Last week the minority city council members- Theresa Castellano, Beth Mason, Michael Russo and Tim Occhipinti failed to vote yes on a sensible plan put forward by Parking Director Ian Sacs to modernize and expand the Hoboken Hop shuttle via a bond ordinance.
The Hop is one of Ian's many success stories. The system is doing so well (exceeding projections) that it often becomes crowded or full. This means an uncomfortable situation or even bypassing fares. The old buses are subject to frequent, expensive breakdowns. When this occurs riders lose and taxpayers are forced to pay the bills.
Ian's plan was simple. Buy 5 buses vs. the current 4 and add a new route alleviating overcrowding and the breakdowns. If one of the fiscally incompetent obstructionists had voted yes the bond issue would be repaid from higher, more consistent revenues and the end of expensive repairs, not from further taxes.
The new shuttles would be ADA compliant, meaning that our disabled citizens could now use this valuable service. Shame on the obstructionists for not caring about riders, taxpayers and our disabled citizens.
The 5-4 vote to utilize eminent domain “ED” (only if necessary) for parks in the 3rd and 4th Wards was passed. While many of my conservative friends are opposed, I reminded them that it is in the 5th Amendment of our Constitution. Historically it was used for public purposes-a bridge/tunnel, schools and yes, parks. Central Park would not exist without ED.
The Kelo vs. New London decision allowed greed as a public purpose. This something I disagree with, but since I respect the rule of of law I acknowledge it is legal. Several years ago ED was proposed to be used to take a private storage company's property on Adams Street. In its place were to arise condos. This is the famous “its for the kids” mantra shouted out by Theresa Castellano and Michael Russo. They promised a pool and community center that never materialized since those council members failed to put any enforcement in Hoboken receiving the promised amenities. Mayor Zimmer has promised that any new development would include language that amenities would be built. This is a sea change from the past.
Russo and Castellano are first class hypocrites for voting in favor of ED when taking private property and giving it to private property but not in favor of taking private property for a public purpose. Russo and Occhipinti are also hypocrites for saying they want a park in their Ward and then denying Mayor Zimmer all tools to make it happen.
The minority has consistently attempted to block bonding (except for parks and the waterfront). Bonding is a prudent method for capital projects. This is asset/liability matching and a concept that the minority cannot comprehend. In Hoboken our bonding level is extremely low. This is why we need it for improving our creaky infrastructure and other long term projects. The minority claim they care about Hoboken and their Ward, but their votes consistently show the opposite.