The Hudson County Board of Commissioners has Jersey City represented in seven of nine districts after a vote by the redistricting commission last month.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Ward E already touches the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Districts and would also enter the 2nd District between 12th and Montgomery Streets heading north, with Marin Boulevard serving as the eastern border and Lincoln Park serving as the western border.
“The only thing I’m upset about is that they took the Van Wagenen apartments, which are predominantly African-American and Hispanic districts and we’ve done a lot of programs for them over the years so I would’ve liked those two districts to stay in,” said County Commissioner Bill O’Dea (D-2), who has never represented a portion of Downtown before.
District 1, which has typically been primarily Bayonne, now also has a portion of Jersey City south of Mercer Park, including Society Hill.
Similarly, the 6th District, which has been a Union City-centric seat, now includes a few blocks of the Heights near Washington Park, with the 5th District’s prior portion of the Heights heading to the 4th.
The 5th District also extends all the way Downtown to the waterfront, near Liberty State Park.
Additionally, a portion of Secaucus is moving from the 8th District to the 9th, expanding toward the center of town with the border stopping just before Mills Creek Park. The district always picks up a small portion of Ward C along Routes 1 & 9.
Overall, the only districts that don’t include Jersey City are the 7th, which remains West New York, Weehawken, and Guttenberg, and the 8th, which is now just North Bergen and Secaucus after having a very small section of Jersey City previously.
While the interactive map available on the county website is still labeled as a draft, a notice from the county clerk’s office says the map was approved unanimously (4-0) via a Zoom meeting on January 5th.
This was about three weeks before the Jersey City Board of Ward Commissioners approved their map at a hybrid meeting late last month.
O’Dea also said that he has requested a copy of the public notice issued at least 48 hours prior to the meeting, per state guidelines, and he is yet to receive it from the county.
Unlike municipal redistricting boards, the county governing body has four members, two Democrats and two Republicans, appointed by their respective county chairs: Amy DeGise, a Jersey City councilwoman-at-large, for the Hudson County Democratic Organization, and Jose Arango for the Hudson County GOP.
Furthermore, there is no president or chair of this governing body.
DeGise selected John Minella, the municipal redistricting chair and a top aide to Mayor Steven Fulop, and North Bergen Revenue and Finance Commissioner Julio Marenco.
Meanwhile, Arango appointed himself, along with Dan Beckleman, who works for the Hudson County Board of Elections and is also on Jersey City’s Board of Ward Commissioners.
“It’s not an easy process, once one district moves everyone has to move. But I believe the committee worked hard and also with the constraints they were given. They made sure districts were similar in population numbers and cultural history,” said DeGise.
“Such attention was paid to making sure population totals were relatively equal so no one district has more power or less power than another. I really did not plan any type of role though, besides making sure they understood the requirements and statutes I was not a part of the process. Downtown JC is heavily populated I’m sure a lot of debate went into how to draw those lines fairly and without compromising other towns.”
Arango did not return a call seeking comment.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with Hudson County Democratic Organization Chair Amy DeGise.