Sunday, November 17, 2019

Councilman Peter Cunningham: 'Rail Yards plan now is not what we passed in 2014, it's far bigger and far worse!'

Official release:


Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

Many thanks to all of you who participated in the recent Council elections.  While the Council candidate I endorsed, Tim Crowell, was not successful, I commend him for doing a great job with such short notice and mostly personal funds spent to mount a campaign against a well-funded and known opponent in Phil Cohen.  I also want to recognize the sacrifices all candidates made in putting themselves out there, taking time away from their families to deliver their message to the constituents.  It’s really hard work - I know.  Congratulations to Phil, and I hope he represents the 5th Ward well.

What happens in the near term around big development in Hoboken is critical to the future of our city. There are a lot of upcoming projects including the Rail Yards, SW Hoboken, and North Hoboken.  At last Wednesday’s council meeting, I experienced what may come when upon Councilman Defusco’s request, Council President Giattino pulled the massive out of scale Rail Yard Redevelopment from the agenda.  This was an amendment put forth by the Bhalla Administration that's much larger, and residential heavy, than what we approved in 2014.  Russo made a motion to override, and Russo, Defusco, Falco, Doyle and Jabbour supported hearing the Rail Yard project.  Ramos abstained, and Fisher, Giattino, and I voted no.  Remember, we’ve seen no feasibility, transportation, or shadow studies on this amendment.  Russo, Jabbour and Phil Cohen (along with Bhalla’s council candidates) accepted union contributions in support of the Rail Yard Plan.  Links to the election reports are below.  I am concerned about Phil’s support of big development going forward, and I hope you are too.

https://www.elec.state.nj.us/ELECReport/SearchCandidate.aspx
Once you launch the above link, you can search by candidate.  Cohen, for instance, has contributions from three different unions listed on page 6.

https://www.elec.state.nj.us/ELECReport/SearchCandidate.aspx
Once you launch the above link, you will see the team Bhalla contributions.  On page 6, you will see union contributions which I believe are driving big development decisions, and flirting with our local pay to play laws.

https://www.elec.state.nj.us/ELECReport/SearchCandidate.aspx
These are contributions received after the 2017 elections.  It’s interesting to note Jabbour’s contribution from Local 825.  Operating Engineers Local 825 is strongly behind the Rail Yard Development Project. 

There will be a community forum hosted by the developer, LCOR (not the City) on November 25th at Hoboken Terminal from 6-8pm to discuss the plan amendments.
Beyond my term in office, I assure you I will be watching and reporting on how the new City Council votes on development related matters.  I strongly feel the majority of the Council are beholden to developers and the unions, and as a result, our city and our quality of life will likely suffer. 

Thank you for your support for the past twelve years.  It was and will always be my privilege to serve you.

Peter