LETTER: Here is why I’m supporting Hoboken Councilman Cohen for re-election


In a letter to the editor, Hoboken 5th Ward resident Chris Szentmiklosy details why he’ll be supporting Councilman Phil Cohen for re-election.

Dear Editor,

I’ll be honest – prior to needing Phil’s help, I had no idea who he was…..I had no idea who my Councilman was at all! I never even thought of it – why would I?

Then I got my rent increase, and I was shocked to see it was 21%! After finding out that the rent increase was illegal, I notified my management company.

They were unresponsive, and when they finally responded, they were unwilling to negotiate. This, despite the City stating that the building was clearly subject to rent control.

After speaking with other building residents, I realized I wasn’t alone. We were all getting huge rent increases, and without a larger power’s intervention, we were either going to have to move or take the hit.

That’s when I reached out to Phil Cohen, our city councilman. I sent Phil an email at 11 p.m. one night. He personally responded 30 minutes later, and personally called me the next day. I was completely shocked at Phil’s incredible level of response.

Phil was outraged to hear of our situation, and he let me know that he was going to right this wrong.

Within days, Phil was in personal touch with my management company. He let them know that they were in violation, and that there would be stiff penalties if they didn’t comply with the rent control ordinance.

Phil and Mayor Bhalla got the city’s lawyers involved, and within days, the situation was resolved.

The management company decided to comply, and lowered my rent increase to 5% as allowed by law. Not only that, but hundreds of other residents also got their rent increases lowered. We all got new leases, and the building had to issue refunds for any overpayments over the past 2 years. Some of us got thousands of dollars back.

Without Phil’s intervention, we would have likely had to move out of Hoboken. Phil is a Councilman that truly cares.

He went to bat for us, and he hit a home run. Phil is the exact type of politician that you hope you’re voting for when it’s time to vote. He has my vote and he deserves yours.

Chris Szentmiklosy
Hoboken resident

Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /home/hcvcp/public_html/wp-content/themes/Hudson County View/includes/wp_booster/td_block.php on line 353


  1. Glad to hear Phil helped you out. Ask him what he’s done for the residents currently fighting his political ally, Steve Fulop, who’s wife (Jaclyn) SuperPAC director (Drew Nussbaum) are alleged to have colluded in a civil conspiracy to defraud the building in a bad business deal/bait and switch. Hudson Chancery Court, docket 000049, year 22. Take a gander for yourself. Phil held (and continues to hold) water for this business by approving (last December) their request to operate in Hoboken. Even during his explanation for his vote of approval, he mislead and mischaracterized conversations with fellow Hobokenites surrounding this matter. And SINCE his vote of approval, the business has been revealed to NOT be locally owned by a female POC, but a massive out of state interest.

    Where’s the investigation, Phil? The citizens were lied to about who is really running this business. Don’t you want to make sure business here is conducted with ethics and best interests of the citizens in mind?

    —but still – glad he did you a solid on the rent. It *is* something, I guess. Just wish he bothered to help other citizens in similar straits.

    • So your response to a constituent’s glowing letter aboutPhil Cohen is to say “Steve Fulop is bad”???

      Good to know there are so many weirdos on Hoboken comments section still

      • Steve Fulop is bad. Phil Cohen knows it too but he also knows if he opposes Fulop and his wife’s drug emporium in Hoboken to protect the local residents it would not be good for his Bhalla’s political agenda.

  2. I question the timing. i know that people in these buildings were asking for help with this for months. It didn’t take days. There were stories in the press finally and then within days the city realized they had to act. Since we’re not hearing from the other tenants I am guessnig they didn’t get help right away, maybe this one asked for help late in the game. They chimed in after the headlines started, should not have taken that to happen. I guess john and the other reporters should be the ones elected because they were the ones who got compliance with the law. If this is accurate would like to know dates that he helped.

  3. These Phil Cohen naysayers need a reality check! It’s crystal clear that he’s a force for good in Hoboken. While they’re busy throwing shade, the rest of us are seeing results.

    To the conspiracy theorists and armchair critics: Put up or shut up! Baseless accusations won’t stick to a dedicated public servant like Phil.

    And as for the age and race remarks, grow up! We should be evaluating politicians on their actions, not resorting to tired stereotypes.

    Mark my words, Phil Cohen’s going to win this thing 2-1, with 5th ward residents proudly backing him. Hoboken knows a winner when they see one!

    • Philip Cohen may win because he has the Bhalla’s money and political machine behind him but if he does he will only ever be little more than a rubber stamp and more willing to ignore the people of his Ward .

      Voting for Liz Urtercho for Fith Ward City Council.

    • Phil is a classist and an opportunist. That’s pretty obvious. He saw an opportunity in advance of a re-election bid and took advantage of it. FACT: He’s been in office for almost 4 years now, but he did nothing about this until it might secure him some votes. FACT: The renters that he helped are higher income tenants. He doesn’t give a sh*t about tenants that aren’t capable of paying luxury rental prices and in four years has done nothing but harm them.

  4. Phil is a self-congratulatory, pompous rubber-stamp for the current administration. He lacks any semblance of independent thinking and at every chance, he thanks himself and those aligned with him on the city council. It’s painful. Like Ravi, he’s always looking for any headline. I’m glad this person received help with their situation but this responsiveness was an election season anomaly.

    • He is also bought and paid for by the Hudson County Political Machine, along with the rest of the Team Bhalla voting bloc. Why don’t we ask him about the reversal of the hard fought pay to play ordinances negotiated 10-15 years ago? How is he benefitting from those changes while quality of life in town continues to erode?
      Why didn’t Councilman Cohen tell the public about the $241m school referendum — why did we have to learn about it from another Councilman? Why did he choose his own political interests over those of Hoboken residents on several key Cannabis votes? Why did he believe that turning our soccer program, and the legacy that goes with it, over to an outside vendor at a greater expense was a good idea? Where has he, an attorney, been on all the lawsuits we keep reading about? Does he have any thoughts on the overdevelopment that is underway? Are we getting our fair share of affordable housing for all the gridlock?
      Where has HE been on the homeless issue? Sure, he shows up at events where the issues are discussed — but what does he ACTUALLY DO about anything? Only what he is told to do – -and he needs to go.

  5. First I liked to say Mr. Phil Cohen has a nice demeanor. I do not know where the difference lies in some people’s opinion of rent control or retal assistance programs and or affordable. To me it is tenants seeking help through municipal or state programs. He was not that forth coming with market rate Applied management tenants on rental assistance programs. Now do not forget Applied has market rate in the same building. Are the tenants in that category worried about rent control. Did you ever see a 3. 4, bedroom rate per month. Phil was a bit aversive with my complaints. Maybe because it’s the Barry’s. Now they are building an affordable housing units rental units a library complex in his ward. What category does the market rate fall under in the development. Do they get rent control. It is not fair to treat voucher holders different than rent control tenants. They both are in fear of not being able to fine afford rents. So good luck Mr. Phil Cohen but do a better job with affordable housing and rent control. Diversity is the fabric of a community.

    Sorry for any typos