I write to update you on a couple updates in our community over the last few weeks.
Upgrades to Madison Street Park
As a part of my commitment to upgrading and improving our parks and open space, I wanted to let you know that we are seeking input from the public for the renovation of Madison Street Park. The City will be redesigning, renovating, and upgrading the park equipment and make better use of the park space.
Let us know what you think – fill out the survey and come to the community meeting we are holding tonight from 7-9 pm at the Multi-Service Center (124 Grand Street) for the park project. There will be an additional public hearing on February 15 from 7-9 pm at the Multi-Service Center as well if you can’t make tonight.
Irresponsible Attempt to Bring Back Run-off Elections
Last week, I vetoed an irresponsible ordinance passed by the City Council for a referendum to reinstate run-off elections in Hoboken in December. I would encourage you to review the full text of my veto statement by clicking here (scroll to page 4).
As you may know, illegal vote buying has unfortunately played an outsized role in our local elections, and has even been the decisive factor in our municipal elections. Re-instituting a runoff election, which Hoboken voters already chose to do away with by a decisive margin in 2012, will unfortunately lead to a larger role for those illegal vote by mail ballots that are bought and paid for in virtually all municipal elections.
Let me be clear – vote buying is a threat to our democratic elections in Hoboken. The lower turnout runoff election allows illegally purchased vote by mails to influence the final result even more during the runoff because less voters will go to the polls. This is a fact that every single Councilmember knows very well.
Most recently, I have learned that certain City Councilmembers will attempt next week, at their meeting on February 7th, to pass a resolution overriding this veto. This is a vote I will be watching very closely. There are several Ward Council Members who supported placing it on the ballot and eliminating the runoff in 2012.
There are other Council Members who have spoken vociferously about the massive vote-buying that plagues our local elections, yet somehow fail to understand how acute this problem becomes in a low-turn out runoff elections. These Council Members claim to be supporters of good government and honest elections.
But, as we know, actions speak louder than words, and their votes on this resolution will be a true test of character. I strongly encourage you to observe carefully if your Councilmember’s vote matches his or her claim of representing good government.
Thank you and I look forward to staying in touch.
Ravi S. Bhalla