Hoboken in the NY Times (again)
Once again Hoboken is in the spotlight for the wrong reason. The embarrassing budget debacle is framed in the New York Times today as an example of what is wrong with Hudson County and the State of New Jersey. Writer Peter Applebome says the city’s “governance is an unholy mess,” but also allows Mayor David Roberts to highlight everything the city has going for it. Applebome says being in Hudson County, so it comes as no surprise that Hoboken is “something less than a model of efficiency and transparency,” more like “something between Let’s Make a Deal and On The Waterfront,” noting the conviction of former Mayor Anthony Russo.
NYT: Hoboken and Hudson County are “dysfunctional”
The article says New Jersey moving in on Hoboken’s budget process would be like Connecticut taking over Greenwich. The Times notes it is former Bayonne Mayor Joe Doria in his new role as head of the state Department of Community Affairs, but doesn’t mention Doria was practically run out of the Mayor’s office there last year when his own budget ended up under funded by $23 million. Councilwoman Beth Mason is quoted, saying she “finds it ironic to have a state monitor when the state needs a monitor itself.” Applebome writes:
“Most indications are that Mr. Roberts is the biggest loser so far in a process certain to include sizable tax increases next year. When he took office in 2001, the city had a $52 million budget; it figures to be somewhere over $100 million next year. Much of that, he says, reflects assorted mandates and the city’s robust growth.
But in the county most synonymous with government dysfunction, a lot of people figure it reflects the New Jersey disease, too — government that is too big and too opaque, that feeds too many people in too many ways. Maybe not quite the Soprano State, as a recent book on New Jersey politics has it, but maybe not so far away, either.”
Failed fifth ward Council candidate Perry Belfiore is also quoted, asking “How can we have all this development and no money? It’s the most closely guarded secret other than where they sequester Dick Cheney.”