LETTER: I’d be happy to debate Einstein over Hoboken’s Union Dry Dock saga


In a letter to the editor, Hoboken Housing Authority Vice Chair James Sanford says that he’d be happy to accept a recent debate challenge initially directed at Mayor Ravi Bhalla.

Dear Editor,

In response to Mr. Einstein’s recent editorials published by Hudson County View, I accept his challenge to a public debate. If Mr. Einstein wants to debate a Hoboken City official then he can debate me anytime anywhere!

For the past 7 years, I’ve volunteered without pay to serve as a Commissioner on the Board of the Hoboken Housing Authority (HHA). As a member of the HHA Board it is my responsibility to promote the interests of the HHA and provide thousands of residents with affordable housing.

In 2015, I hired Executive Director Recko and worked with him to bring sound and effective management to our facilities. Together we have worked to heal the wounds of past mismanagement. I am proud of both my record and my service to Hoboken.

In contrast, I ask the residents of Hoboken to consider Mr. Einstein’s “experience and service.”

In the several years that Mr. Einstein has lived in our city has he ever served our community on any number of Hoboken’s municipal boards?

From what dearth of governing experience does he draw upon to promote his uninformed opinions or launch attacks upon our community?

What is his record in helping to make Hoboken a better place to live?

As Vice Chair of the HHA I swore an oath to promote and safeguard the interests of public
housing in our city. All residents in Hoboken will be affected by NY Waterway’s plans for the
dry dock.

We can engage in a thoughtful public discourse of the issues; however, Mr. Einstein’s
rhetoric is unfair.

By calling his opponents thieves he seeks to dismiss the arguments of people who sincerely believe that NY Waterway’s plans are simply not in the best interest of the city.

Mr. Einstein has repeatedly voiced his commitment to NY Waterway and his lack of support for the people of Hoboken and a better waterfront.

Yet, Mr. Einstein offers no alternative solutions to the current debate. Instead he engages in demagoguery to promote his own agenda.

He calls Hoboken’s mayor, city council, and people thieves for engaging in a lawful and constitutional process instead of debating the substance of the issue.

Mr. Einstein owes the people of Hoboken an apology.

Therefore, if Mr. Einstein, “…truly believes in his cause, he will rise to the challenge and accept this invitation to have a public debate…”

As a Hoboken public official I stand ready to accept Mr. Einstein’s challenge to engage in a public debate.

If not, then Mr. Einstein should apologize.


James Sanford
Vice Chair
Hoboken Housing Authority

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  1. If I were Einsein, I’d take James up on his offer. He seems desperate for attention, and showing up at a debate even one in which James will clean his clock, will enhance his currently nonexistent stature. Who knows – Maybe Mike DeFusco will take notice and put him on his 2021 ticket.

  2. If he really cared about those he was sworn to serve, the Vice Chair of the HHA should be fighting to put affordable housing on the UDD site. That would be the appropriate thing for him to do. Or, does the Vice Chairman believe that the waterfront is only for the rich and the poor should stay in the 4th ward? I’m pretty sure that the people living in Mxwell Place or the Shipyard would welcome NYWW to the Union Dry Dock site if they thought poor people would be moving into their waterfront neighborhood.

  3. This piece was published on insidernj a few days before here. I did respond by setting a time and place (https://www.insidernj.com/press-release/sotomayer-einstein-eminent-domain-abuse-debate-announced-wednesday-august-28th-7pm-lady-grace-school/) and Sanford has already backed out (https://www.insidernj.com/press-release/sotomayor-einstein-letter-eminent-domain-debate-hoboken/). It seems Bhalla world likes to make their case only in official statements and is afraid to make the case to the public.

  4. Can Sham ever write a nice post or one that doesn’t mention DeFusco?
    It was only 4 years ago Grossbard was yelling at people on the street who dare to questioned why Zimmer would have begged Defusco on her slate…

  5. Why should Mr. Einstein ( a private citizen ) apologize for his views? As wrong as they may be, they aren’t nearly as wrong as Mr Sanford’s questionable performance as a commissioner on the Hoboken Housing Authority. Perhaps Mr Sanford should stop trying to elevate his city profile through thinly veiled concern for public waterfronts and start doing some work on PUBLIC HOUSING. Mr Sanford swore an oath to serve the residents of the HHA, not an oath to serve the dual Mayors whose shady involvement in housing matters we are still paying for…

  6. Mr Sanford is the worst kind of wannabe public servant. He fights with HHA residents in condescending diatribes, he calls himself a city official on Insider NJ ( which h is not ) and he hops from political bed to political bed. From Mason to Occhipiniti to Zimmer to Nason… Yes Nason…
    This guy should stick to property managing condos, last heard his hallways are pretty filthy!