Some outspoken members of the public attending last night’s Jersey City Council meeting claimed “racism” over a residential parking restriction ordinance sponsored by Ward E Councilwoman Candice Osborne, pushing her to tears.
“I am crying because, I brought this up and to accuse me of being racist is the most hurtful thing anyone has ever said to me and I think that anybody that knows me, knows that it is not my heart,” she said.
She then explained that the reason why she brought this up is because people who have residential parking in their high rises downtown do not use their parking but take up the already limited street parking.
Osborne also explained that this ordinance was to discourage those who would park their cars in the streets and head into Manhattan instead of using the designated lots.
Her intention was to remedy the limited street parking by extending the residential zone parking to three hours and encouraging those who need more than the allotted time to park in the designated parking lots.
According to the ordinance, from the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, no vehicle can park on Zones 3, 4, 6, 7 for more than three hours without a valid parking permit.
All other zones, a vehicle can park in an excess of 2 hours, between the hours of 8 a.m. through 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, with a valid permit.
“To adopt this, along with your adoption of the meters which will be to 11 o’clock and the selling of the parking lot across the street for development, you’re telling me, you’re telling the public, they cannot come here and park,” said Yvonne Balcer, a long time Jersey City resident.
“I had to switch my eye doctor from downtown because I didn’t have a parking permit, which made my situation worse because my insurance only covered certain doctors, so this to me is kind of like a segregation,” stated another Jersey City resident, Monique K. Andrews.
Carolyn Oliver-Fair accused City Council of demanding that those who live outside of downtown Jersey City should not come. “This is an act of overt racist” she said.
Jersey City Council President Rolando Lavarro voted against the ordinance explaining that it was because of the public shared their concerns that led him to realize the impact it would have on other parts of Jersey City.
Lavarro also addressed the cries of racism from the crowd.
“Your voices are heard, and I’ll also just add and just ask respectfully that we can come to meetings and disagree without hurtful accusations of racism because that’s just not case with this council.”
The ordinance was defeated by a vote of 2-6(1), with Ward A Councilman Gajewski and Osborne voting in favor of it and Ward B Councilman Khemraj “Chico” Ramchal abstaining.