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Once Again Minority Council Members Show How little They Care About City Employees And Their Constituents

I moved to Hoboken in 1985. Although I recently moved this blog is still primarily my take on Hoboken politics and politricks.

At the previous City Council meeting there was a minor but instructive matter that occurred. Theresa Castellano, Beth Mason, Michael Russo and Tim Occhipinti once again proved that they care more about halting positive city wide improvements rather than voting on a sensible resolution that would improve one of Hoboken’s most vexing problems.

Have any of you (or a friend or family member) ever had a car towed in Hoboken? I have and it is a cumbersome and frustrating process. Currently you have to go to three places just to get your vehicle back.

First you trod to City Hall where you stand in line, seemingly forever at the Parking Utility and with paper and pen they laboriously fill out a form which you take to the police station, where you wait as they perform their part of the task. Then finally after more than usually one hour you go all the way uptown to the tow yard where you must pay in cash.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer proposed a competitive contract to locate a software firm to provide a program where you would go directly to the tow yard, instead of the other 2 spots. If you currently live uptown you have to walk or hail a cab, go downtown to City Hall and then to the police station, then walk to the cab stand (or walk one 1+ mile uptown) and wait in line and take a cab uptown and finally arrive at the tow yard. If the resolution was passed you could simply walk to uptown tow yard. If the tow yard is another of the 4 rotating, you could just as easily call a cab and they could come to your home and take you directly to the other tow yard. Remember, to get a receipt from the cabbie and the cost will be deducted from the tow bill.

Imagine if you live downtown and the resolution had passed. You would simply have to call a cab and go directly to the applicable tow yard. The tow yard then electronically informs the police who sign off making sure there are no outstanding warrants, etc. and your car is released after payment. Right now we have 4 vendors, but the software would work just as well if we go back to 1 vendor or 6. But since Hoboken has 4 council people who couldn’t care less about shortening the Parking Utility lines (and freeing up more personnel to handle permits, making those lines move faster) forcing Hoboken residents and visitors to endure a byzantine 19th Century system instead of a one stop 21st Century program.

Once again it is Mayor Zimmer and Councilpeople Ravi Bhalla, Dave Mello, Jen Giattino and Peter Cunningham who are working hard to make your lives easier and more efficient. Likewise they care about making our municipal employees jobs more productive. I had to stand in line, seemingly forever for visitor permits, moving signs and the tow process. I have personally witnessed the frustration that occurs under the present system. Unfortunately due to the obstinate minority your frustration and time away from doing something more productive will not come to pass.

It’s amazing, for a reasonable amount of money everyone’s life would improve, except for a minority that couldn’t care less about you. If you have horror stories about the length of time in line at the Parking Utility, please feel free to chime in.

Here’s the resolution link:

http://www.hobokennj.org/docs/council/respack13/revised.2.6.13.respac.pdfherre’s

Here’s a guide to towing and booting regulations:

He http://www.hobokennj.org/departments/transportation-parking/towing-boots/

There also some confusion over the bid process. Competitive bidding is controlled through NJ statute N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1t seq. This includes (but not limited to) normal items such as paving, indoor and outdoor maintenance, stationary, repairs, recycling, etc. The bid limit is $25,000.

Bid threshold exceeding is allowed because Hoboken has a qualified bid officer that is now state mandated. There is no off the shelf software available. Competitive contract does include bidding, but price is not the sole factor as some items are more complicated and nuanced. Competitive Contracting is covered by Section 40A:11-4.1 which clearly states:

a. The purchase or licensing of proprietary computer software designed for contracting unit purposes, which may include hardware intended for use with the proprietary software.  This subsection shall not be utilized for the purpose of acquiring general purpose computer hardware or software;

Good luck and remember as you pass the time in the Parking Utility line remember to thank Theresa Castellano, Michael Russo and don’t forget to especially thank Tim Occhipinti. Beth Mason, who bizarrely compared this to the Robotic Garage which is a hundred times larger and 1,000 times more complicated, having to constantly move multiple 1-2 ton vehicles, has zero comparison to this resolution.

If you believe as I do that Hoboken should modernize their systems and join the 21st Century then please sign a petition I have created. Let your friends and neighbors sign it too:

http://www.change.org/petitions/minority-members-of-the-hoboken-city-council-enact-a-resolution-to-computerize-the-hoboboken-towing-syste

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

CaptJackd February 26, 2013 at 09:18 PM
Scott, is the below statement that I just pulled from the City's website via your link accurate/current? I agree that the towing/recovery procedures could certainly use improvement, but if you have been to the towing yard lately maybe you would also question the capacity of the towing co. to operate computers or software. I think that the tow release process should--at least for parking offenses--be similar to the boot release: a direct transaction between the vehicle owner and the towing co. Boot releases don't require such procedural nonsense. "The new procedures for retrieving a towed vehicle have been significantly simplified, eliminate multiple back and forth trips between the tow yard and Police Department, and uses a single point of payment. By providing a driver’s license, the registration and insurance information can be retrieved without the need for additional back and forth trips as was previously necessary"
Scott M. Siegel February 27, 2013 at 01:54 AM
Towing and booting are separate matters. Booting occurs when you are illegally parked, like if you don't have a permit. Towing is utilized when a hazard or safety issue is at stake. For example: parking when a temporary no parking sign is listed, in front of a fire hydrant or in a personal handicapped spot.
PeoplePlease February 27, 2013 at 02:09 PM
I've been towed a few times. Never had to go to the Police Station. It's always been to City Hall to get a release, then to the Tow Lot to pay the tow fee. Additionally, I recently purchased two No Parking signs. The whole process took 20 minutes. Waited in line for 10, and spent 10 filing out paper work and processing my payment. Stop over exaggerating your "facts" and maybe your arguments would hold more water.
CaptJackd February 27, 2013 at 07:45 PM
Understand that towing and booting are separate matters, but they both result in seizure of your vehicle. Especially for a resident with a sticker and identifying info on file with HPU, towed for a temporary sign or other parking offense, vehicle recovery should be simplified for known 'customers'. The city already has the GovOnline system with our vehicle and official ID info on record--maybe that data can be leveraged for tow releases as well? (in order to recover your towed vehicle outside of HPU service hours, you need to have HPD handle the release)
Scott M. Siegel February 27, 2013 at 08:01 PM
You may have waited 20 minutes but I waited 490and my friend 1 1/2 hours. Why spend any time there when you could otherwise go directly to the tow yard? Yes I had to go to police station (Steven's) when my mom's car got towed.
GrooveRider February 28, 2013 at 03:03 PM
Scott, you moved to Somerset County, you're holding on to Hoboken a little much. Aside from you there are a handful of people that all they do is blog and talk about politics, there is more to life than Hoboken. And you don't even live here anymore. Go out an explore the rest of the world, there is more to life than Beth Mason.
Scott M. Siegel February 28, 2013 at 05:26 PM
I meant 40 minutes!
Rockin Out With My February 28, 2013 at 07:13 PM
Or just park legally. Why should the city be focusing resources on making it easier for people not following rules? Maybe waiting a long time will make you think twice about parking illegally.
Scott M. Siegel February 28, 2013 at 09:59 PM
Sorry to disappoint you, but too many people asked me to keep it going and I can't disappoint my friends that I've known for the past 28 years.
Scott M. Siegel February 28, 2013 at 10:57 PM
I think $170 and taking time away from work or something productive is enough punishment.
CaptJackd March 01, 2013 at 12:30 AM
Managing the penalty box is part of the parking game, a big money game. You don't want to piss off the players so much with bad refereeing that they revolt.

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