Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s Inaugural Speech

 Clicking about two thirds along the slider brings you to the mayor’s address.  It’s past the 50 minute mark.

We will have more to say about the speech as there’s some notable areas for review.  For now let’s just say the lady continues to impress on every level.  There’s some tremendous challenges ahead.  It will be hard and some will lose heart.  This community needs to come together.  When you listen to the speech, note the content more than the delivery.  There’s a great deal of substance here. No matter what lies ahead, today we hold this moment with pride.   A big congratulations to Dawn Zimmer, her husband Stan and their entire family.  And a big salute to Keith Furman who put today’s event together along with the volunteers.  It was both flawless and tremendous.  

Update: November 22nd – for those interested in a print version of the mayor’s remarks, they’re now posted and available after the jump.  

Also, the theme of the event was for “Support a Hoboken Soldier Foundation.”  If you can spare a few dollars, it will mean more than you probably know. 

Last, this event proved a surprise in more ways than one.  Hoboken yet again, proudly demonstrated its civic pride.  That along with meeting folks and discovering new readers, eyes like jewels of the sea; what an absolute pleasure.  

Inaugural Speech
Mayor Dawn Zimmer
Hoboken High School
November 21, 2009
Thank you Sandra for that wonderful introduction. 
My fellow citizens of Hoboken:
What a year.      What. A. Year.
I know you’re ready for a new beginning. And I know you voted for a new beginning, no matter who you voted for in this past election.
It’s been an unforgettable year of campaigns, and while it is always a good thing when citizens are engaged in our civic process, a year of campaigns in which we are focused on what divides us can cause us to forget that we have so much that unites us.
Because when you get to the heart of what each and every candidate was campaigning on, you will see that while there are clearly differences in approach, we have a shared vision for Hoboken’s future.
Every candidate agreed that our taxes are too high and that our government needs to do more with less.
Every candidate called for restoring faith in a government of honesty and accountability. 
Every candidate viewed Hoboken’s character and diversity as a treasure to be nurtured and maintained.
Every candidate looked forward to a future in which cars, pedestrians and bicycles could safely and easily travel our streets to access new parks, and streets that are no longer flooded.
Now that the election process is over, and we’re no longer counting ballots, we can start counting what unites us — the causes we believe in to achieve a brighter future for the town we love so much, and the challenges we will tackle together, as a community.
For ‘community’ is a value we cannot forsake, especially in the tough times we have ahead.
We have many problems, problems that were not created overnight. Problems that will not be solved overnight.
But I know — given all the causes and challenges that we agreed upon in the last election — that the burden will be a little easier to bear if we can work together to address the many issues facing our City.  
Our greatest challenge is taking control of the runaway train that is our city’s finances. Hoboken’s tax burden is too high, and we must increase efficiency and cut spending to reduce taxes.
As your mayor, I promise not to rely on gimmicks, but to govern effectively and openly.
On Thursday at a mayor’s luncheon during the League of Municipalities conference, I had the honor of hearing Governor Corzine and Governor-elect Christie come together to speak candidly about the challenges facing our state, and our cities and towns.  
Our governor-elect made his position clear when he said, “We can only solve our problems if we move from asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’ to, ‘What’s in it for us?'” 
Individually we will all have to give up something to get through the tough times ahead for our City, but ultimately, at the end of the day, all Hoboken residents will benefit.
City Hall should be a beacon for our residents—a place where they know they can find an ally, employees who they can trust, and a system that gets results. 
It must be a place where the rules are fair, and apply equally to everyone.
Sadly, that hasn’t always been the case, and I know that any success my administration has, will flow from earning the trust of our citizens… by proving that their government works for them and not for itself. 
We must set the standard for government openness, so that our citizens understand the process through which decisions are made, and the reasoning behind them.
My young administration has already begun organizing city records, and we are going to post them online so that anyone who wants to access information can have it with a few strokes of a keyboard.
(For anyone who’s ever been to the 3rd floor of City Hall, a room filled nearly floor to ceiling with records from years ago, you know that we’ve got a lot of work to do….)
But we will be accountable to you…. That is the contract government is based upon.
We all know that a community is bigger than the body that governs it, so with the promise that we will be accountable to you, I ask that we all start by being more accountable to each other.
This is our city and we ought to take pride in it, to keep our streets clean and our neighbors safe.
One of my highest priorities as mayor is to protect the character of Hoboken. Our city is a mile-square treasure, with neighborhoods and a small-town feel that is unique to this section of New Jersey.
We must never allow that to be taken away by projects like the massive redevelopment plan proposed by New Jersey Transit.
I am not saying I oppose all development in Hoboken, but I am saying I oppose irresponsible development.  The proposed 70-story tower that would permanently alter our city’s character is not responsible development…. adding 7,000 residents to just one neighborhood by constructing eight or nine 45-story buildings—increasing our population by 15%— is not responsible development.
Yet there is legislation in Trenton that would take away our right to control the destiny of our city.
That is wrong. And if we are divided, it may succeed….
My firm opposition to New Jersey Transit’s massive redevelopment plan is something I talked about in my campaigns in May, in June and in November.
It is something that the other candidates and I agreed upon in May, in June and in November.
It’s a concern that I heard voiced from residents over and over again, and so I ask that you join me in our efforts to stop this.
We will fight. We will fight. And together, we will win.
Rather than monstrous projects that will forever destroy the charming character of our landscape, the Hoboken we believe in supports balanced development….
Development that brings our city new jobs, places to play ball, restaurants and shops to continue building on the lively community that makes Hoboken Hoboken.
Because I know that we can all agree how crucial it is to maintain the diversity of this city—that it’s a big part of why we all love this place so much….
Because, whether you are Old Hoboken or New Hoboken, it’s time we start preaching One Hoboken, where people from all walks of life can afford to live comfortably in vibrant neighborhoods and enjoy their lives.
It is easy to get discouraged when things do not change as fast or as easily as we would like them to.
The problems we have today will take time to resolve, and there will be setbacks. But we cannot let the temporary failures of today distract us from what we can achieve tomorrow.
We must always stay focused on the incredible future of our town, and come together to fight for what’s best for our city.
Hoboken, the turnaround starts today.   
The last three years have been an incredible journey for me. I went from speaking out at my first city Council meeting with my voice cracking and my hands shaking, to standing before you today.
I have always believed that you really never know where life is going to take you.  Growing up, my mom used to talk to me about how each choice you make leads you in a new direction you might not expect.  She would say, ‘Way leads to way.’   
In Hoboken we say, Election leads to Election.  Three years ago I was a complete political novice.  As I naively threw myself into the frying pan of Hoboken politics to fight for balanced development, little did I know that my journey would involve such hard work, but also such reward.
Hoboken, I have never felt more honored than when you chose me to lead this great city.  
There are so many people I need to thank.….
First, I’d like to thank all of you for being here today. 
I want to thank Keith Furman the Chairman of my inauguration committee, for putting his entire life and full-time job aside to organize every detail of this event. 
I want to thank Forde Prigot, Joe Branco, Sam Briggs and the many people who volunteered to donate their time and efforts to making today a success.
Thank you to Sandra Smith and John Carey for speaking today, and a special thanks to Jim Doyle for serving on extremely short notice as our master of ceremonies.   
I’d like to take a moment to honor former mayors Steve Cappiello and Pat Pasculli who are here with us here today. I’m also grateful to our Senator Bob Menendez, Congressman Albio Sires, our state Senator Brian Stack (who could not make it today, but is here in Hoboken delivering turkeys), our Assemblyman Ruben Ramos, and Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, and Freeholder Anthony Romano for being here with us today. Thank you for coming and I look forward to working with all of you as we advocate for a better future.
I’d very much like to recognize my friends and colleagues, the members of our City Council including Ravi Bhalla, Theresa Castellano, Peter Cunningham, Nino Giacchi, Carol Marsh, Dave Mello, Michael Lenz, Beth Mason, and Michael Russo.  We won’t always agree on everything, but I know that we can work together because we all love our City. 
I want to thank all the people who made today so extraordinary including the Hoboken High School band, you sound great, thank you.
Thank you to the children of the Jubilee Center for leading us in the pledge of allegiance and Shirley Dennis for singing the national anthem. A special thanks to the Fire and Police Departments for the display of colors.
Thank you to Superintendent Carter and the School Board for making this wonderful facility available to us, and to Christina Anderson for these beautiful flower arrangements.  Thank you to the Hudson County Parks Dept. for opening Columbus Park for this event, and thank you to Buddy and Carlos Bakery for the special inaugural cake that we will soon enjoy in the park. 
And thank you to Derek Ladson and the Fire Dance Squad for the terrific performance you are about to see.
Finally, I am eternally grateful to my husband Stan, and my children, Jacob and Alex, for their incredible support as together we rode the roller coaster filled with trials and tribulations to bring change to our community.
And to everyone assembled here, I want you to know how much I look forward to working with you over the next three and a half years.
Now, the work begins.
I ran as a voice for change, independent of the old politics of pitting one section of Hoboken against another. I believe we can and will make the changes necessary to turn Hoboken around, while at the same time, preserving what is best about our city. And that is making sure its future includes all of its great people.
We’ve seen the consequences of divisiveness in our political system and the desire to ground out our opponents. We’ve seen how craven people can be when they think our backs are turned. We don’t want that, and we won’t tolerate that anymore.
I ran for mayor with independence and I will be beholden to no interest but the best interest for Hoboken.
And I promise to be an inclusive mayor, who runs a dedicated City Hall that treats everyone with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Hoboken we have great challenges ahead of us.  I believe we will meet them.
We can.
We must.
And together, we will.
Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

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