TC Profile PicTheresa Castellano (incumbent)

Why do you live in Hoboken?
I have had the privilege to live in Hoboken my entire life, and I could not imagine a better place to call home. Hoboken has always had the natural charm of a small town, while also having the convenience of New York City easily accessed by various modes of public transportation. I think that these simple truths are something that all of us recognize and appreciate as Hoboken residents.

I also believe, while Hoboken is already an extremely desirable place to live, there is great potential for Hoboken to become an even better place to live, work, and raise a family. I believe we are poised to become an even larger attraction for visitors, business owners, and new residents. I feel it is extremely important that we start talking about how we can best capitalize on our growing popularity in a way that benefits our residents and our local businesses.

Why do you want to serve on the Hoboken City Council?
Since I am running for re-election, I suppose the question is why continue to serve on the City Council? Simply put, I love the job of a city councilperson. Being involved in the community my entire life, I have always taken great joy from being able to help my neighbors. Whether it’s as simple as answering a constituent’s question about city government, or standing up and fighting for an issue impacting our community as a whole, I believe I have always been up to the task of representing the residents of the 1st Ward.

I also want to continue to be an independent voice on the City Council, putting constituent concerns above the political goals of this or any other administration. I think my success as a city councilmember has come from keeping myself independent of any political factions. Being independent brings balance to city government, and I believe I am still the only independent choice for 1st Ward residents.

It’s one thing to have ideas, it’s another to achieve results. If elected, how will you work with your fellow council members to move our city in the right direction?
Common sense and compromise are the key to being successful in city government. You can have the best ideas, but you have to convince the majority of your peers on the City Council to be able to implement them. Yes, it is difficult to always be on the same page for many reasons, but ultimately every elected official needs to be willing to see the other side of an issue.

On issues, you have to do the research, ask the questions, and weigh the pros and cons to come to an informed decision. I have worked successfully with many councilmembers, and I believe politics needs to be left at the door of the council chambers. At the end of the day, the interests of the residents I represent is how I

Over the next four years, I want to work in cooperation with my fellow councilmembers to achieve several goals:

One of the most important issues in the 1st Ward is the NJ Transit Development project, which is currently still in the planning stage. The project is undoubtedly going to impact our community, especially our downtown residents. I want to work with my council colleagues to reach a compromise that addresses resident concerns, and ultimately ensures the development is something that benefits, not hinders, our city’s interests. I will be fighting for a compromise plan that fits the scale of our community, includes much needed affordable housing, and addresses the traffic issues in downtown along Observer Highway.

Another issue that is currently being ignored in City Hall is that our streets have become progressively dirtier over the past four years. I believe this is a direct result of an administration decision to lay off a significant number of city employees that were responsible for keeping our streets clean and regular garbage pickup from city trash cans. I opposed this decision from the start, and I will be lobbying my council colleagues and the administration to address this issue. Our residents pay far too much in taxes to have this basic quality of life issue continue to go unaddressed.

Another issue where I want to work with my council colleagues is our current parking policies. I speak with residents and business owners regularly about our city’s parking regulations, and many feel that City Hall has declared war on car owners. Many of our parking policies make it more difficult for residents and visitors to park without the fear of getting ticketed and booted. We need to revise our city parking ordinance to reflect common sense polices that benefit our residents and business owners. Additionally, the revenue generated from tickets and other parking violations needs to start going toward creating new parking, not towards taking existing parking spaces away.

On these issues and all others, those of us who are elected on November 3rd need to come to the table with an open mind and a desire to move the city forward. I wish all of those running for city council the best of luck, and I hope that all who are elected are ready to work towards goals that bring us together and move us forward as one community.

6_PkTbTBMichael DeFusco

Why do you live in Hoboken?
I grew up in a middle-class New Jersey Italian-American family and was always surrounded by community, culture and neighbors. Twelve years ago, after I graduated from George Washington University, I moved to Hoboken. It is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

The city was then, as it is now, a place built both on the industrial buildings and brownstones of the past as well as in the spirit of neighbors, young and old. My partner, a Guatemalan-born physician and I have always enjoyed the cultural diversity and community Hoboken offers. Resident of all backgrounds and ethnicity living together on neighborhood blocks where people actually say hello to one another.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that we don’t have our share of pressing problems and issues to address. Downtown, I see affordability becoming a concern and know infrastructure and pedestrian safety needs improvement. Yet, the heartening thing about Hoboken is our ability to come together and adapt. I live in Hoboken because there’s no other place like it and I know our city’s best days are actually ahead.

Why do you want to serve on the Hoboken City Council?
During my two terms as a Commissioner on Hoboken’s Zoning Board of Adjustment, I’ve been honored to represent my neighbors on land use projects that impact all aspects of our community.  I’ve voted on applications that maintain our city’s scale and charm while ensuring our neighborhoods move forward responsibly. However, over the past few years, I’ve observed serious issues facing my home district, the first ward. Many of these problems have largely gone unaddressed by our long-time Council incumbent, who in November will seek re-election for a sixth term and ask voters to extend her time on the council past 25 years.

I bring the new energy we need to fight for our neighborhood and our City. Our neighborhoods need an attentive and proactive councilperson that will work constructively with City Hall to ensure long overdue improvements are made. Potholes, crumbling curbs and trash have proliferated. Seniors have asked for better lighting on Washington Street, but have gotten no response. Pedestrian safety issues plague our streets.

As Councilman, I will fight for common sense constituent concerns—items that should be top priority, but have fallen by the wayside. I will ensure that our streets are free of potholes and trash, that proper lighting and crossing signals are installed and demand trash receptacles at every intersection. I will be available to all my neighbors, ensuring they have a responsive and professional connection to City Hall. And I will work constructively with everyone—whether they agree or disagree with me politically—to make sure our neighborhood needs are addressed.

On the larger issues facing downtown, I will use my five years of land use experience on our City’s Zoning Board and advocate for sensible and innovative building projects at the Neumann Leathers factory site and NJT Rail Yards. We can make these locations spaces that encourage arts, entertainment and commerce—like Chelsea Market in NYC or Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. Ensuring responsible development that brings more vibrancy, while maintaining our community’s existing scale is critical to improving our quality of life.

We must make sure that Hoboken remains affordable for our working families, our middle class residents and our seniors.  That requires holding the line on taxes through fiscal discipline.

It’s one thing to have ideas, it’s another to achieve results. If elected, how will you work with your fellow council members to move our city in the right direction?

In my private sector career, I’m paid to get the job done. I know disagreements are natural, but also that they can result in a stronger final product. However, if I responded “no” to everything without offering a solution, I’d be fired.  We should apply that same standard to our local officials.

As a Commissioner on Zoning Board, I’m known as somebody who can disagree with others, but do so in a way that doesn’t injure relationship or create animosity. As Councilman, I will do the same. I’ll work with anybody and everybody, whether they agree with me politically, or not, to get the job done.  I don’t need to fight the old political fights; this isn’t a personal grudge match for me. I have excellent relationships with all current council candidates and present council members; if elected, I’ll use those to move things along.

(Second Ward—next page…)

Authored by: hMAG