In a letter to the editor, Joshua Sotomayor Einstein says that “eminent domain abuse” is the wrong way to solve the City of Hoboken’s issues with New York Waterway over Union Dry Dock.
We need an open public discussion on taking NY Waterway’s dry dock to make another water front park costing tens of millions of dollars.
There are many of us in our town who are against the eminent domain ordinance authorizing the city to seize the land and more who take issue with the divisive tone and aggressive language being deployed by political operatives to go after those who dissent from the mayor’s perspective.
Regardless of where one falls on the issue, everyone believes Hoboken deserves a better public debate than threatening press conferences, angry rallies, and half-truth based sound bites.
After declaring, in May, that NY Waterway would get to keep their legally owned dry dock “over my dead body,” our Mayor, Ravi Bhalla, pretended to be a man committed to honest dialogue and invited them to a public forum hosted by a neutral third party.
Facing unprecedented hostile language and a public campaign of propaganda from the mayor, NY Waterway understandably declined.
With the second reading of the Bhalla administration’s ordinance for the expropriation of the NY Waterway dry dock scheduled unnecessarily soon, on September 4th, it is more important than ever that Hoboken be given the chance for a public discussion of property rights and the negative impact for the entire state of New Jersey that stealing the ferry company land will cause.
Having no financial relationship between myself and NY Waterway, no special interest allies, and no political considerations other than that our town deserves a better public discussion than the current my-way-or-the-highway messaging coming out of city hall, I invite Mayor Bhalla to debate the issue with myself prior to the second reading of the
Mayor Bhalla has an opportunity to step back from the divisive language and engage in a real discussion of the issues on a substantive level.
If he believes he can make his case to the people of Hoboken and not just his political loyalists, he should be unafraid to say yes.
Bhalla knows eminent domain abuse is wrong the same way every adult knows to tell children not to steal – because it is wrong, plain and simple.
Of equal moral importance and of impact in and beyond Hoboken, is the regional mass transit issues this will likely cause.
Not only will this cause New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy a headache as he tries to figure out how to save mass transit in NJ from crumbling further, but all of northern New Jersey’s commuters will face increased ferry prices and the taxpayer will be asked to bail out Bhalla’s mess as some of the mayors political retainers have advocated.
Though Bhalla and his special interests pretend there are other sites along the Hudson river
where NY Waterway can go, none exist that would not require between $50 to a $100 million dollars to renovate them to the current standard of NY Waterway’s Hoboken dry dock, let alone the site remediation and investment they have publicly planned to do.
It is my hope Bhalla will walk back from the edge and reign in the campaign of push poll tested counterfactual talking points and see the error of his ways. To err is, after all, human.
But to refuse dialogue and a debate that can flesh out the issues for the Hoboken community would be beneath the mayor.
If Mayor Bhalla truly believes in his cause, he will rise to the challenge and accept this invitation to have a public debate on taking NY Waterway’s dry dock to build another park before the 2nd reading of his ordinance.
Hoboken’s voters deserve an honest public conversation.
Joshua Sotomayor Einstein