JERSEY CITY – Current government workers, ex-politicians, and regular Jersey City residents have been lobbying for jobs ever since Mayor Steve Fulop got elected.
Most people are doing their lobbying quietly behind the scenes. But at least one lobbying effort has gone very public.
Last week, Jersey City artist and Creative Grove founder Uta Brauser circulated an e-mail that contained a link to an online petition that asks Mayor Fulop to make her an “ambassador of art and culture.” Brauser, who recently closed her Fish with Braids art gallery because the building in which it was housed is being redeveloped for residential housing, is said to be interested in a senior post with the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs.
“My friend started a petition for me in regards to a city appointment in the sector of art and culture with [the] new administration,” Brauser wrote to friends and associates on July 3. “This is the link: http://www.change.org/petitions/mayor-steven-fulop-we-ask-to-appoint-uta-brauser-as-the-ambassador-of-art-and-culture.”
The succinct petition notes Brauser’s “vision and strategic outreach in the community, and her activities need to get incorporated into city policies. Jersey City is in need of improvements, in particular within the sectors of culture and economic development. The cultural scene reflects economy in as much as it attracts business. It would be wonderful if our new mayor could bestow an official capacity onto Ms. Brauser so that she may continue to create and expand the work she has begun.”
The petition continues with “Mayor Steven Fulop: We ask to appoint Uta Brauser as the ambassador of art and culture.”
At present, no such position as “ambassador” exists within the Division of Cultural Affairs. It is unclear whether the petition is an attempt to get Fulop to create such a position or is an attempt to get him to hire Brauser as the director of Cultural Affairs, a position that does exist.
The current director of Cultural Affairs is Maryanne Kelleher.
Brauser is a longtime Fulop supporter. Kelleher was allied with former Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy, but has said in that past that she has a good working relationship with Fulop. Kelleher was among the key staff who helped organize Fulop’s July 1 inauguration.
As of Monday morning, the online petition had 45 signatures. Fifty-five additional supporters were still needed. – E. Assata Wright