rushed to me. Currently, the final reading for the ordinance is contemplated for the next council meeting on October 5th.  If the ordinance is voted upon that night and receives 5 votes, it will pass as is.  And I don't know why it needs to be. It is far too important to EVERY member of our community to get this right.  

Share your views.  Attend or watch live Monday night.  

And then email all of the city council members and Mayor Zimmer with your views – whether supportive of concerned.  There are no bad questions and no wrong answers.

Don’t let this get passed without expressing your views.  More voices are better.

Tiffanie Fisher
Hoboken 2nd Ward City Councilwoman

Engage. Inform. Advocate.
"More Voices are Better"