Vape Van Politics

Hoboken City Council, misc. licensing for vendors approved at April 5, 2017 meeting

Like everything in Hoboken, GA predicts a Vape Van vendor's license will become a political football.

It shouldn't, but it will.

Some idiot at the City Council will grandstand, perhaps even create a false equivalency between a vendor's anti-immigrant slurs and the "butt buddies" text-misfire.  

It's not the same.  A vendor's license to do business in Hoboken is at stake, and the legal issues surrounding the revocation of that license are complex.

According to a lawyer-friend: "Where a license is issued the licensee is limited by the contractual terms to which he is bound.  The license itself can be challenged on legal grounds but that is the first consideration. As simple as it may seem, it's not."

Now add "hate speech" to the mix, which implicates the First Amendment...

Oh, boy. I'm no lawyer, the legal issues are over my head, and probably yours.


It is possible that factors unrelated to First Amendment issues may impact the City's determination of this matter.

For example, did Hoboken's Supervisor of Licenses investigate the applicant before the license was approved as required by statute?
"§ 146-8 Granting of licenses.  
A. Following the filing of the application, the original shall be referred to the Supervisor of Licenses who shall cause such investigation of the applicant's moral character, license history and general personal history to be made and return said application with his findings thereon to the City Clerk.
B. If, as a result of such investigation, the applicant's moral character is found to be unsatisfactory, the Supervisor of Licenses shall endorse on said application his disapproval and his reasons for the same and return said application to the City Clerk, who shall notify the applicant that his application is disapproved and that no license will be issued.
C. If, as a result of such investigation, the applicant is found to be of good moral character, the Supervisor of Licenses shall endorse on the application his approval, and a license shall be issued by the City Clerk upon payment of the license fee.
Did the applicant disclose to the City that he was terminated for cause as a Hoboken Parking Enforcement Officer on September 12, 2013?   (The NJ Civil Service Commission denied his appeal on September 3, 2014.)

The public is not privy to more material fact than we can see on the YouTube video.  

GA, a victim of a First Amendment SLAPP suit (Bajardi v Pincus), understands that the New Jersey Constitution protects insults and slurs like the ones on this Facebook screencap sent by a reader:
An old post from the vape guy. I think this kind of speaks for itself.


Yes, the NJ Constitution provides wide protection for everyone: from saints to bigots. 

So, the vigorous public debate continues online: whether or not the City should revoke the Vape Van's vendor's license.

Debate is all good. But the issues are serious, people's lives are impacted, so for once I hope this matter does not devolve into junk political theater at the next Council meeting.

GA Note:
Today Chris Halloran of hMag, makes a compelling argument for letting the free market render it's verdict on the Vape Van, lest we turn the Vape Van vendor into a "civil liberties hero."    Food for thought.


  1. I honestly have no clue as to what the legal limits are in this case but they should be damn sure before the pull the trigger.


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