Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Grist for the Mill: Judge orders revote on rent control question

Swimming in the murk with Hoboken legal questions running rampant is another one added to the fray and it's one of the most volatile since the razor thin results last fall.

It's rent control.

In recent days rumors have been swirling Judge Christie Farmington voided the election results based on approximately 100 plus out of town voters unable to vote on the local issue.  A confirmation was pending a written decision from the court (due tomorrow).

The judge stayed the decision pending an appeal on what is shaping up as a major statewide election law issue caused by efforts to hold the November election after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.

Cheryl Fallick a rent control advocate expressed surprise with an earlier story appearing on Hoboken Patch, "Nobody has seen the decision yet, but it is the HFHA's understanding that the Judge's decision has been stayed and we are surprised to have seen an article on (Hoboken) Patch that didn't mention this.  Sadly, the posting is obviously an MSTA press release and not a full research article."

Last November, ballot question #2 saw advocates of rent control win a narrow 52 vote victory with over 16,000 cast.

The HFHA is under duress if yet another election is mandated on rent control.

A cryptic anti-rent control comment appeared on the Hudson Reporter yesterday saying:

Today the Honorable Christine A. Farrington determined that the election results in Hoboken relating to public question 2 must be declared VOID since hundreds of Hoboken voters were denied the opportunity to vote on the question. This is a major victory for all Hoboken voters---both property owners and tenants alike----who were denied their opportunity to vote on the public question. A special election has been ordered to occur within 60 days.

Rent control advocates have been infuriated by the steps taken to void the election and complained the City named as a defendant had failed to appear at an initial hearing in Jersey City.  The City was acting as a named defendant when the issue was raised in public portion in a recent City Council meeting.

A special election may be ordered with a date to be scheduled if an appeal doesn't change the ruling.

Talking Ed Note:  Hoboken almost believed it had escaped year round election season and its power grabbing 24x7 political environment.

In recent days, MSV has heard from both sides of the rent control legal wrangle and was awaiting a legal opinion to decipher more before announcing the details.

While the rent control laws on the books in Hoboken are strained by inconsistencies, overturning election results should not be so cavalier.  Of just over 100 voters, the sampling would very likely not see those votes change a 52 difference.

Grist for the Mill is MSV's rumor column.  Got a tasty carrot for Da Horsey?  Send a note to smartyjones@me.com.