Posts

City Hall of Jersey City

City Approves Rent Freeze, Pauses 5G Installation


At Wednesday’s Jersey City Council meeting, members approved a rent freeze on certain apartments in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It postponed an ordinance to allow installation of 5G telecommunication utility poles, among other actions taken.

Council Approves Rent Freeze

 An ordinance came up for a vote authorizing the city of Jersey City to impose a rent freeze on all units subject to rent control and on dwellings with four or fewer housing spaces that are non-owner occupied. The ordinance prohibits landlords from raising rents or assessing penalties for late rent payments as a result of the current emergency. The ordinance will remain in place until Aug. 1, 2020.

Jersey City resident and homeowner Shamoon Ramrup called in in support of landlords who aren’t getting the assistance they need. She said: “I’m hearing about tenants, I’m hearing about a rent freeze. Actually, landlords do not have a forgiveness. We have water, sewer, tax bills. There are landlords in Jersey City who have a mortgage to pay.”

The city council unanimously voted to approve the rent freeze ordinance.

Council Pauses 5G

The second reading of an ordinance authorizing Cross River Fiber LLC to install 72 5G utility poles came to a halt Wednesday even after a discussion with Rob Sokota, Chief Administration Officer for Cross River Fiber LLC. Sokota had joined the virtual meeting to explain the safety of 5G installations.

“The types of equipment we talk about, small cells, are much smaller and much safer than your normal deployment,” Sokota said. “The power is about five watts. That’s probably comparable to Wi-Fi receivers. They are small and low powered. There is no more emission from this pole than there would be from your Wi-Fi router.”

As discussed during the  first reading of the ordinance on April 26, Cross River Fibers LLC (recently merged with Zenfi.com) would be doing the work on behalf of its client AT&T. The term of the agreement authorizing its use of the rights of way use would be 20 years. Cross River Fiber LLC would pay the city $750 for every pole it installed.

Cross River Fiber’s locations for the black utility poles concerned council members who said their constituents questioned the poles’ impact on their family’s health and property values. Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley and Ward C Councilman Richard Boggiano asked corporate counsel and Cross River Fiber whether Cross River could send to homeowners residing near the proposed installations notices providing the proposed locations of the poles and the findings from health studies.

“I recognize that this is a controversial issue and that a lot of misinformation is out there,” Councilman Boggiano said. “It’s a fair question to ask for the locations of these towers. People are concerned and need viable information on health and property values.”

Members of the public called in about the 5G ordinance including Chris Gadsden of Jersey City, who said he had health concerns associated with 5G.

“I know Cross River explained how safe they are. I just want to hold up a little bit on the installation of these towers,” Gadsen said. “A lot of these newer towers, they’re installing them along the south side of the city inside Ward A and F. Some of these are installed around senior citizen homes. This should be a process. There should be public notices, mailings done that you’re going to vote on installing the towers. Push back, hold up and notify the community.”

Caller Lucille Shah, a nurse and Jersey City resident, agreed with Gadsen and said there is a lack of data showing 5G is safe and that because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the work is not essential.

“We should delay it,” Shah said. “Where we live, the kids’ bedroom is in the apartment next to the street. They could be sleeping just a few feet from a 5G tower. We’re in a dense urban environment. There needs to be more conversation about this. During the pandemic is not the time.”

When the ordinance came up for a vote before the city council, corporate counsel Nick Strasser informed them that the city council has no authority to veto the ordinance based on health factors since the FCC put its stamp of approval on 5G.

“There are things you can regulate, but what you can’t do is vote this down because of health issues of 5G because the FCC has deemed this safe,” Strasser said. “The FCC has reviewed this and deemed the equipment in this ordinance to be safe to the public, and Congress has given the FCC exclusive jurisdiction to determine what is safe and what is not.”

The Council proposed writing a resolution to U.S. Congressmen Albio Sires and Donald Payne Jr., and Senators Brian Stack and Robert Menendez to garner support to repeal the ordinance. Council President Joyce E. Watterman urged local residents watching the virtual meeting to reach out to their government representatives to voice support of a repeal.

Council at Large Rolando R. Lavarro, Jr., motioned to table the ordinance, and Councilman Boggiano seconded the motion. The Council unanimously approved putting the ordinance on hold until the May 20 council meeting to allow Cross River Fiber time to prepare informational materials to be sent to residents and to okay the renderings of proposed poles to be installed in historic neighborhoods.

Face Masks in Public

At the caucus meeting Monday night, Councilman Lavarro introduced a resolution urging Jersey City residents to wear face masks at all times in public places including streets and parks.

“This is a resolution, not an ordinance or law,” Councilman Lavarro said. “It does not provide for penalties or fines. The Centers for Disease Control and other medical experts have urged the wearing of masks and recommended it. Jersey City is the epicenter in New Jersey with the largest number of cases. While we look to reopen, we need to continue to send the message to practice precautionary measures.”

Lavarro invited Dr. Lilliam Rosado-Hollenbach, a health sciences professor at NJCU, to speak about the need for face coverings.

“This is a public health emergency,” Dr. Rosado-Hollenbach said. “Covid has entered our community and is widespread. It does not discriminate. While scientists are working on the vaccine, people have a responsibility to stop the spread of the virus. There is science behind social distancing, science behind handwashing and wearing a face covering.”

When the council invited Jersey City residents to call in, Dwayne Baskerville of Jersey City shared a story about his daughter who, by wearing a face mask, might have saved her own life.

“My condolences to all of you who have lost someone in this pandemic,” Baskerville said. “I personally had my daughter feeding one of her clients who tested positive. He sneezed in her face and by the grace of God she had on a mask. So, I’m calling to support Councilman Lavarro’s resolution urging everyone in Jersey City to cover up in public places.”

The council voted unanimously to adopt the resolution.

Saluting Nurses

May 6 was National Nurse Day, and Council President Watterman invited members of the council to offer personal tributes to nurses on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic. Councilwoman Ridley spoke of her mom working in healthcare and the challenges she faced; Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey, whose aunt who was a nurse during the AIDS epidemic, thanked nurses and also their families, who deal with the stress of having a loved one on the frontlines.

“We understand how hard this is, there are a lot of unknowns,” Councilwoman Prinz-Arey said, reassuringly. “We see the work you do every day. If you need any resources, please reach out to us one hundred percent.”

Along with Ward D Councilman Yousef Saleh, Council President Watterman thanked the nurses at Christ Hospital, Jersey City Medical Center and the Metropolitan medical clinic.

“I want to thank you for your dedication and commitment,” Council President Watterman said. “You give hope and healing to so many in need. God bless you and your family. Thank you for your service.”

 

In attendance: Council President Joyce E. Watterman, Council at Large Rolando R. Lavarro, Jr., Council at Large Daniel Rivera, Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley, Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey, Ward C Councilman Richard Boggiano, Ward D Councilman Yousef Saleh, Ward E Councilman James Solomon, Ward F Councilman Jermaine D. Robinson; and City Clerk Sean J. Gallagher.

The next virtual city council meeting will be held Wed, May 20 at 6 pm.

To view the meetings, go to the council’s page on the city’s website.

 

Note: A previous version of this article stated that the rent freeze prohibited only late payment penalties.

Dear reader: For the cost of a "tall" drip coffee at Starbucks, you can support local journalism! Please consider signing up for a recurring monthly payment of $2.99. Thank you!

Sign up and support Jersey City Times!

Parking Meter

Consultants Look to Modernize Jersey City Parking


Parking in Jersey City may never be the same.  That is if a team of consultants hired by the city has anything to say about it. In an hour-long presentation before a virtual caucus meeting of the municipal council, the consultants laid out a detailed proposal for bringing Jersey City’s parking rules into the 21stcentury. Street parking, said the consultants, is a “public resource” that the city needs to manage more efficiently while simultaneously leveraging new sustainable modes of transportation.

“Parking is both about numbers, but it’s also a highly political process,” according to Margaret Newman, former chief of staff of the New York City Department of Transportation during the Bloomberg administration and one of the consultants who worked on the draft.  Among residents, “Everyone has an interest in it, and everyone has a different story and experience,” she added.

In order to develop the plan, the team spent the last year holding meetings in each ward, running a public workshop and digesting the responses to 2,500 electronic surveys filled out by Jersey City residents. More than half the responses came from Wards D and E, prompting the consultants to call for further outreach to Wards A and F, from which the responses had been significantly lower in number.

The plan included ten recommendations ranging from modifying the parking zones to re-examining the city’s requirements for parking features in new construction.

When it comes to new construction, “Cities are moving away from parking minimums and moving to maximums and moving to use-based requirements,” one of the consultants explained. The “current requirements [for developers] were developed based on what’s been done before, copied from other cities or prescribed by council members, without a parking analysis.”

One recommendation — to adopt “tiered meter pricing” — would encourage people to park for short durations in high-demand areas by imposing hourly rates that increase the longer one parked in the spot. Those wanting to park for longer periods would be encouraged, through pricing, to use off-street parking. One of the consultants pointed out that Jersey City is currently doing the opposite, with on-street parking priced at 75 cents an hour and off-street parking at $8.00–10.00 per hour. “This encourages people to park on the street and park there for a very long time.” He added, “If we’re successful, on-street parking will have an occupancy of 85%, so there would always be a space available for those who need it. To the extent possible, we want to prevent people from circling the block or double parking just to avoid paying those higher rates.”

According to the consultants, Jersey City residents like the idea of  “shared parking.” Imagine, they said, a bar and a bank that, due to their different business hours, could use the same parking lot. In a real-world example, they said Sacramento, California, had built a 35 thousand-seat stadium without any new parking simply by accessing existing parking resources nearby.

With the exception of Ward A, when asked, all sections of the city liked the consultants’ proposal to increase parking enforcement. But the consultants qualified this proposal with the admonition that any change in enforcement be properly communicated to residents and that enforcement be carried out even handedly throughout the city.

In areas close to mass transit, the consultants proposed the creation of well-marked lots for commuters in a strategy called “intercept parking.” “Jersey City has an additional burden that not all cities have in that it has commuters who park to take transit,” noted one of the consultants. Intercept parking would help eliminate “the competition between residents and visitors.”

Curb Cuts 3

Curb cuts in Jersey City, Jessey City Times file photo

According to the consultants, residents expressed “real concern” about curb cuts made to create private parking and their effect on on-street parking. The consultants singled out one block on Armstrong Avenue in Greenville that has lost 59 regular parking spaces as a result of such curb cuts.

“The majority of people who participated in meetings wanted to see a reduction in curb cuts,” said one of the consultants.

While acknowledging that curb cuts are “a really difficult problem to address,” the consultants nevertheless proposed a freeze on future curb cut applications.

Notably, the consultants did not recommend the construction of new parking garages, a fact that councilman Richard Boggiano found troubling.

“Charlotte [North Carolina] has numerous parking garages,” Boggiano said, and “the people are quite happy. This is something that is really wrong.”

Boggiano noted wistfully that building more garages was something he and the late Councilman Michael Yun had agreed upon — and indeed respondents to the consultants’ questionnaires ranked the construction of centralized parking garages as their top parking solution. The consultants noted, however, that their survey “has an overrepresentation of car owners.”

A consultant pushed back on the garage-building solution. She pointed out that the cost of building garages is high and that the city should first look for efficiencies.

“Before building new garages, it is critical to look at what the other issues are.”

She noted that building new garages subsidizes the cost of driving and conflicts with sustainability goals.

“Many people are attracted to Jersey City because of the other transportation amenities it offers. We need to look at what the opportunities are to capitalize on the advantages that Jersey City presents prior to increasing the supply,” she said.

The consultants’ report remains little more than a blueprint at this point. Senior Transportation Planner Barkha Patel explained that the proposal has no legal force since it is just that: a proposal. She noted that the consultants still lack some data to complete their recommendations.

“While this is mostly a report to deliver recommendations to the city, I did want it to focus a little bit on what actions we can put into effect immediately … and capitalize on some of the low-hanging fruit. It should function as a comprehensive document that touches on a lot … of questions that the city still needs to answer.”

Fun Jersey City parking numbers

  • 60,000: the number of on-street parking spaces
  • 1,500: the number of metered spaces
  • 30,000: the number off-street parking spaces
  • $35,000 to $60,000: the cost to build one parking space in a garage
  • 333 miles: the total length of all sidewalk curbs
  • 223 miles: the total length of all sidewalk curbs available for parking
  • 75%: the amount of Ward E’s curb length available for parking
  • 59%: the amount of Ward A’s curb length available for parking (significantly lower than Ward E due to curb cuts)
  • 38%: the percentage of Jersey City households with no access to a vehicle

 

Header: Jersey City Times file photo

Dear reader: For the cost of a "tall" drip coffee at Starbucks, you can support local journalism! Please consider signing up for a recurring monthly payment of $2.99. Thank you!

Sign up and support Jersey City Times!

City Hall of Jersey City

Referendum Making Jersey City Board of Education Appointed Body To Be Withdrawn


Amidst the Covid-19 panic, Mayor Steven Fulop and Jersey City Council announced that they will be withdrawing the referendum asking voters if the Jersey City Board of Education should become an appointed body rather than an elected one. A resolution to formally withdraw the referendum will be voted on by the Council at its next meeting on Wednesday, May 6. With nine members, the Board represents nearly 30,000 students in 42 public schools.

“We still have major concerns with the Board of Education’s decision to raise taxes on residents during the pandemic, but the reality is we don’t want to be more disruptive to the schools when  they return in September after being closed for months,” said Fulop. “We’ve been working closely with the superintendent to help get the schools back on track as swiftly as possible due to the unforeseen obstacles we’re facing amid the pandemic.”

The referendum, which was first approved on Jan. 8, received mixed reviews from educators, union representatives and parents, some of who referred to the idea of a board unilaterally appointed by the mayor as “sneaky” and “an opportunistic power grab.” Others felt that the decision had been made in good faith, spurred by serious management problems the Board had had for years, most recently the resignation of five members right before Jan. 8.

“There’s no arguing the schools needed help when we first introduced this,” said Council President Joyce Watterman,” Today, we’re in a much different climate, and we need to think about the best course of action in this new environment for our students, parents, teachers and residents.”

Dear reader: For the cost of a "tall" drip coffee at Starbucks, you can support local journalism! Please consider signing up for a recurring monthly payment of $2.99. Thank you!

Sign up and support Jersey City Times!

Yousef Saleh

Jersey City Council Appoints New Member for Ward D


Voting 6–2, Council Appoints Yousef Saleh to Represent The Heights

On Thursday, the Jersey City Council appointed a new Ward D Councilperson to fill the seat vacated by the death of Councilman Michael Yun. By a vote of 6-2, with Ward E Councilman James Solomon and Council at Large Rolando F. Lavarro, Jr., dissenting, the members appointed Yousef Saleh to finish out Yun’s term. Other contenders were Jocelyn Patrick, Patrick Ambrossi, Cynthia Hadjiyannis, Brian Rans and Rafael Torres.

Before the vote, Councilman Solomon voiced concern about a rush to nominate Yousef Saleh since the deadline to fill Yun’s seat is still a week away on May 6. Along with Councilman Lavarro, he expressed surprise at Mayor Steven Fulop’s endorsement of Saleh, which made Saleh the frontrunner. The two men were also concerned about the seemingly unilateral, undemocratic nature of the decision. Why hurry Saleh’s nomination when earlier in the week  they had held public interviews on Facebook with all six contenders precisely to provide transparency?

As the meeting got underway, there was no discussion or consensus among the Council on who was the best choice. Instead, Council President Waterman made the motion to nominate Saleh, and Council at Large Daniel Rivera seconded the motion, thereby putting it to a vote.

“I believe we should wait until May 6,” said Councilman Solomon, who supported Jocelyn Patrick for the seat.

“My complaint with the process is the way that the mayor handled it. This is a Council position by law. Blasting a press release out with a recommendation, if you’re trying to argue that everyone had a fair shot to make their case, that didn’t convey that. A lot of people who reached out to me from the Heights feel the decision was made behind closed doors.”

Councilman Solomon then went on to endorse Saleh despite the fact he didn’t vote for him.

“I know Yousef, and I think the world of him,” Councilman Solomon said. “I’m excited to work with him. He has an extraordinarily progressive agenda.”

New Jersey City Council Member Yousef Saleh

Courtesy of Yousef Saleh’s Facebook page

When it came time for his vote, Councilman Lavarro said he, too, felt the vote was rushed and did not reflect the feelings of the people in the Heights, especially those who submitted a petition to the Council hours before the meeting. Each Council member received the petition with more than 200 signatures demanding they use a thorough and transparent vetting process.

“Sadly, the Mayor’s unilateral action dishonors Councilman Yun’s family‘s wishes and leaves Heights residents stunned and let down,” the petition stated. “Let’s find the best person among the candidates to fill the Ward D Council seat, not rubber stamp the mayor.”

The Public Calls In

In the public comments section of the meeting, Catherine Hecht, one of the petition’s signers, called in to address the Council. She applauded Councilmen Lavarro and Solomon for holding pubic interviews with the candidates on Facebook.

“That’s the type of transparency we need at this time,” she said. “I really urge you to think about all the people who have contacted you and choose what the people want.”

Several candidates called in with one last appeal for the seat. Candidate Jocelyn Patrick was the only one who said she did not want to run in the general election in the fall; her aim was to fill Councilman Yun’s seat as a temporary measure.

“The reason that I am nominating myself for this position is to allow the voters in November to make the decision,” she said. “I do not plan on running in November.”

Jersey City resident Jeanne Daley called in voicing her concern that the rush to vote on Saleh’s  appointment showed disrespect to Councilman Yun.

“I’m disappointed in this rush,” Daley said. “It’s an insult to Councilman Yun’s memory. Why this nomination from our mayor and Miss Waterman? That’s a way to airlift a convenient chess piece to allow them to control more of the board and what goes on in Jersey City. If you take the Fulop nominee, they will do what the mayor wants, what the administration wants.”

Council President Watterman, who cast the final vote in favor of Saleh told the Council her reason for nominating Saleh: “I am not a procrastinator.”

“This is the probation period,” Watterman said. “If Yousef does not meet the needs of the Heights, then in November, the residents can vote against him. He won’t stay in that seat. They say they got 200 signatures. There are over 40,000–50,000 people in the Heights. In November, the people can come out and vote.”

Addressing dissension among the ranks on how the vote was handled, Watterman added, “I hope as we go forward, we learn to work together. We pick up the phone. That’s working together as a team. I hope going forward we can do that.”

Advocate for the Heights

After the Council announced the appointment and adjourned the meeting, the Jersey City Times reached out to Yousef Saleh, who had watched the proceeding on his computer. As Jersey City’s new Ward D Councilman, Saleh says he hopes to advocate for Heights residents especially now as people struggle to make ends meet during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Rent is due today, mortgages are due today, people are struggling, suffering, sick and dying,” he said. “We are going to help them get back on their feet. I will make sure the people of the Heights are taken care of. I’m going to be a tireless advocate for them.”

In attendance: Jersey City Council President Joyce E. Watterman, Council at Large Rolando R. Lavarro, Jr., Council at Large Daniel Rivera, Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley, Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey, Ward C Councilman Richard Boggiano, Ward E Councilman James Solomon, Ward F Councilman Jermaine D. Robinson, City Clerk Sean J. Gallagher.

The next virtual City Council meeting will be held Wed., May 6 at 6 p.m.

To view the meetings, go to the Council’s page on the city’s website.

 

Header:  Yousef Saleh being sworn in. Photo by Jennifer Brown/City of Jersey City

Dear reader: For the cost of a "tall" drip coffee at Starbucks, you can support local journalism! Please consider signing up for a recurring monthly payment of $2.99. Thank you!

Sign up and support Jersey City Times!

Viola S Richardson

Viola Richardson, Warrior for Jersey City


Viola Richardson’s Facebook page shows a photo of her with people of different ages in pink shirts emblazoned with “Team Viola.” Richardson stands behind them like a warrior as they prepare for a walk-a-thon for the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

Viola S Richardson

Courtesy Viola S. Richardson’s Facebook page

The picture speaks volumes. It exemplifies Richardson’s dedication to community service; it reveals her ability to unite people for the common good; and it shows her deep love for Jersey City, which inspired a long and fruitful career in community service and politics.

On Friday, April 10, former Jersey City police officer and Ward F Councilwoman Viola Richardson passed away from Covid-19 complications. She was 74. As the city mourns her passing, friends and colleagues are posting tributes to her on social media that speak of her activism, resilience and devotion to her community.

“Viola was the true embodiment of what Jersey City is all about,” Mayor Steve Fulop said. “She was a fighter, she was a public servant and she was a leader for the ward she passionately represented. I was fortunate to serve with Viola for eight years on the city council. This pandemic has taken too many people too soon, and the former councilwoman will be dearly missed by us all.”

Police Officer and Three-Term Councilwoman

Viola S. Richardson

Courtesy Viola S. Richardson’s Facebook page

In 1981, Richardson joined the Jersey City police department. She was one of 85 African American officers at the time and spent 21 years walking the beat. In 2001, she campaigned for a city council seat in Ward F on the same ticket as mayoral candidate Glenn Cunningham. She won and was re-elected in 2005 and again in 2009.

Appointed to the city council in 2017, Jermaine Robinson, who owns the Light Rail Café on Randolph and Union Streets, remembers when Richardson urged him to get involved in city politics.

“Viola was my first mentor,” Robinson says. “When they were looking for Ward F candidates, she approached me and asked would I want to serve the community. Viola was a no-nonsense person.  She wanted to know are you serious about community? Are you willing to give the time that’s needed to get the people of the community what they deserve?”

Richardson fought for the people of Jersey City every day, Robinson says.

“She was top dog. She would have remained there until she passed. It got tricky when she became at-large, but I don’t think anyone could beat Viola as Ward F councilperson. She did what she said, and she said what she did. She was a rock in the community, and we’ll miss her. I truly am following in her footsteps, and those are some big shoes to fill.”

In 2013, Steve Fulop took office as mayor, and Richardson lost her seat on the council. She told her constituents that night: “I’ve had an excellent run. I have served the citizens of Jersey City, and I have given them all that I have. I have done the best that I can do. I’m happy. Now I can go on vacation. I can do whatever I want … I can be grandma.”

A state delegate for the Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and founding member and former president of the Concerned Citizen’s Coalition Richardson was the first woman president of the Inter-Departmental Minority Police Action Council in Jersey City.

A Pioneer in Community Engagement

With Rudy Snelling Jr.

With Rudy Snelling Jr., courtesy Viola S. Richardson’s Facebook page

Retired Jersey City police officer Rudy Snelling, Jr. recalled that as a police officer, Richardson got to know the residents and store owners on her beat.

“It was about visiting churches, going to Boy Scout and Girl Scout meetings and visiting civic associations,” Snelling said. “The community saw you as a person, a friend, an aunt, uncle, not just a cop. Relations is having a relationship like ‘Hi, how are you, what’s the problem?’ Every cop is community relations, but community engagement is connecting, becoming an intricate part of that community, going to the neighborhood bakery when you’re not looking to purchase something and say, ‘how’s business?’.”

When Snelling joined the police force, he says, he would call Richardson for advice. When she retired from the police force, Snelling threw her a party.

“Viola would say we have not yet arrived,” Snelling says. “She would say, ‘When civilians see police officers as their friends and not as their enemy, then you’ve arrived.’”

Governor Phil Murphy took to Twitter and described Richardson as a warrior for Jersey City.

“Viola Richardson served the people of Jersey City for 12 years as a member of City Council,” Governor Murphy tweeted. “Before that, she was a Jersey City police officer. Tough and outspoken, a fighter for her community and her city. Her life defined the meaning of the words public service.”

A Dear Friend

Janet Walker remembers the good times she and Richardson shared as “church sisters” at Trinity Lutheran Church. The two went to the movies and often dined on Richardson’s favorite sushi.

“Here was this tall statue of a woman, a beautiful sister,” Walker says. “She was obedient to the word of the Lord. Everyone who knew Viola loved Viola. She loved her family, the people she worked with. I love her so much. She was a free spirit, a special person.”

Header:  Courtesy Viola S. Richardson’s Facebook page

Dear reader: For the cost of a "tall" drip coffee at Starbucks, you can support local journalism! Please consider signing up for a recurring monthly payment of $2.99. Thank you!

Sign up and support Jersey City Times!

Rent Freeze, 5G Upgrades Discussed by City Council


Vacant Ward D Council Spot Also Hot Topic

Jersey City’s City Council met virtually Wednesday night to vote on the proposed rent freeze spurred by Covid-19 and on installing 5G utility poles to greatly increase internet speed. They also considered the process for filling the Ward D council spot made vacant by the untimely death of Councilman Michael Yun, among other matters.

Rent Freeze Clarifications

At the April 15 council meeting, Ward E Councilman James Solomon suggested two modifications to the first reading of a proposed ordinance to freeze rent and ban late payment penalties on all units subject to rent control: That the protections apply to all renters in Jersey City and that they be triggered by any future public health emergency, not just by the present pandemic. These modifications were still being debated at the council’s caucus meeting this past Monday night. Councilman Boggiano argued that buildings with fewer than five units should be exempt from the rent provisions. He also said the ordinance should have a statutory deadline.

At this past Wednesday’s council meeting, a compromised was reached on both matters. Members agreed to exempt from the ordinance properties with fewer than five rental units so long as the landlord lives at the address as well (in consideration of Jersey City residents liable to pay property taxes by May 1); members also agreed to a finite term for the ordinance: August 1 (saying the law could be extended if a continuation of the present state of emergency were declared).

At the May 6 council meeting, the original ordinance will be voted down; the revised ordinance to be voted on.

5G Telecommunications

5G Pole

Photo courtesy of Center for Public Integrity

The ordinance to allow Cross River Fiber LLC to install new 5G utility poles and update existing poles with high-capacity fiber optic cables in “certain public rights of way” came up for a first reading.

5G technology dramatically increases the speed and coverage of wireless networks, but it is saddled with the controversial allegation that it is dangerous to one’s health.

“This has been a concern for residents in Ward A,” Councilwoman Ridley said. “I’m currently working with the law department to put regulations on communications, and I’m looking at ordinances from other towns. Whether you believe 5G is dangerous, regardless of that, I am going to vote no.”

Councilman Boggiano agreed with Councilwoman Ridley whereas Councilman Daniel Rivera said he wouldn’t vote on a second reading without further information from petitioner Cross River Fiber.  The council will ask a representative from the company to supply additional information at the next Council meeting.

“We all have concerns,” Council President Joyce E. Watterman said. “If those needs are not met, this will not pass.”

Cross River Fibers LLC would be doing the work on behalf of its client AT&T. The term of the agreement authorizing its use of the rights of way use would be 20 years. Cross River Fiber LLC would pay the city $750 for every pole it installed.

Business Administrator Brian Platt said he will ask the petitioner to attend the May 6 council meeting. He also said the city supports the 5G utility pole installations and upgrades.

“We’re not investing or partnering,” Platt said. “I believe it’s good to bring new technology to the city when we can.”

Ward D Council Member Search 

At the Monday night caucus meeting, the council withdrew a resolution to appoint a replacement for Ward D Councilman Michael C. Yun, who passed away April 6 from Covid-19 complications. The council has until May 6 to make an appointment or continue with an eight-member council until the general election on Nov 3, 2020.

After the meeting adjourned, Councilman Lavarro said by phone that four Jersey City residents had reached out to the council with interest in the council seat: Cynthia Hadjiyannis, Patrick Ambrossi, Sean Connors, and Jocelyn Patrick. Councilman Lavarro said that these candidates would be interviewed before the May 6 council meeting deadline.

Councilman Boggiano said that Michael Yun would want Sean Connors to be his replacement. Councilman Lavarro demurred, noting that although Connors is a good candidate, there are others interested in the position who are “very capable” of filling Councilman Yun’s shoes, including Cynthia Hadjiyannis, an attorney who ran Councilman Yun’s 2013 campaign.

“I think in fairness we should hear out the other candidates,” Councilman Lavarro said. “I spoke to Michael Yun’s son, Benjamin. He suggested his father would have wanted transparency in the process. I remember Michael advocated for that.”

Keeping Parks Pretty

Van Vorst Park Gazebo

Van Vorst Park Gazebo, photo by David Wilson/Jersey City Times file photo

A resolution authorizing the award of a contract for $39,600 to Gene’s Landscaping Inc. for “fertilizing, seeding and aeration throughout various Jersey City Parks” came under scrutiny. Jersey City resident Jeanne Daly phoned in during the public comments part of the meeting and said she saw the landscaper in her neighborhood with New York State license plates. She  asked the Council to veto the resolution and award the contract to a Jersey City landscaper.

“There’s no reason that Jersey City cannot hire a local company for this job,” Daley said. “This is a non-essential business. There’s nobody in the park, and an investment of over $40,000 (sic) at this point in time is extravagant and a big mistake. We need someone in Hudson County, and we need to hire local.”

Council at Large Rolando R. Lavarro, Jr., noted only two quotes were solicited for the contract and that Gene’s Landscaping had been the lower. He said it might be prudent to take a second look and maybe a formal solicitation.

“At this time, we’re not using the parks,” Councilman Lavarro said. “We don’t want our parks to suffer, but we want to make a good faith effort to find local contractors.”

Councilman Robinson agreed that the city should “take care of our own.” He also said that it might take too long to solicit another bid given that constituents expect their local parks to be maintained at all times.

“I think we have to do a better job to make sure we are looking out for Jersey City up front,” Councilman Robinson said. “We missed an opportunity here, but I don’t want to miss the opportunity to have our parks cared for.”

The council approved the resolution 5-3 with Councilmen James Solomon, Lavarro and Boggiano dissenting.

In attendance at the virtual meeting: Council President Joyce E. Watterman, Council at Large Daniel Rivera, Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley, Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey, Ward C Councilman Richard Boggiano, Ward E Councilman James Solomon, Ward F Councilman Jermaine D. Robinson; Council at Large Rolando R. Lavarro, Jr., and City Clerk Sean J. Gallagher.

The next virtual council meeting will be held Wed, May 6, at 6 pm.

To view the virtual council meeting, go to: cityofjerseycity.gov/vcm

 

 

Dear reader: For the cost of a "tall" drip coffee at Starbucks, you can support local journalism! Please consider signing up for a recurring monthly payment of $2.99. Thank you!

Sign up and support Jersey City Times!

council meeting 04.15.20

Jersey City Municipal Council Debates Rent Freeze


With COVID-19 wreaking its fifth straight week of havoc on Jersey City, the city’s municipal council met Wednesday night to consider the first reading of an ordinance to freeze rent and ban late payment penalties on all units subject to rent control. Spurred by the pandemic, the ordinance, if passed, would remain in effect through August 1. Debate on its scope was spirited.

“I agree with the direction the administration is going, but (the ordinance) only talks about this public health emergency and this rent increase freeze,” Ward E Councilman James Solomon said at the caucus meeting. “God forbid it comes back in the winter. Whenever we are in a public health emergency this freeze (should) kick in.”

Councilman Solomon proposed amending the ordinance to apply to all rental units — including apartments in luxury high rises and in neighborhood homes with one to four units — not just units under rent control. To the latter Ward C Councilman Richard Boggiano objected, asserting such small-scale landlords would not impose a rent increase during a crisis. Other council members disagreed saying they had already received calls to the contrary.

Councilman Solomon also proposed amending the ordinance so that it would apply to all future formal statewide states of emergency, not just to the present pandemic.

In the end the council voted to introduce Solomon’s two amendments as a first reading for discussion at next week’s April 20 caucus meeting; the ordinance will be up for a vote at the May 6 council meeting.

The Public Speaks

Numerous residents addressed the council during the public comments portion of the meeting.

Jonathan Glick of Jersey City related that his landlord had recently issued him and his wife a rent increase for May 1.

“We are asking for some sort of safeguard that our rents aren’t going to be increased at this time,” Glick said. “People are experiencing extreme hardships. My work is at Christ Hospital. We’re stressed and working as hard as we can. It would be prudent for everyone to prevent landlords from raising rent at this time. That would be appreciated so there can be some peace of mind. I don’t think anybody has experienced anything like this before. We look to our leaders like you to support us.”

Offering another perspective was Ron Simoncini, of the Jersey City Property Owner’s Association. Seeking more clarification for businessmen like himself, he lobbied for the ordinance to clearly stipulate when landlords would be able to resume raising rents, suggesting that if it doesn’t, it would cause difficulties in the future.

“The ordinance does not include language that when the ordinance expires, when (homeowners) will be able to raise rents,” Simoncini said. “They would like some definition. … The solutions we are creating are creating different problems later.”

Maria Ross called to ask the council about the property tax deadline for homeowners. A 30-year Jersey City resident and a board member of the Pro Arts artists’ collective, Ross said that her husband’s New York bar had had to close, leaving only her earnings as a part-time nurse for the couple to get by on.

“We’re wondering how we’re going to come up with taxes that are due in May,” Ross said. “There are several avenues of relief for renters and such, but nothing seems to be coming our way. We are close to retirement age. We’re hoping to be able to stay in our home, but it’s going to be a bleaker livelihood. The taxes are high in our area. We really need some help.”

Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley shared Ross’s concern. In a direct address to the city’s business administrator, Brian Platt, she asked whether the city was planning to postpone the May 1 deadline.

“Unless the state of New Jersey allows Jersey City to make changes, we aren’t authorized to do so at this time,” Platt said.

Coles Street Park

Rendering of Coles Street Development

Rendering of Coles Street Development, courtesy Hoboken Brownstone

The council discussed an ordinance to improve infrastructure and make upgrades to the area surrounding Coles Street, site of the proposed Coles Street Park. The work would be done on Coles Street between 16th and 18th Streets, and on 17th Street between Coles Street and Jersey Avenue. At an estimated cost of $2.9 million to be paid by the developers, Manhattan Building Company and Hoboken Brownstone, the work would address chronic flooding and make improvements to existing water and sewer infrastructure and to roads and sidewalks.

At the caucus meeting, Councilman Solomon questioned the timing of these proposed improvements: “Why is this moving now? Given the public health crisis, why is it urgent?”

Although not urgent, adopting the ordinance would allow the Coles Street project to continue moving forward at no expense to the city, business administrator Platt said. Councilman Solomon asked about budget overruns, and Platt told him the developers would be responsible. The council voted unanimously to adopt the ordinance.

Resolutions on Basketball and Potholes

The city council discussed the second reading of a resolution to ratify a contract for $39,200 to SportPros USA to maintain Jersey City’s public basketball courts, which are closed because of the COVID-19 virus. Council at Large Rolando R. Lavarro, Jr., said the city should cancel the contract to preserve money.

“There will be a time when this is restored,” Councilman Lavarro said. “Our courts will be open. If we’re looking to find dollars, we may need that money this year. Why not just make that reduction now?”

Although it was a mild winter, the council approved a resolution to rent a machine called the “pothole killer” to make repairs on certain hard-hit streets. Using it doesn’t require a large crew, Platt said, and because the roads are less travelled, the timing is right.

“The crew is small — two people — and it’s a better time now when no one is on the roads, its less disruptive,” Platt said. “Journal Square has been hard hit on Summit Avenue and Newkirk Street. We’re working to get those streets resurfaced.”

Tributes to the late Councilman Michael Yun and the late former Councilwoman Viola Richardson

Twice during the meeting the Council paused to honor Councilman Michael Yun and former Councilwoman Viola Richardson (who had also been the first African American policewoman in Jersey City), both of who died of COVID-19 since the council had last convened. A moment of silence was held in their memory. And right before the meeting ended, City Clerk Sean Gallagher, speaking for himself and on behalf of city business administrator Brian Platt, offered:

“If you haven’t noticed myself and our business administrator are wearing our bow ties in memory of our late council member Councilman Yun. We’re saddened and heartbroken for the losses we’ve had with Councilperson Yun and former Councilperson Richardson. I did want to show my appreciation of Councilperson Yun. He always told me you have to be a sharp dressed man sitting in that chair during those council meetings.”

In attendance: Council President Joyce E. Watterman, Council at Large Rolando R. Lavarro, Jr., Council at Large Daniel Rivera, Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley, Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey, Ward C Councilman Richard Boggiano, Ward E Councilman James Solomon, Ward F Councilman Jermaine D. Robinson; and City Clerk Sean J. Gallagher.

The next virtual caucus meeting will be Wed, April 20 at 4 p.m., and the next council meeting will be Wed, April 22, at 6 p.m.. To view the meetings, go to the council’s page on the city’s website.

 

Header:  Councilman Richard Boggiano, Council President Joyce E. Waterman, Councilman James Solomon and City Clerk Sean J. Gallagher during the city council’s virtual meeting held Wed, April 15.

Dear reader: For the cost of a "tall" drip coffee at Starbucks, you can support local journalism! Please consider signing up for a recurring monthly payment of $2.99. Thank you!

Sign up and support Jersey City Times!

Defender of the Heights: Jersey City Mourns Passing of Ward D Councilman Michael C. Yun


His smile lit up the room like the colorful bowties he wore to work every day. Ward D Councilman Michael C. Yun served on the Jersey City Municipal Council since 2013, where his curious mind and laser-beam attention to detail were as sharp as the crease in his pin-striped pants.

This past weekend, Yun, 65, lost his battle with Covid-19, testing positive for the virus on March 29 and passing away on April 6. His Jersey City constituents and City Hall colleagues were shocked and saddened by the news, remembering him as affable, compassionate and a staunch advocate for Jersey City.

Photo courtesy City of Jersey City

“We are beyond saddened by the passing of Councilman Michael Yun,” Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop said. “He was a family man, a great businessman, and a tireless advocate for Jersey City throughout his nearly three decades of public service. More than that though, he was a great husband, father and grandfather as he never missed a chance to share how proud he was of his family. This is devastating for all of us here, as Michael was part of our Jersey City family. We will miss him, and we will continue to aggressively fight against this pandemic, now in his honor.”

In 2017, right after Yun was re-elected to the city council, he hired Vernon C. Richardson as his chief of staff and council aide. Richardson says although he’s worked for several politicians including Vice President Al Gore and U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters, it was Councilman Yun who led by example with his tireless work ethic and compassion for the people of Jersey City.

“It’s why I went to work for him,” Richardson says. “He was the most honorable man, but more important, the most honorable politician that ever entered my life. There was not a time I did not work less than 55 hours a week, and it was an honor to be out there with him, attending every event with him.”

When Richardson was having a hard time keeping up with the councilman, he says Yun told him to try harder. Richardson says: “He didn’t say it in a mean or uncaring way. He would say, ‘We just have to work harder.’ That was the challenge that I took to work every day. Every time I think of his memory, it’s the most pleasant thing I have now. It’s not pain I feel. I loved my city, and I loved that man.”

In the Heights

Korean-born, Yun came to the U.S and settled in Manhattan before moving to Jersey City with his wife Jennifer in 1981. They planted roots in the Heights and opened Garden State News on Central Avenue where the couple sold papers and sundries. In the years that followed, Yun ventured into community activism as co-founder of Jersey City’s first Special Improvement District, and for more than 20 years he served as president and chairman of the board of trustees for Central Avenue SID. During that time, Yun helped establish Jersey City as an Urban Enterprise Zone and founded the Everything Jersey City Festival.

Councilman Yun, Maryanne Kelleher, and Councilman Boggiano, courtesy Maryanne Kelleher’s Facebook page

During that time, Richard Boggiano worked as a Jersey City Police Officer and lived in the Heights. He visited Yun’s store regularly to pick up The Jersey Journal, and the two would talk and became friends, Boggiano says. Years later, working alongside Yun as Ward C councilman, Boggiano recalls Yun’s razor-sharp attention to detail, poring over resolutions and ordinances that appeared on the council’s agenda and questioning their potential impact on the people of Jersey City.

“He did thorough research,” Boggiano says. “Michael was really good. He was diligent, had everything marked, underlined and prepped.”

Yun supported Boggiano when Boggiano tried to stop the city from removing the Katyn Memorial from outside the Exchange Place PATH station. The statue, by the sculptor Andrzej Pitynski, of a blindfolded soldier stabbed in the back with a bayonet was a tribute to the 1940 massacre of an estimated 22,000 Polish people, and it became the sensitive subject in a highly publicized tug-of-war when Mayor Fulop proposed moving it to a different location.

“We won the battle,” Boggiano recalls. “We had people come in from Poland to fight that. It was amazing. It meant a lot to everybody. I got Michael involved. He stood right by me.”

Yun was a good listener, Boggiano says, especially when it came to quality-of-life issues affecting the elderly.

“He was good to seniors,” Boggiano says.

Boggiano refers to a 2019 city ordinance Yun sponsored requiring residential buildings that house senior citizens to provide security guards around the clock.  The city council approved the ordinance.

“We must make sure that today’s seniors are protected tomorrow,” Yun told nj.com at the time. “Our seniors and the disabled amongst us are our most vulnerable. We owe them as much.”

He made a lot of changes to the Heights, Boggiano says, because he deeply cared about his community.

“Michael really cared about people,” Boggiano says. “He was dedicated. He helped seniors. He helped everybody. It’s such a loss for Jersey City.”

Paying It Forward

Yun served as president of the Jersey City Merchant’s Council that represented more than 3,000 small-business owners. He volunteered his time overseeing community projects like the preservation of Reservoir #3 in the Heights and the Korean War Veteran’s Memorial in Paulus Hook. In 2013, when Council at Large Rolando R. Lavarro, Jr., asked Yun to help him raise money for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which claimed over 6,300 lives in the Philippines, Yun not only said yes but rallied support from outside Jersey City as well.

“He asked me to meet him at a Korean radio station in New York City,” Lavarro remembers. “We went into a recording room with whom, I assumed, was a popular Korean radio personality. The entire program was in Korean. I didn’t understand one word. Councilman Yun and the host exchanged friendly banter, and Councilman Yun then asked me to explain what had happened in the Philippines. They translated what I said, and they must have added other words appealing for donations.”

When they left the recording room, Lavarro says Yun turned to him and said, “Okay. We’re done. Now we wait and find out.”

“I shrugged my shoulders not knowing what would happen,” Lavarro continued. “We left the radio station, and he treated me to some great Korean food”.

Weeks later, Yun reached out to Lavarro to tell him they had raised some money and requested a meeting with the Philippine Consulate to present the check. When the two councilmen arrived, the presidents of Korea Radio Broadcasting NY and the Korea Daily were presenting two checks for $100,900 and $24,431, respectively, to Philippine Consul General Mario de Leon.

“I was flabbergasted,” Lavarro says. “I recall asking Michael if he’d like me to issue a press release, publicize his work and the generous donations. Instead, he was humble about it and talked about how grateful Koreans are to the Philippines. While Councilman Yun didn’t say it, he told and taught me that he was paying it forward for his ancestors. As I reflect on that memory, I think that is how he lived his life, how he approached public service. I think everyone whose life he touched will attest to that.

 

Header:  Michael C. Yun getting sworn in as Jersey City Councilman as his wife Jennifer, and their grandson, look on, photo courtesy the City of Jersey City

 

Dear reader: For the cost of a "tall" drip coffee at Starbucks, you can support local journalism! Please consider signing up for a recurring monthly payment of $2.99. Thank you!

Sign up and support Jersey City Times!

COVID-19 and Whistleblower Lawsuit Dominate J.C. City Council Meeting


Members Vote, Discuss and Listen to Public Comments in Virtual Setting

Wednesday’s Jersey City City Council Meeting sputtered onto the internet in a live broadcast in response to the coronavirus pandemic that has swept the globe and infected 222 Jersey City residents as of March 27. Council members, most of whom appeared to be participating from home offices, voted on resolutions and discussed two issues — Covid-19 and the case of the Jersey City Employment and Training Program whistleblower.

City Clerk Sean J. Gallagher conducts virtual council meeting
via TEAMS software.

From his city hall office, City Clerk Sean J. Gallagher ran the meeting via software that gave Jersey City residents the opportunity to watch the proceedings from the comfort of their living rooms.  The typically four-hour meeting ran under an hour with only a few Jersey City residents calling in with public comments.

“This is a special meeting of the Jersey City Municipal Council in an effort to adhere to social distancing protocols and best practices imposed by the city and state authority,” Gallagher told viewers as he started the meeting. “Sorry for any technical difficulties.”

COVID-19

Like many Jersey City residents concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic, Misters Kyle Bruno and Ed Winger voiced their concerns during the public comments section of the meeting. Bruno asked the council if the city had contingency plans for people who can’t pay their rent; quarantining Jersey City from New York City (and vice versa); and what local hospitals would do if and when they reach capacity with quarantined patients.

“Is the council with the mayor’s office in any way thinking about any type of rent decrease?” Bruno asked. “Are they thinking of any quarantine or restriction of access into and out of New York City? When are local hospitals reaching capacity? Do we have any coordinated contingency plan, and how are we coordinating this plan with the state, FEMA, and the Army Corps of Engineers? I’m hoping you guys could shed some light on that.”

Ward C Councilman Richard Boggiano also mentioned that the Jersey City Armory and Caven Point Military Base are available if local hospitals become overrun.

When resident Ed Winger called in, he talked of the uncertainty many local residents feel as they deal with unemployment.

“It’s challenging not knowing,” Winger said about what lies ahead. “Is the city going to do anything with the feds to support people who are on unemployment? There are a lot of services in Jersey City, our wonderful great city, but some of the city’s services to the people going through tough times are just not available.”

Councilman Boggiano said he had received calls that day about people fearing eviction.

“Sean, we’re going to have to protect people from being evicted if they can’t afford to pay their rent,” Councilman Boggiano said. “We’re going to have to do something. I’ve gotten a couple of calls on that. I’ve been speaking to people today on that issue. I hope we can come up with a solution on this.”

Gallagher told the council that, according to a recent New Jersey Supreme Court order, no evictions or foreclosures can proceed during the crisis.

Councilman at Large Daniel Rivera added that Governor Phil Murphy had just posted on the state’s website, NJ.gov, a link to services for those who lose their jobs and for employers who can’t keep employing their staff.

“We, as a city, we’re still under construction ourselves with what we’re going to do in terms with the funds that come in from the state,” Councilman Rivera said. “Actually, there are allocations where the business administrator has to be engaged along with all of us and the mayor himself.”

No Indemnification for the Jersey City Employment and Training Program

A resolution to authorize the city of Jersey City to enter into an agreement with the Jersey City Employment and Training Program came up for a vote — but not without objections from Councilman James Solomon.

Controversy has swirled around the program ever since July 2019 when employee and whistleblower Nuria Sierra’s accused the program’s then-executive director, Sudhan Thomas, of embezzlement. After filing her complaint, Sierra was fired from her job. In January 2020 Thomas, who was also head of the Jersey City Board of Education, was formally charged with bilking $45,000 from a government agency.

Councilman Solomon asked whether language could be inserted into the resolution that would protect the agency, which has no insurance, from going bankrupt if Sierra’s lawsuit goes forward. If a judge awards Sierra monetary damages, JCETP might not be able to withstand the fine and be forced to close its doors.

“As a policy question, my understanding is JCETP doesn’t have insurance for these types of claims,” Solomon said. “So, were a successful claim brought against JCETP, who would pay for it, and how would they continue their services?”

Corporate Counsel Peter Baker told Councilman Solomon that the city does not represent the JCETP and would not be indemnifying the agency.

“Why is it the law department recommendation does not indemnify JCEPT?” Councilman Solomon asked. “It’s my understanding we have done so in previous agreements similar to this one.”

Baker said he was not familiar with prior agreements. He added: “Simply put, in the present case, my responsibility and representation goes to the city and its constituent departments. If I felt it were in the city’s interest or it were necessary to indemnify another party, then we proceed with that and proceed with that thoughtfully. In the present case, and in view with the administration and business administrator, it’s our recommendation we not proceed to indemnify them for claims.”

Councilman Solomon pressed his point further, saying that the only lawsuit he’s aware of is by Sierra, and as a policy matter or statement of principal, she should be made whole.

“She clearly saw unacceptable behavior,” Councilman Solomon said. “She spoke out about it initially, quietly, not to the public and was fired, which was wrong. I think we have to take collectively, as a city, responsibility for that happening. My concern is if we proceed without indemnification, there’s no way for us to guarantee she’s made whole. If it doesn’t come out of the JCETP grant, where does it come from? JCETP doesn’t have a lot of resources. If we pass it, we end up doing wrong by her. And as a city there were clearly mistakes made, and we have to take responsibility for them.”

The Council voted 6-1 in favor of adopting the resolution with Councilman Solomon dissenting.

In attendance at the virtual meeting: Council President Joyce E. Watterman, Councilman at Large Daniel Rivera, Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley, Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey, Ward C Councilman Richard Boggiano, Ward E Councilman James Solomon, Ward F Councilman Jermaine D. Robinson; and City Clerk Sean J. Gallagher. Councilman at Large Rolando R. Lavarro, Jr. and Ward D Councilman Michael Yun did not attend.

 

The next virtual council meeting will be held Wed, April 8, at 6 pm. To view the next virtual council meeting, go to the council’s page on the city’s website and click on the link “virtual council meeting,” which can be found on the left-hand side of the page.

 

Header:  Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley, Councilman at Large Daniel Rivera, Council President Joyce E. Watterman, and Ward E Councilman James Solomon participate in the city council’s first virtual meeting.

Dear reader: For the cost of a "tall" drip coffee at Starbucks, you can support local journalism! Please consider signing up for a recurring monthly payment of $2.99. Thank you!

Sign up and support Jersey City Times!

Covid-19 image

Jersey City Covid-19 Update 3/24


City Council Meetings

In an effort to adhere to social distancing protocols and best practices imposed by City and State authorities, the City of Jersey City has canceled all public meetings and closed non-essential services as of March 16, 2020 until further notice.  As a result, the council caucus and council meeting will be held virtually as a video conference with public access until further notice.

The city is utilizing, Microsoft Teams, an electronic platform that allows 10,000 people to view the remote meeting as attendees, with anyone from the Jersey City team present as a meeting participant.  The platform also allows for standard public comment through a chat function and also through an integrated real-time call in system. The email JCVCM@jcnj.org  has been set up for community members to send their name and phone number in advance to be considered for public speaking.  City officials will then call them to participate in public comment.

The council meeting scheduled for tomorrow, March 25 at 6 p.m. can be watched HERE.

Schools

The Jersey City Public Schools have extended the closure of schools due to the Covid-19 emergency through spring break and are now tentatively scheduled to reopen on Monday, April 20.

Let’s Eat Jersey City

The city is creating a directory of restaurants and foods shop open across the city.  This listing will help get the word out for food providers still open for business and which food providers deliver or provide take out.

Restaurants and food shops can sign up HERE.

The city has set up an emergency coronavirus page with the latest updates here – https://www.jerseycitynj.gov/CityHall/health/coronavirus.

Dear reader: For the cost of a "tall" drip coffee at Starbucks, you can support local journalism! Please consider signing up for a recurring monthly payment of $2.99. Thank you!

Sign up and support Jersey City Times!

Events

Jersey City Times file photo

Jersey City Council Meeting – August Meeting


In general, City Council meetings are held on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month at 6:00 p.m., unless otherwise designated.  Click here for the City’s schedule.

However during July and August, the Council will be only once a month.  Council meetings are open to members of the public, who are welcome to speak at the designated public comment times.  Members of the public wishing to speak are advised to contact the City Clerk prior to the meeting.

Council Caucus meetings are generally held the Monday prior to the Council meeting.  However during the summer, the July and August meetings will be held at 10 a.m.  The purpose of caucuses is to discuss agenda items for the upcoming meeting.  Caucuses are open to the public, however, there is no opportunity for the public to speak.  The Council may also hold closed caucuses during which the public is excluded.  In addition, the council may hold a pre-meeting caucus one-half hour prior to any scheduled council meeting.

Note that all caucuses are held in the Efrain Rosario Memorial Caucus Room, City Hall, 280 Grove Street.

VIRTUAL MEETING ADVISORY

In an effort to adhere to social distancing protocols and best practices imposed by City and State authorities due to the current health crisis, the City of Jersey City has canceled all public meetings and closed non-essential services as of March 16, 2020 until further notice.  As a result, this council meeting will be held virtually as a video conference with public access.

The August meeting can be viewed here – Virtual Municipal Council Meeting Link

Dear reader: For the cost of a "tall" drip coffee at Starbucks, you can support local journalism! Please consider signing up for a recurring monthly payment of $2.99. Thank you!

Sign up and support Jersey City Times!

Jersey City Times file photo

Jersey City Council Meeting – July Meeting


In general, City Council meetings are held on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month at 6:00 PM, unless otherwise designated.  Click here for the City’s schedule.

However during July and August, the Council will be only once a month.  Council meetings are open to members of the public, who are welcome to speak at the designated public comment times.  Members of the public wishing to speak are advised to contact the City Clerk prior to the meeting.

Council Caucus meetings are generally held the Monday prior to the Council meeting.  However during the summer, the July and August meetings will be held at 10 a.m.  The purpose of caucuses is to discuss agenda items for the upcoming meeting.  Caucuses are open to the public, however, there is no opportunity for the public to speak.  The Council may also hold closed caucuses during which the public is excluded.  In addition, the council may hold a pre-meeting caucus one-half hour prior to any scheduled council meeting.

Note that all caucuses are held in the Efrain Rosario Memorial Caucus Room, City Hall, 280 Grove Street.

VIRTUAL MEETING ADVISORY

In an effort to adhere to social distancing protocols and best practices imposed by City and State authorities due to the current health crisis, the City of Jersey City has canceled all public meetings and closed non-essential services as of March 16, 2020 until further notice.  As a result, this council meeting will be held virtually as a video conference with public access.

The July 15 meeting can be viewed here – Virtual Municipal Council Meeting Link

Dear reader: For the cost of a "tall" drip coffee at Starbucks, you can support local journalism! Please consider signing up for a recurring monthly payment of $2.99. Thank you!

Sign up and support Jersey City Times!