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Title Three campaign buttons, Hoboken, 1990s.
Object Name Pin, Political
Catalog Number 2013.023.0001
Collection Hoboken Government & Politics Collection
Credit Gift of Sheilah Scully.
Description Three political campaign buttons, Hoboken, 1990s.

Button 1: Phyllis [Spinelli]. Standing Up for the 2nd Ward. 1996. Paid for by the Spinelli for City Council.

2-1/4" diameter pin back button.

Button 2: Della Fave; Cunning; Lao; Rafter. Hoboken. (No date, ca. 1993)

2-1/4" diameter pin back button. Joey Della Fave was a Mayoral candidate. Others were his City Council slate of candidates.

Button 3: Vote NO March 31. Coalition for a Better Waterfront. 1992.

2-1/4" diameter pin back button.

This button was regarding a referendum to be held on March 31, 1992 concerning waterfront development proposal by the City of Hoboken. The proposal was defeated. See notes.
Date 1990-1996
Year Range from 1990.0
Year Range to 1996.0
People Della Fave, Joseph
Spinelli, Phyllis
Search Terms Coalition for a Better Waterfront
City Council, Hoboken
Caption button 1: Phillis Spinelli, Second Ward City Council
Imagefile 203\20130230001.TIF
Notes Button 3: three articles concerning the referendum.


Hoboken to Decide Future of Waterfront


Published: February 19, 1992

HOBOKEN, N.J., Feb. 18— Hoboken voters will soon decide the fate of their city's soul.

At issue is the future of Hoboken's waterfront, the crusty spirit of this mile-square city on the Hudson. Next month, for the second time in less than two years, the public will vote on a proposal to develop the once-bustling port, renewing a bitter debate between City Hall and a citizens' coalition that was largely responsible for defeating the first proposal.

Under the city's plan, a scaled-down version of one defeated in July 1990 by only 12 votes, nearly two million square feet of land would be leased to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which would develop it. The initial phase would include a 33-story office tower and a hotel on Hoboken's southernmost pier, adjacent to its busy PATH, bus and ferry terminals, and a new park. City officials say the first phase of the plan would create 1,000 permanent jobs and stabilize property taxes by increasing revenues.

But the group lobbying against the plan, the Coalition for a Better Waterfront, charges, among other things, that the city's proposal gives too much control to the Port Authority, closes off part of the waterfront and overwhelms Hoboken's small-town character and quirky charm. Voters Are Tired

Many people here say the voters are tired of hearing about the moldering waterfront and will probably approve the city's plan. But in a move that will probably intensify the debate, on Wednesday the coalition plans to present an alternative that will give voters a choice to consider before the March 31 referendum.

A coalition spokesman, Ron Hine, said the unwrapping of a 12-foot model of the group's plan, which involves Hoboken's entire mile-long waterfront, from the old Erie-Lackawanna terminal at the southern end of town to the Weehawken Cove on the north, will end doubts about the coalition's commitment to development.

While maintaining the water's edge as a public walkway the length of the city, the coalition plan calls for 19 blocks of commercial and residential development that its proponents describe as being in character with the city's existing architecture. It would also add 24 acres of parks to Hoboken's 12 acres of existing green space.

"This," said Mr. Hine, "is precisely what the city lacks: a vision. It could not be more symbolic that they have created a plan that goes from First to Second Street, after spending over $1 million over the last three years to study it."

To Craig Whitaker, a Manhattan architect hired by the coalition to design its plan, the city's proposal encompasses the "worst of the 80's building frenzy and urban renewal."

"What is important is bulk, scale and height," he said. "We want to have low-rise high density, in keeping with Hoboken, as opposed to high-rise high density, the mistake many cities made along their waterfronts during the 80's commercial boom." One Advantage: A Tenant

But some Hoboken residents say the city's plan has one undeniable advantage, a committed tenant. Peggy E. Thomas, director of the city's Department of Planning and Community Development, said that while both plans endorse development, a goal most residents favor, only the city's plan has a backer, the Port Authority, "ready to sign a 50-year lease as soon as the plan is passed."

The Port Authority has leased the city's piers since 1952, when it signed a 50-year agreement with the Federal Government to run a maritime shipping terminal. It first expressed interest in developing the waterfront more than a decade ago and in 1984 successfully lobbied the legislatures in New York and New Jersey to pass a law allowing it to get involved in such a project. But it has since contended with deep community opposition and negotiations with three city administrations.

After much debate, there is little elected opposition to the current plan. Anthony Russo, the only one of the nine City Council members who voted against the plan, said politics has interfered with objectivity. "The Port Authority comes out ahead much further than the city," he said. Mr. Russo objects to the agreement that would give the authority the first option to develop as well as the right of first refusal. He also objects to the city's giving the Port Authority a $10.2 million lien on the pier.

The city, which spent a $7 million upfront payment the authority gave the city as part of the abortive earlier plan, is practically giving its land away, Mr. Russo argued. Eagerness for a Deal

Public uneasiness over the decaying, almost abandoned port has made some people here eager for a deal, especially since the Maxwell House coffee plant is about to close, tentatively on April 1. Chris Onieal, president of the Hoboken Food and Beverage Association, a group of bar and restaurant owners, said a hunger for "something to be built" has swayed him to endorse the city's proposals.

"Five years ago, there were all kinds of people eager to build on the waterfront," he said. "Now, there is no one left."

But Mr. Onieal added that his organization has been heavily lobbied by those on both sides of the issue, with no consensus from the members. "We're polling our membership right now to see whether they should endorse a plan," he said, "and if so, which plan. I know how I feel, but not everyone feels the same way."

With hundreds of members, both newcomers and longtime residents, the coalition hopes to sway the undecided. Mr. Hine said the group has registered 1,000 voters, has put 3,000 names on its mailing list and plans a telephone campaign.

"The community is still bitterly divided over this issue," Mr. Hine said. "You would think that politicians, if they saw that half the public was so opposed to this, would adjust it to meet their constituents."

But Ms. Thomas contended that the community is not quite so divided. "I haven't seen" the new plan, she said.

"But I know they are endorsing development," she said. "So are we. So is everybody. We all want basically the same thing."


In Hoboken, Debate Over Waterfront Plan Heats Up as Vote Looms

Published: March 30, 1992

This city is in the throes of a pre-election blitz. Campaigners are meeting commuters at the bus, train and ferry depots. Pamphleteers are canvassing the rows of tightly packed houses. There are posters and buttons, fund-raisers and rallies, and plenty of debates.

At issue here for the second time in less than two years is the future of Hoboken's historic waterfront. On Tuesday, voters in the mile-square city of 33,400 will decide whether to enter a waterfront redevelopment agreement with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The previous referendum on the question was narrowly defeated in July 1990. This time, those on both sides say the contest is a dead heat.

The debate is not whether the moldering Hudson River port should be developed. Most here believe it should. Voters are grappling with whether the development proposed is the right kind, for the right reasons and with the right partnership. Looking for Jobs

To proponents, led by a recently formed City Hall contingent called the People for Hoboken's Future, the agreement with the authority means 4,500 new jobs, new recreation areas for the city's children and new revenues to stabilize the city's property tax rate, one of the highest in the state.

Opponents, led by a citizens' group called the Coalition for a Better Waterfront, say that while there is no guarantee the plan will bring benefits, it is certain to give too much away to the Port Authority, wreak havoc on the environment and ruin Hoboken's small scale and charm.

And to some other residents, the plan and the issues swirling around it have been too complex and confusing to follow.

"I don't understand what any of them are talking about," said Luis Rivera, 21, who moved to the northwest end of Hoboken two years ago.

The city's plan is a scaled-back version of the one defeated in 1990. It proposes a 20-story office tower and nine-story hotel on a 5.5-acre pier near the city's transportation terminal and two residential buildings, 21 and 17 stories, just west of the pier. The plan also calls for a new athletic field and for expanding the city's Little League baseball field. The rest of the milelong stretch of waterfront would be developed with the advice of a citizens advisory committee. Accusations Fly

Those favoring the plan have accused its opponents of being interested only in whether development blocks their view of the river. Those against it say the promise of jobs is a pipe dream -- that city officials are most interested in a political victory and short-term payments to fix a hole in Hoboken's budget.

The thorniest issue for the city is the lease agreement with the Port Authority. Under the agreement, the Port Authority would lease the pier and the parcels next to it for 55 years. In exchange, the agency would pay the city $3.25 million as soon as the referendum is passed, part of $20 million in fixed lease payments.

The Port Authority would also prepare the site for development, build the waterfront park and expand the Little League field. It would sublease the property to developers, giving the city 20 percent of the gross revenues for the first 35 years and 60 percent for the remaining 20 years.

Opponents say the plan cedes controls of the city's most valuable asset for peanuts. The Port Authority would have a $10.25 lien on the property -- the $3.25 million it would hand out once the referendum passes, plus $7 million it handed the city in 1989, before the first plan was defeated.


By Slim Margin, Hoboken Rejects Waterfront Plan

Published: April 01, 1992

After two referendums and weeks of fierce debate, residents here today rejected a waterfront redevelopment plan with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that supporters called a financial boon and opponents described as a monstrosity.

Now the future of the historic waterfront, which docked the world's first steamboat and once teemed with 10,000 jobs, is again an open question.

Preliminary results from the City Clerk's office had the plan defeated by 231 votes, 5,547 to 5,316. Officials later said the margin was 341 votes, but said they did not have the total number available. The office said that about 60 percent of Hoboken's 19,145 registered voters cast ballots.

The first plan to go to a referendum, a larger plan to redevelop Hoboken's crumbling waterfront, was defeated in July 1990 by 12 votes. 'The Message Is Clear'

Jubilant members of the Coalition for a Better Waterfront, a citizens group that had proposed an alternative plan, said tonight that the results meant that it was time for the city to listen to the citizens.

"What a great day," said Ron Hine, a leader of the coalition. "The people have spoken twice now and the message is clear." But, he added, "We really want to extend an olive branch now and work for an alternative like the one we proposed."

Under the plan that was defeated today, the city would have leased four parcels of waterfront property, including a 5.5-acre pier next to the PATH transportation terminal, to the Port Authority for 55 years. The authority would have prepared the site and sought a developer to build a 20-story office tower and 9-story hotel on the pier, as well as two residential buildings just west of it.

The opponents offered a plan covering the entire length of the waterfront. They called for a mile-long walkway, 19 blocks of mixed residential and commercial development and more than 20 acres of new parks. Residents Bitterly Divided

The city's plan had bitterly divided residents of this old Hudson River port city, which has a population of 33,400. Business and civic groups endorsed the plan as a means for new jobs and new revenues to stabilize high property taxes. Opponents said it would give too much of the city's valuable waterfront to the Port Authority, break environmental laws and overwhelm the three- and four-story buildings that give Hoboken a small-town character.

City Councilman Tom Newman, a major spokesman for the plan, said that an opportunity had been missed to help the struggling city. He said it would probably take at least two years for the city to develop a new plan to be put before the voters.

Meanwhile, he said, the Port Authority could go elsewhere with the $100 million it had earmarked for the project. "It's been 10 years, three administrations and two referendums," Mr. Newman said. "How likely is it that the P.A. is going to sit around and wait for Hoboken?"

The Port Authority was to give the city $3.25 million in advance as part of $20 million in lease payments. It also was to build a park and expand the city's Little League field. Once a developer had leased the property, the authority was to have given the city 20 percent of gross revenues for the first 35 years and 60 percent for the remaining 20 years.

Opponents said the deal, which gave the authority first option and rights of first refusal on the rest of the city-owned waterfront as well as a $10.25 million lien, gave too much away.

The authority, which entered a 40-year lease with the Federal Government for the use of the piers in 1952, has been interested in developing them for more than a decade. The city bought the piers in 1984, and legislation that year allowed the agency to develop both commercial and residential properties. But it has since been thwarted in Hoboken by public opposition.


Classification Elections
Social & Personal Activity
Government & Politics