1. What about your background makes you a good County Commissioner?
Due to my lifelong residence in West Hudson and my participation in the civic, political business and cultural life of the community, I believe I am uniquely qualified to continue to represent The residents of District 9. However, I do realize that recently my Commissioner District has been re-drawn so that I am now privileged to represent the more western section of Jersey City. During my tenure as Freeholder/Commissioner, I have consistently advocated for the needs of West Hudson and Secaucus.
Now that I represent Jersey City voters, I will continue to collaborate with my fellow Commissions representing Jersey City to address the City’s needs. As an example of this, Commissioner Bill O’Dea, and I recently co-sponsored a Resolution urging the NJDOT to expedite the opening of the Broadway ramp to the Pulaski Skyway.
Finally, I believe that my more than forty years of governmental experience has permitted me to connect and network with many other local and County officials. The relationships I have forged over time is a valuable asset for the people I serve.
2. How does your background inform how you approach your job?
Without reiterating everything noted in #1, I believe the totality of my professional background, (legal and local property taxation), political, social and community networking affords me the wonderful asset of EXPERIENCE with which I can bring the various forces of government together to accomplish good things for our community.
3. Some people believe that “the line” is unfair and illegal. What is your position on it?
“The Line”- I did not create the “Line”. However, unlike my opponent, I do not believe there is anything inherently illegitimate or sinister in affiliating oneself with other candidates of a like political agenda and philosophy. After all, my opponent has attached himself to a “LINE’. i.e. THE PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATS OF NJ. I do not deride him for his association with this Party. I just don’t agree with certain of their more radical positions, e.g., defunding local police. With that said, there are things in his agenda with which I do agree such as parks and traffic improvement. During my tenure as Commissioner, a completely new County Park, (Laurel Hill) in Secaucus was established. No one has done more to improve West Hudson Park in the last FIFTY YEARS than I have. Just in the past ten years our beautiful Park has seen millions of County dollars invested in state-of-the-art playing fields, playgrounds, roadways, drainage systems, tennis, and pickle ball courts. More projects are in progress. County roads have been re-paved and presently traffic lane reconfiguration is ongoing in Kearny and East Newark to reduce congestion. Moreover, as each of the mayors in our towns will attest, I have promoted the County’s Open Space initiative, partnering with our municipalities to provide more recreational opportunities for our residents. I’m sure my opponent can only commend my efforts with respect to these.
4. Can you tell us about specific causes you’ve worked on in Jersey City?
Jersey City Causes- As noted above, the 9th District was recently revised to include Jersey City. I have attempted to coordinate with my fellow Commissioners to attend to the needs of all Hudson County residents and will continue to do so. Specifically, as a practicing attorney I am keenly aware of the Landlord-Tenant crisis brought about by COVID. The impact of Jersey City has been the most acute.
Currently, the Hudson County Landlord-Tenant Court is faced with a backlog of thousands of cases. I am proud of the role the Board of Commissioners has played in attempting to assist in coping with this critical problem. The County has been proactive in administering federal COVID relief funds to assist both landlords and tenants. Our Board has also cooperated and funded the Waterfront Project in its efforts to provide legal representation to those affected by this crisis.
5. What do you feel are the most important issues to Jersey City residents going forward and what would you do to address them?
Significant Jersey City Issues- As noted above, I believe that one of the immediate issues is the landlord-tenant situation. I have more specifically discussed this above. Additionally, local property tax stabilization is always of primary concern. I am proud to state that during my tenure on the Board the County tax burden of the towns of my District has been under control. I will cooperate with my Board colleagues to bring this result to the taxpayers of Jersey City.
6. Do you support the plan proposed for Liberty State Park by the Paul Fireman backed groups “Liberty State Park for All” and “The People’s Park?’
Liberty State Park- A thorny issue. It appears that certain Park advocates are staunchly opposed to any development which would reduce/cede natural areas in favor of private development, e.g., extension of golf course. My understanding is that the proposed developer is offering to pay for various improvements to the Park which would be beneficial to local vouth groups in return for the State permitting the developer’s plan to extend the golf course area into the Park. I believe it would be necessary to see more of the specifics of the offer before being able to make an informed response. In any event, since it is a STATE Park, the ultimate decision will rest with our Hudson County State representatives and Trenton.
7. Are Jersey City property taxes too low, about right or too high?
Jersey City Taxes: Taxes are too high! Any candidate that says to the voters… You don’t pay enough taxes” is asking to be defeated. Of course, we ALL feel taxes to be too high. That’s the way every generation sees taxes. However, during my tenure, I have helped keep County taxes stable.
8. Is there anything else our readers should know about you?
Hopefully, the forgoing will be helpful to the voters in assessing the EXPERIENCE and REALISTIC judgment of their candidates. I ask them for their vote.