Court gives city 120-day extension on redistricting
A Hudson County Superior Court judge has granted the city’s request to postpone redistricting pending the outcome of a challenge to Jersey City’s 2010 U.S. Census numbers.
According to the 2010 census numbers, Jersey City has 240,000 residents. But ever since those numbers were released the city has argued that thousands of residents were not included in this count. Jersey City hired Social Compact, a nonprofit research firm, to conduct a block-by-block topographic analysis of the city to determine whether any housing developments were missed by census workers last year.
Based on initial results from Social Compact released in August, at least 19,000 housing units in Jersey City were not included in the 2010 census.
Based on the finding from Social Compact, the city plans to formally challenge its official census numbers.
By state and federal law, however, census numbers are supposed to be used to redraw political districts based on population changes uncovered by the census count. Locally, Jersey City is supposed to redraw the boundaries for municipal wards A, B, C, D, E, and F. This redistricting was supposed to be completed by Oct. 6, according to City Clerk Robert Byrne.
Last month, however, the city filed an appeal requesting more time while it awaited word from the federal government regarding its census appeal.
Byrne told the Reporter last week that the court has granted the city a 120-day extension while it awaits a resolution to the census challenge.
Why is Fulop mum on at-large race?
The race for two Jersey City Council at-large seats will be decided on Nov. 8 after a campaign season that has lasted several months. But the ever-present Ward E Councilman Steven Fulop has been unusually silent throughout the campaign.
Anyone who gets Fulop’s e-mail newsletter knows the 2013 mayoral hopeful isn’t usually shy about endorsing candidates who he thinks are in line with his reformist stance on city politics. Last year he endorsed a slate of Board of Education candidates who vowed to push for a new school superintendent to replace Dr. Charles Epps.
More recently, in April, he again backed a reformist school board ticket of three candidates.
Both years the Fulop-backed slates swept to victory.
Over the summer a number of people Fulop supported were elected to the Jersey City Democratic Committee, including Jeff Dublin, who was selected as committee chairman.
So, why hasn’t he endorsed anyone for the at-large seats?
“The challenge that I’ve had with the at-large race is that it would cost in excess of $100,000 to really get engaged and run a proper race, to really be competitive citywide. It’s not a good scenario,” Fulop said in an interview last week. “That’s the nature of these campaigns. And the unfortunate part is, [even if my endorsed candidates won], we’d still be the minority on the council. It might be 7-2, or 6-3. But we’d have the same predicament I’m in now.”
Rather than make formal endorsements, Fulop said he instead opted to support five of the 17 at-large candidates with whom he has personal ties in more limited ways. He has, for example, attended their fundraisers and has encouraged some of his supporters to volunteer time to their campaigns. These candidates include Richard Boggiano, Rolando Lavarro, Dan Levin, Sue Mack, and Imtiaz Sayed.
“Ironically, when I get too engaged I get criticized for being too involved, like with the Board of Education race. But then when I’m not engaged, I get criticized for not being involved.”
Fulop, supporters raise money, gear up for 2013 mayoral election
Speaking of Fulop, the councilman added to his mayoral campaign war chest thanks to a standing-room only fundraiser at Zeppelin Hall last Tuesday.
Organizers of the event said at least 736 tickets were sold. Guests made a minimum campaign donation of $20 to attend the event.
“It’s going to be a tough road for the next year-and-a-half. But think about what we’ve accomplished in a very short period of time,” Fulop told supporters, before listing policy and education changes that his supporters have helped implement over the last two years.
State Sen. Nicholas Sacco attended Tuesday’s affair to lend his support, as did Assemblyman Ruben Ramos Jr., Bill O’Dea, chairman of the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders, and at least three of Fulop’s colleagues on the Jersey City Council – David Donnelly, Nidia Lopez, and Viola Richardson – also made appearances at the soiree. Board of Education trustees Carol Lester, Marvin Adames, and Sue Mack – all of whom Fulop endorsed in their elections – were also in attendance.
But the event was largely attended by residents who believe Fulop can win the next mayoral race and restore fiscal responsibility to the city.
“I think he’d be a great mayor. I’ve known him since he first got on the council,” said Ward A resident Robert Napiorski, who also attended the fundraiser. “He has new ideas, which have been lacking severely. There hasn’t been much new blood in this city for a while. It’s the same old guard that’s been running everything. I think he stands a great chance of winning. I’d be shocked if he didn’t win.”
One lingering question of the Fulop campaign is whether the candidate, who represents the city’s downtown Ward E, can translate his popularity beyond his traditional base of support, which largely includes yuppies on the waterfront.
However, Fulop said Tuesday that he has already made inroads in other parts of the city.
“We have teams [of supporters] working in every single ward right now. We have made a concerted effort to reach out to the other wards,” Fulop told the Reporter. “We had three ‘meet-and-greets’ last week in wards A and F. If you look at the results of the committee election, outside of Ward E, more than half of the committee seats that we challenged, we beat way off the line. From a constituent services standpoint, we service a lot of constituents outside of Ward E. People underestimate us, and that’s okay.”
Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy has not formally announced whether he plans to seek reelection, but some political observers believe the incumbent will run for a third term in 2013. State Sen. Sandra Cunningham, wife of late Mayor Glenn D. Cunningham, has also been mentioned as a possible 2013 mayoral candidate.
Could pipeline derail No. 7 train?
Possible plans to extend New York’s No. 7 subway across the Hudson River and into New Jersey appear to be on the fast track now that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg appears to be lobbying for the project to begin before he leaves office.
The No. 7 subway line – which currently runs from Flushing, Queens to Times Square – is already undergoing a major extension to 34th Street and 11th Avenue in Manhattan. Under the proposed plan, which is still in its preliminary stages, the extension to New Jersey would terminate at the Frank R. Lautenberg Rail Station in Secaucus and would likely have a stop at the Hoboken Rail Terminal near the Jersey City border.
However, according to Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy, another planned project – the natural gas pipeline Spectra Energy wants to build in the same area – could derail plans to bring the No. 7 train to Hoboken Terminal.
“I can’t imagine the MTA would want that pipeline running that close to this rail line,” Heal said recently. “So, not only could the pipeline negatively affect the transportation infrastructure we already have, it could jeopardize our ability to get new infrastructure built in the region.”
Chromium cleanup meeting
On Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 6:30 p.m., the Chromium Cleanup Partnership will hold a meeting on the next stage of chromium cleanup in Jersey City. According to the partnership, now that about 10 percent of the contaminated material on Garfield Avenue has been removed, the next phase of land remediation is set to begin. The goal is to have 25 percent of toxic material removed by next summer, and all of it gone by 2014.
The Chromium Cleanup Partnership is an alliance between the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Jersey City, a court-appointed administrator, and PPG Industries.
The meeting will be held at the Mary McLeod Bethune Life Center, at 140 MLK Drive.
Those who can’t attend the Nov. 1 meeting can ask questions by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Brian McPeak at (201) 777-2099.
Dogs face euthanasia
Two dogs responsible for vicious attacks on Jersey City residents in 2008 and 2009 are in danger of being put down after their owner, Susan Kolb, allegedly violated an order to keep the dogs muzzled when outside the home, according to a published report.
The dogs, two South African Boerboels faced the possibility of being put down after they attacked three adults and a child in downtown Jersey City. Kolb, however, worked out an agreement with Hudson County Superior Court to move them out of state. This agreement allowed the dogs to live. But Kolb allegedly brought the dogs back to Jersey City, in violation of her agreement with the court.
A new deal between Kolb and Jersey City Municipal Court again allowed the dogs to live if the owner moved them out of the city and kept them muzzled in public.
Kolb subsequently moved to Jefferson Township, where local police have reported seeing the dogs allegedly without muzzles in public, according to a media report.
The dogs now face the possibility of euthanasia again.