Hoboken Southwest Parks Coalition fights for SW park; Lenz does not
Oct 24, 2010 | 3053 views | 27 27 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Dear Editor:

As the founder of Hoboken Southwest Parks Coalition, and as someone who did live in the 4th Ward from 2000 to 2007 and has been advocating for a SW Park since 2004, I completely disagree with Jake Stuiver’s misleading statement from last week. In his endorsement letter for Mike Lenz, Mr. Stuiver says, “Smart development is being planned that respects the desires of the community for reasonable-size buildings and a long-needed southwest park.” This is false. Mr. Stuiver is leading voters to believe that a SW park is already in the works. It is disingenuous for the Lenz campaign, of which Mr. Stuiver is treasurer, to actively promote this fictional accomplishment.

The truth is, nothing is “being planned” for the 4th Ward – no park, no smart development. I know this because my park group, HSPC, has spent many years and thousands of hours fighting for a SW park. We went so far as to create an action plan to assist our elected officials. We hired professionals to help in developing the SW6 Plan, a thoroughly researched 60-page report that was presented to the City Council three years ago as a roadmap for sensible development, flood mitigation, and the six-acre park proposed in the Hoboken Master Plan. I personally delivered this report to candidate Dawn Zimmer in 2007 at one of our public meetings. Over the last three years, HSPC has worked tirelessly to increase public awareness for a SW park and to seek land acquisition funding through county and private foundations, has spent many weeks obtaining necessary petition signatures for grants, and has participated in many zoning and planning board meetings regarding development in the southwest neighborhood. During this time, I never once saw Mike Lenz promote or assist with the SW Parks effort.

It’s election time and once again the SW park discussion gets bandied around just as it did in 2007 and in 2009. However, during Dawn Zimmer’s and Mike Lenz’s cumulative tenure in representing the 4thWard for the last three years, they have not produced a SW redevelopment study or plan for public review, and they have not purchased a single parcel of land for the SW park. Three years is a long time to do nothing on the SW park and still exploit the issue as we have seen from Mike Lenz and this administration.

Since the Zimmer administration is reactive rather than proactive, perhaps they’ll rush through an ill-conceived SW Redevelopment Plan in the next two weeks in hopes of overriding Mr. Lenz’s 20 years of inaction on open space, similar to what they did when this administration attempted to rush through the horrific Western Edge Redevelopment Plan, a plan which did not include an active park.

As someone who has been at the forefront of 4th Ward park and development issues, I know that no amount of political spin and exploitation of the open space issue by the Lenz campaign can change the facts.

Sara Stojkovic



Comments
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xnavyguy77
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October 30, 2010
Rudy boy,

So let me get this straight: you're harassing a park activist with a proven track record of fighting for open space, yet somehow you do not even bother to comment on Mr. Lenz and his inactivity when it comes to open space. Very interesting approach...

What about the recent illegal activities of Mr. Lenz: taking bribes and granting variances? Is there any way you could defend him? He's dirtier than Mr. Cammarano. And the fact that the Zimmer administration holds him in such high regard tells you something about how corrupt they are. It is a shame that so many people still think they are the "reformers."

DancingRudy
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October 30, 2010
Gosh Bart - you're right. I haven't been paying attention to Hoboken411. My bad! And I didn't know Mike Novak was a director or that he was campaigning with Mike Lenz. The FBI story, though is pretty well known.

Does any of this relate in some way to Ms. Stojkovic's letter?

I'm still hoping she'll respond to my questions. I've been reading SW6 pretty carefully and after she answers the questions already posed, I have several more.



BokenBart
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October 29, 2010
Gosh DancingRudy I guess you haven't been paying attention. Hoboken411 broke the story, and since then the Jersey Journal/Hoboken Now has followed up saying Lenz "Declined to comment" on the allegations. Patch and the Hoboken Reporter have also followed up, along with the PolitickerNJ site.

That means everybody but the Lenz/Zimmer campaign blogs have covered the story. I bet the New York Times will also cover it of the AG and/or U.S. Attorney does what Tim Occhipinti asks and looks into Lenz's diner dealings with developers.

Is Lenz still campaigning in the Housing Authority with the Zimmer Director who had the FBI in his kitchen the morning Cammarano was arrested?
DancingRudy
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October 28, 2010
I checked all the reputable news sites and couldn't find any reference to this supposed news story. Bart - can you let us know where we can find this "news" and whether any actual evidence is provided for the claims made?

And does this have anything to do with the Southwest Park? If I didn't know better I'd think you were trying to change the subject.
HobokenReformer
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October 28, 2010
BokenBart wrote on Thursday, Oct 28 at 01:24 PM

"Lenz REPORTEDLY met ...'

The keyword in this statement is "reportedly". Where exactly was this reported and by whom? I suspect if there was any truth to this, BokenBart would have provided the name of that "reporter". Until he does, I will just file it under rumors and innuendo.
BokenBart
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October 28, 2010
Anybody see the news today about Mike Lenz? Did the councilman pull a Cammarano? Lenz reportedly met with a developer in a diner to talk zoning variances, approved of the variances on the council, and collected $1000 in campaign contributions.

Has Mayor Zimmer made a statement condemning this? Will Hoboken Revolt demand his resignation? Will they march on his house? What am I saying? Those uptown elitists wouldn't be caught dead at 4th and Monroe!
DancingRudy
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October 28, 2010
anon - with all due respect, I think Ms. Stojkovic can speak for herself, and your insistence on speaking for her could be perceived as insulting to her.

I asked some serious questions about the SW6 plan, specifically about the fact that the plan's financial analysis, to the extent that it contains one, is based on the assumption that property appraised at over $50 million can be bought for $16.3 million. Since SW6 was developed by Ms. Stojkovic she is the only person who can really explain it.

Ms. Stojkovic - I look forward to your response. An honest and open discussion about SW6 is long overdue and something I would expect you to welcome. If it is the magic bullet you have presented it as then surely it can easily withstand a little scrutiny.

The fourth ward deserves a park and it deserves to know whether or not SW6 is a serious and realistic attempt at achieving one.
HarrisonCtGirl
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October 28, 2010
Sorry but you really can't re-write history.

Dawn Zimmer was on the board of the original SW Parks Coalition, worked hard to get it up and running, did the fund raising, she spoke in front of City Council many times, she even went to court and stopped the Roberts park on top of a parking garage project. That is why we voted for her as City Council and then Mayor.

I said before Sara Stojkovic and her uptown Hoboken SouthWest Parks Coalition,Inc. is little more than a extention of Beth Mason's endless war on Dawn Zimmer.

Now Stojkovic and Mason want to try to use for

Tim Occhipinti so Mason will have him for a majority on the City Council.

Sara has paid for a $1500 Holloween party for the Occhipinti camapaign and I would guess that Sara listed on his website as an administator is also her.

Hoboken needs a decent park and we know and trust

Mayor Zimmer and her Team to get it for us.

anony_mous
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October 28, 2010
I come back here to find that partisans of the mayor and her appointed replacement on the city council out in force attacking Ms Stojkovic because she had the guts to call them out on their inaction. I did a little research and found that indeed Hoboken had been approved for a Hudson County open space grant and it was rescinded because the city had not done appraisals for the properties in the area. (http://www.hudsoncountynj.org/Data/Sites/1/dept/planning/docs/HCPB/HCPB_6-25-08.TXT) It was the city's job to do this. Why wasn't it done? And why didn't Ms Zimmer go to bat for her own ward at the county level to save the grant? Inaction is too kind a word. Stojkovic is a volunteer and an advocate, not a public elected official. When she ran for office, Ms Zimmer put on her resume that she was a member of the SW Parks group, but once she was elected she did nothing to help them and hung them out to dry. I don't know the inside dynamic here, but it looks to me like Zimmer used this volunteer group. I can't blame Stojkovic for being angry about that, and the 4th Ward still has no park.
HarrisonCtGirl
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October 27, 2010
The SouthWest Parks Coalition no longer exists.

Sara Stojkovic moved uptown and started an new group The Hoboken SouthWest Parks Coalition. Inc. is a new organization that she could contol and work to advance Beth Mason's career restocked with Beth Mason's people.

Many of us in the 4th Ward keept silent hoping that they would advance a park. What happened is the intense hatred by Mason's people of Dawn Zimmer turn most of us off and we walked away.

Now Sara is still working for Beth Mason and against Dawn Zimmer by making large contributions and working on Tim Occhipint's campaign.

I will but my trust in Dawn Zimmer, Mike Lenz, David Mellow from here in the 4Th Ward and Carol marsh and Ravi Bahala as our best chance at getting our park.

DancingRudy
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October 27, 2010
I'm not sure what "lies" you are referring to that I've been "called out" on Bart - maybe you can help refresh my memory.

And perhaps you can explain how Ms. Stojkovic is planning to purchase $50 million worth of property for $16.3 million. The SW6 plan is premised on that assumption so understanding her analysis is essential to evaluating whether SW6 is a plan or a political ploy.

Asking for truth and transparency is not bullying or harassment. Calling it that is childish, silly and a bit patronizing to Ms. Stojkovic who I'm sure is capable of answering a few straightforward questions honestly and forthrightly.
BokenBart
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October 27, 2010
DancingRudy was caught in several lies and was called out on them. Ms. Stojkovic has no obligation to respond to DancingRudy's harassment.

This is a pattern of Zimmer's hard-core supporters. If your not with them, they are against you behind a thousand screen names with slurs, slams and slander.

Ms. Stojkovic, thank you for your volunteer service to the City of Hoboken. Don't let the bullies get to you. Their day of reckoning is coming sooner than they know.
DancingRudy
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October 27, 2010
Ms. Sojkovic - I rechecked SW6 and these are your cost estimates:

"$16,300,000 is the estimated cost to acquire and clear the land for parkspace. Park amenities and landscaping are additional costs."

Can you explain the process that was followed to reach this conclusion and huge discrepency between your estimates and the real world?

The residents of the 4th ward will only get a park through a serious fiscally honest process. The use of unrealistic "wishful thinking" numbers is counterproductive and will hinder, not help the process of obtaining the park.
DancingRudy
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October 27, 2010
Ms. Stojkovic - I asked why you pose as an issue advocate while failing to disclose your political activity. Your answer was that I'm not credible because you don't like my name. How about a real answer? Maybe I can help.

Either you think your political activities are somehow not relevent (self serving explanation many would disagree with but I won't judge) or you think that your credibility would be jeopardized if people knew about who you really were so you're intentionally trying to hide it. Which one is it?

As for SW6, my recollection is that it contained a document estimating that the cost of aquiring 6 acres and building the park would be around $16 million, understating the actual cost by maybe $40 million according to the appraisals done by the City. Those appraisals according to statements made by City Councilmembers put the aquisition costs alone at over $50 million. Even if those appraisals are inflated, the SW6 number appears to be patently absurd.

Is my memory correct? If I'm mistaken, what were the cost estimates contained in SW6? Also was SW6 an eminent domain aquisition plan or a redevelopment plan? The document itself doesn't say but which route is it that you personally prefer and how can the "plan" guide our actions if it doesn't even choose an actual legal process to proceed with?
HobokenD
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October 27, 2010
Sara please list the funding sources and how much you had secured from each of them.

Also please list the steps you have taken to reroute paterson.

The council you had worked with was the same council that promised parks... and didn't zone them into the master plan. They promised pools... but never required the developers to build them.

They promised flood relief... but agreed to a pump system we could afford and wouldn't move forward with. They promised jobs and raises to the people they knew ... and ... well that one they delivered on.

Sara the council we have now has commissioned a study to redevelop the SW. It may not feel as good as a press conference or as warm and fuzzy as a glossy but it's real and will yield real results, one way or another.

Glossys are nice but they are not plans. If you can list the funding sources and amounts secured and if it's anywhere near what the SW6 idea would take to implement I'll happily apologize.
SaraStojkovic
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October 27, 2010
Nothing credible can come from someone who hides behind the name DancingRudy. Just smear tactics, lies, and obstruction to a SW park.

HobokenD,

SW6 is more than a glossy handout your received at a council meeting. It is a 60-page plan. It includes funding sources. HSPC worked with the city council and held three public meetings to cover all issues in the 60-page plan. The meetings were heavily advertised, it would have been nice if you had attended them.
DancingRudy
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October 27, 2010
Ms. Stokovitz - attempting to "out" people on blogs is petty and stupid, and almost always, as in this case, wrong.

As for your role in various campaigns - your reference to ELECs is disingenuous since there are many ways to support campaigns without making financial contributions and your participation as a volunteer for both Cammarano and Occhipinti is well known, your assistance to Campos a bit less so but based on statements reportedly made by Campos himself.

It is nothing to be ashamed of - you have the right to support whoever you want.

What you don't have the right to do is to mislead people about the extent of your political involvement while masquerading as an issue advocate. There are many people who live in the neighborhood who genuinely want a park and deserve better than being exploited for political purposes by politicos pretending to be political activists,

People interested in the Southwest Park, particularly those who actually live in the 4th Ward, are entitled to know whether you are on an altruistic mission to build a park on the other side of town from where you live, or whether there are other less noble considerations at play. If you have, as many say personal animus toward the Mayor - say so. If you have political affiliations in past or present elections - state honestly what they are.

Then present your views as convincingly as you can in an honest and transparent way. And if you are truly interested in making that park happen step back and reflect on whether you have helped or hindered the process with your political activity.

HobokenD
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October 27, 2010
Sara the SW6 brochure was never a plan. A plan has defined steps to achieving a goal. When this glossy was being passed out at a council meeting so long ago I asked the gentlemen passing it out how SW6 "plans" to move a county road. He replied we'll get to that later. Neither he nor you ever did.

Seems to me if your idea is to have a contiguous park and you need to move a road to do that not having a plan to move it show me how serious you are.

And I'm not even getting to the lack of funding for this. Have you secured, or even identified funding sources, for even a fraction of the tens of millions of dollars of activity this glossy suggested?

As for the Open Space Fund, we should thank our lucky stars that Dawn Zimmer and Peter Cunningham were on the council to fix the Campos amendment. Campos would have allowed Dave Roberts, who was already running over budget by 26 million dollars, to loot the fund to pay existing operating expenses. Today the fund would be empty if Campos and the people who supported him had prevailed, thankfully the community rejected them.
anony_mous
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October 27, 2010
This is a very well written letter and what the writer says about the south west park plans rings true. I recall this group had been approved for a county grant to buy land. What happened with that? She is right that all the park money is going uptown.
SaraStojkovic
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October 26, 2010
DancingRudy,

As the Mayor's husband, you are well aware that I am on both Dawn's & Beth's elec reports for $2600 each.

I am not on Campos' or Cammarano's elec reports because I never worked for them.

Covert operations from June 2007 to November 2007? No. I was too busy working on SW6, A Greener, Greater Hoboken.

I am very proud of the work the HSPC board members put into the wonderful SW6 plan. Too bad you are too busy spreading lies instead of supporting SW6, the only effort done on the SW park.