Hoboken Council: No Quorum, No Vote Taken On $1,000 House Party Fines

An expected vote by the Hoboken City Council during a specially convened, virtual meeting last night to consider an ordinance imposing up to a $1,000 fine on certain indoor gatherings exceeding 25 attendees, never materialized.  The proposed ordinance, sponsored by 5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen and supported by Mayor Ravi Bhalla, was the only item on Thursday night’s, special Council meeting agenda.

The problem was, only four of the nine Councilpersons logged into the virtual meeting.  Without a quorum, no vote on second reading could take place.  Following the “non-meeting, “Councilman Cohen stated, “On the day when the City of Hoboken learned that on October 28 Hoboken tallied 17 new positive COVID-19 test results — the largest single day of positive results for Hoboken’s testing since April, it is incredibly disappointing that five Hoboken Council people failed to show up for a Special Meeting called to to consider an Ordinance that would fine rowdy, illegal house parties attended by 25 or more people up to $1,000.”

Mayor Bhalla expressed his disappointment at the lack of a quorum, stating, “On a day where Hoboken saw its highest amount of COVID-19 cases in one day since April, it’s unfortunate that the majority of the City Council did not vote on this important ordinance designed to help prevent the spread of the virus.  Indoor gatherings are proven to be the main reason why COVID-19 is continuing to rise in Hoboken, and this measure is solely designed to protect the public health and prevent super-spreader events.”

The three Council members attending the meeting, in addition to Cohen, were Council President Jen Giattino, Councilwoman-At-Large Emily Jabbour and Councilman-At-Large Jim Doyle.

Last night, the Hoboken Health Department announced that an additional 17 cases of the coronavirus were reported in the city.  Hoboken currently has a total of 991, confirmed COVID-19 cases.  There have been 856 patient recoveries and 31 COVID fatalities in the Mile Square City since the start of the pandemic.

Hoboken University Medical Center is reporting that there are currently 11 COVID-19 related hospitalizations, which includes two, Hoboken residents.  The second wave has certainly arrived, as Governor Phil Murphy has been saying.

Councilman Cohen added, “I thank Mayor Bhalla and Council President Giattino for scheduling this special meeting and taking leadership on these issues.  However, because 5 of my Council colleagues did not dial in to this evening’s Special Meeting, the Hoboken Police Department will not be able to issue these summons Halloween weekend — as Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante had hoped to do — on a weekend that is notorious for such events.  I look forward to my Council colleagues coming together to support this important measure at our regular Council meeting next week, on Wednesday, November 4th.”