It is happening again as you read this letter. It has already happened several times this year. Maybe you barely noticed or maybe you felt a loss akin to losing a limb or maybe somewhere in between. But the reality is that right now at this moment Hoboken has just lost another valuable and valued member of the community. Ted and Jo's restaurant on 11th Street closed their doors. The reported reason - like so many, many, many other local businesses - is because they received a rent increase that was so large and dramatic that is has driven them out of business. This isn't the first neighborhood restaurant that we've lost to rental increases, and it won't be the last unless the City Council steps in and does something.
I've asked three of our City Council people privately, and now I am asking all of them publicly to consider instituting aggressive plans to protect and grow our local businesses. The first step I've asked for is similar rent controls that residents benefit from. Rent controls for commercial space would help protect our existing businesses from dramatic rent increases that have forced others out to close their doors or move out of town. Rent controls would also make Hoboken a more attractive environment for new businesses who would like to be here for years without fear of being forced out by large rent increases.
We need to do more to protect and grow our locally owned and operated businesses.