From the desk of Second Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher:
Dear friends and neighbors,
Its hard to believe that one year ago today it all started…the day I handed in my petitions at City Hall to run for 2nd Ward City Council. What an amazing journey this has been so far and this posting made me reflect on what the last 12 months has meant to me and what I hope for our community.
Some of the year’s highlights:
· Knocking on doors and talking with neighbors and hearing about what issues are important to them - no one was more surprised than me how much I enjoyed this (although most of you who know me know I have the gift of gab...)
· Meeting so many new people who are so passionate about Hoboken. #nooneisluckierthanme
· Receiving an email on December 10th from 85 people saying they regretted voting for me because of their perception of my views on Rebuild By Design (oh my...not a good start!... I wasn’t even sworn in yet!). But realizing that I needed to work hard to change their views by providing more and better information on this issue that was so important to them and by continuing to advocate for those in our community (I think I made some progress…).
· Continuing to support Rebuild By Design and the anti-flooding efforts led by our Mayor - this is a necessary effort for the betterment of our entire community.
· Appointing great people to our Zoning Board (kinda like Hoboken's Supreme Court – it’s THAT important to our community!)
· Getting the Washington St. Redesign Plan approved with an 8-1 vote with 95% of the features that all of Hoboken can agree are good for our community like new pedestrian and traffic lights, water main replacements, a new smooth surface and bike friendly lanes and street markings.
· Passing the 2016 Municipal Budget with a unanimous vote - although we had a small increase the entire Council made sure that the interests of their constituents were reflected.
· Meeting with the County Freeholders' Finance Subcommittee to better understand our Hudson County Budget and the key drivers - different than the Hoboken Budget, we are affected by not only the size of the pie but also the relative size of our slice of the pie (this year the size of the pie was affected most by reduced state funding and our relative slice of the pie was kept about the same as last year because of the increase in size of the Jersey City's slice).
· Being on the Community Development Block Grant committee and giving grants to many deserving organizations in our community who support and provide services to low income residents, children and seniors.
· Raising concerns about and getting involved with the pending Park Avenue Bridge renovation to ensure that it receives the right resources to minimize the disruption to Hoboken residents - this will still be a disaster when it happens, but hopefully will be more of a tropical storm than a hurricane.
· Opposing the Jackson St. mixed-use development. This is a great project for our community and I support the open space and community benefits within, however I want to ensure that all development plans going forward have more financial rigor so that the development upside is more evenly shared with Hoboken.
· Approving funding for the first stage of replacement of our water main system. This is a vital, multi-year effort that will start this fall with the highest priority and most critical areas.
· The biggest highlight I think is really just working with Mayor Zimmer, the Administration and ALL of the eight council members who all want to make Hoboken better. We may have different views at different times, but our intentions are good which to me is most important.
And now for some lessons learned along the way:
· People answer their doors when you knock, and they want to tell you about issues that are important to them. Just knock.
· Campaigns are about politics. Legislating is about policy. And if you prioritize policy over politics, you get way more done. Which I think is a theme for this Council so far...(I remain optimistic!)
· Although sometimes it feels personal, it shouldn't be. Having a difference of an opinion on an issue does not mean you dislike or are not supportive of the other person.
· More information and transparency is always better. It helps foster the right debate, and garner the right result.
· Surprises in politics are never good ones, so involve people early to avoid being surprised.
· The job is bigger than I thought, and I like it more than I thought.
There is so much more to be done and my platform has not changed – fighting for responsible development, safe and clean sidewalks, improved infrastructure, fiscal responsibility, affordable housing and community services for those who need them.
Thank you to everyone who helped me get here. And to all of you who have supported me and who have opposed or criticized me! All input, good or bad, helps shape me as a public representative.
In closing, please remember, more voices are always better. Write your elected representative. Come to a council meeting. Voice your concerns. Your voices definitely matter and definitely make a difference.
Looking forward to hearing more from all of you and what the next twelve months will bring!