Inauguration Day For Assemblymembers McKnight and Chiaravalotti

Congratulations to Angela McKnight and Nicholas Chiaravalotti on their swearing in as the new Assemblymembers for the 31st district.  Ms. McKnight makes history as the first African-American female to serve as an assemblywoman from the district (although I would be remiss not to note that Sandra Cunningham has served as State Senator since 2007).

The Resources page has been updated to include their assembly bio pages.

Election Day – November 3, 2015

Tuesday November 3rd is election day.  Jersey City will be electing two members of the State Assembly, the County Executive, and three school board members.  In addition, Jersey City residents will be asked to vote in a non-binding referendum concerning moving city elections from May until November.

The State Assembly and County elections are partisan elections.  The Democratic candidates, endorsed by the Hudson County Democratic Organization and the Jersey City Democratic Organization are Angela McKnight and Nicholas Chiaravalloti.  The Democratic candidate for County Executive is incumbent Tom DeGise.

The School Board Election is a non-partisan election.  The candidates endorsed by the JCDO are the “Education Matters” slate of Vidya Gangadin, Marilyn Roman, and John Reichart.  A fourth candidate, Gina Verdibello is running as an independent.

Finally, the ballot will ask whether Jersey City residents want to move Mayoral and Council elections to November.  Currently these elections are in May.  The decision on the issue will be made by the City Council but the Council has previously asked for the referendum to see what city residents believe.

For those in my district, Ward E, District 6 (Liberty Harbor and part of the Van Vorst Park district) , your polling place is Frank R. Conwell No. 3 Elementary School, located at 111 Bright Street (between Varick and Monmouth Streets).

This is the first time since 1989 that the Assembly races are at the top of the ballot.  As such, many prognosticators are saying that this will be one of the lowest turnout elections ever.  I am asking my district residents and all other Jersey residents to do their part to prove that wrong.  Our democracy is too important to be tarnished with low voter turnout.  Please get out there and vote.



Council Meeting 10/14/2015 – Short-Term Rental Ordinance On Agenda

The City Council will meet on Wednesday, October 14th at 6:00 pm at City Hall, 280 Grove Street.

The meeting agenda may be found here.

Of particular interest is an ordinance amending the city’s zoning laws to allow for short-term rental use.  This is being done in response to the phenomenon of websites such as AirBnB which makes it easy for a home or apartment owner to rent out a room or the entire dwelling for short term stays.  Although it is not in the ordinance, the city claims that it has reached an agreement with AirBnB whereby the company will charge the person renting the room the city’s hotel tax.

The proposed ordinance can be found at pages 11-13 here.

As a committeeman I would appreciate feedback from residents as to their thoughts on the ordinance.  Many people use AirBnB to get some extra income by renting out a room or by renting out their entire place when they are away.  There has also been a growth in business owners who lease multiple apartments and houses on a regular basis (the ordinance allows this, but requires individuals renting out five or more units to obtain proper licenses).  Some people have expressed concern that allowing short term rentals would make it harder for long-term residents to find apartments, and would change the makeup of residential neighborhoods and apartments.  There is also a question as to how this would affect rent controlled units.

Tomorrow night is the introduction (first reading) of the ordinance.  There will be no public discussion on the matter but you can contact the clerk’s office to be placed on the list for the public comment period.  If the resolution is successfully introduced, then it will be set for a second reading where the council will here public comment.

If you have any thoughts or questions on the ordinance contact me here.


Hurricane Joaquin Preparation

As of Friday afternoon, it appears that Hurricane Joaquin’s impact on Jersey City will be limited to heavy rain.  Nevertheless the trajectory and intensity of the storm can change in an instant.  The city’s Office of Emergency Management is cautioning that significant rainfall, flooding, high winds, and power outages are still possible.  Drivers should avoid flooded roadways and not attempt to drive through standing water.

The City is encouraging people to sign up for its emergency alert system.  You may do so here.

Other sources of information include the following:

  • Official City Channel: twitter @jcgov,, 201-547-4900
  • Councilwoman Osborne Updates: twitter @candiceosborne & facebook
  • JC Community Prep, Response & Recover



Jersey City Art And Studio Tour This Weekend!

The Jersey City Art and Studio Tour celebrates its 25th anniversary this weekend.  More than 800 local artists will open their studios and display their work to the public.

The tour is a special event for me because it was really the first major Jersey City based event that I attended when I first moved to this city.  It helped me learn about the city’s history and cultural scene, and was the first time I met the founder of the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy, who was manning a table with a petition to save the Hudson and Manhattan Powerhouse.

The official kick off party starts tomorrow night from 6 to 11 pm at the Lackawanna Center at 234 16th Street.  The party is free and open to the public and will feature over 60,000 square feet of artwork!  Refreshments will be available and the event is family friendly with activities for children.  More information may be found here.

Studios and galleries will be open on Saturday and Sunday with 121 different venues located across the city.  A map may be found here.

Transportation to the various venues will be available.  Shuttle buses will run from 12 to 7 on Saturday and Sunday and run three different routes.  In addition, on Saturday two additional shuttle buses will run for a “barrier free” tour to venues that are ADA accessible.  Bike JC will also be leading bike tours to the venues, including one long route and two shorter routes.  Transportation information may be found here.  Of course, you can take a self-guided tour or stroll the neighborhoods at your own convenience as well.

NOTE:  As we are all aware, the weather is very uncertain and it is possible that Hurricane Joaquin will cancel or limit certain activities.  I will put up a separate update about Hurricane Joaquin in the near future.  Enjoy the weekend but take all necessary precautions.

Final “Sounds of Summer” Concert – 9-10-2015 at Exchange Place

Jersey City winds up its “Sounds of Summer” concert with a great one.  The New Jersey City University Alumni Jazz Big Band conducted by NJCU Professor Richard Lowenthal will perform a “Tribute to Clark Terry.”  The concert will feature the renowned trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, the Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center.  The concert takes place at J. Owen Grundy Pier at Exchange place on Thursday, September 10 at 6:30 p.m.

NJCU has an outstanding jazz program and the Alumni Band features several current stars, many who worked with Terry, the legendary trumpeter who passed away in February at the age of 94.  This is a great chance to catch a free concert with some great musicians and show support for NJCU.


Jersey City Resident Wants A Tree Lined Bright Street

I am pleased to announce a neighborhood beautification project that is taking place on Bright Street.  Local resident Nick Milak is seeking to plant nine trees on Varick and Bright Street.  The city had previously planted trees that died because they were not appropriate for a city environment.  Nick has taken it on himself to raise funds to plant the trees in the spots previously designated by the city.

This area is right next to our Ward and District.  It is also next to P.S. 3 elementary school where several children in our district go to school.  What better gift to start the school year than an initiative to plant a row of trees on the block?

The Jersey Journal’s article about the tree planting initiative can be found here.  The fundraising page can be found here.