Friday, September 17, 2010

Grist for the Mill: Municipal Garage Special Edition

A story on Hoboken Patch released earlier today states the City of Hoboken will be returning to the site of the Municipal Garage.  As much as that would create laughter among many familiar with the concept of karma and the outlandish hypocrisies of the former chairman of the Observer Highway Commission's role in the garage fiasco, the truth is this isn't actually the case.

While MSV can confirm the rumor the Municipal Garage site has been undeniably a fallback position for the City, a Patch source saying Hoboken will be moving back to the garage next week is one not actually decided at this point.
The city cleared out of the Municipal Garage on Aug. 13th.  Rumors of a return are premature.

The city walked into a land mine when they accepted an offer from the landlord for the uptown Willow St. location that a 60 day lease there would be no problem.  The landlord had in fact signed a competing lease to Hoboken Unleashed with terms giving them vacancy rights at far lower price than the $15,000 a month the city was willing to pay.  But Hoboken Unleashed's lease hasn't even commenced yet and the actual timing is not even clear.  Hoboken Unleashed has not to our knowledge even given a copy to any media for examination.

Although Hoboken Unleashed apparently made some agreement with the Willow St. location to pay an undisclosed amount to retain a right to lease at a later date, the legal wrangling to push the City off the property failed in Jersey City Superior Court.

As Hoboken Unleashed is currently seeking variances with the zoning board an outcome without some certainty, good faith negotiations with the City have been ongoing.  There's no decision by the City at this point and a final decision is contingent on the outcome of those negotiations.

Don't start the convoy downtown just yet.

Assemblyman Ramos announces opposition to Hoboken police layoffs

From the office of Assemblyman Reuben Ramos:

Assemblyman Ramos opposes Mayor Zimmer’s decision to layoff Hoboken police.

(HOBOKEN) – Assemblyman Ruben J. Ramos, Jr. sent the following letter this morning to Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer opposing her decision to layoff municipal police officers:

Mayor Zimmer:

As you know, the announcement of the prospective police layoffs in the City of Hoboken has generated much news in recent weeks.  It is my contention that the debate regarding this matter has been fueled by both politics and emotions. My purpose for writing letter is practical, as I wish to convey my opposition to the proposed layoffs in hopes of achieving a result that will better serve our residents.

There comes a time in every official’s life when some of the hardest decisions must be made. Often these decisions pit self-interest against providing for the greater good. Unfortunately, such decisions cannot be taken lightly or in vain. Every decision has its consequences and ramifications. I must commend you for your tough stance on this issue, as I know this is not a decision any executive wants to make. However, I fear this decision may have been made in haste.

First, it is important to convey that the City of Hoboken has compiled a surplus, making these cuts to the police force completely unnecessary.  These layoffs cannot be justified by a fiscal emergency. 

It is also important to note that the federal government has just conducted a census.  It is evident that the population of Hoboken has increased in the past 10 years, thereby negating any suggestions made by recent studies or reports that suggest it would be suitable to reduce the current complement of officers.  Discussions on a reduction in the police force should never have been entertained until after results from the census have been compiled and reviewed.

Furthermore, Hoboken is a unique municipality with regard to its proximity to both inter-state tunnels as well as public transportation hubs. This significantly increases the fluctuating population within city limits at any given time.  Such a fluctuation in population must be taken into account when discussing the size of the police force.

Undoubtedly, Hoboken has become a popular destination for numerous urban professionals and families who’ve relocated here from other parts of the country, let alone with State.  Hoboken has truly emerged as part of the great metropolis. We are fortunate enough to be situated in close proximity to New York City, just as we are proud of our waterfront, thriving arts community and local business district. 

However, for any of our residents to enjoy the above listed attributes, we must first prove that Hoboken is able to keep its residents safe. Hoboken has earned a reputation as an urban destination. The proposed reduction in police force would make living and visiting Hoboken a tough sell to the thousands of people that live here now and those hopeful, prospective residents. Additionally, it would be difficult to tell the numerous pedestrians and avid runners who enjoy walking or running through our quaint streets or waterfront that local neighborhoods will have a reduced police presence. 

Popular sentiment has articulated that police layoffs are not desired by the citizens of Hoboken.  As a New Jersey State Assemblyman, I cannot stand by idly and watch this debate any further. I feel compelled and obligated to amplify the sentiment of the people of Hoboken.

As stated in the opening of this correspondence, my aim for writing was practical.  Consequently, I encourage you to maintain discussion with both the Police Chief and representatives of the police union in order to work for the well being of our residents. 

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Very Truly Yours,

Ruben J. Ramos, Jr.
Assemblyman, 33rd District
New Jersey Legislature

Beth Mason Poll Revealed!

Yesterday MSV detailed a telephone push poll with the fingerprints of Councilwoman Beth Mason all over it.  Hoboken Patch posted on the story as part of their new "About Town" series but now MSV has more.

We have the actual poll!

Listen for yourself and ask is it even one percent possible someone other than Beth Mason would be throwing so much garbage against the wall?  Who do you want to believe, Da Horsey or Tom Bertoli, a Jersey City political operative who has done extensive work for Councilwoman Beth Mason including her run for mayor last spring?

MSV would like to give a special thanks to the Hoboken's Wiley Coyote.
Without his effort, this masterpiece would not be possible.

Project Play goes into overdrive, hits community milestones

Hoboken's grass roots effort to improve kids play areas in Church Square Park is getting broad appeal.  Last Tuesday the group held an event at the Elysian Cafe with both Mayor Zimmer and former mayor Dave Roberts attending with about 55 other supportive members of the community.

David Liebler of EatDrinkHoboken arranged an innovative program to have local food establishments participate to support the program.  Here's a new video the group released describing the program.  The want to emphasize respect for the integrity of the park and point out specifically how they won't alter the character of it.

Andrew Tavani covered the story for Hoboken Patch:

New PARK(ing) Day comes to Hoboken

City of Hoboken announces:


The City of Hoboken is partnering with the RBA Group, the local consulting firm working on Hoboken's Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, to host PARK(ing) Day in Hoboken on Friday, September 17th. Local volunteers, the NJ Bike Coalition, and area businesses Easy Riders, JC and JenniHoops are participating and contributing to the effort free of charge.

National PARK(ing) Day is a one-day global event in which volunteers temporarily transform metered parking spaces into "PARK(ing)" spaces: temporary public parks and other social spaces for people to enjoy.  PARK(ing) Day 2009 included more than 700 "PARK" installations in more than 140 cities in 21 countries on six continents.

"As we work to create new parks and open spaces at 1600 Park, Hoboken Cove, and under the 14th Street Viaduct, and as we rebuild our crumbling waterfront parks, PARK(ing) Day gives all of us an opportunity to envision, even for just a few hours, how we might be able to bring our community together,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

"Though most of our street space is dedicated almost exclusively to moving and storing private vehicles, the vast majority of trips in Hoboken take place by public transportation, walking, and bicycling,” added Transportation and Parking Director Ian Sacs. “This is a quality of life issue for all residents, but for senior citizens, the disabled, and children in particular, this is also a safety issue."

Two temporary public "parks" will be set up between 9am and 3pm:

"Ped Paradise" park (along Newark Street between Washington Street and Court Street) will provide a relaxing spot for pedestrians with seating and reading materials. Community volunteers will involve participants in physical activities such as hula-hooping and jump rope as well as various board games. Local business JenniHoops will be providing custom hula hoops.

"Cycle Haven" park (along River Street between Hudson Place and Newark Street) will be for cyclists of all ages and experience levels and will have League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructors on hand to assist cyclists with helmet fits and to perform quick checks on their bikes to ensure they are safe to ride. Additional community volunteers will be manning a "bling" station for cyclists interested in custom decorating their bikes. For those without a bike, Easy Riders, JC, LLC will provide free bike rentals for the day.

Participants of both parks will receive materials related to bicycle and pedestrian safety as well as a map of Hoboken with the location of the temporary parks, bike lanes, bike racks, the Hop Route and other points of interest. 

Residents with questions or who are interested in volunteering can email parkingdayhoboken@gmail.comHoboken PARK(ing) Day is on Facebook at: For additional information about PARK(ing) Day, visit:

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Assemblyman Ramos announces car share exemption bill

From the Office of Assemblyman Ramos

Says State Must Support Programs like Hoboken’s to Save Money

            (33rd LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT) – Assemblyman Ruben J. Ramos, Jr. on Wednesday announced he will introduce legislation to boost Hoboken’s car-sharing program and other similar efforts by exempting car-sharing organizations from the $5 state surcharge on vehicle rentals.

            “This is a new and innovative program that can bring savings to taxpayers and especially improve the quality of life for urban residents by reducing congestion, eliminating parking hassles and cutting pollution,” Ramos said. “Anything we can do to entice people to use this service is a plus. This bill is a step in that direction.”

            Ramos (D-Hudson) said he’s been working on the bill in partnership with Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

           “With this bill, we’re making clear that we support this program and want to see it succeed, not just in Hoboken, but in communities throughout our state,” Ramos said. 

            Car-sharing organizations run a membership program - intended to offer an alternative to car ownership - under which persons or entities that become members are permitted to use vehicles from a fleet on an hourly basis.

           Hoboken’s car sharing program, a public-private partnership through which car-sharing vehicles are distributed citywide at reserved on-street locations, started in June and has more than 400 members.

            City officials expect the program will result in removing 750 cars from the streets.
            "Car-sharing also represents a more affordable alternative for low-income residents who need the mobility of a personal vehicle but lack the ability to own one, and I thank Assemblyman Ramos for working to make these programs even more affordable," Zimmer said.

            This bill, scheduled to be introduced on Thursday, would exempt car-sharing organizations from the $5 surcharge on motor vehicle rentals charged pursuant to a 2002 law.