Reader Mail: We are watching!
Here’s a followup letter from Valerie Pels (wife of Richard Pasquarelli) – regarding this weeks Hoboken Revolt Rally in front of City Hall:
Democracy in Action
“Wednesday night in Hoboken, we saw democracy in action. I am proud to be associated with the committed group of people who organized the rally to let our elected officials know that we are fed up with the incompetence and mismanagement that has resulted in a 47% property tax hike. Contrary to what the Mayor would have people believe, last night’s protest was not the clever machination of a political rival.
It was a grassroots movement led by no fewer than four unaffiliated groups demanding change. I, like most of the people who took part in last night’s event, do not aspire to local political office. I work long hours as a lawyer in a domestic violence court in Brooklyn. I have two kids, a husband and a dog that I like to spend time with. I was not looking for another cause. I would prefer to leave the municipal budget to my elected representatives.
The people who organized and participated in last night’s rally each has his or her own story. Among us are small business people, hard hit by the current financial crisis, who are struggling to stay afloat, single parents, retirees who would rather spend time with their grandchildren, some of whom have been forced to dip into their retirement savings to pay their tax bills, average people trying to hang on to their jobs and their homes. Some of us were born and raised in Hoboken and some of us are newcomers, but we all share a love of this town. We are, for the most part, reluctant participants in the local political arena but, unfortunately, it seems, our elected officials cannot be trusted to mind the store.
When I first moved to this town six years ago, I met the Mayor and his wife and had occasion to socialize with them. They are very likeable people. I would like to believe that the Mayor has good intentions, but the reality is that he has presided over seven years of reckless spending and fiscal irresponsibility. The lack of transparency and the long tradition of corruption in Hudson County understandably causes many to question whether the issues go beyond incompetence to include cronyism and graft. Those members of the City Council who have rubber-stamped the mayor’s budgets over the years, share responsibility for having allowed this to go on for so long. I was part of the complacent majority of residents that permitted this to happen. Although a handful of people have been speaking out and trying to promote change for years, their lonely admonitions have been ignored.
Last night, the silent majority awakened and spoke loud and clear.
We heard not only expressions of outrage but constructive suggestions from members of the public, most notably Donna Antonucci, whom I had never met before last night. In her spare time, she has combed through the phone-book size budget to offer concrete suggestions for meaningful cuts. Repairing the damage that has been done is going to entail tough choices and political courage because, as Ms. Antonucci pointed out, nibbling around the edges is not going to get us out of the hole that we are in. I hope that our elected representatives have the courage and the wherewithall to do what needs to be done.
If not, the citizens of Hoboken are watching and we will vote you out.”