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Re: Jersey Journal Ward C Candidate Interviews
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From Jersey City Ward C
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I've never heard it referred to as "Dog Waste." I usually say the S word.

Posted on: 2017/10/28 5:03

Re: Jersey Journal Ward C Candidate Interviews
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wow...she said "dog poop" instead of "dog waste."

make jersey city affordable...according to Mayor Flop's commercial we have all of this affordable housing. Love all the hired actors and mannequins fanboys he used for that commercial.

Posted on: 2017/10/28 3:57

Jersey Journal Ward C Candidate Interviews
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Can you name three of your top priorities and how you intend to implement them if you get elected/re-elected?

Rich Boggiano

1) Journal Square. I want to see the development started. I want to see a supermarket. I want to see retail stores. And I want to see some quality restaurants and shops. There’s no place for anybody to go really to go for a good lunch and we have — the biggest thing that bugs me is the Stanley Theater has sometimes 3,000 people, they come out and where do they go for lunch? McDonald’s? It’s a disgrace.

2) I want to see the rest of our streets paved. I see streets being paved Downtown and everyplace else. I want the streets not only in Ward C, in Ward B and the rest of the city outside of Downtown and Ward F. I will be very forceful just like I was with the playground in Pershing Field.

3) I want to see more police in our district. I want to see walking cops in Journal Square and walking cops on Central Avenue, walking cops all around the sections of Ward C. As far as I’m concerned we’re overlooked.

Janet Chevres

1) Well the first one I would say is housing. That’s very important. As I knock on doors a lot of folks are very concerned about them having to leave Jersey City because they cannot afford to live here anymore. So as a team we’ve spoken about having an office where we would have a staff working with those in need and a list, a current list of housing they can possibly afford.

2) Dirty streets, that’s a biggie, too, for folks as I knock on doors. We can get people out there just like we had in the past, you now, cleaning the streets. People always compare us to Union City, how clean Union City is. Well, we notice, I do drive around, I do notice they have people 24/7 out in the streets cleaning and that would be something that we can possibly do.

3) Parking. I understand there’s we have a parking plan in place but it doesn’t seem like it’s working, you know? I’ve lived there for over 20 years and I park in the streets. I do not have private parking. It’s having a hospital by, a school close by, we got buses that go to New York, it’s very convenient for everyone to get around but then again we have people who don’t live in the area and park in the area to grab a bus. We can do a couple of things, we can assign what we have now for residents only, or we can change it up and make it a few hours. Definitely more zone parking.

John Hanussak

1) Pedestrian safety. I think there’s a lot more we can do there. I think there’s a decent number of folks that given the opportunity would give up their cars if given the opportunity. To do that one of the ways we can do that is start working with Zipcar to get into neighborhoods where we have situations where people could give up their cars. There are folks that have cars simply to do grocery shopping and get their prescriptions. That’s it. Otherwise they walk. So we target those folks — what that number is remains to be seen.

2) Development. I think we can do better with neighborhood notification [Currently developers seeking many zoning and planning changes have to notify only residents who live within 200 feet of the property]. Now, one, the notifications that go out are registered mail and if you’re not home, you get that slip where you have to go to the post office and sign for it. Those slips don’t really provide any clarity as to what is waiting for them at the post office. If they’re not waiting for an envelope, if they’re not waiting for a package, they’re not going. So one of the things we need to do is to get them to put more information on those slips. I think it’s more than reasonable to send regular mail as well. And on that mail some verbiage that indicates development coming in there.

3) Trash. When you’re walking through the neighborhood and you see it ridden with trash it does a lot to a resident’s psyche. There’s nothing to stop the council from making the good faith effort to collaborate with the mayor, with the department heads, basically to make everyone look better. Maybe the answer is to see what we can do about the problem areas, maybe putting inspectors out there to ticket people who are littering.

Rekha Nandwani

1) Keeping the city affordable. Making sure that all the development comes in, we have some sort of discussion on … middle-income, affordable and senior housing especially. Because people are just having to leave the city, even people on two incomes. That is my main thing.

2) Street safety for all. We’ve lost a few adults, some adults had near misses around this area, around Kennedy Boulevard and one case that didn’t make it to the press because it’s a friend of mine … her kid was literally mowed down, Kennedy and Newark, I don’t know how many miles an hour. He’s lucky to be alive. After that the parent was so terrified that she actually drove both her children to school every day. So of course there’s that safe streets group … complete streets program and, wherever possible, we need to use the data and there are certain dangerous intersections, we need to address them.

3) Quality of life issues. Trash is a big problem. Trash, litter, the dog poop, we need more of those stations to collect and then we need more enforcement. Parking enforcement, also, parking itself which is, you see, Jefferson [Avenue] is not zoned … we want this to be residentially zoned so we don’t have a parking problem. And painting lines. Right now there’s one car taking two, three spaces. Sometimes it’s ridiculous.

With all the new development coming to Journal Square, what measures do you see yourself introducing or supporting to keep Ward C affordable for longtime residents and seniors?

Boggiano: Yesterday, in fact, I just spoke to one of the major developers and I asked him if possible, if they don’t accept any funds, to please and, even if they do, I want to see some affordable housing for the people of Jersey City.

The Jersey Journal: So the idea is to pressure or convince developers to build?

Boggiano: Convince them. We have to take care of the people in this city. People need a place to live. Two of my neighbors just moved out. Too unaffordable, they couldn’t afford the education, the taxes. They’re leaving.

Chevres: I don’t quite understand your question, I’m sorry.

The Jersey Journal: The council passes resolutions and ordinances implementing zone parking here or banning chain stores there, so do you see yourself supporting any resolutions and ordinances that would help?

Chevres: If we need to, yes. I’m not a council person I’ve never been one. That would be something that I would need to learn a little bit more about, to be fair.

Hanussak: Newark, I think, just put something in, the thing under the zoning, 80/20 [Newark passed a law requiring new residential developments over 30 units to include 20 percent affordable housing]. So if they’ve done it I think we can take a look at the language that they used and see how we can fit that in here.

Nandwani: I would look at what the city has in the budget currently allocated towards it, because I know we have an affordability trust fund. So we need to look at that: if there’s enough, what are we doing with that money, with those funds. If we’re not building new, then I would really want to see something happen with the future developments to incorporate sort of a portion of units. And the residents I’ve spoken to — they’re not a big fan of percentages. They want to see in black and white, how many units for seniors, how many units for middle-income families … They just said, oh if you say 5 percent, that doesn’t work for us. We want to see numbers, so they want to see a proper breakdown, say 10 units for seniors.

The Jersey Journal: Wouldn’t a mandate have to use percentages to account for buildings with different numbers of units?

Nandwani: It would be percentage but we would have to have a clear breakdown … of the percentage because the residents don’t understand that math.

Do you think the city should stop awarding long-term abatements in Journal Square? If not, what would the developer have to give to the city to be awarded one?

Boggiano: I think they the maximum if they give us everything back in the neighborhood, give us some higher quality stores etc. I say 20 years is the maximum. I wish they’d go for 15 or 10 but I doubt that’s going to happen.

Chevres: We have these abatements, these folks come in, they build these buildings and only the folks that can afford are the folks that are living in this buildings, right? Why not get some of those units for people that can afford it? We can ask for some units so we can provide them to the people in Jersey City. That sounds great. That sounds like a really nice plan.

Hanussak: If we’re looking at a 70/30 ratio for affordable housing, then I think we should consider the long-term tax breaks.

Nandwani: I’m not for a blanket yes or no. it is a case-by-case basis. So that project may need to be evaluated. Right now in Ward C we need parks, we need the housing that I mentioned, right? So green space is at a premium. And we also need maintenance for that green space. So now we’re at a point where we need to go to the drawing board and see what our needs are and kind of redesign that need chart and go to these developers and say these are our needs.

How would you describe crime in Ward C and what steps would you take to increase public safety?

Boggiano: We need police patrols in the area. We need to toughen up the criminal justice system. What happened with this new law … just arresting them and turning them loose is an unbelievable disgrace. I’ll tell you what, last week, just the past week couple people had their cars broken into. Did they report it? No. People are having their houses broken into. Are they reporting it? No. Because they say nothing’s being done about it. I got to start being more forceful with a lot of issues and if we have more independence on the council we may be able to get things done. That’s the key, get more independence, people that don’t just say yes.

Chevres: I can’t really say that I see too much of it. Lately I’ve heard of one or two incidents but we can always have more police out there to avoid … more happening, right? So I’m sure there are probably some things we don’t hear about, while there’s other things we do hear about. I’m not going to say that is the worst place to live in because I’ve been living here forever and if I didn’t like it I’d be out. So I don’t see it as a bad area but I do see policing, policing in the streets, we would like to have policing on bikes or policing on foot, especially on foot because the way we feel is if we have policing on foot people get to know the officers, they feel more comfortable with the officers.

Hanussak: I like the idea of captain’s meetings, they’re very open, very honest as to what’s going on. The different districts are very cooperative doing with what they can based on the information that they have. I think a lot of the comments they get … (people are) afraid to come forward because they’re afraid of being identified. I think a campaign to get out there on how to block your phone number when you’re calling in an incident. A lot of people don’t know you can.

Nandwani: So right now this part of Ward C, and the other part, too, by Journal Square, we have a lot of chain snatching, mugging. A lot of these transient people that come, mostly Indians, South Asians actually. In ancient India the wealth of a house was seen by the amount of jewelry that they wear. They’re still in transition, so they go out wearing all the real gold jewelry and they’re targeted on a lot of back streets and main streets when it’s dark, evenings, even on Newark Avenue. I would like to see more foot patrols, like it was back in the day. I keep hearing, I wasn’t here in Jersey City when all of that good stuff happened, but I’ve spoken to a lot of law enforcement. They keep saying there were a lot of foot patrols. And there was community policing. I would like to see some aspect of community policing.

Regarding the Loew’s, what are your thoughts on the city’s now-aborted attempt to have AEG take it over? How do you want the city to proceed now?

Boggiano: Work with Colin and Patti [Colin Egan and Patti Giordan, who run the nonprofit Friends of the Loew’s group, managers of the city-owned theater). They’ve been there for years. I want the Loew’s done. Colin and Patti have to give a little, the city has to give a lot. Let’s get it done.

The Jersey Journal: So no objection to another company running?

Boggiano: As long as Colin is in charge. Listen, they deserve that theater.

Chevres: We should keep the Loew’s. That’s Jersey City that belongs to Jersey City. It shouldn’t go to any outside company.

Hanussak: Well first I’d be remiss not to acknowledge Friends of the Lows. That would probably be a skyscraper if it weren’t for them. But the reality is that they’re a small group and to be able to facilitate the kind of programming that would really make the Loew’s flourish and have it as the crown jewel of Ward C, you need a large-scale production company.

Nandwani: We’ll decide in 2020 [when the FOL lease with the city expires]. I definitely want to see it redeveloped. I’m a big proponent of that. We do need that investment of millions of dollars. AEG has the knowledge and the financial know-how but historically we need to make sure there are certain elements that are preserved right. So that knowledge of the building, what it was, what it needs to be, needs to be guided from Colin and Patti. I want them involved.

You’ve said you believe the city focuses on Wards E and F but ignores the others. What kinds of resources is the city not providing Ward C?

Boggiano: When I said that, no matter who’s in there, their concern has been very little for Ward C. I get things done. I get things done by being very forceful. You’ve been at some of the council meetings, caucus meetings, I go after them … The problem here with the city is you have a ‘yes’ council. You have seven of them that just do what they’re told. Because they’re part of the team.

Councilman Boggiano has said the city focuses on Wards E and F but ignores the others. Do you agree with that? If so, what kinds of resources is the city not providing Ward C?

Chevres: I don’t see too much being done in Jersey City Ward C. Our streets are a mess. There are potholes left to right. I mean, I need to use my Facebook to blow it out for people to see. Potholes, there’s you know, trees, I see graffiti galore. It’s not being handled as it should be. We have staff that should be driving around looking at what needs to be done. I don’t feel like it’s being done at the moment, or they’re not being directed to handle it. Or maybe they just have certain areas they want to take care of, not Ward C.”

Hanussak: I don’t agree with him. It’s no secret that Rich and I know each other. I have nothing but respect for him and what he’s done over the years but I think his approach is not as effective as Ward C needs. I think a more collaborative approach, someone who’s able to bring everyone to the table. I think I’m that councilman. What I would do is use those skills to bring everyone to the table to compromise and push through to get solutions that we need in order to gain even more for Ward C.”
Nandwani: I don’t agree with it completely. I think you know we have we’ve been on the receiving end of the current council person’s political agenda to be mayor. So (Boggiano and Mayor Steve Fulop) were both pitted against each other. I think we were lost in that political, you know, between the two of them. I think that the council person needs to have a good relationship with whoever is in the administration. But that hasn’t been what’s happened in the last four years. It does hurt the residents. What if we had a productive dialogue and I’m not saying agree with everything the mayor says. I’m not going to do that. At least sit down at the table, have a face to face conversation. I mean, what legislation has (Boggiano) gotten past in the last four years? Everything the mayor proposes he says no. He voted not to making Jeremy Farrell the corporation counsel. What good is that? How did that help ward C? He never visits us here, he doesn’t know what our problems are. He just visits during election time and then it’s too late.

If elected to council, what kind of role do you see yourself playing as the city deals with the property revaluation?

Boggiano: I say getting lawyers together and filing suits. This reval is going to be probably a disaster and what I resent is that it’s coming out a week after the election [new assessments are scheduled to go out after Election Day]. It should have come out, first of all we should have accepted the reval four years ago. Now the prices of real estate have gone up and many people are suffering because of that increase in real-estate values.

Chevres: I’m just wondering just like everybody else, what’s going to happen after the election, that’s when we should find out. I really can’t say much because I am a homeowner and I myself don’t know. They’re not saying much about it.

Hanussak: Well key part of that answer is, what is the factual end results? So it’s a little hard to really give a definite answer. That said, whatever the end result is ... if there’s any kind of a negative impact to Ward C constituents or constituents citywide I think we have a duty to see what we can do. What that is really is driven by what that factual end result is. There’s a lot of ‘what if’ scenarios.

Nandwani: I see myself creating a lot of awareness and letting people know about the appeal process. I’m sure residents will need help … I think we definitely need to have a conversation on that and have an awareness campaign on the appeal process. And if there is some way or … we can kind of roll that back a little bit so residents have some time before that change … that’ll give them some time. I see myself helping them with that.

The Jersey Journal Meaning, to delaying the new assessments?

Nandwani: No, the reval can go through but I would like to see some time applying that, applying that actual bill … Suddenly you tell a senior your new tax bill is $5,000, $6,000, $17,000 more than what you pay, that’s going to make people homeless.

You’re running against three people. What makes you the best candidate?

Boggiano: Experience, I’m a fighter for the Hilltop, fighting City Hall. If I don’t like something I go after them.

The Jersey Journal: You don’t think your opponents will?

Boggiano: Nope.

Chevres: I’m very outgoing. I am a person that likes to stay on top of things. And I want to be in the streets, I don’t just want to be a person that I am a council person and in order for you to see me and know who I am you have to go to City Hall. No, I plan to walk the streets, I plan to talk to people in the neighborhood. It’s what I do. I do it now and I’m going to continue doing it. I’m a bilingual person. I can speak to people who — we have a majority of Hispanics in Ward C and I think I can be a voice for them as well. So, I think those are just some of the reasons. Other than I’m, you know, I’m very adorable.

Hanussak: I know how a lot of the issues in Jersey City work. I’ve been working on constituent issues for years, long before I was in the Resident Response Center. I’m a collaborator, consensus builder, someone that instead of screaming at people I’m going to sit down and work with all the people.

Nandwani: The current person had four years. He voted 85 per of the time yes for abatements. We didn’t see any new measures rolled out in JCPD. He was not there for our parking problems. He was not there when the children are dying. He’s not around for the traffic safety problems. I would be a council person for the entire ward, from Montgomery to this side of the Heights. I think I would definitely bring a different perspective, being a mom, having two children, one in the public school system. This is where the council people in the past have disappeared. I think I would bring all these different perspectives and business experience. Also, sponsor legislation, not just vote on it or not vote on it.

The Jersey Journal: What kind of legislation you would sponsor?

Nandwani: Definitely the affordability with the new developments.

The Jersey Journal: What would that legislation be?

Nandwani: I would actually try to pass some legislation … to keep the city affordable.

The Jersey Journal: But what would it say?

Nandwani: It would just say “keep Jersey City affordable.”

Terrence T. McDonald may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @terrencemcd. Find The Jersey Journal on Facebook.

Posted on: 2017/10/28 3:37

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