Lavarro to introduce end to health benefits for commissioners of autonomous boards
Jersey City Council President Rolando Lavarro Jr. will introduce an ordinance this Wednesday (July 31) to end city-paid health benefits for volunteer commissioners of the Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA) and the Incinerator Authority (JCIA) boards.
MUA and JCIA board members get full health benefits from the city, despite working only one hour per week.
“This ordinance is something I fought for while on the City Council,” said Mayor Steven Fulop, “but was blocked more than once by allies of [former Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy] who wanted to protect their friends and family members in these appointed positions. I am ecstatic that Council President Lavarro is closing the loop here.”
In 2010, then-Councilman Fulop was successful in enacting changes that required MUA and JCIA commissioners to contribute 20 percent to the cost of their health benefits. Changes to the law also prohibited new commissioners from receiving benefits.
“The two ordinances we are introducing Wednesday night will officially codify the abolishment of health benefits for these two boards,” said Lavarro. “This is what the public wants and this action is long overdue in changing the culture of city government. This is an important step in restoring public confidence in city government.”
The measures are likely to pass a vote by the City Council.
Fulop and Lavarro have also pledged to fill board vacancies with more members of the community.
The council meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in City Hall, 280 Grove St.
Cory Booker visits Jersey City in search of votes ahead of Aug. 13 Senate primary
Newark Mayor Cory Booker trolled for votes at the Grove Street PATH Station during the evening rush hour on July 24. Booker was joined by Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, who has endorsed Booker’s campaign to replace the late Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, who passed away in June.
Booker currently leads the field of four Democratic candidates competing in the special primary election on Tuesday, Aug. 13. The field of Democrats running in the primary includes Booker, U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ 12th Dist.), U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ 6th Dist.), and State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver.
In the Republican race, former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan is running against Alieta Eck, a Somerset physician.
Little policy was discussed during Booker’s campaign stop in Jersey City, which mainly consisted of Booker posing for photos with PATH riders as they exited the train station.
A Jersey City resident who gave his name as “Jah L. S.” was among those who took a photo with Booker and said he plans to vote for him in the Democratic primary.
“I like what he’s done and what I read about him in the news,” said Jah L. S. “I mean, you’re not going to like every single thing he does. No candidate is going to be perfect. But, overall, I like what I hear about what’s going on in Newark and what he’s done there.”
Some Booker supporters were not impressed with his Grove Street appearance, however.
Vermia Newton, a Jersey City resident and PS 15 parent council president spoke at length to Booker Wednesday about educational issues. She said later, “I mentioned to him that he needs to do an event like this in the Greenville section of Jersey City, so people [there] can get to know who he is and he can gain that vote, too. This is nice and everything, but I told him, ‘Go where your people are.’”
Fulop was on hand to introduce his constituents to Booker and to remind them of the approaching Aug. 13 primary. The two mayors have traveled in overlapping political circles for years, but met only recently during the recent Jersey City municipal election, Fulop said. Booker endorsed Fulop’s opponent, former Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy.
However Booker has been supportive of Mayor Fulop since he was elected.
“After the election, we got together and he has been tremendously helpful in helping me navigate some of the pitfalls that he went through initially when he was first elected mayor,” Fulop said Wednesday. “We’ve talked about some policy initiatives, things he has done successfully in Newark that we can replicate here in Jersey City. The prisoner reentry work was one initiative we’ve talked about. They’ve been able to leverage a lot of private dollars, which is something we plan to do in Jersey City. So, as an urban mayor of a city that’s of a similar size as Jersey City, I think Mayor Booker understands the challenges we’re facing here and if elected [to the U.S. Senate] he can be supportive of the work my administration is trying to do.”
Booker’s press rep would not permit the candidate to answer a question regarding what he would do to help urban communities like Jersey City if elected to Lautenberg’s seat.
A special general election will be held on Tuesday, October 16. The winner will serve out the remainder of Lautenberg’s term, which ends next year. The winner of the special election in October will likely seek a full term in November 2014.
Booker had announced plans to run for Lautenberg’s seat before the senator’s death. Prior to his death, Lautenberg had said he would retire next year and would not seek another term.
Gov. Christopher Christie has appointed New Jersey Attorney General Jeff Chiesa to serve in Lautenberg’s seat until the special election takes place.
Liberty Humane Society seeks Bark in the Park vendors, sponsors
On Saturday, Oct. 5, the Jersey City-based Liberty Humane Society will hold its annual Bark in the Park fundraiser in Hoboken’s Church Square Park. In preparation for this event, Liberty Humane is currently looking for vendors and sponsors to help make the event a success.
Now in its tenth year, Bark in the Park is the biggest fundraiser for the Liberty Humane Society. The event will begin with a dog walk fundraiser that concludes at the park where guests can enjoy a variety of demonstrations, pet-related shopping, and contests. There will also be plenty of adoptable dogs and cats in attendance. The 2013 Bark in the Park will be co-hosted by dog trainer and comedian Justin Silver, from the CBS series “Dogs in the City,” and Beefy the Bulldog, who will demonstrate his skateboarding skills.
The festival will also feature dog agility demonstrations and training, discounted pet micro-chipping, a doggie fashion show, a pet trick contest, and pet costume contest.
Businesses interested in being a part of Bark in the Park 2013 should visit www.libertyhumane.org and download the business partnership packet and forms or send an e-mail to Allison@libertyhumane.org.
Free training offered about caring for loved one with mental illness
The Hudson County NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Family to Family education program is offering a 12-week course for families and close friends of adults with mental illness on how best to care for their loved ones.
The course will be held on Mondays from 6:30 to 9 p.m., Sept. 9 through Nov. 25, at Jersey City Medical Center, 355 Grand Ave. Training is free, but registration is required.
The program is taught by trained volunteer family members who are experienced in caring for a loved one with serious mental illnesses such as major depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.
Family to Family participants will receive information on family responses to the trauma of mental illness, updates on several serious mental illnesses, and symptoms, medication and side effects.
Attendees will also practice problem-solving skills and communication techniques, develop strategies for handling crisis and relapses, review local community resources and support, and focus on self-care and coping with stress.
To register, call (201) 420-9270 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Cancer Society looking for teams for October walk in Jersey City
The American Cancer Society is looking for people to participate in its annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Jersey City. The walk will take place in Lincoln Park on Sunday, Oct. 20 at 8 a.m.
Each year, nearly 300 communities across the country, including Jersey City, participate in Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks. According to the American Cancer Society, which is celebrating its centennial year, Making Strides is the largest network of events to benefit breast cancer research in the nation. These walks unite thousands of cancer survivors, caregivers, the friends and family members of women who have battled the disease, and others whose lives have been touched by this disease.
In addition to team participants, the American Cancer Society is also looking for volunteers and sponsors for the October Making Strides event in Jersey City.
For more information on Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in Jersey City, visit http://makingstrideswalk.org/jerseycity or e-mail JerseyCity.Strides@cancer.org.
Jersey City Free Public Library still seeking children’s authors for 2013 Tales of Our City festival
What’s a book festival without authors?!
The Jersey City Free Public Library is still seeking applications from Jersey City writers interested in participating in the upcoming sixth annual Tales of Our City book festival. The festival will take place on Sunday, Sept. 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Van Vorst Park.
While a number of adult authors have submitted applications seeking admission to reads in the festival, event organizers say more children’s writers are needed and thus festival coordinator Sonia Araujo is encouraging them to apply.
“The book festival exists to celebrate writers and promote reading in Jersey City,” said Araujo. “We welcome authors of all genres – fiction, non-fiction, mysteries, local history, poetry, spoken word, and of course, children’s books.”
The application deadline for authors, vendors, sponsors, and performers is Friday, Aug. 2. For an application, visit the Jersey City Free Public Library web site and see the Tales of Our Cities link at http://www.jclibrary.org/resources/6th-annual-jersey-city-library-book-festival.