The three independent Jersey City council-at-large candidates expressed confidence about upsetting those running on Mayor Steven Fulop’s ticket during a fundraiser at The Factory for Elvin Dominici last night.
Hector Oseguera, a member of the Progressive Democrats of Hudson County who served as the emcee for the evening, said Dominici is putting himself out there in the political sphere to fight for a better, fairer Jersey City.
Later, Chris Gadsden, a former Ward B councilman who is now running at-large, said he’s proud to call Dominici a friend who will battle for what’s right and the results in the fall may shock some people.
“We gonna knock out some giants, giants are gonna fall in November … If you have great faith, even if you just had a little faith the size of a mustard seed, even if you had just a little bit, if you say and believe that it’s gonna get done, and you put that work into it, it’s gonna get done.”
June Jones, the president of the Morris Canal Development Corporation and the third at-large candidate challenging the establishment slate, cited the city’s development practices, along with the Municipal Utilities Authority’s water tax, as reasons that independent voices are needed.
Councilman-at-Large Rolando Lavarro, who is yet to announce any plans for November, said this is a critical election that will decide if Jersey City becomes gentrified to a point where middle- to low-income residents are no longer welcome.
“We are at a pivotal points: we’re either going to move in the same direction as Hoboken right now, which is completely gentrified … you remember the old school Hoboken, lots of Hispanics, lots of African-American and other populations lived there – working class Irish and Italians and so forth: that’s all gone folks,” Lavarro said.
“And there’s nothing wrong with the folks who are affluent, they also want a good life too. But it shouldn’t be at the expense of all of you us, all of us, not having a place here in Jersey City.”
Additionally, Ward F council candidate Frank “Educational” Gilmore agreed that the November 2nd municipal elections will be an uphill battle, but Team Fulop’s sizable campaign war chest advantage can be neutralized with by a grassroots effort by hard-working, every day residents.
During his remarks, Dominici panned the MUA’s water and solid waste tax, as he has previously, and said that the millions going toward the Pompidou Centre (which secured $24 million from the state) could be better spent on residents still struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If the people in Downtown have a property worth $2 million dollars and somebody in Greenville have a property for $200,000, they’ll be paying about the same amount of money, which is unfair,” he said of the MUA measure that the council will vote on next month.
“Now we have an irresponsible council that instead [of] helping the people who are getting back to work, the largest part of that particular budget is gonna be invested in a museum – not in the people, not in recreation, not saving lives from violence – it’s gonna be invested in the Pompidou Centre.”
He continued that would be at least $12 million of the city’s annual budget, with a 2024 opening currently planned, and later added that he would fight to have an inclusionary zoning ordinance that would mandate 20 percent affordable housing for each project.
The IZO is currently the subject of a lawsuit filed by the Fair Share Housing Center, where a judge will rule whether or not to void the ordinance later this week, as HCV first reported.
Fulop’s at-large running mates are Joyce Watterman, the council president, Councilman-at-Large Daniel Rivera, and Amy DeGise, the chair of the Hudson County Democratic Organization.
The non-partisan Jersey City municipal elections are on June 2nd and will have the mayoralty and all nine council seats up for grabs.