HOBOKEN — The future of SantaCon looks grim after dozens of people were arrested or hospitalized during Saturday's event.

Incoming mayor Ravi Bhalla, in a message sent via Twitter, backed an online petition asking bars and restaurants to stop participating in the event which, he said was "not acceptable in Hoboken."

"By stopping the promotion of SantaCon, petitioning bars to stop participating in the unsanctioned, non-city sponsored event, and seeking to stop the event from having a home here, we can have our city back and keep SantaCon to NYC, which is much more prepared to handle the crowds and nature of the event," the petition reads.

As of Tuesday morning, about 700 people had signed the petition.

Bhalla said that residents also need to be vocal about their opposition to the event.

"We shouldn't have to subsidize a few bars getting rich off our tax dollars," Bhalla said.

The Hoboken police union, the Police Superior Officers Association, also supports the petition.

"The citizens of @CityofHoboken do not deserve to endure these types of days/nights 3-4 times a year," PSOA said in a message on Twitter.

The union also tweeted its intention to seek compensation via the NJ Fireman's Rule, for officers injured due to "negligent bars causing mayhem on Saturday."

Police Chief Ken Ferrante repeated the number of arrests and summonses issued by his department, which he tweeted out during the event, in a formal press release. The stats include:

  • 51 city ordinance summonses issued for public drinking
  • 32 moving violations
  • 17 custodial arrests for crimes varying from aggravated assault & resisting arrest to simple assault & drug possession
  • 55 people taken to University Medical Center/CarePoint in Hoboken by ambulance, which Ferrante called a “staggering number”
  • 1 report of sexual contact
  • More than two dozen Alcoholic Beverage Control tavern complaints issued against liquor establishments for ABC violations, with some establishments receiving multiple complaints.

Current Mayor Dawn Zimmer put the onus for continued SantaCon events on the state, in a statement issued to NJ.com blaming the Alcoholic Beverage Commission. She said that the state ABC typically overturns locally-issued orders to close down.

Share your SantaCon experience and pictures & video with reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ.

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