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City Council President Jen Giattino’s remarks

Remarks by City Council President Jen Giattino as prepared for delivery.

City Council President Jen Giattino with Reform supporter Nial at her mayoral kickoff event at Moran’s.
Thank you all for being here tonight. My name is Jen Giattino and I am honored to be
running for mayor of Hoboken.


I am running for mayor because I love Hoboken. I am all about Hoboken and the people of
Hoboken – newcomers, oldcomers and people who’ve been here for generations. I will be mayor
for everyone. People of all colors and ages. People of every faith or no faith, people of ample
means or limited means, people of all sexual preferences, all political parties, and everybody else.
Mostly I just see people as people and our amazing diversity is one of the reasons that I love
Hoboken.


I am running for mayor of Hoboken to address the needs of the people in our community,
to better manage our growth and to enhance our urban village that we all call home. I do not think
of being mayor of Hoboken as a stepping stone to anything else. Hoboken needs a mayor who will
spend every day focused on making Hoboken the best place it can be.


When it comes to “quality of life,” I walk Hoboken daily and I will not stop when I am
mayor. I understand and relate with the problems and concerns of our residents. When I see water
seeping through a sidewalk, a light out, a pothole, or an unsafe intersection, I report and follow up
to ensure it is addressed. These may seem like small things, but they are important. When I am
mayor, my city directors will be leaders in establishing a culture of constituent service throughout 
the city and will make sure that reported problems are taken seriously if they cannot be anticipated
in the first place.



When it comes to managing growth, everyone feels the impact of crowding
around us. The 126 bus, the ferries, roads and bike racks are all overcrowded. It really does feel like
we are bursting at the seams. I feel it too. When we begin to discuss growth we should be asking,
what is the impact of development in our community and how do we manage it? I know most of
the peopleare concerned with over development. 



Development needs to be done in a
way that works and benefits us. We need to urgently complete a new Master Plan and change the
zoning ordinance in a manner that provides the community, property owners and developers with
clear standards for future development.


The way to minimize overcrowding is to build less residential and more commercial. Fewer
people going in and out, more people working close to home. In any zoning change or
redevelopment plan we need to make sure Hoboken gets the maximum community investment that
matches the priorities of our residents. I voted against the large development on 7th and Jackson not
because it did not have community benefits, but because it did not have enough. Three out of the
four corners of our town have significant development ahead and we need to make sure it does not
negatively impact our quality of life and that Hoboken gets the most benefits from these
developments.


Commercial development is also a key way to broaden and diversify our tax base. I have
been an integral part of keeping taxes flat since I was elected in 2011, having served on the Revenue
and Finance Committee for my entire tenure on the Council. With much of the necessary
investments in our infrastructure ahead of us, now is the time to find ways to offset these future
costs which will by my focus. Another way to lessen the tax burden on residents is to work with the
County and insist that Hoboken get County investment in our community proportionate to our tax 
contribution to the County. I have always worked effectively with the County and State officials and
anticipate continuing my good working relationships with them to achieve this.


I have been fortunate to call Hoboken my home for 18 years. Raising three children here, I
understand the challenges families have. Families are staying in town and the school age population
is exploding. A big part of that is the positive changes that have happened throughout Hoboken
schools and especially at the Hoboken Board of Education where the Board majority and
Superintendent Dr. Christine Johnson are doing an amazing job. Some of my proudest moments
have been working with the many schools within Hoboken. I have actively supported and
campaigned for those Board of Education candidates, been honored to work with All Saints
Episcopal Day School on environmental awareness, and helped Hoboken Charter School find a new
home and navigate the system after their fire, just to name a few. While the City of Hoboken is not
directly responsible for district schools, charter schools or private schools, the City should be an
asset to the schools’ efforts to deal with their own issues. As mayor, I will see that that happens.


Being on the Council, I unfortunately have seen firsthand the displacement taking place in
our town which threatens the very diversity that makes Hoboken so special. Our most vulnerable
have nowhere to turn. This needs to be fixed and as a community we cannot turn a blind eye to
these neighbors. In my capacity as Councilwoman for the last six years I have helped many in
danger of being displaced throughout our City. As mayor, I will work to not only help in a moment
of crisis, but to find solutions so that these residents no longer feel unsupported and insecure.


When we talk about our urban village, in addition to the efforts that are currently underway,
we need to continue finding alternative fixes for our flooding issues such as separating storm water
and sewer systems where we can and exploring a third pump with North Hudson Sewerage
Authority. And in order to maintain the feel of our urban village we must also revisit legislation
such as our flood ordinance. By reforming the flood ordinance, we can help to protect the historical 
character of our town. No better example of our historic character is the centerpiece of our town –
Washington St. Fixing the water mains, roads and, what is most important to me, pedestrian safety,
is only a start. We must work with residents, businesses, and property owners to make our Main St.
inviting and more successful.


A big part of what makes Hoboken feel like a village is our open space. We have outdoor
space that needs to be completed such as the BASF site which I have been fighting for since I was
elected to the Council in 2011. I am also a proponent of completing what many of our neighbors
started decades ago which is for Hoboken to have a contiguous waterfront public park. This
includes the Union Dry Dock site and continuing the fight for the Monarch site. Mayor Zimmer
has done an amazing job of increasing our open space. Now, we now need to add focus to other
community facilities such as the YMCA, the Multi-Service Center, a pool, and also the maintenance
and enhancement of open space and parks that we already have. Community members and
stakeholders must be included in this process.


Those who know me best know I am an inclusive person and this approach is the most
effective way to get things done and strengthen our community. As a three-time Council president,
elected by my peers, I have made it a priority to work with all Council members and as mayor I will
continue to prioritize working with stakeholders and other elected officials at all levels.


To quote a friend and Hoboken resident, “out of change comes the opportunity to see
things differently, to keep the ideas that work and replace those that don’t.” With this, I ask for your
support in creating an Administration that works, and works for all of us. 

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