Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop told a room full of about 100 people at his latest town hall event that “I am not today actively running for governor,” explaining that is not a decision he plans on making until December of this year.
At Fulop’s town hall meeting at St. Lutheran Church, the mayor answered questions on a Jersey City casino, the 2017 governor’s race, street cleaning and the perceived bias on downtown Jersey City vs. Jersey City Heights improvements – among other things.
As premise to most of his answers, Fulop told all those in attendance, “I think most of you recognize that, you know we still have a lot of room to grow and a lot of potential and change doesn’t happen overnight. But I think incrementally, we are moving in the right direction.”
The mayor first handed out the North District Public Safety Data which compares crimes rates in Jersey City, and the North District from 2013-2015. He also included the Heights’ park improvements and development updates.
Fulop took on moderated questions from the public, a few of which were on the topic of a Jersey City casino
“In November that only thing that has been approved by Trenton is the ability for all of you to vote on it,” said Fulop.
“But despite my view of it, if the people of Jersey City reject it, it’s dead on arrival. I will never push for it. I work of you ultimately.”
Fulop also continued to provide his reasons to support the idea of a casinos stating the location of the casino will be next Liberty National Golf Course, an area that “is already zoned for 2 – 30 story towers.”
He also explained that “the proposal also state that it will be a one billion dollar investment to Jersey City by law.”
Most importantly, the concept of the casino will bring and additional “5,000 jobs to Jersey City.”
Hudson County View first reported on Fulop’s remarks on a Jersey City casino at another town hall meeting last week, exclaiming that it would create “a revenue boon,” but also emphasizing it was up for the voters to decide if that’s what they want.
Also on the topic of the casinos, was the questionable report that if Jersey City built a casino, it will have to pay Atlantic City $250 million over 50 years.
“The dollars, depending on how much revenue comes into the state of NJ, the state of NJ will pay from all of the different casinos, half or equivalent to $2 million to Atlantic City. It doesn’t come from revenue that would be to Jersey City.”
Another question that did receive loud applause was asking why the mayor treats the Heights differently than downtown or other areas of Jersey City.
Denying this accusation, Fulop insisted, “If you don’t believe me. Look at our budget. Look at where we are directing our resources on parks, where we are directing our resources on infrastructure and that should give you a picture ultimately of what the city is trying to incentivize.”
The mayor also addressed the rumors of his plans to run for governor in 2017 and defended his support of moving the Jersey City municipal elections to November.
“I am not a declared candidate, I am not today actively running for governor,” Fulop said, noting that he’d be perfectly content if he never held an office higher than Jersey City mayor.
He also admitted he has been building relationships on a statewide level and would likely make a decision about running for governor, calling those persistent rumors flattering, in December.
One of the more popular questions was about garbage clean up, trash schedule pick up and the overall cleanliness of the streets.
“First of all I am particularly proud of the savings and streamlining efforts between DPW and JCIA” and after multiple questions about public trash cans, Fulop agreed that he would work closely with United For Clean Streets “personally” and “we will put a plan together to put those garbage cans in place.”
Fulop was also surrounded by most of the Jersey City department directors such as Director of Public Safety James Shea, Recreation Director Kevin Williamson, Director of Public Works Mark Redfield and Health and Human Services Stacey Flanagan.
Hoboken Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5), Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33) and North District Police Captain Edgar Martinez were also in attendance.
Jersey City Council President Rolando Lavarro, Jersey City Council members Daniel Rivera, Rich Boggiano, Michael Yun and Councilwoman-at-Large Joyce Watterman were also on deck, ready to assist Fulop with questions from the public.
The meeting was moderated by Bob Boudreau, the president of the Washington Park Association.