Monday, January 15, 2018

NJ Transit Suspends Vote on Union Dry Dock - Hoboken Wins Another Round

Mayor Ravi Bhalla with Council President Ruben Ramos
and 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher post meeting press conference.


Mayor Bhalla issued a follow up statement via the City of Hoboken website...

“This is a huge step forward and a continuation of Hoboken’s decades-long efforts to transform our industrial waterfront into public open space,” said Mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla. “Our waterfront is an asset not just to our community, but the entire state, and I will fight tooth and nail to preserve the former Union Dry Dock property as open space. We value NY Waterway and their role in our regional transportation system, and I want to work with them and all stakeholders to find a comprehensive solution that will benefit our entire region. I thank Governor-elect Murphy, Senators Booker and Menendez, Senator Stack, Assemblywoman Chaparro, Assemblyman Mukherji, the Hoboken City Council, and all of the activists and residents who raised their voices and made a difference.”

Original Post:

About 80-100 residents from Hoboken went to NJ Transit HQ in Newark this morning to speak out against the NJ Transit attempt to purchase the Union Dry Dock site. A unified coalition led by Mayor Bhalla, Tiffanie Fisher, Ruben Ramos, Jen Giattino and Jim Doyle from the City Council plus Hoboken residents packed the meeting room.

Before the meeting began an NJ Transit official informed the crowd that the vote for Union Dry Dock was suspended for. the  agenda which prompted loud applause from the Hoboken residents. Heard in the crowd was the chant of "Viva la Resistance"; I wonder which booming baritone shouted that phrase? Lol

Hoboken has won another round but much work remains. In the post meeting press conference Mayor Ravi Bhalla stated that the City of Hoboken has an appraiser and is working to make a direct offer to NY Waterway in the next few weeks. He added he will need the support of the City Council to approve such an offer and that eminent domain should only be used as a last resort. He also added that Hoboken is not against NY Waterway and that the City of Hoboken is willing to work with them to pursue other alternatives.

Two videos are included from the event below....

Mayor Ravi Bhalla speaks out at NJ Transit meeting regarding Union Dry Dock purchase: 

Mayor Ravi Bhalla speaks at Press Conference after NJ Transit meeting regarding Union Dry Dock purchase along with Ruben Ramos and Tiffanie Fisher:

Here are some more photos from the meeting:  

About 80-100 Hoboken residents were ready to voice their concerns at NJ Headquarters Newark but
NJ Transit blinked and pulled the purchase of UDD off the agenda once again. 

Councilman Jim Doyle, Ruben Ramos, Mayor Ravi Bhalla and Jen Giattino from left to right
They were united in the fight against NJ Transit purchasing Union Dry Dock.
Also in attendance were Tiffanie Fisher and Venessa Falco from the Hoboken City Council and former
Councilman Dave Mello who has been quite active since finishing up his second term. 

Mayor Ravi Bhalla rides with residents to Newark on MLK day in a sign of true grass roots leadership
and professional advocacy for Hoboken regarding Union Dry Dock. 
Editor's Comment:

As a grassroots activist and watchdog I must say that Mayor Ravi Bhalla had a very good day and so did Hoboken even more importantly. Ravi showed media savvy and leadership by being the voice for Hoboken to fight for our quality of life and preservation of our waterfront. As Mayor Ravi does not have full control of the situation but he is showing that the Union Dry Dock is truly a high priority issue for him and this is not just to score political points. As the writer of a blog called the Hoboken Resistance it is Ravi that I felt joined the cause and has resisted a tone deaf agency like NJ Transit and has used many of the assets at his disposal to resist the purchase of Union Dry Dock to date. Those assets include fellow Council members including Council President Ruben Ramos who spoke with Ravi and mentioned that 30 years ago there was limited access to the Hoboken Waterfront and that UDD represents the last 10%. Additionally Ravi showed true collaboration with 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher with a heartfelt thanks for her effort in organizing the many residents that showed up in force to send NJ Transit a message that Hoboken will not go quietly without a fight. Tiffanie in her remarks was modest and said that it was the citizens of Hoboken who made this happen by showing up in so many numbers.

There is no guarantee that this goodwill will continue but today was a sign that Ravi is perhaps willing to move beyond a contentious election and realize that the City Council will likely work with him on issues like this.