Letter to the Editor

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Mayor Roberts has his facts wrong

Mayor Roberts, last week, in a published advertisement stated "we have identified seven acres of land in the southwest section of Hoboken as the next park site." As usual, the Mayor appears to be getting his facts wrong.

Proud to be a Hoboken resident

Hoboken is a unique urban environment, featuring the best of the "old world" and the invigorating spirit of a new generation. Our streets are abundant with residents of all ages and we continue to embrace the traditions of our founding over 150 years ago.

Mayor Roberts mistakes 'promises' for 'achievements'

Last week, the Hoboken Reporter published an advertisement from Mayor Roberts in which he pats himself on the back for all he has achieved. Unfortunately, the Mayor seems to mistake promises for achievements. Not one of his "achievements" has, as yet, actually been achieved. The Mayor will earn the credit he seeks only if, and when, his "achievements" become real.

Surprise! by Richard Kamber

Hoboken Reporter

Dear Editor:

This week's mess at the Garden Street automated garage at 916 Garden should come as no surprise. In 2002, after 33 years of providing parking structures across Hoboken, the old Hoboken Parking Authority was closed. Despite repeated promises "not to raid the piggybank" the $8 million surplus it had saved was used to close a gap in the city's budget. (This practice of liquidating Hoboken's assets to cover structural deficits in the municipal budget has continued ever since.)

At the urging of Carol Marsh and Tony Soares, Hoboken then hired Leonard Bier, an independent parking consultant, to interview candidates to head the newly formed Hoboken Parking Utility. Four finalists were selected, but none was hired. Instead the job went to John Corea, a defeated candidate for city council. What were his credentials? According to the Hoboken Reporter (February 1, 2004), Corea had no professional experience in parking. He had been a member of the New York Stock Exchange before being found guilty of improper trading and banned for life from trading on the exchange.

Since taking the helm of the Parking Utility, Corea has not been able to prevent a string of operational failures. Now, according to the Hoboken Reporter, he is quarrelling with the operators of the Garden Street garage, Robotic Parking Systems. Robotic Parking has said--in the most graphic terms - they can no longer work with him.

One of the keys to good city government is to make sure that managerial positions are filled with experienced, conscientious, and honest professionals. The cost of doing otherwise is waste and a breakdown of important services. It now appears likely that the Garden Street garage will be shut down by August 1st and 314 cars turned out on to our crowded streets. Even if the immediate crisis is avoided, the prospects for dramatic improvements in management are dim.

What to do? The first step is to transfer responsibility for running the Parking Utility to an interim director. Leonard Bier, who was on the right track three years ago, might be a good choice. The second step is to run an honest search for the best possible candidate and hire that person. The third step is to do the same throughout Hoboken city government.

Richard Kamber 

Parking issues By Al Bozulic

Hoboken Reporter

Parking issues 

Dear Editor:

The articles in your July 22nd issue about the ill-fated robotic parking garage as well as the parking officers suspended for ticketing the "politically connected" only proves that the Hoboken Parking Utility is in serious need of reform. However, there are additional parking issues that should be addressed: the excessive towing fees for illegally-parked cars, the inconvenience posed by temporary paper No-Parking signs, and the serious need for additional white parking lines to be painted. The citizens of today's Hoboken should not stand by and let the HPU play the same games anymore at our expense.

Problem 1: Towing Fees. Mile Square Towing is contracted by the city to tow cars that are illegally parked. They charge an incredulous $80 towing fee as well as $25 per day for storage. This is unreasonable, since they don't notify the car owner after towing but expect them to guess. Their customer service and storage area are substandard at best. It would be of interest to know what kind of contractual relationship they have with the city. And what happens if they cause vehicle damage during towing, as that robotic garage did when those cars fell down and got destroyed!

Problem 2: Paper white 'temporary no parking' signs that pop up everywhere. Sometimes they are put on trees, are partially obscured, or are not put up enough time in advance to warn people adequately. Just what are the regulations on use of these signs, and why does it seem that every construction project in town is using them to take up valuable sidewalk space for their trucks? Example: you park your Mercedes in a legal spot, go out of town for two days, and you return to find a white no-parking sign and your car is gone, only to make way for a flatbed cement truck!

Problem 3: Parking Lines. It would be helpful to get new white lines painted on many sidewalks to better indicate the legal parking range for cars, as well as to paint white dividing lines at diagonal parking areas so as to increase the available number of spots. Often many cars parking diagonally take up two spots because there are no dividing lines, and it is difficult to gauge a proper separation between cars.

A group of citizens should organize a committee to discuss parking issues and proper solutions to the city council. Most committees in City Hall are politically appointed, so we need new ideas to come from outside the political spectrum because the problems cannot be solved by more empty election promises. Anyone interested in forming such a group can email me at: hobokenparkingissues@yahoo.com

Al Bozulic

Will Holzberg do for St. Mary what he did for UMDNJ?

Dear Editor:  In his article about Harvey Holzberg last week, Tom Jennemann buried the news that the new head of St. Mary Hospital was deeply involved with the scandal-plagued University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ. Holzberg was a member of the board of trustees of UMDNJ from 1997 to 2003. In fact, then-Gov. Jim McGreevey appointed him chairman of the 11-member board in August 2002. He lost that job the following March when McGreevey pulled the plug because, as head of UMDNJ affiliate Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Holzberg had a conflict of interest.

Muni Garage plan is sound, serving the needs of all in the city

As Chairman of the Observer Highway Redevelopment Advisory Committee, I would like to respond to last week's inaccurate letter by Hank Forrest.

Work on a plan for the Municipal Garage was not done in a "short time frame" as Mr. Forrest states. It began in April 2005 when the City Council proposed the creation of the OHRA Committee, later appointed by Mayor Roberts. The Mayor identified PPSA as the planning firm he wanted for the project -- the same firm Mr. Forrest often compliments for their work on the Master Plan.

Hoboken Board of Ed is out of control and totally unreasonable

Dear Editor: I just can't rest until I put this news out here. If you're a parent with school age children, you should especially listen up so you can decide if the Hoboken school system is for you.

I'm also protesting Hoboken's takeover of St. Mary Hospital

Hoboken Reporter

Dear Editor:

I wish to second the anonymous letter (HR 6/11) protesting the city's takeover of St. Mary Hospital. What are our officials thinking of?  

Bon Secour, which presumably has some experience in this field, is dumping the facility because it is losing three million dollars every month. A local newspaper quoted a New Jersey hospital administrator as saying it was all but impossible to break even on a hospital with mostly uninsured and Medicaid patients, as this one is. The city of Hoboken has never been known for professional management or financial competence. We all know the current budget is out of whack, dependent now on desperate juggling acts with the municipal garage site. The state has warned the city not to take on this burden but instead of listening, Mayor Roberts and State Senator Kenny are cooking up more tricks to make it legal. And whatever the arrangement, Hoboken taxpayers will be ultimately responsible. Can we afford it?

As for the announced plans for improvement, putting money into equipment, as planned, is well and good but can we trust the city to get doctors who can use it wisely? The designated director, Mr. Holzberg, might have a good record but is he a miracle worker? Granted, it's important to have an emergency room that residents can get to quickly. But when Bon Secour's withdrawal was first announced, we read in the paper that another health care company would take over the emergency room if no one else came forward.

What happened to this idea?

S. J. Blain

Latest chapter in saga of fiscal irresponsibility comes to a close

Last night the Hoboken City Council closed the latest chapter in its saga of fiscal irresponsibility. The chapter started, as you may recall, last July 1 at the beginning of the fiscal year.

As the city overspent during the prior fiscal year they had to borrow $7.9 million and place a lien on the Observer Highway municipal garage. The garage land would eventually be sold to repay the loan. This started a dual process. On one hand the City Administration promised to create a realistic budget, which seemed possible since there are lots of new ratables (Condos) in town.