They showed up in full force to support Carmelo Garcia after he was terminated as Hoboken Housing Authority Executive Director. The special meeting had tempers flaring over what many consider unfair treatment of Garcia and those he helped.
“To me, like they want war and it’s all Zimmer doin’, that’s who it is,” says resident Diane Stewart. “All her doin’. She send her goons out here to do her dirty work. She got sued so many… that’s who they need to get rid of.”
In light of what’s happened, Garcia says he still wants the housing authority to thrive and the residents taken care of.
“I love what I did and I love what I do in public housing. I was very successful in transforming the housing authority under my leadership and during my tenure. And I just feel that there’s been a smear campaign and a violation of my rights. A violation of my First Amendment rights, as well as, you know, a complete violation to my employment contract,” Garcia says.
For Kyelia Colon, holding the meetings in City Hall is another bad decision.
“They have the whole Hoboken Police Department here,” Colon says. “We feel like we are prisoners. This is modern day slavery. It’s like if you wanna voice your opinion, your freedom of speech, your First Amendment right – you can’t even do that, because you’re being thrown out the meeting.”
When it comes down to it, Stewart says firing Garcia hurts the very people who live in Hoboken.
“It should be the people running the projects that live in the projects that know how the projects is,” she says. It’s a shame what they’d doin’.”
This is far from over and leaves a town divided. Garcia’s in litigation and the housing authority is trying to regroup.