LETTER: Ward D lacks leadership & answers on unannounced Heights explosion, candidate says

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In a letter to the editor, Jersey City Ward D council candidate Patrick Ambrossi says the Heights lacked leadership and answers as evidenced by an unannounced Heights explosion in July.

Photo via Block Club Chicago.

Dear Editor,

A little over a month ago, on July 24th at 5:30 a.m. residents of the Heights were rattled from their sleep by the sound of an explosion. Like so many others, my family and I immediately thought the worst thing possible – it was an attack!

However, we later learned that it was an “unannounced-but-planned implosion at the Hudson Generating Station,” according to Block City Chicago.

Like so many of my neighbors, we were shocked to find this out. How did our elected officials fail to communicate a basic yet important piece of information?

Information that would have prepared residents for such an explosive noise while
they slept. Let us keep in mind that children, residents with PTSD, seniors and working adults were all asleep and not expecting this noise event before dawn.

Communicating such a basic piece of information is not only a responsibility of our elected officials, but also an opportunity to extend general respect to our community.

The explosion was the second time that we, the residents, were not notified of a potential issue. The first, a much larger safety issue, was the E. Coli that was found in our water system.

Shockingly, this important piece of community health information was not communicated until three days after it had been discovered!

Ward E Councilman James Solomon, quickly leapt into action and demanded that Suez come forth to the City Council and answer their questions.

However, unlike the E. Coli emergency, this unannounced demolition was planned, leaving our appointed Ward D Councilman an opportunity to forewarn residents. This begs the question, where was Councilman Yousef Saleh?

Why have we yet to hear from him regarding what happened? Mayor Steven Fulop has also refused to answer questions. Is this why the rest of the Fulop slate has been quiet as well?

Other than pandering and serving quick one-liners in an article, we have seen and heard nothing regarding this situation. In the absence of leadership, I will step up to the plate and demand action for our residents and protecting their rights and quality of life.

Actions that need to be taken:

1. Appointed Ward D Councilman, Yousef J. Saleh, needs to request a formal report from City Agencies:
a. Health and Human Services
b. Department of Public Works
c. Construction Code
d. The Law Department
e. Mayor’s Office

This will allow us to fill in the information gaps that currently exist. We have a right if the city was notified, if so when did that notification occur and to whom was that notification provided?

This report should also highlight the ordinances that were not followed.

2. Determine if all health guidelines as it relates to implosions/demolitions where followed. This implosion created a significant dust cloud over our neighborhood. We need to ensure that all rules are followed to protect residents.

3. Demand that Hilco Developments go before the council to explain the situation and answer questions related to their process, management, deals with the City of Jersey City and other related information.

4. If it is determined that the error falls on Hilco, we need to create an ordinance that will hold them and future companies/developers accountable.

These are the actions that our appointed councilman needs to take to protect the residents of our Ward.

Instead, the only actions he has taken are 1) Voted to purchase $200,000 of new office furniture for council offices, 2) voting against capping late property tax interest fees (homeowner relief), and 3) abstained from his first critical budget vote.

I believe we deserve answers to the Hilco incident, and we deserve better than an appointee who refuses to ask the hard questions and refuses to make the hard
decisions.

Patrick Ambrossi
Ward D Council Candidate

Patrick Ambrossi is a lifelong Jersey City Heights resident and a Ward D City Council candidate in the upcoming November 3, 2020 special election.

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