Monday, July 10, 2017

Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher: 'NJ Transit wave hits Hoboken PATH'

Official release

Hi everyone - 

I was at the Hoboken Terminal this morning from about 7:45 to about 9:00 just to see how things were going and to see if I could glean any information that may benefit Hoboken commuters.  I think the single biggest take away is that there is a tidal wave of NJ Transit commuters that begin right at 8:00 and the wave continues until 8:45.  Literally, at around 7:50 I was speaking with Hoboken's Lt. Petrosino and several NJ Transit and PATH officials, and we had the shared observation that traffic seemed light.  And then a train came in at 8:00 am and the change was palpable.   And it stayed until 8:45 when it started to dissipate.

Today may not be fully representative of what to expect for the next 45 days, as Monday mornings in the summer are often lighter due to people being away for long weekends.  But... if you can get to the station either before 8:00 or after 8:45 I think your commute disruption will be less.  Also, I would encourage you to buy your tickets/ refill your cards at a time other than the morning rush.  The lines were long, and with larger crowds overall, seemed more stressful.

That being said, I was encouraged by the significant numbers of NJ Transit and PATH employees and police offers around helping all commuters navigate through the changes.  Also I spoke to a number of officials including State Senator Bob Gordon, who is the Vice Chair of the Transportation committee, John Leon, Head of Government and Community Relations for NJ Transit, Michael Marino, General Manager of the PATH and a Customer Relations representative (my apologies for not remembering her name) for NY Waterway who were all there for the entire morning observing and trying to gage what changes, if any, need to be made.  Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro was also onsite is monitoring as well.  But for now, the extra capacity provided by NJ Transit (about 48 buses), PATH Trains (leaving every 5 minutes) and the NY Waterway (extra Ferry's to Midtown) seem to be absorbing much of the extra traffic.  

Please let me know what your experiences are.  Good or bad.  In particular what the impact, if any, has been on the 126 bus and the 14th Street Ferry.  I will be out tomorrow morning around the north end to check in.

43 and a half more days to go...

Tiffanie Fisher
Hoboken 2nd Ward City Councilwoman

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Perry Belfiore unloads on Ravi Bhalla after $51,000 settlement in First Amendment dispute

Perry Belfiore, a known administration critic and long time nemesis of Councilman Ravi Bhalla unloaded on the mayoral candidate after word of his $51,000 First Amendment settlement with the City of Hoboken became public last week.

Late Friday, Grafix Avenger published Belfiore had cashed in with a $51,000 settlement after filing a First Amendment civil lawsuit for being thrown out of a City Council meeting during his remarks prior to the 2015 council ward elections.

Video of the incident from the October 22nd, 2015 was not in dispute when then Council President Ravi Bhalla first ejected Belfiore. Later at the same meeting, David Liebler would be ejected for similar remarks about the mayor's husband. His civil lawsuit is pending.

The settlement details making their way into the public may be seen by some as not incidental. Now in the public domain, it can be used as public fodder and when MSV reached out Belfiore, he was not hesitant in criticism, writing by text, "I don't know how a person running for mayor can have such a low regard, for the First Amendment."

A spokesman for the Ravi Bhalla for mayor campaign declined comment noting Bhalla is bound by confidentiality requirements concerning the settlement and it is difficult to comment in response to Belfiore.

Animus between the parties goes back years. In 2010, an ethics complaint against Bhalla by Belfiore would eventually be tossed but then see revival in a weakened condition years later over what constituted a conflict in sharing an office in Hoboken. The complaint has see-sawed going from a $100 citation to being dismissed and not worthy of even a nominal charge.

In 2014, a NJ judge was highly critical of Belfiore who had on another heated occasion told the City Council to control "your animal," a comment many viewed as an act of bias against Councilman Bhalla. The ethics complaint in recent years was revived with the judge who tossed it out overruled by a state board. Some viewed its weakened revival as political following the falling out between Mayor Zimmer and the Christie Administration.

Belfiore who is a big supporter of Councilman Mike DeFusco and his efforts to become mayor would to no one's surprise be entertained by the leaking of the $51,000 settlement. In his responses to MSV, he noted he was out of town until the end of the week but neither confirmed nor denied the settlement amount.

In response to the settlement amount appearing on Grafix Avenger, Belfiore offered with perhaps barbed humor, "I guess she wanted to hurt Ravi."

Talking Ed Note: The September 17th, 2013 video before the mayoral election where Perry Belfiore went after Councilman Ravi Bhalla who was running for re-election. Welcome to election season 2017 Hoboken.

Jen Giattino for Mayor fundraiser at Moran's

Official release