What a year 2023 has been.
It certainly has not been an easy year, and amidst the gamut of emotions we have experienced ranging from anguish to joy, and every emotion in between, I am so incredibly grateful for the strong sense of COMMUNITY that we have in Hoboken that sets us apart from all others. To say we are lucky, would be a significant understatement. We have built this community around a shared backyard, with neighbors we all welcome and respect, and with community leaders who partner with the public on our shared love of our special city. Simple, yet amazing.
Whenever I see inquiries about what makes Hoboken special, the resounding answer is consistently our robust sense of community. Daily, throughout the year, I am reminded of this, and here are a few of my personal "#BeHoboken” moments, big and small, that captured this sentiment from this past year:
At our last meeting of the year, we (the City Council) approved a plan to fully redevelop the Hoboken Housing Authority, bringing Councilman Ramos to tears as this has been his personal mission. To me, this also is our community’s mission to improve the living standards of our neighbors who live in the HHA.
Seeing how our community came together and worked cohesively during the water crisis that left most of Hoboken without running water for 48 hours. And everyone checking in on and helping our most vulnerable neighbors.
When it was announced that Hoboken High School was selected to be the first High School to pilot a production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. A huge honor and testament to the strength of our district schools' award winning drama program. I can't wait to go see it this spring!
This past summer
The massive public response to my 4 Question Rat Survey and input on the Rat Free Hoboken facebook page. This was an organic, community-wide response that demanded elected officials take greater action to address the growing public health crisis. We have a lot more to do on this, and I remain committed to help solving this crisis, but know #morevoices, your voices, are critical.
When I attended the groundbreaking for Rebuild By Design, and saw Mayor Zimmer who championed this project to save Hoboken from the devasting impacts of hurricanes and storm surge. This represented eight years of work and community input around this incredibly important project for Hoboken
When the Monarch walkway was completed, this was an emotional moment for me because it represented a decade's worth of advocacy by my neighbors, and also a part of what has been decades of work by so many in our community to protect our Hoboken waterfront.
When the Museum’s Christmas manger display almost blew away, a neighbor reached out to me and before the museum's director could get there, other neighbors worked to save it and put it back securely before more damage could be done. The call, the next steps - neighbors helping neighbors. It's what we do.
In November (and December)
So many people came out to vote in our local elections. Election days in Hoboken always bring out that sense of community. That said, we need to do more to bring even more people out next time!
When Dom’s Bakery closed and they had "One Last Bake" that brought out thousands to the locally owned business that was the heart and soul of Hoboken. I am so excited to hear that the new bakery, Otok, who took its place is preserving so much of what made Dom's so special.
Your response to my "Save the Newsletter" campaign and fundraiser was incredible. Not only did over 150 people donate to my campaign through this effort, I received encouraging comments from our community stressing the importance and need for transparency and information. The highest compliments, to me, came from those who, despite differing views, appreciate the valuable information provided. The newsletter has been saved!
This list could be much longer (you know I am capable of that) because of how amazing our community is. I want to know what is on your list, so please share your stories (big or small) with me, and in a later newsletter I will share those "#BeHoboken" moments with you.
The strength of our community lies in the strength of the voices within it. And 2023 was the year so many more of our neighbors found their voices, and made them heard, on important issues ranging from heartbreaking global conflicts to local concerns like safe streets and sidewalks, affordability, and our community’s well-being. This was the year of #morevoices. And I am hopeful this momentum will continue in 2024.
Please join us on Wednesday, at 7PM for the swearing in of the six recently elected/re-elected ward council representatives, including me, and the re-organization of the Hoboken City Council leadership for 2024. My father and sister again are coming to help swear me in, and I know my mother will be there in spirit.
I hope you can attend in person and show your support, but if not, you can watch online either at Hoboken’s Facebook or Youtube pages. I am excited about what 2024 will bring including new partnerships and paths for progress in Hoboken.
Stating the obvious, 2024 is going to be a pivotal year for our nation as we vote for who the US President will be for the next four years. Meanwhile, in Hoboken, we also have our work cut out for us including launching the city's largest public works project, planning multiple parks, enhancing street and sidewalk safety, starting major development projects, defending our rent control laws, constructing affordable housing, navigating a new relationship with NYWW at our waterfront (before we show them the door), and watching our mayor run for Congress. This is not the year to sit on the sideline.
As I look ahead to 2024, what keeps me energized, is knowing that you will bring the same sense of community, passion and love for Hoboken into all that is before us and that our strong community will be behind every step we take. Even when we feel we are on different sides of an issue or debate, there is always a common thread that prevails: our fierce support, defense and celebration of the place that we all call home. The place we feel is more special and so different from all others - our Hoboken.
So with all of this, I want to wish everyone a blessed year ahead filled only with light, joy, good health and kindness. May this be the year we lift ourselves, family, friends and community up and leave all that gets in our way and divides us behind. Happy New Year!
As always, please share this with everyone you know who may be interested and reach out any time on any issue important to you: 201-208-1764 or [email protected]. #GoBills!
Hoboken City Council, 2nd Ward
Engage. Inform. Advocate.
“More Voices are Better”
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