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Ward B Councilman David Donnelly keeps his seat until 2013 by winning special election
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Ward B Councilman David Donnelly keeps his seat until 2013 by winning special election

Wednesday, November 03, 2010
By MELISSA HAYES
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

Whether due to the support of local and county Democratic organizations, or his "On Your Side" campaign, Jersey City Councilman David Donnelly retained his seat in a landslide victory last night.

The crowd of supporters gathered at Freeholder Bill O'Dea's office on Mallory Avenue erupted in cheer as Donnelly declared his victory.

"Now the hard work begins," he said.

Donnelly bested five challengers - Isaiah Gadsden, Raymond Skop, Earlin Thomas, Diane Verlingo and Esther Wintner - to win the unexpired term of former Councilman Phil Kenny, who resigned last year after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges.

Donnelly, 40, a former aide to Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy, was appointed to fill the vacancy last October. He will serve until 2013, when the mayor's office and all nine council seats will be up for grabs. He had the backing of both the Jersey City Democratic Organization and the Hudson County Democratic Organization.

Based on preliminary numbers from Donnelly's campaign, he sailed to victory with 1,437 votes, over Gadsden with 611, Wintner with 399, Verlingo with 195, Thomas with 191 and Skop with 122.

Although the special election was held alongside partisan elections yesterday, Jersey City has a nonpartisan governing body and candidates run on slogans.

Donnelly ran on the slogan "On Your Side" and during a recent debate described himself as a problem solver who wanted to continue the work he started.

"Now we have to focus on installing those CCTV cameras, working with the West Side Community Alliance to improve the shops and work with the police so we can focus on crime," he said last night.

Donnelly credits himself with securing funding for six security cameras that will be installed in the West Side Avenue business district next year. He also successfully fought to keep open three neighborhood branches of the Jersey City Free Public Library, including two in his district.

He supports merging the Jersey City Incinerator Authority and Public Works Department to cut costs. Donnelly also said he wants to open the budget process to residents and conduct an audit of all management employees to ensure they are doing their jobs.

Wintner, who spread her message with the help of a bullhorn and gained notoriety after rallying hundreds of residents at City Council meetings against a hefty tax hike, was expected to be Donnelly's strongest challenger.

But she was a distant third behind Gadsden, the 33-year-old owner of a property management firm and a substitute teacher.

Staff writer Brett Wilshe contributed to this report.

Posted on: 2010/11/3 13:38
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Candidates for Ward B council seat debate and tell what they'd do with win
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Candidates for Ward B council seat debate and tell what they'd do with a Nov. 2 election victory

Saturday, October 23, 2010
By MELISSA HAYES
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

From cleaning up West Side Avenue to holding the line on taxes, candidates running for Jersey City's Ward B council seat offered a plethora of goals to improve the city.

More than 100 people crammed into Duffy Hall on West Side Avenue Thursday night for a debate hosted by the Jersey City Independent and the West Bergen/Lincoln Park Neighborhood Coalition.

David Donnelly, who was appointed last year to fill the vacancy created when Ward B Councilman Phil Kenny pleaded guilty to corruption charges and resigned, faces challengers Isaiah Gadsden, Earlin Thomas, Diane Verlingo, Esther Wintner and Raymond Skop.

Skop did not attend the debate.

Donnelly defended his first year on the council, saying he secured funding to install six security cameras on West Side Avenue, fought the closure of three public libraries and didn't vote for last year's tax hike.

He said if re-elected he would create a commission to carefully review the budget and gather public input and call for a desk audit of management employees to ensure they are earning their salaries.

"I solve problems. I work on problems," he said. "That's the role of a council person."

Verlingo said if elected, she would focus on cleaning up West Side Avenue.

"We have stores that have been closed for many years that are just an eyesore. The streets are filthy," she said. "We need better lighting there, we need the cameras to go in, and we need more pedestrian friendly sidewalks."

Gadsden said he would teach adults and youth about the financial market and real estate, as well as how to create a small business.

"How do we bring property taxes down? How do we bring the crime rate down?" he asked. "You create jobs."

Wintner said the city has to spend more responsibly. She said members of part-time appointed boards like the Jersey City Incinerator Authority and Municipal Utilities Authority shouldn't get health benefits. She also said city officials should give up their cars.

"We need to stop spending this money, stop borrowing and start going through the patronage system that we have here," she said.

Thomas said there needs to be more programs for youth and the unemployed. He said there also needs to be a greater police presence to combat crime, but added that increasing community block watches could help, too.

"Let the criminals know we are out there to watch them," he said.

Posted on: 2010/10/23 9:54
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