Council members: Change needed at HHA
by David Danzig,
Feb 13, 2000 | 396 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sandwiched among the 250 tenants who attended a tenant's meeting at the Hoboken Housing Authority Tuesday night were a handful of city council people who have come down on opposite sides of a lot of city issues recently, but appear to be united in their feeling that the HHA needs a new executive director. City Council President Nellie Moyeno, who attended the meeting but did not speak, later indicated that she thought it was time to replace E. Troy Washington, the current director. "I believe that Mr. Washington may have good intentions, but his approach has not been accepted by the community," she said, "and if the community is not comfortable with having Mr. Washington there, then we have to listen to that. I think that message was conveyed loud and clear at that meeting. Changes have to be made." City Councilmen Tony Soares and Dave Roberts, who are foes of the current mayoral administration, told tenants that they were on their side during the meeting. Soares, Roberts and Moyeno rarely agree on contentious issues before the council, as Moyeno is an ally of the mayor. During the meeting, though, Moyeno did not object when Roberts told the crowd, "as of today you have friends in the four corners of this city. Your problem is my problem. I am going to go over this lease and find out just how appropriate many of these provisions are." Roberts had never attended a Hoboken Housing Authority meeting before. Despite the apparent solidarity, the three council people did not emerge from the meeting holding hands. Moyeno said that she was disappointed that Soares had told the crowd that they should realize that the executive director was appointed by a board of commissioners who were appointed, in turn, by the mayor. "I was saddened by the fact that certain individuals tried to make this into a thing about politics," said Moyeno. "I heard Mr. Soares specifically blame the mayor for these problems. When you have a group of people who have a plight with their rent and their homes, they are going to respond to that kind of thing. I think that we just have to put our egos aside here and do what is best for the residents." After the meeting, Soares defended his words by saying that he believes the root of the problem is that the mayor can appoint some of the commissioners without any input from the tenants. "The mayor is really the one who has let this situation get out of hand," he said. "His record of appointing people to the board has been abysmal. Any effort he makes now to fix it is like a guy who starts a fire and then wants to put it out." However, the mayor's most recent appointment was tenant Arlette Braxton, who was one of those lashing out at the HHA at the meeting.
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