Tag Archives: Hoboken Fair Rents

I Only Wanna Laugh

So now it’s Wednesday and here in Hoboken some of us are still digging out of our apartments, or throwing possessions away since they were damaged by flooding. Outside it’s been relatively dry, inside it is soggy and wet mostly. And on top of all that, it is snowing. Quite hard, white out conditions and it’s sticking. We can’t see Manhattan or Jersey City or Union City from our windows. Earlier today it was snowing so hard that we could barely see the buildings behind us. So needless to say, staying in is the way to go tonight, no going out for us.

I heard from Chaz that it’s supposed to go up to 61° on Sunday so I guess that could all be attributed to climate change, the bugaboo that got nary a mention during the debates. It was a subject of derision from Willard Mitt Romney during the Republican National Convention, raising guffaws and chortles as their nominee cracked wise about how President Obama pledged to try to stop the ocean rising (a result of melting ice caps), whereas the GOP nominee pledged to help the American people instead, because as you know those are two mutually exclusive- American people are not affected by rising oceans.

Yesterday was quite an experience. As with the past week it was spent entirely in Hoboken. Claire was in town clearing out her things in the basement wearing a hazmat suit, Wellingtons and industrial gloves. She was a bit despondent throwing her things out, finding coins that belonged to her grandfather which luckily for her she did not have to throw out. Still it was a shock for her. The sidewalk in front of the building filled with debris and trash, the sidewalks in front of most every building looking like the aftermath of a war.

Bill was up and out early in the morning. It makes for an easier commute. With the Path trains out of service from Hoboken, by the time the bus gets near the halfway point on 5th Street it is packed, standing room only. Bill made sure he voted yesterday morning before heading into Manhattan and found a line at 6:00 AM and one of the two voting machines out of service. Still he voted after about a 20 minute wait which wasn’t so bad compared to other people in certain states.

A few hours later it was my turn. A mere 10 minute wait and both machines operating. The poll workers were trying to communicate with whoever was in charge about some issues that I was not privy to. Of course I voted for Obama, straight up Democratic ticket. Also on the ballot was the public question regarding rent control in Hoboken. I of course voted ‘No’ which was the way to go since the oh so shady Mile Square Taxpayers Association once again inserted confusion in the question which last time forced people to vote against their best interest.

Because a straightforward question would have ensured a swift defeat, if you were for rent control you had to vote no. I gleefully voted no, and I encouraged other voters and Hoboken residents to do the same. I participated in the benefit at Maxwells and also posted fliers and stickers throughout town. And I am happy to report that rent control still stands. They were able to gut rent control in a few other Hudson County towns and cities but Hoboken mobilized and we successfully pushed them back to the slime hole from whence they came.

It was a great day all around, a fantastic speech by the President of the United States. I couldn’t watch any reports or news all day, not turning it on until Bill got home. It was nerve wracking but with a happy ending, both for the United States but also for Hoboken. And I am happy to have participated in the election, fighting the good fight.

People have the power.

07 – People Have The Power


I Me Mine

Friday in Hoboken. The streets are clearing out, plenty of parking once again. And hardly any money to be made busking. I should have known but still I enjoyed myself and came home with fifty cents more than I did when I left earlier. A meager profit for this meager prophet. Still it was somewhat productive. I try to learn a new song every now and then and last night I taught myself Blondie, Heart of Glass. Of course not a synthesizer in sight and none of Clem Burke’s excellent drumming. Just me on my trusty Fender F-210 acoustic guitar.

There was hardly anyone around on the riverside promenade. My trusty toddlers with their guardians made their way past me and of course they jumped up and down and clapped their hands as I played the Modern Lovers, Roadrunner. Tariq was nowhere around though his woman Francine walked by and I chatted with her for a few minutes. She left and a little while later I started to get my stuff together as Tariq walked up. I was playing for two hours and sweating quite a bit. Tariq hit me up for a smoke and once he got his another friend of his showed up and asked me for a smoke, offering me a swig from his bottle.

I declined and made my way home after showing Tariq the chords to Heart of Glass which I am certain he has forgotten by now, instead focusing on whatever everyone else plays when busking. That’s a reason why I don’t play with other buskers generally. I will not lay Sweet Child of Mine by the ultra-horrible Guns and Roses. Oddly enough, other buskers don’t play the Beatles at least not while I am around. I guess I don’t play well with others.

Last night I attended a meeting of Hoboken Fair Housing Association. The local developers are trying to get rid of rent control here in Hoboken like they’ve done in a few other towns. Hoboken being the jewel in the crown for New Jersey is now in the crosshairs. Last year a provision was on the ballot in November with a slippery wording included at the last minute, changing that if you were for rent control you should vote NO. So a lot of people voted YES and hobbled the rent control laws inadvertently. I would have been involved anyway, and a friend of my brother Frank is involved and has gotten me involved as well.

There were a few people from the past at the meeting, some people I had seen around town for years, others I knew like Fred and Lois. They made an appearance before going out for an anniversary dinner. Things are planned, things need to be done. I was reminded by one of the speakers that there are more tenants in Hoboken than there are landlords. If people can be reminded of this as well there might be a chance that rent control could be stabilized.

Unfortunately I also learned that no one on the city council is a renter, they’re all property owners so we can’t really expect much help besides empty words from our local government. Half the council seems sympathetic to the rent control cause and the other half sides with the developers. I remember Jim Mastro organized a protest in the 1980’s against overdevelopment of the waterfront.

I went with some Maxwells people including Julio, who out of the Maxwells people was the only one born and raised in Hoboken. The protest march started at 14th & Washington Streets and at every cross street we would stop as a bell tolled and we decried the death of the waterfront. As we got closer to midtown Hoboken we passed a stronghold for the then mayor, Steve Capiello. They recognized Julio and gave him shit for marching with us, these interlopers. How could Julio betray them in such a way?

You’d think with the internets it would be easier to get people involved, since in the 1980’s it was mainly through fliers and word of mouth. There were I guess maybe 30 people last night. Word is getting out, some people planning on guerilla tactics on putting up fliers to educate people. Others making plans for more civilized things. Less than three months to go. Baby steps last night, hopefully we will be walking fully in a week or two with more people!

07 Maybe Tomorrow