What will local officials do to stave off displacement?
May 19, 2013 | 2546 views | 1 1 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Dear Editor:

When I first moved to Hoboken, the generally accepted method of getting rid of lower income people was arson. The problem was, that in the process, you ruined buildings, made a lot of bad publicity and had to

bury the dead. Now we have the neutron bomb approach. Get rid of the people without damaging the property. It's called a revaluation, and it's perfectly legal. In fact, it's required by law. And like most laws, it was not written by or for the working or middle classes.

The effect of a revaluation is to transfer costs from those who recently purchased property at inflated rates to those who have been here for a longer time. That's what it is, a simple transfer of money from one

segment of the population to another. For the most part, from those who have less to those who have more. Unless something is done to mitigate those effects.

A rhetorical question, because everyone knew it was a pack of lies:

Why didn't all the new ratables bring down our taxes as advertised? Instead, rates went up dramatically, and they will continue to rise as more and more stress is placed on an aging, outdated infrastructure. Additionally, the county will be raising Hoboken's share of it's budget because of all the new development. This question is relevant because a lot of the people clamoring for a reval are the ones living in the newer developments.

One way to prevent displacement of long time residents would be to make it so that property taxes can't exceed more than a certain percentage of a persons income. This would not only benefit long time residents, including tenants in smaller buildings, but also those who lost income in the last recession. If property tax can be written off against income tax, then let those with higher incomes have more of a write off.

Another way would be to have taxes tied to the inflation index. Perhaps the same index that social security is tied to, and have the market rate kick in only when a house is sold. This would be the equivalent of vacancy decontrol.

I would like to hear what other people's ideas to prevent massive displacement of what remains of Hoboken's middle and working class. This is a political issue, and we need to counteract the money fortified interests of the wealthy elite. We need to make sure that those of us who have made a long term commitment to this town are not forced from our homes.

Are there any politicians who represent our interests and what they are going to do to see to it that we are not displaced? I don't know exactly how many people there are in my situation, but it's enough to swing an election, and we're very motivated.

Greg Ribot

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May 19, 2013
Mr. Ribot,

Have you considered joining forces with Hoboken Fair Housing Assn? They are working to maintain rent control policies and keep Hoboken affordable for all. As to your belief that there are enough people in the same situation to swing an election - you are correct. That's why in November's election, Hoboken Public Question #2 (the question that asked voters if they wanted to keep rent control) won by over 500 votes. But it didn't matter. The legitimate votes of 16,644 residents was thrown out by a judge who bought the false evidence that the deep-pocketed MSTA presented. When you can't win fair-and-square, big development money just buys the laws they need.