A 5-3 vote by the Jersey City Council made Jermaine Robinson the new Ward F representative at last nightâ€™s special meeting, packed by members of Jersey City Together and many neighborhood associations expressing their concerns due to the recent crime outbreak that occurred in that ward.
Many of those in attendance stood alongside the Jersey City Together organization during the beginning of the special meeting, holding small banners that said phrase such as â€œF should not stand for Forgottenâ€ and “Action Now.”
Pastor Shyrone Richardson of Jersey City Together declared Ward F to be in the state of crisis and highlighted the recent crimes that occurred within just 21 days of the new year.
Rev. Mona Fitch-Elliot of St. Johnâ€™s Lutheran Church in Jersey City explained that the new appointed councilperson would need to immediately lead a crisis intervention team of at least 5 social workers and counselors to support kids and families, increase police presence, and extend hours of operation for various elementary schools.
The two candidates then took the podium to address why they are the best fit for the role, with Michael Griffin going first.
â€œItâ€™s all about working with each other. Whether itâ€™s with council members. Whether it with city agencies. Whether itâ€™s with organizations. You know I heard what the pastors just said and it touched me to the heart. And I believe everything they said and thatâ€™s something Iâ€™m looking to do. Hit the ground running,â€ openly stated Griffin.
As for Robinson, he began with admitting that he wouldnâ€™t know what to do as a councilperson because he was never in that position before.
â€œBut what I can do is to tell you that Iâ€™m going to continue doing what Iâ€™ve been doing and that is to give back to my community,â€ explained Robinson.
About 15 members of the public supported Robinson, including former Jersey City Councilwoman-at-Large Viola Richardson and Jersey Cityâ€™s NAACP President Rev. Nathaniel Legay.
Hudson County Register and former Ward F Councilwoman Diane Coleman added, â€œIâ€™ve watched Jermaine Robinson, as a councilperson, and he is willing to do whatever it takes to make things right and thatâ€™s what we need.â€
One member of the public spoke on behalf of Chris Perez, who was another one of the candidates considered as councilman for Ward F.
Upon deliberation, it was Ward C Councilman Richard Boggiano, Ward D Councilman Michael Yun and Ward B Councilman Chris Gadsden who voted for Griffin.
Gadsden explained his support for Griffin by sharing that he â€œhad his mindâ€ when it came to dealing with developments and legal affairs especially for the upcoming plans for Ward F.
In a brief interview with Hudson County View, Robinson stated that, â€œIn my first term, we are going to sit down with the NAACP. We are going to sit down with all the block associations as soon as possible so we can actually start talking to make things happen.â€
Jersey City Council voted 5-3 for Robinson to serve as Ward F Councilman until Dec. 31, 2017.