Rent control cliffhanger
Close vote likely to end up in court
by Dean DeChiaro
Reporter staff writer
Nov 10, 2013 | 2862 views | 2 2 comments | 74 74 recommendations | email to a friend | print
GETTING OUT THE VOTE – Members of the Hoboken Fair Housing Association (HFHA) manned almost every polling station in town on Election Day in an effort to convince voters to uphold the city’s current rent control laws. As of Friday, it seems as though their efforts were not in vain.
GETTING OUT THE VOTE – Members of the Hoboken Fair Housing Association (HFHA) manned almost every polling station in town on Election Day in an effort to convince voters to uphold the city’s current rent control laws. As of Friday, it seems as though their efforts were not in vain.
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As the provisional ballots were counted on Friday for a close vote about the future of rent control in Hoboken, those on both sides of the issue speculated that the matter may wind up in court, as it did last year.

On Tuesday, residents voted on a measure proposed by a property owner’s group that would take certain apartments off rent control when a current tenant moves out.

Toward the end of last week, the county Board of Elections said the results were 5,047 “No” votes to 4,948 “Yes” votes – a 99 vote difference.

On Friday, the county began tabulating provisional ballots, which are cast when a potential voter is for some reason unable to provide proper identification, prove his or her residency, or when records show that he or she has already voted.

Ultimately, the losing side may contest the results anyway. That is what happened last year when the property owners narrowly lost the same vote.

If the measure is approved, landlords in Hoboken can raise rents as they please when a current tenant moves out. For buildings with five or more units, those units will go back under rent control using the new rent.

Tenants have argued that decontrolling rents would encourage landlords to find ways to push out current tenants, and drastically decrease the housing options for the city’s working class.
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“Obviously I’m suspicious of the vote counts.” – Ron Simoncini
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Property owners and developers have said the city’s existing ordinances must be reformed to reflect a changing market.

The city’s Rent Control Ordinance was adopted in 1973 and limits annual rent increases to a few percent per year. Landlords can apply to the city to get exemptions if they have made significant upgrades to a unit.

This was the second consecutive year that the decontrol referendum appeared on the ballot. It was defeated by 52 votes in 2012, but a group representing landlords and developers went to court and said that some voters displaced by Hurricane Sandy were not given the opportunity to vote on the measure because it did not appear on provisional ballots.

Not over yet?

On Thursday, a representative for the Mile Square Taxpayers Association (MSTA), a group of landlords and developers, said that the group was not ready to concede defeat just yet.

“Obviously I’m suspicious of the vote counts,” said Ron Simoncini, a representative for MSTA. “I have to be suspicious about activity in the clerk’s office and whether everything was counted correctly since the numbers have changed three times already. With the vote this close, anyone in my position would be unable to accept the results.”

But Dan Tumpson, a member of the Hoboken Fair Housing Association, which has fought changes to the rent control ordinance for two years, said that it was time for MSTA to call it quits.

“I can’t predict what’s going to happen, even though I’m obviously happy that it looks like we’re going to win, but I think what’s important is that they’ve lost this election twice now, and I hope they’re getting the message that they’re not making any friends in this town,” he said.

Still, despite Tumpson’s wishes, Simoncini said that he had no problem taking this year’s election results to court the same way he did with last year’s referendum.

“It seems like we can’t help but sue in these situations,” he said. “We’re probably done at the ballot box, but we’ll continue to push this issue. The thing is, if they were to do a recount and all of a sudden we were the winners, I know they’d be suing us.”

Dean DeChiaro may be reached at deand@hudsonreporter.com

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TommyLover
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November 10, 2013
The TENANTS WON. AGAIN. By 122 votes. THANK YOU TO ALL THE VOTERS WHO CAME OUT TO SUPPORT YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS.

The headline here should be: HOBOKEN TO MSTA: DROP DEAD.

“Obviously I’m suspicious of the vote counts,” says the lying slimebucket who represents the NJ Association of Realtors, who backed this campaign. And he should be suspicious. After all msta probably bought hundreds of votes for tens of thousands of dollars and they still lost! Just like last year. However, what he didn't count on, because he has no respect for Hoboken, voting, or democracy, is that Hoboken voters are intelligent and compassionate, and they remember that one of the things they like best about this city is that we are diverse mix of, not just different ethnicities, religions, and political viewpoints, but economic levels, too.

122 votes might not seem like a landslide, but considering the lies, fraud, deceit, and just plain meanness (small-time landlord Kyle Enger riding around on his bike knocking over the belongings of HFHA's street workers - very mature Kyle. Is that the kind of behavior you teach your children? Also, HFHA's campaign manager was knocked to the ground in a run-by. And let's not even discuss the disgraceful behavior of Mama Russo and her sidekick, Matt Callichio) that the tenant's group had to deal with, it IS a landslide.

If the big, bottomless, bulging pockets of the millionaires who backed this referendum want to take it to court - let 'im. They will lose. They haven't got a hairy leg to stand on. What can they say: we lost again and now we're really pissed? MSTA (in actuality, the NJ Association of Realtors AKA Preserve Our Neighborhoods!) spent $80K last year, and probably the same this year (and who knows how much on legal fees) and they want what they have paid for - which is removing a law that is preventing their clients from treating tenants like their own personal ATM machine.

They could just accept that the voters have spoken, be gracious, and move along. But that would require respect and dignity. These people don't have any of those attributes.

If you want to know the truth behind the fraudulent practices of Ron Simoncini, I suggest you google "Ron Simoncini Neptune NJ". You'll get a much fuller picture of what a lying, disrespectful, arrogant piece of garbage this person is.

One last thing: It's obvious this paper is disappointed that rent control is still very much alive and well in Hoboken. It's OBVIOUS. The mis-count was corrected Wednesday morning and the NO's were ahead 99 votes. The provisionals were counted on Fri morning and the lead increased to 122. But this paper is still running, online and in the paper, that it's a "cliffhanger". 122 votes, even 99 votes, is NOT a cliffhanger. Lots of wishful thinking here.

nestor2912
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November 20, 2013
“Obviously I’m suspicious of the vote counts.” – Ron Simoncini

This guy is confused...He must be talking about the results of last year's vote...you know the one before the "do over".