A defeated land development ordinance regarding safety of pedestrians, especially children in strollers had Jersey City Council President Rolando Lavarro, apologizing to council members for calling it a â€œgender break on votes.â€
Lavarro, at first, called it a â€œgender break on the votesâ€ as he explained his support for the ordinance, siding with the female members of the council.
He later apologized to the council member and those in attendance.
â€œFirst of all I want to apologize to the men. I made an observation about the gender breakup of the votes, words hurt, they are harmful and I can assure that the men here are not sexist in any way shape of form. I was flippant and inappropriate. â€œ
It was Ward A Councilman Frank Gajewski, Ward B Councilman Chico Ramchal, Ward C Councilman Richard Boggiano, Ward D Councilman Michael Yun and Councilman-at-Large Daniel Rivera who voted against the measure (4-5).
Ramchal explained that the number one reason why it was voted down was because of penalty fees.
â€œ$250 to $500 is a lot of money for people to be paying. We asked for this to number to be changed and it definitely was not changed so thatâ€™s why I vote no.â€
Osborne replied â€œ[a] $60 [fine] does not change behavior. It needs to be a high enough amount so they donâ€™t ever do it again. This is not to make money. This is to save lives.â€
The purpose of the land development ordinance was to keep pedestrians safe.
Automobiles parked in the sidewalk, or blocking the pedestrian right of way, poses a public safety hazard, especially to children in strollers and to those with mobility challenges who will need to cross behind a parked car and risk being struck by a â€œcareless drivers,” the ordinance said.
According to the ordinance, it is a $250 fee per day for the first offense of motorists and $500 per day for subsequent offense.
It would not have affected any residents who are legally parked in a front yard parking spot within his or her property line.