The city’s first female mayor announced that a New Jersey Superior Court judge ruled that the city’s right to eminent domain would allow them to purchase a 1-acre piece of land in the southwest section of town.
The land, known as Block 12, will be used for the 4th Ward’s first public park, pending City Council approval, Zimmer said.
Speaking to about 100 supporters and campaign workers at Little Town NJ, the waterfront restaurant owned by “Real Housewives of New Jersey” stars Albie and Chris Manzo, Zimmer recalled that fighting for a park in the 4th Ward, where she lives with her husband and two children, was the reason she became involved in Hoboken politics in the first place. She said that the ruling would serve as inspiration for her reelection campaign.
“I really hope it energizes everyone here, because it certainly energizes me,” she said.
Zimmer is set to face off against state Assemblyman and former Councilman Ruben Ramos, who is at the head of the Vision for Hoboken slate.
Zimmer's slate includes incumbent Councilmen-at-Large Ravi Bhalla and David Mello, as well as 26-year Hoboken resident James Doyle. Doyle sat on the council for around six weeks last fall after Zimmer appointed him in the wake of former Councilwoman Carol Marsh’s resignation, but the mayor’s opponents on the council sued on the grounds that she misused the state’s municipal vacancy laws.
Ramos is running with Joe Mindak, Laura Miani, and Eduardo Gonzalez as council candidates.
Only the three at-large council seats are up for grabs this year. The election will take place Nov. 5.
On Wednesday night, poking fun at his roller-coaster first year in Hoboken politics, Doyle said that he was putting the past behind him and will focus on open space and development issues.
“I want to dispel the speculation that I’m going to spend most of my time on the council fighting to change the state’s municipal vacancy laws,” he said. “The years of me nagging the City Council from the other side of the bench are at an end.”
Bhalla and Mello, who won their council seats in 2009 when they ran on Zimmer’s first mayoral ticket (the mayor herself ultimately lost that election to Peter Cammarano, had to step down when he was arrested in a corruption sting) both spoke at the event on Wednesday, and cited their records on open space, tax stabilization, and what they referred to as “smart” development.
Response from opponent
Ramos’s Vision for Hoboken slate issued a statement regarding Zimmer’s kickoff late on Wednesday.
“We would like to welcome Dawn Zimmer to the race for Mayor. While she finally realized her re-election is 83 days away, Ruben has been hitting the streets and apartments of Hoboken since March,” the statement said. “He has been meeting with and talking to voters, walking every inch of town possible, and getting to the heart of the real issues affecting Hoboken. Ruben is finding a town where the residents are completely dissatisfied with the direction Dawn Zimmer is taking this city in.”
The harsh criticisms are indicative of what could become another mudslinging event in the mile square city.
Zimmer said on Wednesday that she needs every bit of support in order to make Hoboken a better city.
“This is going to be a tough race. This is Hoboken, it always is,” she said. “We’ve accomplished a lot, but we can do so much more.” – Dean DeChiaro