Monday, March 7, 2016

Enough is enough: 2 Hoboken cops hurt by Lepre-chaos

SURRENDER YOURSELF, SLOB

We live in times where anyone can create a themed event in a 'host' city with a mouse click.

Themed events don't have to be 'bad;'  a social media event can connect strangers of diverse communities with  a shared experience.  The "do no harm" metric applies.  If an event does no harm to taxpayers, residents and police in a host city, then fine.

For example, themed events organized by the New York City-based collective, "Improv Everywhere" are kind to their host cities.  On January 10, 2016 they hosted their 15th annual "No Pants Subway Ride" in  60 cities in 25 countries around the world.  Tens of thousands of people have participated in their events since 2001, and have inflicted no "harm" to their hosts.



Unlike Hoboken. 

Why do Hoboken's themed mass-events come with arrests, assaults and disorderly conduct requiring a massive police presence?    

Because they are about drinking.  The goal is intoxication and (for some) getting laid.

Leprecon 2016 brought a new low: 2 Hoboken police officers were assaulted and had to be hospitalized.

Enough is enough.

GA stands with Ken Ferrante in outrage at the profiteering of sponsors and bartenders of citywide alcohol fests; their massive, themed events bring a mini-crimewave that endangers residents and police, tap city services, after which residents get stuck with the bill.

Ferrante said in part:
“I am disturbed by the repeated behavior that is occurring on these types of themed events, and have several measures that I am exploring with my command staff that I feel needs to be taken”, said Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante. Ferrante added “I will not tolerate having any of our officers injured, for the purposes of a few to make a financial profit at the expense of our residents, and for the purposes of promoting deviant behavior attached to various holidays, which results in citizens and officers being hospitalized!”
Right on.

Ferrante is limited though in that he can only enforce existing law.  It is time for the City Council to step up and help our police help our residents. 

GA would like the Council to consider an ordinance making "themed event"sponsors/participating businesses apply for a license for each "themed event", certifying they take responsibility for the BILL for additional police, police overtime and any other city services required for Hoboken to "host" this event.

Put it simply- private entities want a party on public property, then let them PAY the municipality for the services they require.  

What has been going on the past couple of years with these themed drunk-fests is an absolute abuse of the public, public property and public services by a few dozen profiteers.

I guarantee the vast majority of Hoboken residents will appreciate the city putting its 'foot' down on the annual piss-fests.

No there is NO INCENTIVE for sponsors to control or limit their events.

If  sponsors are forced to PAY the City for the additional services, I guarantee the themed events will be managed and controlled- even limited in scope.

Here is Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante's statement in full:

The 2016 Hoboken Leprecon or Hoboken St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, which is an event sponsored by a private promoter and many local bars, and not the City of Hoboken, resulted in another day of arrests and summonses for disorderly behavior and culminated with two Hoboken Police Officers being injured and hospitalized.

This year, the Hoboken Police Department and outside agencies consisting of the Union City Police Department, North Bergen Police Department, Westfield Police Department, New Jersey Transit Police, Port Authority Police and the Hudson County Rapid Deployment Force responded to 432 calls for service between 8am Saturday and 4am Sunday, 27 less than the 459 responded to over the same time period last year.

There were 54 City Ordinance summonses issued mostly for drinking in public, with some being issued for urinating in public, disorderly house parties, and disorderly conduct. This is down from the 93 issued last year. There were 16 motor vehicle moving violations summonses issued as traffic was not a major problem on the day with many using public transportation.

A total of 35 people were transported to hospitals, down from 39 last year, and like last year, there were no reports of sexual assaults.

Arrest numbers went up from 11 last year to 15 this year. The last arrest occurred today when one, Christopher Smallwood, 24 years old, of Warminister, Pennsylvania, turned himself in to police, and is now being charged with multiple counts of Aggravated Assault. Smallwood was allegedly involved in a fight at McDonald’s at 2:30am. While fleeing the scene of the fight, Sgt. Steve Aguiar and Detective Christine Collins confronted Smallwood on Bloomfield Street. Smallwood proceeded to run over the officers and fight away from the officers to evade apprehension. Smallwood struck the officers with such force that Det. Collins suffered three broken ribs and Sgt. Aguiar received a dislocated shoulder. Smallwood was ultimately able to use his skills as a former college football running back at Delaware Valley, and evaded arrest until he turned himself in shortly before noon today. Aguiar and Collins were both taken to Hoboken University Medical Center and were released earlier today and are both now out of work on injured status.

“I am disturbed by the repeated behavior that is occurring on these types of themed events, and have several measures that I am exploring with my command staff that I feel needs to be taken”, said Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante. Ferrante added “I will not tolerate having any of our officers injured, for the purposes of a few to make a financial profit at the expense of our residents, and for the purposes of promoting deviant behavior attached to various holidays, which results in citizens and officers being hospitalized!”

Ferrante added, “I am proud of the efforts put forth by our officers who did everything possible to keep this city as safe as possible throughout the day and night, and thank all of the assisting agencies who helped us put 200 officers on the streets.”

GA
thinks Hoboken can set an example for other similarly-sized municipalities on how to manage these privately-organized events which strain our services,cost taxpayers and include a mini-crime wave.  Before someone gets hurt, again.

Well, to end on a humorous note, this was an "Improv Everywhere" prank  that took place in Central Park on June 6, 2015.

29 comments:

  1. Give the chief the tools he needs to do his job.

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  2. Little Joe made a pile of cash bring these people in and selling alcohol so these people can puke and piss on Hoboken.


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    1. Joe and a number of other owners. This is not about one person.

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    2. Joe Branco owns both Room 84 and Scotland Yard which were at the heart of the chaos downtown on Saturday.



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  3. so tired of the bullcrap with hoboken and these stupid events...time for hoboken to grow up and get rid of the bars that cause these issues...do we really need 10 million bars in hoboken? things have changed, this is n't a college town anymore? families will continue to move out (including myself) if this crap continues..besides it will bring down property values (you think i want to buy a brownstone where some 2o something is pissing on my front door)? i luv people were up in arms about the garden street wall from rebuild and design that it was going to kill their property value meanwhile it is leprecon that will really kill the value..

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    1. I'm all for cracking down on Leprecon, but legally what can the city do? They can't compel bar owners to "get rid of the bars", what can they do legally without getting sued (you KNOW Cabana Boy would be first in line with a lawsuit, probably filed by Carmelo's "ethnic cleansing" lawyer.

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    2. Anon 3:14 PM- The City can create law to limit/manage/control these public safety threats. The HPD can enforce whatever laws are created by the Council. City Hall can require permits and bill for city services, penalties for violations can be made severe. A lot can be done. What next- Valentine-con? Easter Bunny-con? Summer-Soltice-con? The pendulum must swing back.

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    3. Permit for what? What exactly would the permit be for? They're not closing off a street for an event? They're not explicitly asking the city for anything, services or otherwise. The bars are simply coordinating to hold specials and I'm not sure how the City can regulate this.

      I don't like the day but if you want to craft a law to control this it may be harder than people think.

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    4. The city should absolutely require permitting, and regulate these events like every private entity is required to do when using public resources for their own benefit.

      They may not be "explicitly asking" the city for anything, but the sponsors are "inviting" thousands of "guests" who require additional city services, and appear to provoke a crime wave that requires additional police services. So these "themed bar crawls" implicitly require the city to expend resident-taxpayer money on services. Does the city have a choice?

      Why shouldn't these themed events generate revenue for Hoboken?

      Perhaps the permit fees for these "themed events" should be substantial - to be paid by the sponsors and participating bars- so these disruptive vomit-fests could actually generate revenue for the city. No more free rides.

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    5. I absolutely agree that things should be done and would love if the actions you mention were implemented, but I'm not a lawyer and don't know what legal recourse the city has, and would they open themselves up to lawsuits from bar owners. Don't get me wrong, I'd love for all the "Cons" to go away.

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    6. GA, permit for what? Bar owners already have a permit to run their bars and it's legal to offer specials. Are you suggesting a permit for advertising their bar? What business isn't inviting the world to patronize their establishment when they advertise?

      I think your good intentions might be running afoul of the limits the law places on Government. If it were as simple as you seem to suggest NYC would have used these tactics against the NYC SantaCon.

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  4. The city must create laws that will curtail these types of events. I never see/hear about anything like this anywhere else. Santacon in NYC has many more people and many less incidents.

    FTR, the no pants subway ride is gross. Seriously, wear a skirt or kilt if you must be without pants, it's the hygienic thing.

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    1. Ha ha! That reminded me of a story... years back a friend from work forgot to put on her skirt in the morning and she rode the subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan without noticing-- until she climbed the stairs to the sidewalk. People were staring... she was wearing a long-ish suit jacket and stockings, but that was it! Her roommate brought in her skirt for her- got it there by 9 am. True story!

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  5. The city should require event permit applicants to post a bond based on the estimated cost of additional city services, like police and sanitation. The city gets paid up front, and bills sponsors for any cost over runs. Add another 5% fee for the city- event tax- and the city gets revenue.

    The beneficiaries (participating venues) could kick in for the bond ($5K-$10K/bar)

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  6. Leprecon is better than the St. Paddy's parade day ever was, but only by degrees. Maybe we can't stop it but let em pay for using Hoboken as a urinal.

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  7. Hopefully the outrage of LepreCon doesn't just fade away and it brings about positive change.

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  8. Non-Resident alcohol consumption tax - Add 10% tax to the cost of alcohol. Bill it directly to the bars. They will either pass that cost on patrons or decide it is too difficult to figure out to enforce and pay it themselves. Every bar checks ID when the patron walks in, so a wristband for resident's could easily identify those that are not to be taxed. The city council can pass this tax as an all-year tax or just limit it to certain days.

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    1. Forget the fact it seems onerous are municipalities empowered by NJ State law to pass an ordinance to do this?

      I enjoy these flights of fancy but Judges may not.

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  9. To complete the above - If you think this is not possible or just fantasy, it is not. Certain counties in TX have laws just like this, you can't buy alcohol if you arent' a resident. If you are a visitor, you have to fill out a small application and pay a fee to the bar. This gets you membership into their drinking club. This works and is in place in many spots throughout the country.

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    1. Many years ago I belonged to a drinking "club". It was an after hours bar that didn't have a license as a bar, but did as a social club. So we all paid a few hundred dollars in yearly membership dues every January, and then we had $2 "service charges" on all of our drinks.

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    2. I believe they have those in NJ but those are not for bars. Bars already have a more expansive liquor licenses that cover selling booze to the general public. This membership is for "private clubs" that don't have liquor licenses and that can only sell to members of the club.

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    3. What you describe are "Club" Liquor licenses. Those are a specific type of license.

      http://itpuran.blogspot.com/2010/04/types-of-liquor-licenses-in-new-jersey.html

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    4. Sorry but it is a fantasy. New Jersey is governed by New Jersey law so it doesn't matter what "works and is in place in many spots throughout the country" even if you were right about what is done in other places and as pointed out by others I don't think you are. Allowing private clubs as a loophole to permit drinking in otherwise "dry" towns is very different than imposing a selective tax based on residency on a legal product distributed legally.

      NJ doesn't permit municipalities to charge a sales tax at all without a state statute authorizing it. The State certainly won't authorize a punitive tax that exempts local residents and if they did it would almost certainly be unconstitutional.

      If we could get the state to permit it, a local sales tax on alcohol would be a great idea since the costs imposed bars and drinking should be paid by bars and those who drink in them not property owners.

      But even in that fantasy world resident drinkers would have to pay it just like everyone else.

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  10. Hoboken's bar owners are a greedy nasty bunch who don't give a shit about anything but themselves.

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  11. Frankly I feel there is really only one way to curb these days if they want to. And I'm not saying I want this. Just think this is the only realistic solution

    The cops have to drop the hammer on people left and right. Cross a street outside of the sidewalk, get a ticket. Yelling loudly, ticket for noise violation. Have a loud party and the neighbors complain, huge ticket. Each ticket should be expensive and require an appearance.

    For the bars the ABC, health inspector, fire marshall, should all visit each bar who promotes the day multiple times during the event and drop the hammer for the slightest violation.

    Now, of course in an overzealous attempt like this there will be innocent people caught up and there will be collateral damage. But I honestly see that as the only way to truly quash the day. Make the day miserable for those who promote it and attend it and soon they won't want the hassle

    Hope it doesn't come to that though and the bars lay off this

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    1. Agree. Enforce the current laws brutally, stopping just short of harassing bar owners. Don't try to invent new laws that will get the city sued.

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  12. The bulk of the business for the bars involved comes from out of town twenty-somethings, so they already don't care about us - if they did, they'd serve better food and remove 17 of their 18 TV's. Instead, they turn Hoboken into a literal toilet on LepreCon, SantaCon, WhataCon, etc. Some douche collects fees for wristbands, hiding behind an IP address. Maybe we can convince him to sell tagged adult diapers instead. Where are the voices of the Hoboken Hospitality Association and the Chamber of Commerce in all this? Complicit silence.

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    1. The Hoboken Chamber of Commerce is way too busy having luncheons to give each other meaningless awards to be involved with such trivial matters.

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  13. It's such a gross day to be in Hoboken. City Council needs to help end it. The police presence was very heavy - Office of Emergency Management was actually setup in front of City Hall. I mean come on. This is costing residents way too much both in tax $ and in quality of life. At the very least businesses who participate need to be paying a fee for cleanup/port-a-johns, police OT etc. The NJ.com article that quotes Joyce Flinn as saying that's the businesses shouldn't pay extra and that taxpayers pay for schools so why not this, is the most ridiculous thing I think I've every heard. Comparing taxes for educating our children to the same as subsidizing a pub crawl is pathetic.

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