Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Rolling, rolling, rolling. Count'em up!

City of Hoboken announces:


Traffic counts in the Southwest region of Hoboken are scheduled to take place between May 20th and May 27th. The consulting firm Eng-Wong Taub will be conducting the study in various locations along Paterson Plank RoadJersey AvenueNewark Street, Observer Highway, and Marin Blvd.

Pole-mounted video cameras located on the sidewalk will record, count, and classify vehicles circulating through the intersections. Automatic Traffic Recorders will also be installed at several locations.

The count is taking place to resolve long standing congestion problems in Southwest Hoboken due to overlapping local and through traffic and to reevaluate this area for incoming development in terms of pedestrian and bicycle access. Both Hoboken and Jersey City have redevelopment plans for their sides of this municipal boundary.

City Council meeting tonight @ 7:00 - Live chat at THJ

Editor's note: MSV will not be posting live coverage of the City Council meeting this evening.  The Hoboken Journal is doing a full fledged live and equally important uncensored chat with all the gizmos, doodads and pyrotechnics.

Take a look yonder there at 7:00 if you want to catch some of the fireworks.  We're sure there are bound to be some with rumors coming out of Councilman Russo's third ward on a temporary municipal garage site and the other part of the Council of No.  You know those consultants outside of Hoboken have to earn their pay and tonight is as good a time as ever.

One big surprise is also expected.  A long time City Council attendee is expected to make an appearance after a serious illness and recent hospitalization.

Keep a lookout for the Big Mo!
Welcome Back Mo DeGennaro

POG stumbles, eyes agenda of renewal

When the little engine that could is climbing uphill for so long and suddenly finds itself on top, the look down must appear a bit scary.  Last week's People for Open Government (POG) meeting faced some of those sights having successfully made that climb.  

The legendary Hoboken group has advanced a number of important local ordinances but faces new challenges.  While there's been major victories on some fronts such as the town's pay to play laws, it's also challenged to remain relevant in others and most recently credible in the eyes of some in the public.  

Raising eyebrows in the Hoboken political community is a recent letter from the organization where three of nine board members participated.  Vice President Eric Kurta was frank during the meeting sizing up the public reaction, "We shouldn't be involved in this going forward" adding he was well aware his own name is synonymous with POG having earlier served as its President for three years.  

He highlighted the eruption from the public scrutinizing the letter questioning the ethics regarding Councilman Ravi Bhalla's 2008 contract with Newark and its anticipation of a similar response to Councilwoman Beth Mason's ELEC violations (as stated by ELEC) from her mayoral campaign last spring.  The letter posted on several local sites became a point of controversy itself - as it criticized Councilman Ravi Bhalla and demanded more than an apology from both the Councilman and the Mayor.  Mayor Zimmer has no role with Ravi Bhalla's law firm or issuance of any contracts from the city of Newark. 

In a phone interview the day after the meeting, Vice President Eric Kurta sized up the group's controversial letter from the rear view mirror.  "In retrospect if I could have removed some things from that letter I would."

Treasurer Ron Rosenberg noted distinctions of public perception indirectly in an email to MSV later stating:  "In the next few months POG will be working with our city council and with the public to address these issues and strengthen Pay-to-Play laws in Hoboken and the State of New Jersey" Addressing the umpire role anticipated from some in the community he added, "...some in the public have erroneously concluded that POG is interested in adjudicating any and all ELEC violations...We leave this up to the folks at ELEC."

Still there's the image within the Hoboken activist community POG has and should work to support ELEC and do so consistently.  Although this didn't resonate in the meeting, some people in attendance supportive of Mayor Zimmer emphasized in off the record interviews POG's objectives including oversight of pay to play laws were inoperable without standing behind ELEC.

Some of the two dozen attendees at last week's POG meeting.  

Yet the oversight role in the arena of local elections is complex, and there's also the impossible standard of being seen as "an arbiter of fair elections" as Treasurer Ron Rosenberg stated during the meeting.

City Council President Peter Cunningham: about the rumors

City Council President Peter Cunningham released a statement regarding the Muncipal Garage in addition to the statement issued yesterday from the Mayor's Office:

To all concerned residents,
I have responded to several of you regarding the municipal garage to address your concerns and help you understand what's going on.  And to finally address all emails received, the Mayor's Office has issued the following release, that clearly sets the record straight. 
It is a terrible shame that a purported news outlet has distorted this issue so much so to create a panic among the community neighborhoods in and around 7th and Monroe.  The Ordinance up for passage was for a temporary structure that's not location specific.  Before these falsities were released, the City Council directed the Administration to issue an RFP to source many locations - and that's what we will continue to do. 
As stated below, we all will have an opportunity to participate in this important process, and we'll be sure to keep you informed.  I would also suggest keeping informed by viewing reputable news outlets (like HobokenNow and Mile Square View including the City's website at  Please pass this important note around, and let me know if you have any additional questions.

Thanks, Peter

Photo: City Council President Peter Cunningham at the last City Council meeting.
All rights reserved.