As we prepare to vote for Mayor, it is important to be clear on the differences between the three major candidates.
Mr. Cammarano says if the Council voted for the ‘09 budget Hoboken would be OK because the State would not have taken over. Just like Mayor Roberts he offers no plan to address Hoboken’s $15 million structural deficit.
Mr. Cammarano objects to the Fiscal Monitor starting a Property Revaluation (not done since 1988), saying this should be left to elected officials. He sees the BOE as an elected body, not accountable to City Hall.
Mr. Cammarano thinks the City taking over the hospital was appropriate but cannot calculate the City’s exposure on the $52 million bond guarantee.
Ms. Mason has the answers to Hoboken’s problems through her investigations, OPRA requests, committee meetings and litigation. Her solutions can simply be parachuted into City Hall and all will be fixed.
Ms. Mason will just “down-size” all agencies, retrain and re-deploy city employees, and get union “give-backs.”
Ms. Mason says PILOTs should be used to rehabilitate underutilized parts of town then voted for renewal of the Church Towers PILOT. She celebrated the W Hotel which received a PILOT even though million-dollar condo owners live there.
Ms. Mason was against the Roberts plan to take over the hospital but has not presented a specific plan to get the City off the bond guarantee. She proposes that the REVAL be deferred until 2011.
Ms. Mason said keep City politics out of the BOE election and did not endorse any candidates, but after the election put out an advertisement congratulating KIDS FIRST.
Dawn Zimmer thinks we need a consensus on core values for community development to shape the master plan, redevelopment proposals and individual projects. Dawn will implement a process where we will discuss, develop and formalize core values for Hoboken.
Some of the core values I believe Dawn has in mind. Fiscal responsibility, transparency and accountability. A commitment to open spaces. Maintaining Hoboken as a small town with unique neighborhoods. The City should not own a hospital – it needs to be re-privatized. The Mayor must work with the BOE to develop a three year “excellence” plan.
Dawn’s accomplishments include: exposed 16 years of fiscal management; sponsored a resolution requiring disclosure of the costs of PILOT tax abatements as compared to regular taxation; rejected a ten year extension of the Church Towers PILOT that could continue subsidies that benefit all tenants, including those making over $100,000 per year, without protecting those who really need affordable housing; worked to reopen the discussions on the rerouting of Patterson Plank Road; and sponsored resolutions establishing an Open Space Trust Fund, creating Hoboken’s first bike lanes, and enabling Hoboken to obtain a grant funded energy audit.
Electing Mr. Cammarano would be a continuation of the Russo/ Roberts “status quo”, “pay-to-play”, “ friends first” government.
Electing Ms. Mason would bring a “top-down” management based on certainties like “Hoboken must grow or die.”
Electing Dawn Zimmer would mean “slow government”, financial and tax austerity, inclusiveness and consultation, and a “green” prism for all public policy decisions.
Jonathan M. Metsch, Dr.P.H.