Letter shows Flooding and Parks: not on his list

Back in the 20th Century, the letters pages of the local paper were an important place for people to get their opinions out to the community at large.

Today, some people still like to see their name in print, even if most copies end up getting tossed without a single eyeball on them. Another anachronism is how the weekly bans negative letters in the last paper before the election, so if your critical letter hasn’t run by now, it won’t run at all.

Supporters of both candidates in the 4th Ward have complained getting letters onto the back pages has been particularly difficult during this election cycle. Some letters have taken weeks to appear (and get heavily edited) while others never show up at all. The letter below is a case in point. It was submitted but never appeared, so I’ve agreed to post it here.

Flooding and Parks: NOT a Lenz priority

“I’ve lived in the 4th ward for 10 years, which is long enough to remember the last time Michael Lenz ran for City Council. Two of the most important issues here on the south side of the city are flooding and parks. We have too much of one and not enough of the other. Mr. Lenz will tell you he’s been at the forefront of righting these wrongs. A little research tells a very different story.

The Lenz campaign website claims fixing flooding has “long been a priority of Mike’s” going on to say, “Since the 1990’s Mike’s been fighting the flooding.” Really? Then why when Lenz announced his 2001 campaign for 4th ward council in a letter to this newspaper did he never mention flooding?

Lenz wrote a 300-word letter to the Editor of the (weekly paper) entitled “Here are my reasons for running for City Council.” Nowhere in that letter does Lenz declare flooding his priority. He doesn’t even use the word! Lenz’s letter appeared on September 29, 2001 and is available today online.

Lenz did mention being Dave Roberts’ campaign manager. He talked about being proud of the new administration. He said “improving parking” was a priority after he sought — but didn’t receive — the highly paid position of Hoboken Parking Authority Director. Not once anywhere in Lenz’s letter does he talk about “fighting the flooding”, let alone declare it is his priority if he’s elected 4th ward councilman.”

This rest of this 2010 letter, and the original 2001 Lenz letter that inspired it, after the jump!

“Guess what else he never mentioned in his 2001 campaign kickoff? Building a Southwest Park! It wasn’t his priority in 2001, and judging by the lack of any progress toward building a park since he joined the City Council, it isn’t his priority today, either.

In fact, Lenz supports City Hall’s policy to pursue a Western Edge redevelopment plan for the 5th ward before even beginning City Council work on a plan to build a real park in the Southwest. Building a park in the 4th ward has never been his priority. Don’t take my word for it. Look at Lenz’s own 2001 campaign kickoff letter!

Some of the people can be fooled some of the time, but the more informed the voter, the more likely they will reject Lenz. I encourage my neighbors to Google “Michael Lenz” before they vote. Please join me November 2nd as I cast my vote for Tim Occhipinti, an independent voice who will put the 4th ward FIRST!

George Kessler

And now, the original letter from Michael Lenz outlining the priorities for the 4th ward in 2001:

Here are my reasons for running for City Council (9/29/01)

Dear Editor:

I am Mike Lenz, active in the Hoboken community for the past 15 years, former School Board Trustee and live with my wife and two great boys on Monroe Street. I am also running for City Council on November 6. Perhaps you read last week’s article “Jumping Ship,” in which my opponent’s key backers gave their reasons why I was running. This week I will give you mine.

Let me start by saying I was Dave Roberts’ Campaign Manager last spring, and I am proud of the campaign we ran. I am also proud of much of what the new administration has done. I love the pedestrian signs, enjoy the new atmosphere at City Hall, and I see the beginning of real change on the Planning Board. But I have concerns as well; the budget has a $7 million structural deficit; new high-level jobs have increased the city payroll, and cronyism still plays to big a part in hiring decisions.

I am running for council on the same platform that Dave stood on last May. If elected, I will work with his administration and the other council members to make good on the promises we made — stopping overdevelopment, cleaning up City Hall, improving parking and controlling taxes. But I will add one more.

If elected, I will introduce the fight for strong ethics ordinances (developed by Common Cause and in use throughout New Jersey) to control the corrupting effects of large campaign contributions. That is why the big money players (and those they support) oppose me. I can win, but only with the help of ordinary people. If you would like to be part of it, please call 656-6287 or e-mail Lenz4Council@aol.com.

Be sure to register to vote by October 9. Call me if you need a form.

Mike Lenz (in 2001)

No sign of flooding relief or parks anywhere.

Lenz failed miserably in his 2001 bid for council, coming in dead last with 213 votes. Nellie Moyeno got 405 and Chris Campos won with 927. In 2003, it was Lenz campaign strategist Tony Soares who got trounced by Campos, who got 814 votes to Soares’ 269. 379 votes went to runner-up Anthony Mussara in that race.