Street sweeping program to end in Jersey City Heights on Jan. 28
Officials with Jersey City’s Central Avenue Special Improvement District Management Corporation have announced that the organization’s longstanding sidewalk sweeping program will officially come to an end on Jan. 28 due to a lack of funding.
Funding for the popular program, which helped keep one of the city’s major commerce corridors clean, came from the state Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) Program. Over the past two years much of the UEZ Program has been phased out by Gov. Christopher Christie. This year, Jersey City stands to lose approximately $2 million in funding due state cuts in the UEZ program.
As the program has been phased out, the city has had to cut back on funding to its business districts, which are known as special improvement districts. Under the city’s 2012 budget all of the special improvement districts received $50,000 in funding.
The Central Avenue Special Improvement District’s street sweeping program supplemented the city’s own street cleaning operations.
In a letter to mayor Jerramiah T. Healy sent last November, Michael Yun, president of the Central Avenue Special Improvement District, wrote “Ending [the] sanitation program after 20 years of service to the community is an agonizing, but necessary, decision because the merchants and commercial property owners on Central Avenue no longer have the resources to continue.”
The organization has also announced that it might not have the necessary funding and staff to organize the annual Everything Jersey City Festival this year.
Officials from the Central Avenue Special Improvement District said they have tried to meet with Mayor Healy to discuss the situation, but said Healy, they claim, has denied their request for a meeting.
Healy spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill, said, “The [Central Avenue Special Improvement District] did request a meeting with the mayor and were informed that a meeting would be scheduled for some time after the first of the year due to holiday schedules. There has been no bigger proponent of the [UEZ] Program than Mayor Healy, who has on numerous occasions advocated for the UEZ before the legislature and to the governor directly. However, despite this, the governor chose to abolish the program, which in Jersey City helps fund the Special Improvement Districts and many other UEZ-funded programs.”
How the Special Improvement Districts chooses to spend their funding allocations each year is entirely up to those organizations and is not influenced by the administration.
Yun has announced plans to run in the upcoming city election for the Ward D City Council seat and will be running against an unannounced candidate on Healy’s re-election slate.
State breaks ground for new elementary school in Jersey City
New Jersey’s Schools Development Authority broke ground Tuesday for the Elementary School 3 Project in Jersey City.
Located at the corner of Laidlaw and Summit avenues, the 2.8 acre site had previously been home to industrial buildings. Once completed Elementary School 3 will be able to accommodate about 775 students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. The fourth new building to be constructed by the Schools Development Authority in Jersey City, Elementary School 3 will be approximately 122,000 square feet when completed and is scheduled to open in time for the 2016-2017 academic year.
Tricon Enterprises Inc. of Keyport has been awarded a $1.86 million general construction contract to complete the first phase of work at the site, which will include clearing the site and removing sub-surface footings, foundations, unsuitable soils, and underground storage tanks. Tricon is also responsible for remediating the land at the site. Demolition work is scheduled to be completed by this spring.
“The [Schools Development Authority] continues to aggressively address education facility needs in Jersey City with the advancement of the Elementary School 3 Project,” said agency CEO Marc Larkins.
The Schools Development Authority has invested nearly $275 million in completed projects in Jersey City since the inception of the school construction program, including Frank R. Conwell Public School 3, Frank R. Conwell Middle School 4, and the Franklin L. Williams Middle School.
The Elementary School 3 Project was approved as part of the Schools Development Authority’s 2011 Capital Portfolio.
Healy, Jersey City to join One Million Moms for Gun Control for Jan. 26 rally
Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy and representatives of the North Jersey Chapter of One Million Moms for Gun Control have announced plans to rally on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 11 a.m. to advocate for tougher national and state gun control laws. The rally will take place in Lincoln Park, at West Side and Belmont Avenues.
Born in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. shootings last month, One Million Moms for Gun Control has planned similar rallies across the country on Monday, Jan. 21 to mark the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and the civil rights leader’s legacy of nonviolence. Local chapters that were unable to hold rallies on the 21st have selected Saturday, Jan. 26 as an alternate day on which to rally for gun control. A national march on Washington is also planned for the 26th.
The organization’s mission is to advocate for a ban on assault weapons, a ban on ammunition magazines of more than 10 rounds, and more stringent background checks for gun purchasers. The organization also wants to see changes in concealed weapons laws at the state level and wants the sale of large quantities of guns and ammunition to be reported to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
“One Million Moms for Gun Control – NJ has been overwhelmed by the response of our New Jersey elected officials, especially Mayor Healy’s office,” said Mandi Perlmutter, organizer of the organization’s North Jersey chapter. “As we rally together, we want to send a powerful message to Washington that we will not back down. We demand reform.”
“We have been advocating for a federal cure for this federal plague of gun violence for years,” said Healy. “While New Jersey is often used as a model for common sense gun legislation, we know that without federal action, we will continue to lose countless lives to gun violence. We need to have our voices heard, so that the National Riffle Association and those federal legislators who capitulate to them, will know we are just as strong as the gun lobby.”
Earlier this month, Healy called for a gun buyback, which took 164 firearms off the streets of Jersey City.
Fulop opens campaign headquarters; tells supporters: ‘Another Jersey City is possible.’
Before a packed room at his new campaign headquarters, Jersey City Councilman and 2013 mayoral candidate Steven Fulop told supporters Saturday, “There is no reason that Jersey City can’t be everything we imagine it can be – with the best schools, safe streets, clean streets. It is possible.”
Fulop used the opening of his headquarters at 2175 Kennedy Blvd. introduce his slate of candidates, many of whom are newcomers to the world of politics. Thus far the Fulop slate includes Frank Gajewski (Ward A), Khemraj Ramchal (Ward B), Sean Connors (Ward D), Candice Osborne (Ward E), and City Councilwoman Diane Coleman (Ward F). City Councilman Rolando Lavarro Jr., Joyce Waterman, and Daniel Rivera are running for the three at-large seats on the city council.
Fulop, who is running against Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy, has yet to announce who will run on his ticket in Ward C.
“This campaign is about going into neighborhoods and repairing, block by block, person by person,” Fulop added. “I know that if you give me the opportunity, and you give this team the opportunity, to show you that things can be different, we will achieve more than you think we will achieve. I promise you that.”
Campaign officials estimated that 200 to 250 people attended the campaign kick off at the new headquarters.
“Over the next four months we’re going to have an election where there is a clear choice, a clear choice between two visions – and I use the term ‘vision’ loosely for one side,” Lavarro told the crowd of supporters and volunteers. Laying out some of the policy differences between Fulop and Healy on policing strategies, tax abatements, and municipal spending, Lavarro said, “People…have a very clear choice in this election. You can go forward, or you can stick with the status quo.”
Noting that she has often been asked to run for City Council by previous mayoral candidates, Coleman added, “I said no so many times because I didn’t like politicians. I didn’t like that they would stand in my face and tell me one thing, and then turn around and do something else.”
She said she only agreed to join the Fulop slate after determining that he and his campaign “stood for the same things I stand for, helping the little people in Jersey City.”
In a statement released after the opening, spokesman Joshua Henne said, “Mayor Healy welcomes Steve Fulop and his team to the race, and we hope Team Fulop doesn’t get too dizzy spinning themselves in circles when voters see their hypocrisy on pay-to-play, record of wasting taxpayer money and lack of transparency. Today, while Fulop was talking with the same group of fawning insiders he always talks with, Mayor Healy was out walking door-to-door, meeting constituents and getting input from voters to keep the progress going in Jersey City.”
Most political observers in the city expect the upcoming race to get nasty.
Healy adds activist Gerald Myers to slate for Ward B
Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy last week announced that community activist and Hudson County Democratic Committeeman Gerald “Jerry” Meyers will run on his reelection slate for the Ward B City Council seat.
Meyers, who is now retired, spend his working years employed at the Preston Trucking Company, where he worked for 28 years.
For several years Meyers was also active in the Lincoln Park Little League, where he started as a coach and worked his way up the ranks to become Little League president. In 2005, Meyers was inducted into the Hudson County Hall of Fame with a Community Service Award.
Meyers joins Healy’s previously announced council candidates, who include Democratic Committeeman Omar Perez (at-large), former Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Dr. Charles Epps (Ward A), City Council President Peter Brennan (at-large), and community activists Janet Chevres (Ward C) and Dan Levin (Ward E).
The Healy campaign recently announced that the mayor has received the endorsement of former State Assemblywoman Joan Quigley.
Jersey Dental Arts gives kids a smile on Feb. 1
For the eighth year in a row, Jersey Dental Arts in Jersey City will offer a half-day of free dental screenings for children, ages 12 and under, on Friday, Feb. 1.
Each year, Dr. Morris Sonbolian and four other dentists in his private practice offer this free Give Kids a Smile event to promote oral health among children in Jersey City and to promote the benefits of oral health and proper oral hygiene.
Parents who are interested in scheduling an appointment for their children can call Jersey Dental Arts at (201) 946-1000 or (201) 946-1617. Be sure to mention the Give Kids a Smile event when calling to book the appointment.
Fulop receives union endorsement; sponsored union measure last year
Mayoral candidate and Jersey City Councilman Steven Fulop has received the endorsement of 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of the fastest-growing unions in New Jersey, the campaign announced last week. As part of its endorsement, the union said it is committed to a voter outreach campaign in support of Fulop’s election.
Last year, Councilman Fulop introduced a measure to expand the city’s Living Wage Ordinance so more workers in city-subsidized buildings receive better wages and benefits. Some of those workers are security guards who are members of the SEIU 32BJ. The measure was ultimately adopted by the City Council.