Unintended consequences of redistricting?
Last week, registered voters in Jersey City received their sample ballots for this week’s Board of Education election and several downtown residents who were recently redistricted from Ward E to Ward F said they received an unpleasant surprise. Three residents called the Reporter to complain that their polling place has been moved. In some cases polling places have moved some 20 blocks or one mile away from the residents’ old polling location.
Another resident, who lives downtown but who was not affected by redistricting, said some of her neighbors complained to her about this very same issue.
As a result of the 2010 U.S. Census, several Jersey City municipal wards had to be redrawn so that the city’s six wards were roughly equal in population size. Since Jersey City has experienced most of its population growth in downtown’s Ward E, several Ward E residents had to be shifted into neighboring wards. Approximately 40 city blocks – and about 6,840 residents – were shifted from Ward E into Ward F.
When the city’s redistricting plan was completed in February, former Ward E residents were specifically told by city officials that their polling locations would not move, or if they did their new polling sites would not be further away from their homes than their old polling locations. But residents say this isn’t the case.
“For the past 11 years that I’ve lived here I’ve been able to walk to my polling station, which was the elementary school behind Ferris High School, which is basically two blocks away from my house. I’m now being forced to make my way to 111 Tuers Ave. and wherever that may be, it’s not walking distance,” Van Vorst resident Oona Jackson Moore told the Reporter last week. “I think this is further discouragement for downtown residents in voting.”
Other residents who live on Jersey Avenue, also downtown, are now being told to vote at the Martin Luther King Jr. School (P.S. 11), located at 886 Bergen Ave.
Fulop testifies at NJ Transit hearing on Spectra Energy pipeline project
City Councilman Steven Fulop testified last Wednesday before the New Jersey Transit Authority regarding the proposed natural gas pipeline that Spectra Energy plans to build through Jersey City. Spectra has petitioned NJ Transit to ensure and expedite the sale of NJ Transit-owned land necessary to build its controversial pipeline.
“I am here today to remind the New Jersey Transit Authority that their mission is not to be a real estate broker, but to provide safe ways for commuters to ride public transportation, and premature a sale of property would be counter to NJ Transit’s mission in every way and counter to the best interest of residents of Jersey City,” Councilman Fulop said.
If approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the proposed pipeline would include 19.8 miles of new and replacement pipes, six new stations, and other related modifications in Linden, Jersey City, and Bayonne. In Jersey City, the underground pipeline route would run through nearly every municipal ward and near such sensitive areas as Jersey City Medical Center, several schools, the Holland Tunnel, the New Jersey Turnpike, and transportation infrastructure near the Jersey City-Hoboken border.
The pipeline would cross the Hudson River into New York to connect the company’s existing pipeline infrastructure to Manhattan and Staten Island, supplying customers of Con Edison.
Spectra has also said that it will supply energy to power facilities operated by Bayonne Plant Holding and Boilers at the International Matex Tank Terminals. It is designed to bring 800 million cubic feet of natural gas each day to the two states, according to the project web site.
Because of the pipeline’s close proximity to sensitive areas, local activists and city officials have argued that a natural gas explosion could cause mass casualties and significantly damage important transportation infrastructure.
“Some of the land in question runs parallel to important transportation infrastructure, including the Pulaski Skyway, the New Jersey Turnpike, and areas of the light rail system. This increases the risk and danger to the NJ Transit’s rider-ship. We urge the New Jersey Transit Authority not to sell the land voluntarily and willingly,” Fulop told NJ Transit. “I am here today to make that clear and advocate for the safety of Jersey City residents.”
The Jersey City Council and the administration of Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy have been united in opposing Spectra’s current plans for the pipeline.
Several construction union groups support the project and have said they would welcome the 5,000 regional jobs the company said the project will create. They say that fears about the natural gas pipeline are exaggerated.
Spectra Energy officials have repeatedly stated that the pipeline can and will be built safely.
In anticipation of FERC approval sometime this summer Spectra is currently trying to shore up land the company will need to build the project. On Monday (April 16) at 3 p.m. the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will also hold a public hearing on a request by Spectra to divert and rent less than an acre of land near Liberty State Park for the pipeline. The public hearing will take place at 3 p.m. at Liberty State Park, 1 Audrey Zapp Drive in the CRRNJ Terminal Building.
The DEP will also accept written comments regarding Spectra’s proposed lease of state-owned land through April 20. Written comments can be sent to Nancy Lawrence in the DEP’s Green Acres Program, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, the Jersey City Council last week passed a resolution to be sent to NJ Transit, the Turnpike Authority Board, and the DEP formally requesting that no land sales take place before FERC renders a decision.
600-mile run by Jersey City’s finest to benefit wounded soldiers and vets
Members of the Jersey City Police Department and other city officials will be on hand Monday, April 16 at 10 a.m. to salute and send off 25 police officers and military veterans as they undertake the arduous task of running 600 miles from Jersey City to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The send off will take place at the Purple Heart Memorial in Journal Square.
The 25 participants will begin a five-state trek of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and finally North Carolina over a five day period. The runners include Marine Corps veterans, Army veterans, and police officers from Jersey City, Newark, and West New York, in addition to officers from the state police, the Port Authority police, and other law enforcement agencies.
The event, dubbed the Honor Courage Commitment Run, was coordinated by Iraq war veteran and Jersey City Police Officer Collin Congleton, who is a United States Marine. Each of the runners will run three-mile “legs” of the journey during the non-stop, 24-hour a day effort until reaching their destination at the Beirut Memorial at Camp Lejeune.
Congleton said the motivation for the run is to let wounded soldiers know that they are not forgotten. All proceeds generated will be forwarded to the US Marine Corps’ Wounded Warrior Regiment and the Wounded Warrior Project. Anyone interested in making donations to the cause is urged to visit HCCRun.com or email JCPDMarine@gmail.com.Residents can also find HCCRun on Facebook or call (201) 953-9415 for further information.
From Jersey City’s finest to Jersey City’s finest? Art House Productions to host auction of single local hotties for benefit fundraiser
Well, okay, officially the event is called “JC’s Most Eligible.” But the event promises to offer up several of the city’s single boys and girls for auction. The event, which will benefit Art House Productions, will be held on Saturday, April 21 from 8 to 10 p.m. at Art House Productions’ performance space at 1 McWilliams Place.
Admission is free. The event will also feature complimentary food from Parkside Bistro and door prizes from Balance Salon, The Laugh Tour, and Light Horse Tavern. Live music by Folderol. DJ mEgan spins all night.
JC’s Most Eligible will provide a fun and lighthearted opportunity for guests to bid on single, Jersey City-based “celebrities,” including DeCarlos Morse the best-dressed owner of DeCarlos Bespoke; arts and entertainment journalist Summer Dawn Hortillosa; social media queen Luca Cusolito; Jersey City Art School founder-turned rock musician, Thomas John Carlson; Michelle Mumoli of Not Yo Mama’s Craft Fair fame; massage therapist Ceallaigh Pender; dancer/choreographer Avianna Perez; Shalea Walker of Walker’s Apothecary, and architect and interior designer Anne McTernan.
Jersey City legend Dancing Tony will serve as the night’s auctioneer.
Local restaurants providing gift certificates for the winning pairs include: Hamilton Inn, Park & Sixth, Komegashi, Brightside Tavern, Satis Bistro, Saigon Café, LITM, Skinner’s Loft, GP’s Restaurant, Parkside Bistro, Sawadee, More, Light Horse Tavern, and Bistro La Source.
For over a decade, Art House Productions has been a pioneering force in the Jersey City arts movement. Art House aims to support artists in the creation and presentation of new work, encourage artistic growth and experimentation across all mediums, and foster a widespread appreciation for the arts in the community.