Jersey City’s “Urban Feudalism”

Dear Editor:

Jersey City’s Council committed an egregious error by awarding the $6.7 million contract to upgrade the pedestrian plaza on Newark Avenue. Holding public office is a public trust. The city’s council violated that sacred trust by abdicating its independence and impartiality. .

The council is supposed to be the “honest broker” – the trusted steward – of – and for – public resources. The people of Jersey City have placed financial responsibility and fiscal integrity in the council’s hands. Yet, despite that trust, the council decided that the expenditure of $6.7 million for a pedestrian plaza is a “must fund” during a pandemic. That said, given the current environment, I am quite sure that the $6.7 million could have been used to resource a much higher priority.

Taking this a step further, the city council should be “independent.” The non-partisan objectiveness enables the council to make those decisions that truly benefit the city and its constituents. Without the independence to make crucial decisions that impact the city, the council regresses to nothing more than a mere “rubber stamp.” In reality, a “partisan” council is a bizarre form of “feudalism,” each council member enjoys the privileges of a “fiefdom” – just as long as the council person remains loyal to the “sovereign.”

Come to think of it, the people of Jersey City have experienced this “urban feudalism” in the past during the times of Frank Hague and John V. Kenny. Of course, we didn’t call it “feudalism.” Instead, we called it a “political machine.”

Haven’t we outgrown the era (or is that “error?”) of political machine type politics?

John Di Genio