Don’t make quick judgments for or against Vision 20/20
Jun 30, 2013 | 2693 views | 7 7 comments | 165 165 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Dear Editor:

I would like to take a moment to urge the residents of Hoboken to carefully examine the Vision 20/20 Plan and all of its potential effects before choosing to support or oppose it. I have studied public housing policy nationally; it is clear that this plan will have huge implications for the city. I believe there are a number of issues to consider that are not currently part of the public discussion.

When these policies have been undertaken in other cities, the quality of public housing stock has been improved, but many public housing residents have been displaced. Those displaced are often the most disenfranchised residents. Loopholes in the policies which were intended to guarantee that no residents be displaced, strict new requirements and screening for tenant eligibility, the extensive time required to build new housing, and red tape have been commonplace in other locales where similar policies have been implemented.

Researchers have reported that the tenant leaders who are the most ardent supporters of these plans and the politicians who support them, are quick to receive renovated housing, quelling dissent amongst residents. We must ask what “guarantees” will be in place to assure that no residents lose their housing, and investigate whether or not there are loopholes.

Financing is another major concern; what if finances dry up before the plan is complete? Will we find that in order to continue construction, the development of private housing is favored over creating housing for low-income residents (as happened in Battery Park City)? Will the construction quality of the new housing be on par with the buildings that currently exist, or will the new housing literally blow over in a storm (as happened in one case in Newark)? That being said there is not enough low-income or affordable housing in Hoboken. If the plan is carried through to completion as outlined it would increase the stock of housing for low-income and middle-income residents and improve housing and neighborhood conditions. Other issues to consider, however, include the goal of socio-economic integration and mobility, and how this will be achieved, along with ownership over the land/properties.

Molly Vollman Makris, PhD

Comments
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Tottenhamwins
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July 02, 2013
Molly, the only opinion most of us have on the plan is that absolutely no plan should be passed or supported until every shred of documentation surrounding that plan is made public. Right now we have nothing at all to make an informed decision based on which is why most of us who want decision making to based on reason are completely opposed to passing any aspect of any plan we have never seen.
SeventhStop
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July 03, 2013
It appears that Molly wrote the letter out of concern for her town, experience, and intelligence. Not out of a desire to favor a political side or get something for herself. Many of the commenters here can't wrap their heads around this!!!

The HR story specifically says there is a plan, maybe not as detailed as it would be when it reaches a board. Why don't some of the commenters read it and tell us what they still need to know:

"In 2010, the HHA published a 112-page document that outlines the project’s methodology, a breakdown of its phases over the course of an estimated 10-year construction, and the advantages it would bring to Hoboken. (The document is not available on the HHA website. At some point, it was added to a third-party website by Mello. The project can be seen via this link: http://bit.ly/1azY0Uo.)

Read more: Hudson Reporter - What to do with Hoboken s projects Politicians battle fiercely over plan to demolish rebuild public housing
Tottenhamwins
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July 03, 2013
I know fully well what the HR story says just like I know this letter to the editor asks us to hold off on judgment until we examine the plan in the very first sentence. Can't examine what isn't out there to even examine. And I know what Mello put out there but that is not the plan. He is a commissioner. Only the director knows what the plan says and only he can release the official plan plus the thousands of pages of documentation that go along with that plan that describe the financing, the developer agreement, the PILOTs and so forth. Molly's concern is premature. There is no need to support or oppose any plan that has not been submitted. There is however every reason in the world to oppose a plan the authors are so fearful of releasing that they demand we pass parts of it sight unseen.
DancingRudy
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July 03, 2013
SeventhStop - the document referred to in the HR story envisions 1850 units - an increase of over 1000 from existing. Director Garcia has said repeatedly that his "plan" would add less than 200 units. This means that the thing you refer to as the plan" is in fact not the "plan" director Garcia has referred to.

Either Director Garcia has brazenly lied about what his "plan" is, or the 2010 document is not his "plan."

Which is it dude?

DancingRudy
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June 30, 2013
Thank you Molly for a thoughtful objective point of view from someone who is obviously knowledgeable about the issue and not blinded by the politics.

One question - you write that there is not enough low income or affordable housing in Hoboken. Is that your gut sense or a data driven conclusion? If its data driven do you mind sharing the data? I think that would be really helpful.

Specifically, how much do you feel we should have based on population, demographics, etc and how much do we actually have. I've heard that including below market rent control something like 20% of Hoboken's residents live in some sort of subsidized "affordable" below market housing. Is this true? If not what's the real number of what we have and what ought it to be based on existing legal standards?

If you know and could provide this info it would go a long way toward shifting the conversation to a more honest one based on real facts and honestly expressed opinions about public policy that fair minded people may genuinely disagree about.
VoteHoboken
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June 30, 2013
Good golly Miss Molly !

I think you get it.

So many questions.

So few answers.

HobokenLeaks
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June 30, 2013
Well that's just the problem. Team Garcia is not giving the citizens of Hoboken anything to "carefully examine" and is calling anyone who asks for better information a "racist".

It stinks and stinks badly.