Op-Ed: Hoboken again shows ‘disregard for open & honest govt’ with Union Dry Dock


In an editorial, Joshua Sotomayor-Einstein says that Hoboken has again shown “disregard for open and honest government” by not having a required referendum.

Mayor Bhalla’s refusal to conduct the legally required referendum over its use of $18 million in Open Space Fund tax monies in its plan to lease the Union Dry Dock back to its former owner, NY Waterway, is demonstrable proof of Bhalla’s disregard for open and honest government.

Just as importantly, Bhalla’s corporate handout displays the dangerous nexus of big business and machine politicians who scratch each other’s backs at the expense of the public.

On March 21, the attorney representing the Fund for A Better Waterfront sent the Bhalla administration a letter specifying the legal requirements of the legislation that authorized the creation of the Open Space Fund.

These requirements include a mandatory public referendum if property procured with Open Space Funds were leased to a commercial entity. The Bhalla Administration’s response has been an infantile ‘we don’t have to,’ with no further explanation.

Far away from Bhalla world, on planet Earth, lay the facts that Bhalla’s plan for the Union Dry Dock never passed the smell test to begin with.

Knowing that behind closed doors, NJ transportation industry insiders have said that eventually NJ Transit would step in and eminent domain the land from Hoboken to lease it to NY Waterway, Bhalla decided to take the property from NY Waterway anyway for a total of $18 million and then to “temporarily” lease it back to them for less than the rent of many apartments in Hoboken.

Rather than budget for efforts to make the city more affordable, say by lessening the cost of living rises that are his tax increases, Mayor Bhalla decided to give a private corporation $18 million of taxpayer money for a park that will likely never be built.

Now the Bhalla administration refuses, with no explanation, to meet the statutory requirements of the law and hold a public referendum. Hoboken deserves better.

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  1. Despite the bitter response from a Ravibot, there’s some validity to the legislative requirement. Guess this issue will be decided in Hudson County Superior Court. After the numerous declarations of victory by Ravi over Union Dry Dock, it looks more like a ridiculous series of machinations using eminent domain arriving at the same destination.

  2. BHALLATICS 101: (1) Drop in Edison Indians racist fliers to get elected, (2) hide the fact the “deal” to buy back UDD included a illegal “lease” negotiated with NY Waterways in secret to get reelected, (3) distract short attention span snowflakes by developing what we all call a “[Smoke and] Maritime” Park design and have lonely losers attend planning sessions for a “park” that is at best 5+ years away from construction start.

    Wake up, Ron Hine:

    There will NEVER be a park on Union Dry Dock.

    Do Hoboken residents really still believe Ravi when he tell them “over my dead body” on minute and then bend the knee the next?? Do people honestly think NY Waterways are going to spend upwards of $10M remediating the dilapidated piers and constructing a brand new ferry maintenance, operations, and diesel refueling center just to leave in 5 years? And where are they going? Not back to Weehawken!

    Give me a break! Give. Me. A. Break.