Jersey City attorney and activist Cynthia Hadjiyannis, one of five candidates for the Ward D council seat in the November 3rd special election, explains why she’s thrown her hat in the ring.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“It’s time to put that ‘do it yourself’ determination and experience to work to make our local government more effective and accountable. People often feel like the city doesn’t care. I’ll work to get Heights residents that quality of life they deserve and to make sure developers don’t walk all over us,” Hadjiyannis said in a statement.
In 2005, Hadjiyannis co-founded the non-profit group Jersey City Reservoir Preservation Alliance (JCRPA), which saved Reservoir #3 from development after a battle with City Hall.
Since then, the group has worked with the city to keep the Reservoir open to the public and to pave the way for grants and investment to transform the site into a world-class nature park.
The nonprofit’s work culminated in $2.6 million grants awarded in the fall of 2019, the year after she became the president of the organization.
Earlier this month, the city announced plans for a $6 million restoration project for the reservoir.
Additionally, Hadjiyannis was late Ward D Councilman Michael Yun’s campaign manager in 2013. He ultimately won that election in a December runoff against Sean Connors, who was running on Mayor Steven Fulop’s ticket.
“Like many voters, I wanted an independent councilperson in the Heights, and I still do,” she added, noting that she has worked for and against local government when necessary, particularly when it comes to development.
Other career accomplishments she highlights includes working with then-councilman Fulop to organize an ad-hoc citywide group that successfully pushed for the passage of an ordinance to reform redeveloper pay-to-play in 2009.
She also mentions forming the “Abatement Action Committee” in 2013 to oppose a tax abatement for the KRE Group-linked Journal Squared project at the very first council meeting under the new administration.
She says her campaign slogan, “Reaching New Heights” is about protecting what is special about the Heights — its diversity, families, neighborhoods, commercial districts, green spaces, and arts community — and improving upon it.
“I will tackle complex issues like housing, zoning and development, education, the local economy, sustainability, and racial equality. Now more than ever, we need City Hall to be responsive and responsible to the people.”