Roberts was fine at first, but then….

Dear Editor,
Mr. Skalski’s recent letter echoed many thoughts of mine. I have a few further comments.
In regard to Mayor Roberts’ legacy, arguably his administration’s biggest accomplishment may have been the 2002-2003 Master Plan process. This effort represented Hoboken’s finest hour in regard to a broad segment of the community collaborating to produce a far-reaching vision of the city’s future. This was no small accomplishment for a town that has long been a bastion of disagreement and chaos regarding any land use-related issue.
Other accomplishments in the last eight years include the bailout of the city’s hospital, rebuilding of the Hoboken Terminal Clocktower, the general upgrade to the city’s appearance (aided by an unprecedented real estate boom) and a return to “normalcy” after the divisive, confrontational years under Russo where one was either “in” or “out.”
I thank Mayor Roberts for renewing my appointments to the Planning Board and eventually “promoting” me to full commissioner. Also on a personal note, I always enjoyed our impromptu chats on the street where David would show his good natured and humorous side, part of what I fondly associated with “old” Hoboken. Going back to his many years as councilman, Roberts was often a team player who selflessly showed his support and sympathy for the individual and community at large.
Unfortunately, that said, the failures of the current administration are such that I ultimately have to recommend that Mayor Roberts follow his original path and support new leadership for his office.
After almost five years, the Master Plan process was never completed in that our Zoning Ordinance was never updated allowing the many recommendation and concepts be defined and clarified. This has resulted in a continued stampede of applications before the Zoning Board, all of which, no matter how absurd, claim to be in compliance with the Master Plan.
This has created a disastrous process unfair to the applicants, Zoning officials and community alike while severely diluting the meaning of and wasting the hard work and money spent on the Master Plan.
The Administration’s role in the City’s business failings cannot be overemphasized. While the Mayor and his financial team deserve the criticism they have been getting, the City Council Finance Committee and City Council have also been not treating their responsibilities seriously for far too long.
Lastly, Finance Committee chair Michael Russo’s claim of ignorance reminded me of his dad’s claim when Anthony was head of the Council’s Finance Committee in the early 1990’s. Interestingly, after being elected mayor, Anthony instituted a massive tax increase, blaming it on a budget deficit he claimed to not have known about. When will this nonsense stop?
It’s time for the Mayor to stop the blame game and the promotional flyers (a page out of the Anthony Russo PR book), put our “house” in order, then let someone else take over.

Hank Forrest

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