Levin throws hat in Jersey City Council-At-large seat; field widens
Community activist and former mayoral candidate Dan Levin announced a week ago that he will run for one of two Jersey City Council At-large seats in the November special election.
Voters will go to the polls on Nov. 8 to fill two seats vacated by former council members Willie Flood and Mariano Vega, whose terms expire in 2013.
Flood resigned from the City Council in February due to health reasons. Vega – one of 46 public and religious officials arrested in the infamous 2009 FBI corruptions sting – resigned last September after pleading guilty to federal charges.
Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy appointed Ray Velasquez to fill Vega’s seat. Attorney Kalimah Ahmad was selected by the mayor to fill the seat vacated by Flood.
Ahmad and Velasquez have announced their intentions to run for full terms. Two weeks ago Roland Lavarro also joined the race for an at-large council seat.
Now Levin – co-founder of Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy, Civic JC, and Bike JC – has entered the race.
“I am running for a seat on the Jersey City municipal council with a simple mission to improve the decisions made by our city,” said Levin in a release. “I will bring a clear, common sense vision and sound management approach to solve our problems and build upon our opportunities while keeping the needs of residents central to all considerations and actions.”
The owner of a small business and a former credit union manager, Levin said he plans to build his campaign on “good government practices, historic preservation, advocating for sound and sustainable planning, advocating for safe streets and sidewalks to give equal consideration to pedestrians and bicyclists, and developing community groups and neighborhood associations.”
Cunningham shocked by lack of funding for after-school programs
State Sen. Sandra Bolden Cunningham expressed disbelief last week that state Senate Republicans voted as a whole against a Democratic resolution that would restore funding to after-school programs in areas of need in the state.
“The reality in New Jersey is that not every family looks like the Cleavers,” said Cunningham, referring to “Leave it to Beaver,” a 1950s TV sitcom that became emblematic for white suburban America. “In some cases, parents need the peace of mind in knowing that their kids have somewhere to go after school – somewhere safe – while they work to support their families. These programs make a real difference in the lives of children who come from single-parent households, or in which both parents have to work to make ends meet, and I’m disappointed our Republican colleagues couldn’t overcome partisan blinders to stand with us to restore these programs.”
The first resolution, SCR-226, sponsored by Sens. Raymond J. Lesniak and Jim Whelan, would have overridden the governor’s line-item veto of funding in the FY 2012 Budget approved by the Legislature for the NJ After 3 program. Under the appropriation, the $3 million appropriation in the Legislature’s FY 2012 Budget for After 3 would be restored. According to the lawmakers, by allowing the governor’s cut in aid to stand, Senate Republicans have chosen to put the safety and well-being of 5,000 students in 13 school districts served by NJ After 3 in jeopardy.
UBS to get $27M tax break from NJ to stay in JC, Weehawken
On Thursday the state of New Jersey said they would award a $27 million tax break to UBS Financial Services in order to keep 2,000 employees in Weehawken and Jersey City instead of leaving the state.
According to a report in the Record of Hackensack, UBS, headquartered in Switzerland, told the state Economic Development Authority that it was considering moving to Tennessee, Connecticut, and New York City.
The six-year grant of $4.5 million per year was granted under the Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant, which provides tax credits of $2,250 per job for companies considering leaving.
The company must agree to keep the jobs in the state for at least five years.
Incidentally, the credit is a different kind than the $102 million credit extended to Panasonic recently to keep the company in the state. The company recently solidified a deal to move from Secaucus to Newark after the EDA approved a tax credit. Prior to receiving the credit Panasonic had considered plans to move its U.S. headquarters out of state. Secaucus officials complained because they believed it was unfair to reward a company for leaving their town. Newark is one of a few municipalities covered under the state’s Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit. Panasonic was able to get the credit because it is moving to Newark, an urban transit hub, but was not eligible for the credit had the company stayed in Secaucus.
Students win congressional art awards
Rep. Albio Sires announced the winners of this year’s 13th Congressional District art competition.
Each spring, Members of the U.S. House of Representatives sponsors a nationwide high school art competition known as An Artistic Discovery. This competition is a great opportunity to recognize and encourage artistic talent in the 13th Congressional District as well as across the nation.
Two weeks ago, Sires welcomed the winner of that competition, Victor Cedeno, to his Washington, D.C. office. Victor, who attends Hudson County Preparatory School in Jersey City, had the winning entry entitled True Me. It will be displayed, along with other winning pieces from around the Nation, in the United States Capitol for one year.
Second place winner, Jenelle Ramdeen, of Bayonne High School in Bayonne will have her work Time Worn displayed in the Congressman’s Washington, D.C. office for one year.
This year’s Congressional Art Competition took place on May 2, 2011 at the Hudson County Community College, Culinary Institute Campus. The winning pieces of art were chosen from 52 outstanding entries from school districts throughout the 13th Congressional District.
In addition, the following runners up will have their work displayed in the district offices of Congressman Sires:
Bicycle Boy, by: Denis Gorbarain, the Admiral William Halsey Leadership Academy, Elizabeth.
Mechanical Wonders, by: Kathleen Montalvo, Carteret High School, Carteret.
Self Portrait, by: Ray McKeon, Hudson County Preparatory School, Jersey City.
Black and White Photograph, by: Rebecca Poggiali, Bayonne High School, Bayonne.
“Self Portrait, by Sarah Barcelos, Jersey City Arts High School, Jersey City.