Mayor, councilman sue county to ease voting in 4th Ward
Mayor Dawn Zimmer wants to reduce the size of a district in her home 4th Ward so that voting is no longer an hour-long affair for some residents in southwest Hoboken.
Zimmer, along with Councilman David Mello, Keith Furman, and Sandra Reinardy, residents of the city’s 4-2 district, filed a lawsuit seeking to compel Hudson County to reduce the size of district 4-2 to comply with state law.
Districts must be finalized 75 days before the primary election in June, which means that the county needs to address the problem by mid-March.
The suit names the Hudson County Board of Elections, Hudson County Superintendent of Elections, and the Clerk of Hudson County as defendants. The lawsuit was filed in the Chancery Division of New Jersey Superior Court.
“In 2008 and 2009, 4-2 residents were forced to wait in unacceptably long lines in order to exercise their right to vote,” Zimmer said. “The law is clear, and we must comply with the law and fix the problem now before the presidential election coming up in November.”
The state law restricts election districts to between 500 and 750 registered voters, according to the release, and 4-2 has nearly 2,500 registered voters.
Statistics provided by the mayor show that each of the four districts in the city’s 4th Ward has over 1,200 registered voters, but the focus of the suit is on subdividing the largest district, 4-2.
Mello said on Wednesday night after the City Council meeting that there have always been exceptionally long lines in the district that often extend out the door. He added that there is “already voter apathy, and the long lines exacerbate the problem.” Mello said that the solution would be to add more districts in the 4th Ward.
Councilman Tim Occhipinti, a Zimmer foe who represents the 4th Ward, said in a phone interview that he was disappointed that he was not contacted by the mayor or Mello for input.
“I believe their reasons for creating a new district certainly hold merit,” Occhipinti said. “But there is a process in place that the county follows to change districts based on size after the wards have been redistricted…it might not meet the timeline that Mayor Zimmer wants, but this will happen after the process is complete.”
The mayor said the next step is the filing of an order to show cause, followed by a hearing before a judge, which is most likely to take place in the next week, she said.
Despite cancellation of parade, Internet sites rallying to party in Hoboken in March
After the Hoboken St. Patrick’s Parade Committee announced on its website earlier this month that they were canceling this year’s parade, saying they refused to have it on a dark weekday night and wanted to keep it on Saturday, several people have started Facebook pages and a website urging people to come party on the first Saturday of March anyway.
Someone has set up an event called “Hoboken Lepre-Con,” saying people should wear leprechaun outfits and party on the first Saturday of March.
St. Patrick’s Day falls this year on the third Saturday of the month, so that may also be a partying day in the mile-square city.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer wanted the parade to be held on a weekday this year because the past few years, the Saturday parades have brought throngs of young partiers to the mile-square city. Last year, there were alleged sexual assaults and other mayhem. But the parade committee refused to move the parade to a weekday.
Zimmer has said that the city will hold its own St. Patrick’s Day observance.
Several Facebook pages have sprung up besides the Lepre-con site. One page that is actually older, “Hoboken St. Patrick’s Day 2012,” was started last summer to make sure people would still come party on the first Saturday even if the parade was moved. That page already has 1,876 people who said they’re coming and another 1,667 invited.
State of the City address scheduled for Jan. 25
Mayor Dawn Zimmer will deliver her second State of the City address on Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. in the Debaun Auditorium (24 Fifth St. on the campus of Stevens Institute of Technology).
In last year’s address, the mayor proposed a $20 million bond for open space acquisition, which the council later approved. No property has been purchased yet, because the city is still in negotiations with property owners in the southwest portion of Hoboken to buy land for park space.
In the 2011 address, Zimmer set forth three goals for the city from her administration. One goal was “to operate as fiscally responsible and cost effectively as possible so [the city] can reduce and stabilize taxes for the long term.” A second goal outlined in the speech was to “address the city’s significant infrastructure challenge.” A third goal presented was to “improve the quality of life for all Hoboken residents.”
County planning board tables controversial Monarch at Shipyard Project
The Hudson County Planning Board tabled the proposed uptown Monarch at Shipyard Project on Wednesday night, and discussion will continue at a special meeting in the near future, according to a newspaper report. Ironstate Development wants to erect two 11-story residential buildings on inland piers uptown near the corner of 15th and Hudson streets, just east of the Hudson Tea Building. The plan must also be approved by the local Planning Board, and a hearing is expected in early February. The proposal has been met with resistance because the city’s master plan calls for open space in that area. Ironstate Development is a division of Applied Housing.
Business community members invited to Emergency Operations Plan meeting
The Hudson County Chamber of Commerce and the Hudson County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) are inviting members of the business community to discuss ways to strengthen preparedness, response, and recovery. A meeting will be held Friday, Jan. 27 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Culinary Conference Center at Hudson County Community College at 161 Newkirk St. in Jersey City.
The focus of the event is to gather leaders from both the public and private sectors to develop solutions and share concerns as the OEM updates the region’s Emergency Operations Plan. The session will begin with Charles McKenna, Director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness. It will also feature an overview of the Regional emergency Operations Plan by Jack Burns, coordinator of the Hudson County OEM. There will also be an open discussion with attendees to air ideas for strengthening preparedness.
Admission is free. To RSVP, send your contact information and additional guest names to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author of ‘Hidden New Jersey’ to sign books on Jan. 28 at ‘Greetings from Hoboken’
Linda J. Barth, the author of “Hidden New Jersey,” will be signing copies of her book at Greetings from Hoboken (327 Washington St.) on Jan. 28 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
The book explains the past and present of New Jersey, America’s third state. The book is intended for children ages 6-9.
Team NJ Triple Threat to host free basketball clinic sponsored by HUMC
Team NJ Triple Threat, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, will host a free basketball clinic for boys and girls in grades 5 through 8 on Jan. 28 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Hoboken High School (800 Clinton St.). The event is sponsored by Hoboken University Medical Center.
Triple Threat coaches, as well as coaches from Hoboken High School, will instruct at the clinic. Each participant will receive a t-shirt, basketball guide booklet, group photo, and a certificate of completion. Up to 30 basketballs will also be given away. For more information or to register, contact Coach Dom at (201) 232-3170 or Coach Alex at (201) 906-4351. Participants are asked to register before the event.
Hoboken Family Alliance schedules 10th Annual Cabin Fever Festival
The 10th Annual Cabin Fever Festival, sponsored by the Hoboken Family Alliance, will be held on Feb. 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hoboken High School (800 Clinton St.).
Cabin Fever Festival is an open house for unique and fun kids’ activities in and around Hoboken presented by the HFA, a local non-profit organization.
The festival also provides an opportunity for residents to meet other local families and HFA members. Last year, several families walked away with raffle prizes, and this year’s prizes include a flat screen TV.
For more information, visit HobokenFamily.com. Those interested in learning more about volunteering for Cabin Fever should contact Sabrina Blom, the HFA Co-Events Director, at email@example.com.