Hoboken, New Jersey is a town that seemingly has everything going for it. It's close enough to New York City as to practically be a sixth borough, but it isn't in New York State, with its confiscatorily high state taxes and brutal real estate prices. It still enjoys a modest amount of cachet from the 1990s, when obscure, but not too-obscure, residents like the members of Sonic Youth made the city a mecca for hipsters. Yet it's miserably run. The city has been placed into the municipal equivalent of bankruptcy by the State of New Jersey due to incompetent fiscal management on the part of its government. As a result, property tax rates in Hoboken are among the highest in America.
And the government is steaming mad that someone dares to point that out:
"It's outrageous they're trying to use this as a marketing tool, which is totally inappropriate," said [Hoboken Mayor] Roberts. "I'm outraged about this. I'm going to try to have this ridiculous advertising campaign taken down."
"This" is the billboard shown above, placed by realty firm Metropolitan and Waterfront Residential brokerage, which is based in nearby Jersey City, but does business in both communities. In response, the mayor has hinted, in an "I'd never do this, but…" tone that he could place billboards in Jersey City announcing its murder rate, as though the residents of that city, living or dead, ever did anything to him.
It is of course perfectly rational for citizens of either city to consider taxes, and murder rates, in choosing a place to live. It is not, however, proper of the mayor of a city to engage in threats against the government of another city because he is stung by clever, commercial criticism by private actors, of his incompetent government. With great power comes great responsibility, and sometimes that responsibility is to shut the hell up, accept the criticism, and do a better job.