Bayonne council hopeful Franco: I’ll take on Suez, prioritize affordable housing if elected

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Bayonne 1st Ward City Council candidate Peter Franco says he would make affordable housing a top priority and hold Suez Water accountable if he is elected on November 5th.

“He said, of his record, that the proof is in the pudding – but even instant pudding has two ingredients. He’s talked about one issue, and safety’s important, but he’s got a red stripe that he fixed on 95 percent of the stop signs,” Franco said of incumbent Neil Carroll’s recent interview with HCV.

At that time, the councilman pointed to having reflective striping added to 95 percent of the stop signs Downtown as one example of how he’s been effective since being appointed last year.

The challenger was quite clear that he was unimpressed, noting that taxes have been on the rise in recent years and that Carroll voted for at least eight long-term tax breaks for developers in the past 11 months.

Franco said that if elected, he will make affordable housing one of his hallmark issues, rationalizing how he could do so even if he is just one of five voice on the dais.

“Good inventions always make their way through many different channels and I think that good ideas are always gonna find a way to work. I think we have to find a way to utilize the media. If you’re a councilman and you have a great idea and you’re not getting anywhere with it … you have to find a way to bring your message to the people.”

” … Ultimately, we want to have public policy shaped by the public and not by the bureaucrats in City Hall.”

He pointed to the community outcry that encouraged the city to have monies from payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreements go towards the schools, first at five percent, and then later 10.

Franco said that if he takes office, he’d like to see that number closer to 20 percent.

As far as flooding goes, Franco stated that it’s time to get touch with Suez and stop letting politics get in the way of them properly doing their job.

“It’s time to hold Suez accountable. So many people talk about holding Suez accountable: you can’t hold Suez accountable when you’re hanging out in their luxury seats at the [New Jersey] Devils game, when you’re going to all their parties and enjoying the gourmet dishes they put out and you’re taking money for your political campaigns funded by Suez’s Political Action Committee,” he said.

He noted that in Bayonne, Suez is responsible for paying $2.5 million in annual capital improvements, and that the numbers should be reviewed to see if a lawsuit for breach of contract could be filed.

Additionally, Carroll cryptically alluded to Franco’s conviction of having with an underage child as the reason why he could not share a debate stage with him.

Franco, who has doubled down that justice was not served 11 years ago and maintains his innocence, said that this election should be about the issues facing the 1st Ward when asked how he would try to convince voters concerned about his past to consider voting for him.

“We have issues in this city. You have people that are sleeping in the streets, you have 100 people that line up to get fresh produce from Hunger Free Bayonne, you have 100 people, on a Saturday, going to a soup kitchen to get a meal,” he stated.

“It’s more than just talking about the issues, it’s time to get things done now.”

The Bayonne 1st Ward special election is on November 5th and Paul Cupo and Paul Hagdorn are also on the ballot.

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