According to council documents, Dana Wefer of the Hoboken Housing Authority’s board of commissioners is resigning from her post.
“This letter is to inform you that I am resigning from my position as a commissioner of the Hoboken Housing Authority (HHA) because my family is planning to move from Hoboken in the near future,” Wefer said in an email to Council President Jen Giattino.
The seven-member board of commissioners oversees 1,353 units of low-income and senior citizen public housing on the west side of Hoboken. The HHA is partly funded by subsidies from the federal department of Housing and Urban Development.
“I will continue serving until the next Housing Authority meeting on July 13, but I think the interests of the housing authority would be best served if a new commissioner were appointed to begin their service at this meeting,” she wrote.
Wefer was appointed to the board in 2014 by the Hoboken City Council. Her five-year term is not due to expire until May of 2018.
“You may know that the HHA is already short one board member because the DCA [Department of Community Affairs] has not yet appointed someone to take the place of former commissioner Judith Burrell. As such, it is vital that my seat be filled expeditiously to ensure that the HHA board is able to continue the work it is doing to lift the authority out of troubled status and improve housing for its residents.”
In an interview, Wefer said that she and her family have decided to move because they live in a one-bedroom apartment with a toddler and can’t afford a two bedroom in Hoboken.
According to Wefer they haven’t decided where to move yet but are looking in both Bergen and Essex counties.
Wefer said she is most proud of the board’s hire of HHA’s Executive Director Marc Recko.
“I think bringing Marc Recko on as executive director is everything,” said Wefer. “He is so knowledgeable and transparent. ... He has worked closely with the board, and he has over 30 years of experience. He is what the residents of the Hoboken Housing Authority deserve.”
Wefer, a 10-year Hoboken resident, said she will miss the residents and the connections she has made.
To her replacement she said, “My advice is to remember that your duty is to the Hoboken Housing Authority and its residents. You are charged with its oversight, and you can’t be afraid to ask tough questions.”
“Just don’t make it political,” Wefer added, explaining that her replacement should not lose sight of the people they will be helping.
To the council which will appoint Wefer’s replacement based on applications they have on file and will receive from residents, she said, “I hope they select someone with a finance background, as we don’t have anyone with those skills to ask those questions.”
“The process is that, once we get word that she is vacating her seat, we usually determine exactly what date the seat will be open; look at the current roster of applicants at the City Clerk’s office, and pick among them; or if none of the current applicants are satisfactory, we try to recruit residents to apply for the position, so we can appoint a good and qualified person to the position,” said Councilman Ravi Bhalla in an interview in March about the process.
The City Clerk keeps the applications for two years.
Applications can be found at the City Clerk’s office and online. Any Hoboken resident can apply.
To download an application to serve on any of Hoboken’s municipal boards go to http://hobokennj.gov/boards/.
Giattino thanked Wefer for her service and asked that all applications be in the week prior to the next council meeting when they should appoint her replacement.
Councilman urges NJ Transit to accommodate residents during anticipated overcrowding
Last week, Councilman Ravi Bhalla called on NJ Transit to provide Hoboken bus and rail commuters with the option of using their tickets on the new ferry service from Hoboken to 39th Street as a way of combating the overcrowding anticipated this summer due to service changes resulting from scheduled repairs. As reported in May, NJ Transit announced an adjusted travel plan for commuters to and from Penn Station as Amtrak will be repairing tracks from July 10 to Sept. 1.
Riders of the Midtown Direct trains on the Morristown Line will be diverted to Hoboken as will the Midtown Direct trains on the Gladstone Branch.
According to the notice, “NJ Transit rail customers have been forced to deal with delays, derailments, and unreliable service because Amtrak, which owns the tracks our service relies upon, has neglected the maintenance of its critical infrastructure for years. For three-quarters of NJ TRANSIT rail customers travel patterns will not be modified, including the Trenton to New York Northeast Corridor Line. However, delays on all rail lines, except for the Atlantic City Rail line, are inevitable.”
Those commuters on that line will have their tickets cross honored with both the PATH and ferry services.
An additional 7,400 commuters, according to NJ Transit’s estimate, will be diverted to Hoboken beginning on July 10.
Bhalla noted the cross-honoring option to access ferry service is being made available to the diverted commuters, but as of now not to Hoboken ones.
In the press release Bhalla said, “The least Hoboken commuters deserve for the inconvenience and additional over-crowding they will experience this summer is the same cross-honoring options as other commuters. I call on NJ Transit to provide this needed flexibility and consideration.”
“NJ Transit is modestly increasing bus and rail service in Hoboken during the morning rush over the summer. But the increase fails to match the scale of the over-crowding problem,” states the release.
“This will not be a normal commute for any of us including our customers, so we ask that you stay connected to social media and our web page for the latest information, stay ahead by building in extra time for your commute, and stay cool and try not to lose patience,” said NJ Transit Executive Director Steve Santoro in a press release. “On Monday, our customer service ambassadors will be out in force, so if you have questions or need directions, just look for them in their bright yellow vests.”
NJ Transit will enhance peak period bus service and NY Waterway will operate a special ferry service from Hoboken Terminal to W 39th street in Midtown Manhattan during peak hours to combat the influx of passengers at the terminal. For more information go to njtransit.com
‘Proud Republican’ Hoboken resident announces campaign for City Council
Joshua Einstein announced via a press release his campaign launch this weekend.
“This is an opportunity for the Hoboken community to come, listen, and dialogue about the challenges and opportunities our city faces as well as to support a terrific local non-profit [True Mentors],” said Einstein in the release.
Einstein is the first City Council candidate not part of a slate to declare his candidacy and “the only registered Republican in the race to loudly and proudly embrace the GOP label,” according to the release.
He also said he voted for DonaldTrump for president. The comments were likely inspired by mayoral candidates Jen Giattino and Angelo Valente, who refused to comment thus far on their registered Republican status and whether they voted for Trump. Outgoing Mayor Dawn Zimmer has expressed displeasure with Trump’s agenda and how it could affect local residents, and Trump’s Tweets last week were seen by some as unpresidential, misogynistic, and hostile, resulting in the right-leaning National Review writing that he was “intellectually and emotionally incapable” of the job.
Einstein was recently elected to be one of Hudson Counties representatives to the New Jersey Republican State Committee, garnering over 1,300 votes.
“I’m a proud Republican and I have many liberal friends who also understand the fiscal road our city is on, the stagnant policies that continue by inertia, and ignoring the needs of the majority of people in Hoboken is the wrong path to go down,” Einstein said in the release. “That’s why I’m happy to invite everyone to come and discuss the issues they believe are facing our city and areas that they see need change. I know no two people are ever going to see eye to eye on every topic and I don’t expect every voter to agree with every policy stance I have taken, but I always enjoy exchanging out of the box ideas, learning new perspectives, and brainstorming solutions.”
The campaign launch slated for this week was to raise money for True Mentors group that mentors children in Hoboken.
“Leadership is not about being frozen into arcane dogmatic positions or forced into narrow political tribes and teams, it’s about exposing people to new ideas and ways of tackling problems to improve lives and that’s why I wanted a representative of True Mentors to speak about the amazing and unique work they do with Hoboken’s children,” said Einstein in the release.
Hudson County CASA is seeking volunteers
Learn how to become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer and help foster children find safe and permanent homes. The next information session will be held at the Hudson County Courthouse, 595 Newark Ave. Rm. 901 on Tuesday, July 11 at 6:30 p.m.
Hudson County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is a non-profit organization committed to advocating for the best interests of abused and neglected children. CASA works through trained community volunteers to ensure that needed services and assistance are made available to children while helping to move them toward safe and permanent homes. Hudson County CASA volunteers are everyday people who make a direct impact in foster children’s lives. They are trusted, dedicated adults who seek to improve children’s well-being. CASA volunteers get to know their assigned child and his or her circumstances and provide valuable information to the court. Judges rely on the volunteers’ recommendations to make the best decisions about the children’s futures.
For further information, visit www.hudsoncountycasa.org.
Former Hoboken director Michael Coleman dies age 85
Former director in Hoboken of the Federal Model Cities Program Michael Coleman passed away on June 16 at age 85.
Coleman died at the VA hospital in East Orange. He had served in the Air Force in Korea.
In 1965 Coleman worked for the US Economic Development Administration, Department of Commerce in civil rights compliance before he came to Hoboken in 1968 where he served as executive director of the Model Cities Program.
The program was an effort of the Johnson Administration for urban renewal of inner cities.
For eight years he was instrumental in starting the revitalization of Hoboken that continues today.
Coleman is survived by his children and extended family.
The Hoboken American Legion Post 107 will host a BBQ for all Veterans on Sunday July 16 between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. The free BBQ for veterans will take place at Post 107 at 308 Second St.
Polka Dot to perform at Family Fun Night
It’s a family fun night like no other - “Hoboken born” kids’ and family entertainer Ron Albanese - Polka Dot - will be performing with his Polka Dot Pals band at Shipyard Park on July 11 at 7 p.m.
Shipyard Park is located at Thirteenth Street and McFeeley Drive.
“It’s the kiddie rock n’ roll event of the summer,” Ron says, “we’ve got the staging, tunes, and more - everyone is invited to come sing, dance, and laugh along!”
The free concert is part of the summer long “Family Fun Night” series hosted every Tuesday by the City of Hoboken and co sponsored by The Applied Companies.
For more on Ron Albanese go to www.RonAlbanese.com.
For more on the series go to http://hobokennj.gov/departments/human-services/cultural-affairs/family/.
Bijou Properties’ western edge development is expected to open in 2019
Development partners Bijou Properties and Intercontinental Real Estate Corporation broke ground on their 424 unit luxury rental building which includes a 6,835 square foot public gymnasium and a two acre resiliency park as part of Hoboken's western edge redevelopment.
The development is part of a 30 year PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement between the developer and the city established last year.
Located at 700 Jackson St., the new 14-story mixed-use rental building, designed by Marchetto Higgins Stieve Architects, will include 90,000 square feet of upscale amenities, including a penthouse pool and roof deck, and 25,000 square-feet of ground floor retail space.
The adjacent two-acre park will be split between a one-acre open grass area and children’s playground and a one-acre public plaza designed for active and passive recreation uses.
Construction is expected to be completed in mid-2019.
“We’re invested in the future of Hoboken and are committed to working with the City to develop sustainable housing that significantly contributes to the community-at-large,” said Larry Bijou, managing partner of Hoboken-based Bijou Properties. “This new building and open space donation fits perfectly into that philosophy.”
Hoboken Farms donates to Community FoodBank of New Jersey
Hoboken Farms and Banza donated about 7,100 pounds of sauce and 6,300 pounds of pasta, respectively, totaling approximately 50,000 servings for people in need across the state to the Community Foodbank of New Jersey in Hillside.
More than 1 million New Jersey residents struggle with hunger, and close to 340,000 of them are children. The FoodBank addresses the need by getting healthy food onto the tables of food insecure families, possible with support from generous donors like Hoboken Farms and Banza. This food reaches men, women and children through the FoodBank’s network of more than 1,000 community partners, including soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters and school programs.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Hoboken Farms and Banza,” said Debra Vizzi, president and CEO of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. “They exemplify companies that are local and grassroots, and they both have the health of our neighbors in mind with their products. Their sense of social responsibility to New Jersey and to the hungry make them a ‘best of class’ in this space.”
“This large donation of our healthy sauce is the perfect way to celebrate Hoboken Farms’ 25th farmers market season,” said Brad Finkel, founder of Hoboken Farms. “As a proud local brand, we’re excited to share almost 5,000 donated jars of our beloved sauce with FoodBank families.”
The FoodBank will provide tastings of this nutritious duo for community partners picking up food from the Hillside warehouse (31 Evans Terminal) on Monday, July 10, at 1:30 p.m.
The purpose of the samplings is to introduce representatives from local soup kitchens, food pantries, and other agencies to this healthy combination and, in turn, have them encourage their clients to serve it to their families.