I am committed to actively connecting you with our local government by engaging with, informing and advocating for you on issues important to you, not only issues important to me. Many of us share common concerns and my goals for Hoboken City Council are based on input I have received directly from you. With this, we have a full plate and a lot to accomplish together over the next four years...
Work even harder to keep taxes low.
This is accomplished by cutting waste and excess spending, managing our debt, striking better economic deals with our partners, getting more services from Hudson County and growing our tax base carefully. I have chaired the Finance, Revenue and Infrastructure subcommittee for the past four years and we have achieved all of these under my leadership, but will still need to keep this focus going forward.
Continue to fight to complete our waterfront.
This started for me in 2011 when I led the public effort to fight against the proposed Monarch project. This is an historic moment in time for Hoboken where we are so close to ensuring the best possible public access and enjoyment of our entire waterfront. Last week the City Council approved 9-0 to allow the mayor to acquire the former UDD site. And 9 years later, the Monarch settlement agreement is now on track to be completed in 2020.
Keep demanding better economic results for Hoboken.
Simply put, if someone else doesn't pay, then Hoboken does which has rippling effects to our cost of living and ability to fund quality of life improvements. Our municipal government has lacked the financial and professional experience to negotiate the best terms.
Make Vision Zero a reality.
This time around we need to embrace this project, to act on the recommendations and to create a “culture of safety” in Hoboken where our "entire system is responsible for safety". And although not ever implemented, let’s use what was then the equivalent of a Vision Zero program, the 2010 Hoboken Bicycle and Pedestrian, as a guide for action immediately.
Keep our local stores open for business.
No one likes to see empty storefronts. Along with a committee of local businesses and property owners, I’ve driven the effort to create a Special Improvement District for Hoboken like those in economic flourishing areas of Jersey City. After 18 months of steering committee meetings, the City Council approved this and voted 9-0 to appoint me to its Board. We need one more Council vote to get it funded, operating and advocating for our businesses but we are closer than ever to restoring our main street.
Do more to expand transportation alternatives
so that we can slow the growth of cars coming into, driving around and staying in Hoboken. Don't worry, I’m not saying we need to get rid of cars. I drive one. I like to drive one. But the biggest issues I hear from you - congestion, traffic, parking and pedestrian safety - can be tied to the growth in cars and car sharing services. So as we see our population grow, lets expand the free Hop again, figure out if and how eScooters and other micro-mobility sources can work safely in Hoboken, advocate for more 126 buses, build a new light rail station in NW Hoboken, increase the price for resident parking permits, build more bike infrastructure and require lower parking ratios for new buildings, especially those near transportation hubs.
Maintain the historic character of Hoboken.
Watching our historic properties be demolished is watching Hoboken’s history vanish before our eyes. The last two years I led the advocacy to substantially increase the funding for our Historic Preservation Commission from their shoe string budget so they could take on projects like producing necessary “design guidelines” and “This Place Matters” to better protect our historic landscape.
Complete Rebuild By Design to make Hoboken resilient to the devastating effects of hurricanes and storm surges.
I have been working on this important project for five years and we have three-ish more to go with construction starting in 2020. As the project gets closer to starting we now need to discuss what can be done for those who are on the "wet" side of the RBD structure, the majority who live in the 2nd ward.
Continue expanding capacity in our sewers to minimize the flooding effects from significant rain events.
This is happening through all the resiliency infrastructure we are adding in our parks, on our streets and to our new buildings to collect storm water to delay its entrance into our sewer system. I have worked with the NHSA to also provide information to residents on what they can do in their homes to help mitigate the risk.
Collaborate with the Board of Education and other local schools to ensure that their real estate and facilities needs are addressed before it’s too late
given the massive growth in young children in our community, the related enrollment growth in our district schools in particular (40% in eight years), and the more families that want to stay longer in Hoboken. Whether it’s helping them find a location to build a new school or to build flexible/swing space for students while a new school gets rebuilt - we need to find and reserve this space now before it’s too late! We never get to say "let’s take those 10 acres by the highway and build a new..." I don't want to manufacture a crisis, but...
Ensure that all future development addresses our community needs and makes sense for Hoboken.
This is one of the most difficult issues to navigate if you don't have the proper tools and skills and we are at a critical moment in time given the amount of development pressure our city faces. I have worked tirelessly to bring much needed financial and real estate expertise into all of our redevelopment negotiations so that Hoboken never again is the underdog. The $3M+ of community benefits in the proposed Hilton Hotel are an example of what you can achieve when you have the right financial tools.
Make our parks as clean, inviting, safe and accessible as they can be.
Creating a park conservancy will hopefully bring much needed, new focus and resources to our parks. I have spoken with the City about this in the past and am excited that Elysian Park will be one of the first parks in this program.
Build more active space that our growing population of all ages can use for recreation.
Whether soccer fields, a pool, pickle-ball courts, waterfront activities, a new senior center, dog parks, an uptown library and/or other activities, we need to find this space because again, we never get to say "let's take those 10 acres by the highway and build a new..." Given our land constraints and our population growth, I have always pushed to include active space in all parks including when both the NW and Harborside parks were originally proposed with only passive uses... I have also been a big proponent of the City partnering to restore the uptown "Y" and negotiated to add an upfront payment to the Mayor's community benefits package for the Hilton Hotel so they could pay for their feasibility study (unfortunately all original payments have since been modified due to a court challenge).
Ensure that the commercial development and a municipal/public parking garage are built in the North End.
Commercial development is critical to diversify our tax base, stimulate our local economy and complement, as opposed to compete, for scarce transportation. Notwithstanding the points above, for the uptown commercial areas to be viable, they need public parking for visitors. I have helped drive these discussions on the North Community Development Council subcommittee for four years.
Celebrate and protect the diverse fabric of our very special Hoboken community.
To borrow one of my favorite phrases from Hoboken’s Mustard Seed School “You Are Who You Learn With.” The very definition of the value of diversity. In particular, every day we need to make sure there is room for those who paved the way for us, and those with less in our city that has more through enforcing our rent control laws, improving the conditions for those who live in our Housing Authority, ensuring safe transportation for our seniors, and building more affordable housing. I was a proud 'Yes' vote for donating land to rebuild Hoboken's American Legion Post 107 and six new homes for homeless veterans and recently led the effort to secure a new medical transport bus for our seniors after seeing the awful conditions of the current ones. And I have been on the affordable housing subcommittee since I was elected and although we made some amazing steps, we still have so much more we need to do.
I am looking forward to working to keep Hoboken special, and in the words of some of our longest standing residents, that it continues to be "the best it has ever been".