In a move that's nothing but a head-scratcher, someone has tactlessly emblazoned Mayor Roberts' campaign posters in the former Empire Coffee storefront amidst concerns that too many local businesses like Empire Coffee have been pushed off Washington Street, the city's main thoroughfare, by exorbitant rents.
It's not that I expect Mayor Roberts to pay the rents of every small business in town, nor do I hold him solely responsible for the avarice and shortsightedness of the city's property owners. But you've got to figure at least one of the people working on the Roberts campaign (if they are the ones who put the posters up) would see that as a bad PR move. If they haven't, Mr. Mayor, I strenuously suggest you look into getting new people.
The press release announcing this initiative came out in December and stated the process would be underway in January. An e-mail and a phone call to the mayor's office last week to inquire about the status of the process went unanswered.
I'd be willing to bet no retail expert would suggest converting former storefronts into political billboards as a way to invigorate the local economy. Nor would a retail expert suggest putting a Washington Mutual Bank in the storefront next to the North Fork branch across the street from the other North Fork Branch (I'm not making this up - check out Third and Washington).
"Hey, let's head into Hoboken, where we can check out all the new the banks! Then if we have time maybe we can look at the campaign posters - that's a hell of a lot more exciting than shopping at unique local merchants..."
Who knows, though - with the mayoral election right around the corner, perhaps we can get a breath of fresh air. How about a disgruntled councilwoman who used to like the mayor but now thinks he's a big meanie?
Or how about the direct spawn of the former mayor, a mayor who was indicted by the FBI for bribery and recently pleaded guilty to lesser charges and is awaiting sentencing?
Then there's the parade of local activists who can't afford to rent buses with loudspeakers that clog Hoboken's thoroughfares on a Saturday afternoon, so nobody ever hears (of) them.
Or you can pin your hopes on some Yuppie internet columnist who announced his candidacy last October in an effort to feed his own ego but hasn't said jack about it since. Joe Concha writes for a sappy website which reads like Molly Ringwald's diary from 1985 - filled with dating tips from single people who apparently suck at dating. And because he's considered to be a bit of a local celebrity - right up there with the Hoboken Beer and Soda crowd and the chick on the Zap-Lube commercials - he feels he's qualified to be mayor.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking to start some feud just because Joke Oncha could be considered a "rival" columnist. I'm not looking instigate Hoboken's own lame, lilywhite version of 50 Cent v. The Game - Uptown 'Boken v. Downtown 'Boken. I'm just disappointed that someone could so recklessly damage the agenda of the city's younger inhabitants by taking away our credibility as a political entity for the sake of his own sense of self. "Gee Hal - you're so high and mighty. Why don't you run for mayor?"
Because over the past few years, I have basically outlined my own character assassination in this very column and would serve as nothing but a useless distraction in an election for mayor of Hoboken. Perhaps that's something another columnist should have thought about before he ran his mouth off.
I sure am looking forward to Hoboken's election season - after the fun and excitement of last fall's election it'll be nice to listen to blowhards rambling in long, sustained shouting matches over subjects that'll never be resolved anyhow.
Christopher M. Halleron, freelance writer/bitter bartender, writes a biweekly humor column for The Hudson Current and websites in the New York Metro area. He spends a lot of his time either in front of or behind the bar in Hoboken, New Jersey where his tolerance for liquor grows stronger as his tolerance for society is eroded on a daily basis. Feel free to drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.