Unless you have a computer and are signed up for City of Hoboken Nixle emails, you knew nothing about a survey that Mayor Bhalla sent out Jan. 22 asking the community for input on the use of the old Union Dry Dock property which NY Waterway purchased on Nov. 3, 2017. The survey was open five days, closing Jan. 26 at 5 p.m. There was no way to control how many times someone voted since all you had to do was access the survey, answer one of two questions with the second question giving you 4 options to pick from, then submit it anonymously. A friend of mine was able to answer the survey three times to check if it could be abused by submitting one opinion several times to sway the results.
Out of Hoboken’s population, currently estimated at 54,379 people for 2016 (the last year available), only 2,447 responses were made which means that 4.4 percent of the population participated.
These were the questions:
Should the Union Dry Dock property remain a priority for the City of Hoboken to have a complete, publicly-accessible waterfront park system?
(2,404 responses), 91.5 percent (2,200) Yes, 8.5 percent (204) No.
What is your preferred use for the Union Dry Dock property?
(2,447 responses), 73.8 percent (1,807) “A public open space and waterfront walkway with no industrial uses.” This option would be paid for by Hoboken at a potential acquisition, design, and construction cost of tens of millions of dollars. Funding sources may include the Hoboken Open Space Trust Fund, County Open Space Trust Fund, and NJ Environmental Infrastructure Trust low-interest loans, among other sources.
13.5 percent (331): “A ferry maintenance and refueling facility with a public open space on top of a ferry maintenance facility, with an inland walkway next to Sinatra Drive.” This option would be paid for mostly or completely by NY Waterway.
8.1 percent (198): “A ferry maintenance and refueling facility with pocket parks at the north and south ends of the property, with an inland walkway next to Sinatra Drive.” This option would be paid for mostly or complete by NY Waterway.
4.6 percent (111): “Other.”
Only 1,807 respondents, about 3.3 percent of our population of 54,379, voted ‘Yes’ to “a public open space with no industrial uses”; only 4.45 percent responded to the survey at all.
This means that at most 3.3 percent of Hoboken’s population have indicated they might agree to the city engaging in eminent domain proceedings, years of litigation, damage the viability of a transportation system, and in the end cost the city of Hoboken between $80-100 million dollars, according to NY Waterway accountants, to replace a new dry dock.
Note that our mayor won the 2017 election with only 32.7 percent of the vote because runoff elections have been eliminated. Let the majority of the people speak in how we vote and whether the city should throw away money to buy and relocate a useful dry dock.