Thursday, January 26, 2012

Horse Sense: Flash Notes on State of the City

The biggest takeaway from Mayor Zimmer's State of the City was a clear comfort level and confidence coming from a hugely successful 2011. The mayor's ease and confidence was evident and not solely to a mostly supportive audience in attendance.

The quick takeaways: Of close to two dozen interruptions of applause, the loudest was one unexpected to the announcement that on the first Saturday of March, the mardi gras party being pushed by bar promoters will not be overlooked.  Offending lawbreakers "when appropriate will be arrested and detained immediately."

Jon Tooke, Public Safety Director stated after the speech a process was well underway with the NJ Attorney General's Office along with Hudson County to put a new step in place for serious lawbreaking.  He expressed confidence the review would be completed in time for March.  Handcuffing and a visit to Kearny, location of the county jail await.

Parks are a prime focus for 2012.  The mayor appeared to promise Councilman Dave Mello substantial progress on the long desired effort to have a park in southwest Hoboken.  It was that Councilman's loudest applause of the evening.

Crime is down 16% since the mayor took office in 2009.  There's a lot of publicity recently on burglaries and last year, pronouncements about a crime wave.  The Hoboken Police Department received positive support for their effort.  The question is who is releasing information to the larger public day to day and week to week?  Sgt. Williams is heading communications to the media and public there.

Pedestrian accidents with vehicles down substantially: 2009 - 60 collisions, 2010 56 and 2011 37 incidents with motorized vehicles and pedestrians.

Bike accidents: 2009 - 21 collisions, 2010 - 10 and in 2011 - 8.

In addition to 1600 Park, a number of parks, all dog runs will see an overhaul including the heavily used Church Square Park.  The mayor thanked Project Play for their fundraising contribution there.  The crown jewel of Hoboken, Sinatra Park has obtained necessary approvals and is slated for completion this year.  It will be important for that milestone to be achieved and a RFP is out for bidding for to see the repairs completed pending City Council approval.

Another unexpected surprise was the reaction to development or rather overdevelopment, failed promises on commitments by same and the organized effort to stop the Monarch Project.  The audience expressed a stronger reaction on this last 2012 objective, appearing to catch the mayor by surprise towards the end of her speech.

The Hertz Connect Corner Cars program: it's off the hook now reaching 2000 users in town and just shy of 100 residents turning in their car permits specifically for the program.  That's more than twice the number of cars taken off the street for vehicles made available.


Mayor Dawn Zimmer coming off a year of huge accomplishments in 2011 with a 10% tax reduction and saving the hospital showed an ease and confidence that only comes with experience.

Talking Ed Note: Councilwoman Beth Mason was present, sitting alone and taking notes during most of the presentation. What she saw and heard could not have given her, Assemblyman Ruben Ramos or others coveting the mayor's chair much hope to unseat her. The accomplishments are clearly long, substantial and growing.

No other members of MORTe were present: Terry Castellano, Michael Russo and Tim Occhipinti.  Of the three, only Occhipinti attended last year. Perhaps Occhipinti was out working in Jersey City looking to identify graffiti he'd like co-worker Steve Fulop, a Jersey City councilman to remove.

Former Mayor Dave Roberts and former State Senator Bernard Kenny were both in attendance.  Their presence was significant in ways that MORTe's absence wasn't.