Monday, September 13, 2010

9-11 Pier A Service in Pictures

The Honor Guard officially began the 9-11 ceremony at Pier A Saturday
Special services stood at the rear of the service
Mayor Dawn Zimmer reviews speech while Sen. Robert Menendez and Freeholder Anthony Romano look on
Assemblyman Reuben Ramos and family, City Council President Carol Marsh and 4th Ward Councilman Mike Lenz (in light blue shirt) stand for the National Anthem
Mayor Zimmer speaks as religious clergy look on.
A Hudson School Student was one of several people to read the list of names of Hoboken residents who perished in the 9-11 attack.
A woman is caught in her thoughts during the ceremony.  Applause for speakers was polite but subdued.
Spectators circled the entire area of the ceremony, most standing throughout.
Later the tribute of light to the 9-11 victims as seen over lower Manhattan
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NJ Transit Project - Important status update

Office of the Mayor announces:

Includes Extension of RFQ Process & Community Meeting

Two years ago, New Jersey Transit proposed a redevelopment project for the Hoboken Terminal and rail yards which included residential buildings as tall as 45 stories along with a 70-story commercial tower.

“The massive proposed project was completely out of scale and threatened to change the character of Hoboken,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

Last fall, Mayor Zimmer secured an agreement to halt state legislation that would have given NJ Transit nearly unfettered authority to redevelop any property they own throughout New Jersey adjacent to bus stations, rail stations or rail yards in any way they see fit without regard to local zoning requirements or the wishes of host communities.

As a former Councilperson, Mayor Zimmer fully recognizes the community’s frustration with the previous NJ Transit community process, and therefore issued a Request for Qualifications for a planner for the entire 52-acre project.  As Mayor, she has been working to ensure that the City of Hoboken has authority over the planning process. She has discussed the matter with NJ Transit and began a search process to find an independent planner that will work with the Administration and the City Council on this comprehensive project.

“It is important for the City of Hoboken to have authority over the planning process to ensure balanced development for our community,” added Mayor Zimmer.

In order to ensure an independent design process, Mayor Zimmer is recommending that the City of Hoboken pay for the planning process itself so that the planner is clearly dedicated to Hoboken’s best interests.

Today Mayor Zimmer announces that her Administration is extending the deadline for the RFQ for the entire 52-acre project until Monday, September 27th to provide for as broad a response as possible.

Background on Reasons for Community Meeting

After discussions about the planning process had begun, NJ Transit approached Mayor Zimmer about presenting a new preliminary proposal to redevelop a small part of the 52-acre project.  Neither Mayor Zimmer nor anyone within her Administration has seen the proposal, but agreed for the proposal to be presented to the community and to interested City Council members, including Councilman Cunningham, Chair of the Zoning & Economic Development Committee. 

“We must have balanced development that reflects the vision of our community, so my Administration is facilitating a public meeting for NJ Transit to present their plans to Hoboken residents,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “I hope the public will join me for this meeting, where I look forward to learning about NJ Transit’s proposal at the same time as everyone else.”

NJ Transit has indicated that they have a prospective tenant that is interested in potential commercial space for their professional offices. The prospective tenant currently leases at another location in the region, is evaluating other sites to relocate to, and is interested in this specific location. According to NJ Transit, if the tenant were to relocate, they would bring 1,500 commercial office workers -- commuting chiefly by mass transit – and would bring new job opportunities as well as a result of the relocation. The workers, shopping and dining during the day, would generate economic activity. Depending on Council approval, the development could provide funds to improve the various multi-modal transportation options in the area while providing tax ratables to the City of Hoboken.

The community meeting is scheduled for Monday, September 27th from 7pm to 9pm at the Waiting Room in the Hoboken Terminal.

Mayor Zimmer and members of her Administration will join the community and Council members to listen to NJ Transit’s proposal.  Her main concern is that the City of Hoboken and the Council, as the redevelopment entity, should have authority over the entire 52-acre project. She is working to address this issue through a possible inter-local agreement between the City and NJ Transit that will be presented to the Council for approval if an agreement is reached.

NJ Transit's original plan: a 70 story building swathed with 45 storied ones

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Guest of the Stable: David Dening

Stop The Layoffs:

I am writing to urge the PBA and PSOA heads, Mr. Lombardi and Mr. Drishti, to stop the police layoffs. While there are millions in reserves that Hoboken shouldn't touch, there will be a large sum specifically reserved for officers, two years of retroactive raises, pending contract arbitration.  The best use of this reserve is to save jobs.

These raises won’t bring consolation to senior officers when they come at the expense of their younger brothers jobs. A lump sum will be cold comfort to officers who lose their job. Instead of forcing the negotiations into mediation, make concessions to save jobs. The PBA and PSOA should follow the example of the teacher's union in New York. This summer the teachers union gave up raises for two years to save 4400 jobs.  Aren’t the PBA and PSOA at least as dedicated to the welfare of all their members? 

I was very moved during the last Council meeting by the stories of the officers whose jobs are being cut. According to all accounts they are some of the most dedicated and effective officers, able to run down suspects and deeply connected to the community in Hoboken.  The state’s audit has made these jobs a luxury for the city, despite its flaws.  It is up to Mr. Lombardi and Mr. Drishti to save them. 

I've heard people say that the union is run for the comfort of insiders and that talk of 'brotherhood' is hypocrisy.  The way to disprove this is to skip arbitration, offer painful concessions in return for junior officer's jobs. This may not be how agreements are traditionally reached but where there is a will, to save jobs, there is a way. Prove the naysayers wrong, offer concessions, don't prove the cynics right with an unwillingness sacrifice. 

City of Hoboken announces:


Hoboken business owners are advised that business parking permits will expire at the end of September.

The Hoboken Parking Utility has mailed out renewal notices to all businesses with an address on the permit. Notices were NOT mailed out to "open" or "various" permit holders since these permits are no longer being issued as they had been previously.

For more information on business parking permits, new options for businesses and their customers, and a business parking FAQ, visit:

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Gov. Christie goes off the political speak rails again

Gov. Christie is starting to get a reputation but it's not one his opponents would prefer.  Here's the latest example of the governor getting into a Q&A disagreement with an opponent and taking the conflict head on and smacking the ball over the wall.  In this instance, it's a teacher but for viewers, it's becoming habit forming.

Of a dozen candidates discussed for the Republican nomination, his name is a regular feature.  After watching him speak to a number of details, the contrast to most politicians including many on the scene today explains why.

Here he takes on a teacher with some facts and figures. The audience sounds its approval but the teacher claims victory later anyway declaring how pleased she is. One can only hope her students exceed her low standards.

The Governor is about to make a push for pension reform:

Sept. 10 (Bloomberg) -- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie next week will unveil legislation that aims to reduce the state’s $46 billion pension deficit by scaling back benefits and suspending cost-of-living increases, said a person familiar with details of the proposals.

     The measures would roll back a 9 percent increase in pension benefits that was enacted in 2001, and suspend cost-of-living increases for at least three years, said the person, who declined to be identified because he isn’t authorized to speak ahead of Christie’s announcement.