Monday, January 11, 2010

Horse Sense: St. Patrick's Coming Titanic Disaster





Nothing speaks louder than the green and St. Paddy's Day green is the greatest intoxicant in Hoboken since the exodus of quarters via the John Corea Choo Choo.  Although the crowds have grown ever larger, the town's ability to handle the increasing problems is diminishing.  Witness the report of 80 injuries and other outrageous behavior last year, you would think an overhaul is sorely overdue.  But over the last several years, the initial outrage is met with receptivity and then no serious action is taken on moving the parade from Saturday or anything significant and the cycle starts all over again.

Although we like seeing lots of people having a good time and young guys happily crating around packs of Bud Lite, (real men don't load up on light beer lads) - the downside is far less appealing.  Da Horsey has seen a woman barely of drinking age being carried staggering at 12 noon on Washington Street and last year confronted a guy urinating on someone's home on 7th St off Willow practically on their front door in broad daylight.  Washington St. below 6th St. was a mosh pit late into the afternoon and the police presence was just about as overwhelmed as Kevin Bacon in the final sequence in "Animal House."

Once again the parade has been confirmed for a Saturday and the flood of visitors will start arriving Friday from all over the state.  Assurances again have been given lip service and discussions around trumpeting "zero tolerance" are flowing from the lips of our local public servants.  There's no way the police force even if doubled can handle the size of these crowds flowing across the town like an assault of locusts.  It's misguided to place the burden on the police considering the complete ineffectiveness of issuing tickets.

This Bourbon St. Amateur Hour is going to produce a very bad outcome, whether it's life or limb lost or an outrageous assault shocking this town to its senses.  Placing the responsibility on controlling this on the vastly outmanned police force on this day is completely inadequate and a foolhardy action at best.  Somber declarations of "zero tolerance" are anything but with the police forced to make at best random decisions to nab an open container violation while two other violators do the same or worse steps away.

When the inevitable bad event(s) occur, with the resulting black eye for Hoboken, there's going to be a lot of backpedaling and more wishy washy statements coming from City Hall.  And it will be too late.  In advance of such an outcome, MSV holds the City Council primarily at fault for not putting in the serious effort of responding to the voices rising up in the community from all corners of town since last year's parade.  The mayor will probably be the focal point after said tragedy, but it's really the City Council that has dropped the ball.  Surely, there will be enough blame to go around.

Councilman Nino Giacchi is the head of the St. Patrick's subcommittee, so we're giving him a special shout out in advance.  Will you be putting up your assets as collateral when this event produces a lawsuit against the town?  Not applicable you say counselor.  Well, why are you exposing the Hoboken citizens to this unnecessary risk?  With 80 injuries reported last year alone along with large appliances and urine flying out of the sky from buildings, what exactly will be your defense in the court of public opinion?

The lack of serious adjustment in the parade is an out and out disgrace and when the inevitable disaster pales comparatively to the 80 injuries just last year, you are at the top of the list in culpability.

Talking Ed Note: This Horse Sense editorial was sent to all members of the City Council Sunday with an invitation to post a reply here.  MSV will post any that are offered.

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