Pay-to-play amendment not considered
Were partisan politics to blame for the absence of an agenda item for the Jan. 23 City Council agenda?
In December, the City Council majority – which is allied with Ward E Councilman and mayoral candidate Steven Fulop – passed an amendment that would have set new restrictions on city contractors that make donations to candidates for the Board of Education, New Jersey State Senate, Assembly, and various political committees. The measure was passed on Dec. 19 by a vote of 5 to 4. But earlier this month Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy, Fulop’s chief opponent in the upcoming mayoral race, vetoed it.
At the time Fulop vowed to bring the measure back in an attempt to override Healy’s veto. So, he was a bit surprised last week when the measure was not included on the City Council agenda, even though Corporation Counsel William Matsikoudis had prepared the necessary paperwork for it to be considered at the Jan. 23 meeting.
Fulop called the exclusion “suspicious” and blamed Council President Peter Brennan, a Healy ally, with deliberately keeping it off the agenda. Brennan was among the council members who voted against the pay-to-play amendment last month.
Brennan took umbrage at Fulop’s accusation, although he did not explain why the measure was not on the agenda last week. He vowed the council majority will have an opportunity to override Healy’s veto at the next meeting, scheduled for Feb. 13.
To override the veto Fulop and his allies – council members David Donnelly, Nidia Lopez, Rolando Lavarro Jr., and Diane Coleman – will need to pick up support from one of the council reps who initially voted against the pay-to-play amendment.
In recent months Fulop and Healy have introduced dueling pay to play measures before the City Council in response to complaints from the public about questionable donations made to Board of Education candidates who later awarded contracts to these donors.
Jersey City Medical Center to participate in 11th Annual Give Kids a Smile Day, Feb. 1
Jersey City Medical Center, in cooperation with various dental associations and schools, will host the 11th annual Give Kids a Smile day on Friday, Feb. 1 at its 412 Summit Ave. site from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
On this day, dentists will provide children ages 12 and under with free dental care. The program targets children who do not have regular access to dental care. More than 100 children are expected to be seen by dentists during Give Kids a Smile day. Between the Jersey City Medical Center dentists and volunteers, more than a dozen dental practitioners are expected to participate.
Give Kids a Smile is a national program sponsored by the American Dental Association to bring attention to childhood tooth decay. At last year’s event, more than one million children in the U.S. and 4,000 kids in New Jersey received over $100 million in free dental care.
Children will receive a comprehensive dental exam, oral healthcare instruction, fluoride treatments, and free dental materials including toothbrushes, floss and toothpaste. Referrals, where necessary, will be made for continuing treatment.
New Jersey runs one of the most successful Give Kids a Smile programs in the country. The statewide event is sponsored by the New Jersey Dental Association, in cooperation with the New Jersey Dental Hygienists’ Association, the New Jersey Dental Assistants’ Association, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Dental School.
It is suggested that appointments be made ahead of time by calling (201) 499-1972 or (201) 499-1975.
Hudson County relief groups get Robin Hood funding
Robin Hood’s Hurricane Sandy Relief Committee met on Jan. 18 and Jan. 23 to review and approve the latest round of relief grants. They awarded 71 organization grants totaling more than $9.5 million, bringing the total granted by Robin Hood thus far to $29.8 million to more than 220 organizations in the tri-state area. This represents 44 percent of the Robin Hood Sandy Relief Fund.
The majority of grants were for housing-related programs designed to help individuals and families get back into their homes or to help them move into transitional housing. This funding includes grants to several long-term recovery groups in New Jersey and Long Island.
“Our aim is to get 95 percent of the money from the Robin Hood Relief Fund granted no later than March 31,” said David Saltzman, executive director of Robin Hood. “We will continue to do our best to get the money out the door as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
Hoboken Department of Health and Human Services will get $210,000. The Hoboken Multi-Service Center housed a number of community health programs that served low- to moderate-income families, and the building has been closed due to damage from the storm. Funds from this grant will allow them to repair and refurnish classrooms and office space for Hoboken Day Care 100, which provides high quality day-care to 100 children, and to restore Hoboken Family Planning, which served 45 women per week, and which served as the sole source of medical care for the majority of those women.
Hudson Milestones, which is based in Bayonne and Jersey City and operates a wide variety of programs to assist developmentally disabled individuals of all ages, will get $75,000. Hudson Milestones lost twelve of their transport vehicles in the storm, including four specially equipped school buses and eight specially equipped 12-passenger vans. This funding will help defray the replacement costs (not covered by insurance) for some of these vehicles.
Founded in 1988, Robin Hood is New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization, and has focused on finding, funding and creating programs and schools that generate meaningful results for families in New York’s poorest neighborhoods. The Robin Hood Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund has granted tens of millions of dollars to organizations throughout New York’s tri-state region that help individuals and families recover from the devastating effects of the storm. In addition, Robin Hood’s board of directors pays all administrative, fundraising and evaluation costs, so 100 percent of donations go directly to organizations helping victims of Hurricane Sandy rebuild their lives.