The flyer is one of two that has appeared in public housing recently, said Eugene Drayton, the local NAACP president. Using the NAACP’s logo and content from a recent Hudson Reporter political column, the flyers falsely claimed that Drayton said he is against the project.
The proposed project would demolish and rebuild significant portions of Hoboken’s public housing. It has become a political football, with allies of Mayor Dawn Zimmer declining to support it at this time, and allies of Hoboken Housing Authority Executive Director Carmelo Garcia supporting it.
Zimmer's allies and Garcia's allies have battled at meetings for months over this project, and a new wrinkle was added this weekend when anonymous flyers about the project appeared in the housing projects. The flyers carried the name of a group calling itself "Save the Projects," although so far, its membership has remained anonymous.
Drayton noted that he never told The Reporter he was against Vision 20/20, just that he could not support it until he learned more about the project. Drayton's comments in the column can be read here.
“I was very upset to see [the flyers],” he said. “I met with [HHA Executive Director Carmelo] Garcia yesterday to see his presentation on the project."
Drayton said that when he saw the flyer, he went to the police.
Both flyers that have been spotted in public housing have used the name of the new group Save the Projects, and both warn against supporting the Vision 20/20 project due to the possibility of displacement of residents and a larger conspiracy to drive minorities out of Hoboken. Over the weekend, an anonymous woman representing Save the Projects went on New York’s 99.5 WBAI and called Hoboken “a very racist city,” raising concerns that the displacement caused by Vision 20/20 is the agenda of people wishing to “make the city of Hoboken all white and rich.” The person gave out a phone number and email address for the Save the Projects group.
In addition, an anonymous person claiming to be part of Save the Projects has used similar racially charged language in comments on a local web site, describing the situation as "white officials" against people of color.
However, Drayton said that race was hardly an issue in the debate over Vision 20/20, because although the projects are for the most part inhabited by African Americans, there are also many white and Hispanic residents. Garcia is Hispanic.
“These are people in need, and they’re white, black and Hispanic,” he said. “Why would this be a race issue?”
Drayton said that he had forwarded his complaint to the NAACP’s state and national offices. The Hoboken Police Dept. would not comment on the complaint when reached Wednesday afternoon.
For more on this issue, keep watching hudsonreporter.com and check out the print edition this weekend. – Dean DeChiaro