An analysis of the nearly 800 votes the City Council took in the first 40 weeks of this year shows a striking pattern: Members of “Team” Fulop — Councilmembers Richard Boggiano, Mira Prinz-Arey, Denise Ridley, Daniel Rivera, Jermaine Robinson, Yousef Saleh, and Joyce Watterman — voted in lock step 99 percent of the time, in every instance voting in favor of whatever resolution or ordinance had been introduced.
In interviews with the Jersey City Times, Prinz-Arey, Robinson, Watterman and Ridley had described themselves as independent.
The one time all of the politicians belonging to “Team” Fulop failed to support a proposed law — in this case by abstaining — they also did so as a block. That resolution supported eliminating the “line” on New Jersey ballots that groups candidates together under a better known state or national candidate, increasing the votes for those lower on the line by as much as 50 percent.
Eliminating the line would, according to experts, diminish the power of party bosses and slates of candidates. Team Fulop member and Hudson County Democratic Organization Chairperson Amy DeGise is one such “boss” who would have her power curtailed if the line is eliminated. The resolution passed with just two “ayes”: those of Councilmen Lavarro and Solomon.
Other aspects of our City Council’s record came to light during our analysis as well.
The council voted unanimously 87 percent of the time on the 800 votes, leaving roughly 140 resolutions or ordinances they disagreed on. Joyce Watterman was absent for 14 percent of those votes (as she has has been absent for all of the candidate debates). Richard Boggiano abstained four times from supporting measures that would either have increased government transparency or condemned those seeking to interfere with democracy.
James Solomon, who is not a member of “Team” Fulop nevertheless voted with the mayor’s slate over 96 percent of the time so far this year.
Rolando Lavarro, Jr. proved to be the outlier amongst the councilmembers. This year so far he has opposed legislation approved by the majority almost 11 percent of the time.