Small donations add up
Over the former decade, we have seen the power of masses of little dollar donations to compete with the big money of well-known politicians. This showed up again final month here at home with wins in Hoboken and Ward C, D and E.
In April, the Hudson County Progressive Democrats created an ongoing political committee to hoist and spend money on behalf of all 22 candidates on our Democratic County Committee’s inaugural list. Two weeks ago, we submitted our Q2 filing to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, and we would like to publicly thank the more than 200 contributors to our campaign.
Top line numbers are distinguished. We recorded $11,903 in cash donations, of which 98% came through our ActBlue account, and we received several in-considerate contributions worth hundreds of dollars. During the quarter and immediately following, we cleverly spent over $8,000 on the election.
These expenses started with providing the lowest carbon footprint and literature produced by unions. We purchased voter data and a hosting platform, tools to support vote counting, and phone banking and text messaging. We have created a unused website and created engaging online content through our growing social media accounts. And we’ve worked with lawyers, from enforcing a change in gender requirements (insidernj.com/press-release/progressive-democrats-celebrate-milestone-women-lgbt-people/) to conducting the first-in-record-memory recount of the Hudson County Committee, when The Jersey City race initially led to a tied result.
PDHC has built a powerful fundraising infrastructure along with a packed scale training curriculum for the candidates. Our members and volunteers will persevere to speak to our neighbors all year round; At the alike time, we are focusing on building a road to the municipalities and counties where we did not confront any challenge in the final elections. We know change is coming to Hudson County and we are elated and humbled by the success of our first financial plan.
Brad Lundin, Treasurer, Hudson County Progressive Democrats Continuing Political Committee
Suicide skewed gun stats
I think the gun violence test taken on NJ.com on July 20 was misleading (“How bad is gun violence? Here’s a short test to find out” by Jersey Journal columnist Joan Quigley).
Many of the questions and answers were based on the inclusion of gunshot suicide (historically two-thirds of gunshot deaths) as an act of armed violence. This is as ridiculous as claiming that someone who committed suicide by hanging was a “victim of rope violence” or claiming that someone who died of an intentional drug overdose was a “victim of pill violence.”
It also means that the vast majority of those who committed suicide with a gun would still be alive today if they did not have a gun. Data from Australia following the implementation of the Weapons Act 1996 (conclude with the confiscation of nearly one million guns) disproved this hypothesis.
Finally, comparing the number of people who “died from a gunshot wound” (including gun-related suicides) with the number of people who died in a “car accident” is disingenuous in that it compares the number of people who died suddenly and involuntarily from an event outside On their own, a group of more than 20,000 people a year decided, in a planned way, to voluntarily end their lives. Hardly a meaningful comparison.
Joe Lichtansky, Flemington
Where is the transparency that Fullop promised?
I’ve been attending council and budget hearings since the Jordan administration in the 1970s, and I’ve been appalled by the way the Jersey City Council treats members of the public when asking questions. Their position: Your time is up and there are no answers. This happened when Councilwoman Joyce Waterman became city council president.
In the former there was no time limit for each speaker when commenting on decrees and most people respected the process and kept comments on what was significant. But Councilman Waterman changed the rules to three minutes for decrees and five minutes for budget, an impossible task to ask grave questions since there were two budgets, a “friendly budget” set by the then government. Christie and RB.
The city council actually caused the problem of lengthy council meetings by putting as many as 16 orders as first readings on the agendas. Since then they have been wiser and have reduced the first hearing ordinances but have not made time for the audience.
When I ask for information, Councilwoman Waterman tells me to write an email, but I’m forever waiting for a response. So, I usually repeat the alike questions over and over, and perhaps because I’m exhausted from hearing the alike questions asked month following month, I’ll get an answer via email.
But I never had a chance to ask these questions at the July budget hearing: Is the city’s floating bonds for severance leave and how much? The budget shows $74 million in deferred fees, what is the plan to pay for that and has the city taken action to cut back on what employees can take when they leave? Why did the reserve drop to $19 million? Why was the $76 million bond debt paid off when the city recently refinanced the bonds to decrease bond payments? Some of those refinanced bonds were due to expire in a few years, and that was no reason to refinance them. Last year, the bond repayment was lower, so there is no evidence of a lower bond payment because we are paying more into the budget. When a city refinances bonds that are about to expire, it shows that the city is in dire need of cash.
Jersey City received $77 million for COVID relief, so it wasn’t necessary to put two- to four-person residences without landlords under rent control. Rent control will not pay coming tax increases; Increase is based on CPI Smaller Owner Occupied Buildings and Apartment Owners will only have a tax increase in the coming which is just tax discrimination. The city must address this tax discrimination and quit favoring one group of residents over another.
The two questions I asked at the public hearing were what property is being sold for $20 million to plug a budget gap and why there is nothing in the column for the transportation tax cut fee (routine budget page 10 million) when the city rolled out the tax cut in May, Order No. 21-038? I did not receive any answers.
When the city mails the tax bill, the debt, which is over $600 million, must be included. The city must tell the tiny homeowner, who pays the lion’s share of the budget, what percentage of their taxes support affordable housing and rent control.
Although I never agreed with previous administrations’ use of tax cuts, the budget hearings were presented in a professional manner, and there were people from the Business Bureau answering questions. In fact, some departments had divide budget days and didn’t put them on the days of routine board meetings.
This administration originally worked on transparency, but its practices are not transparent at all.
Yvonne Ballser, Jersey City
Send letters to the editor and guest columns for The Jersey Journal to email@example.com.