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Re: Political Insider: Ward F special election will help measure Healy's chance for re-election
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Jersey City nonprofit head running for Ward F council seat, saying crime in the area holds seniors 'hostage'

October 03, 2012, 11:35 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

More than 12 years ago, Jersey City woman Diane Coleman founded Building an Empire, a nonprofit dedicated, she says, to “filling in the gaps” provided by social-social groups to poor and low-income residents.

This fall, Coleman hopes to use her experience running the nonprofit to vault her to victory in next month’s special election to find a Ward F council member to replace Viola Richardson, who vacated the seat last November after becoming a councilwoman at large.

Coleman, 65, of Arlington Avenue, said she’s helped over 8,000 residents via Building an Empire, and could reach even more if she becomes Ward F’s newest council representative.

“The need is so great,” she said recently inside her Martin Luther King Drive campaign headquarters. “These people are struggling.”

Coleman, nearly a lifelong city resident, said Ward F’s biggest issue is crime, which she said affects other priorities for residents, like affordable, decent housing. The ward has been neglected, she said, adding that her nonprofit, located at Martin Luther King Drive and Bayview Avenue, is “in the heart” of all of the violence.

“Seniors are held hostage,” she said, adding that many of them are afraid to leave their homes to run errands. “Children are getting shot.”

If elected in November, where she is also running against Michele Massey, Richardson’s temporary successor on the nine-member council, Coleman said she plans to insist on “pro-active” police patrolling in Ward F.

“If it doesn’t happen, I can just get 1,000 residents together and will go down to the police chief’s office” to demand it, she added.

In addition to Massey, Coleman’s opponents in the Nov. 6 special election are anti-crime activist Debby Walker and pastor Tyrone Ballon. ... y_nonprofit_head_run.html

Posted on: 2012/10/4 2:11

United Water to shut down aqueduct in Jersey City for maintenance
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United Water to shut down aqueduct in Jersey City for maintenance

October 02, 2012, 8:33 PM
By Anthony J. Machcinski/The Jersey Journal

United Water announced today that it will be shutting down Jersey City's water supply aqueduct from Oct. 9 through Nov. 19.

The company said that the shutdown will allow United Water to inspect and perform maintenance on parts of the 100-year-old tunnel system that provides water to Jersey City and Hoboken.

Residents will instead receive water from the Passaic Valley Water Commission and North Jersey District Water Supply Commission through the Newark Interconnection.

"This work is part of a routine maintenance that is typically performed every 2-3 years," said John Hroncich, operations manager for United Water. "This will help us ensure water quality and service reliability."

United Water is warning residents that they may experience discolored water at the beginning and end of the shutdown, citing a harmless buildup of minerals in the water mains. The company is advising residents to let water run clear before using it for drinking, cooking, or washing clothes. ... er_to_shut_down_wate.html

Posted on: 2012/10/4 2:05

Jersey City, Hudson County given $117K in state tourism funding
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Jersey City, Hudson County given $117K in state tourism funding

October 02, 2012, 3:46 PM
By Ron Zeitlinger/The Jersey Journal

Two agencies in Hudson County have received more than $117,000 in state funding to promote tourism, Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno announced today.

The Jersey City Economic Development Corp. received $114,000 and the Hudson County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs received $3,551 in Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) grants from more than $1.3 million handed out in New Jersey.

"Tourism is one of New Jersey's largest and most popular industries, generating $38 billion in economic activity and 312,000 jobs," said Guadagno, who oversees the Division of Travel and Tourism as Secretary of State. "These grants are an important and proven ingredient to successfully promote the unique historical, cultural, and
natural attractions that exist in every corner of our state."

DMOs work with entertainment venues, restaurants, retail outlets, and hotels to promote a municipality or region's historical, cultural, and artistic attractions. Each grant application is reviewed by an independent panel with granting, marketing, and tourism experience.

To receive funding, applicants had to demonstrate quality work, a clear demonstration of how their project will contribute to the state's tourism industry, and how their project fits within the Division of Travel and Tourism's priorities.

"The Division of Travel and Tourism awards these grants ... to provide critical promotional services in their respective geographic areas as premier tourist destinations," said Grace Hanlon, executive director of the Division of Travel and Tourism.

Destination Marketing Organization Grants were awarded to the following:

-- Meadowlands Liberty Convention and Visitors Bureau, Rutherford $150,000
-- Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority, Atlantic City $74,835
-- Southern Shore Regional Tourism, Cape May Courthouse $141,000
-- Southern Ocean County Chamber, Ship Bottom $141,000
-- Morris County Tourism Bureau, Morristown $141,000
-- Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitor Bureau,
Princeton $123,000
-- Shore Region Tourism Council, Neptune $111,000
-- South Jersey Tourism Corp., Sewell $36,072
-- Somerset County Business Partnership, Bridgewater $108,000
-- Sussex County Chamber of Commerce, Newton $102,000
-- Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce, Flemington $33,000
-- Central New Jersey Convention & Visitors Bureau Middlesex County Regional Chamber $ 36,000 ... y_hudson_county_give.html

Posted on: 2012/10/2 20:19

Political Insider: Ward F special election will help measure Healy's chance for re-election
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Political Insider: Ward F special election will help measure Healy's chance for re-election

Saturday, September 29, 2012, 11:03 AM
By Agustin C. Torres/The Jersey Journal

The special election for the remaining term -- runs to May -- for the Jersey City Ward F City Council seat now occupied by Michele Massey is a barometer for the city administration's future political success.

Although brought to local government by Councilwoman at Large Viola Richardson to fill a vacancy created by Willie Flood's 2011 resignation, Massey's loyalty quickly found a home in the administration of Mayor Jerramiah Healy.

Now the mayor is at a crossroad. Should Massey win her seat, there's no problem, but Healy cannot afford to see her defeated. She loses, it's a good bet the incumbent mayor is a loser, with a capital "L."

Healy's campaign organization must be able to show it has what it takes to get out the vote. This should be an easy fight because it is in the center of the city's black community where the administration has been busy trying to portray Healy's rival for mayor, Downtown Councilman Steven Fulop, as uncaring and a secretive manipulator. They and their allies in the black community paint Fulop as a pandering outsider who ousted former Superintendent of Schools Charles Epps, a black man, and who refused to consider another black man for the job, Franklin Walker.

A black woman, Marcia Lyles, was eventually hired as the new schools superintendent.

Those running against Massey includes the Rev. Tyrone Ballon, whose name on the ballot doesn't include any mention of the cloth. There is also nonprofit social agency, Building an Empire, founder Diane Coleman, who I thought was known as Fuller-Coleman -- someone who was "witness" to how (Newark) government works. Coleman is also seen as the threat to Massey's re-election bid. The fourth candidate is anti-crime activist Debbie Walker.

I'm sure the Healy camp was fast asleep in Ward F and by my mentioning what's at stake, it may wake them up. But, I doubt it. (Dems fightin' words, right guys.)


Most political organizations in Hudson County are broke. A big money loser is the Hudson County Democratic Organization which probably has vendors yapping at its heels.

The HCDeadO announced plans for its Oct. 12 fall dinner at New Jersey City University kicking off the November election. What is unusual is that the county Democratic Party notified members they can make checks out directly to a handful of candidates -- 31st District Assemblyman Jason O'Donnell of Bayonne and County Clerk Barbara Netchert, 33rd District Assemblyman Sean Connors and Freeholder Jeff Dublin, all three of Jersey City.

I was wondering why the direct funding, but it seems the usual sources are a little tight-lipped. At first I thought that these candidates were trustworthy enough to hold the funds until the HCDeadO gets by its creditors. Or, could it be that it is how the HCDeadO can pay back these folks who may have used their own campaign monies to keep the county flagship afloat in the past?

More than likely, it's a way for the present HCDeadO leadership to squirrel away cash by using trusted lieutenants as off-shore island depositories because you never know who may try to take over the organization in June.

One more thing about money for those backers of North Bergen Mayor and Sen. Nick Sacco: you are more than likely expected to help finance the war on Union City Mayor and Sen. Brian Stack.

Sacco and Stack will compete in November on who gets out the most votes. Then the arch rivals will get involved in the Jersey City municipal race. All this costs money. Sacco's fall fundraising dinner is expected to come with a ticket price hike. Start taking out your credit union loans.


Wednesday is the start of presidential debates and much of Hudson County is making a party of it with like-minded people and organizations. Check your Facebook and Twitter accounts for places and times for any such gatherings.

Mayor Healy is planing a debate party at the Brightside Tavern on, what else, Bright Street.

Over at the Park Tavern on West Side Avenue, there should be a band of Fulop people, mostly out of Ward D, for the debate.

Assembly Democratic primary candidate Peter Basso of the Heights is planning to get people together for that evening, possibly at Zeppelin Hall. Basso is running for a spot in the 33rd District, where we're not sure who is really running. More about Basso's effort in the future.

There are plenty of others debate bashes in Hoboken and other burgs. One of the neater events is expected to take place in Bayonne High School where some students, with their teachers, will watch the presidential candidates verbally spar in that evening. Sorry, no taverns for the youngsters. There may be some local Dems and, gasp, Republicans attending.


-- When Sacco cut off Herb Shaw and ended the North Bergen commission meeting because of the constant applause by people in the audience whenever there was criticism of the administration, the mayor said there was a lack of decorum.
It all seems like such a plebeian thing for the mayor to do. But, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Sacco get tossed out of a commission meeting when Anthony DiVincent was mayor, back in the old days? Was there a lack of decorum?

-- There seems to be a rhythm going, as in the case of the North Bergen scandal and its no- and low-show jobs, and so we wait for the next subpoena to hit.

-- Did you notice something odd about some of the people mentioned in that North Bergen kerffufle. James Wiley, who pleaded guilty today to conspiring to have Department of Public Works employees perform chores at his home and work on election campaigns while being paid by the township, and John Stalknecht, a dual job holder who is apparently given "leeway" as to the hours he puts in at work, are Republicans.

Their boss, Township Public Works Commissioner Frank Gargiulo, is a member of the GOP and was once chairman of the Hudson County Republican Party. Frank must be putting out that vote for Romney in North Bergen ;) BTW, why was Wiley helping Democrats? It's almost as if there are a herd of old RINOs in the county :0

-- For those who can't wait: U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez of North Bergen debates his GOP opponent state Sen. Joseph Kyrillos of Monmouth and the 13th District on Thursday evening at Montclair State University. Where's your debate party? -- IHOP? ... ection_indicates_hea.html

Posted on: 2012/10/1 3:04

Jersey City man charged with biting three fingers of mayor's son
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Jersey City man charged with biting three fingers of mayor's son, police say

September 30, 2012, 7:00 PM
By Charles Hack/The Jersey Journal

A 36-year-old Jersey City man police say bit three fingers on the right hand of Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy's son early Saturday, says the mayor's son attacked him for no reason.

Hector Mejias told The Jersey Journal today he was driving on Sixth Street near Newark Avenue around 3 a.m. Saturday when his path was blocked by people fighting outside Healy's Tavern, a bar co-owned by Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy's two sons, city firefighters Jeremiah S. Healy and Patrick Healy.

According to Mejias, he was stepping out his white Saab when a man he later found out was Jeremiah Healy charged at him and punched him in the face and mouth.

Mejias said he bit Healy's fingers in defense, but when he got of his car, several off-duty police officers began beating him.

"They ran at me and started punching me for no reason," he said yesterday. "Nobody would help me because he's the son of the Jersey City mayor .. one guy said now you are f-----."

Mejias, who was charged with aggravated assault on Healy, said he was held at the East District precinct for seven hours before he was taken to the Jersey City Medical Center to be examined.

Cleared by the hospital for incarceration, Mejias said he was released from the county jail in Kearny 3 a.m. today after posting $5,000 bail.

Police officials tell quite a different story.

They say backup was requested by off-duty officers at the bar to quell a fight outside the tavern.

Nader Awad, 29, of Clendenny Avenue, assaulted two officers who were trying to break up the fight and he was charged with two counts of aggravated assault against a police officer, police reports said.

Then Mejias -- who acknowledges he's known Awad for a long time -- drove up and punched Healy who was outside trying to calm the situation, police reports said.

To stop Mejias from leaving the scene, Healy told police he reached into Mejias' car to grab the car keys and that's when Mejias bit him, police reports said.

A police officer ran to Healy's aid, removed the car keys and with other off-duty cops, subdued and arrested Mejias, reports said.

Jeremiah Healy could not be reached today to comment.

Mejias said he wanted to file a complaint against Healy at the East District, but officers told him he should tell his story to the judge when he appears at Central Judicial Processing Court tomorrow. ... man_charged_with_b_3.html

Posted on: 2012/10/1 2:44

Re: Jersey City Medical Center CEO says Christ Hospital takeover 'a recipe for disaster,' offers to buy
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Bankruptcy trustee calls for investigation into auction sale of Jersey City's Christ Hospital

Sunday, September 30, 2012, 3:26 PM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

A U.S. Bankruptcy Court trustee is calling for an investigation into the recent sale of Jersey City's Christ Hospital, saying the process has been "called into question" by an email alleging the company that failed in its bid to purchase the Palisade Avenue hospital tried to "fix" the process in his company's favor.

An independent third party is needed to examine the proceedings to ensure Christ Hospital's eventual sale to Hudson Hospital Holdco was "not tainted in any way by self dealing, a power-play, or an attempt to improperly influence the sale process," writes Roberta A. Deangelis, the trustee, in Friday's 14-page filing.

The email, included in full in the filing, appears to have been sent on Sept. 12, 2012 from Warren Martin, Christ Hospital's bankruptcy attorney, to Bill Colgan, who heads Bloomfield-based Community Healthcare Associates, which partnered with the Jersey City Medical Center in a failed bid to acquire Christ Hospital.

According to the email, sent months after the sale to Holdco was finalized, Colgan had asked Martin to "fix" the auction in CHA's favor in exchange for dropping a lawsuit CHA was planning to file against Martin's firm.

"But I made sure that the Christ Hospital auction was honest and fair for all parties -- and not rigged in your favor," the email reads. "That is the only way I know how to do business."

Complicating matters is a civil suit filed by Colgan and others against Martin and his Morristown law firm, Porzio, Bomberg, and Newman, on the unrelated matter referenced in Martin's email.

A CHA spokesman declined to comment, citing "pending litigation." Calls placed to a Holdco spokesman and to Martin's office were not returned.

The trustee's request for an inquiry is a stunning development in the already tortured history of Christ Hospital's struggle toward financial solvency.

Last summer, officials at the nonprofit hospital announced its planned acquisition by a for-profit company out of California, a deal that eventually collapsed in February after intense community opposition. A week later, the hospital filed for bankruptcy.

Two major bidders soon emerged for the 140-year-old Christ Hospital: CHA, which sought to purchase the facility and lease a portion of it to the Jersey City Medical Center for use as a nonprofit hospital; and Holdco, which owns Bayonne Medical Center and Hoboken University Medical Center and intended to transform Christ Hospital into a for-profit entity.

Holdco ended up offering the highest bid, $42.5 million. The sale was finalized by a state Superior Court judge in July.

JCMC spokesman Mark Rabson declined to comment, noting that JCMC is not cited in the court filing. ... y_trustees_calls_for.html

Posted on: 2012/10/1 2:40

Re: Massive PATH and Hudson River Crossings Toll Increase
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PATH fare hikes take effect Monday

Thursday, September 27, 2012, 3:55 PM
By Ana Ferrer/The Jersey Journal

PATH train riders be advised, the price of a one-way ride is going up 25 cents Monday to $2.25.

The change takes effect at 3 a.m. Monday.

"I need to find a new job," joked Nisa Ahmed, a worker at Hudson County Community College, who currently spends $13.50 a day between her PATH and NJ Transit train rides, commuting from Rahway.

Ahmed, like others The Jersey Journal spoke to, didn't realize the fare hike was imminent.

This latest fare increase comes as part of a plan to raise the tolls and fares until 2015 when a one-way PATH fare will be $2.75.

Todd Fulford, of Manhattan, who uses the PATH train frequently during the week, said the 25 cents increase was well worth the service. "It is what it is. It's clean and fast, and gets me from my office in the city to my warehouse in Jersey City," he said.

In Hudson County, there are PATH train stops in Jersey City, Hoboken, and Harrison.

The new fares are being raised across the board, including the multi-day passes. For example, a seven-day Smart Link pass will be raised $3 from $21 to $24. The 30-day Smart Link pass will be $73, up $8 from $65.

For more information about the fare hikes, visit the Port Authority website, ... _go_into_effect_on_m.html

Posted on: 2012/9/28 2:09

New parking meters in Jersey City accept credit cards
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New parking meters in Jersey City accept credit cards, but no more parking on someone else's quarter

Thursday, September 27, 2012, 3:44 PM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

There’s good and bad news for motorists now that Jersey City has installed 48 new parking meters along Montgomery Street.

The good news: you can use coins or a credit card to pay at each meter, and you won’t have to run back to your car to put a receipt on your dashboard.

The bad news: sensors will zero out the meters when a car leaves a spot, meaning no more piggybacking on the previous parker’s quarter.

The new meters, located along Montgomery between Warren and Greene streets near the Waterfront, are on a 90-day trial period, with city officials saying they will see after three months whether they should install the meters in other parts of the city.

The meters have been fully functional for the past two weeks.

Mayor Jerramiah Healy said in a press release the meters are an effort to "provide more efficient and convenient parking alternatives" for residents, businesses and visitors.

“We encourage our residents and visitors to use these new meters and provide feedback so we can further improve our parking meter system throughout the city," Healy said.

The city will incur no new costs for the meters, which are simply the old parking meters with new heads and mechanisms, during the trial period, said city spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill.

Parking Authority Executive Director Mary Paretti said the meters have a four-hour maximum limit, up from two hours. The parking rate is now the same for coin or credit-card usage, but there could be a fee in the future for using a credit card, Paretti said.

The new meters will not accept debit-card payments. ... g_meters_in_downtown.html

Posted on: 2012/9/28 2:05

Re: Stop the Planning Board from making Peter Mocco's Liberty Harbor North into skyscraperville
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Changes to Jersey City's Liberty Harbor development given initial OK by City Council

Thursday, September 27, 2012, 7:51 PM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

Sweeping revisions of Jersey City’s Liberty Harbor development that would allow taller high-rises and increased density was given initial approval by the City Council tonight.

The plan, which would create a seven-block neighborhood called the Tidewater Basin District, would allow buildings in the district to rise as high as 55 stories. The plan, which the council must approve once more before it is adopted, was approved 6-2, with council members Steve Fulop and Rolando Lavarro voting “no” and Councilwoman Nidia Lopez absent.

The changes to the Liberty Harbor North redevelopment plan would add up to 1,900 residential units to the massive Waterfront development, bringing the total number of units to roughly 6,800.

The new district would sit between Marin Boulevard and Jersey Avenue, directly across from Liberty State Park.

Fulop and Lavarro objected to a provision of the plan that would allow developer Turrunumn Murad to partner with fellow developer Brian Fisher to build a hotel along Marin Boulevard. The project, originally headed solely by Murad, received an $8 million loan backed by the city in 2009 that city officials say will now be paid back in full thanks to Fisher’s involvement.

But the two objecting councilmen referred to the transaction as “flipping,” with Fulop saying the city is entitled to the property because taxpayers took a “risk” when it backed the $8 million loan.

Jim McCann, a lawyer representing the hotel developers, told the council tonight he objects that language.

“This property is not being flipped,” McCann said.

The overall changes to the Liberty Harbor North redevelopment plan have been criticized by community members, with Sam Pesin, president of the Friends of Liberty State Park, saying in an e-mail last month that they “pose grave concerns” due to increased density.

City officials have stressed that the increased number of units is due smaller units, while the overall square footage of the Liberty Harbor North development remains the same. ... _jersey_citys_libert.html

Posted on: 2012/9/28 1:59

Re: JC School "Lego" Teacher Arrested for Molesting 3 Girls
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LEGO 'master' who preyed on young girls from after-school program to be sentenced tomorrow

Thursday, September 27, 2012, 8:16 PM
By Anthony J. Machcinski/The Jersey Journal

A Jersey City LEGO "master" faces up to seven years in prison when he is sentenced tomorrow after having pleaded guilty to molesting children while leading a LEGOs after school activity in more than one Hudson County school, officials said.

Eric Sophie, 42, of Newport Parkway, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault and one count of endangering a minor and will be sentenced at 1:30 p.m. by Hudson County Superior Court Judge Lisa Rose in the Hudson County Administration Building in Jersey City.

Sophie was first arrested in November 2010 and charged with molesting two 5-year-old girls and an 8-year-old girl, officials said. A short time later he was charged in a fourth incident, officials said. Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor Jane Weiner said Sophie has been in the Hudson County jail in Kearny since his arrest.

Sophie, who called himself "Legomaster" on his page, ran an after-school program at Ethical Community Charter School on Broadway in Jersey City.

Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor John Mulkeen said at the time of Sophie's arrest that the charges stemmed from incidents in Jersey City and Hoboken.

Sophie's intricate, complex and often large LEGO creations have been exhibited in Liberty State Park, on the Jersey City Artists Studio Tour, on the "Good Day, New York" television program and numerous other venues.

Sophie faces up to seven years on each of the sexual assault charges and the sentences will run concurrently, but he will have to serve nearly six years before becoming eligible for parole, Weiner said. He faces 18 months on the endangering charge, but that too will run concurrent to the other terms. ... r_who_preyed_on_youn.html

Posted on: 2012/9/28 1:55

Re: Healy administration, Vega recommend sweetening tax abatement for 77 Hudson
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Jersey City developer could save $300,000 thanks to deal OK'd by City Council

Thursday, September 27, 2012, 9:04 PM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

Jersey City will not assess a service charge on unsold units in a Downtown luxury condo complex for one year unless the units are sold by then, thanks to an agreement approved by the City Council tonight.

The council in August rejected a move by the city administration to amend its original tax break for K. Hovnanian, developer of the 420-unit 77 Hudson St. The rejected measure would have lowered the developer’s annual service charge to the city from 16 to 11 percent of its annual gross revenue for the first three years of the deal.

The new deal, approved 5-3 by the council tonight, would just affect just the service charge on the 66 unsold units at 77 Hudson Street according to a Sept. 21 memo from Corporation Counsel Bill Matsikoudis.

Matsikoudis’ memo says Hovnanian sells about eight units at 77 Hudson St. each month.

The deal approved tonight, which could save Hovnanian as little as $300,000 and as much as nearly $800,000, ends a lawsuit the developer filed in 2009, arguing the city showed “bias” by not amending a tax-break deal for Hovnanian’s 420-unit 77 Hudson St., as the city did with a similar complex on Second Street.

“The current proposed settlement is superior to the previous agreement the City Council rejected,” Matsikoudis writes in his memo, urging the council to approve the deal because of the “risk” of litigation.

Council member David Donnelly, Steve Fulop and Rolando Lavarro voted against the measure – Councilwoman Nidia Lopez was absent – with Fulop saying it will “cost the taxpayers significant money.”

“If you’re going to readjust and bail out the big developers, the same should apply to the small taxpayer,” Fulop said.

The city originally won the case Hovnanian brought, but that decision was overturned by an appellate court, which sent the case back to the lower court. Matsikoudis said in July he wants to settle because he believes the trial judge showed some “favorability” to Hovnanian. ... y_developer_could_sa.html

Posted on: 2012/9/28 1:48

Re: The Gloves are off between Mayor Healy and Steven Fulop
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Posted on: 2012/9/27 15:19

Re: West Side / 440: PJP Landfill burned for 30 years
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Almost three decades later, a once-simmering Jersey City landfill site is poised to become city's largest park

September 24, 2012, 8:25 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

On March 24, 1985, about 20 Jersey City firefighters began pouring roughly 300,000 gallons of water on the PJP Landfill, a 70-acre site in the shadow of the Pulaski Skyway where underground fires had raged for three decades.

Smoke from the blazes had been getting worse, according to a Jersey Journal report from the following day, and city officials decided that their attempts to extinguish the blazes might spur state and federal officials into action.

But the city’s attempt only made the smoke problem worse. About a month later, the state finally gave the OK for a plan to excavate the site and douse the underground fires which often sent smoke billowing toward the now-demolished A. Harry Moore public-housing complex once and for all.

“It was a mess,” Mayor Jerramiah Healy said last week on a tour of the former landfill.

Flash forward 27 years, and half of the former PJP landfill has been cleared of the contaminants that caused the notorious fires. The city awaits a decision by federal environmental officials that would remove the 32-acre property from the list of Superfund sites.

The city plans to transform the former dump into the Skyway Riverfront Park, a mostly passive park that would include a pedestrian bridge connecting it to a planned extension of the waterfront walkway on Jersey City’s western border. It would be Jersey City’s largest public park.

The other half of the former landfill is set to become a trucking warehouse.

The city and Hudson County just received $800,000 in grants from the state to fund the new park, which the project’s architect said in May will cost about $10 million, though some of the original plans have since been curtailed. Corporation Counsel Bill Matsikoudis said this week the cost will probably stick closer to $5 million.

The park will not feature amenities like baseball fields or a playground there will be another public meeting this fall to seek input from residents but there is a plan to build a pedestrian bridge over the stream that runs along the western edge of the property.

Sen. Robert Menendez, seeking re-election this November, wrote a letter to the federal Environmental Protection Agency in September asking it to remove the site from the Superfund list, saying the former landfill is now “virtually unrecognizable as its former self.”

Indeed, in portions of the park where abandoned truck trailers and soiled mattresses were once piled, there are now swaths of black-eyed susans and spartina (also known as cordgrass) and tall, dense areas filled with phragmites.

That last plant, an invasive weed, is not optimal New York City parks officials have enlisted the help of goats to get rid of the weed by eating it. But it’s a far cry from how the former landfill used to look, according to Morris Verdibello, a city environmental commissioner who was the lead engineer back in the 1980s when the city finally extinguished the fires on the site.

“It’s an incredible transformation,” Verdibello said last week.

Healy agreed: “You used to see the fires, the dump. Now you see nothing but green, open space.”

An EPA official said the agency is looking into Menendez’s request. ... ree_decades_later_a_o.htm

Posted on: 2012/9/24 16:21

Re: Madox, 198 Van Vorst Street
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First LEED MF Building In Hudson County To Open In Paulus Hook
By Antoinette Martin

JERSEY CITY-Fields Development Group tells it is on the brink of officially starting leasing at the 131-unit Madox, its new eco-friendly and smoke-free rental building here.

James Caulfield Jr. said names are being taken for “hard-hat tours” of the nearly complete building at 198 Van Vorst Street in downtown Jersey City. After a tour, interested renters may put their names on a priority list for particular units. Leasing will start in October, with occupancy set for early November.

Studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments – some with dens – range in size from 480 to 1,320 square feet, with monthly rates starting at $1,800.

Designed as the first LEED-certified residential building in this Hudson County city, the seven-story Madox offers multiple amenities and services, plus expansive views of the Hudson River and Manhattan skyline.

Caulfield, whose company has created a number of condominium communities in Hudson County, says the rental building is uniquely positioned as a new luxury building in a long-established riverside neighborhood. “There is simply nothing comparable to Madox in today’s marketplace in terms of location, apartment features, amenities and services and intimate, community-oriented environment,” he says. “Add in the fact the building is energy efficient, sustainable and LEED-certified and we fully expect Madox to captivate the market.”

The apartments have hardwood floors, high ceilings, gourmet kitchens and washer-dryer units.

There will be a keyless entry system, 24-hour doorman, gym, a lobby lounge with a library, business center and communal technology table with iPad Station, iMac and PC; and a resident’s-only lounge with children’s play area, yoga room, kitchenette, and TVs.

Outside, a landscaped courtyard will offer children’s play area, café seating and benches. In addition, the Madox has two common 8th floor terraces and a shared roof deck with hammocks, a natural gas BBQ, fire pit, and lounges Valet garage parking and bicycle storage will also be available.

“Madox will offer a unique blend of artistic living and common spaces, exciting indoor and outdoor amenities and responsible development practices that will inspire people to set down roots here,” Caulfield says.

Construction was done in accordance with U.S. Green Building Council guidelines for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings that incorporate responsible site development, energy efficient design and sustainable materials to create environmentally-sensitive urban living environments. The Madox has a PV Solar Array and vegetation on the roof, electric car charging stations, and systems to reduce water consumption by over 45% and energy consumption by 14%. The building will also be under contract for at least two years to provide 35% of its electricity from renewable sources.

The 100% smoke-free policy at the Madox is believed to be breaking ground in New Jersey.

The building is situated a few blocks from PATH train and high-speed ferry commuter stations. Also, Light Rail trains take riders throughout Jersey City and Hoboken. ... /multifamily/-325366.html

Posted on: 2012/9/24 3:54

Cerf to discuss education in Jersey City but not Lyles or takeover status
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Cerf to discuss education in Jersey City but not Lyles or takeover status

September 21, 2012, 11:20 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

The state’s top education official will appear in Jersey City on Monday for a public hearing about education, but the city’s new schools superintendent will likely not be a topic of conversation.

State Sen. Sandra B. Cunningham, who is organizing the hearing, said state Education Commissioner Chris Cerf intends to discuss “public education,” and not new Jersey City Schools Superintendent Marcia V. Lyles.

“I asked him to come . . . to talk about his vision for educating our kids,” Cunningham said this week. “I just think that our parents and residents should know what his direction is in terms of education . . . that’s it.”

Lyles, who became the city’s first black female superintendent earlier this month, survived a nearly year-long search process during which critics complained the state exerted influence over the choice. Both Lyles and Cerf are graduates of the Broad Superintendents Academy.

But Cunningham said she isn’t interested in turning the hearing into a venting session for Lyles’ critics.

“That’s not the direction,” she said. “Marcia Lyles is here. So let’s move on.”

Earlier this month, one of Cunningham’s colleagues, state Sen. Ron Rice of Newark, urged federal officials to investigate the state’s continued control of the Jersey City, Newark and Paterson school districts.

Cunningham said that issue will also likely not come up during Monday’s hearing. Rice and Cunningham are planning an October meeting to discuss state control of the three districts.

Monday’s hearing is scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. at New Jersey City University in the Student Union Building. ... scuss_education_in_j.html

Posted on: 2012/9/24 3:25

Re: JCPD say nothing yet points to killer who stabbed 68-year-old man in his apartment on Bergen Ave
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Mistrial is declared in Jersey City murder trial after jury is deadlocked

September 21, 2012, 8:41 PM
By Michaelangelo Conte/The Jersey Journal

A mistrial was declared in the murder trial of a former Jersey City man after the jury could not decide on the most serious charges.

The jury deliberated less than a full day in the case of Patrick Smith, 48, of Old Bridge, who was charged with stabbing Robert E. Murphy, 68, to death in his Jersey City home on May 21, 2010. The jury found Smith guilty on six drug counts, not guilty on two other drug counts and it was deadlocked on the counts of murder, felony murder, armed robbery and robbery.

Hudson County Superior Court Judge Fred Theemling set Oct. 15 for a status conference on new trial date.

"There was a miscarriage of justice today," said defense attorney Milagros Camacho, who wanted an acquittal on the murder charge.

Fellow defense attoreny Don Gardner said "there was sufficient basis for jury to see (that Smith) was not involved" and he said he "looks forward to having the case presented to new jury."

Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor John Wojtal, who tried the case, said he is "happy with drug conviction and I look forward to trying (Smith) again on murder counts."

Murphy's son, who found his dad's body in his dad's Bergen Avenue apartment, was in court this afternoon, but left without commenting afterward.

At the trial, a witness said she and Smith went to Murphy's home to deliver him $40 worth of cocaine and four cigarettes. She identified herself and Smith on security video as they went to Murphy’s residence and left a short time later.

But she testified that around midnight that day, Smith returned to her Fulton Avenue home asking for his black hooded sweatshirt. Under questioning by Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor John Wojtal, she said she gave Smith the sweatshirt and he left.

In court, the witness identified Smith as the man seen entering and leaving Murphy’s building a short time later. She identified his sweatshirt as the one he had retrieved from her earlier.

About 3 a.m. the next morning, Murphy was found dead in a pool of blood on his bedroom floor by his son, officials said, adding that he had several stab wounds to his neck and upper torso. The victim had no money and detectives believe the killing occurred during a robbery, officials said. ... s_declared_in_jersey.html

Posted on: 2012/9/24 3:21

Young Republicans fight to join city committee
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Young Republicans fight to join city committee
Local party influenced by popular Texas congressman Ron Paul

by E. Assata Wright
Reporter staff writer
Sep 23, 2012

Is there a Ron Paul revolution afoot in Jersey City?

According to two local Republican leaders, the answer is yes.

A recent lawsuit involving the Jersey City Republican Committee is linked, at least in part, to a handful of young Ron Paul supporters who have taken his grassroots approach to political organizing to heart.

With the encouragement of Sean Connelly, an attorney and former chairman of the Hudson County Republican Committee, several of these fresh faces decided to run for district seats on Jersey City’s Republican Committee in June.

“These young bloods, they’re all new to the city. They’re very enthusiastic. Many of them are Ron Paul people,” said Connelly. “I guess because of the [Republican] presidential primary, a lot of them were looking to run for [the] committee. They came to me. I got them the necessary paperwork and said, ‘You’re on your own. Get your petitions done. If you’re elected, you’re elected.’ And they won. I guess it was about 50 or 60 of them.”

‘It stoked my anger that he thought he could get away with this.’ – Sean Connelly

But according to Connelly, they posed enough of a threat to Russell Maffei, current chairman of the Jersey City Republican Committee, that they were excluded from the committee’s reorganization in June.

Maffei, a supporter of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, denies that he purposely excluded anyone from the reorganization meeting, and insists other factors were at play.

Either way, Connelly ended up filing a lawsuit, the outcome of which means there will be another reorganization meeting held next month.

Maffei believes he has the votes to retain his seat as committee chair. But even if he wins, the skirmish between the “young bloods” and the old guard could signal a shift in local Republican politics.

What’s Ron Paul got to do with it?

Paul, a multi-term U.S. Representative from Texas’ 14th Congressional District, twice ran for the Republican presidential nomination on a platform based on civil libertarian values. While he failed to win his party’s nomination, he successfully ignited populist support among many voters who were turned off by more mainstream Republican and Democratic candidates. After he ended his 2008 run for the White House, Paul encouraged his supporters to stay active and engaged in grassroots political organizing where they live.

This movement was quickly dubbed the “Ron Paul Revolution.”

“What he has encouraged people to do is get involved in their local party because that’s the way we can remake the Republican Party,” said Jim Feeney, a member of the Jersey City Republican Committee. “Then they can start getting onto the state committees. Then they can get on the national committee. Once Ron Paul people take over these committees they can start picking the candidates that get the support of the party.”

Paul is not the first political activist to suggest this strategy.

In the 1990s, conservative groups affiliated with the so-called “religious right” groomed some of their followers for public service by running them in board of election races and low-profile campaigns that didn’t require a lot of resources. The idea was to win “easy” elections. Gain some campaigning and government experience. Then eventually run for higher office at the state and federal levels. Once in these positions office holders were in a position to affect policy changes that were in line with the movement’s values.

More recently, groups on the left have used a similar strategy to train progressives for public service and get them in the pipeline for higher office.

Politics as usual?

This appears to be what Connelly’s “young bloods” are attempting to do by running for the Jersey City Republican Committee.

By law, the committee must host its reorganization meeting the Monday after a party primary. This meant the Republican Committee reorganization meeting had to be held on June 11, since the Republican Primary was held on June 5.

A meeting was, indeed, held and Maffei was reelected as committee chairman, a post he has held for the past 10 years.

In a lawsuit filed in Hudson County Superior Court in August, Connelly alleged that this reorganization meeting was not properly advertised and that many committee members – including several of the newly elected members – were denied their right to vote as a result. He also alleged that Maffei was derelict in his duties as committee chairman.

But Maffei disputes these claims.

“Out of 143 committee members, 110 were notified,” Maffei said.

Ordinarily, Maffei said he advertises reorganization meetings through written letters but did not do so this year because he was waiting for the Office of the City Clerk to certify the election results. This, he said, took several days.

When the election results still hadn’t been certified by the end of the day on Friday, June 8, Maffei said he was concerned because, by law, he had to hold the reorganization meeting on June 11.

He said he “got a phone tree going” and delivered fliers announcing the upcoming meeting to as many residences as he could.

“There were some people we had no contact information on. I know that’s not an excuse. But we notified people to the best of our ability…We had about 72 or 73 people who actually showed up for the meeting,” said Maffei. “By the time we took the vote some people had to leave for work. I believe our actual vote total was 66.”

But Connelly said, “I haven’t spoken to a person yet who went to that meeting. It stoked my anger that he thought he could get away with this.”

The election wasn’t certified until the afternoon of Monday, June 11.

Connelly, who wasn’t told of the meeting himself, filed his suit on behalf of the people who were not notified.

On Sept. 6, a Hudson County Superior Court judge voided the election held on June 11 and ordered the committee to hold a new reorganization meeting “as soon as practicable.” The judge threw out charges that Maffei excluded people “willfully and maliciously” and allegations that he and other committee officers were guilty of malfeasance in office.

Maffei said another reorganization meeting will be held in October – and he fully expects the committee’s newest members to run someone against him for the chairman seat.

Connelly agrees that such a move is likely.

“When these guys ran for [the] committee, that was never part of the discussion,” said Connelly. “But now they are talking about putting up another person for chairman.”

When asked whether the underlying dispute really has to do with insurgent Ron Paul supporters coming into the committee, Maffei said, “Yeah, maybe. Why haven’t any of these people contacted me about working for Romney?” ... ce=lead_story_left_column

Posted on: 2012/9/23 4:51

Jersey City's Big Dig aims to plant more than 30,000 bulbs this fall
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Jersey City's Big Dig aims to plant more than 30,000 bulbs this fall

September 19, 2012, 11:00 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

Last year’s Big Dig in Jersey City a volunteer-led beautification effort to plant 18,000 tulip and daffodil bulbs at over 80 locations citywide led to a $10,000 prize from USA Weekend magazine.

And, of course, a city blooming with flowers last spring.

This year, organizers of the initiative, part of national Make a Difference Day, are setting what they call an “ambitious” goal of planting more than 30,000 flower bulbs, and they need help.

Volunteers are needed to plant the bulbs on Saturday, Oct. 27, while organizers also seek cash and in-kind donations.

“We saw what an amazing impact the Big Dig had last year on ‘Make A Difference Day’ by uniting volunteers throughout the city and by building a partnership between nonprofit organizations and local government,” said Mayor Jerramiah Healy in a press release.

The Liberty Science Center will host a private luncheon for Big Dig volunteers immediately following the planting, from about 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 27.

Make a Difference Day, sponsored by USA Weekend, started in 1990 as a nationwide effort dedicated to helping others. It is celebrated annually on the fourth Saturday of October.

For more information, to make a donation, or to volunteer with the Big Dig, please call Laura Skolar (201) 259-1800 or Charlene Burke at (201) 344-2060 or Debbie DeVenezia at (917) 863-0720. ... ys_big_dig_aims_to_p.html

Posted on: 2012/9/19 16:28

Re: Journal Square: MAN GUNNED DOWN at 2pm - West Side Ave Playground is slay scene - now shrine grows
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Murder trial to start for Jersey City drug dealer

September 17, 2012, 8:30 PM
By Michaelangelo Conte/The Jersey Journal

Jury selection begins tomorrow in the trial of a Jersey City drug dealer charged with gunning down a 28-year-old in a city playground, officials said.

Anthony Rose, 27, of Bidwell Avenue, is charged with the June 8, 2009 murder of Darius Burgess, 28, of Corbin Avenue, in Cosmo "Gussy" DiSanto Memorial Playground at West Side Avenue and Broadway, officials said.

On the day before Burgess was killed there was a fight in the playground between a woman and Rose's girlfriend and Rose's girlfriend allegedly pulled a knife, prosecutors allege. A good Samaritan stepped in, disarmed her and broke up the fight, prosecutors allege.

The girlfriend called Rose, who immediately went to the park, got into a fight with the man and was beaten up, prosecutors allege. The next day Rose went back seeking revenge and unable to find the man, he shot Burgess who had nothing to do with the incident, prosecutors allege.

On the day Burgess was killed, his mother, Miriam Melendez, got word of the shooting and ran to the playground from her nearby home only to find her son lying on a walkway between the basketball and boccie courts. He was already dead.

Rose was in prison from Feb. 10, 2006 to July 25, 2006 for drug possession and possession with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school, state corrections records say. He faces 30 years to life if convicted of murder.

Jury selection begins this morning before Hudson County Superior Court Judge Lisa Rose in the Hudson County Administration Building in Jersey City. ... al_to_start_for_jers.html

Posted on: 2012/9/18 2:15

Coptic Christians live quietly in Jersey City
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Coptic Christians live quietly in New Jersey town

Sat, Sep 15 2012

* Mayor says Copts are "the kinds of people you want in your city"

* Jersey City home to oldest Coptic church in U.S.

By Lily Kuo

JERSEY CITY, N.J. Sept 14 (Reuters) - A small group of women at the Coptic Orthodox Church of St. Mark's prepared for Sunday services in the parish's simple basement kitchen, baking cookies and neatly packing them into containers and paper bags.

"Peaceful, loving, easy-going," Lodi Tannios, 29, said, describing her fellow worshippers while working in the kitchen, which was decorated with pictures of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. "We don't ask for much except to be respected."

Tannios and other St. Mark's members are more than 4,500 miles (7,240 km) from the demonstrations raging in the Middle East in protest of a 13-minute film portraying the Prophet Mohammad as a womanizer, a homosexual and a child abuser - but they know they could feel the backlash.

The film was promoted by a U.S.-based Egyptian Coptic Christian activist, Morris Sadek, who said his intention was to highlight discrimination against Egypt's Coptic Christian minority by Muslims.

"The tensions have always been there but it's never been that bad," Tannios said.

The film and protests have brought sudden and often unflattering attention to Coptic communities in areas such as Jersey City, where Mayor Jerramiah Healy said as many as 25,000 members of the faith live. St. Mark's is the oldest Coptic church in the United States.

Tannios, who moved from Egypt to Jersey City more than a decade ago, said the uproar over the inflammatory film was dragging the church into a situation out of sync with its followers' values.

Officials speaking for Coptic churches in the United States have been quick to separate the religion from the video. There are more than 150 Coptic churches in the United States, with strongholds in New Jersey, California, Florida and New York, according to the website of the Coptic Orthodox Church Network.

"These actions are not the actions of a true Coptic Christian," said Bishop David of the Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America.


In Jersey City, a sprawling city across the Hudson River from Manhattan, residents said the Coptic Christians were a distinguishable but fully integrated part of the community.

"They open small businesses, their children are in schools, they work," said Mayor Jerramiah Healy. "Their lives revolve around their families... These are the kinds of people you want in your city."

St. Mark's, established in 1970, is made up of five small houses converted mostly into Sunday school space, and a tall sanctuary painted red with white crosses. It sits on the corner between a street of row houses and an avenue of shops and restaurants. Coptic Christians in Jersey City and nearby towns drive in for the Sunday services, which are conducted in English and Arabic.

Children from the church go to public schools and their parents work in local businesses. Lodi's mother, for instance, works as a manager at a nearby Burger King.

A police officer who patrols St. Mark's and another Coptic church in the city said he did not fear violence or backlash from Muslim residents because of the video.

"We would have heard about it. It would be brewing," said the 59-year-old police officer who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to media.

He too said the Coptic Christians were an integral part of the city.

"They basically live here," he said. "They're involved in the experience of Jersey City. What happens to Jersey City happens to them."

Yet in Jersey City and elsewhere across the United States there have long been tensions between members of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, a religious minority in the Egypt, and Muslims.

Christians and Muslims have co-existed peacefully for decades but occasional sectarian clashes have taken a more violent turn following the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the rise of Islamists to power. The acting head of the Coptic church, Bishop Bakhomious, in Egypt said in August that the country's new government fails to fairly represent the Christians who make up 10 percent of the population and have long been a minority.

"I like Christians only," said Same Hani, 45, a Coptic taxi driver in Jersey City originally from Cairo who had a wooden cross hanging from his rear-view mirror. ... tic-idINL1E8KE1H220120914

Posted on: 2012/9/18 2:04

Steven Fulop Op-ed: Turning around Jersey City's schools
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Op-ed: Turning around Jersey City's schools

September 12, 2012, 8:07 AM
By Star-Ledger Guest Columnist
By Steven Fulop

When I was elected to the Jersey City Council, an old-time Jersey City politician offered me some advice. If you ever want to be re-elected, he said, “do nothing, and then nobody will be mad at you. It works perfectly.”

Over the past several years, a group of volunteers and I have slowly been chipping away at the old-time political machine in Jersey City. We have made it our mission to change the mentality of self-service politics. Our idea — and this still surprises and threatens the political class in Jersey City — is that the goal of politics is public service. We operate on the premise that anything is possible if we work hard enough.
There is no better example of the possibilities for a better future in Jersey City than the recent changes in the city’s school system.

Over the past few decades, the story of Jersey City’s education system has been bleak. Jersey City was the first district in the country subject to state control, in 1989, and 23 years later, the district still has a disproportionate number of failing schools. Think of it: That’s two generations of kids moving through the system, entering at kindergarten and leaving, if they made it that far, after 12th grade.

Far too many of those children passed through the system without acquiring the basic skills they need to be employable and successful later in life. The parents and children deserved better. And the taxpayers deserved better than administrative leadership that found this mediocrity acceptable.

If Jersey City is to succeed, we know it starts with schools. And today, we are clawing our way back. The most tangible proof of progress came last month, when the Jersey City Board of Education concluded its search for a new superintendent and extended a contract to Marcia Lyles, who was the former deputy chancellor of the 1.2-million-student New York City school system under Joel Klein before becoming superintendent of the largest school district in Delaware. Lyles’ talent and track record speak for themselves. Her hiring is an absolute coup for Jersey City.

Changing urban education is not easy, and a lot of what has happened in Jersey City has to do with partnerships. Over the past three years, we have seen alliances that have not happened elsewhere in the state.

The teachers’ union partnered with reform-minded voting blocks to elect, with record numbers, an almost entirely new board of education that the governor has felt comfortable to work with on urban education issues. The dynamics have not always been perfect, but we can certainly say that parents, teachers and the governor have played crucial and productive roles in changing the course of the city’s educational system.

The new members of the Board of Education are professionals who are goal-oriented and for whom average performance is not acceptable. That is why they took the bold step of separating from past failures and conducting a national search for a new superintendent. The hiring of Lyles didn’t serve the interests of Jersey City’s political machine in the least. Instead, it served the interest of Jersey City’s families. Imagine that.

Twenty-three years ago, Jersey City was a national example for all the wrong reasons. Today, it can be a model for urban school districts all over the country.

This is doable: Jersey City boasts diversity like few other cities, greater parent involvement than most urban districts, proximity to the largest media market in the world to attract dollars and a district that is large enough to be noteworthy but small enough to be manageable.

And, finally, we start this next chapter with the powerful advantage of partnerships between the union, parents and the governor.

Jersey City has an opportunity and we don’t intend to squander it.

Steven Fulop is a Jersey City councilman who announced in 2010 that he will run for mayor in next year’s election. Join the conversation at ... ing_around_jersey_ci.html

Posted on: 2012/9/12 16:26

Re: Embankment- Update Thread
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Embankment Deal Stalls

The Wall Street Journal
September 11, 2012, 10:36 p.m. ET


A deal to turn an abandoned elevated railway in Jersey City into a park in the spirit of Manhattan's High Line has hit a roadblock, with one of the parties involved balking on a settlement proposed to resolve the decadelong dispute.

The hurdle comes after Jersey City announced in February that it was on the verge of a deal that would pave the way for the Sixth Street Embankment to becoming a downtown park with sweeping views.

Now, in an additional wrinkle, court papers filed Thursday in a case associated with the embankment argue that other Jersey City land situated on old railways could have clouded titles, meaning it will be hard to sell or develop the properties in the future.

The former Pennsylvania Railroad tracks spanning Exchange Place are lined with office buildings, high-end condos, the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and parking lots eyed for future development.

The argument is preliminary, and the city and preservation groups looking to save the embankment view it as a delay tactic by the Manhattan investor who acquired the disputed property from Consolidated Rail Corp.

But the investor, real-estate developer Steve Hyman, isn't backing down from the point, and retained a surveyor and architect to buttress his point in papers filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

"Property owners whose title may be questioned face serious ownership issues, including limitations upon the ability to transfer, lease, or mortgage their properties," wrote Daniel Horgan, an attorney at Waters, McPherson, McNeill in Secaucus representing Mr. Hyman, in the 30-page brief viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The embankment—an overgrown stone structure spanning a half mile in downtown Jersey City—has been the source of a preservation battle for years between the city and community groups on one hand, and Mr. Hyman and Conrail on the other. Mr. Hyman purchased the structure in 2003 for $3 million from Conrail, planning to knock it down and build housing in the rapidly gentrifying area blocks from the Grove Street PATH station.

The city sued Conrail to invalidate the sale, and Mr. Hyman responded with about 10 suits against Jersey City and Conrail. Jersey City has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees fighting to turn the embankment into landscaped park that could eventually connect with a greenway spanning the East Coast.

In February, the city approved a settlement that would pay Mr. Hyman $7 million to relinquish the property. Conrail, now jointly owned by Norfolk Southern Corp. and CSX Corp., was to kick in $13 million to settle all the pending litigation around the sale. Conrail would also gain development rights from the city to build hundreds of lucrative housing units along the embankment.

Mr. Hyman and Jersey City officials signed the deal, but Conrail declined to accept it within a 30-day window period. The railroad has since offered at least four agreements, including one nearly three weeks ago, said Kevin Coakley, a partner at the Connell Foley law firm representing Conrail.

Mr. Horgan said the most recent offer tipped the deal too far in the railroad's direction, but declined to discuss specifics about the proposed settlement.

"We're not going to sign the agreement. Now we will continue in court," Mr. Horgan said.

Mr. Coakley said a deal has been hampered by a "lack of trust all around," but said the parties are close. "It's Conrail's hope to get this resolved," Mr. Coakley said.

William Matsikoudis, Jersey City's municipal attorney, said the "elements" of a deal are there and he hopes to soon hold a settlement conference before a state court judge to hammer it out. "Let's all just take a deep breath and regroup and figure out how to get this done," he said.

Discussions have continued between some of the parties this week. But while a deal hangs in the balance, Mr. Hyman is continuing to argue in district court for his right to retain the embankment. City and preservation groups sued Conrail in 2009 claiming that the railroad sold the property to Mr. Hyman without necessary federal transportation board approvals.

Mr. Hyman argued in the brief filed Thursday that if his purchase was invalid, then so is the redevelopment of miles of waterfront property that he alleges also didn't go before the U.S. Surface Transportation Board for approval.

"We think we are being unfairly treated," Mr. Horgan said. "If we have to have our property taken away from us, then all those condos and development lots downtown have to go through the same process."

The elevated embankment once carried the Pennsylvania's Harsimus Branch running from Harrison, N.J., to the Harsimus Cove Yard on the Hudson River. The branch also connected with the Hudson Street Industrial Track—a 1.3-mile line that ran in an arch southeast from Marin Boulevard to Greene and Hudson streets before traveling west on Essex Street.

The railway tracks were ripped up in the 1990s as the Jersey City waterfront began to develop into a financial and residential hub. The former railways now run under three high-end developments—the Portofino Condominium, Avalon Cove, the Marbella apartments—according to track maps submitted in Mr. Horgan's brief. They travel down city streets that now contain the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and under shopping parking lots.

Representatives from the buildings didn't respond to request for comment Friday.

Charles Montange, a Seattle attorney representing the city and preservation groups in the district court case, said Mr. Horgan's argument was put forth simply to "wear out" the plaintiffs and had no merit.

Craig Ingber, a partner at the Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman legal firm who specializes in real estate, said public utilities can cloud the title of an adjacent property, but that he thought the argument in the embankment case was more a legal tactic than one with widespread ramifications.

"It sounds like everyone is trying to use what they can of leverage to force a solution," Mr. Ingber said. ... 6.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Posted on: 2012/9/12 5:37

Re: The Gloves are off between Mayor Healy and Steven Fulop
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Posted on: 2012/9/12 5:31

Re: Bruce Alston Charged with Real Estate Fraud: Jersey Journal
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Former state senate candidate in Jersey City arraigned on witness tampering charges

September 10, 2012, 7:32 PM
By Michaelangelo Conte/The Jersey Journal

Former state Senate candidate Bruce Alston of Jersey City was arraigned on the charges of witness tampering and making terroristic threats today.

Alston's attorney entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf at the hearing before Hudson County Superior Court Judge Lisa Rose. The charges stem from related charges of theft and conspiracy, which were dropped following the alleged victim's death.

Alston did not speak at the hearing, and attorney, Marshall Wofsy, declined to comment afterward.

Alston's January arrest was based on allegations he was involved in a fraudulent real estate transaction. The charges he was arraigned on today pertain to a man who was a potential witness in that case.

The witness tampering charge alleges Alston, believing that an official proceeding or investigation was pending, attempted to cause the witness to withhold testimony by threatening force, officials said.

Alston entered a Communipaw Avenue restaurant the night of Jan. 16 and encountered a man who later told police he "may have some incriminating information regarding" Alston's case, a police report says.

Alston told the man, "I'm gonna (expletive) you up" while signaling to two men sitting in a car outside, police reports said. Alston fled the scene when the victim said he planned to call the police, a report says.

Alston conceded to The Jersey Journal that he used profanity, but said it was in response to the man's profane comments.

"He made a comment to me and I basically told him to go (expletive) himself," Alston said. "This is someone who is an opportunist. I don't know how he felt threatened. I didn't tell him I was going to do it, I told him to do it to himself."

Alston said he had gotten a ride to the restaurant from his mother and when he waved, it had been to tell her to pull up the car. He said he did not flee, but simply walked out, said hello to two older men across the street, and got into the car. Alston said he had no idea the person might be a witness in the case that has since been dropped.

Alston ran unsuccessfully for a state Senate seat in 2010 but said he still hopes to hold public office one day. ... e_senate_candidate_1.html

Posted on: 2012/9/11 4:20

America's Secret Court System For Terrorist Suspects
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America's Secret Court System For Terrorist Suspects

Jim Edwards
Business Insider
September 9, 2012

This year will be the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

On the day of the attacks, I lived directly across the Hudson River from the twin towers, in downtown Jersey City, N.J. As the buildings burned and then collapsed, police shut down the entire Jersey City waterfront except for one small area, Morris Canal Park. The park had an unobstructed view, and I took a set of Polaroid shots of the disaster.

Later, as a senior writer for the New Jersey Law Journal, I investigated the cases of the 762 Muslim men who were randomly rounded up by the FBI after the attack, cleared of being terrorists, but secretly deported anyway to the countries of their birth. Some of them were tortured by local authorities when they arrived.

This is the story of how, after taking these Polaroids, I discovered that the U.S. set up an invisible court system outside the control of the federal judiciary to deal with Muslim immigrants post-Sept.11.

No one except for a couple of close friends has seen these photos before.

Read more: ... 2012-9?op=1#ixzz25w4bwFj4

Posted on: 2012/9/10 2:29

Charge for new 'picnic pavilions' at Liberty State Park in Jersey City sparks controversy
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Charge for new 'picnic pavilions' at Liberty State Park in Jersey City sparks controversy

September 09, 2012, 6:40 PM
By The Jersey Journal

Responding to a need for picnic areas for larger groups at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, state and local officials cut the ribbon on two sheltered "pavilions" at the park Thursday.

One pavilion accommodates a maximum of 80 people and the other, 120 people, officials said.

"These pavilions will enhance a location which is already a jewel in the New Jersey State Park system," state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin said in a release.

Sam Pesin, president of the Friends of Liberty State Park, the nonprofit volunteer group dedicated to improving and protecting the park, praised the "Freedom Field" pavilions.

The new amenities will bring together people of all backgrounds so they can relax and enjoy life behind Lady Liberty, "the world's greatest symbol of democracy and freedom," said Pesin.

The spaces will also be equipped with lights, electrical outlets, and charcoal grills and are wheelchair accessible.

But not everyone was singing the praises of the new $1.8 million mostly state-funded project.

Jeff Tittel, president of the NJ Sierra Club, welcomed the facility but blasted the state for instituting a fee for their usage.

New Jersey residents would be charged $175 for the day to reserve and use the 120-person pavilion and $125 a day for the 80-person picnic area. Out-of-staters would be charged $225 and $175 respectively.

"We are concerned this new picnic area will not serve the public," Tittel said in a release. "The Governor has already opened Liberty State Park up to more concessionaires and we fear this new picnic area paid for with tax dollars will be leased to a private corporation that will then rent it to the highest bidder and exclude public access."

DEP spokesman Larry Ragonese said the fee was fair and noted Gov. Christie's push to have the state's park system sustain itself financially. State parks generate $8 million a year but cost $35 million to operate, he said.

"The point of the fee is we are going to have bathrooms operating there, an extra eye on security, and that's really the reason," Ragonese said. "It would be the type of fee you would pay anywhere you would go for that type of activity." Ragonese said if the pavilions aren't being used, visitors to the park can use the areas at no charge.

Pesin said the fees are fair and justified.

"The vision of my father, Morris Pesin, Liberty State Park's 'father,' of an urban waterfront family park is further implemented by this wonderful new amenity," he added.

Pesin said his group turned over $200,000 it received from the Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund to help pay for the new pavilions.

By Journal staff writers Ken Thorbourne and Ana Ferrer ... _new_picnic_pavilion.html

Posted on: 2012/9/10 2:08

Re: Jersey City assemblyman calls Councilman Fulop 'un-American,'
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Political Insider: Romney like? Calling Fulop names is latest tactic

Sunday, September 09, 2012, 4:26 PM
By Agustin C. Torres/The Jersey Journal

Assemblyman Sean Connors of the 33rd District, who is a Democrat and Jersey City resident, says Downtown Councilman Steven Fulop is as un-American as they come.

In an email and later in interviews, the state lawmaker said Fulop's DNA is very much like Gov. and presidential candidate Mitt Romney, whose world is among rich people and out off touch with the average person. The councilman was also called a "1 percenter" -- as opposed to a 99 percent proofer.

I thought Fulop was a fellow Democrat who is running in a nonpartisan election. But then again, city election literature of the recent past loved to mention that their incumbent candidate is a Democrat. Still, even the Huffington Post made reference to this Jersey City exchange, as evidence of how another Democrat is being accused of being un-American.

Connors said his accusation was more about political philosophy than any subversion. He was reacting to Fulop's reaction to a bunch of Hudson County Democratic Organization leadership endorsements of incumbent Mayor Jerramiah Healy's re-election effort. The assemblyman and detective was among those endorsers. The others were HCDeadO Chairman and Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith, County Executive Tom DeGise, Assemblyman Jason O'Donnell of the 31st District and Bayonne, and county Freeholder Jeff Dublin. Maybe it's an Irish -- plus Dublin -- thing.

Odd that the group includes two Peninsula City pols who decided to get involved in a neighboring community's local election. I would have thought that Smith's father-in-law, former freeholder and advisor, Neil Carroll, would have counseled him to stay out of it.

Is Connor's criticism of Fulop hyperbole? He takes umbrage at the councilman's comments that those who endorsed the mayor are career politicians with "15 jobs between them." The Journal says it is more like eight taxpaying jobs and one on disability. We didn't count family members.

Connors said those who endorsed Healy were government workers before winning elected jobs. He felt that the councilman is among those who attack firefighters, teachers and other civil servant workers -- although I think Fulop is very surgical about who he criticizes.

"I studied and took police exams to advance myself and others either took licensing exams and were trained," Connors said. It's the American way.

He even went a step further and talked about Fulop taking a leave from "Wall Street" (two words often used in Democratic Party evil incantations), where the detective claims the councilman and former Marine earned $600,000-plus. Fulop says he earned less, and notes that his family are immigrants earning a living by owning a "bodega." Or did he mean deli?

So, what was Connors thinking? There's nothing about his criticism of Fulop or his endorsement of Healy that will benefit the assemblyman's career. He said the endorsement was based on Healy's ability to take the pulse of the city and its residents and know what has to be done. Whereas I believe the city and its residents sometimes have to take the mayor's pulse.

What's this confrontation all about?

It is about desperation and money. In past columns, I've written that Healy has to prove to others in his backers and other Dem groups that he has a chance to win re-election. He has a deadline -- about Oct. 1 -- to come up with somewhere between $300,00 to $400,000 in campaign money to be given any kind of shot. He will fall short unless he and his people can keep the election alive in the minds of city residents and generate funding. It's tough raising money when there's a presidential election and U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez wants Hudson Democrats to concentrate on his campaign.

The attacks on Fulop, groundbreakings, ribbon-cuttings, photo-ops, and generating as much publicity as possible, is necessary to maintain enough CPR to keep Healy's campaign alive. Healy would love another term, which would make him second only to Frank Hague as the mayor with the most time in the Jersey City office.

Connors is an assemblyman in the 33rd District, where Union City Mayor and Sen. Brian Stack rules, and while some claim better relations between the two, Stack is only tolerant. The Union City powertician was forced to accept Connors as part of the peace pact between the senator and the HCDeadO, but there are just so many times you can wander off the 33rd District reservation.

There is an ongoing cold war between 32nd District Sen. and North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco and Stack. The friction is evidenced by such forays as Stack pushing for legislation to protect the Palisades that is being carved up by North Bergen developers, with Sacco's approval. North Bergen is suing Union City for being late with nearly $6 million in payments to the North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue.

How soon before the two senators find a way to fight over Connors' backing of Healy.

Sources say that Jersey City Councilman Bill Gaughan has shown some interest in Connors' Assembly seat, although it is the opinion here that Stack would never let it happen.

I'll admit that if you name six people who are credible candidates for mayor in the county seat, Connors' name would pop up. But, he's swimming with the sharks and it now becomes a question of his survival.

-- Jersey City political activist Joe Cardwell has been back in the city for two weeks now after serving his six-month federal sentence for taking $10,000 in bribes. So what could be next for the man who was/is a political consigliere for state Sen. Sandra Cunningham?

Here's an idea. He could find a meaningful job now that he's back in society. Perhaps there is one out there, something like director of a Second Chance Office in the Jersey City Incinerator Authority. Of course, it would be created just for him because of all the political credit he has accumulated. At least all those JCIA job furloughs can pay for such a post. Just supposing because no one is really planning to do it, right ;)

-- As predicted in a previous column, 31st District Assemblyman Charles Mainor did lose his chief of staff when the still capable jump-shooting Courtney Wicks resigned nearly two weeks ago. It is more proof that Mainor is dead legislator walking in the eyes of the HCDeadO, a group that is anxious to replace him with someone who can bring more to the table -- votes or, more likely, money. It's all up to Smith.

-- Did you know these factoids about Ralph Scianni, sworn in as the city's police chief on Thursday? On that day, Sept. 6, the city marks its 143rd anniversary. It is also the exact same day Scianni, 58, joined the force in 1980. Last but not least, it's the chief's birthday. How 'bout that.

-- I was away last week when literature started popping up in municipalities surrounding Union City that accuses Stack of hurting everyone on the planet because his city is late paying close to $6 million of what it owes annually to North Hudson Regional and Fire. eventually the money gets paid but Sacco is pushing the issue enough to spend money on the literature. I don't know who authored the documentation but I got to believe it's Vision Media. What next, Radio Free Union City? And I can guarantee you that Stack will have a counter punch down the short road in this "cold war."

-- Also about a week ago, Stack held a fund-raiser for his civic association at The Assembly in Englewood Cliffs. He told the crowd that he regrets not forcefully confronting his HCDeadO opponents a few years ago. Frothing up his audience, Stack added that now was the time to "take out the bats," sounding a bit like Gov. Christie talking about Sen. Loretta Weinberg, last year. Sacco's name was not mentioned.

-- Now that Cardwell is back and the November and May elections are approaching, when do we see a revival of the controversial Urban Times News in Jersey City's black community? There's lots of dirty work that needs to be done and it's always entertaining, if they know it or not. ... _insider_romney_like.html

Posted on: 2012/9/10 2:00

Re: Jersey City's Levin throws hat in 2013 council ring
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Downtown Jersey City activist Dan Levin announces run for Ward E City Council seat

September 09, 2012, 3:51 PM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

Longtime Downtown Jersey City activist Dan Levin, who failed in 2009 to become mayor and again last year to become a City Councilman at large, has announced he will run in the 2013 city election to become Ward E’s council rep.

Levin, 50, joins fellow Downtown resident Candice Osborne as the only two announced candidates for the Ward E council seat, which is up for grabs next May along with the mayoralty and all other eight council seats.

Levin said he wants to expand the city’s pay-to-play laws to cover the Board of Education, implement a system that would allow more residents to serve in city government and adopt a strict ethics code.

"I bring a passion and belief that I can help make Jersey City a safer, more vibrant city, work to stabilize taxes with sensible spending and advance common sense sound solutions for Ward E, and for Jersey City,” he said in a press release.

The Ward E seat is currently held by Councilman Steve Fulop, who is running for mayor next year. Osborne is running for the Ward E seat on Fulop's ticket.

Levin ran against current Mayor Jerramiah Healy in the 2009 mayoral race but finished with less than 8 percent of the vote. Last year, he ran with 16 others for two at-large seats on the council, finishing in the middle of the pack with about 2,200 votes.

Levin, who runs a custom picture frame store in Hoboken, is the founder and president of local good-government group Civic JC. ... jersey_city_activist.html

Posted on: 2012/9/10 1:52

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VB3: Sophisticated but not stuffy

September 07, 2012, 6:59 AM
By Teresa Politano
The Star Ledger

The party, ladies and gentleman, has officially moved to Jersey City.

The party translates, of course, as outrageous food, as the magnetic remake of this city attracts not just one big-name maverick chef after another, but New Yorkers, who get on the PATH train for no other reason but to eat here.

VB3’s chef, Michael Colletti, comes to Jersey City from the same town (Elizabeth) as Tom Colicchio, via Asbury Park (culinary school), New York (Le Cirque, Mai House), Vietnam (culinary research) and Washington, D.C., where he gathered a far more intimate collection of connections. He worked alongside Spike Mendelsohn (Good Stuff Eatery and We, The Pizza) and their success led to Iron Chef and Rachael Ray competitions. Then the Obamas, who so loved his pizzeria that they extended personal invitations for Mendelsohn and Colletti to cook at the White House.

At 29, the earnest, hard-working and soft-spoken Colletti already has been well vetted by the food oligarchy, which may explain that star following.

Why Jersey City? It’s logical for a Jersey boy to choose a Jersey location for his own restaurant. The current swirl of Jersey-centric television shows only made the choice that much easier.

“Right now, everything’s Jersey,” Colletti says.

Still, a food geek could be forgiven if he or she does not immediately recognize VB3 as a newly ordained culinary epicenter. This looks like a party place, a burger disco, not a fine-dining establishment. The walls blink with flat-screen TVs, the seating is sleek and leather-like, the music is incredibly cool dance tunes from the Jackson 5 era. You want to kick off your heels, order some pizza and have fun. You aren’t exactly anticipating sophisticated cuisine.

But Colletti slyly surprises you. He makes his own béchamel sauce for his white pizza ($12), for example — one of the tricks that turns this pizza into something far more elite. (Even many fine-dining chefs don’t do béchamel anymore.)

Meanwhile, the Biellese pepperoni makes that pizza sing ($12). They’re outsize circles, impossibly thin and addictively subtle; they come from a local salumeria that does amazing charcuterie using heritage Berkshire pork, Colletti says.

Colletti’s gnudi ($14), a personal favorite of his, are plump and soft, homemade clouds of pasta that begin with homemade ricotta and are then receive first-class treatment with cherry tomatoes. Pizza is still pizza, no matter how stellar, but the gnudi is the dish that will get you — a bowl of fine food exquisite enough to quiet the wrestlers and the football players on the television sets behind you.

Cod ($22), silky white with a slightly crisp edge, is outstanding alone (proof again that VB3 is really about serious food), but then the chef sasses it up with some salty proscuitto vinaigrette and a caponata. Hanger steak, ($20) the new, intense favorite of skilled chefs in any town, fulfilled its mission.

A Sicilian cheesecake ($8) proved a velvety end to a lusty dinner; the pine nut financier ($8) also impressed. VB3 also offers an abundant selection of creamy homemade ice creams and intense gelatos.

It’s so unprecious here that gushing is entirely unexpected. But VB3 offers food good enough to lift a rainy day funk, good enough to mitigate a Jersey attitude when the waitress forgets an entree, good enough to impress the food geeks. Even better, you can dance to it.

475 Washington Blvd., Jersey City. (201) 420-4823,
Hours: Open daily for lunch and dinner.
THREE AND A HALF STARS ... ticated_but_not_stuf.html

Posted on: 2012/9/7 15:05

Healy: 'This entire week, I've been reminded why I believe so much in Barack Obama'
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Healy: 'This entire week, I've been reminded why I believe so much in Barack Obama'

September 06, 2012, 6:52 PM
The Jersey Journal

Charlotte might be more than a few miles away from Jersey City, but still I’ve felt at home this past week among my fellow Democrats. Being able to hear so many inspiring leaders expound upon the principles of our party and the promise of America in the convention hall re-affirms to me why I am a Democrat.

We are a party that believes our private sector thrives with investment in infrastructure - like mass transit. We are a diverse party that doesn't dictate how people pray, nor who they should love. We don't scoff at our planet's environmental crisis, but rather we work to solve it. We are people who come from different walks of life to join together for a common purpose of moving our nation forward.

From my friend Newark Mayor Cory Booker's energizing speech on the first night proclaiming our platform of pragmatism, to San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro talking of his grandmother’s immigrant experience, to President Bill Clinton's nuanced and articulate rebuttal to the banal platitudes and misrepresentations of the GOP convention in Tampa … speaker after speaker demonstrated that our Democratic Party is not only the party of compassion, but also the party with better ideas. Michelle Obama eloquently reminded us how her husband is a leader of uncommon intellect and character. She illustrated how he overcame adversity and dedicated his life to a noble cause: making this nation a better place for all those who call America their home.

This entire week, I’ve been reminded why I believe so much in Barack Obama. Tonight, along with millions of other Americans, I’ll closely watch as the president lays out the victories of the past four years and a vision for our future.

I am proud to have long supported Barack Obama. I was struck by his extraordinary talent when we first met in his Senate office over five-and-a-half-years ago. And, while I was thrilled to help his successful campaign in 2008, I feel that this election is even more crucial. America stands at a crossroads right now. When progress is being made, you don’t stop it … you keep going forward.

If we go back to the failed Republican policies that caused the horrible predicament the president inherited, I fear our economy will only get weaker and our position in the world will deteriorate to its previous state of the Bush years. I do not want that type of country for my grandchildren.

Although we’ve had 29 months of consecutive job growth and the stock market has doubled since Obama took office, there is more for him to do. There is more work for all of us to do. We can’t stop now. We need to invest in our infrastructure, make college more affordable and keep the president's promise of affordable, accessible healthcare for all.

At this morning’s New Jersey delegation breakfast at our hotel, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez spoke strongly of how – as Democrats – we have an obligation to stand up for the middle-class and working families now under attack. I hold this same fight in my heart as well.

As a New Jerseyan, I am so proud of how our party has come together for President Obama and everyone on the ballot in our state. Democratic Chairman John Wisniewski has done an excellent job for the New Jersey delegation down here in Charlotte. As we return to New Jersey, we must remain united and work to keep the progress going. We must particularly work hard for the reelection of Hudson County’s favorite son, Bob Menendez.

As inspiring as this week has been, I‘m looking forward to coming back home to Jersey City to work with my fellow Democrats. Together, we will continue moving our country and our city FORWARD. We can’t stop the progress now. ... _entire_week_ive_bee.html

Posted on: 2012/9/6 23:37

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