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Re: Jersey City officials to host public meeting on crime concerns
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Jersey City mayor and police chief to address public's public safety concerns at meeting Thursday

February 28, 2012, 3:00 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy and Police City Tom Comey are hosting a public meeting this Thursday to address public-safety issues, and to unveil the city’s new Community Response Team.

It will be the first of two “town hall-type” meetings city officials pledged to hold in response to a recent wave of complaints about crime from residents and some City Council members.

The Community Response Team, comprised of the 17 officers promoted last week to detective, will address public safety and quality-of-life concerns, city officials said.

Rebutting the residents’ and council members’ complaints about crime, Healy, Comey and other city officials have stressed that FBI and State Police figures show a decrease in violent crime in recent years.

Comey said he believes the Community Response Team will help “narrow the gap” between how city officials view crime statistics and how residents perceive them. The team will stay involved in an investigation from start to finish, and will be able to brief the community when it can, he said.

“We’re hoping that this will be a good step in at least narrowing that gap,” he said.

In the meantime, city officials hope to add to the police ranks, which have been depleted by a wave of retirements, Comey said.

Thursday’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the council chambers at City Hall, 280 Grove St. ... mayor_and_police_c_1.html

Posted on: 2012/2/29 15:19

Re: Bayside Redevlopment Plan
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Jersey City has big plans for 100 acres on West Side along Hackensack River

February 29, 2012, 3:03 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

Up to 8,100 residential units.

As much as 1 million square feet of office space.

Some 23 acres of open space.

Those are just some of the proposed features of Bayfront, a transit village set for 100 acres of chromium-tainted land along Route 440 in Jersey City. City officials hope their success in developing Jersey City’s eastern waterfront can be replicated on its West Side.

Captain Bill Sheehan, of Hackensack Riverkeeper, an environmental organization, said Bayfront will give the city “a real shot in the arm.”

Sheehan was on hand earlier this month for a City Council caucus at which city officials presented the governing body with their latest plans for the 100-acre Bayfront, a project first dreamed up during the Glenn D. Cunningham administration.

The development would sit on land formerly owned by Morristown-based Honeywell International Inc, north of Society Hill, along the Hackensack River. Last month marked the four-year anniversary since the city teamed up with Honeywell to create Bayfront.

“Bayfront represents an extraordinary effort among numerous city officials and our partners at Honeywell to transform the West Side by making it safer and more attractive, while also creating substantial economic development, jobs, and tax revenue for our city,” Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy said in a statement.

Chromium contamination at the site has its roots in the late 19th Century, when Mutual Chemical Co., a Honeywell predecessor, started piping chromium processing residue from its plant into the Hackensack River.

Construction isn’t expected to begin until 2016, with initial occupancy beginning the following year. Though work is not scheduled to end until 2043, the city is already at work preparing the area for the massive development.

City officials say much of the contamination has been remediated.

The on-site headquarters for the city Department of Public Works and the Jersey City Incinerator Authority, meanwhile, will be demolished, as will a handful of other buildings used by the city and the JCIA. The DPW and the JCIA will move to a new East Linden Avenue complex, with construction on that facility expected to begin this year.

Councilman Michael Sottolano, who represents Ward A, where most of the Bayfront property sits, has called the plans “dynamic.”

“I don’t know if it’s all going to be done in my lifetime, but I sure hope so,” Sottolano said. ... ty_has_big_plans_for.html

Posted on: 2012/2/29 14:57

Heights: Burglary suspect breaks ankle fleeing neighbor's Jersey City apartment
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Burglary suspect breaks ankle fleeing neighbor's Jersey City apartment, police say

February 28, 2012, 8:21 PM
By Michaelangelo Conte/The Jersey Journal

A Jersey City man was arrested after fracturing an ankle in a jump from a window while fleeing an alleged burglary of his 99-year-old neighbor's apartment this morning, police said.

Orlando Vasquez, 51, of the 100 block of Summit Avenue, was arrested at 11:27 a.m. and charged with burglary and theft after jumping out the window of the 99-year-old victim, reports said.

The victim, who lives in the same apartment building as Vasquez, told responding officers he heard noises on the other side of his apartment door when he returned home, reports said. He opened the door, ran into his apartment and said he saw his neighbor jump out his bedroom window, reports said.

Vasquez had dropped from the first-floor window and into a deep external staircase where he broke his right ankle upon impact, reports said. The cops kept an eye on Vasquez until an ambulance arrived and he was taken to the Jersey City Medical Center, reports said. ... suspect_breaks_ankle.html

Posted on: 2012/2/29 4:18

Re: 15-year-old Jersey City boy charged in fatal stabbing of man with 'machete-type' knife in the Height
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Jersey City man charged in machete-murder held on $500K bail

February 28, 2012, 7:29 PM
By Michaelangelo Conte/The Jersey Journal

The only adult among five people charged in a gang-related Jersey City Heights machete murder made his first appearance on the charges today and his bail has been set at $500,000 cash or bond.

Joel Santos, 18, of Palisade Avenue, is charged in the Feb. 8 murder of Victor Martinez, 21, of Waverly Street, who was fatally stabbed in an attack on Palisade Avenue at Prospect Street, Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said.

The attack continued as Martinez ran to his nearby home, and he died a short time later died at Christ Hospital, DeFazio said.

Santos was nabbed on Feb. 12 while trying to board a flight to the Dominican Republic, and a 15-year-old Dickinson High School student was arrested soon after the fatal stabbing, officials said.

Another 15-year-old Jersey City boy, as well as a Brooklyn 16-year-old boy who is formerly of Jersey City, have also been arrested. All are charged with murder as accomplices in the attack, DeFazio said.

The prosecutor said his office plans to ask that the 15-year-old charged shortly after the murder be prosecuted as an adult, subjecting him to a potentially far more lengthy term of incarceration if convicted. A Hudson County Family Court judge will make the decision.

Santos spoke through a Spanish translator when he appeared in Central Judicial Processing Court in Jersey City via video link from Hudson County jail in Kearny today. The native of the Dominican Republic was told that if convicted, he will likely be deported after serving his sentence.

Santos was also told that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement will likely place a detainer on him, meaning that even if he pays the $500,000 bail, he will not be freed. ... y_man_charged_in_mac.html

Posted on: 2012/2/29 4:12

Eight candidates vying for three open seats on Jersey City Board of Education
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Eight candidates vying for three open seats on Jersey City Board of Education; race will be incumbent-free

February 27, 2012, 5:29 PM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

The Jersey City Board of Education will have some new faces come April, as neither of the two incumbents up for reelection filed paperwork today to seek new terms.

Eight candidates filed petitions today to run for three open spots on the nine-member body, and neither Bill DeRosa nor Patricia Sebron, both incumbents, are on the list. Sebron would have been seeking her second term, and DeRosa his fifth.

The third seat up for grabs once belonged to Assemblyman Sean Connors, who stepped down from the BOE after becoming a member of the state Assembly in January.

Former acting mayor Marilyn Roman, a longtime educator, has thrown her hat in the ring, because, she said, “our schools are failing.”

Roman, 75, was acting mayor for about six months in 1992 after former mayor Gerald McCann was removed from office. She said it was difficult to decide to re-enter the public arena.

“I wasn’t happy about running for office when I did it, I just wanted to do the work,” Roman said. “I thought perhaps I could help the district.”

Other candidates running in Jersey City’s BOE race this year include Jayson H. Burg, Vidya Gangadin, Amanda Khan, Frank Lorenzo, Gerald M. Lyons, De Jon Morris and Sangeeta Ranade. Burg, Gangadin and Khan ran unsuccessfully last year.

Asked to comment, DeRosa said he is having “health issues,” and doesn’t believe he could campaign this year the way he’d like to. DeRosa has been on the board of 12 years, nine as president. ... idates_vying_for_thr.html

Posted on: 2012/2/28 4:08

Jersey City officials to host public meeting on crime concerns
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Jersey City officials to host public meeting on crime concerns

February 27, 2012, 5:31 PM
By The Jersey Journal

Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy and Police Chief Tom Comey are hosting a public meeting this Thursday to address public-safety issues, and to unveil the city’s new Community Response Team.

It will be the first of two “town hall-type” city officials pledged to hold in response to a recent wave of complaints about crime from residents and some City Council members.

The Community Response Team comprises the 17 officers promoted last week to detective, and will address public-safety and quality-of-life concerns.

Rebutting the residents’ and council members’ complaints about crime, Healy, Comey and other city officials have stressed that FBI and State Police figures show a decrease in crime in recent years.

There were 1,851 violent crimes in Jersey City in 2010, down from 2,456 in 2007, according to State Police figures. Most violent crimes are down in that three-year span, though murders are up from 20 in 2007 to 26 in 2010, the last year for which the figures are available. Jersey City police says there were 18 homicides in 2011.

Thursday’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the council chambers at City Hall, 280 Grove St. ... ty_officials_to_host.html

Posted on: 2012/2/28 4:03

Re: 'Jersey Shore' Spin-Off in Jersey City
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JWOW and SNOOKI bought a lot of stuff at Sleep Cheap on Newark Avenue today.

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Posted on: 2012/2/28 3:58

Re: HUGE GAS PIPELINE COMING - through Jersey City
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Kill time
City, activist group map out plan if pipeline gets federal approval

by E. Assata Wright - Hudson Reporter staff writer
Feb 26, 2012

Jersey City officials and activists who oppose a proposed natural gas pipeline that could be routed through the city are beginning to publicly map out how they plan to block the controversial project if federal authorities give it approval this summer.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is currently reviewing an application by the Texas-based Spectra Energy to build a miles-long natural gas pipeline that could be routed through much of Jersey City and near sensitive infrastructure. FERC has said it will issue a final Environmental Impact Statement on the project by March 16. The agency is expected to approve or deny the project by June 14.

City officials and No Gas Pipeline, an anti-pipeline membership organization comprised of Jersey City residents, say they expect FERC to approve the pipeline, over the objections of elected leaders, many residents, the real estate and business communities, and health and public safety professionals.

Should FERC approve the pipeline, as the agency is expected to do, No Gas Pipeline and the city have each said they will sue in federal court to block the project. Part of their plan, they said last week, is to delay construction as long as possible. A lengthy delay could force Spectra or its chief partner in the project, Consolidated Edison (ConEd), to abandon their plans.

Proposed project

If approved by FERC, the proposed pipeline would include 19.8 miles of new and replacement pipes, six new stations, and other related modifications in Linden, Jersey City, and Bayonne. In Jersey City, the underground pipeline route would run through nearly every municipal ward and near such sensitive areas as Jersey City Medical Center, several schools, the Holland Tunnel, the New Jersey Turnpike, and transportation infrastructure near the Jersey City-Hoboken border.

The pipeline would cross the Hudson River into New York to connect the company’s existing pipeline to Manhattan and Staten Island, supplying customers of Con Edison.

Spectra has also said that it will supply energy to power facilities operated by Bayonne Plant Holding and boilers at the International Matex Tank Terminals, also in Bayonne.

But because of the pipeline’s close proximity to sensitive areas, local activists and city officials have argued that a natural gas explosion could cause mass casualties and significantly damage important transportation infrastructure. Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy has also noted that the potential hazards posed by a gas pipeline could hurt future commercial and residential development in the city.

Despite these concerns, the energy company has already received several required environmental permits from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. These permits were approved in December.

Preparing for approval

Assuming FERC approves the pipeline this summer, the city will have 30 days to appeal the ruling, according to Derek Fanciullo, associate corporation counsel for the city.

FERC can take a second look at its original decision, but will likely approve the pipeline again and grant Spectra a building certificate.

Jersey City – and other entities that filed as interveners – then have 60 days to file lawsuits. “Interveners” are people, organizations, businesses, or municipalities that filed for intervener status with FERC. Having intervener status gives these entities the right to sue.

The most visible organization likely to file a class action lawsuit is the nonprofit No Gas Pipeline, an activist group of residents that has been fighting the Spectra pipeline for two years. The organization has already lined up pro-bono legal representation to assist in their fight if the project is approved by FERC.

“We have to sue in federal court. There are absolutely no other ways to stop this pipeline from going through Jersey City [if FERC gives approval],” said No Gas Pipeline co-founder Dale Hardman. “It can’t be done at the presidential level. It can’t be done at the Congressional level. It can’t be done at the lobbyist level…The city obviously has legal standing to file suit. No Gas Pipeline will try to get legal standing to do the same thing. People may ask, why don’t we join forces? It’s simple. We each have our own strategies, both technical and tactical. Plus, the ability to have at least two parties with lawsuits is something that is obviously beneficial to us.”

Thousands of residents, community organizations, and businesses are believed to have filed for intervener status. The city of Hoboken has also filed for intervener status.

Hudson County’s construction unions have been supportive of the project and could play a role as well.

Lawsuits are part of a two-prong approach opponents of the pipeline plan to use to block the project from breaking ground, after federal approval. The other part of their emerging strategy will be to stall the project in the hope that schedule delays will doom its viability.

Stall, stall, stall

ConEd expects to have natural gas flowing from the Spectra pipeline in November 2013. Even Spectra has conceded that if the project can’t meet this target date it might not be economically feasible to move forward with it.

In order to meet this deadline, Spectra needs to break ground at the end of this year.

A lengthy court battle could derail Spectra’s ability to meet its obligations to ConEd, a fact not lost on Jersey City.

“The longer we draw this out, the better it is for us,” said Fanciullo. “Maybe the problem will naturally abate, so to speak.”

Citing documents submitted to FERC, Fanciullo said Spectra is already making contingency plans should pipeline construction be delayed until next year. “What they have done is they have asked FERC to allow them to truncate their construction schedule to meet those deadlines,” he said.

Already, the city has purposely blocked some necessary preliminary work. For example, last year Spectra requested city permits to conduct soil samples in Jersey City. The city denied this request.

In 2009, when the ConEd-Spectra deal was announced, ConEd President and CEO Kevin Burke said in a press release, “The new pipeline will help us meet the growing energy needs of our area, strengthen the reliability of the natural gas system, and improve air quality for all New Yorkers. The Spectra Energy Project will also help us achieve the goals of the mayor’s and governor’s long-term energy and environmental goals as outlined in PlaNYC and the state energy plan.”

But how long will ConEd wait before coming up with a backup plan to get its natural gas somewhere else?

When asked whether the utility would drop its commitment to Spectra and re-bid its natural gas contract if Spectra gets embroiled in a long court fight, a spokesperson for ConEd said, “The Spectra project is essential for us to reliably meet growing natural gas demand in future years, particularly with the significant increase we are seeing in oil-to-gas conversions.”

Fanciullo said there are a number of delaying tactics the city can use. However, the city has declined to publicly discuss some aspects of its possible legal strategy to prevent Spectra from having the information.

Marylee Hanley, a spokesperson for Spectra, said in response, “As has been true since the NJ—NY Expansion Project began, we will continue to reach out and work with the community.”

Read more: Hudson Reporter - ... ey_city_story_left_column

Posted on: 2012/2/27 7:48

Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy says new fiscal year budget provides for no rise in taxes
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Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy says new fiscal year budget provides for no rise in taxes

February 21, 2012, 10:53 PM
By Charles Hack/The Jersey Journal

Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy told the City Council today that the 2012 municipal budget will provide taxpayers with a flat municipal tax levy for the second year in a row.

The $469,300,340 spending plan, which is set for introduction at tomorrow night's City Council meeting, would represent a 6 percent decrease from last year's $501 million municipal budget. The amount to be raised by taxes -- $201,988,256 -- almost unchanged from what was budgeted for 2011.

"The proposed budget provides a flat tax rate -- once again -- for the year 2012, and creates a flat tax, which means once again no tax hike," Healy said.

Healy said the flat tax was accomplished because the city has seen increased revenues and lower costs since last year.

The mayor pointed to increased revenues from the hotel-occupancy tax, construction permit fees, payments in lieu of taxes and the proposed sale of police headquarters on Erie Street.

He noted that state funding is unchanged from 2011.

The mayor said costs are down because of last year's layoffs, a $6 million cut in pension costs due to "legislative reforms" in Trenton and a less-costly healthcare plan for city employees and retirees.

Ward E Councilman Steven Fulop said that Healy mischaracterized the so-called flat tax rate.

"Last year was the same. He said no tax increase, and when the final budget was adopted it showed another tax increase," Fulop said. "This time he has the tax reval waiting to clobber people after the election."

Healy stuck by his statement.

"The municipal tax rate did not go up last year and once again it will not go up this year," Healy said.

The budget will be adopted after a public hearing that is tentatively scheduled for March 28. Tomorrow night's council meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 280 Grove St.

Posted on: 2012/2/23 2:37

Re: BOE approves huge $268K settlement -- paves the way for Epps to leave in December
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Jersey City Board of Education hopes to name new superintendent by April, consultant says

February 22, 2012, 3:19 PM
By Charles Hack/The Jersey Journal

The Jersey City Board of Education is continuing its national search for a new superintendent and is hoping to select a new schools chief by April, a consultant for the search said at Tuesday night's Jersey City City Council caucus.

Carol Lester, vice president of the Jersey City Board of Education gave a brief presentation to the city council Tuesday night and asked for council members' input on the selection criteria for the new superintendent.

“We are looking for input from community members, and wanted to make sure the City Council, as elected representatives of Jersey City, have an input in qualification criteria for the search,” Lester said.

The Board of Education has held six community meetings since November to get public input on how the new chief is selected. The next public meeting will be held at School 7, 222 Laidlaw Avenue Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

Franklin Walker has been serving as interim superintendent since Charles Epps Jr. stepped down from the position on Dec. 31. Board of Education members agreed to give Epps $268,000 to voluntarily step down after leading Jersey City's public schools for more than a decade.

Last year the board approved a national search and appointed West Hudson Associates and Hazard Young, Attea and Associates to conduct the search.

William Librera, a former commissioner for the New Jersey Department of Education, and now the executive director of West Hudson Associates, told the council that according to the Board of Education’s “ambitious timetablem,” final candidates would be interviewed by mid-April, he said.

Librera said the consultants want to advertise for a new superintendent in March and to interview candidates in early April.

Despite the fact that the state has final approval over the naming of a new superintendent, Librera said he is confident that the Board of Education will have final say over Epps' replacement.

"The state has made clear that this will be a decision that the Jersey City Board of Education makes,” Lester said.

Posted on: 2012/2/23 2:33

Hartz Mountain, Roseland Properties planning 1,000-unit residential building
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Hartz Mountain, Roseland Properties planning 1,000-unit residential building on Jersey City waterfront

February 22, 2012, 10:55 AM
By Ron Zeitlinger/The Jersey Journal

Hartz Mountain Industries and Roseland Property will build a $450 million, 1,000-unit residential complex on the Jersey City waterfront in Jersey City, the two companies announced this morning.

Officials with the two companies said in a news release that the total size of the project at 99 Hudson St. will be more than 1 million square feet of rental units and retail space and is expected to create more than 2,000 construction jobs over a 5-year period.

"The waterfront in Jersey City features many compelling pieces, but it lacks a center," Carl Goldberg, partner in Roseland Property Company, said in a statement. "We see 99 Hudson providing the components that would turn an interesting area into a classic neighborhood."

Officials said in the news release the project, part of the Colgate Center, will be the largest rental project and one of the top five tallest buildings in New Jersey, but did specify how many stories the building will rise.

In April 2011 Hartz Mountain sold buildings at 90 and 70 Hudson Street for a combined $310 million. In November Hartz Mountain Industries bought the property from Bank of America for $35 million. Merrill Lynch, which owned the land at 99 Hudson St., intended to build an office tower there for back offices. Bank of America obtained the site when it acquired Merrill Lynch.

Officials said the development of the project is contingent on the revival of the state Economic Development Agency's Urban Hub Tax Credit (UHTC) residential program, which was suspended after depleting its $250 million allocation.

"We submitted an application several months ago that fully qualified for the UHTC program," Emanuel Stern, president and COO of Hartz Mountain Industries, said in a statement. "As we have seen through the history of the UHTC program, the economic climate -- especially as it pertains to financing -- will not permit a project like this to proceed without assistance.

"Our application to EDA for the UHTC program delivers instant economic impact and smart growth benefits that will last for decades, so we are hopeful this necessary program is quickly revived so we can commence construction."

Roseland Property Company manages Hartz Mountain's residential projects and is a partner in four of Hartz's residential developments. The project is expected to include "retail and entertainment on the structure," as well as parking for residents and guests, officials said ... tain_roseland_proper.html

Posted on: 2012/2/22 16:21

Re: 'Jersey Shore' Spin-Off in Jersey City
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Snooki lookalikes compete in Jersey City bar close to set of Jersey Shore spin-off set

February 20, 2012, 11:31 AM
By Dan Rosenblum/For The Jersey Journal

As the “Jersey Shore” spin-off featuring Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Jenni “JWoww” Farley heads to Downtown Jersey City, residents looking to see the stars on their infamous nights out didn’t have to travel too far.

One block away from the old firehouse where the crew is setting up a “Laverne and Shirley”-type apartment for the duo, local bar Pint hosted a “Night of 1,000 Snookis” Friday night that featured Snook-a-like and fist-pumping contests.

Before the event, Pint owner Wolf Sterling worked the room wearing a Snooki wig, but he admitted he ran into a roadblock.

“It’s hard to get a polyester wig that matches a gray beard,” he said.

Though some residents fear the show will lower the city’s image, Sterling wasn’t angry about its coming to town. “Those people suck,” Sterling, 42, said of the show’s critics.

Jersey City, he said, has no national image and the show would give the city a chance to show its vibrant neighborhoods. “What are they afraid of?” he said.

The event wasn’t affiliated with the production company filming the show, but he said it got him more media buzz than he’s had in the four years he’s owned the bar.

Alexandria Kavanagh, 25, of Jersey City, was the first Snooki at the bar. She said people already mistake her for the reality-TV star and she only had to buy a few accessories before entering the costume competition.

Kavanagh said her mom saw the event in a newspaper and told her about the competition. She was happy about the show being in Jersey City.

“It’s better they’re here than Hoboken, because we’d appreciate it more,” she said.

Ultimately, three Snookis showed up. Bar patrons packed around the impersonators, taking plenty of photographs.

Snook-a-like Liz Coschera, 29, of Jersey City, said she liked how the event both embraced and made fun of the show. To celebrate the contest and city pride, she shopped locally for her costume along Newark Avenue and at the Newport Centre mall.

During the contest, Sterling re-created what he called Snooki’s favorite pastime by having the Snookis sit on the bar. He asked them trivia questions, including their favorite food.

“Pickles,” the contestants yelled, showing their knowledge of the real Snooki’s tastes.

Ultimately, Kavanagh won the $200 prize.

“It feels good,” she said afterward. “My mom will be proud.” ... kalikes_compete_in_j.html

Posted on: 2012/2/20 18:26

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