Tuesday, July 31, 2018

BoE slates & the Feds up the hill

It's official and with five count'em five whole candidates for three BoE trustee seats this fall's November lineup will appear under the following slate names.

The following five names and slates are official candidates pending certification per the Hudson County Board of Elections.

Patricia Waiters - Education Before Politics

Malani Cadematori - Hoboken Proud
Thomas Kluepfel - Hoboken Proud
John Madigan - Hoboken Proud

Ailene McGuirk - All Our Kids

While other nearby towns feature 10 candidates (Jersey City) and 20 candidates (Bayonne) for their respective open BoE seats in the fall election, Hoboken will feature far less.

Talking Ed Note: MSV has confirmed an earlier report the recent FBI visit to Hoboken didn't only visit an accounting business on Adams St. There was also an early morning raid on Castle Point.

 Now into year seven beating down frivolous litigation, more on the FBI story to MSV subscribers and contributors when you hit the button supporting good government oversight in the Mile Square City.


Monday, July 30, 2018

Grist for the Mill: BoE slates behind the eight ball with filing deadline today


Mid-summer, most of Hoboken is rolling in the summer breeze with Frank Sinatra notes blowing through their hair. But for some, it's not a summer wind but the deadline for filing candidacies in the Board of Education election this fall.

The filing deadline for BoE candidates is this afternoon at 4:00 sharp. There's more than a bit of buzz about possible candidates and odder alliances.

Two current trustees up for re-election are Tom Kleupfel and John Madigan, polar opposites of the historical divide between reform and Old Guard elements believed to be on good terms on the nine-member board.

How good? With the departure last year of Peter Biancamano who was trounced in his re-election bid, John Madigan was stranded without an oar nor a paddle. Rumors are circulating that a tactical play to fend off a resurgent opposition to the "Kids First" moms would mean adopting Madigan to their ticket come November.

The political play may sound enticing to those on the BoE dais but it's also gotten out on the street and set many a hair on fire. The firestorm has seen opposition and a last-minute play for alternate candidates but the repercussions may go further.

Former Carmelo Garcia Assembly aide, bomb-thrower Patricia Waiters is likely to again produce signatures to put herself on the ballot. She's grown weary of running between the City Council and BoE calling people racists who refuse to capitulate to her demands. She's likely to run and dissension could pave the way for her to finally make it into the top three of candidates and be sworn in as a BoE trustee. She's also found a pal who enjoys similar tactics who could join her to double down on yelling at others.  Call it a "you're a racist" twofer ticket.

How's that for an advertisement on our local schools?

Talking Ed Note: The City of Hoboken sent out a notice yesterday its plans on the Washington St.'s renovation this week will see milling and paving up to 8th St.

Earlier this year, Mayor Ravi Bhalla saluted himself for completing the Washington St. project to 9th St. by mid-July. It was the oddest forecast considering how the repairs have dragged on before he took office upstairs at City Hall.

Regardless of the inane self-promotion and succeeding failure, everyone wishes for this week's efforts to be successful. Godspeed to them all.

The FBI is back in town and confirmed making a visit to a local accounting business. As seen above, there's a lot whistling in the wind but little by way of details. Hudson County View broke the story on Friday.

Grist for the Mill is MSV's rumor column. Got a tasty carrot for Da Horsey? Send it to smartyjones@me.com. All email is kept confidential and is protected by Da Horsey's proven Reporter Privilege upheld under the NJ Shield Law in Hudson County Superior Court. In farm animals we trust.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

VERY LATE ALERT: Italian League Champs Juventus is in Hoboken 4:00 - 8:00

Semi-Official release

Agency Logo
Sunday July 29, 2018, 2:20 PM

City of Hoboken, NJ

Community: Juventus Fan Fest Today from 4-8pm at Sinatra Field!

Dear Horsey, MSV Readers and soccer fans we didn't tell:

Come down to the Waterfront at Sinatra Field for a fan festival with Italian Soccer club Juventus from 4-8pm. Two soccer legends are scheduled to appear, Mauro Camoranesi and David Trezeguet will sign autographs and take pictures. Music by DJ Africa Bambaata, The Godfather of Hip Hop. Other activities include Virtual Reality, face painters and free giveaways for all. Skills competition will be played throughout the afternoon and evening. A great way to spend a Sunday with the family!

Talking Ed Note: No notice to the world's beautiful game and Italy's defending champs?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Ravi's 25 paeans to himself

The parody of self-promotion out of Hoboken City Hall is a spectacle to appreciate especially after Hoboken's new mayor decided six months in, it's an appropriate time to once again honor himself.

Yes, it's time for Mayor Ravi Bhalla and his 25 paeans to himself.

MSV readers have been asking if there would be any story appearing about that list. After Bhalla's second job and that promise broken in a single month in office, the recent Supreme Court smackdown that came within a hair of yanking Ravi Bhalla's law license, not to mention the crawling, long overdue Washington St. project, one would think Hoboken deserves a break from sleazy self-promotion.

So Hudson County View weighed in first with the good, bad and the ugly. HCV gets it mostly right to the chagrin of Ravibots while lightly glossing over some areas and sparing a more painstaking analysis of dem dose dare 25 dings.

There are more dings than accomplishments but we're all going to get muddy having to dig into the half-truths, full out fabrications and in-your-face falsehoods. At least there's some good news too.

Back later after you digest a more honest assessment about Ravi's self-proclaimed 25 accomplishments.

25 things but is the truth even one?

Let's start with actual good news. This year's Hoboken budget is flat with no tax increase. Some may bicker that in order to do so, Mayor Ravi Bhalla dipped into the surplus. That's true but he gets full credit for presenting a flat budget to the City Council which once again delivered one of many unanimous votes for the new mayor.

The bad news counterpoint to this year's budget is a different listed "accomplishment." Ravi Bhalla took it upon himself in a highly questionable executive order to just hand over to municipal workers paid parental leave. He cites this as accomplishment no. 21.

This was not part of any negotiation with nothing in return in a contract by way of productivity increases, givebacks, etc. Without any consultation with the City Council, Ravi Bhalla decided he would bestow this gift at taxpayer's expense. How is this budgeted for in next year's budget? Good luck trying to get an answer to that obvious question. The City Council tried and can't. No worries, you'll be paying for it.

When it comes to paying employees their own money, Ravi Bhalla is as the NJ Supreme Court pointed out, far less than generous doing so himself.

Looking at one of the most grievous fabrications, it's no. 2. Ravi Bhalla cites the fiscal AA++ rating of Hoboken as his accomplishment. This is sadly an outrageous falsehood. Hoboken took years to obtain that change and it came in late 2013 under former mayor Dawn Zimmer.

What is it with these sleazy campaign type lies? To make matters worse, the periodic reconfirmation of the credit rating came in most recently in February of this year. So who should be credited for it, the former mayor and city officials or Ravi Bhalla who was in office for a month and had nothing to do with it?

The actual City of Hoboken page showing the AA+ credit rating earned by Hoboken back in December 2013.
Ravi Bhalla swiped it and claimed it his accomplishment but it's a Big Lie.
He stole it from former mayor Dawn Zimmer but to make matters worse, the reconfirmation of the rating most recently came in February this year when Ravi Bhalla was mayor only a month. He had nothing to do with it.

On the positive side, Bhalla amped up action against the Hoboken St. Patrick's Day substitute Leprecon or Leper-con. Some question if railroading bars was unfair but on the whole the results drowned out those questions. Let's call no. 6 a plus.

Unfortunately much of the rest of the list is a mixed bag of half-truths and policy announcements not accomplishments. The hastily announced Homeless Taskforce really consists of mayoral aides who could be doing actual work versus being put on a press release as if that means anything. The timing of it came right after the NJ Supreme Court bashed Bhalla in the head for refusing to pay a former employee monies owed over more than a half-decade. So there's your explanation for that "accomplishment."

Gender neutral bathrooms are a farce but one Bhalla held a big media to-do over and then promtly did... nothing. There's some new door tags on the remote area of City Hall's third floor. That sound you hear is of Ravibots applauding.

Much of the accomplishments Ravi Bhalla claims as his own are programs begun under Dawn Zimmer or in concert with efforts by members of the Hoboken City Council. The 10% decrease in crime report is truly a credit to the HPD and Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante. One of the remarkable things about good leaders is they credit all pulling on their team. Bad leaders take credit for the work of others and bad politicans are always atop that list.

Which one do you think Ravi Bhalla is?

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher: 'No vote tonight on Stevens upzoning'

Official release:

Dear friends and neighbors:  
Tonight (7/25) at 7pm we are having a Special Meeting of the City Council.  A point of clarity that we were made aware of today about tonight's meeting:
  • We will not be voting on the ordinance in the form originally heard on 1st reading by the City Council on 7/11.
  • We will also not be voting on any amended version of the ordinance tonight either. 
I am told that we will be hearing from the City and Stevens on the proposed zoning changes and the council and the public will be allowed to ask questions of the administration and Stevens representatives.  Amendments that have been discussed between the Administration, Stevens and members of City Council will be raised and recommended - these include the height reduction in the edge zone from 200' to 160' and the reduction in building in the new CPT zone, as I previously mentioned.   
A vote on the ordinance will take place at another meeting subject to official notice.
If you cannot make in person tonight, you can watch online HERE.  I am told there will be a new button to click at the top of the page that will only be available when the meeting is live.  We are expected to add Facebook Live coverage at the 8/1 meeting.
As mentioned previously, we are hoping to have the 1st reading of an ordinance codifying the Master Plan Re-Exam recommendations for the Waterfront Area including the Stevens owned parcels at the 8/1 meeting.  Effectively the re-exam recommended that the entire area be limited to recreational uses only, except for maritime educational purposes.  Codifying this sooner than later is also in response to feedback we received from residents expressing concerns about locking in plans for our waterfront in conjunction with the Stevens re-zoning.
Also, I wanted to let you know that I will only be at tonight's Special Meeting for the first hour.  
I had a conflict tonight from 7-9pm that I was going to miss altogether, but given there is now not going to be a vote tonight, I will attend for the first hour but will leave just before 8 to attend my other meeting for the second half of it.  What I will miss is the presentation from our Hoboken Parking Utility Director Ryan Sharp on new plans for the HPU that are pretty interesting for the City.  I have seen the presentation in subcommittee already and am very much looking forward to hearing your feedback.  
As always, feel free to reach out if you want to discuss further by email or by phone 201/208-1674.
Hoboken City Council, 2nd Ward
Engage. Inform. Advocate.
“More Voices are Better”

Councilman Peter Cunningham: On the Stevens rezoning plan

Official release:

Dear friends and neighbors,  

​At our last City Council meeting, we were to vote on a final "master plan" as introduced by Stevens and approved by the City's Planning Board.  At my urging the City Council collectively felt the Community needed a better opportunity to hear and see the plan as introduced.  Given the importance of this plan, like others the City Council has regularly hosted, a presentation to the Community at large provides for a ​better look and feel for these important large scale undertakings.  And they are videotaped too.  We hosted the same for the railyards and post office hotel project to name a few.  

Thanks to Councilwomen Giattino and ​Fisher for their detailed communications to constituents and community meetings, concerns over "views" of the City and height around the edges of Steven's campus were heard, and Stevens revised their plan - again. 

Stevens and the Administration will present ​the revised plan at a special council meeting to​night, July 25 at 7pm, Council Chambers.

The agenda for the meeting will be:
1 .City and Stevens present and explain the process to date
2. Public comments
3. City and Stevens respond to public comments 
4. Vote on University Zone ordinance for first reading
5. Presentation on Parking Utility Plan 21

Please pass on to your neighbors and friends, and let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks, Peter​

Ravi comes out

Mayor Ravi Bhalla who had been silent with the Hoboken public on the proposed massive Stevens rezoning (or redevelopment plans) before the City Council, came out in favor this week.

With tonight's vote likely to see the necessary five votes for passage on first reading, a second meeting to follow shortly in August will very likely see Stevens obtain approval.

For many of those of you with skyline views in central and west Hoboken to the Empire State Building, kiss them goodbye. As for infrastructure, traffic or other enviornmental impact, there will be no official review.

This is Hoboken.


Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher on Stevens rezoning special council meeting tonight

Official release:

Special Council Meeting Wednesday Night
The City Council will be suspending its vote on 2nd reading for the prior version of the ordinance.  A revised ordinance for 1st reading will be introduced.  Additionally, Stevens will also be there presenting on its Strategic Plan, its anticipated new dorm and student center, and the zoning changes.  
Since the prior meeting, the City Council has worked with the Administration and Stevens to address the concerns that many residents raised once they became aware after reading my email of the scale of the changes being proposed in the prior version of the University Zone ordinance.  Among others, these included the overall height and density added to the “Edge zone” and the additional density on the north side of the campus, adjacent to the residential areas and Elysian Park.  
The new proposed ordinance that will be introduced tomorrow (7/25), in its current form, has been changed as follows:
  • The height of future buildings on the “Edge” other than the new Student Center (225’), will reduce from 200 feet to 160 feet.  
  • A new subzone will be added for the area to the north that abuts Castle Point Terrace and Elysian Park and this area will now limit structures to not higher than 13’ and to limit uses to accessory uses, athletic structures and surface parking.
Additionally, although we will not be addressing at the Special Meeting, we are hoping to also have the 1st reading of an ordinance codifying the Master Plan Re-Exam recommendations for the Waterfront Area adjacent to Stevens at the 8/1 meeting.  Effectively the re-exam recommended that the entire area be limited to recreational uses only, except for maritime educational purposes.  Codifying this sooner than later is also in response to feedback we received from residents expressing concerns about locking in plans for our waterfront in conjunction with the Stevens upzoning.
I would encourage everyone to tune in to the City Council meeting to see and hear about Stevens’ strategic plan.  I know that I have been critical about the up-zoning, and to be honest, I am still not yet comfortable with the added density in the Edge zone without visibility on what will be planned for that area and the potential impact to Hoboken.  But I am a huge fan of Stevens and having them in our town.  And my concerns mainly stemmed from the lack of any meaningful public inclusion in the process to better understand their plans, and the proposed changes in zoning.  Unfortunately, a typical Hoboken practice (that we continue to work to change).  Fortunately, being fixed with Stevens presentation tomorrow night!  Tune in and I know you will appreciate their presence in our community as much as I do!
Finally, last night Mayor Bhalla sent us the City Council the attached memo underscoring his support for the revised ordinance that will be introduced tomorrow night.   This is really a big deal for Hoboken in many ways.  It is the first major zoning change we have made in a while and represents the first codification of the recommendations from the Master Plan Re-Exam that was just recently approved by our Planning Board in June.   
There are still some conversations being had about further changes, but if any, they would be minor.  I welcome any thoughts that you may have.  And I want all of you to know that I am hugely appreciative of all of your feedback you have provided so far and ALL of it (whether 100% supportive or with some suggested changes) has contributed to the changes that have been proposed in this new version of the ordinance.  
As always, feel free to reach out if you want to discuss further by email or by phone 201/208-1674.
Hoboken City Council, 2nd Ward
Engage. Inform. Advocate.
“More Voices are Better”

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Councilwoman Jen Giattino: Stevens rezoning Meeting 7/25 at 7:00 pm

Official release:

Dear friends and neighbors - 

Both Stevens and the Administration will present at a special council meeting tomorrow, July 25 at 7pm, Council Chambers.

The agenda for the meeting will be:

1. City and Stevens present and explain the process to date
2. Public comments
3. City and Stevens respond to public comments 
4. Vote on University Zone ordinance for the first reading (attached below)
5. Presentation on Parking Utility Plan 21


Monday, July 23, 2018

Hoboken Police Department: 10% drop in crime heralded by state-leading 32% crime closure rate

The Hoboken Police Department announced its mid-year report on crime and with it announced a 10% drop in crime year to year but the figure that leaps out is the remarkable closure rate.

It's not the only astounding fact revealed in the report.

Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante notes in the release the HPD has closed after arrest fully 219 of 671 reported crimes. That's an eye-popping 32.6% closure rate.

The release heralded the closure rate where the Hoboken Police Department exceeds the state averages in fully six of seven areas.

The most important among them: tripling the state arrest rates in robberies and burglaries.

With Hoboken's increased visibility as a successful town, the Mile Square City is a prime target for thieves and gangs looking to operate where scores are plentiful. It's been a decades-long problem as Hoboken's housing stock continues to increase in value making its residents prime targets.

HPD Police Chief Ken Ferrante saluted the department for these milestones stating, "I thank and commend our Uniformed, Investigative and Training Bureaus, and those bureaus' commanders, supervisors, detectives, patrol officers, and civilian staffs!"

The chart below shows the full figures year over year to date:

Talking Ed Note: Both the closure rate and whopping increase in arrests for robbery and burglary reveals a laser-like focus on implementing better policing strategies with improved outcomes.

Under the leadership of HPD Chief Ken Ferrante, the public safety policing performance is being felt at all levels and is reflected in the pride of policing by its members to the benefit of all Hoboken.

A big hat tip to all the fine men and women serving in the HPD with a hearty thanks to one and all. Well done!

Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher: Corrected date on Temporary Dog Park at Harborside Park

Official release:

Dear friends and neighbors:  
The Public Hearing for the Proposed Temporary Dog Park at Harborside Park is:
  • Tuesday, July 24th at 7pm
  • Monday the 23rd as I have previously reported on multiple occasions. 
PLEASE ACCEPT MY APOLOGIES as I know many of you have probably made scheduling accommodations to attend.  
The hearing will occur right at the park, behind 1500 Garden.  Given the inclement weather we have been having and are projected to have this week, the City is researching an inside location for Tuesday in case it rains.  They will be sending out a notice / nixle tomorrow (Monday).
Incidentally, it was the threat of heavy rains Monday night that led me to look into alternate locations and when I discovered that the hearing is actually Tuesday. 
As a reminder, the proposed idea is to create a temporary, separate area for dogs by fencing off a portion of Harborside Park closest to Park Avenue.  The fence is expected to be a solid fence that would ensure a complete physical separation.  In terms of size, the rendering that was on the City's website showed an area that was approximately 30% of the total area.  I think, and most concur, that this is too big and should be more like 15-20%.
In terms of feedback I have received so far, here are some of the ideas / responses:
  • A few people raised the idea of having it be a complete, shared space.
  • One person suggested to make it dogs only.
  • Two suggested taking down the perimeter fence altogether.
  • Several do not want to see the space reduced at all.
  • Most are supportive of the idea of creating separate areas, but want to get the size right and ensure full separation.
My strawman idea given the feedback so far that I believe would be a greatest good, least bad alternative for all those in the neighborhood would be:
  • Allocate not more than 20% of the park to a dog area on the west side near Park Ave.
  • Include a full perimeter fence around the dog area, with a solid fence along the east side facing the field.
  • Remove the entire perimeter fence around the field and trim the shrubs back to create better access and visibility into the field.
  • Level out, seed and better maintain the entire field. 
Please note that this is a public hearing so notwithstanding this is my idea, it certainly does not have to be the final idea.  That being said, we will hope to take away the feedback received that night, and incorporate it immediately into legislation to be heard and voted on at the 8/1 meeting.  The goal, if there is community support, would be to effect change as early as possible before the school year starts or just after.
Additionally, and as a further reminder, any change would only be temporary until construction begins on the new park in ~24 months that will be built as part of Rebuild By Design.  This will include all of Harborside Park and the empty lot that is just north of the park that is currently a construction staging area.  If you have not already participated in the design and placemaking workshops for this area, I encourage you to do so.  They are open to the public and they really need public participation to make sure they will work for our area.  
With all this, I hope that all of you who have a vested interest in this area will attend the public hearing including those who live nearby, visit, and attend/are parents of those who attend the neighboring schools.  Again, please accept my apologies.  
And as always, feel free to reach out if you want to discuss further by email or by phone 201/208-1674.
Hoboken City Council, 2nd Ward
Engage. Inform. Advocate.
“More Voices are Better”

Friday, July 20, 2018

Councilwoman Jen Giattino: "Loading Zones Coming To A Street Near You!"

Official release:

Dear friends and neighbors - 

I wanted to update you on the Loading Zone Pilot Program that I introduced to temporarily establish curbside loading zones at the locations below.  The goals of the PILOT program are to reduce parking in crosswalks, facilitate safe and orderly curbside loading in predominately residential areas, and improve street safety for all users.  

According to our signal and traffic department, they will begin installing the loading zone signs on Monday.  The temporary loading zones will be available between 8am-6pm, Monday through Saturday.  This program will go for 180-days during which time the Parking and Transportation Department will be evaluating the effectiveness of the program.  To the extent that the program is considered successful, we will look to design and implement a program for the rest of the city.  

  • Sixth Street - South side, west of the intersection with Garden
  • Eighth Street – South side, west of the intersection with Garden
  • Garden Street – West side, south of the intersection with 7th
  • Garden Street – East side, south of the intersection with 10th
  • Park Ave – East side, north of the intersection with 6th
  • Park Ave – East side, north of the intersection with 7th
  • Park Ave – East side, north of the intersection with 8th
  • Park Ave – East side, north of the intersection with 9th
  • Park Ave – East side, north of the intersection with 10th
  • Willow Ave - East side, south of the intersection with 6th
  • Willow Ave - East side, south of the intersection with 8th
  • Willow Ave - East side, south of the intersection with 9th
  • Willow Ave - East side, south of the intersection with 10th
  • Clinton Street – East side, north of the intersection with 6th
  • Clinton Street – East side, north of the intersection with 7th
  • Clinton Street – East side, north of the intersection with 9th
  • Clinton Street – East side, north of the intersection with 10th
Once they are implemented in your neighborhood, I would love to get feedback from you.  

Sign of the Times: And the home of....

New York Waterway?

Beautiful skies are the backdrop to the American flag flying with the
NY Waterway flag below at the former Union Dry Dock site earlier today.

Wednesday night Stevens Institue hosted the Army Corps of Engineers for a hearing on the determination of the former Union Dry Dock hosting operations for New York Waterway.

Hoboken residents joined local officials in urging another solution foregoing refueling operations at the location but the likelihood from your friendly neighborhood Horsey says a decision is likely coming sooner than later.

Once it does, Hoboken's historical character of sea vessels coming and going will more likely than not be preserved with NY Waterway operating on the Mile Square City shores.

Talking Ed Note: Hudson County View covered the almost four-hour hearing filing its video/report. 

A local heckler decided it was a good time to take their foaming marching orders from the "No Borders' nihilist Left and shout at Freeholder Anthony Romano about Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) work/funding efforts in the county. Maybe MS-13, reportedly taken hold in the area should come down the hill and lop off his head and those stupidly applauding.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

As Washington St. stalls, where's Ravi?

It's only six months into a four year term as mayor but Ravi Bhalla is exhibiting lackadasical execution on a number of fronts creating confusion and concern among Hoboken residents. Hopes shared he would perform as mayor for all Hoboken with only 32% of the vote last year are fading and being replaced by a continuing hyperpartisan agenda to move up the political ladder and get out of the Mile Square City asap.

Further hopes he would marshall sufficient attention on two major issues: completing the stalled and out of control vastly overspent Washington Street renovation and identifying an alternative home for NY Waterway operations at the former Union Dry Dock are souring.

Washington St.'s renovation continues at a stalled pace far behind the promised
August completion date by Mayor Ravi Bhalla. His recent prediction lauding
himself it would be paved to Ninth St. by mid-July has fallen far short too.
Only weeks back, Bhalla had hailed his 'accomplishment' of seeing Washington St. paved up to Ninth St. by mid-July. The congratulations to himself in the future has turned out to be a fiasco as the main street renovations are paved well short.

The latest fiasco with gender neutral bathrooms whereby Mayor Ravi Bhalla made a big production seeking maximum publicity for himself but doing nothing is illustrative.

On the upside, inheriting a strong financial rating and budget fundamentals has seen this year's municipal taxes flat (although next year will be far more challenging). Council meetings show no sign of returning to the rancor earlier this decade even with Bhalla's declaration of war in March on all members who are not agreeable to rubber stamping his every wish.

However, at the last council meeting, two planted Ravibots believed by some councilmembers closely connected to the mayor's political aide Jason Freeman made appearances, firebreathing ugly Ravi Bhalla talking points attacking its members. According to some on the receiving end, they were obviously repeating Ravi Bhalla's private remarks and threats sans curses. Lacking the substance of veracity, it foreshadows the dirty campaigning last year is ready to be unleashed far in advance of the fall council ward races set for 2019.

Hoboken would like to see Washington St. on the way toward completion although it won't be until well into 2019 and many millions over budget. The Mile Square City would also like to see Hoboken work with county and state governemnt to find an alternative home for NY Waterway ferry operations at the former Union Dry Dock. Of course most would appreciate a break from dirty campaigning but can Ravi and his political aides refrain? None of it reflects well on Jason Freeman or Ravi Bhalla to this point if the last council meeting is an example of what's coming.

Ravi is developing quite a reputation for an inability to get along and "play nice" with others. Recently, there's whispers he's gotten into a less than cordial exchange with County Executive Tom DeGise about adhering to US law working with federal law enforcement on criminal illegal aliens detained. DeGise declined to change the county policy during the Obama Administration on cooperation with federal authorities when alleged criminals are placed under arrest and risk $8 million in federal funding.

Once again, Bhalla thinks taking hyperpartisan radical leftist positions will vault him into higher political office. He's not showing any sign of changing that strategy to fast track himself out of town. As his indifference to substance became more readily apparent, residents are beginning to wonder where's Ravi when it comes to Hoboken and its local issues.

Talking Ed Note. Ravi Bhalla did return from another out of town trip in Toronto in time to make an appearance at Stevens for the Army Corps of Engineers hearing on usage by NY Waterway at the former Union Dry Dock. Now what?

MSV hears suggestions about holding another annual online drive. Here's the chance to support good government watchdogs/watchhorses and continue to press for performance and results adhering to same.

MSV is entering its seventh year of fighting (and winning) frivolous litigation. It's but one of a handful of falsified civil and criminal attempts to end the almost nine years long efforts here to see Hoboken stop being used and abused at all levels. Stand and be counted for good government, well, anonymously.


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Community: Union Dry Dock Public Hearing details

Official release:

Agency Logo
Wednesday July 18, 2018

City of Hoboken, NJ

Community: TONIGHT: Union Dry Dock Public Hearing

Dear Horsey & MSV readers,

The Army Corps of Engineers will hold a public hearing tonight, Wednesday, July 18 from 6-9 p.m. in the DeBaun Auditorium at Stevens Institute (24 5th Street). The hearing is a chance for the public to express their views on New York Waterway’s permit application to turn the Union Dry Dock property into a diesel depot.

Everyone will be given an opportunity to share their thoughts, and any person may speak on their own behalf or be represented by someone else. Each speaker will be limited to three minutes, but lengthier testimonies may be submitted in writing.

The hearing will be reported verbatim, and a transcript will be available to the public at the end of the comment period. The notice of the public hearing can be found here.

Councilwoman Jen Giattino: Tonight - Army Corps of Engineers Public Hearing

Official release:

Dear friends and neighbors - 

Please attend tonight's meeting to oppose New York Waterway's permit application for a homeport and diesel refueling facility.

Tonight, July 18, 2018 from 6 to 9 p.m.
DeBaun Auditorium
Stevens Institute of Technology
24 Fifth Street, Hoboken, NJ

Visit links below for more information

As always reach out with thoughts and concerns,


Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher: "It's a big day for Hoboken"

Official release:

Dear friends and neighbors:  
On this gorgeous night tonight, please join your neighbors at 5th and Hudson and lend your support for defending and keeping a Diesel Depot from locating on the middle of our waterfront.  We ALL want NYWW ferries, we just want their fueling, storage and maintenance operations to find an alternative site to the former Union Dry Dock site which is amidst our ever evolving public, residential and recreational waterfront.   
What:  Army Corps of Engineers – Public Hearing
When:  6-9pm
Where:  Debaun Auditorium (5th and Hudson)
Why you need to come:  
The USACOE needs to know that this is important to Hoboken.  If no one comes, then they will think it is NOT important.  Don’t rely on just your neighbor to fill a seat for you.  WE NEED BOTH SEATS FILLED!  You don’t have to speak, you can sit in the audience.  You can arrive and leave anytime between 6-9.  We are hoping people will be there early for a larger crowd when most of the public officials and experts will speak, but if you can only come at 845 please do! 
What to expect at a public hearing:  
  • At a public hearing, the agency, in this case the USACOE, will sit at a table and receive comments from the public.  Other than introductions about the process, it is not a presentation, nor a back and forth.  
  • Those wishing to speak will sign in when they arrive on a speaker list and then will find a seat in the audience.  If you have not been, DeBaun is an auditorium so the seating is theatre seating.
  • In terms of order of speakers, the USACOE will follow the order below.  We expect most of these to speak at the beginning.  The USACOE will call the names of speakers and SPEAKERS WILL ONLY GET 3 MINUTES TO SPEAK:
    • Applicant first to describe only scope of work (NYWW).
    • Elected officials and their representatives / professionals in hierarchal order (tonight will include Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro, Mayor Bhalla, myself, Hoboken's engineers and attornies, and possibly others).
    • Native American Tribal representatives (if any).
    • Organized environmental groups (eg. Fund for Better Waterfront).
    • Organized citizen groups (eg. Hoboken Residents for a Better Waterfront, Resilience Paddleboard, Hoboken Cove).
    • Private Citizens (in order of arrival).
  • If you come, you don’t have to speak.  You can come and just sit in the hearing and lend your support by being present.
What are the talking points and issues:
The USACOE is specifically focused on the public and environmental impact.  This can be the impact on those who live nearby and / or enjoy the recreational facilities in the area to the many water species found in the area to environmental contamination and any and all in between.  
A big issue for the USACOE and for us is whether or not NYWW’s operations are in fact a material CHANGE IN USE at the site that would trigger more thorough site/soil/sediment testing and investigation than if there was no change in use.  NYWW are arguing that there is no change in use.  I am told that those who live near the site saw boats coming and going from the site 2-4 TIMES PER WEEK!  But what is being proposed by NYWW is 80 TIMES PER DAY.
Talking points for YOU to consider:
  • Your experience living near or visiting the site and how the new fueling operations will change that.
  • Your fears about a NY Waterway Ferry striking and potentially killing a kayaker / paddleboarder that launches from Hoboken Cove not unlike the NY Waterway ferry that struck kayakers in 2016.
  • our concerns about contamination on the site from the historical use that may not be stirred up because the significant increase in boat activity.
  • Your concerns about having a DIESEL DEPOT adjacent to parks and schools where children and families play 
    • Elysian Park, Maxwell Park, Hoboken Cove, Montessori School, Skate Park, Fishing Pier, Multi Use Path, Bike Lanes on Sinatra Drive;
    • consider fuel spills both in the water and on land; and
    • that the significant fueling operations is a MATERIAL USE CHANGE vs. Union Dry Dock.
  • Your observations that having a dry dock facility (prior use) that maintains 2-4 boats per week seems significantly different than one that will refuel an entire fleet of >20 boats and have capacity to moor 20 boats today.
  • Your concerns about NYWW expanding their operations over time.  Today NYWW are seeking approval to store 10 boats daily that they say would require 40 daily trips.  But their maps actually show that the facilities will accomodate 20 boats.  What will this look like over time? Once NYWW is there, the analysis to expand will be an incremental one – so only looking at the incremental impact at that time, not the cumulative one.
  • Your understanding that there are alternative sites, and that a 2009 study by NJ Transit (attached) actually shows Hoboken’s Lackawana terminal as the #1 choice for ferry operations.  Click HERE to learn more from FBW.
  • Your observation that this is a private vs. public interest argument demanding that public interests be prioritized.  NYWW is a private company.  They sold their land to a private developer for profit.  They don't want to go to Bayonne to protect their profits.  The NJ Transit study cited above references the pressure from JC's LeFrak Organization, the developer behind Newport, as the biggest impediment to NYWW moving to Lackawana.  And LCOR, the developer of NJ Transit's Railyard's Project in Hoboken told me that the land was too valuable there for ferry operations.  ENOUGH!!!!!!!! 
  • Your understanding that the Hoboken Cove is home to over 70 marine species, some of which are endangered and the wave and contamination from diesel fuel impacts will threaten these species.  Click HERE to read more.
  • And finally, your support for the decades of work that has gone into protecting our waterfront for the public’s use.  Click HERE or Google Waterfront Referendum Hoboken to learn more... This one single action sets us on a reversal of history.
If this is important to you, please plan to attend.  You DO NOT NEED TO STAY THE ENTIRE TIME.  But we would like to have as many people as possible there at the beginning.  I was out handing out flyers with and to neighbors at the Ferry and on Washington St and around the bus stops, and anecdotally 99% of Hoboken residents do not want NYWW to run their operations at the former UDD site.  And the 1% who were not opposed, said it was for fear that we are risking NYWW shutting down which I do not believe is a necessary nor realistic possibility given the importance of this mode of transportation to our region.
I hope you will attend tonight.  It is THAT important that we fill the room.  
Hoboken City Council, 2nd Ward
Engage. Inform. Advocate.
“More Voices are Better”