In a letter to the editor, Hoboken resident Kevin Davis said that while 5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen shouldn’t be re-elected next year, a recall effort is unnecessary.
Recently a recall effort has been announced in Hoboken’s 5th Ward for Councilman Phil Cohen. As a resident of the 5th Ward, I would like a new councilperson who reflects my values but having a recall election is the wrong way to go about this.
Recalls should only be used in extreme cases, rather than simply because of policy disagreements. Elected officials should be recalled for misconduct such as for crimes or sexual harassment.
Additionally, elected officials who have radically different policy proposals after getting elected should be recalled as well such as the unsuccessful recall attempt against former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker after he passed a radical law weakening public sector employee unions.
This is not the case with Councilman Cohen who was elected as part of Mayor Bhalla’s team in 2019, and has been a staunch defender of Bhalla’s agenda.
As someone who voted and knocked on doors for Team Bhalla’s slate in 2021, I made a mistake, but that doesn’t mean that Mayor Bhalla and Council members Doyle, Jabbour, and Quintero should be recalled.
I supported the wrong slate of candidates last year, and I should pay the price. Elections have consequences.
Councilman Cohen is a nice guy, but the issue is that he was the deciding vote on increasing campaign contribution limits from $500 to $7200 for unions and increasing his salary 45% after the November 2021 election.
Cohen is also a vocal advocate for the ill-advised proposal for a $192 million municipal services complex that will cost an additional $40 million to acquire in eminent domain costs.
Additionally, Phil Cohen was a public supporter of the failed $241 million high school bond referendum, which was developed without public input and like the proposed municipal complex, is not cost-effective.
Councilman Cohen is actively working against good government efforts, and he is not a good steward of taxpayer money, but that is not enough of a rationale for not letting him complete the remaining year and a half of his four-year council term.
I am disappointed in the recall attempt, and as a 5th Ward resident, I would prefer to vote out Phil Cohen in November 2023 rather than in a recall election.
Hoboken 5th Ward resident