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Hoboken City Council Election 2021: A Q+A With the Candidates

Written by:

The 2021 New Jersey election is taking place on November 2nd, 2021 — which includes the seats to several Hoboken City Council positions. Hoboken’s municipal election is rapidly approaching and in an effort to provide more information about the candidates for our readers, we’ve asked all of them the same questions, questions that readers have voiced in recent years. Keep reading to hear from the candidates (in A-Z order) that chose to participate including their platforms, their favorite restaurants, and their answers to our burning local questions.

Disclaimer: Hoboken Girl does not endorse any particular candidate. We only mean to provide a resource where members of the community can learn about each candidate and encourage people to get out and vote on November 2nd.

Hudsontv.com and The Pulse with Peter B. announced Hoboken’s City Council debate for Thursday, October 21, at 7:30PM at the Elks Club. The debate will be streamed live and have an in-person audience; highlights will be broadcast on TV in the following Pulse episode. The debate will last an hour and a half and be moderated by Jeffrey Henig, of Hudsontv.com, and Peter Biancamano, host of The Pulse. The format will include an hours’ worth of questions from the moderators followed by a half-hour of written questions submitted by both in-person and digital audience members read by the moderators.

Cheryl Fallick

Independently Together

Cheryl Fallick

What is your political party?

Registered Democrat.

What do you do for work?

Currently, Real Estate.

How long have you lived in Hoboken?

38 years.

Tell us something unique about yourself.

I studied ASL in college as my required language.

What’s your favorite restaurant?

That depends on what I’m in the mood for and if I’m dining with a large group, a small group of friends, or one person.

Who are some local business owners you admire?

Mauro, at Sunshine Deli; because when toilet paper was nowhere to be found in Hoboken, they always had it. But really all of our businesses who have faced such challenges during the pandemic.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process in the Mile Square? Include specifics on technology or outreach you’d use.

Social media, email, and community meetings.

What would you most like to see improve in Hoboken?

Making flooding from rain events a priority.

Who in Hoboken and beyond have you been endorsed by that is noteworthy?

Spending time and energy doing outreach to solicit endorsements is not a priority for my campaign and, while I appreciate the endorsements of Council VP Giattino and Councilwoman Fisher, the only endorsement that matters is the endorsement of the voters on election day.

What can the city be doing for local business owners that it isn’t already?

Streamlining the process for opening a business.

What are your thoughts on how the City has combated COVID-19?

As a whole, I think the residents of Hoboken did a really great job. We’re very fortunate that our community stepped up to the plate.

What are your thoughts on communicating with constituents via social media? If you had an incident where a constituent addresses you on social media in a negative way, how would you respond?

Communicating via social media is just another way of communication but I think important for all elected officials. Regardless of how someone addressed me, I would respond to their concern.

Is there anything you would do differently or hope to do in the future?

I hope to give the residents of Hoboken who feel left behind a voice in our city’s future.

What are your thoughts on Vision Zero?

At this point, it’s more of a vision and less of action. As a resident today I feel less safe walking on the streets of Hoboken than I did 20 years ago; it seems that whatever Vision Zero is or will become, it currently lacks appropriate enforcement.

What are your thoughts on scooters? Should they come back? Scooters are controversial.

This is something that we will need to get input from our residents about. It shouldn’t be me as an individual making the decision.

What are your thoughts on how Hoboken’s flooding issues are being handled?

Hoboken’s flooding issues are not being handled at all. The homeowners are being left to handle any flooding issues or property damage from flooding by themselves without proper support from the City or a holistic approach from the city.

What would you do for future mitigation?

Share detailed plans. See my running mate, Sheila Brennan’s plan on our website https://www.it4hoboken.com/everyday-flooding-relief. I fully endorse and support these ideas and positions.

What are your thoughts on the projected City’s average rent cost, which is currently calculated as $2,650 as of 10/4 for a one-bedroom — an 18% increase from the previous year?

My first thought is that this demonstrates how the administration’s defunding of the rent leveling office is negatively impacting a large segment of the citizenry in Hoboken.

What are your plans to address ways to keep the City affordable?

Addressing Hoboken’s dwindling affordability is and has been a longstanding priority for me. I will be releasing a comprehensive plan in the near term. Look for it on the Independently Together website at IT4Hoboken.com. One thing is clear to me and that is that without my voice and the other independent voices from the Independently Together slate on the City Council come January 2022, there will be no affordability in Hoboken in very short order.

What are your thoughts on parking in Hoboken? Share any concrete plans to address this issue.

We have excess capacity in our parking garages, I would promote ways to reduce this, and I would propose legislation to improve wayfinding in the City to direct visitors to our parking garages.

What other issues are important to you to bring up as a councilperson?

Displacement, overdevelopment, and equitable representation of all residents.

Why are you running for Hoboken City Council?

As a long-time community advocate, I have been a voice to residents in Hoboken on many issues ranging from our defending our waterfront to affordability and housing injustices and when it appeared that the voters would not have a choice on candidates in this election cycle, I decided that it was time for me to turn my voice into a vote and step up to run for office.

Cindy Wiegand

Cindy Wiegand

What is your political party?

Unaffiliated with any political party.

What do you do for work?

Market research/consumer insights and raising three children (9, 6, and 5 years old)

How long have you lived in Hoboken?

Almost 12 years

Tell us something unique about yourself.

I would beat any other candidate in a hula hoop contest

What’s your favorite restaurant?

In Hoboken, Napoli’s. In the world, Chili’s.

Who are some local business owners you admire?

I admire anyone who starts a local business in Hoboken. The time, energy, drive, creativity, and patience they have in making things work here gets my utmost respect.

Some specific owners: Mollie Bollers (Hoboken Women’s Wellness), Olivia Burks (Hugs & Bugs Club), Kelly Genuardi (Kelly Photo Boutique), Lindsey Bednar (Diamond Gymnastics), Ian Rintel (Play! Hoboken), Chris Riccobono (UNTUCKit was once a Hoboken small business), Biancamano family (M & P Biancamano), Priscilla Van Houten (The DIY Joint), Darien and Leo Coto (Trim).

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process in the Mile Square? Include specifics on technology or outreach you’d use.

No matter the tool used to engage, the most important thing is to get a wide swath of feedback from a variety of constituents. We need to make sure we are not hearing only from the loudest voices, and hearing from everyone who wants to share feedback in a manner they feel comfortable.

Since this is an at-large position, it is critical to engage the entire city. The most effective way to get constituent feedback is through methods that involve dialogue, so there is a true understanding of the give and take. Virtual and in-person meetings in the various wards are a useful way for that, as are two-way social media tools.

For those who like tech for communication, sending out concise newsletters and posting about what is being discussed in meetings on social media in a timely manner also is useful. Keeping my website up-to-date with the latest news and keeping the feedback loop open there will also be useful.

There are also smartphone apps that help with community engagement, and I would seek to promote and use those.

Surveys with lots of open-end questions and community focus groups—which is a moderated conversation instead of a free-for-all—are tools I have years of experience using. These tools used thoughtfully are beautiful ways to get feedback.

What would you most like to see improve in Hoboken?

I would like to see our small-town intimacy be used to make local governance more efficient. With all of Hoboken’s pluses, there is no reason our government cannot be more responsive and transparent. The government is here to serve us, and often it feels as if we are here to serve the government. We need our elected local leaders to work harder at making living in Hoboken the easy choice.

Who in Hoboken and beyond have you been endorsed by that is noteworthy?

I am endorsement-free, and I wear that with a badge of honor. When I say I am an independent candidate, I mean it. I am running to see if someone who is not connected can get elected.

My grassroots campaign is here to lift up all our residents and small businesses. And like our hometown son Frank Sinatra, I am doing it “My Way.”

What can the city be doing for local business owners that it isn’t already?

Hoboken should be the “most small business-friendly city in the nation.” And we should make it easy, cost-effective, and transparent to open and maintain a business and easy for people to patronize our businesses.

Some specific suggestions include: auditing existing ordinances and expunging those that are overly punitive and/or past their “use-by” date, adding more computerization to forms, permits, etc., so things move more quickly and the business owner can monitor where things are in the process, streamline the opening process for business (including permits and fees), make parking rules more transparent and easier to follow so visitors can patronize these businesses with ease (including having signs in town that point to local garages).

What are your thoughts on how the City has combated COVID-19?

Like the rest of the country, Hoboken has benefited from the development of vaccines and therapeutics, and I am glad that we are moving toward a pre-Covid normalcy.

What are your thoughts on communicating with constituents via social media? If you had an incident where a constituent addresses you on social media in a negative way, how would you respond?

I welcome constituents communicating via social media. However, if they are looking for more back and forth discussion, there are other ways to get there. In my experience having a dialogue and letting a constituent know they are being heard are important for productive feedback.

Is there anything you would do differently or hope to do in the future?

I have specific ideas for ways to improve parking, recreation, flooding, and pedestrian safety (which are detailed below). I want to make living in Hoboken The Easy Choice!

What are your thoughts on Vision Zero?

Vision Zero has laudable goals, but in practice is not going to increase safety and mobility for pedestrians and is going to increase our cost of living (specially sized delivery trucks for Hoboken, as an example). It was obviously written by consultants—similar to the Washington St. redesign—who do not understand the nuances of everyday life in Hoboken and who are not going to have to live with the consequences of their recommendations.

Pedestrian advocates, people with families, seniors, people with mobility issues, small business owners, among other stakeholder groups, do not appear to have been consulted about the final plan or included in the task force. At a minimum, we need to get feedback and input from different segments of pedestrians before it is implemented. Let’s continue to road test the plan and refine it before we spend time and money on something that will not adequately serve our pedestrian population.

What are your thoughts on scooters? Should they come back?

We are too dense and have too many pedestrians for battery-operated scooters as they were.

What are your thoughts on how Hoboken’s flooding issues are being handled?

Given Hoboken’s topography, density, and limited permeable infrastructure, we must do a better job at seeking to mitigate flooding.

While City Government’s flood mitigation efforts to-date may have resulted in conditions being improved for some, the fact is flooding in absolute terms remains severe and a major issue for our community.

The focus on seawalls in Rebuild By Design (RBD) contains some good ideas, including infrastructure such as rain gardens and rainwater storage facilities. I strongly favor building more of these (some of which to be funded by new development contributions).

But the bulk of the focus – including dollars being spent – is on the seawall component designed to protect against Hudson River overflow. The seawall component does nothing to address the core problem of flooding in heavy rainstorms that repeatedly plagues our city (and there is a maintenance cost to RBD that we will bearing the brunt of). As I like to say, sewers are not as “sexy” as seawalls, but that is where we need to put our immediate attention.

What would you do for future mitigation? Share detailed plans.

All new development must have developer contributions earmarked for water management infrastructure upgrades. These would take the form of both in kind – e.g. green components such as rain gardens, rainwater storage facilities (underground and rooftop), permeable paving where possible – and hard dollars to be used specifically to help to fund flood-area infrastructure improvements. The amount of developer contribution would correspond to the project’s density.

Separate storm- and waste-water in the most flood-prone parts of the city. The comingling of the storm- and waste-water results in “sewer backwash” and despite multiple pumping stations plus underground water retention basins, this backwash persists. Replacing the entire antiquated storm-/waste-water system is logistically and financially unfeasible. But focusing on the most problematic flooding areas would help to alleviate “sewer backwash.”

Potential ways to help to pay for these upgrades would include the aforementioned developer contributions toward water management infrastructure upgrades, seeking funds from Federal and State programs focused on ameliorating climate change, reassessment of the city’s budget to better prioritize our spending for our most urgent needs.

Provide municipal property-tax credits for specific green/flood mitigation investments to existing properties. Property-owner investments in rain gardens, water retention (backyard, roof), porous hardscape, etc., would be beneficial. The cost of such improvements taken on by property owners could be offset in part by a multi-year tax credit against the city portion of the property’s tax bill.

What are your thoughts on the projected City’s average rent cost, which is currently calculated as $2,650 as of 10/4 for a one-bedroom — an 18% increase from the previous year?

It is important for our community’s culture, history, and cohesiveness, that we have a range of one-bedroom options for those who can afford different price points and have different needs.

To assess why prices are what they are, it is important to understand the factors that are driving both the dollar amount of the average rent cost and the increase in the past year. We need to understand what is underpinning that cost. How much of that rent cost is due to property taxes and building expenses that landlords are passing on to residents? To what degree is the average price skewed by luxury rentals with substantial amenities?

The 18% increase in the past year is a large increase. Because the pandemic pushed down prices in 2020 that are now rebounding in densely populated areas like Hoboken, the % increase partially reflects that fact. The dollar amount is the more relevant metric for this particular year. But either way, we as a city should be able to support a range of rental price points.

What are your plans to address ways to keep the City affordable?

It is essential that city government keep the budget (and other costs that filter into housing costs such as select rules and regulations) in check. The steady increase in property taxes in the past decade – recognizing they were reduced slightly in the current fiscal year – has raised property owners’ costs and those costs are passed through to renters. The city’s inability to mitigate flooding also has costs to property owners and those costs are passed on to renters; my flooding initiatives would help in this regard.

Issues like parking and over-regulation also affect our cost of living. It is difficult to find contractors, plumbers, etc. who will work in this city because the hassles are not worth their time. And those who will come often charge a “Hoboken premium” to come out here. It is challenges like these that raise the overall cost of living here for every resident. That is why I am proposing that we audit the regulations on the books and why we can’t let our parking challenges continue to go unresolved.

What are your thoughts on parking in Hoboken? Share any concrete plans to address this issue.

There is no cohesive parking philosophy in Hoboken—it is a patchwork of policies that have been slapped together over time and appear to be working for nobody and confusing for everybody. We need to step back and start over on parking instead of putting band-aids on the issues.

My experience as a market research professional has shown that a key step toward solving any problem is having the correct data. In this case, we need to query residents, visitors, business owners to get data on all things parking including frequency of car use, needs for construction/repair worker access, deliveries, attitudes toward street parking pricing, the potential demand for new garages (public and private) and much more. From that data, we can understand who the different “segments” of parkers are here, and then we can develop a parking master plan.

I have heard many people express that it feels like the city wants cars to go away and that by making parking so challenging and expensive it will reach that goal. In order to “solve” parking, the city government has to say that they want transport of all kinds to be able to park here and to do its best accommodate them. Only when the city decides that it wants to be part of the solution—and not create a problem—will there be a solution. Different modes of transportation—from walking to bikes, to cars—can coexist here.

Some potential things we can do in the short term:

  • Put better signage around town so visitors know where municipal garages are
  • Explore airport-like long-term parking in municipal garages/property
  • Establish a minimum ratio of required parking spaces to units/bedrooms in new development, one that is higher than the ratio that currently exists on average in new development (both cars and bikes)
  • Update street signage so it is less confusing (these signs are a remnant of the old 4 hours free visitor parking)

What other issues are important to you to bring up as a councilperson?

  • Pedestrian safety—on our sidewalks, our streets, and crosswalks
  • Budget management/cost-of-living
  • Equitable, easy access to government and city services, including more transparency in conducting business with the city and upgrading technological infrastructure
  • Overall cleanliness and garbage collection, more garbage cans around town
  • Turning our recreation department into a not-for-profit that can expand its footprint and fundraise
  • Putting our public pool at the Union Dry Dock site

Why are you running for Hoboken City Council?

I have been a Hoboken resident for nearly a dozen years and am committed to raising my family here. There are great things about Hoboken, but also challenges, many of which are created by government policy. We still grapple with flooding, parking/transportation, escalating cost of living despite assurances from elected officials these will be solved. Meanwhile, the city government routinely gets us into messes of its own creation—the Monarch, Northwest redevelopment, Washington St. redesign to highlight a few—and then proceeds to “solve” these messes through a combination of spending even more taxpayer funds, granting favors to well-connected entities, etc.

Government can do better for Hoboken; that is why I am running. Hoboken needs more independent voices to advocate for residents and small businesses and to question and facilitate debate and compromise. A true outsider unbeholden to any political party or special interest, I am that voice of reason. Moreover, I am willing to work with anyone if their goal is improving Hoboken’s quality of life in a responsible manner.

I am confident that my professional experience is a skill set missing on City Council—knowing the right questions to ask and turning feedback into actionable solutions. Regardless of the issue, a new POV goes a long way to helping to solve what can seem impossible.

It’s time for new voices in City Council that will aggressively put residents’ interests first. I am one of those voices; I am one of those fighters.

Emily Jabbour

Team Bhalla

emily jabbour

What is your political party?

Lifelong Democrat

What do you do for work?

I am a social worker with a policy focus, employed full-time with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) for the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) where I have worked for 15 years.

How long have you lived in Hoboken?

I have lived in Hoboken since the Fall of 2008, so 13 years.

Tell us something unique about yourself.

I got into Hoboken politics by way of organizing for Moms Demand Action. I had been volunteering at my daughter’s school when an active shooter drill took place, and something truly broke in me that made me reach out to this organization. They didn’t have anyone organizing in this area, so I started the Hudson County Chapter and began attending community meetings, which led me to develop a relationship with Mayor Zimmer, who then asked me to get more involved.

What’s your favorite restaurant?

I could never pick one! The variety of options is one of my favorite things about Hoboken! My regular spots I’ll say are The Hive for morning coffee, Grand Vin for brunch, Black Rail for lunch, Otto Strada or Johnny Pepperoni for dinner, Anthony David’s or Dino & Harry’s for date night, Okinawa for sushi, Finnegan’s Pub for an adult beverage… I could go on!

Who are some local business owners you admire?

To be honest, I admire anyone who is brave enough to start their own business. I have tremendous respect for the personal investment that requires of a person. I really admire the two women who started The Hive because I love their mission and desire to create a space that is meant to build a community for parents by combining a coffee and retail shop with a children’s play space. I admire Tina Rivera aka the Baking Mama who took her love for baking and made it into a business that has the best-rated chocolate chip cookie in all of New Jersey!

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process in the Mile Square? Include specifics on technology or outreach you’d use.

I take pride in getting outside of the political bubble that exists in Hoboken – whether that means chatting with other parents at Brandt, checking in with people at the gym while working out, conversations at the food pantry distribution, meeting with youth at the high school – it is important to me that I not surround myself with people who are all “in the bubble” of Hoboken’s politics. I use social media to update folks on things I’m working on, events in the community, opportunities to get involved, and I’ve found that being an active member of communities on Facebook are a constructive way to connect with residents. For example, I’m an active member of the Hoboken Mommies, Hoboken Parents, City of Hoboken, and Hoboken Dog Lovers pages on Facebook, such that residents who I may not know personally rely on tagging me to ask me to help with an issue. As a social worker by training, I feel that I am adept at this type of approach to constituent services. I am also active on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn as additional technology platforms where residents can learn more about my community involvement.

What would you most like to see improve in Hoboken?

I, along with Councilmember Doyle and Joe Quintero, would like to see the Office of Constituent Services reinstituted as a natural first step for anyone looking to navigate local government and seek help. Unfortunately, a majority of the Councilmembers voted to eliminate this office during the early months of COVID – at a time when demand for this type of support increased dramatically.

Who in Hoboken and beyond have you been endorsed by that is noteworthy?

I am running as part of the Mayor’s slate, so I’m proud to have Mayor Bhalla’s endorsement. I have also been endorsed by Everytown, which is meaningful for me as a volunteer and organizer for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America – I started the Hudson County Chapter of Moms six years ago and continue to be active in the gun violence prevention movement. While Moms Demand Action does not specifically endorse candidates, I was awarded the distinction of being a “gunsense” candidate in recognition of my commitment to this issue. I am proud to have been endorsed by the NJ Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the Service Employees International Union, Local 32BJ. The Team Bhalla slate was also endorsed by our Hudson County Commissioner Anthony Romano.

What can the city be doing for local business owners that it isn’t already?

I would like to see the City focus on streamlining the process for new businesses to get off the ground, as I know that is a common frustration. We need to simplify the process, make it transparent and easy to follow, and then encourage new businesses to come to Hoboken.

What are your thoughts on how the City has combated COVID-19?

I am extremely proud of the work that the City, under the leadership of Mayor Bhalla, has executed during COVID. From the very start, I was with the Mayor as he deliberated about the very difficult decisions that had to be made with respect to closing bars and restaurants in the first days of the outbreak, to then asking our most vulnerable residents to shelter in place during the peak spread, to standing up testing and then vaccination sites. The level of coordination and communication needed was extraordinary. I worked with City Hall to put together Facebook Live sessions to give residents the opportunity to ask questions in the early days of the outbreak; worked with the Hoboken Library to create online content like reading books to help engage children during quarantine; volunteered with the Health Department to deliver meals to seniors during quarantine; coordinated with several other Councilmembers to lead volunteer teams to unload trucks of donated perishable food items that had to be delivered the same day; and worked with local business owners to navigate the new COVID protocols and requirements to help them thrive in spite of the pandemic. Hoboken truly led the way for New Jersey and the country with respect to our COVID response. While friends would share their daunting experiences of waiting hours and desperately searching for testing locations, I could easily refer folks to sign up for an appointment at the Riverside testing site. Hoboken has fared far better than many other communities during COVID, and that is a testament to the leadership of Mayor Bhalla and our amazing and professional City Hall staff.

What are your thoughts on communicating with constituents via social media? If you had an incident where a constituent addresses you on social media in a negative way, how would you respond?

I find that social media is a great tool to communicate what’s going on in the City. I work with many different organizations in the City to share information about events – whether that’s a Hoboken Food Pantry distribution, a recreation sign-up, a local fundraiser, a new business opening, or celebrating success. Facebook groups, in particular, have been a great way for residents to tag me into conversations where there are questions, additional resources are needed, or general dialogue about a City topic. I am often tagged by residents who I don’t personally know, but they know me by reputation that I always aim to get things done for the City. With respect to negative interactions, I find that most of those take place on Twitter because that platform allows for anonymous profiles. I learned early on the mantra: “Don’t feed the trolls” – so I do not engage in trolling interactions. I am easily reached via email, cell phone, or message – and welcome constructive dialogue.

Is there anything you would do differently or hope to do in the future?

I am hopeful that as the COVID pandemic becomes less consuming in terms of City resources, we’ll be able to focus on other priority topics for the City. For me, this includes a focus on pedestrian safety, recreation services (particularly for youth), individuals who are experiencing homelessness, and flooding.

What are your thoughts on Vision Zero?

I am proud to have been part of the Vision Zero Task Force since it launched. This has been an amazing opportunity to pull together stakeholders from across the City to tackle the goal of eliminating all traffic-related injuries or deaths by 2030. Much of my interest in getting involved in Hoboken politics was driven by my fear as a mother of young children walking around the City with small children or a stroller, and realizing how susceptible our residents are to tragedy.

What are your thoughts on scooters? Should they come back?

I was supportive of the pilot program that the City launched with Lime scooters. I think we learned a tremendous amount from that pilot experience and should continue to think about how we could have a program that would allow for the safe use of scooters. Residents regularly tell me how much they enjoyed the option of scooters to get around town in terms of convenience. There have been a number of technological advancements that I think could make this possible for Hoboken, including the ability of the platform to track such things as when someone is on a sidewalk or traveling the wrong way down a one-way street – then have the ability to cut off operation due to such violations. It is a topic that I would like to continue to explore for Hoboken.

What are your thoughts on how Hoboken’s flooding issues are being handled?

Addressing flooding is one of my top priorities, especially in the aftermath of the recent rain events with Henri and Ida, as the City is experiencing the very real impacts of climate change. For 8 years, I lived at the corner of 9th and Madison – flooding is not new for Hoboken, but the dynamics of the way residents experience flooding and the flood areas have changed. The City has made strides in our capacity to address flooding based on the lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy. For example, the $230M federal investment of Rebuild by Design that’s now broken ground will help address any future storm surges, similar to what we experienced then.

Additionally, I think it is important to highlight that the City did not lose power in the aftermath of Henri and Ida due to the investment in working with PSE&G to elevate the power substation in NW. City services were online and operational within one day of what was the second-most damaging and intense hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. behind Katrina. Hoboken is leading the country when it comes to installing resiliency infrastructure in public park spaces – now part of the park at 7th and Jackson, SW Park, and the NW Park that’s opening next year.

What would you do for future mitigation? Share detailed plans.

First, I think that the City needs to take every single opportunity that is feasible to install resiliency infrastructure in public spaces – all public parks, our street landscape via rain gardens, municipal buildings, etc. Second, while I know that the third flood pump that’s opening at NW Park next year will make an impact on the mitigation of flood conditions, I believe we should move forward with plans and funding necessary to install a fourth pump in SW Hoboken in the area of the Hoboken Housing Authority, which sustained multiple days of standing water in the aftermath of Ida.

Finally, the City has built an expert team of professionals working on the topic of flooding who have developed tremendously helpful information such as the Resilient Building Design Guide – but we need to ensure that we are regularly doing outreach and education to put that information at the fingertips of homeowners who are looking to be part of the solution.

What are your thoughts on the projected City’s average rent cost, which is currently calculated as $2,650 as of 10/4 for a one-bedroom — an 18% increase from the previous year?

I continue to be concerned about the affordability of housing in Hoboken, especially when it comes to the displacement of people who have lived here for some time and can no longer afford the cost of living. The diversity of Hoboken’s population is one of the things that I most love about our community, and ensuring that we have affordable housing options is essential for that to continue. While the development of new buildings can be a controversial topic, the practical reality is that these new developments are driving the creation of the largest additional stock of affording housing options thanks to the mandated ten percent affordable housing set aside.

What are your plans to address ways to keep the City affordable?

I would like to see the affordable housing set aside be increased to more than the existing ten percent – this was a policy change proposed by my colleague Councilmember Falco and unfortunately did not have the support of the majority of the Council. I am excited that Councilmember Falco will be heading up a new Division of Housing for the City in 2022 because I think there are a number of other opportunities to both protect the existing universe of affordable housing options and explore the addition of more subsidy programs that could support people in need of assistance.

What are your thoughts on parking in Hoboken? Share any concrete plans to address this issue.

Parking is a perennial issue for Hoboken and there is no silver bullet. I would like to see the City reinstate dynamic pricing for the parking spaces in our main commercial districts to help support local business by turning over those parking spaces more regularly, invest in more efficient parking areas by taking surface parking lots and making them into municipal garages, adding a new municipal garage in NW Hoboken, repairing and upgrading the existing municipal parking garages, and incentivizing the use of alternative forms of transportation such as riding bikes or the bike share program by installing infrastructure like secure bike storage and protected bike lanes. I would like to see the Hop expanded in terms of hours of operation and weekend service, and explore the option of bringing the microtransit program Via from Jersey City to Hoboken.

What other issues are important to you to bring up as a councilperson?

I would like to see the City invest more resources into the programs that serve our families via the Recreation Department. Specifically, I would like to see Hoboken create a summer camp program that would provide working parents with a more affordable, local, all-day camp program that could be staffed by teens/young adults in the community seeking summer jobs. I would also like to see the existing recreation platform be streamlined as part of a larger set of improvements to the City website so that residents can more easily navigate the options available.

We also have two amazing opportunities in the works for open spaces that we need to keep on track and see through to completion – the acquisition of Union Dry Dock to complete the Hoboken waterfront and the Monarch settlement, which will result in a new public park at 800 Monroe and preservation of the northern portion of the waterfront. I, along with Councilmember Doyle, spoke up and worked with Mayor Bhalla to help move forward with the acquisition of Union Dry Dock and settlement on Monarch, and it will be our priority to see that both properties are developed into public, open space. In order for these two major priorities to be completed and develop into resiliency parks, the Council will need to continue to work collaboratively on these matters to see them through successfully.

Why are you running for Hoboken City Council?

I am very grateful to have served Hoboken as a Councilperson for the past four years. I am seeking re-election because I am passionate about supporting initiatives that will continue to make Hoboken a better place to live and work. The COVID-19 pandemic was certainly not part of my plans for the first term, so I’m hopeful that as the City resumes regular operations, we will have the opportunity to refocus on other business. I am passionate about constituent services, pedestrian safety, open space, and supporting/protecting affordable housing options.

Ian Rintel

Ian Rintel

What is your political party?

I’m unaffiliated. I don’t like the party system. I don’t like the idea of loyalty between elected officials. I think the whole system is backwards – that is, the “boss” is the voter. To me – that IS democracy. What we have where elected officials yield influence over other officials is some sort of oligarchy. Unfortunately – this is what we have in Hoboken.

What do you do for work?

I own Play! Hoboken. The only Family Entertainment Center in Hoboken presently.

How long have you lived in Hoboken?

23 years a Hoboken resident. 19 years a Hoboken business owner.

Tell us something unique about yourself.

I’m a regular pacer of NYC and other large marathons – which means I don’t run for myself, but I run to lead other runners to finish in a specific time. 4:00 Hours is my favorite time to pace and in 2019 I paced 4:05 at Marine Corps and I paced 4:00 at NYC Marathon with the races one week apart (I finished each one 20 seconds under the goal time).

What’s your favorite restaurant?

Court Street.

Who are some local business owners you admire?

Especially considering the pandemic – all business owners are doing something admirable just by staying open for customers and keeping people employed. If I focus ONLY on my immediate neighborhood – I’ll give shout-outs (walking away from my residence) to Tats @ BWE, Mary-Anne @ 7 Valleys, Jimmy @ Tosti, Lou, and Gigi and Juan at Amanda’s. If I were to single one business owner out – I’d point to Juan: because I believe fine dining in Hoboken is difficult to do. I respect people not just for success but for how much they have to overcome to achieve that success. I think a successful fine dining restaurant is a pretty hard thing to do here in Hoboken.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process in the Mile Square? Include specifics on technology or outreach you’d use.

I prefer emails for communication and I’ll always keep an open mind, but we elect officials to make decisions specifically for the residents, and that I’ll be ignoring outside interests will be a tremendous change from the status quo. That in itself means residents will be more involved.

What would you most like to see improve in Hoboken?

It’s shameful that we have elected officials, an administration, and city workers who have a hard time working together. In a private company – that would result in people being fired. I’ll work with everyone and demand that everyone works together. Remember: the residents ARE the boss.

Who in Hoboken and beyond have you been endorsed by that. is noteworthy?

I’m looking for voters – not endorsements. I have a few residents who are helping me and while they may have endorsed me, I’d prefer to think they are helping me and the residents by spreading my message instead of by trying to use their own popularity to influence voters.

What can the city be doing for local business owners that it isn’t already?

I am assuming this is ‘in light of the pandemic’. The city should have done a rent subsidy for business owners similar to what Canada is doing. It’s not too late. My real issue with the pandemic and how it’s being handled for business owners is we get ‘one shot’ help for a situation that is ongoing (for 19 months now). What we received was sufficient for 6-9 months (in my opinion). It’d also have been better if help was provided based on need. If it was – we might still have a movie theater instead of business owners who received pandemic assistance at a time they were more profitable than ever.

What are your thoughts on how the City has combated COVID-19?

Communication was great. Kudos there. But why not have a concerted effort to improve airflow in public spaces? People aren’t getting COVID on airplanes because of masks and airflow – we could have done the same. City Hall (the building) should have been the ultimate example. City Hall should have been reopened by now.

What are your thoughts on communicating with constituents via social media? If you had an incident where a constituent addresses you on social media in a negative way, how would you respond?

If it was trolling, I’d just delete/ignore. If it was a genuine concern, I’d try to work through the constituent’s issues.

Is there anything you would do differently or hope to do in the future?

If I’d started earlier in this campaign, I’d have been further along meeting my goals with it.

What are your thoughts on Vision Zero?

Pedestrian Safety is important but what about narrowing streets? Cars literally fly down streets that are much wider than necessary. What about stop sign enforcement?

What are your thoughts on scooters? Should they come back?

This is a recurring situation in Hoboken. A few bad actors ruin it for everyone else because Hoboken isn’t able to reign in the few bad actors. In the scooter situation specifically though – I put partial blame on the scooter companies because it was hard to identify the offenders and I think they could have helped Hoboken with that.

What are your thoughts on how Hoboken’s flooding issues are being handled?

Terrible. Pumps are just to speed recover after flooding. We need to switch over to a focus on enormous catch basins below our streets and once built we can use smaller, cheaper pumps to keep those catch basins dry before a downpour. Our government brags about 200,000-gallon catch basins when we need is 8,000,000 gallon catch basins. It’d be like the fire department showing off a new garden hose for putting out a fire (only exactly the opposite since we’re trying to get rid of water instead of supplying it).

What would you do for future mitigation? Share detailed plans.

Catch basins are the only real solution and underneath our lowest-lying streets seem to be the best location. I know it’s hard and expensive – but it could be made to work.

What are your thoughts on the projected City’s average rent cost, which is currently calculated as $2,650 as of 10/4 for a one-bedroom — an 18% increase from the previous year?

Rents are going up – but I think this figure is based on vacant apartments – not on occupied units. With a moratorium on evictions – it’s no wonder to me that the supply of vacant apartments is depressed and that there are more higher-priced apartments vacant than lower. So while I’m sure that rents are increasing – I don’t think it’s anywhere near 18%.

What are your plans to address ways to keep the City affordable?

Reigning in wasteful government spending would be something every councilperson and council candidate can make a goal. In terms of rents – I would like to see the burden of paying realtor fees for renting apartments be moved from the tenant to the landlord – because I think that putting the burden of realtor fees on the tenant increases apartment turnover and realtor costs really should be a cost of doing business for a landlord. Reducing delays for inspections – especially for business buildouts would reduce costs for businesses and also reduce the number of empty storefronts in Hoboken and in turn would lead to more options for the Hoboken consumer.

What are your thoughts on parking in Hoboken? Share any concrete plans to address this issue.

Valet service in one section of every public garage to be used by infrequent parkers at a discounted rate. Jam the cars in like they do in Manhattan and sections of our garages would then hold almost double the number of cars. The discounted rate would encourage people to move their cars off the street.

What other issues are important to you to bring up as a councilperson?

I’m the one council candidate with a track record of actually getting things done. I’m a business owner. I know how to work with the city. I know how to work through the city’s hurdles. If elected I intend to knock over or lower many of those hurdles – but I’ll also be able to make progress – not just promises.

Why are you running for Hoboken City Council?

Vanessa Falco was hired by the mayor so she would not run against his ticket. Jim Doyle made it known he does not want to continue being a councilperson and even decided not to run until the Mayor needed a replacement for Dini who dropped off his ticket last minute. These were the specific steps that brought me into the election. But now I’m convinced – based on what I’ve seen the past few weeks: that Hoboken needs me as a councilperson.

Jim Doyle

Team Bhalla

Jim Doyle

What is your political party?

Notwithstanding that this is a non-partisan election, I am a life-long registered Democrat.

What do you do for work?

I’m an attorney and have worked for 34 years for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

How long have you lived in Hoboken?

34 years.

Tell us something unique about yourself.

Before the bike advocacy group “Bike Hoboken,” I was the co-founder of Hoboken’s first free bike-sharing effort, called “Hobiken.”

What’s your favorite restaurant?

Finnegan’s Pub.

Who are some local business owners you admire?

Jim Kocis has been incredibly generous in many institutions and causes in the community, and without the fanfare. All businesses that won Green Business awards on October 2 at the Green Fair, such as St. Mary’s Thrift Store, are all worthy of praise and admiration.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process in the Mile Square? Include specifics on technology or outreach you’d use.

I believe that if there are any silver linings to COVID, one could be that constituents can participate in public meetings (e.g., the City Council) via Zoom, and that should continue even if/when such meetings resume as in-person. Since the more and easier that resident engagement can continue in that manner is only good, I would hope increasing participation through Zoom meetings is here to stay.

What would you most like to see improve in Hoboken?

Our ability to better defend against climate change.

Who in Hoboken and beyond have you been endorsed by that is noteworthy?

Mayor Ravi Bhalla, Commissioner Anthony Romano, 32BJ SEIU.

What can the city be doing for local business owners that it isn’t already?

Looking for ways to streamline the permit and approval processes for local businesses.

What are your thoughts on how the City has combated COVID-19?

Mayor Bhalla has been an incredible leader on COVID-19 – on everything from his earliest decision to take bold action to fight the spread, before any other elected official in the country – including testing, vaccines, and much more. We were fortunate Mayor Bhalla has been ahead of the curve every step of the way, which most certainly saved lives.

What are your thoughts on communicating with constituents via social media? If you had an incident where a constituent addresses you on social media in a negative way, how would you respond?

I prefer email as my primary source of communication with constituents.

Is there anything you would do differently or hope to do in the future?

I hope that after the election, regardless of the outcome, the political environment of the City Council will calm down and the Council will work collaboratively on substantive issues rather than continuing with the often divisive, often politically-driven, pro-Mayor or anti-Mayor sentiments. While I know it takes two to tango, our local government should work for our residents, and we can do that better on the City Council.

What are your thoughts on Vision Zero?

Vision Zero has been sorely needed in Hoboken for years, and I’m glad to have been a strong supporter, along with Councilwoman Jabbour, of Mayor Bhalla’s efforts around pedestrian safety. The proof is in the pudding; for the past three years since the Mayor signed his Vision Zero Executive Order, Hoboken has had no traffic-related fatalities. We have more to do to create even safer streets, whether it be creating more protected bike lanes, instituting traffic calming measures including curb extensions, or lowering the speed limit in Hoboken on certain streets, for example.

What are your thoughts on scooters? Should they come back?

Scooters were a convenient way for residents to get around in Hoboken, and it reduced our dependence on cars (whether personal vehicles or rideshare vehicles). I believe we should explore bringing them back if technology improves on regulating the users and the top speeds of the scooters, along with the installation of new protected bike lanes and better enforcement.

What are your thoughts on how Hoboken’s flooding issues are being handled?

We’ve made major progress over the past eight years I’ve been on the City Council. A decade ago, if there were heavy rains, it’s was likely that floodwaters may have sat stagnant in certain parts of west Hoboken for 24 hours or more. Now, thanks to the flood pumps, for most storms, floodwaters are able to recede faster.

Notwithstanding these advances, climate change is causing more frequent and severe storms (like Ida), and we face increasing challenges to address this threat and become a more resilient City. I, like many, had stormwater in my living room during and in the aftermath of Henri and Ida, and I had to deal with addressing the impact. Even with the advancements we’ve made in flood mitigation, we need to implement a more comprehensive approach, led by the City, that can provide information and resources for our residents, based on their situation and needs.

What would you do for future mitigation? Share detailed plans.

On the City Council, I was a strong supporter of one resiliency park that came online in 2019, the 7th and Jackson Resiliency Park which has the capacity to withhold over 465,000 gallons of rainwater, and I voted several times to authorize the acquisition and funding for the Northwest Resiliency Park (and a new flood pump that will be connected to the park), all of which will come online next year and will have the capacity to withhold 2,000,000 gallons of rain during storms.

Additionally, along with my running mates, we are proposing for an additional flood pump to be incorporated adjacent to the Hoboken Housing Authority and 2nd Street light rail, which will help alleviate the rest of the system by pumping out water during and after storms. We are also proposing creating resiliency parks with underground storage for rainwater at 800 Monroe and the expanded Southwest Resiliency Park at Block 10 – all of which will help mitigate localized flooding. Councilwoman Jabbour and I helped authorize these two park projects to move forward, and we will push for them both to include the flood resiliency features. We also propose continuing to include resiliency features, including bioswales, rain gardens, cisterns, and more, as a part of construction projects, that have been proposed by the comprehensive Rebuild by Design study that began several years ago. A great example of this were the 15 rain gardens that were incorporated on Washington Street, which captures tens of thousands of gallons of rain during storms and prevents it from entering our sewer system. This is not a simple problem, and there will be no simple fixes, but if we can continue with and enhance our resiliency efforts, such as the installation of an additional flood pump, constructing more resiliency parks, and increasing options for other stormwater retention and detention efforts, we can solve this.

What are your thoughts on the projected City’s average rent cost, which is currently calculated as $2,650 as of 10/4 for a one-bedroom — an 18% increase from the previous year?

Affordability, displacement, and diversity are all significant issues in Hoboken and inter-related. Housing is a critical need for all, and the Council has a duty to help those who want to live here be able to find affordable housing to do so.

What are your plans to address ways to keep the City affordable?

There are many projects in the pipeline – meaning being designed and/or constructed – that include a certain number of new, additional affordable units. This process of obtaining approvals, designing, constructing, and actually getting these units online is not an overnight process, but it is advancing, and the City is prioritizing it. There are also existing units under programs that subsidize the rents, and we need more City personnel (which I support, budgetarily) and better enforcement to ensure those units are utilized by the intended users.

What are your thoughts on parking in Hoboken? Share any concrete plans to address this issue.

Parking has been, and always will be a significant issue in Hoboken. We are one square mile now with 60,000 people, with more than fifty percent more parking permits issued annually than spots on the street to accommodate them. A few ideas include:

Constructing more municipal parking garages: The City Master Plan, and the more focused Parking Master Plan, call for more municipal parking garages on the perimeter of our City. While the percentage of car ownership per resident has increased dramatically in the past 60 years, that trend may be shifting slightly downward in light of the prevalence of ride-sharing options. To create more options for those residents with cars to access reasonably priced parking spots, we should follow through on creating additional municipal parking garages in Hoboken, such as one adjacent to the new Northwest Park as part of a community recreation center.

The Parking Master Plan contained recommendations regarding adjusting the imbalance between on-street parking sand that in municipal garages. $15 a year versus $200/month makes the choice easy, but the professional who wrote the plan suggests raising the on-street permit rate (e.g., for new residents) and lowering garage rates for all. For every new resident who needs a residential parking sticker, the prices should be higher to help encourage them to live in Hoboken without a car.

Reduce parking minimums at new developments near transit hubs: For any new developments that are near or adjacent to transportation hubs – including the Light Rail, PATH, bus stops, and more – we should reduce the required amount of parking spots that are included within the development, to encourage those that choose to live in those developments to use mass transportation.

Making it easier to live in Hoboken without a car: We should provide even better alternative transportation options in Hoboken, including improvements to our bike share system (more bikes and making the valet system at the PATH permanent), provide improved HOP service, routes, and timing during rush hour, and install protected bike lanes to make it more convenient and safer to get around

What other issues are important to you to bring up as a councilperson?

Flooding, as discussed in two responses above.

Also, Union Dry Dock and Monarch. When I first moved to Hoboken, advocacy groups were calling for a contiguous waterfront, but it wasn’t a possibility then. Partnering with Mayor Bhalla, we’ve seized a once-in-a-generation opportunity to acquire both properties to complete this long-awaited dream. We are close to acquiring both properties, and my hope is to see open space amenities at Union Dry Dock, and at least rehabilitate the Pier at the Monarch site. This is something I plan to work closely with the Bhalla administration on in the next four years.

I also plan to help ensure that the charm and character of Hoboken are preserved in our North End, which I hope will become a new commercial corridor that can add to our quality of life. As mentioned, I’m a strong advocate for pedestrian safety, and I plan to help push forward protected bike lanes to help encourage bike usage and make it safer for all, including children, to get around our City. I also advocate bringing back the Office of Constituent Services, which was well utilized by a wide variety of residents, and especially our lower-income populations. I strongly disagreed with its elimination (as did Councilwoman Jabbour), and our team will seek to bring this office back at the beginning of our new terms in office should we be fortunate enough to be elected/re-elected.

Why are you running for Hoboken City Council?

My career in my day job (environmental protection) and increasing open space in our City are the reasons I became involved long before I sought office, and they remain significant issues for me today. Over the past eight years on the Council, I’ve been a part of a number of efforts to address these issues and improve the quality of life for residents – from helping facilitate the City’s construction of a new resiliency park and gymnasium at 7th and Jackson, working to add even more open space (such as the Northwest Resiliency Park, complete acquisition of Union Dry Dock, Monarch, and 8th and Monroe), facilitating the construction of the current Southwest Resiliency Park, and more. But there’s still a lot left to do, including tackling the flooding issues, following through with a park at Union Dry Dock and Monarch, among others, keep the Rebuild by Design program on track, and if re-elected I intend to work with Mayor Bhalla and my Council colleagues to help see these projects through over the next four years.

Joe Quintero

Team Bhalla

Joe Quintero

What is your political party?

Registered Democrat and 3rd Vice-Chair of the Hoboken Democratic Committee.

What do you do for work?

I am a Compliance Officer at a large international bank – focusing on Compliance Governance, Culture, and Ethics.

How long have you lived in Hoboken?

Fifteen years – I first moved to Hoboken, from North Plainfield, NJ, to go to Fordham Law School in Manhattan.

Tell us something unique about yourself.

Until I was about 5 years old, I lived in a house with my brother, parents, aunt, uncle, cousin, another aunt, and grandmother. The Quintero’s (my parents, brother, and me) shared one bedroom (my brother and I shared a twin bed), the Mendez’s shared another (aunt, uncle, and younger cousin), my other aunt slept in another “bedroom” (max twin bed fit), and my grandmother slept in the final “bedroom.” Lot’s of people in a small space, but it’s all we knew, we were together, and it was the first home my parents had purchased (they still live there) – we felt rich.

What’s your favorite restaurant?

The perfect date night with my wife, Kim, involves a nice steak and bottle of wine from Dino & Harry’s (Please don’t hate me Arthur’s! I love you guys too!). The best family night out, however, has to involve Johnny Pepperoni.

Who are some local business owners you admire?

Jeff and Jess Dyer own Joey No Nuts coffee shop and demonstrate everything that is right about Hoboken. Jeff and Jess opened their shop in October 2019 – in part, to provide a safe place for families with children with severe nut allergies. Quickly their shop became a hit due to the combination of amazing coffee and the wonderful personalities of the owners (it seems Jeff and Jess literally know all their customers by the first name).

However, six months later COVID hit and severely limited operations. But the community rallied around Joey No Nuts with customers often lined up outside their takeout window for a daily dose of caffeine and socially distanced interaction with neighbors. Their takeout window is now also a fan favorite amongst our neighbors with dogs due to the outstanding treats they provide for each four-legged customer.

Two years into their venture, Joey No Nuts is now a solidified institution on the corner of 7th and Willow – and Jeff and Jess (and their three kids) are stalwarts of our community.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process in the Mile Square? Include specifics on technology or outreach you’d use.

While I’ll certainly be available via social media and email – I do think it’s time to get back to basics a bit, especially with respect to our seniors, working-class, and non-English speaking (primarily Spanish) communities. That’s why I am committing to (1) making myself available for direct communication (in English and Spanish) by phone via my direct number, (2) holding in-person office hours at least twice a month (English and Spanish), and (3) distributing a monthly newsletter in English and Spanish to inform constituents (in plain English) about the goings of the City Council.

What would you most like to see improve in Hoboken?

Did you know that nearly 9% of our residents live below the poverty line (per 2019 Census estimates)? I find that unconscionable in a City with a median income of around $150,000 and median home value over $700,000. Given our size and resources, 9% is too high; we should strive for 0% – it might not be possible, but it’s a goal to strive for.

Who in Hoboken and beyond have you been endorsed by that is noteworthy?

First and most importantly, I have been endorsed and have the full support of Kim and Kara (wife and daughter) – who have put up with my insane schedule and (sometimes) general absence since I’ve entered the race. Thank you! I love you both!

I also have the endorsements of Mayor Ravi Bhalla, Hoboken Councilperson Phil Cohen, County Commissioner Anthony Romano, 32BJ SEIU (labor union representing service industry workers, including many Hoboken residents, which keep many Hoboken buildings open, clean, and safe), and (of course) my running mates Councilwoman Emily Jabbour and Councilman Jim Doyle.

What can the city be doing for local business owners that it isn’t already?

The City could provide more streamlined ways for business owners to engage and do City business. Bringing back the Office of Constituent Services could fill that need and serve as the first point of contact for any business with a question or problem.

What are your thoughts on how the City has combated COVID-19?

I believe Hoboken has been a model for the nation on how to handle COVID-19. With the Mayor’s leadership, we were some of the first to lockdown to prevent the spread and “flatten the curve” – an extremely controversial decision, that ultimately saved lives. Regular City communications to residents kept us informed and empowered. Our schools were some of the first to open in-person, with very few transmissions, and have stayed open. Our adoption of streateries and other creative options have kept businesses open. Our testing (and now vaccination) services were amongst the best in the state. Long story short – no one was perfect early in the pandemic… but Hoboken led early and demonstrated a small town could be a model for the nation.

What are your thoughts on communicating with constituents via social media? If you had an incident where a constituent addresses you on social media in a negative way, how would you respond?

I see communicating with constituents via social media as another avenue for engagement – as it is the preferred method for many residents (as opposed to phone or email). As such, any City Councilperson with a social media account which is used to communicate/post in their official capacity (as opposed to a purely private account for engaging simply with friends and family) should rarely block users, even if communications are negative – after all, negative feedback is part of the job. However, users who frequently issue replies, posts, and comments which are vulgar (e.g., I have seen councilmember be subject to sexually explicit comments) or promote violence, should be subject to suspensions or other limitations. With respect to comments directed to me via social media – generally, my basic process has been to reply if a user is individually identifiable (i.e., not an anonymous poster) and has asked a direct question or concern in good faith.

Is there anything you would do differently or hope to do in the future?

There are several communities in Hoboken which feel underrepresented and unheard of. I believe none of us finds that acceptable, therefore, my goal is to identify those communities and provide them the representation and advocacy they deserve.

What are your thoughts on Vision Zero?

I am supportive of our Vision Zero initiative. If Hoboken is to remain one of the most walkable cities in the US, we need to have safe sidewalks and streets. Specifically, I’d like to see more curb bump-outs installed, lowered speed limits in school zones, and increased enforcement of traffic rules (rolling stops must come to an end).

I think it’s also time to expand Vision Zero onto sidewalks as well, as increasingly we are seeing ebikes and scooters becoming a safety hazard to pedestrians. Which is why I think we should explore requiring ebike delivery drivers to register their vehicles with the City so that there is accountability should there be an accident or other violation.

What are your thoughts on scooters? Should they come back?

In 2019 it seemed the great scooter debate dominated discourse in this City, and ultimately I think the only thing most agreed on was that ride-on scooters (Ojo) were a mistake – they should probably never come back (and were canceled early).

With respect to the stand-on scooters (Lime), I was a fan and frequent user at the time. I loved being able to zip up to the PATH in 5 mins from almost anywhere in town. But I also agree that a number of users were not respectful with how they used scooters – e.g., riding on sidewalks, dumping scooters anywhere, ignoring traffic rules, etc. I had a couple of instances myself where a disrespectful rider created close-call situations for me and my family on the sidewalk. Another challenge with the scooters was the state of many of our roads (they were worse at the time), which made riding scooters on many streets dangerous (a friend was seriously injured during a fall). So, I think it was right to end the pilot at the time.

With respect to the future, if scooters were ever to come back, there needs to be significant enhancements to rules and enforcement – no riding on sidewalks, strict enforcement of traffic rules, dedicated drop-off locations (no dumping just anywhere). Nevertheless, given the success of the Citi Bike program, I wonder whether bringing scooters back to Hoboken would be complimentary or overkill.

What are your thoughts on how Hoboken’s flooding issues are being handled?

To be clear – our flood mitigation in Hoboken has improved significantly since Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Areas in the western part of the City, which previously flooded during regular rainstorms, have seen far less flooding – and in some instances only during extreme events. Further, pre-Sandy, it was normal for intersections to be flooded for days, now, given the two pumps on-line, water is typically removed within hours.

Still, while I feel mitigation has improved, I also feel that due to the Climate Crisis, the equation has changed and it is time for us to double down on what we know works (resiliency parks, green infrastructure, flood pumps) and continue to innovate to empower our residents to develop their own flood plans (bringing back the Office of Constituent Services would be critical here).,

I hope events like Ida will continue to be rare, but I’m confident that smaller versions of Ida will become the norm – which is why I have proposed a detailed three-prong approach to addressing flooding (available at joeq4hoboken.com).

What would you do for future mitigation? Share detailed plans.

I’ve proposed a three-prong attack to mitigating flooding (www.joeq4hoboken.com/detailed-flood-policy-statement) which includes:

Preventing Flooding in Our Streets by expanding resiliency efforts Ciy-wide (including resiliency parks, green roofs, and open spaces), adding a flood pump and resiliency park to the Hoboken Housing Authority, requiring new developments to evidence they will remove more water from the system than they will add, and seeking infrastructure funding to offset costs of resiliency efforts.

Empowering Our Neighbors through reinstating the Office of Constituent Services, to include flood-dedicated resources. The Office would serve as the first point of contact for guidance when residents are impacted by flood events, facilitate flood insurance claim navigation, and enable residents to develop their own flood risk assessments and plans.

Keeping the River at Bay during storm surge events by ensuring the Rebuild by Design project moves forward quickly and effectively and by establishing an infrastructure trust fund specific to ongoing maintenance of any flood resistance structures (to prevent politicization and ensure future costs are shared equitably local authorities).

What are your thoughts on the projected City’s average rent cost, which is currently calculated as $2,650 as of 10/4 for a one-bedroom — an 18% increase from the previous year?

Hoboken rents are high, but generally consistent with trends we are seeing nationally, which is largely reflective of a supply and demand problem. On the positive side, though, is that Hoboken rents continue to be below most NY City neighborhoods and competitive with peer neighborhoods in Jersey City. Still, $2,650/month is not a realistic price for many working families to afford.

Therefore, I think we need to attack this supply/demand problem by adding to supply. Which is why I support increasing the affordable housing requirements for new developments from 10% to 15%. We need to add more affordable housing stock to bring down prices.

Further, we need to continue to support Hoboken’s tenant advocate, who provides free legal advice to Hoboken renters and can help curb unlawful increases in rent and other abusive practices.

What are your plans to address ways to keep the City affordable?

The number one factor in keeping Hoboken affordable is to keep rents and taxes reasonable. Generally, experts state one should spend no more than 30% of income on rent. To keep payments reasonable, we need to increase affordable housing stock, empower tenants to know their rights, ensure PILOT agreements for moderate-income apartments are extended fairly and ensure rent control units are administered equitably.

The next biggest factor for affordability in Hoboken is our taxes. Look, this is New Jersey and this is Hoboken, so our residents are used to taxes, but when residents feel their money is being wasted, or don’t see a tangible return for their money, that’s when we have a problem. Therefore, my view is that anything we spend money on as a City must be shown to have demonstrable value or efficiency. Furthermore, Hoboken simply can’t afford waste – so the City Council’s Revenue and Finance committee must be vigilant to curb waste where present and operate with extra transparency to ensure the public is confident that our tax dollars are being spent wisely.

What are your thoughts on parking in Hoboken? Share any concrete plans to address this issue.

I believe that if you need a car (e.g., for work or due to mobility issues), you should have safe and reliable parking close to home. To realize this dream, we need to incentivize car storage (i.e., people, like me, who only really need their cars on weekends or sporadically) to be moved off streets so those do need their cars daily can more easily park. My plan for this includes:

Requiring new developments to dedicate a portion of new parking added in their lots to existing Hoboken residents (this would enable weekend car users to store their cars safely – at no additional cost).

A tiered cost structure where the cost of a street parking permit increases based on vehicle class size (e.g., Hummers pay more than Minis) – with exceptions for seniors/individuals with mobility issues and work vehicles.

Incentivize private lot owners/operators to open unused lot spaces during off-hours (e.g., overnight – 7AM) – either through revenue sharing, payments through the park mobile app, or other sources.

Seek ways to incentivize individuals for whom having a car is a pure luxury to “surrender” their permits through a combination of free access to micro-mobility options (e.g., Citi Bike), car shares, and public transportation for a period of time.

What other issues are important to you to bring up as a councilperson?

Homelessness is becoming an increasing concern in Hoboken, especially downtown. While this is certainly not purely a local issue, we nevertheless need to begin getting ahead of this problem before it gets out of hand (and some feel it is already out of hand). We can start by educating the public as to some of the controllable drivers behind the increased homeless rate – for example, early indications are that Hoboken is known as a very charitable place to solicit money on the street. As painful as it is, we should be more proactive about educating our residents to avoid giving money to folks on the streets, and instead, direct them to established resources such as the Hoboken Homeless Shelter.

The acquisition of the Union Dry Dock property is exciting, but not a done deal yet. We need to work with the mayor to ensure the acquisition progresses smoothly, so we can move forward with realizing the dream of a continuous waterfront for our community to enjoy.

Why are you running for Hoboken City Council?

From the moment I moved here, Hoboken has embraced me and my family. I love this City – and it’s my mission to ensure Hoboken remains the kind of place my daughter can grow up in. “Hoboken Born and Raised” should not be a thing of the past, we need to take care of those who came before us by keeping Hoboken safe, dry, and affordable, and make the necessary improvements so that a new generation of Hoboken Born and Raised folks can thrive.

Manuel Riveria

Manuel Riveria

What is your political party?

Registered as a Democrat.

What do you do for work?

At present disabled American.

How long have you lived in Hoboken?

Born in Hoboken, so I would say and lifelong residence.

Tell us something unique about yourself.

I am a son of Hoboken, I have lived in many parts of this city throughout my lifetime loved and have many fond memories of all my past neighborhood. But I must say I have a profound fondness dare I say love for my neighborhood of between 5th and 6th Park Avenue the last place where I lived with my mother for her passing. As for my professional life I worked in many different fields but my greatest interest has always been in public service as I volunteer most of my time in community based projects as well as some International charitable giving. Currently I am establishing my charity called Manny R Soler Giving Association. Also I’ve been involved with and worked in the field public relations and promotions event planning and decorating as well as working in local political campaigns for many years.

What’s your favorite restaurant?

In no particular order Arthur’s restaurant and La Isla, Cafe Michelina’s Alessio’s Cafe amongst many others.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process in the Mile Square? Include specifics on technology or outreach you’d use.

Call me old timey but through but not limited to the US mail that is direct mailing to as many residents as possible. As well as of course social media, like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with hopefully Interactive meeting and just about any other future technology that may come up but as well as direct contact with the residence as I walk around the city and speak to them about their concerns.

What would you most like to see improve in Hoboken?

Do you ask this question in regards to Improvement physically I was saying the sewage system, as well as the sidewalks well are in desperate need of upgrades. If you mean it in the sense of the administration and or city council or the city’s agencies I would like to see better communication between the city agencies and current and future administrations with its residents., As well as transparency at every department.

Who in Hoboken and beyond have you been endorsed by that is noteworthy?

The residents of Hoboken took out of their valuable time to sign my position. I Believe it to be noteworthy.

I believe the city can always be more productive with the business owners, whether it be simply asking how business is going for them in any particular season. To how the different city ordinances are affecting their bottom line. Amongst many other possible ways to promoting the city outside the normal festivals and seasonal events.

What can the city be doing for local business owners that it isn’t already?

To be honest, it has been fairly good to the extent we are not still on lockdown and our city is functioning. But there were many things that were lacking. like I mentioned before transparency more communication with the residence and honestly just paying attention to what the residence were feeling at the time and some are still feeling and are being left behind. That it could always be better for sure.

What are your thoughts on communicating with constituents via social media? If you had an incident where a constituent addresses you on social media in a negative way, how would you respond?

Social media is always going to be a place where people will feel free to say anything without having to produce facts. I will hopefully strive to respond with facts whenever merited, otherwise if it is of a matter lacking in substance., As the song says (let it be).

What are your thoughts on Vision Zero?

I would like the project to have more communication of its mission statement to the residence and more input from the resident. The vision zero project is a very good program but like most everything it can always be improve as it should, and as the needs of the city change.

What are your thoughts on scooters? Should they come back?

They should only come back if the city, sets forth proper guidelines or even more formally City ordinance(codes). So there should be useful information and proper communication to the patrons of a scooters program.,as well as those who own their scooters so that everyone is properly informed as to how and where the scooters should be used and if there are violators to these guidelines that authorities such as the HPD can properly address the issue and with the proper legal authority both fairly and equally.

What are your thoughts on how Hoboken’s flooding issues are being handled?

This is a very complex issue to just answer in a sound bait as it were. So as I am not a civil engineer or city planner, I can only say that I would hope the city planners and the administration have at hand some of the best if not the best civil engineers and planners so we can get the best most sustainable plan we can get to address this issue and it moves forward as well as communicate it to the residence. I would like to see this happen in my lifetime. Because it will rain again soon.

What would you do for future mitigation? Share detailed plans.

Work on getting the best assessment on the complete infrastructure of the water drainage systems., Identify what needs to be done, its cost and debate it with the fellow councilpersons and bring it to the residence and have their input and hopefully have a working and cost affecting the plan.

What are your thoughts on the projected City’s average rent cost, which is currently calculated as $2,650 as of 10/4 for a one-bedroom — an 18% increase from the previous year?

Sample put it is to high for the average household income.

What are your plans to address ways to keep the City affordable?

As for what a reasonable plan should be is, identifying the city affordable housing units make sure the are in proper condition and being used for their intended purpose., Also when project for in redevelopment or any development project if it is getting any subsidies or concessions for the city they should have real affordable housing units and they should be offered equitably to all residents.

What are your thoughts on parking in Hoboken?

Another very important and very complex issue., I would say a perennial election issue as long as I have known(and it’s been a very long time)of the issue there has been very little progress on this front so once again you would need some type of master plan of some sort to better understand, once again identify how best to configure the streets so there is enough space for vehicles to be parked., and once again identify or if possible have a census of the parking garage spaces available and how many can be offered to the residence equitably at a fair cost so that when there is less business parking residence would be able to use these spaces.

What other issues are important to you to bring up as a councilperson?

As a councilperson, I would first bring up the issues of my fellow constituents of which they are plenty. But must of all are issues of fairness, in housing as well as taxes people who own their homes for generations should not be priced or taxes out of their homes. As well as many other urgent pressing issues to many to enumerate in one single answer on a questionnaire. Although I do appreciate the opportunity to answer questions of importance to the residence of this my birthplace and the greatest place for one to grow up. Just my humble opinion.

Why are you running for Hoboken City Council?

I am running for the office of Hoboken City Council At-large because I believe if can serve you should. I know many people think all politics is corrupt or even that all politicians are bad but if good people of good intentions don’t participate and get elected then system of government could be lost to the bad guys. So I’m running for the residence of this great City of Hoboken that want an open accessible and transparent city government that truly works in their best interests.

Paul Presinzano

Independently Together

Paul Presinzano

What is your political party?

Unaffiliated.

What do you do for work?

25 years in International Finance and now consult in the crypto space.

How long have you lived in Hoboken?

Since 1996.

Tell us something unique about yourself.

I have been a rugby coach.

What’s your favorite restaurant?

Too many to list.

Who are some local business owners you admire?

Too many to list and pretty much every business owner who worked hard to keep their head above water during the last 18 months.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process in the Mile Square? Include specifics on technology or outreach you’d use.

Technology is the easy answer but sometimes the old fashion group meetings so residents can get to meet their neighbors, share their views and build a stronger bond.

What would you most like to see improve in Hoboken?

Infrastructure.

Who in Hoboken and beyond have you been endorsed by that is noteworthy?

Most noteworthy are all my neighbors who are hanging signs and banners for us, but most known include sitting City Councilmembers.

What can the city be doing for local business owners that it isn’t already?

Making opening a business and staying open easier with streamlining the process and listening to businesses.

What are your thoughts on how the City has combated COVID-19?

We did the best we could given the circumstances.

What are your thoughts on communicating with constituents via social media? If you had an incident where a constituent addresses you on social media in a negative way, how would you respond?

Social media can be tricky but I think as a public servant it is critical that elected officials use social media as a way to engage with constituents. I believe communication of facts, issues, and Hoboken happenings are perfect for social media but too many times people hide behind keyboards and that is not always productive. If you want to solve a problem you need to bring people together and focus on the issue. Many times social media has taken turns for the worse and caused the message to be lost. Not everyone will be happy with every decision so there is no one answer to how you would respond.

Is there anything you would do differently or hope to do in the future?

I think there are many quality-of-life concerns that my neighbors have that need a fresh look and a new approach. I am solution-oriented and I hope to bring people together to solve these issues.

What are your thoughts on Vision Zero?

I think working towards making our streets safer is important but the city has not really done much towards accomplishing this goal. We need to do more and approach this in a different way that finally creates a culture of safety that currently does not exist.

What are your thoughts on scooters? Should they come back?

Every form of alternative transportation should be looked at but there needs to be a plan for enforcement of the rules of the road and safety guidelines which was lacking when the scooter PILOT was rolled out last time.

What are your thoughts on how Hoboken’s flooding issues are being handled?

On a scale of 1 to 10, a 3 because of the lack of any effort to address the concerns of everyday flooding. With more people flooding for the first time during storms, the city’s resiliency plan needs to be reassessed to address these changes. Global Warming is real, but blaming it is not a response, it’s an excuse.

What would you do for future mitigation? Share detailed plans.

You can find a detailed plan on our website https://www.it4hoboken.com/everyday-flooding-relief.

What are your thoughts on the projected City’s average rent cost, which is currently calculated as $2,650 as of 10/4 for a one-bedroom — an 18% increase from the previous year?

I have to say your number seems high. As a landlord, your data seems a bit off even with us moving out of the COVID era. But an annual increase of 18% is concerning and will result in many of our neighbors getting priced out of living here.

What are your plans to address ways to keep the City affordable?

Making sure we leverage all of our assets and infrastructure efficiently along with making sure our tax dollars are spent wisely.

What are your thoughts on parking in Hoboken?

Share any concrete plans to address this issue. You can find my detailed plan on our website https://www.it4hoboken.com/more-parking-capacity.

What other issues are important to you to bring up as a councilperson?

Common sense needs to be brought back to solving problems.

Why are you running for Hoboken City Council?

I want to bring back accountability and transparency to the City Council and Hoboken Politics. My family plans to live here for the foreseeable future and I want to make sure that my family, and all of our Hoboken neighbors, have a community that is the result of the best decision-making possible that always puts Hoboken first.

Sheila Brennan

Independently Together

Sheila Brennan

What is your political party?

I am a lifelong Democrat.

What do you do for work?

I am a real estate agent.

How long have you lived in Hoboken?

I moved here with my late husband almost three years ago.

What’s your favorite restaurant?

There are too many to choose from!

Who are some local business owners you admire?

I have great respect for all the businesses given what they went through during this pandemic. And love to see so many iconic businesses still around like Fiore’s deli, Leo’s, and Stan’s.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process in the Mile Square? Include specifics on technology or outreach you’d use.

Input from residents is essential to democracy in Hoboken. I would use social media, email, town hall meetings, and individual outreach.

What would you most like to see improve in Hoboken?

A solution to everyday flooding and access to City Hall for residents and business owners.

Who in Hoboken and beyond have you been endorsed by that is noteworthy?

Most importantly we hope to earn the endorsements of the voters of Hoboken. Our Independently Together slate has been endorsed by Councilwomen Fisher and Giattino.

What can the city be doing for local business owners that it isn’t already?

Remove barriers to entry for new businesses and make the permitting processes easier for existing businesses.

What are your thoughts on how the City has combated COVID-19?

This is such a broad topic, but I will narrow it to our most vulnerable. As it relates to seniors, our most vulnerable, the city’s effort for certain buildings was good, but it left out seniors in many other areas of our city.

What are your thoughts on communicating with constituents via social media? If you had an incident where a constituent addresses you on social media in a negative way, how would you respond?

Social media is an integral part of the way we communicate with each other and I believe important for all public servants. I would reach out to that constituent and offer them a chance to discuss their concerns in greater depth.

Is there anything you would do differently or hope to do in the future?

Making sure that every resident has a voice in all the important decisions that are before us.

What are your thoughts on Vision Zero?

On paper, Vision Zero makes a lot of sense, but in reality, many residents remain very concerned about pedestrian safety. It’s one of the big issues we’re hearing as we talk with voters.

What are your thoughts on scooters? Should they come back?

The rollout of Lime scooters was badly handled. I think they could have a place here as part of a larger transportation plan, but without input from residents and business owners and a safety and enforcement plan, bringing them back could create the same issues the original rollout did.

What are your thoughts on how Hoboken’s flooding issues are being handled?

They really aren’t being handled well at all. Property owners are not receiving any real help from the City and are left to deal with damage in a storm after storm. Flooding should not be the price we pay to live in the best place on Earth.

What would you do for future mitigation? Share detailed plans.

You can find my detailed plan on our website https://www.it4hoboken.com/everyday-flooding-relief.

What are your thoughts on the projected City’s average rent cost, which is currently calculated as $2,650 as of 10/4 for a one-bedroom — an 18% increase from the previous year?

The current administration has cut the staff of our Rent Leveling office down to just one person, with the result that it is all but impossible to properly enforce the Rent Ordinance. Our rent law does not permit 18% annual increases.

What are your plans to address ways to keep the City affordable?

Remove incentives to tear down properties, ensure municipal services are priced affordably for all, and fully staff our rent leveling office to administer our rent control ordinance that benefits residents of all income levels.

What are your thoughts on parking in Hoboken? Share any concrete plans to address this issue.

Parking is a real quality of life issue for our residents and we need to find a better way to address that includes expanding our parking capacity. You can find my detailed plan on our website https://www.it4hoboken.com/more-parking-capacity.

What other issues are important to you to bring up as a councilperson?

Good government – transparency and community involvement; Growing responsibly and ensuring our infrastructure can support new developments before they are approved.

Why are you running for Hoboken City Council?

I have been speaking with my neighbors about the many day-to-day quality of life issues that need a new approach and new solutions. When I learned that the mayor was running unopposed, and his slate along with him, I decided to expand my advocacy to running for office. It’s essential to enable debate of issues and offer voters another choice. We are independent voices and want to give the people a voice in our government.

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