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Mayor Bhalla Announces Formation of Public Safety Task Force

Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018

Mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla is announcing the formation of the Mayor’s Task Force on Public Safety to address violence and quality of life issues resulting from intoxicated bar patrons. The task force includes Police Chief Ferrante, Provisional Fire Chief Crimmins, Police Capt. Pasculli, Police Sgt. Kucz, Police Sgt. Montanez, Health Officer Frank Sasso, Battalion Fire Chief Buoncuore, Fire Captain DiVincent, Business Administrator Marks, Corporation Counsel Aloia, and Environmental Services Director Pellegrini.

“We can no longer ignore the fact that a small number of establishments are creating a big problem for everyone else in the form of violence, property damage, and financial cost,” said Mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla. “When a person comes from out of town and spits in the face of our officers, as has happened numerous times, that is unacceptable. When an officer is assaulted by an inebriated patron and receives a concussion, as happened to Officer Lombardi on Christmas Eve, I will not allow the status quo to continue.”

  • In 2017, there were 277 ABC violations by liquor license holders.
  • Of 133 liquor license holders, more than half received zero Tavern sheets in 2017 and more than ¾ received two or fewer Tavern sheets.
  • Half of all violations in 2017 were issued to just 11 establishments (8% of license holders).
  • Since August 2017, 15 police officers have been attacked, the majority occurring late at night by intoxicated patrons.
  • On SantaCon, 17 bars received Tavern sheets, while the remaining 87% of establishments were not issued violations.

“The Mayor’s creation of this task force is not about hurting the bar and restaurant industry in town,” said Police Chief Ken Ferrante. “This task force is going to take a deep look into incidents, events, and problem bars that are contributing to a decay of our city’s quality of life, causing injuries to our residents, visitors, and police officers, and hurting most of the businesses in town, including a majority of our bars and restaurants. The disruption that SantaCon brought to this great city, its residents, and business owners the week before Christmas and during Hanukkah, just so 10 to 15 percent of our bars can profit, is unacceptable!”

“I fully support this task force as a means to develop policies that protect public safety,” said Provisional Fire Chief Brian Crimmins. “I look forward to working with Mayor Bhalla, Chief Ferrante, and community leaders to achieve this goal.”

Police Officer and past president of the Hoboken PBA Vincent Lombardi, who suffered a concussion from an assault by an inebriated patron on Christmas Eve, supported the Task Force’s efforts, stating, “The escalation of disorderly and violent behavior by inebriated bar patrons against police officers, of which I am a recent victim, has spawned into a quality of life crisis. I welcome and fully support Mayor Bhalla’s decision in addressing this ugly trend for the sake of officer safety and serenity within our city.”

The first step in the Task Force’s efforts, based on the recommendation of the Hoboken Fire Department, is to increase the fines levied for overcrowding and other imminent hazards during all high-volume events to the maximum amount permitted by the Uniform Fire Code Statutes and Regulations. Fines for non-compliance will increase to $2,500 for a first offense and $5,000 for subsequent offenses. Additional steps will be taken by the Task Force in the coming weeks.

“At Little City Books we are grateful to Mayor Bhalla for addressing this issue,” said co-owner Kate Jacobs. “On the corner of 1st and Bloomfield, we are surrounded by bars that are generally very good neighbors, keeping our surrounding blocks lively. The ‘Cons,’ however, are severely damaging to the success of our business —  especially SantaCon which occurs on a Saturday before Christmas, a critical day for a low-profit margin business like a bookstore, which should be our most profitable day of the year. On the ‘Con’ days, our staff is harassed and intimidated by drunk people and we have always had to close early, with business down by about 40 percent. Our store is a destination for families with children, and no one brings children into that neighborhood when it is so out of control and vile from morning until night. Curbing the excesses of the ‘Cons’ would be a great thing for our business, for the residents of Hoboken, and for the reputation of the town.”

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Statement from Mayor Bhalla on Union Dry Dock Acquisition

Monday, Jan 15, 2018

Today the NJ Transit Board of Directors was again scheduled to vote on the acquisition of the Union Dry Dock property and to lease the property back to NY Waterway for a ferry refueling and maintenance facility, however the measure was pulled from the agenda.

“This is a huge step forward and a continuation of Hoboken’s decades-long efforts to transform our industrial waterfront into public open space,” said Mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla. “Our waterfront is an asset not just to our community, but the entire state, and I will fight tooth and nail to preserve the former Union Dry Dock property as open space. We value NY Waterway and their role in our regional transportation system, and I want to work with them and all stakeholders to find a comprehensive solution that will benefit our entire region. I thank Governor-elect Murphy, Senators Booker and Menendez, Senator Stack, Assemblywoman Chaparro, Assemblyman Mukherji, the Hoboken City Council, and all of the activists and residents who raised their voices and made a difference.”

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Community Invited to Complete Survey & Attend Public Meeting on Madison Street Park Renovation

Thursday, Jan 11, 2018

The City of Hoboken will be redesigning, renovating, and upgrading Madison Street Park, located at 3rd Street and Madison Street. The purpose of the project is to upgrade old equipment and make better use of limited park space.

Members of the community are invited to provide input on the project by completing an online survey available at www.hobokennj.gov/madisonparksurvey.

A public meeting to gather additional public input will held on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 from 7pm to 9pm at the Multi Service Center, located at 124 Grand Street. A public notice will follow for a public hearing scheduled for February 15, 2018 from 7pm to 9pm at the Multi Service Center.

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Hoboken Seeks Applicants for Rebuild by Design Citizens Advisory Group

Thursday, Jan 11, 2018

As the Rebuild by Design-Hudson River project enters the design phase, the City of Hoboken is seeking applications from members of the Hoboken community interested in participating in Hoboken’s Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) for the project.

Apply online at: https://hoboken.seamlessdocs.com/f/rbdcag

Applications should be submitted by January 31st, 2018. The volunteer term will be approximately 2 years, less if the design advances expediently. CAG members are expected to be full participants in the process, including attendance at a minimum number of meetings. A wait list will be created for interested citizens to replace any CAG members who are unable to fully participate in the process.

The Rebuild by Design Citizen Outreach Plan provides additional information on the purpose of the CAG:

The purpose of the CAG is to provide a forum for exchange of information between the Outreach Subcommittee and key citizens and citizen groups representative of that community. CAG members will be responsible for bringing issues and concerns to the table as well as sharing information from the Executive Steering Committee and NJDEP with their constituents, including members of vulnerable populations. The CAGs will be composed of representatives from a variety of communities within each town. The mayors and/or their representatives will be responsible for working with the NJDEP Constituent Services Manager to identify members of their communities who will populate the CAG in each of the three cities. Each CAG will communicate with the Outreach Subcommittee representative(s) of t heir town, who will bring issues and information to the larger Executive Steering Committee. CAG members will supplement the knowledge of local government officials or their delegates about the project areas and provide input on ideas, problems, observations and solutions. Specifically, CAG members will be expected to:

  • Share information about Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge project goals and objectives with their constituents;
  • Share the processes and procedures that will be followed in implementing the project;
  • Determine what community priorities or concerns exist about the project as it develops;
  • Bring the priorities, issues and concerns of the larger community to the attention of the Outreach Subcommittee, and
  • Share with the Outreach Subcommittee and project team what local networks DEP should use to establish and maintain a dialogue.

The role of the NJDEP will be to provide project updates, explain processes and procedures on the various phases of the project, solicit input from stakeholders and the public, and answer questions during CAG meetings. The role of the mayors will be to host the CAG meetings and general public meetings, and work with the NJDEP Constituent Services Manager and RBD Project Team on the logistics and scheduling of meetings. At major milestones, the three municipal-level CAGs may convene to meet together as one large group, identified as the Regional CAG. The NJDEP will notice all Regional CAG meetings on the NJDEP’s OFHRRM website and inform the public signed up for the NJDEP email listserv. All the NJDEP’s Regional CAG meetings are by invitation only to Regional CAG members; however they are open to the public to observe.

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