It is very suspicious that despite strong mandate from the local residence and a unanimous vote of the city council, that the Jersey City Mayor's Office cant seem to remember who they represent. Or perhpas they do: thier campaign funders and big money and coporate interests. In the case of Healy, he sat quietly by like a porch monkey watching the not so quiet dismantling of the the Arts District brick by brick. He did so even though there were legal tools at his disposal to defend the heart and soul of the Jersey City Arts District and Studio Tour, 111 First St. For instance, the landlord of the building owes over $7million dollars in fines to the city yet no liens have been placed on the property. I would like to see the average tax paying,property-owning citizen of JC get away with this. Hell, for those of you who dont know if you fail to pay a parking ticket on time the state will suspend your license and we are talking about under $100. Moreover, it is our citizenry who will have to eventually make up the revenue shortfalls for all this coporate welfare and debt forgiveness. It is our citizenry who will feel the cut from the loss of the entertainment revenue that could have been realized by a strong plan to implement the Arts District. If you live in Jersey City or own a retail business here, then you are aware of how much of a percentage of discretionary entertainment spending is funnelled right out of Jersey City and into the grateful hands of NY merchants (.. and i dont hate them for making money). A true Arts District with an attention to fine arts, performing arts, and entertainment venues would round out the development of all the residential, commercial and existing retail spaces while attracting a new york crossover audience in addition to our local people. If this were done with the conversion of the Powerhouse to an NJPAC style perfomrnace space with with galleries and a rooftop restaurant it could even help to revitalize the waning NJ Waterways business. To those who think that Jersey City can not be that type of entertainment draw one need only look to the success of the waterfront hotels and migration of formerly NY based business offices as proof that JC is not an ugly step sister to Manhattan.
So what is the value that Healy sees Lloyd Goldman and his company Devon Management aka BLDG Management? The company is based in NY so there arent huge tax contributions. If anything Goldman has been riding the ecomonic development policies, lax residential housing enforcement (as he and his staff as well as city officials had been personally aware of individuals living in the building), and tax and utilitiy abatements. One wonders why Jersey City bends so far over to help a coporation that brings so little to the area to profit so greatly. Ah,, but i forget that Lloyd Goldman is a near billionaire and unfortuantley the stringency of law seems to be statistacally inversely proportional to the amount of money the potential defendant has. I find it disgusting that these fines are being swept under the rug when all were hear about is the tightness of the budget for education, quality of life and the general improvement of Jersey City.
What we need in NJ is a way to cut through the coruption that undercuts altruistic progress and allows the old boy network to continue to function with impunity. Fortunatley, the seeds of this much needed reform is in the constitution of just about every township in NJ. All Citys and towns in Nj were founded under either the Faulkner Act or the Home Rule Act. Both of these provide for public referendum. Following the starategies used by those concerned about illegal immigration in AZ where they were able to pass the Protect AZ Now referendum. We the concenred citizens of Jersey City could take back some control from the corporate money changers overriding our democratic process.
What i propose is a refernedum that would allow citizens to file a civil suit against government employees who are found to not implment the Law with personal liability and with the power to force the city or state to implement its Laws.
Some might say why do we need this. And the answer is that way too oftern the politicians will sing a happy song until the y are elected and then its is the whispers from the back room that are felt. We need to enforce a higher level of accountability from the individuals who chose to act as a part of the engine of our democracy.
If you are a lawyer and want to get involved on the legal steps of sucha process or any one else who believes we should take back our government please reach out to me.