Marriage equality rally held on July 24 in Pier A Park
On July 24, the first day that same-sex couples can marry in New York, Garden State Equality and Lambda Legal will hold a rally for marriage equality in Hoboken’s downtown Pier A Park, located across from the Manhattan skyline on the waterfront.
The event, which is hosted by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, begins at 2 p.m.
“Please join us and bring your family and friends to send the world a message: New Jersey must be next,” the organizers of the rally wrote in a press release.
Officials in New York voted on June 24 to legalize same-sex marriage.
Fair Share Housing Center files complaint against Zoning Board, developer
The Cherry Hill-based Fair Share Housing Center filed a complaint against the Hoboken Zoning Board and a developer earlier this month, alleging that the developer and board didn’t comply with Hoboken’s affordable housing ordinance for a new uptown Willow Avenue project that was approved in May.
The city has an ordinance, which some officials contend is not enforceable and should be changed, that requires 10 percent of new residential projects greater than 10 units to be low and moderate income units.
The local law also requires developers to state the number of low and moderate income units in a project, as well as their sizes.
City officials have said that the law should be updated by the City Council, removing the requirement, as they say it no longer complies with state law. The state often changes affordable housing requirements, and Hoboken’s municipal code hasn’t been updated to go along with the changes.
A former Zoning Board member, Mike Evers, brought the issue to the council’s attention in January, telling them there was a law on the books that had not been enforced in some time.
When presented with the opportunity to remove the “outdated” law from the municipal code in February, the council did not vote to strip the requirement. Some sources say they did not vote to remove the requirement because an election season was underway and they didn’t want to be seen removing requirements for affordable housing.
The law still hasn’t been changed by the council.
However, Hoboken NAACP President Eugene Drayton called on the city to stand behind the ordinance in a release, and to still require the new affordable housing.
The complaint was filed in Hudson County Superior Court in Jersey City around July 6.
The plaintiff in the complaint is the Fair Share Housing Center of Cherry Hill, and the listed defendants are The Zoning Board of Hoboken, and a local developer.
The civil suit, filed in Hudson County Superior Court, doesn’t request a jury trial.
Sires wins religious freedom provision in state department bill
Rep. Albio Sires (D-13th Dist.) attended a meeting of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs earlier this week to debate a pending bill to authorize funding levels for the Department of State, related programs, the Peace Corps, and security assistance for 2012. Sires won inclusion of language in H.R. 2583, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, expressing concern about the state of religious freedom in Egypt and the plight of religious minorities in the country, including Coptic Christians.
“With the addition of this language, the State Authorization bill addresses the critical issue of religious freedom in Egypt,” said Rep. Sires. “Coptic Christians in Egypt continue to face the threat of violence and persecution every day, and we must use all available tools to ensure that the rights of religious minorities are protected and promoted. However, as debate on this bill continues, I remain concerned with numerous provisions of the underlying legislation.”
Specifically, Section 811, authored by Sires, expresses the sense of Congress that the Office of International Religious Freedom and the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the Department of State should dedicate all appropriate resources to promoting the rights of religious minorities in Egypt. Sectarian violence in Egypt has persisted for years between Egyptian radical groups and Coptic Christians.
County scrambles to find cooling stations for homeless
With only one cooling station available to homeless in Hudson County – and that located in Hoboken – the administration of Hudson County is seeking to find ways to open more, with the expected temperatures to exceed 100 degrees over the next week or more.
Homeless activists complained that the cooling station at the Hoboken shelter is not accessible to the homeless who are in other parts of the county.
Freeholder Chairman Bill O’Dea said he had contacted County Administrator Abe Antun in an attempt to find more stations elsewhere in the county. The Journal Square area has the largest homeless population in the county, according to some activists.