It seems impossible to believe that we’re still fighting over the valid results on Hoboken Public Question No. 2 (HPQ No. 2) in last November’s election. Mile Square Taxpayers Association (MSTA), a group of developers, hired mercenary lawyers, outsiders with no connection to Hoboken, our vibrant community made up of divergent cultures and classes. MSTA lawyers have expressed their contempt for the ordinary Hobokenite with the smug declaration that “owners are better readers than tenants”. This isn’t a racial or ethnic issue. The only color that these folks are interested in is green, a different greening of Hoboken. It’s about money and greed.
While the rest of Hoboken was helping their neighbors with the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, Mr. Gormally, MSTA’s lawyer, and his paid sidekick, Mr. Simoncini, were busy, like garden slugs, leaving their slime trail throughout the city. They had already managed to have the ballot question written to be deliberately confusing and they’d hijacked the Hoboken Fair Housing Association’s (HFHA’s) use of the word “fair” in their flyers that papered the town so that if you voted “yes” on HPQ No. 2 you were voting for vacancy decontrol and against rent control. On Election Day they hired young people from outside of Hoboken to pass out flyers and harass HFHA volunteers. Some folks were paid for their vote. I don’t know who paid them but do know that individuals sold their vote.
How do I know this? On Election Day, two young men apologized to me for doing what they were doing. One, a homeless youth, had been in a shelter after Sandy, another was a young man from Jersey City. Their words essentially were, “I know that it’s wrong, but they offered to pay me and I needed the money.” On a different day a disabled individual innocently told me that he was going to pick up his check for voting. I was stunned but didn’t ask where he was going or who was paying him. I wouldn’t take advantage of him as did whoever paid him.
Despite the actions of MSTA, we, the Hoboken community, won. Right? Wrong. This same cadre of mercenaries went to court with a list of “disenfranchised Hoboken voters”, who, displaced by the storm, had voted in other municipalities where local questions were not on the ballot. What? How could there possibly be local questions on every ballot in the state? Neither the election officials, nor the court examined the list which contained duplicate names and names of voters who, by affirmation, stated that they didn’t live in Hoboken on Election Day. I fully believed that Justice would prevail. We live in a Democracy but, that didn’t apply to Hoboken. Big money means big influence.
Remember “Heaven, Hell or Hoboken”? It’s now, “Where the hell is Hoboken?” It is being carted off in dumpsters. High rise buildings with high rents are being constructed. Who will be left in town? On Election Day, you have an opportunity to bring Democracy back to Hoboken. Vote “no” on Hoboken Public Question 1.