2017 HOBOKEN MAYORAL CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE — Anthony L. Romano
Can you please tell our readers your name (as it appears on the ballot), and how long you’ve lived in Hoboken?
My name is Anthony L. Romano, and I have lived in Hoboken my entire life.
We recently saw a political campaign ad from 1981 that cites, “potholes,” “lack of recreation,” “sewers that cannot hold a simple rainfall,” “overworked police force,” and “enormous profits” for developers as being major issues facing Hoboken. Yet here we are—36 years later—having a lot of the same discussions. Why should voters have any faith in your campaign promises?
Voters should have faith in my campaign because of the collective experience of myself and my council candidates. These problems have viable solutions. The road surface conditions must be improved with paving. Washington Street is the biggest eyesore in our community at this moment. The condition of Washington Street is obscene. Aside from Washington St., my administration will survey all city roads and develop a phased approach to repave our streets. Next, we need to add the two remaining water retention systems in the city. These systems are designed to collect rainfall and prevent flooding. To date, only two are operational, and in my first 100 days in office I will install the other two. Recreation programs in Hoboken are lacking. One of our candidates, Dave “Buddy” Matthews, is a former teacher and coach. He understands recreation better than anyone. We must develop more recreation programs including the arts and music and we also need to add more sports programs for the children.
Aside from the aforementioned issues, what else does the City of Hoboken need to address, and how will your administration do it?
The city of Hoboken needs the Washington Street project completed. The condition of the roads, coupled with lane closures and parking limitations, has profoundly impacted the economic viability of our small businesses, and has drastically limited the influx of patrons who come to Hoboken to shop and dine.
Next, we need to incorporate smart growth strategies into our development goals. Cities across the country are using creative strategies to develop in ways that preserve natural lands, protect the environment, and allow for mixed use residential/commercial.
Our third issue relates to traffic and parking. We need to develop a traffic master plan that is balanced and sensitive to all types of commuters—automobile, mass transit, bicycle, and pedestrian. We also need to explore connecting Paterson Plank Rd. with Jersey Ave. thereby reducing traffic in Hoboken and rerouting traffic between Jersey City Heights and downtown Jersey City. I will also direct my administration to identify federal/state grants that can aid in infrastructure improvements. In relation to parking, we need to add public parking garages in areas that are underserved by public parking. We also should consider requiring builders/developers to assign one parking space for each residential unit. In addition, we will work with colleges and universities to develop enriching programs that meet the needs of the 21st century job market.
This campaign to date has certainly been spirited, some might even say divisive. Yet win or lose, many of the candidates will still be actively involved with the administration of Hoboken after November 7th. With that in mind, how would your Mayoral administration work to move ahead the projects and services that Hoboken residents need?
If I am elected Mayor of Hoboken, my focus will be on moving projects forward to improve the lives of the citizens. My administration will work across boundaries so that we can collectively solve problems. Politics aside, the issues are still the issues and they must be addressed.
Everyone’s a critic. There’s no shortage of negative feedback on Hoboken’s various social media platforms—meanwhile voter turnout for municipal elections is routinely low. How would you encourage effective civic involvement in Hoboken?
I actively seek civic participation and I have included this in all my policy plans. I want people engaged. Our city government should not be operating in silo from the community. I will convene working groups for many of our policy priorities so that we can devise solutions with community input. When people care about their community they want to be involved in making it better.
What do you feel is the chief criticism of your candidacy, and how would you answer that criticism?
There is a misconception that implies having been born and raised in Hoboken equates to “old Hoboken”. That term is offensive and divisive to suggest that Hoboken should be split in to two distinct groups: old and young. I believe that Hoboken is a community of diverse people and having been here my entire life, I have the experience and versatility to work with all residents of Hoboken.
Say you win… congratulations. In four years, why would the people of Hoboken re-elect you?
The people of Hoboken will re-elect me because I showed them that the policies that I planned to implement were done effectively and efficiently. We will reduce the traffic and parking issues, improve the water retention system in the city to prevent flooding, and we will work with the schools to bring new programs for kids. I know with my 30 plus years of public service experience that I can lead this city into the future.
What’s the very first thing you’ll do after being sworn in?
The first thing I will do after being sworn in is to get a handle on the Washington Street project. We need to review the plan and determine whether we will need a new company to come in to complete the project. We also need to rethink the bump outs and extended no parking zones around the street corners. At this very moment, this is the most critical issue in Hoboken because not only is it a visionary nightmare, but it also creates traffic jams, reduces parking, and negatively impacts the economic viability of the businesses along the street. We cannot afford to lose anymore of our businesses due to this failed project.
Last but not least, why you?
I think that among the candidates for mayor, I have the most experience and the most institutional knowledge of Hoboken. I know many people throughout the city and I continue to help people in every way that I can. I have tremendous experience in local/county government, serving as a Hudson County Freeholder for many years, and this direct experience in dealing with various levels of government is especially important in leading a great city. I also care for the people. I want everyone to enjoy Hoboken and to be a part of the fabric of this city.