Community: Statement From Mayor Zimmer Regarding Uber and Rideshare Services
“Uber and similar companies offer a valuable transportation option that we want to make available to Hoboken residents and visitors,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “Since April, I have been advocating to our State elected officials to ensure that this transportation option can operate safely and lawfully in our community. I am glad to hear that there is legislation pending before the State Senate and Assembly to address the issue. I urge the legislature to pass S2274/A3586 expeditiously so that we can safely and legally use these services which are so important to our residents. As mayor, I have an obligation to ensure the public safety of our community, and this new legislation addresses my concerns by ensuring that all drivers have safe driving and background records and proper levels of insurance in case of accidents.”
Mayor Zimmer’s letter to State legislators can be found at: www.hobokennj.org/docs/mayor/4-29-14-Letter-Zimmer-Stack-Garcia-Mukherji.pdf
The legislation introduced to address this issue can be found at: www.njleg.state.nj.us/2014/Bills/S2500/2274_I1.HTM
UberX and similar rideshare services in New Jersey use private vehicles for a commercial purpose but without a commercial license, which is against NJ Motor Vehicle Code Title 39 and Title 48 of the Revised Statutes. This is an issue that applies to these services across the entire State of New Jersey and is not specific to Hoboken.
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It’s late August in Hoboken meaning it’s time for yet another hot issue to strike. While many people are on vacation the 21st century has bumped square into Hoboken’s regulated cab service squaring up against car sharing innovators.
Uber, a car service using the internet to match riders and drivers is stated as present in Hoboken, doing business and winning hearts and minds over the traditional regulated cab industry.
One is beloved and the other is not feeling the love. A NJ.com story showed lots of controversy
and much confusion on the matter yesterday.
Apparently, state law has not caught up with the new car sharing innovation and there’s some confusion about what is allowed within Hoboken on local destinations and beyond.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer acted on the issue back in April asking state officials to look into the matter and act to update the laws to fully resolve the issue of who can rideshare in New Jersey. A letter to State Senator Brian Stack and the two Assemblyman requested updated transportation legislation to tackle the problem.
It’s unclear currently what the trend is in New Jersey to level the playing field between a new, aggressive technology based car sharing firm and the traditional cab services who pay the City of Hoboken for the right to operate cabs in town and points beyond.
One thing is certain. In Hoboken, there’s always hot issues and the taxi question is about to get red hot.
Hoboken über alles.
|The UBER car sharing service is making waves in Hoboken.
Statewide laws however have not addressed the concept and regulations.
To the surprise of no Hoboken political observers, the former head of the Hoboken Housing Authority, Carmelo Garcia is pointing fingers at everyone and everything but himself for the mounting problems uncovered in the agency since his contract’s termination earlier this month.
The latest scathing assessment came last week when the federal agency, Housing & Urban Development offered its report after a sample review of contracts under the former Executive Director.
On Thursday, the federal office overseeing the HHA, HUD Newark dropped its bomb with a review of eight contracts in a report made public late last week. Coming behind the July audit findings published on MSV
, the massive problems of the agency reveal a consistent pattern of mismanagement, incompetence, poorly led, trained and directed staff with =&0=&
In the weekend paper, Carmelo Garcia facing the potential of exposure on every front sent an email pointing the finger at everyone excluding himself claiming that most of the problems were due to hurricanes and the HHA board’s “obstructionism for the last two years” which “created these situations.”
Neither the independently assessed audit firm results released in July nor the HUD Newark report absolved Carmelo Garcia or found acceptable his claim using either Hurricane Irene or Hurricane Sandy for their conclusions saying he had clearly acted beyond the scope of procurement rules even taking into account any related emergencies.
Garcia in addition to unilaterally extending and procuring services without following federally mandated procurement law compounded concerns earlier this year when MSV exclusively reported in addition to his unilateral procurement actions, he had taken thousands of dollars for his political committee last March
from HHA vendors with no contracts.
Also blaming the disaster of HHA recordkeeping on the HHA board of commissioners, Garcia is silent to his prior insistence of total control of all HHA employees and “sole appointing authority” for contracts. =&1=&, an aspect Garcia was insistent remain under his sole control. The HHA board’s powers under the controversial five year contract Garcia held permitted them only an up or down vote on contracts.
The finger was also pointed by Garcia to his own handpicked staff. In agency meetings earlier this year the former HHA Executive Director had begun asking his staff and Chief Financial Officer to answer a series of increasingly uncomfortable questions surrounding contracts, or the lack thereof and related operational matters. Those questions were mostly raised by HHA commissioner Dana Wefer who would be elected chair in the summer in a 5-2 vote.
To some observers, Garcia who always had answers if not plausible ones at the ready, resorting to calling on others was a sign of possible trouble. Garcia in his email attempted to defend missing records pointing to flooding as the reason. A failed software system was never brought back online forcing HHA staff to do everything manually.
In addition, another Garcia defense came from a familiar place. A thrice rejected HHA commissioner candidate Barbara Reyes, emailed a statement to the Hudson Reporter claiming federal ‘Sequestration’ cost the HHA “25-30 percent less monies.” It’s unclear why Garcia supporter Reyes emailed the Hudson Reporter making such a claim. In 2013, the reform majority on the City Council rejected Reyes’ approval to a seat on the seven member HHA Board of Commissioners on three separate occasions on a party line vote.
The termination of Garcia’s contract earlier this month ends the major reservations by the public and Hoboken officials on the controversial proposed redevelopment in the HHA called Vision 20/20. The undocumented plan publicly appeared as a brochure several years ago but Garcia pushed it repeatedly to anyone who would listen and demanded time to present the glossy material in the Hoboken City Council. The request was repeatedly denied by former Council President Peter Cunningham.
The plan itself was never presented in any coherent legal form or Master Plan and saw strong skepticism by Mayor Zimmer, a majority of the Hoboken City Council and the public. The Old Guard council minority repeatedly insisted it be approved with no Master Plan or any legal documents reviewed with =&2=& being the most vocal in demanding it be approved anyway.
Old Guard council frustrations in repeated foiled attempts to see Vision 20/20 approved last year led to ugly charges of racism on several occasions with reference to reform council members being like the Ku Klux Klan but the council majority refused to yield to the intimidation and rabid complaints of Carmelo Garcia’s spokespeople in the HHA dubbed Carmelitos.
HHA Chair Dana Wefer recently spoke of using millions in available grants in the range of six million dollars to improve the existing buildings in the HHA impacting the most agency residents. After those improvements, Wefer has called for further action with replacing existing HHA buildings a priority.
|Former contracted head of the HHA, Carmelo Garcia surprised no one emailing a response to the scathing indictment on his running the agency by the federal agency charged with oversight, HUD and blaming everyone except himself.
Known as “The Wire” in the NJ Assembly for his taping others, Mister Carmelo’s rumored library collection may
be of interest to federal investigators. Or perhaps that’s the hope to escape further trouble.
=&3=& The Old Guard council’s repeated attempts to protect Carmelo Garcia’s control over the HHA and maintain a pliant HHA board failed leading to a 2014 board led by HHA commissioner Dana Wefer acting with fiduciary oversight. The decisive changes came after the November 2013 election where Reform swept both the mayor’s chair and three at-large council seats.
The recent sequence of events exposing major issues in the HHA puts Carmelo Garcia’s civil lawsuits in jeopardy. His first “ethnic cleansing” lawsuit was thrown out of Hudson County Superior Court last January. His second filing lacking the bizarre offensive claim was mostly thrown out of court as well. Any third attempt will be seriously weakened with the reports independent of the HHA board pointing to his culpability.
MSV’s first ever three siren alert and exclusive report Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia was taking thousands of dollars from uncontracted HHA vendors last May.
From the desk of Hoboken Housing Authority Chair Dana Wefer:
Attached please find HUD’s letter to the HHA concerning the procurement review they conducted the week of July 28th. Attached and below is my statement on the letter.
And now… more words descending from Counte$$ Beth Mason:
People of Hoboken, I come bearing greetings to you from me, myself, and I: Counte$$ Beth Mason, the high holy triumvirate trinity of the Mile Square!
As you my unwilling subjects are bound by law, custom and my SLAPP suits know, I am currently once again in ascendency and you who I reign over with benevolence are under my protection from the K-9 police dogs unleashed by the heinous Mayor Zimmer.
While the illegitimate mayor fraudulently holds the second floor chair at City Hall without my expressed authorization, many are confused with her insistence on balanced budgets, lower taxes, new and refurbished parks and stealing my money to stop your flooding.
What most do not know is she is secretly training a bevy of new Zimmerists dogs to attack Hoboken residents with further “ethnic cleansing” upon my great city. (I paid every goon around, it’s mine.)
Even as I have mustered my minions to once and forever destroy that big toothed horse who has continually attempted to liberate my plantation, the Zimmerists and their mindless zombies dare to oppose me. (Whatever you do don’t read any of that stuff on hobokenhorse.com. It’s really bad and will give you hives and ebola. If you heard this in my earlier missal, that stuff is all true.)
At the regular scheduled Hoboken Housing Authority meeting held at City Hall last Thursday, a determination to restart the RFP process replacing existing counsel Charles Dalian will temporarily allow him to remain as a holdover.
The counsel position had been one of the foremost contentious issues going back two HHA chairs (two years) as the board rejected former HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia’s insistence they repeatedly vote to approve his selection of Charles Daglian. The HHA ED is a contracted position serving at the pleasure of the board.
Mr. Garcia attempted to install Daglian as official HHA counsel more than six times. Depending on how you count, a seventh attempt failed due to a lack of quorum when several HHA commissioners were out of town.
In the end, the stalemate between Garcia and a HHA board which refused to rubber-stamp his selection maintained the status quo as the former HHA Executive Director kept Daglian was carried in holdover status far longer than a one year contract approval.
The latest RFP process was called “flawed” by Chair Dana Wefer for numerous reasons. Among them, one firm on the last RFP list was declared “a concern” when Wefer discovered the application came via Carmelo Garcia Assembly aide Chris Campos’ fax number.
Garcia had consistently demanded under his tenure he be “the sole appointing authority” on all contracts and employee matters. Some legal observers have stated this authority, one of many generous terms installed in Carmelo Garcia’s controversial contract is not legal.
The Hudson County View recorded this video at last Thursday’s meeting and filed this report.
It’s summer, entering late August and for Hoboken residents it’s a time of vacation, enjoying the great weather or merely spending quality time along the Mile Square’s quaint river view promenade looking out on the Big City.
Then there’s Beth Mason or rather her coterie of political operatives led by a fishy stank bottom feeder who pens most of her rancid “stuff” as here. It’s on the whole regurgitated attacks designed for distraction mixed with cynical HHA exploitation. Why stop with the overwhelming truth in the HHA beginning to emerge? The Masonista creed is almost always to reach for the wallet and double down. Even if the Mason political operatives can’t shoot straight, the Mason family checkbook is seen as the easy out, ace in the hole equalizer. (They just can’t seem to hit a horse inside of a barn.)