This one has a lot. So much in fact that I broke it into two newsletters - A and B (which will follow shortly).
So grab a comfortable seat and some refreshment and let’s get to it… in today’s Newsletter A:
- Tonight – Former UDD / Maritime Park Zoom!
- 14th Street – Parking Garage Access During Repaving
- Update – John Allen Professional Misconduct Complaint
- Board of Ed Election – Deadline to Submit Petitions
- Multi Service Center Revitalization / Pool Survey
- Pool Updates And Staying Cool This Summer
- Harborside Park Maintenance / Rebuild By Design & Cove Park Timing
- Partnering for Progress: "Keep the Newsletter Alive" Fundraiser Results!
TONIGHT – FORMER UDD / MARITIME PARK ZOOM!
Tonight, the planners for the proposed Maritime Park will be presenting three design options based upon initial public feedback. I hope you can join!
- Date: Tuesday, July 11th
- Time: 6:30 PM
- How: Register for the Zoom link here: Meeting Registration - Zoom
If you can’t join tonight, you will have a chance to see and provide feedback when the city circulates a survey following the meeting.
In terms of overall updates, as mentioned previously, New York Waterway received approval from the Hoboken Planning Board and are in process of securing their remaining necessary approvals. The NYWW representative estimated they would begin construction in 7-8 months which includes moving their maintenance operations from Weehawken to Hoboken, whether they have received approvals for their new Weehawken building, or not. This has always been the key issue with me for the lease – why do they need to move to Hoboken before they receive their Weehawken approvals. As of this writing, my understanding is NYWW have still not submitted their application to the Weehawken Planning Board.
14TH STREET – PARKING GARAGE ACCESS
Milling continues and I have to say I am like a kid in a candy shop watching all the machinery…
I heard from a couple of neighbors yesterday that accessing the garages in Shipyard was difficult. Right now the milling has moved away from this end of 14th, so the issue should not arise again until they start paving which I believe is next week. I have spoken to our OEM director about this and we will make sure that there is clear communication with the surrounding buildings as well as the police on site about how to ensure easy access to the garages during the repaving. I will send out a newsletter on this as well as soon as I am aware of the timing of the repaving.
UPDATE – JOHN ALLEN PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT COMPLAINT
It has been over a year and a half since we filed a complaint with the Office of Attorney Ethics ("OAE") alleging that John Allen, as Assoc. Corporation Counsel for City of Hoboken and Chief of Staff to Mayor Bhalla, used his office for personal financial gain for himself and his friends, often at the expense of members of the public. And that Brian Aloia, Corporation Counsel for Hoboken, knowingly allowed it, and arguably helped facilitate it, under his watch. The process so far has involved a lot of back and forth correspondence, a disappointing and specious initial decision made by a District Ethics Committee of the OAE to dismiss, and a robust Appeal I made to the Disciplinary Review Board of the Supreme Court of New Jersey ("DRB") in March of this year.
IMHO, Allen and Aloia’s actions violated several state ethics and criminal laws and rules of professional conduct ("RPC", which lawyers are held to) and warranted a full investigation which arguably didn’t happen the first time. These code violations include things like conflict of interest, failure to supervise and report misconduct, fraudulent financial disclosure, bribery, official misconduct, and unlawful business transactions, among others.
I was notified on June 23rd by the DRB, that after having reviewed my Appeal and the entire record they:
- REVERSED THE EARLIER DECISION by the OAE to dismiss the complaints against Allen and Aloia and
- REMANDED THE CASE BACK TO THE OAE FOR A NEW INVESTIGATION. Only this time, it is with their clear instructions to address all of the issues I raised throughout the process, including 10 law and RPC violations, as well as 3 potential new RPC violations identified by the DRB.
A ”constellation of potential conflicts”. At its core, the fact based allegations of professional misconduct center around Allen’s financial involvement with the Hoboken bar called McSwiggans and the bar’s owner. Among others, it includes Allen’s wife having been given a 10% ownership stake in McSwiggan’s, large campaign donations made by the owners of McSwiggans (including Allen’s wife) to several City Council members and Mayor Bhalla, and the potential quid pro quo in return for each. And all this happening while Allen was employed as a lawyer for the City and our Alcohol & Beverage Commission Board as well as a lawyer for Schenck Price who represented the new owners of McSwiggans in their ownership restructuring. The claims against Brian Aloia, in his capacity as John’s supervisor in the legal department, are that he was not only aware this was all happening, but helped to facilitate it.
What is the “Office of Attorney Ethics”? It is a state agency that falls under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of New Jersey that holds lawyers practicing in New Jersey accountable to the Rules of Professional Conduct. For example, if you paid a lawyer to represent you and they did nothing, you could file a complaint with the OAE which will investigate and ultimately can levy disciplinary actions ranging from small fines to full disbarment. The OAE can also make referrals to outside agencies when they believe crimes have been committed – like the Office of Attorney General, DCA and the DOJ. The DRB, in its remand back to the OAE outlines potential state law violations that need to be part of the re-investigation.
How and when does this resolve? I would expect this to take another year before full resolution. So, unfortunately not before the general election for NJ Assembly this November 7th when John Allen is expected to be elected as our next Assembly Representative.
Divisive or Transparent? Some may call what I am doing here divisive. I call it fighting for democracy, good government and transparency and fighting against corruption. And you have my promise to keep fighting.
BOARD OF ED ELECTION – DEADLINE TO SUBMIT PETITIONS APPROACHING
If our public schools are your passion, and I know for many of you they are, then consider running to become a Board of Education Commissioner. The Hoboken Board of Education has nine commissioners, each with a three year term which means each year 1/3 of the seats expire and are up for election. The BOE Election happens during the general election on November 7th 2023. If you are interested in running, nominating petitions are due July 31st, 2023. The BOE has a link from the 2022 election on their website with helpful information that still applies - Board Election Info November 2022_Hoboken.docx (sharpschool.com). Additionally, the NJ School Boards Association also provides great information: Becoming a School Board Member: Candidate Kit - New Jersey School Boards Association (njsba.org).
MULTI SERVICE CENTER REVITALIZATION / POOL SURVEY
The City revealed three initial design plans based the first round of public feedback. The below table shows the dispersion of votes on the different requested services.
The top 5 vote getters from the original online survey according to the presentation (number of votes listed):
- 322 – After School Programming
- 307 – Rest rooms
- 301 – Event space
- 295 - Swimming
- 286 - Cafe
I think all of the designs have interesting features and the final design will probably be a combination of all three. And importantly, all include a pool! You can click here to see the presentation that describes the process and the three proposed designs: Documents and Resources | Multi-Service Center Revitalization (arcgis.com)
Of note, these designs were based primarily on just the responses from the 618 people who responded to the initial survey and 58 who responded in person. We need more input on what is an important development for Hoboken - our community center and pool we have long been fighting to have. SO PLEASE TAKE A FEW MINUTES TO FILL OUT THE SURVEY. There are multiple places where you can provide context on your preferences, if you missed the initial survey.
I’d ask that if you do fill out the survey, and you do not disagree on this, then please indicate that you would like to make sure that senior services are on the ground floor of the building. As currently contemplated in a few of the designs, the senior services would be on higher floors which I think would be terrible for our seniors.
POOL UPDATES AND STAYING COOL THIS SUMMER
Speaking of pools, options for Hoboken residents to swim this summer are expanding!
Hoboken High School
- 7/10 – 7/27: M-R 3:30-7:30, Sa 11-:330
- 7/31 – 8/10: M-R 11:00-3:30, Sa 11-:330
- Register here (required): Program: Open Swim - Hoboken High School (recdesk.com.)
- Register first with Hoboken: [City of Hoboken] Stevens Tennis Court and Swimming Pool Access: Sign Up (seamlessdocs.com)
- Register at Stevens: Membership (dserec.com)
- Non-residents can by a season pass for the summer for $200 for 1st adult, $100 for additional adults.
- Weehawken Pool Complex 2023 Season Pass Information | WEEHAWKEN TOWNSHIP (weehawken-nj.us)
Also, Hoboken has several spray parks across the city that provide relief on hot days. I would provide a full description of each, but Hoboken Girl already did it in this article! A Guide to Parks with Splash Pads in Hoboken + Jersey City - Hoboken Girl
HARBORSIDE PARK / REBUILD BY DESIGN & COVE PARK
Thank you to everyone who reached out about the broken gate at Harborside park and the conditions of the dog park area. The good news is the gate is being fixed and the shrubs around the dog park area will be have the dead cuttings removed from the tops of the shrubs. I have asked that the dog area be re-seeded but because of the time of the season, it may be too hot to re-seed now. Also, the timing of Rebuild By Design starting is a factor as well. Initially we thought that Rebuild By Design / Cove Park would begin this fall with the result being closing Harborside Park through completion of construction. However the contractor bid selection has been delayed for the project and the new timeline doesnt have them starting until close to the end of the year, if not then next spring.
Because of this delay, I am hopeful that the city will try to reseed so we can get as much use out of it this fall as possible. They are looking into the cost and feasibility – if they come back with a no, let me know who would help spread some seed on our own!
Words cannot adequately describe how grateful and honored I am to have received so much support for my newsletters and re-election campaign. In less than two days, 162 people donated almost $7,000 to me that put me over my fundraising goal for the quarter. And then another $1,800 over the next few days that gives me a great start going into the next reporting period.
I am inspired by how many neighbors value transparency, debate and being informed with my content-rich newsletters. You have my commitment that I will use these donations judiciously, to campaign strong, and do everything I can to win in November so that I can “Keep the Newsletters Alive!”.
Although I didn’t quite get to $10,000 (but darn close), I will make a deal with you that I will not plead for money again until September. But instead will just quietly include links at the bottom of my newsletters to donate. So if you read a newsletter you like, don’t hesitate to click below:
29 years ago yesterday, on a hot sticky Sunday, I rolled into Hoboken in my red Hyundai Excel and started my new life at 58 Monroe St. Slept on a friend’s couch in a 4th floor walk-up until I found my “dream NYC” apartment. After two months of this, and a 3 month stint in JC, enjoying my new social life with Hoboken, NYC and Rochester friends, and comfortably commuting to my job at UBS in midtown Manhattan, I found my first dream Hoboken apartment at 82 Jackson St. Three more dream apartments - 501 Adams in the former school in ‘96, 72 Park looking at the DPW Garage in ’98 and finally the Hudson Tea in 2000 - and 29 years later, I’ve never looked back… So excited to be starting my 30th year in Hoboken!
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