Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mayor's comments after parade committee canceled St. Patrick's Day Parade

Many people may not have seen the comments of Mayor Dawn Zimmer after the Hoboken St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee cancelled the parade this year.

The mayor's remarks from Friday afternoon at City Hall are reprinted below:

Unfortunately the Hoboken St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee made the decision that if they could not have their St. Patrick’s Day parade on a Saturday two weeks before St. Patrick’s Day, they would rather not have it at all. This is an unfortunate decision, and as a result the city will continue to move ahead with planning an event that celebrates our city’s Irish heritage. An announcement will be made when plans are finalized.

I told the parade committee in person and in writing last March that due to public safety concerns the parade must be held during the week to protect our community.

The parade has been a beautiful event that honors the tradition of Hoboken’s Irish heritage, and I have proudly marched in it every year since I became an elected official.

Unfortunately the aftermath of the parade feels like an uncontrollable siege of our community.

Last year it reached a fever pitch with high levels of property damage, urination on the streets and on people’s homes, sexual assaults, and flower pots were even thrown on our firemen when they responded to a call.

One resident told me that her antique stained glass door survived the riots in Hoboken decades ago, but it did not survive Hoboken St. Patrick’s Day when a frustrated partygoer chose to smash the door so that he could get into a party.

Since their announcement, I have been receiving emails, phone calls, and texts of support asking me to please stand strong to protect our community.

I want to assure our residents today that I will never compromise on public safety.

Last year we had every police officer possible on duty, we had the sheriff’s office, NJ Transit and Port Authority and other municipalities assisting us with security, and with all of that assistance we could not handle the situation. If it feels like I have to bring in the National Guard to deal with an event to protect our residents, then we just have to make a change.

I fully recognize that even though the parade committee has cancelled the parade, we must still be fully prepared for the worst case scenario. I want to assure residents that we will have a full level of security, backed by other agencies, to ensure the highest level of public safety protection for our residents.

I thank the parade committee for their longstanding commitment to our community. I hope that they will reconsider joining my Administration in planning a safe event that honors our City’s Irish heritage