LETTER: Hoboken council erred in pushing Union Dry Dock vote after elections


In a letter to the editor, Hoboken Democratic Committeeman Jason Freeman says that the city council made a bad decision in moving the second vote on acquiring the Union Dry Dock until after the municipal elections.

Photo via betterwaterfront.org.
Photo via betterwaterfront.org.

Dear Editor,

On Monday, November 13, the Hoboken City Council voted to give the
City of Hoboken the use of Eminent Domain to acquire Union Dry Dock.

I support this decision and agree with the litany of concerned citizens that spoke out during
the meeting about the importance of having a continuous waterfront in Hoboken.

I commend City Council for listening and understanding why this is important and starting the process to hopefully secure this parcel of land for our city. But I am hesitant to bend over backwards to give our City Council the credit they think they deserve.

At the City Council meeting on October 4th, when this ordinance was first raised,
Council President Giattino stated that the ordinance’s second reading would take
place on November 13th, rather than on October 18th, the date by which a second
reading would normally fall.

Her reasoning was “This is very important to all of us…but to make sure it remains just policy and not politics, the second reading would be after the election.”

In a normal situation, I would agree with Council President Giattino, as Hoboken is notorious for political charades happening during election season, but this specific ordinance was different.

It was brought to the Council on October 4th as an “Urgent Matter,” meaning that if
this ordinance was not heard immediately, the City’s position in the matter could be
negatively impacted.

Unfortunately, for the citizens of Hoboken, that is exactly what happened. We have recently found out that in these past six weeks, the land owned by Union Dry Dock has been purchased by New York Waterway for $11.5 million.

Councilman DeFusco, Councilman Cunningham, Councilman Mello, Councilwoman
Fisher, Councilman Ramos, and Council President Giattino all voted to put the second reading off for six weeks and after the election.

It is deeply troubling to me that in an effort to try and be apolitical, a majority of our
City Council Members have left us with very little leverage and a real possibility of
not obtaining the property along the waterfront.

I am wary of their newfound feelings of urgency, as they were in fact part of the reason the City was forced to push off this ordinance for nearly six weeks.

Councilwoman Fisher stated in a mass email on November 14th , that this is “a suddenly urgent political battle that will need to be waged…”

While I agree completely, I am perplexed as to what has changed in her mind in just six weeks.

Winning this battle is important, and I implore our elected officials to stop the political jockeying. These tactics might have just cost our City a real opportunity to secure a piece of property that is greatly needed to bring out waterfront to its full potential.

I am looking forward to working with the City Council and the Administration to obtain this property. Let’s remember why we are here and work together to strengthen and improve our city.

Jason Freeman
Hoboken Democratic Committee
Ward 6, District 6

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    • Who are the “they” you refer to? Is it Giattino, Fisher and the rest who played politics on this by postponing the vote for purely political reasons (and thought the plan was oh so clever)?

      Or perhaps Jim Vance and Ron Hine of the FBW who opposed authorizing ED altogether claiming it was too early in a complicated process only they were qualified to lead?

    • There is no such negative outcome to the vote as NJ Transit is holding all the cards especially since their friendly union PAC paid big running commercials for Ravi.

      Ravi Bhalla is conflicted which is probably a good thing. Come January Hoboken gets screwed and Ravi does a deal with NJ Transit to help himself into the next office off Hoboken’s back.


    • Took a Gamble? Did you forget who was Mayor for the last 8 years and who did not make UD a priority at all. By the way, had the City condemned UD before the election, they would have had to relocate the active UD site owners. Now that NY Waterway purchased the site but has not yet moved in, exactly what will the City be relocating if they use their eminent domain powers. Ny Waterway was going to rush the closing before the City Council’s 2nd vote, which by law had to wait 2 weeks before first and 2nd reading.

  1. Attacking people is quite the opposite of working with people.

    Maybe if the mayor wasn’t so busy with the only 3 things onher personal agenda (bike lanes, SW park, Sandy) she could have pursued this long ago. Like in 2011 when she refused to give the idea any support.

  2. Utterly stupid. The game now apparent is NJ Transit is calling the shots, was calling the shots and will use all the leverage of having Ravi Bhalla installed exactly where they want him.

    This Ravi Clown guy is a climber and a fool. Jason is a total jackass as Ravi sits conflicted and recused from lifting a finger to interfere with the real power here: NJ Transit.

    It’s all going according to plan. Good job Ravi. Mayor Zimmer screwed Hoboken here and Ravi cashes in all along the way.

  3. Where was the author when all the waterfront battles were happening? Oh politicizing the Democratic Committee for self advancement… that’s more important for the Bhalla drones.
    Like John Allen who couldn’t even get a vote in his own condo building, these people don’t care about the waterfront parks, they want to play politics and point fingers just like Dawn and Guru Zomborgland

  4. There was nothing the City could do and there’s nothing the vote taken on eminent domain will do now to prevent the sale. The rights NJ Transit holds over the Dry Dock with Waterway Inc. and downtown Hoboken don’t disappear no matter how political this Jason guy acts for Ravi.

    The process of eminent domain itself is a tool in negotiation. That’s all it is right now and it doesn’t create any magic solution. NJ Transit holds the power here not Hoboken.

    Who does this guy Jason think he’s fooling? This is nothing but Ravi Bhalla politics. He is conflicted as NJ Transit is his law firm’s client.

    Not that you will hear this Jason guy address it or the problem Hoboken is facing with NJ Transit.

  5. Whaaaaaaahh!!! I didn’t mean to Dr those fliers Chief

    I text you 24/7 we are friends right ???? Right
    I write nice things about you

    Stan is my hero

    They were knocking on my door again
    Why??? :..((

  6. GA: Hi Chief! Did I tell you how handsome you looked in that photo on Patch?
    CHIEF: ….
    GA: “Any scoops for my blog? Can you reference me at your next press conference?- You know I got reform elected right? THEY OWE ME BIGLY!”
    GA: Anyway Chief I need to give my readers an update on the investigation and need to throw those detectives off course… Can you give me any exclusives?
    CHIEF: …. Hi …Who is this?
    GA: “Chief it’s me GA, your friend…. I made you too and if you don’t give me some updates I will bring you down!!! Down Down!!!!


    GA: Chief someone is at my door, I’ll be right back

    Chief : The person you are trying to reach is not accepting calls at this time

    Whaaaaahhhhhhhhhh Whaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh Ravi…….

  7. Don’t worry
    Ravi and Russo will work together to take out the reformers who won’t play along.
    Wouldn’t be shocked The Light Horse Tavern has the Solomon Deck memorial window table reserved ?

    Maybe Carmelo can pick up the tab as they throw the lawsuit on the backs of the poor in the HHA all so the Mayor, her husband and their shady crew can clear the deck and move on.

    At least they’re eating in New Jersey this time and not the back of a Hells Kitchen bar like they did when the tape was rolling