Is Mayor Zimmer living in Disneyland?

Hoboken is not an island – don’t turn it into a bathtub, either

Hoboken certainly was in the spotlight quite a bit since Hurricane Sandy rolled through and disrupted the lives of many residents. And now as we approach nearly five months since the storm, political discussion about what Hoboken should do (if anything) to prevent devastation from these once-in-a-hundred year storms.

First Ward Councilwoman Terry Castellano shares her commentary regarding these recent events and hot topics – as well as some advice for Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

Hoboken Flooding

Letter: Tell Zimmer to step out from Disneyland

By First Ward Councilwoman Theresa Castellano

The 2013 State of the City Address must have been a feel good moment… for Mayor Dawn Zimmer and her staff. But let’s face it; the state of our city is not great.

Hoboken Letters to the Editor Zimmer Sea Walls Terry CastellanoAs we move into 2013, our community faces a multitude of issues, from the lack of a long-term financial plan, the non-transparent award of attorney contracts to 21 different firms for mostly unspecified litigation (in addition to three in-house lawyers), the snail-pace repairs to Sinatra Park and our soccer field and the lack of administrative closure of our obligation to the Hoboken University Medical Center.

However, Mayor Zimmer’s latest state of the city address focuses mostly on the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Indeed, the catastrophic aftermath and its severe economic affects to residents and businesses will be felt for years. As will Hoboken’s public perception to our many visitors and tourists.

As to the prevention of a repeat performance of a future hurricane or superstorm, the Mayor said she has devised a plan to prevent such a re-occurrence: namely the construction of storm walls to our north and south and the addition of more sewerage pumping stations to alleviate future flooding. While this ambitious plan sounds fine, the mayor neglected to provide financial or engineering details. Moreover, even the New Jersey Sierra Club last month rejected this pie-in-the-sky scheme.

While a priority should focus on immediately making residents and businesses financial hole in the short term, the long-term objective should incorporate the findings and recommendations of FEMA, the state and surrounding communities, not an insular approach which neglects addresses the need of neighboring communities. I would suggest that Mayor Zimmer step out from her Disneyland and take a realistic walk on the streets of Hoboken.

car drives through flooded streets in Hoboken NJ

In theory, it would appear that the mayor, who said her plan was grounded by discussions with educators and a local developer, could potentially turn Hoboken into a flooded bathtub. Does she now support massive development to bring this plan into fruition? Will it actually work?

We know that much of our flooding is caused by the swelling of ground water from our sewers. A mid-summer thunderstorm or an occasional nor’easter proves this each year. “Walling off” the city off could potentially provide much more dire consequences.

Instead of looking for sound bites, the administration should be looking at real solutions grounded on the upcoming evaluations of FEMA and other qualified agencies. At the very least, the mayor should be engaging in dialogue with our neighboring communities.

8 Responses

  1. Civic66 says:

    The storm walls will not be the answer to Hoboken’s persistent flooding problem, but a lot of people (including elected officials) are complaining without offering any sort of alternative solutions. We can’t undo the over-development of the Hoboken, so how do we move forward from here to alleviate the flooding issue? Upgrade the sewer system? Build more wet weather pumps? Something has to be done.

  2. YouStayCl@ssyHoboken says:

    It’s about time for an update to the City’s master plan, will be interesting to see if there is a shift in priorities and the ‘top 10′ list of citizens’ concerns vs. 10 years ago.

    • joey maxim says:

      Historical records show that Hoboken was below sea level the past 500 years..The Dutch bought the swamp land for cloth 12 kettles 6 guns two blankets and half barrel of beer to the Lenape native americans ..did better than the 24 dollars for manhatten.It’s also recorded that the dutch used lenape heads for soccer balls in their games. they delt with the floods then/ up to the malcontents that want the square mile raised a few feet. it is what it is..All this comes from the historical musium..Where the projects now stand was a swamp land and soccer field where goats use to roam and boot leggers shot it out. The key is that it is what it is.water seeks it’s level..Pity anyone that is conned by realestate to purchase condos on the north west side of hoboken..None of this occured in soho or tribecia and nyc is a bit shabby in regard to sea level..pray for better days.and saftey of life and property..remember it’s ones choice to relocate here. 😕 [quote comment=”219896″]It’s about time for an update to the City’s master plan, will be interesting to see if there is a shift in priorities and the ‘top 10′ list of citizens’ concerns vs. 10 years ago.[/quote]

  3. BklynHobo says:

    I’m sorry, but I can’t take any adult seriously that doesn’t know the difference between affects and effects.

    • joey maxim says:

      bklyn ..reality is not taking any comment serious..The naysayers make it politics .for the
      past 100 years not one group ever complained or blaimed a mayor to my knowledge.The key is affects and effects are a fact of life..If your a bklyn person you know the score. It’s not the mayors fault on this topic and i take no sides. but but the more they keep driving piles into the ground to develope,a mile square the more crap will develope..greed has much to do with it..In fact where the mayor lives resides her area has been flooded before she was born..No one cared and considered it a fact of life..weather patterns have changed and a suprime power has the say..why waste money on a bldg in a flooded area and blaim who ever? Its a done deal..we all have a choice to sell and bail out..there is no such thing as culther in hoboken but 65+ bistros bars and parks and dog walks. that can be found anywhere..You liike it here you deal with what ever comes along..we all have a choice.

      [quote comment=”219899″]I’m sorry, but I can’t take any adult seriously that doesn’t know the difference between affects and effects.[/quote]

  4. homeworld says:

    “much of our flooding is caused by the swelling of ground water from our sewers”

    No, it’s coming from the fact that there is a combined sewer system. So all stormwater runoff that drains into the catch basins in the streets has to go to the sewage treatment plant along with the sewage. During a thunderstorm the sewers can’t handle that sort of volume and overflow into the streets. But that’s not groundwater, that’s rain (that’s been mixed with raw sewage). The wet-weather pump takes that effluent and dumps it directly into the river, but even that has its limits.

    Separating Hoboken’s sewage system from stormwater runoff will stop most of that sort of flooding from rainfall events.

    • joey maxim says:

      That has been a know fact for 100rd’s or years. The key is not the problem but the solution .when there were no storm drains a few hudred years ago wonder how the people delt with it..Funny part is people go crabbing in the dirty hudson flowing out to the statue of liberty..Every professor knows the answer yet the stevens college professors still cannot solve the mess..ohh boy. 😥 [quote comment=”219903″]“much of our flooding is caused by the swelling of ground water from our sewers”No, it’s coming from the fact that there is a combined sewer system. So all stormwater runoff that drains into the catch basins in the streets has to go to the sewage treatment plant along with the sewage. During a thunderstorm the sewers can’t handle that sort of volume and overflow into the streets. But that’s not groundwater, that’s rain (that’s been mixed with raw sewage). The wet-weather pump takes that effluent and dumps it directly into the river, but even that has its limits.Separating Hoboken’s sewage system from stormwater runoff will stop most of that sort of flooding from rainfall events.[/quote]

      • homeworld says:

        And the solution is to separate the sewer system, but that cost many millions of dollars. [quote comment=”219914″]That has been a know fact for 100rd’s or years. The key is not the problem but the solution .when there were no storm drains a few hudred years ago wonder how the people delt with it..Funny part is people go crabbing in the dirty hudson flowing out to the statue of liberty..Every professor knows the answer yet the stevens college professors still cannot solve the mess..ohh boy. [/quote]

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