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.”

Read the rest here.

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24 Comments on "Hoboken in the NY Times (again)"

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Red Haven is right. The City Council doesn’t have the authority to really manage the budget.

They were left with two options.

Option 1: Give Roberts everything he wants.
Option 2: Let the state come in. They will probably suck, too, but at least Roberts is embarrassed, the budget mess gets more attention, and there is hope for change.

Red Haven
Red Haven

TLL, nobody “voted to let the state come in.” They voted against the illegal cap waivers which would cover up Roberts’ $11.7 million deficit.

All the state was supposed to do was set the tax levy. Instead they are mounting a hostile takeover to bury the embarrassing mess that Davey Roberts made so the machine can keep on humming without the public getting too big of a whiff of the stench that comes out of the second floor of City Hall.


The biggest losers — unfortunately in the short-term it will be the Hoboken taxpayers. But in the long-term it will the the gang of five (those brillant council memebers who, for political reasons, voted to let the State come in). Only political hacks like them could make this Mayor look like a winner.


I ask because I don’t know: has anyone discussed a Recall Election?

I have no idea how that process happens, but does anyone really want to wait until the next election to replace this crew? California’s Recall resulted in Arnold taking over. What celebrity can ride into Hoboken and clean up this mess? I saw Uncle Floyd on the street a few months ago, maybe he’d be interested. Maybe Danny Aiello? I wonder what John Sayles is up to? This mess would make a great movie, although no one would believe it.


[quote comment=”90068″]1. Nice SNL reference.

2. What’s so bad about office workers?

3. How do buildings “eliminate” the sun? Shadows don’t go all that far except near dawn & dusk.

4. Honestly, office space creates piles of tax revenue and very little incremental cost to the town.[/quote]

I could be wrong but as the land is owned by NJ Transit and they are leasing it to the developers, how do we get any tax dollars out of this deal. And NJ Transit doesn’t pay real estate taxes, so don’t we get a big fat goose egg? We might be able to tax the development on the value of the buildings on the leased land, but that is a fraction of the value of the land itself.

And shadows for 30-40 story buildings go pretty far when you consider all the buildings being built will be on the south end of town – the sun is pretty low on the horizon a good chunk of the day in the spring, winter & fall. Think of those buildings as a giant wall that will easily cast a shadow for at least a few blocks most of the year.