Mayor Dawn Zimmer testifies before U.S. Senate committee about Sandy
Mayor Dawn Zimmer testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship on Thursday. Zimmer discussed the impact that Hurricane Sandy had on Hoboken and the unique challenges Hoboken is still facing with recovery. Zimmer addressed how the National Insurance Program does not meet the needs of many Hoboken residents, and is not conducive to urban environments.
Zimmer said in her testimony that the estimated damage to Hoboken is well over $100 million.
“Hurricane Sandy was devastating for Hoboken, our businesses and our residents,” Zimmer said. “For the first time in history, the Hudson River spilled into Hoboken from the north and south, flooding more than half our city. Our community center, public works garage, three of our four fire houses, and more than 1700 homes flooded. We estimate the total damage to our community at well over $100 million.”
Zimmer also said in her testimony that the insurance definition of “basement” has hurt many Hoboken residents and business who have garden apartment dwellings. Zimmer said that the “flood insurance trap” has forced many to buy the flood insurance, but has not helped them.
“When businesses located in a flood zone buy their properties, they are forced to purchase flood insurance by their mortgage companies. But the Flood Insurance Program treats garden-style businesses as if they were “basements.” And under FEMA’s definition of a “basement,” the coverage is greatly limited to only include things like the boiler, hot water tanks, and electrical control panels,” she said.
Zimmer also said that people with vacation homes are reaping $250,000 checks for homes at the shore but businesses and main residences continue to fall through the cracks. Zimmer urged Congress to take action.
“In the immediate term, I strongly urge Congress to provide direct assistance for businesses and residents caught in the flood insurance trap. Specifically, I ask you to take action to address the unfair basement issue for the future,” Zimmer said in her testimony.
A Hoboken Tale is today
The Garden Street School of Performing Arts will be showing an original musical on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Hoboken High School, Ninth and Clinton streets. The musical is based in and about Hoboken. Written by Dan McLoughlin and produced by Annie McLoughlin, the story is created by Hobokenites about Hobokenites. The story is about supporting the local community by shopping and eating locally. The show is one show only. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for kids. Reserve your ticket by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Menendez intern, alleged illegal immigrant and sex offender, arrested
An unpaid intern working in the offices of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) was arrested by agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office on Election Day, Nov. 6, outside his New Jersey home, according to an AP report. The intern, Luis Sanchez Zavaleta, 18, was originally working in the United States on a work visa from Peru, but allegedly remained in the country after his visa had expired. Zavaleta was reportedly required to register as a sex offender in 2010, although the reasons are unclear as Zavaleta was a minor at the time.
Sen. Menendez, a Hoboken resident and former Union City mayor, told the AP that his staff was notified of the arrest on Monday, and had no previous knowledge of Sanchez’s legal status as an immigrant or a sex offender. The senator himself was notified on Tuesday, said his communications director, Tricia Enright, who said he was “appalled” by the news.
Sen. Menendez addressed the issue in an interview with MSNBC, which was planned as an opportunity for him to discuss his vehement pro-immigration policy views.
“We certainly wouldn’t have known through any background checks, since he is a minor, about any sex offender status,” he told MSNBC. “It does speak volumes about why we need comprehensive immigration reform. I can’t know who is here to pursue the American dream versus who is here to do it damage if I cannot get people to come forth out of the shadows.”
In a statement issued to The Hudson Reporter, Enright said that ties between Sanchez and the Senator’s office were immediately severed upon Sanchez’s arrest.
“Luis Sanchez was an unpaid college intern in our Newark office for approximately two months. No staff member responsible for managing the internship program had reason to believe, based on their interview process, that Sanchez had any criminal background or immigration issues,” said the statement. “Clearly Mr. Sanchez [allegedly] sought to deceive our staff.”
Enright also speculated that a possible reason for the confusion was due to Zavaleta’s last name. On his application and resumes sent to Sen. Menendez’s office, he listed his last name as Sanchez, rather than Zavaleta, Enright said.
“No one in our office ever knew him as anyone other than Luis Sanchez,” she said.
The AP report alleged that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had directed ICE agents to wait until after the election to make the arrest, but Peter Boogaard, a spokesman for DHS, stated in a story that the AP’s report was “categorically false.” According to the AP, he did not specify which aspects of their story were false.
Zavaleta is currently imprisoned and could face deportation, the AP says.
‘Restore Our Shore’ event coming to City Bistro
“Restore Our Shore” and City Bistro, 56 14th St., Hoboken, will throw a benefit event on Monday, Dec. 17 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. to help communities affected by Sandy on the New Jersey Shore. There will be a $25 entry fee at the door that will entitle guests to one free drink ticket and complimentary hors d’oeuvres. There will also be a silent auction, a 50/50 raffle and live music provided by DJ Kevin. For more information on “Restore Our Shore” please visit www.RestoreOurShore.com or Facebook.com/restoreourshorenj or Twitter.com/sosjerseyshore
Eli Manning-autographed Super Bowl football auctions for $650 in support of Fund for a Better Waterfront
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning gave an autographed football to a Fund for a Better Waterfront event Tuesday. The football was auctioned off for $650. The event, hosted by FBW and Eastern Environmental Law Center, was held at the Elks club. Manning could not attend but released a statement showing his support of FBW’s efforts opposing local overdevelopment and other waterfront threats.
“The Fund for a Better Waterfront has played an integral role in the planning, development and protection of Hoboken’s beautiful waterfront over the past twenty years. I’d like to see their success continue for many years to come," he said.
Manning lives uptown in the Tea Building on the waterfront.
Fund for a Better Waterfront has protested the possible sale of the Union Dry Dock company to NJ Transit (but NJ Transit has since said the sale won’t happen). The group also has opposed high-rises from NJ Transit, a bill allowing Stevens Institute to circumvent local zoning regulations, and the Shipyard Monarch development project. The Shipyard issue is scheduled to be heard in court this Friday.
Hoboken Holiday Banding
The City of Hoboken will present musicians banding together for a cause on Thursday, Dec. 20 at Maxwell’s, 1039 Washington St. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Classic holiday favorites will be performed by: Elena Skye & Boo Riners of the Demolition String Band, Tammy Faye Starlite, Chris Butler, Karen Kuhl, Jack Skuller, Dave Calamoneri, Julio Fernandez, The Cucumbers with Jon & Deena, Abbe Rivers, The Gefkens, Bianca Bob, Gene Turonis, Emily Turonis & The Ideals, Lloyd Gold, Sputnik, Jim Testa, AnnaLee Van Kleeck, Tom Vincent & The Holiday Banding House Band. Admission is $7. For more information call (201) 239-6639.