Dear Friends and Neighbors
I want to talk about Monarch with you like we have been doing since 2011…
…when we learned that a developer was reneging on their promise to deliver open space to our community and aiming to build two luxury residential towers. Everyone has their issue that gets them off the couch towards activism and mine was Monarch. It started me on a path of advocating not only against the Monarch project but for continuing our community's decades long fight to protect our waterfront from irresponsible development. This path expanded to include acquiring Union Dry Dock. Importantly, while I have been on this path for the past eight and a half years, where was my opponent? She has never been anywhere on this and now suddenly wants to take all of our work together and call it hers.
Let me get right to the heart of what matters. Not only will I continue the work with my Council colleagues and the administration to ensure we get an outcome that will receive unanimous support…
You can count on my vote next year for the final development agreement for the Monarch/DPW Garage.
My opponent is telling you the opposite as a way to garner support, but it isn’t her decision. It is, and always has been mine and I've based my decisions on what was right for our community.
I have always been in this fight with you and for you and always will be.
I have a long history of fighting against the Monarch as the leading public activist back to 2011. As co-founder of Hoboken Residents for a Public Waterfront, as party to the litigation as a Hudson Tea condo board member and as a resident stakeholder like my neighbors. Previously HTB's role in the litigation made voting on the City Council more complicated. But now with the litigation fully adjudicated (except for one outstanding ruling) and me leaving my condo board at the end of the year, my path of advocacy is more straightforward. As you know, I am personally impacted if Monarch is built, which I have always been forthcoming as it relates to all actions I have taken whether as an HTB board member or Council representative. But also as you know, the impact is not unique to me - I share a view impact with over 500 2nd Ward neighbors and the overcrowding effect in our neighborhood with thousands. And it was because of our shared circumstances that you asked me to lead you in this fight and elected me to represent you in 2015. As your council representative, I will continue our fight against the Monarch and I will be voting on the final Monarch settlement next year.
Now, about my opponents’ plan to build a $50M park on an extended version of the Monarch site – it shows she doesn’t know our ward or how to advocate for us.
What my opponent doesn't get is that what 2nd Ward residents want is for Monarch not to be built. It is that simple. And they do not want anything to get in the way of this happening. In case you were unaware, she is requiring a $50M park be a developer funded “community giveback” as a condition to the agreement. This is a material change to the terms of the proposal. It's simply untenable and puts stopping the Monarch project at risk. Given my twenty plus years of experience in commercial real estate finance, I assure you that if the developer had $50M of potential excess development profits from the Monarch site to build her park, they would instead be racing to build the Monarch and not bothering with a settlement at all.
My opponent goes further to say that she is willing to fight against her Council colleagues to make her park plan happen, instead of collaborating with her colleagues to deliver what is most important for 2nd Ward residents. If we once again make it a ward/neighborhood battle like my opponent is proposing, then we will never be successful like we saw in 2016. These are exactly the kind of steps that will kill any chance of a settlement. And I am not at all supportive of such an uninformed plan that will directly result in ending the chance for finally resolving the Monarch fight that we have been in together since day one.
There is only one waterfront advocate on the ballot for the 2nd Ward and I am once again that candidate, asking for your vote.
This has always been our fight together. My advocacy against Monarch is unmatched in our community except for Ron Hine of Fund for Better Waterfront who has been my partner in the fight since day one. I have always worked with my Council colleagues and the administration to ensure that the interests of 2nd Ward residents were always front and center and that they had the financial and real estate tools to effectively negotiate an outcome that works for everyone. The framework of the current settlement terms that our mayor negotiated and the Council voted unanimously in support, reflects this.
Open space has been at the core of the Monarch fight and why we are in this fight. Instead of a pie-in-the-sky, $50M park as a giveback that is impossible to fund and puts the entire settlement at risk, we should be advocating for the buildout of the upland area closest to the road and potentially providng better access to the water by connecting to the adjancent inlet. This is achievable and can be done at a fraction of the cost my opponent has proposed. And when I have engaged with my 2nd Ward neighbors, this is what they tell me they would like to see and as a result, is what I have and will continue to actively advocate for.
To be considered a waterfront activist you actually have to show up…
...which my opponent has never done. But I always have which I have proven over the years. This is our issue. It is why you elected me in 2015. And there is no one better person to represent you on this issue and make sure that the Monarch project is never built.
Please forward this to everyone you know who shares our view on the importance of fighting against the Monarch project. And please let me know if you have any questions on this or anything else that is important to you. You can email me or call me anytime at 201/208-1674.