Jersey City Ward E Councilman James Solomon erupted on Mayor Steven Fulop, prompting Fulop to quickly fire back, over adding Ward C Councilman Rich Boggiano to his re-election slate.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Mayor Fulop governed JC in 2020 as a Chris Christie-esque triangulator. He avoided serious police reforms. He treated Black Lives Matter as a political problem to solve instead of an opportunity for progressive governance. He cynically waited the activists out while pretending to care about their concerns,” Solomon said during a Reddit AMA this afternoon.
“He passed an affordable housing ordinance that’s significantly weaker than all similar ordinances in New Jersey. He embraced ‘reopening’ from COVID instead of following clear public health guidance such as throwing up his hands over the cases during the Thanksgiving holiday. That right-of-center agenda is exactly what Councilman Boggiano supports so their deal is not a surprise to me.”
Solomon, along with Councilman-at-Large Rolando Lavarro, had proposed redirecting $5 million from the public safety budget into community programs – without laying off police officers – in August.
However, their amendment was voted down 7-2 and the $658 million budget was approved without any adjustments to public safety.
Earlier in the summer, as cries to defund the police began to emerge, Solomon said spending $109.9 million on police salaries is “unacceptable.
While the mayor had participated in a Black Lives Matter march in June, he remained adamant that he didn’t believe in defunding the police since “I don’t subscribe to the view of laying off police officers just because that’s what the moment is speaking to.”
The Downtown councilman also criticized the mayor for the inclusionary zoning ordinance the council approved (Solomon voted no) that is now tied up in litigation, as well as for taking an education over enforcement approach when it came to violating COVID-19 guidelines.
Fulop, who announced yesterday that Boggiano, a retired police detective, would be the 7th incumbent joining his re-election effort, was eager to hit Solomon back through city spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione.
“James Solomon is such a hypocrite it is nauseating. For example, first, he recently championed a Downtown Jersey City redevelopment amendment with 5% percent affordable housing and the largest density bonus in the history of the city, which is exactly what he now says he opposes,” she began.
“Secondly, he is the only councilperson that didn’t call into one single Covid response planning meeting for the city since the pandemic started, but now says he would have done things differently. Third, he pushed the defund the police narrative when politics seemed good for this, but for three years prior, he voted for every single funding increase for the police department that was presented. Finally, it is overall amazing that he is critical of the mayor, being that prior to becoming a councilman, he applied to work in the mayor’s office under Mayor Fulop as a staffer but wasn’t extended an offer.”
The Jersey City Council approved the Laurel and Saddlewood Court Redevelopment Plan last month, which will include 800 residential units and a public school.
Although Solomon opposed the initial version of the plan, he supported the slightly amended project, which comes with 41 affordable housing units.
Additionally, the councilman also voted against the total city budget in 2018 and 2019, but in both instances, supported amendments to increase to the public safety budget prior to the final vote.
Solomon told HCV back in September that he had no plans of seeking re-election on Team Fulop, who are certainly going to do their best to try and unseat him.
The Jersey City municipal elections, where the mayor and all nine council seats are up for re-election, are currently scheduled for November 2nd, 2021.