As Hoboken Branch NAACP President, I am writing this letter to express "the other side" of Mayor David Roberts 100 Days. Contrary to his platform of: "diversity, inclusion and citizens participation", to date-Mayor Roberts has not shown any interest in the issues of the African-American citizens of Hoboken.
On Thursday, October 11, my committee and I had a meeting with Mayor Roberts, in an attempt to try and abridge some of the concerns of the African-American citizens who constantly reach out to me to assist them with various issues.
The point of the meeting was completely missed by Mayor Roberts. We thought if we gave Mayor Roberts the forum to discuss how he intends to include African-Americans in his administration, he would allay our feelings of being excluded. Mayor Roberts chose this time to point the finger at the previous administration outlining what was done wrong-well, how soon he forgot-he was a part of that administration!
I had a previous meeting with Mayor Roberts in mid August (a third person was present). During that meeting I discussed several items with Mayor Roberts with regards to making his administration more diverse by "including African-Americans". During that meeting, Mayor Roberts gave me his word and assured me that the items we spoke on would come to fruition. I called Mayor Roberts two weeks later to follow up. He did not return my call. After several attempts by telephone, to no avail, my committee and I went to the Mayor's office unannounced and demanded an appointment; Thursday, October 11 at 6 p.m. was that appointment.
At the October 11 meeting, after Mayor Roberts gave us a tour of his office, we sat at the table to begin our meeting. Mayor Roberts asked each person seated at the table: Have you ever been in the mayor's office before? As though it was something original he did. Everyone answered, yes, I was here before (thank you Mayor Russo). I thought, how could this man be so out of touch!
I then asked Mayor Roberts to give me the status of the items we discussed at the previous meeting of August. Mayor Roberts reneged, backpedaled, flip flopped, did a 180 degree turn on everyone of the items he agreed on previously. Mayor Roberts then proceeded to try to make me the villain. I then realized that his hostility stems from the fact that the Board of Education did not support Mayor Roberts' effort to "redirect the $55 million School Construction Grant" for the Magnet School collaboration with Stevens Institute -Mayor Roberts' project-which would take the money from Connors School and spend it to build an elite school.
After my committee and I left Mayor Roberts' office, it was unanimously agreed that the behavior of Mayor Roberts was confirmation of his disrespect of the African-American citizens that he so clearly exhibited in his actions thus far. Everyone left the meeting with a negative prospective of the person at the helm of the city of Hoboken, in our quest for inclusion and representation.
In Mayor Roberts' assessment of his "100 days in office (Jersey Journal, Oct. 12, 2001) Hoboken Mayor Feeling Proud" Mayor Roberts boasting that he has hired more "women and Latinos than every other mayor in the history of the city." The point I noticed: nowhere in that article was there any mention of a single African-American, and Mayor Roberts is feeling proud? It is very obvious that Mayor Roberts needs a reality check and we will see to it at the polls on November 6, 2001.
In closing, I truly hope (since Mayor Roberts feels that he has cloaked himself with some of the brightest, qualified people to hid behind) someone with vision in Mayor Roberts Administration would have the insight to advise him that he has an obligation to be the mayor of all the citizens in the city of Hoboken.
Carrie Gilliard, President
Hoboken Branch NAACP