Twenty-six people are running for six seats on the nine-member Hoboken City Council on May 13.
Council members earn approximately $20,000 a year. Three at-large members will not be up for election until 2005, when they run at the same time as the mayor.
In the coming weeks, the Reporter will present in-depth profiles of all the candidates, starting with the 1st and 2nd ward candidates this week, followed by the 3rd and 4th ward candidates on April 27, and the 5th and 6th ward candidates on May 4.
Each candidate was asked what issues he or she believes are the most important of the election. They were also asked what solutions they have to deal with those issues.
This year's election sees four different slates supporting candidates, and there are also several independents.
The first slate is supported by Mayor David Roberts, and they are using the "Hoboken United" name. That slate contains mostly incumbents.
Another high-profile slate contains disenfranchised Roberts supporters and long-time town activists. They are calling themselves the Hoboken Alliance for Accountable Government. This ticket is chaired by Councilwoman Carol Marsh and sponsored by Councilman Tony Soares.
A third group, Hoboken First, is supporting four candidates. Some of the issues the group is running on are balancing the budget without relying on non-recurring "one-shot" revenues, and undertaking a smart growth development plan for the western end of the city.
A fourth group, the Hoboken Citizen's Organization (HCO), includes independent long-time city activists like Daniel Tumpson.
In the 1st
The 1st Ward race could be one of the most hectic, with six competitors.
They are: Incumbent Theresa Castellano running independently, Shelley Miller on the mayor's ticket, Dominick Lisa supported by Hoboken First, Ron Rosenberg on the Hoboken Alliance ticket, and Tumpson on the HCO ticket. Running independently is Hoboken Police Lt. Edward Mecka.
The First Ward is made up of much of the southern waterfront, the Hoboken train terminal, and the southern end of Washington Street, including City Hall. Development, transportation, and economic issues are often in the forefront of 1st Ward debate.
As it is with every ward, the budget, parking, and traffic issues are also contentious subjects.
In the 2nd
The incumbent in the 2nd Ward is former high school principal Richard Del Boccio, who is running on the mayor's ticket. Del Boccio is a favorite among seniors, has the longest tenure on the council.
There are several other viable candidates ready to contend for the seat. John Corea is running with the support of Hoboken First. Beth Mason, of Hoboken Alliance, served as Mayor Roberts' designee to the Hoboken Planning Board and was the chairwoman of the Planning Board's Master Plan Subcommittee, but resigned over disagreements with mayor over ideology. Running on the HCO ticket is Hoboken resident Alice Misiewicz. Running as an independent is city employee Lucille Haack, who regularly attends City Council meetings, commenting on the city parking situation.
First Ward candidates
Theresa Castellano, 54, the incumbent 1st Ward councilwoman, has spent 25 years involved municipal government or volunteering on an assortment of the city's boards. The is a two-term councilwoman is a proud born and raised Hobokenite, who has owned City Discount, a retail store on Washington Street, for the past 34 years. Castellano is married to Robert Castellano, a Hoboken police detective, and has two sons. She is running as an independent.
During her time as a public servant, she has been an advocate for quality-of-life issues, public safety issues and historical preservation. More recently she has the gauntlet of being one of the council's most vocal critics of Mayor David Roberts' administration's fiscal practices.
"Because I grew up here, because I raised my children here, because my business his here, quality-of-life issues are really important to me," said Castellano during an interview Wednesday. "Because we live so close to where we shop and play, we have to be respectful of our neighbors and have good laws so that we can be good neighbors."
Some of these issues were advocating for Hoboken's one way door program that was adopted in 1994 to deal with bar noise. The law makes it so that bars can stay open until 3 p.m., but no one new is allowed to enter after 2 a.m. She also sponsored the city's "no ads" legislation that limits the distribution of handbills door to door. Residents that don't want the handbills can now put up yellow "no ads" stickers on their doors. Castellano was the primary sponsor a noise ordinance that creates stringent time and decibel levels limit on business and construction.
On development, Castellano said she focuses on the preservation of the city's historic character, providing for diversity, and moving forward with smart growth. For the past 25 years she has been on Hoboken Historic District Commission, a board that reviews projects in the city's historic district. "I look around at Washington Street and I'm proud," she said. "It could have easily turned into Journal Square, with billboards everywhere."
To keep Hoboken's diversity, she said that maintaining and building affordable housing is the solution. "We need to ensure that Hoboken remains an inclusive and affordable community by aggressively pursuing public and private partnerships to retain Hoboken's existing affordable housing stock and create new housing," she said.
Smart growth, she said, can be accomplished by supporting the completion of a new Master Plan, "preserving and protecting Hoboken's character by actively pursuing the re-drafting of Hoboken's Master Plan with the core of the plan preserving the city's original 19th century grid-based, low rise layout."
Castellano also supports the creation of an architectural review board, with requirements of "green space" into all future developments.
On the budget, she said that the city's spending is "out-of-control." "Right now we're spending too much money on the fat," she said. "We're going to have to look at the budget and find places to trim the fat, starting with the political jobs. The first step is to get rid of those."
On parking, she said that there are more spaces to be had in the 1st Ward by utilizing existing parking lots and encouraging construction of garages on existing paved, level lots. These lots include the Trust Company lot at Third and Washington, the lot at Observer and Washington, Hudson United bank's lot at First and Washington, Fleet Bank's lot at Second and Washington, and the City lot at One Police Plaza.
She is also a supporter of the "underutilized" Park and Shop program that give shoppers a discounted parking rate in the municipal garages. "Right now it's the best kept secret in town," she said. "I have requested permanent posters in all commercial establishments including restaurants."
Castellano, despite running independently, was a strong supporter of the previous mayor, Anthony Russo, and is his cousin. Russo is running for council in the 3rd Ward.
Life-long Hoboken resident Dominic Lisa, 51, said Thursday that he is running for the City Council to restore Hoboken's sense of community, and well as to protect the quality of life of its residents. "It's not easy to modernize a community and still retain its vital character," says Lisa. "The feelings and opinions of each and every resident are important guidelines to the ongoing evolution of this city."
Lisa is being supported by the Hoboken First organization, a civic organization that is supporting a "ticket of like-minded individuals" that have a compatible ideology with that of the Hoboken First Civic organization.
Lisa, a resident of Marie View towers, graduated from Hoboken High School and holds a Bachelors of Science from Jersey City State College and a Masters in Public Health from New York University. He has 18 years of experience as a drug and alcohol counselor, and currently is the director of public/community relations at the Community Education Center. He has volunteered in many capacities.
"When it comes to quality-of-life issues, there are three different topics that fall under that umbrella for me," he said. "The three key points are public safety, stabilizing taxes, and providing for educational and recreational options."
"It's a different world we live in since 9/11," he added. Lisa said that he does not believe the city has done enough to prepare for the possibility of future emergencies. He said the city need to publicly come forward with a plan outlining what the city has done, and what procedures the city will follow in case of an emergency. He also said that he would like for the city to investigate purchasing a new communication system.
In addition to emergency preparedness, he would like to measures taken to provide for better pedestrian safety, and a safer flow of traffic.
On the taxes issue, Dominic said that he is in favor of "smart growth" as a means to generate tax dollars. He said the waterfront and the middle of town is just about built out to capacity. According to him, the west side of town is still a prime location for sensible growth, which, he said, is needed to hold down taxes. "As a property owner I share the concerns over budget increases that lead to higher property taxes, and high municipal fees that are charged to both homeowners and tenants," he said. "This is one of the many reasons why I support development on the western side of Hoboken."
On recreation issues, he would like to see the effective programming of Pier C Park, a three-acre park that is currently being planned for the waterfront. He said he would like to see recreational options be put on the pier. Volleyball, basketball, and tennis courts are just a couple of the options that he gave. He added that he does not believe that Pier A is being fully utilized, especially when it comes to kids. He said that he would like to be a play area for kids, with new climbing equipment.
He said that he realized that such capital improvements cost money, but added that projects like that are perfect opportunities for public/private partnerships. "We have to use every resource available to us, and that includes the use of private companies," he said. "I think we need to bridge the gap between our residents, the private sector and the city of Hoboken."
But he added that new development should not distract from the city's sense of community. "This is a city whose leader must be mindful of the need to be fully cognizant regarding the planning and development of the physical structures that are the hub of our life- housing, commercial property, public garages and transportation centers," he said. "It's imperative that that quality of life is not sacrificed in the modernization of Hoboken."
Lisa serves on the Zoning Board and, unlike his peers, years ago voted in favor of a small homeless shelter in the 4th Ward. However, his colleagues, believing the area had too many non-taxpaying properties, voted it down.
Hoboken Police Lt. Edward Mecka, 50, is running for the Hoboken City Council as an independent. Mecka has lived in Hoboken for 30 years and has been a member of the force since 1978. He is currently a commander on the midnight shift. To avoid any appearances of campaigning on the job, Mecka taking 30 saved up vacation days to campaign, he said.
For Mecka, one of the biggest issues in the upcoming election is transparency in government. He said that all public government meetings should be videotaped and accessible online on the internet, or on public access. In fact, Mecka has videotaped that last two City Council meetings, and broadcasted the April 10 council meeting on his website www.edmecka.com.
"This is the basis of my truth in government platform," he said Wednesday. He added that the public deserves "timely and accurate access to public information."
Another issue that he said he plans on championing is Hoboken-resident employment at companies located in the city. He would like to see legislation that would give Hoboken residents "first interview" rights.
"[For] construction jobs at the western redevelopment project, office and technology jobs on the waterfront," said Mecka, "Hoboken residents should be given first preference."
Mecka is also in favor of a tax re-evaluation. Hoboken has not had a property reassessment since 1987. In that time property, values have risen well over 100 percent. This, said Mecka, has created a tax inequality where newer units that were recently assessed are paying a bigger piece of the tax pie than older units that were assessed in 1987. "Like it or not, we will have to face this issue," said Mecka. "The 15-year delay in assessment is symptomatic of the poor administrative performance of our elected officials. The longer reassessment is delayed, the greater the effect it will have on properties that have not been assessed since 1987."
Mecka said that he would also like to see better enforcement of quality of life laws, such as public drinking of alcoholic beverages, disorderly people, tavern brawls, and residency parking. "These laws are 'on the books' and must be enforced," he said.
On the topic of parks and open space, he said, he would like to create a public non-profit corporation to protect the environment of Pier A Park, much like the corporation that oversees Bryant Park in Manhattan. He said taking the control of the park out of the hands of the municipal government will insure the integrity of the park and prevent the government from parceling off space in the park to developers. Pier A is located in the 1st Ward.
Mecka is an advocate of the installation of free wireless internet technology. "I encourage and promote wireless 'hotspots' in public spaces throughout Hoboken," he said. "The public spaces include parks, coffee shops, and building lobbies."
He said that he intends to work with public and non-profit organizations to bring free broadband wireless internet to Hoboken residents.
On the issue of the homeless, Mecka said he would like to see more done. "I'm happy to see that the homeless issue is finally being addressed," he said. "While I applaud the Roberts administration for their recent efforts, we need to do more." He said that all county, state, federal and private resources should be utilized to address the homeless problem. "Many of Hoboken's homeless population spend their day in front of McDonald's at Third and Washington Street," he said. "Government can and must do more by providing access to training, jobs skills, and a fresh start at a productive life."
Shelley Miller is running on the Hoboken United ticket headed by Roberts. Miller has been behind the scenes as an activist in the past, but hopes to step into the foreground through this campaign. She has two grown children and four grandchildren.
Miller, an independent commutation consultant for more than 20 years, has lived in Hoboken since 1989. "I came to Hoboken because it reminded me of the neighborhoods in New York City where I grew up and went to high school," said Miller. "I missed the closeness and sense of community when I lived in Bergen County."
Miller said that she has been involved in the mile-square city since moving here. She has been a member of the Hoboken Community Coalition, a citizens' group active in waterfront issues. She is a charter member of the Hoboken Alliance for Lower Taxes and the Quality of Life Coalition, where she lobbied for the for the western alignment of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail. She is also one of the founding members of the Hoboken chapter of the League of Women Voters, which has already held school board candidates' night and will host a City Council candidates' night in the coming days.
In 1999, she was on the ground floor for the creation of the Hoboken United organization, which successfully challenged and defeated former Mayor Anthony Russo in 2001.
Miller said that there isn't a single most important issue in her ward. She said that she understands that parking, taxes, budgetary issues, and pace of development are all important issues and need to be addressed with a strong voice. She said her focus lies in the methodology and approach to dealing with these problems and issues.
"My focus in City Hall will be to serve my ward and my city," said Miller. "I have good ideas that I'm willing to work on with my fellow council colleagues. I can work with anyone. Differing points of view are healthy and don't stop us from working towards a consensus."
But one area she said she plans to champion is economic development. "We need more businesses," said Miller. A substantial part of Washington Street and Hoboken's business district is located in the 1st Ward. Miller said that industry and business not only bring in tax dollars, but help to create the identity and character of a city and its neighborhoods. Some ideas that she has for spurring economic development are applying for state and county grants that are available to the city to assist small businesses. She also said the city needs to be more active in approaching trade associations and supporting its Chamber of Commerce.
On the issue of parking, Miller said that she supports perimeter parking. "It's a good and wonderful idea," she said, "especially for those who rarely use their cars or those who primarily use their cars on weekend."
But she realizes a desire to build new garages is not enough and there are economic and logistical obstacles to making it happen. "It takes money to provide parking," she said, "and that money has to come from somewhere."
She said partnerships with local businesses, like the one that got the St. Mary Hospital's garage built, is one solution. Another idea she has is to look into subsidizing landlords that have extra capacity in their garages. She said if the city can bring down the monthly parking fee from over $200 a month to $150 or less, it might encourage more residents to park in those private garages. "I would like to see the city undertake a feasibility study or start up a pilot program," she said.
When asked what are the best aspects of Hoboken today, Miller said public interest in the political process is. "One of the best things about Hoboken is the increased awareness and willingness to participate in government," she said. "So many people have become so energetic about the process."
Ron Rosenberg, 50, is running the 1st Ward on the Hoboken Alliance ticket. The New York University MBA owns a company that distributes memory for computers and digital cameras. For the last 20 years he has been involved in successful technology start-ups.
Rosenberg, who is married with one daughter, is the current president of Hoboken Synagogue and has been for the past five years. The synagogue, which has grown substantially in the past year, currently has more than 200 active families, said Rosenberg.
"The city, as a whole, faces a number of major issues," he said Wednesday, "with the state of the budget obviously being one of the most important. If we continue on the path that we are on, we are shortly going to start running out of options."
He said that instead of facing current fiscal realities, the city has been selling off its property and relying on fickle non-recurring streams of revenue, which only makes the city structural budget deficit grow. He estimated the current structural deficit to be somewhere between $10 and $12 million for 2004. A structural deficit is when the city's annual spending is more than its sources of recurring revenues, such as taxes and state aid. The city keeps plugging the budget hole with different one-time revenues each year; for instance, this past year the city took almost $9 million for the former Hoboken Parking Authority's cash savings to fill the budget gap. So what will the city do next year?
"In New York City, just across the river, they're talking about doomsday alternatives," said Rosenberg. "But here in Hoboken we're not hearing anything about cutbacks from the City Council. In fact, they continue to make new hires and keep spending money. The City Council right now does not fully comprehend its responsibility to the public."
To solve the budgetary crunch, he said the city is going to have to start looking at where it can tighten its belt and will have to start looking at where it can cut the fat. He said the cutting has to start with political hires. "Right now there is a mentality of patronage that permeates this city," he said. He said that has to stop.
On the subject of parking, he said pedestrian safety is one of his biggest concerns. He said that it is unacceptable that cars are parking in crosswalks and bus stops, which is a real public safety issue. He added that development also plays a role in the parking and traffic nightmares. "Right now we have more cars than the streets can hold," he said.
He said the city's first priority should be focused on better enforcement, especially when it comes to violations that affect public safety, such as parking in crosswalks. He added the city should also consider more garages in the neighborhoods, and should better utilize the garages which it already does have. To do this, he said, the city needs to advertise its half-full garages more effectively, and should investigate having a shuttle transport people from the city's garages to Washington Street.
On the subject of economic development, he said that more retail stores would benefit the city. "Right now retail options are fairly limited," he said. "Our residents, by far, are spending more of their money out of town than in town."
When it comes to the city's educational system, he said he realizes that the Board of Education is the city's educational authority, but did say that a City Councilman can have a tangible impact when it comes to education. "Elected officials have a moral obligation to the city's children," he said. "While the council doesn't directly control the schools, council members are always quoted in the newspapers on the issues, and councilpersons are more recognized more readily at public meetings. Therefore, they do have an obligation to be engaged in educational issues."
Daniel Tumpson, 52, is running on the Hoboken Citizens Organization ticket. He's employed as a senior software developer who creates financial models and optimization software for a technology company in Millburn, N.J. Tumpson is a scientist who received a biomathematics degree from the University of California at Berkley, and a Ph.D. in physics from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken.
He has lived in Hoboken since 1978 and has been active in issues such as rent control, tenant advocacy, and development since 1981.
Tumpson has fought the powers-that-be and remained relatively independent in terms of prevailing political parties in town. He is generally on the side of whomever is protecting tenants and battling dense development.
Development issues have always been at the forefront for Tumpson. He said Wednesday that "overdevelopment" went into full swing under Mayor Anthony Russo's administration and continues "unabated" during Mayor David Roberts' administration.
"Projects that are currently being developed or have been approved are going to have a tremendous affect on quality of life issues like parking, traffic, light, and air," said Tumpson. "Our infrastructure, sewerage, water, electricity are all being affected by this overdevelopment, and this is costing the taxpayers money."
He added that while many politicians lobby for more development, thus more taxable property, to stabilize taxes, Tumpson believes that at its current level, any new development actually costs taxpayers money. He said because the city's infrastructure is so strained, there is a tremendous cost needed for upkeep and capital improvements for sewerage, water and electrical infrastructure.
He said when that is factored in with the cost for extra police, fire and garbage services, the costs outweigh the benefit of the new ratables.
He advocates a moratorium on development in Hoboken through the repeal of redevelopment ordinances, and a moratorium on zoning variances.
Tumpson added that he believes the current administration is pandering to the developers' needs, and not full respecting the needs of the voters. "Right now, they are only dedicated to representing a small group of individuals," he said.
Tumpson believes that it is government's duty to protect a person's right to be provided with necessities of life such as housing. That is why he has been a hard-charging advocate for issues such as rent control and tenant advocacy. He strongly opposes rent control that includes "vacancy decontrol," which allows an unlimited rent increase when the existing tenant vacates the apartment. "If rent control is eliminated, hundreds of tenants will lose their home and will be forced out of town," he said.
Tumpson is also against Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) agreements and redevelopment agreements. New Jersey state law provides incentives to redevelop blighted properties "in need of redevelopment." One incentive to lure developers is PILOT agreements, in which the developer pays an annual fixed tax to the city instead of the fluctuating municipal tax rate. The city makes out because with the PILOT agreement, the developer doesn't pay taxes to the county or schools, which makes the city's piece of the pie larger. Tumpson argues that redevelopment designation is not warranted for some of Hoboken's most valuable real estate, such as the Southern Waterfront project. He has said that other taxpayers end up paying more for county and school taxes when PILOT-paying redevelopments don't. He said that it does not make sense in the instances in which developers are given a lower tax rate.
Another issue that Tumpson believes strongly in is lobbying to save the Demarest School and Hoboken High School buildings. Under the Board of Education's current plan, those schools are scheduled to be decommissioned, and a new high/middle school complex is scheduled for the northwest section of town. The Board of Education has said on the public record that it intends to tear down the High School, but is saving the historic Demarest School building, although it is still unknown what the Demarest School will be used for once it is decommissioned.
Tumpson said the current schools should be renovated. He also expressed his concerns about contamination if new schools are built in formerly industrial areas.
John Corea, 39, is running with the support of Hoboken First. He is a partner in a Corea, Inc., a local retailer, and is a stock portfolio manager. Corea is a born-and-raised Hobokenite who has lived in the 2nd Ward his entire life. His grandfather immigrated to Hoboken for Italy in the early 1900s. He is married with two children. One attends the Wallace School the other Hoboken Catholic Academy.
"I'm never leaving this town," said Corea Tuesday. "I was born here, raised here, and am going to die here."
He is a graduate of Saint Peter and Paul in Hoboken, Xavier High School in New York, and Saint Peter's College in Jersey City. He has been involved with the Hoboken Little League, Hoboken youth basketball and Hoboken Youth Soccer League. He is also active in the Hoboken Catholic Parents' Association.
Corea said that there is a myriad of different topics that warrant attention. He said the budget, traffic, parking, development and education system are all subjects of concern for him. "My biggest issue is the budget," he said. "If the city was a business, it would be bankrupt by now."
He said that the city's municipal government has developed a culture blaming those that have come before for budgetary woes. "There's no accountability, consistency or stability in government," he said. "We have to stop blaming everything on the past administrations and start taking responsibility."
He said his solution is to "start everything from zero," meaning that from today on, the administration has to start taking account of where its budget is without placing blame on past politicians. "Each and every department has to be broken down and analyzed," he said. "Within six months, we will know which departments are losing money, which are making money, which ones need to stay, and which ones need to go."
Another issue that Corea is passionate about is the city's relationship to Stevens Institute of Technology, which is mostly in the 2nd Ward. "Stevens needs to become a self-sufficient, compliant neighbor," said Corea.
One area of concern for him is traffic. "Traffic congestion and parking in the area has reached crisis proportions," he said. "Local residents have lost hundreds of on-street parking spaces to out-of-town employees. Traffic congestion on Hudson Street and the cross streets from First to 14th street often produce gridlock that slows emergency vehicles trying to get to their destination."
His solution is to advocate for a change in the city's traffic pattern. He said that there is an existing road from Weehawken that runs behind the Hudson Tea Building, behind the Shipyard, and needs to be connected from behind the Maxwell House to Sinatra Drive. He said diverting traffic to a new road would "unclog" traffic in the city's interior roads.
He is also an advocate for Stevens building more parking spaces and parking garages. "Stevens needs to be self-reliant when it comes to parking," he said. "We need to eliminate the need for Stevens students and employees to park on our city streets."
He said Stevens should be encouraged to build even more on-campus parking spaces.
Corea said he would also push for the city to purchase an emergency broadcast system to communicate with Hoboken residents in case of an emergency. "Parents what to know what is going on with their kids if there is an emergency," said Corea.
On the topic of development, Corea said that he would like to see future commercial and large-scale residential development to be relegated to the perimeter edges of town. "The city has been poorly planned," he said. He said the city should engage in smart growth, which to him that means that once Maxwell House is built on the waterfront, the middle of the city will be built out. According to him, the west side of town is still a prime location for sensible growth, which, he said, is needed to hold down taxes.
Richard Del Boccio
Incumbent Richard Del Boccio, 62, is currently the senior member of the City Council. He has been on the governing body since 1988. He is Hoboken-born and has been a homeowner for the past 36 years. He is married and has three grown children.
Del Boccio is mostly retired now, but spent his professional career, over 35 years, as an educator in the Hoboken public school system, 15 years of which he spent as principal of the Calabro School. Currently he is an adjunct professor at St. Peter's College.
He is running on Mayor David Roberts' Hoboken United ticket. Del Boccio is seen by many as gentlemanly figure on the board, who has a strong relationship with the city's senior population. "They know I'm their friend," he said about his rapport with area seniors.
Del Boccio said that his is running on his record. He currently sits on the council's Revenue and Finance Committee. "I've always been very careful how taxpayers' money is spent," he said. "I'm very proud of the fact that I have not voted for a municipal tax increase over the past eight years."
He also sits on the council's Parking and Transportation Committee. He sponsored the ordinance that set aside half the city's streets for resident parking only. He has also sponsored an ordinance creating 250 parking spaces on Sinatra Drive. During the pervious administration, he was one of the loudest voices for the recently completed 740-car garage at St. Mary Hospital. Another parking bill that Del Boccio sponsored was to give each senior citizen a free yearly visitor's pass.
"We also need to create ball fields and parks for our children," he said. Del Boccio currently sits on the council's steering committee for Pier C Park. The proposed three-acre park is currently in the planning stages, and the steering committee will play a big role in how the space will be programmed. "I would like to see adult activities like volleyball, as well as, a children's playground," he said.
He added that he would also like to see a memorial dedicated to the history of the city's waterfront and the longshoremen that worked it. "We can't forget our history," he said.
Del Boccio also supports buying property for two ballfields in the city's interior. A possible location, he said, is the site of the Cognis Chemical Plant, which is slate to close later this year. That site is adjacent to where the Hoboken Board of Education wants to build a new high school/middle school complex.
As a life-long educator, Del Boccio said that the education of the city's children is very important. He said that while he fully supports the Board of Education's plan for new school construction, he said the first priority should be in the classroom. "I want to make sure we emphasize curriculum and the programs that we offer first, even moreso than the new buildings," he said. He added that he would like to see the humanities, history, art and music stressed in the classroom.
He is also a trustee of the city's public library, which the city has recently approved for major renovations, which include repairing the roof and windows, as well as installing an elevator to make the historic building handicap accessible.
On the issues of economic development, he has supported the return of the Shop-Rite supermarket in the Northwest Redevelopment zone, and has supported the proposed construction of a new "W" Hotel on the waterfront. "This will be the first hotel built in Hoboken in our lifetime," he said.
New to the proposed hotels in the Southern Waterfront Corporate Center, another project that he backed. "The two new buildings bring new jobs to Hoboken and economic stimulation for our existing merchants," he said.
Park Avenue resident Lucile Haack is running for City Council as independent. She is a life-long resident of the 2nd Ward and has been a city employee for the past 20 years. She currently he works as an account clerk in the Tax Office.
She is the daughter-in-law of Loretta Haack, the city's first female city councilwoman. She is married to Roy Haack, who spent 31 years working for the city. Before he retired in the early 1990s he was the city's director of Environmental Services.
For years, Haack has been a fixture at Hoboken City Council meetings, where she has been an advocate for reform of parking regulations, more open space, a recreational facility in the 2nd Ward, more police presence in the 2nd Ward, lower taxes, and sensible development.
On the topic of parking, Haack said that Stevens should be self-sufficient. When it comes to parking, she has several ideas and possible solution. She supports Stevens building the 700-car garage it is proposing for its campus. "Students and staff should be mandated to park in that garage," she said. "That will free up on-street parking spaces."
She added that the City Council should lobby the school to stop freshmen and sophomores from being able to have cars while at school.
Another concern that Haack has centers around the light rail. "We need to have perimeter parking near the light rail stops," she said. She is worried that if parking is not supplied for the light rail, transient traffic could pour over into the residential neighborhoods, a problem that is currently plaguing Bayonne.
Haack is also concerned about the city's budget. The City Council recently passed emergency appropriations that push the 2003 budget to $64 million, by far the city's biggest budget ever.
"We need to tighten the reins on the spending of this administration," she said. She added that salaries of recent hires are out of control. "I feel these are all political hires."
On the subject of development, Haack said that the only real area of town left to be developed is the western corner. "The city needs to place a recreational facility on the west side," she said. Her plan would call for buying two blocks. On one block the city could build a field for girls' softball. "Right now there really isn't any space available for the girls," she added. On the other place, she proposes building a multi-level parking facility with a swimming pool on the roof. She said the garage should be free and for residents only.
To help fund the projects, Haack would like to tap the county. "This year we're giving $29 million in taxes to the county," she said. "But expect for one small park (Columbus Park), we don't get anything for our money."
Haack is also an advocate of bring back a satellite police precinct to the 2nd Ward.
She is also supports eliminating having an elected Board of Education. She would prefer that the mayor appoint the board. "The mayor should be responsible for the school district," she said. "But as it stands now, only if the budget is voted down does the mayor have any say."
Second Ward candidate Beth Mason, 42, is running for the City Council because she believes Mayor David Roberts and his administration have missed too many opportunities to improvethe city and have not shown enough commitment to a progressive agenda for reform.
"He's basically running a government of headlines," said Mason Thursday afternoonabout the Roberts administration, meaning that she believes that Roberts promises a progressive reform agenda and grabs headlines by doing so, but then doesn't deliver on promises for change. That is why, she said, she has decided to run on the Hoboken Alliance ticket in opposition to Roberts' candidates.
Mason, who has lived in Hoboken since 1984, is married, and owns a management consulting firm that is located on the city's west side. She is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University. While she has been active in the community since moving to Hoboken, she made a name for herself when a citizen action group that she helped form, stopped a Hudson Street garage project by hiring their own lawyer and planners and writing their own ordinance that eventfully got passed by the City Council. During that process, Mason worked closely with Roberts and campaigned for him during his run for the mayor's office.
Once elected, Roberts appointed Mason to be his designee on the city's Planning Board. On the board she quickly took the lead in starting up the process to create a new Master Plan, becoming the chairperson of the Planning Board Master Plan Subcommittee and championing the process that will eventually produce a document that will set development guidelines in the city for the next several decades.
Mason was also instrumental in overhauling the board's old fee structure and installing a new policy forcing developers of large-scale projects to present a concept review before submitting a formal application, a step which gives the public an additional opportunity to learn about the larger proposed projects.
But in January she resigned over disagreements with mayor over several appointments and ideology when it comes to development. She was upset that the Maxwell House project, a massive residential development scheduled for the 2nd Ward, was voted on December 23 when hardly any members of the public were able to attend. Roberts was and is a vocal support of that project. That project was before the board for 18 nights of public hearings, and she said the vote could have waited a week or two until the Christmas season was over.
She was also upset over several January reappointments of board members who were appointed or re-appointed by former Mayor Anthony Russo. Mason said the Roberts was reverting to the policies of the past. "I am running because we are squandering our opportunities to encourage diversity and economic development that benefits everyone," said Mason recently.
Mason added that completing the Master Plan and making sure it is fully implemented imperative is one of the most important goals. "Right now, we're looking at every issue on a piecemeal basis," she said. "A Master Plan will give a vision of where the city wants to go in the future. That's something we don't have right now."
She added that without a vision or a plan, the city can't integrate its infrastructure: sewerage, traffic, parking, electricity. The longer development is approved on a "piecemeal" basis, she says, the longer problems with flooding, lack of parking spaces, blackouts in the summer, and other important issues are going to get worse.
"Every new development project needs to be looked at by how it relates to other development that is being built in the city," she said. Mason added that the city doesn't have a plan for economic development, or attracting new and exciting business.
"We cannot retain diversity if every construction project is a luxury rental composed of only one- and two-bedroom units," she said in campaign literature. "We cannot speak about economic development when there is no active plan by our government to attract businesses."
Alice Misiewicz, 48, is a freelance book editor and is running on the Hoboken Citizens' ticket in the 2nd Ward. She is married and has resided for the last 16 years in Hoboken.
She is active in Coalition for a Better Waterfront and the Hudson County Tenant Council. "Since my husband and I have lived in Hoboken for 18 years, we've seen how the city has been changed from a worn but authentic historic urban landscape into a place distorted by unplanned, inappropriate and unsustainable development," said Misiewicz.
Misiewicz graduated from New York University with a degree in English, and holds a certificate in publishing procedures from Stanford University. She is the former managing editor of the publications service of the Child Welfare League of America, and is currently working as a language instructor. She is also a founding member of the Hudson County Alliance, a grassroots organization whose purpose is to "protect, the public health, safety, and quality of life from harmful development."
"Hoboken had the potential to become a tiny jewel of a city on the Hudson, a potential that is fast being destroyed," she said last week.
Misiewicz say that slowing development is one of her primary objectives. "If Hoboken is to maintain its reputation as a desirable location, city officials must halt development until the new Master Plan is finished," she said.
She added that there is proof that the city is overdeveloped around every corner. "Development is definitely harming the public," she said Wednesday, "when people can't cross the street because there are cars parked in the crosswalk and in bus stops, or when you can't cross the street because there is flooding. How can you say development isn't harming the public?"
Misiewicz, who doesn't own a car, also said that pedestrian safety is important to her. "Hoboken is one of the only cities in the world where people think that cars have the right of way," she said. She suggested that four-way red lights and traffic calming measures should be placed around the city.
Misiewicz also supports protecting the city's open space. She said that Hoboken has for too little open space, and much of that is already being compromised by surrounding development. One example of this, she said, was Columbus Park, which has a large residential building actually hanging over the playground. She supports protecting and preserving Hoboken's limited public and open space by opposing the transfer of public lands to private developers and by using eminent domain to secure waterfront and other underdeveloped and environmentally desirable properties to preserve as public parkland.
Misiewicz has been a long time advocate for rent control. She said she wants to protect Hoboken's less wealthy long-term residents; therefore the existing rent control protections need to be maintained.
On the subject of taxes, she said too many contracts are doled out to political contributors, and patronage currently runs rampant in City Hall. "[We need] to spend our tax dollars on only necessary services," she said, "with no tax abatements or other political favors given to developers or other campaign contributors."
Wards:The 1st Ward includes the southern waterfront, the train terminal, and the southern end of Washington Street. The 2nd Ward includes much the northern waterfront, and much of the northern end of Hudson Street. Residents can vote only in their ward.
Pictured Above: Theresa Castellano
Richard Del Boccio