Hoboken man who won lawsuit to obtain Nixle subscriber emails says city abused the system


The Hoboken man who won a lawsuit to obtain Nixle subscriber emails says he filed the lawsuit for residents to have “transparency and fairness in municipal government” since the city abuses the system.

Carmine Sodora. Photo via LinkedIn.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“That is correct, I sued Hoboken for an OPRA violation related to disclosure of Nixle email addresses. The request was for a list of emails with no other identifying information,” Carmine Sodora explained in a statement.

“The Nixle system is supposed to be used to deliver emergency messages and general community announcements.” He asked for this information because he felt that the Nixle system was being used incorrectly and against its own terms and conditions.”

According to Nixle’s terms of service, commercial advertisement, unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, profane, hateful, racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable material of any kind are prohibited.

“Given the continued usage to try to control the narrative about Hoboken issues, I felt obtaining the list would allow for alternate viewpoints to be provided to our citizens,” Sodora added.

Camden County Superior Court Judge Deborah Silverman Katz ruled in favor of Sodora as part of three combined OPRA cases on May 26th, as only HCV has reported.

“I do not want anyone’s personal information. My goal is for our citizens to have transparency and fairness in our municipal government. The City of Hoboken needs to cease utilizing the Nixle system for political agendas.”

Sodora said a recent example of the city using Nixle for political purposes was on May 18th when Bhalla accused his opponents on the council of costing taxpayers a million dollars by blocking the proposed municipal complex and potentially necessitating a temporary Department of Public Works garage.

Expectedly, he also took offense to their June 8th alert that introduced a survey asking residents how important their privacy is and if the city should appeal the court’s ruling.

“The Nixle alert which solely names me as the recipient and highlights the one-sided narrative of my OPRA request, is another example of abusing the Nixle system,” Sodora added.

“As an active member of the 5th Ward, and a man who cares deeply for what is right and just in our community, my intention was not to exploit the community’s ‘private’ information, moreover, my goal was to enable fair and transparent community messaging.”

Yesterday, Mayor Ravi Bhalla signaled that the city will be appealing the decision.

“The City of Hoboken has no interest in sharing our residents’ private contact information with any third party,” he told HCV in a statement.

“I believe the court’s decision violates the trust our residents place in us to safeguard their contact information, information we rely on to disseminate vital emergency notifications in a crisis and important government information.”

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  1. He still didn’t say what he was going to use it for? So he is upset that the Nixle system is used to send information that he doesnt like, so he is going to use the same list to send out his own spin on information?

    Ahh yes, Carmine Sodora a true man of the people, “the Two wrongs make a right” guy

    • This is heroic and an accomplishment for all of NJ not only Hoboken. Ravi should not be using taxpayer money to oppose transparency let alone his cheap political applications using Nixle.

      Let him go back to dropping Terror Fliers.

  2. January 16, 2019 – CC – Resolution 19-91

    “WHEREAS, a number of City Council members received complaints from residents who expressed their opposition to using the Nixle alert system for the type of political propaganda that was used in the subject messages; and

    WHEREAS, the City Council believes that a system that is paid for by taxpayers should not be used for political attacks, propaganda or personal statements from the mayor; and

    WHEREAS, the City Council is concerned that the actions of the mayor and/or his staff with regards to the Nixle communications on January 10th and January 11th have jeopardized the ability for the City of Hoboken to provide necessary and helpful communications to the residents of and visitors to Hoboken. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the City Council of the City of Hoboken, that it respectfully requests Mayor Bhalla to stop the practice and no longer allow any employee to abuse the Nixle service and breach the Terms of Service under its contractual agreement with Everbridge Nixle and to stop putting communications with our community at risk; additionally the City of Council also requests that this resolution be sent to the appropriate department at Nixle. ”

    MOVER: Tiffanie Fisher, 2nd Ward Council Member
    SECONDER: Jennifer Giattino, Council President
    AYES: Peter Cunningham, Mike DeFusco, Vanessa Falco, Tiffanie Fisher, Jennifer Giattino, Michael Russo, Ruben Ramos
    NAYS: James Doyle, Emily Jabbour
    MOVER: Tiffanie Fisher, 2nd Ward Council Member
    SECONDER: Jennifer Giattino, Council President
    AYES: Peter Cunningham, Mike DeFusco, Vanessa Falco, Tiffanie Fisher, Jennifer Giattino, Michael Russo, Ruben Ramos
    NAYS: James Doyle, Emily Jabbour