A rally for the passage of the Liberty State Park Protection Act was held within eyeshot of the Statue of Liberty, with counter protestors attempting to gain traction nearby.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
Friends of Liberty State Park President Sam Pesin said Liberty State Park For All could have rallied elsewhere, instead of right in front of and next to them, later questioning Gov. Phill Murphy’s (D) motives since the LSPPA is still a ways off from passage.
“I’m sure they’ve taken money for themselves or their nonprofits from [Paul] Fireman. They have sold their souls and their integrity in return for Fireman’s money. Shame on Fireman’s puppets,” Pesin said, slamming the counter action.
“Because if Fireman got Caven Point, Liberty State Park would not be for all. Liberty State Park is for all right now,” he added.
LSPFA Executive Director Arnold Stovell and his group have repeatedly said that the Friends of the LSP has opposed active recreation for Ward F.
“Stovell’s evil smear campaign has exploited the Black Lives Matter movement. Stovell’s puppet master Fireman wants to discredit and kill the Protect Act because it would put the Caven Point natural area which he wants to destroy for a millionaire’s golf holes,” Pesin exclaimed.
He noted they have been part of a decades-long effort to implement the restoration of the interior of the park, which will include the construction of active recreation fields. The land is currently polluted with industrial chemicals.
Pesin also noted that the petition to approve the LSP Protection Act has received 29,000 signatures.
“What used to be a contaminated wasteland and abandoned railyards and now look. Urban free open green oasis not just for Jersey City to enjoy, not just for Hudson County to enjoy,” said Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33), a prime sponsor of the LSPPA.
“… If they tried to encroach on one inch of Central Park, you wouldn’t even hear it even conceivable as an idea.”
He said that Ward F Councilman Jermaine Robinson brought the issue to his attention.
While Mukherji was speaking, a member of the crowd said Ward F Councilman Jermaine Robinson was shaking hands with those at the other rally. He voted against a resolution supporting the LSPPA last year.
Mukherji urged Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex-19) to post the bill for a vote.
Ward F Councilman Jermaine Robinson later said he is a fan of open spaces, including Berry Lane Park, Fairmount Triangle Park, and the Bethune Center Park, which just opened – as well as LSP. He said he worked closely with Mukherji to ensure that active recreation is part of the bill.
Mayor Steven Fulop noted Pesin’s father Morris pioneered efforts to begin the clean up of Liberty State Park.
“We’re saying collectively that we don’t want to be here every single year, every single six months, fighting for what we know is the right thing to do,” he began, noting that a golf course, a water park, and a marina were successfully opposed in the past.
“I’m 100 percent sure that at the end of the day we will preail because our track record is undefeated. We want Senator Sweeney and Speaker Coughlin to post that bill immediately.”
After Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey spoke in favor of the LSPPA, County Commissioner Bill O’Dea reiterated what Fulop had said.
“We’ve been fighting over and over again. Every two years, three years, five years somebody has a new thing,” adding that a state constitutional amendment passed by referendum would be a good idea to protect the Liberty State Park.
Ward D Yousef Saleh said there have been many different projects proposed to be there, making a joke about Jeff Bezos when expressing the urgency at hand.
“The next thing you know, they’re going to want to build a platform for space shuttles for billionaires. Governor Murphy, pass the bill,” he exclaimed.
Councilman-at-Large Rolando Lavarro said the bill hasn’t been posted in the legislature since “They’ve decided long ago they’re not going to see this come to a vote because they are beholden to their developer and corporate interests and the Fireman interests.”
Chris Gadsden, the Lincoln High School principal and a council-at-large candidate, also threw shots Fireman’s way.
“He has single-handedly divided the black community … Fireman’s money is in the ELEC accounts or in the civic associations of money people who are serving inside the community. It’s the truth.
Ward E Councilman James Solomon and Hoboken 5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen were among other elected who also joined the pro LSPPA effort.
Meanwhile, Liberty State Park For All believes the LSPPA would not let the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) finish the clean up, nor allow active recreation to be built at the interior of the park.
They want counter legislation introduced and passed, claiming the current bill should be known as “The Deception Act.”
“The time has passed, after 35 years, of a Master Plan, promising a clean up improvement plan a blind man can clearly see, and we all know, that the people of color have traditionally been excluded from the conversation movement,” said New Jersey NAACP President Richard T. Smith.
Stovell, County Commissioner Jerry Walker (D-3), Urban Concerns Founder Bruce Alston, and legendary retired St. Anthony High School Basketball Head Coach Bob Hurley were among those who spoke at the LSPFA rally.