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(left to right): Boxing legend Chuck Wepner, ATU International Officer John Costa, Governor-elect Phil Murphy, ATU State Council Chair Ray Greaves, Bayonne Mayor James Davis, and ATU State Council Vice Chair Orlando Riley at the Amalgamated Transit Union’s Annual Toy Drive at the Chandelier Restaurant on December 20.

At-Large Councilman Juan Perez to seek re-election

Councilman at-Large Juan Perez will run for re-election on Mayor Jimmy Davis’s ticket in next year’s municipal election, the campaign announced. Perez, who is of Puerto Rican descent, became Bayonne’s first Hispanic council member in 2014 when he was elected on Davis’s ticket.
Perez, a Bayonne resident for 20 years, served a two-year term as Hudson County Sheriff before being defeated in a 2010 re-election bid. Before that, he spent 26 years with the NJ State Police. He is founder and past president of the Hispanic Law Enforcement Association, past board trustee and vice chair of the Jersey City Medical Center board and a lieutenant in the Civil Air Patrol.
“Councilman Juan Perez has been a dedicated public servant at multiple levels of government and like myself comes from a law enforcement background, which gives him a strong insight into what our community needs,” said Mayor Davis in a press release. “I’m proud to once again be running with Juan, and I look forward to working closely with him to spread the message that Bayonne is moving forward, and we can’t turn back now.”
“Bayonne is moving in the right direction with Mayor Davis and our team, and we can’t afford to turn back now,” said Perez in a press release. “Our city is on the verge of a new era of prosperity that will improve the lives of every resident, but that can all be erased if we don’t have the right leadership in city hall. I will do everything I can to prevent that from happening.”

Former mayor Mark Smith may run again in 2018

Mark Smith served as mayor of Bayonne from 2008 to 2014. Asked about a possible run for mayor in May 2018, he told the Bayonne Community News: “It’s going to be a family discussion. A campaign is always a family affair,” said Smith, who planned to talk it over with family over the holiday week. “Then we can come back and make a real decision.”
Speculation about Smith’s mayoral run has been surfacing for months as his narrow defeat in the 2014 election by 406 votes sowed doubts about Davis’s long-term popularity. Former assemblyman Jason O’Donnell, who was appointed to the Assembly by Smith, is also running for mayor. Smith said that he considers O’Donnell a friend, and that his candidacy will not affect his decision to run.

Fire on Linnet Street

The Bayonne Fire Department extinguished a roof fire at an unoccupied commercial building at 111 Linnet Street in the early morning hours of Wednesday, December 20, according to BFD Chief Keith Weaver. Using two hose lines, fire companies extinguished hot spots on the roof and inside the building, placing the fire under control at 3 a.m. No injuries were reported. The fire is considered accidental and caused by construction equipment on the roof of the building.

Governor-Elect Murphy comes to Bayonne

On Wednesday December 20, the Amalgamated Transit Union held its Annual Toy Drive and Luncheon at the Chandelier Restaurant. They were joined by a special guest, Governor-elect Phil Murphy. The governor was introduced by ATU State Council Chair Ray Greaves whose union aggressively worked the incoming governor’s campaign. At the event the Governor-Elect thanked the ATU leadership and members for all their support. He said he’s always happy to be with everyone in Bayonne and the ATU.
Also on hand were Mayor Jimmy Davis and the Bayonne City Council, Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti, HCDO Executive Director John Minella, Pastor Gregory Perez from the Windmill Alliance who received the donated toys for their Highways Program, Erica Daughtrey representing Congressman Albio Sires, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, boxing legend Chuck Wepner, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, Jersey City Council President Rolando Lavarro Jr, and the brother of former Vice President Joe Biden, Jim Biden.

Hockey coach allegedly points gun at two people

David J. McKenna, 38, a Bayonne High School teacher and hockey coach, allegedly pointed a gun at two people on November 30, 2017, after finding it in the closed coach’s locker room at the Richark Korpki Ice Rink on West 28th Street, according to Captain Joseph Scerbo, Investigative Bureau Commander of the Bayonne Police Department. A BPD investigation found that an off-duty State Trooper who also volunteers as a hockey coach at Bayonne High School, secured his handgun in the closed coach’s locker room at the ice rink.
McKenna, of Bayonne, was charged on December 12 with two counts of aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon, unlawful possession of a weapon on school grounds, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, according to the BPD. McKenna was released on a summons.
“It is not believed that Mr. McKenna intended to use the weapon against the victims, however, the act of possessing the weapon under these circumstances and pointing the weapon were sufficient to bring these charges,” said Scerbo in a press release.

Shooter caught, charged

The alleged gunman in a December 3 shooting on 19th Street and Avenue C was arrested on December 20, according to Captain Joseph Scerbo, Investigative Bureau Commander at the Bayonne Police Department (BPD). The victim was struck twice. Raeqwan Cromartie, aka Stewart Hikens, 22, of Jersey City, is charged with criminal attempt murder, unlawful possession of a weapon (handgun) and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. On December 20 at approx. 12:02 a.m., the United States Marshals NY/NJ Regional Task Force, Jersey City Police Department, Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, and Hudson County Sheriff’s Office arrested Cromartie on a warrant and without incident in the area of Van Wagenen and Sip Avenue, Jersey City.

O’Donnell endorsed by United Steel Workers Union Local 4-406

Mayoral candidate Jason O’Donnell was endorsed by the United Steel Workers Union Local 4-406 this week, the third union endorsement of his campaign. The Bayonne-based steel workers union represents workers at International-Matex Tank Terminals. O’Donnell and his ticket of city council candidates are running against Mayor James Davis and his ticket of incumbent council members in the May nonpartisan municipal elections. The Laborers’ International Union of North America and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825 previously endorsed O’Donnell.
In a press release, Local 4-406 President Cary M. Krand and Vice President Tyrone Johnson said, “Jason O’Donnell’s beliefs don’t change depending on what room he is in or what a poll says. Jason is focused on creating jobs for our members and other Bayonne residents and stopping the tax deals being cut for all of the rich developers running around town that we all end up paying for. Bayonne needs Jason O’Donnell’s character and commitment to our city and we will be standing side by side with him during this campaign to make sure that happens.”
“Working with people like Cary, Tyrone, the members of USW 4-406 and so many others throughout Bayonne, we will create a better way forward for our city,” said O’Donnell in the press release.

Hudson County CASA is seeking volunteers

Learn how to become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer and help foster children find safe and permanent homes. The next information session will be at the Hudson County Courthouse, 595 Newark Ave. Rm. 901 on Tuesday, Jan. 9 at 6:30 p.m.
Hudson County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is a nonprofit organization committed to advocating for the best interests of abused and neglected children. CASA works through trained community volunteers to ensure that needed services and assistance are made available to children while helping to move them toward safe and permanent homes. Hudson County CASA volunteers are everyday people who make a direct impact in foster children’s lives. They are trusted, dedicated adults who seek to improve children’s well-being. CASA volunteers get to know their assigned child and his or her circumstances and provide valuable information to the court. Judges rely on the volunteers’ recommendations to make the best decisions about the children’s futures.
For further information, visit hudsoncountycasa.org.

Governor-Elect Murphy calls to challenge federal tax bill in court

Calling the tax plan passed by Congress this week “an awful bill for America,” Gov.-elect Phil Murphy said in an interview on CNBC that the state may seek to challenge the “legality and constitutionality” of the law written by Republicans. “My going-in bias is there are going to be flaws,” said Murphy, a Democrat who takes office in January. “There are going to be holes. And if there are we will exploit them; I hope with other like-minded states.”

Gov. Christie signs criminal justice reform bills into law

NJ Gov. Chris Christie signed into law on Dec. 20 a bipartisan package of bills intended to take down some barriers to opportunity for New Jerseyans with criminal records. The three laws will prohibit employers from discriminating based on expunged criminal records, increase the number of convictions that can be expunged to four instead of three, and accelerate the expungement process. It also reduces the waiting period to expunge an entire juvenile record.
The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Sandra Bolden Cunningham, D-Hudson, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Sens. M. Teresa Ruiz, D-Essex, and Sen. Raymond Lesniak, D-Union. The bill started in the Assembly, with sponsorship from Nicholas Chiaravalloti.
“The sooner someone’s criminal record is expunged, the sooner he or she can get a fresh
start and make positive contributions to society,” said Chiaravalloti, calling the reforms “necessary.”
“A minor criminal offense should not lead to a lifetime of punishment. These laws are
about removing barriers for residents and helping them to overcome the obstacles that exist in
finding employment, taking care of their families and setting their lives on the right path,” Senator Cunningham said. “These laws are a great step to providing offenders with the second chance they deserve.”

Lawmakers back surcharge on PSE&G bills

Members of the Senate and Assembly utilities committees voted unanimously Wednesday to advance a bill authorizing a surcharge on Public Service Electric & Gas bills to keep the state’s two nuclear power plants operating, according to The Record. A surcharge of 2.4 percent would raise about $300 million a year at a cost of about $3 for the typical household and keep the nuclear plants open for 20 more years. The utility has threatened to close the plants if lawmakers don’t authorize the surcharge.

Shortage of EMT volunteers in NJ

Volunteer ambulance squads throughout the state are having trouble finding enough emergency medical technicians to serve their communities, according to a report from KYW-TV, the local CBS station in Philadelphia. The EMS Council of New Jersey says the number of volunteer squads has dropped to 275, from about 400 in the year 2000. In the last 10 years, training requirements for EMTs have more than doubled, from 110 hours to 250. The increased time demands have meant fewer people are willing to volunteer.

Cap set to expire on police and firefighter raises

A 2 percent cap on the raises New Jersey police and firefighters can win in arbitration is set to expire at the end of the year. If the Legislature doesn’t extend it, property owners may see big increases in their taxes. But the lame duck Legislature shows no signs of taking action. Before the cap was put in place, raises set in arbitration ranged from 2 to 6 percent.

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