Mayor blames homeless problems on cops
From today’s Journal:
Roberts criticizes top cop for being lax on vagrants
Hoboken Mayor David Roberts may soon be getting into another public feud with a top-ranking city official.
Roberts says he’s fed up with “vagrants” – i.e. homeless people – panhandling, relieving themselves in public and using Pier A as their own urban resort when they bathe in the fountain and sleep on the park’s benches.
He says the city has ordinances on the books that prohibit such behavior, but Police Chief Carmen LaBruno has not made enforcing these public nuisance laws a priority.
“I believe we can do better a job,” Roberts said. “I am a supporter of the homeless and have supported the city’s homeless shelter, but that doesn’t mean our residents should have to put up with what they have to put up with.”
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Roberts said a number of factors make the Mile Square City a favorite spot for the region’s homeless, including the lack of homeless shelters in nearby towns, NJ Transit’s push to remove squatters from its old train terminal property and the “generosity” of local residents toward panhandlers.
LaBruno could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Jersey City is close to inking a deal with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey over the relocation of the Powerhouse substation that will help pave the way for highly-anticipated renovation of the historic Powerhouse building itself.
Port Authority officials have already agreed that the substation needs to be removed and replaced, but exactly where the new station will be built still needs to be resolved.
The two targeted locations are a triangle-shaped piece of city-owned land just north of the Powerhouse, on Washington Boulevard, and a 10,000-square-foot piece of property adjacent to the Butler building, owned by developer Bob Lier.
Sources tell me that the city prefers the Butler building property, but such a move presents a host of problems.
Lier had made it no secret that he wants to erect a high-rise residential tower through the heart of the historic Butler building, a proposal that city officials – who label the building iconic -are dead set against.
City officials are willing to allow Lier to add 100 feet to a proposed 250-foot building slated for parking lot to the south of the Butler building in exchange for placing the substation on his property.
That does not appear to be enough of a carrot for Lier, and city officials appear reluctant to force the substation on the property through eminent domain – out of fear of lengthy and costly litigation.
That being said, residents can expect the substation to land at the triangle park. At this pace, city officials said the Powerhouse building, scheduled to become a world-class arts and entertainment center, will be at least partially operational within five years.
Toll Brothers officials met with members of the Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association last week to discuss their controversial plans for the historic Manischewitz building on Bay Street.
Tight-lipped company officials provided the group with their “conceptual” plans, and last night they held a work session with PADNA members who want to voice their problems.
Company officials told me they want to work with the neighborhood residents and they say the meetings are a vehicle to gauge public opinion and make changes if necessary – a point that would be commendable if it were true.
Just yesterday, sources tell me, the company was planning to submit its planning board application for zoning changes, just hours before they were scheduled to meet with PADNA members about their concerns.
The premature submission of the application raises serious questions about how seriously company officials took the meetings, reducing them to a typical public relations tactic that is more window dressing than private-public cooperation.
Such tactics are going to make an already skeptical neighborhood group even more critical, especially in the face of substantial zoning changes required for the company to erect three residential towers ranging from roughly 300 to 400 feet, along with a host of other controversial plans.