The first one hundred days in office are over, and we’ve hit the ground running! I know my job on city council is to channel your voices into change for Jersey City. I’m writing now to make sure those voices are heard. Below you will find some highlights on a few key initiatives as well as some information on how to stay informed and connected with my office. I’d love your feedback on how I can improve these updates in the future, so please send me your thoughts.
Community Feedback & Transition Reports: To hear your input on the improvements that you’d like to see in our community, I spent much of June and July in meetings with many of our neighbors all over Ward E. The feedback from those meetings drives my strategy for our community, and was also transmitted to several of Mayor Fulop’s transition teams. In addition, to find more innovative ways for Jersey City’s residents and governments to connect, I led the Mayor’s Technology and Communications transition team.
- Tech recommendations: http://www.candiceosborne.com/updates/74-tech-transition-report
- Communication recommendations: http://www.candiceosborne.com/updates/73-communications-transition-report
Safe Streets: The streets in Ward E should not serve as a shortcut to the Holland Tunnel. These are the streets that we all cross to get to work and school, ride our bikes to the park and walk our dogs. I asked each neighborhood and block association to tell me their top three priority areas for traffic calming, consulted experts, and conducted an independent audit of every street and intersection of Downtown Jersey City with my staff; we are now working with the City to implement several stages of solutions that address danger areas.
- Traffic calming recommendations: http://www.candiceosborne.com/updates/59-complete-streets-phase-1-recommendations
- Send your ideas for traffic calming to email@example.com.
Earned Sick Days Legislation: In September, the City Council was proud to pass Jersey City’s first piece of legislation ensuring that local businesses with 10 or more employees will provide workers with up to five days of paid sick leave.
- View the FAQ on this ordinance: http://www.candiceosborne.com/issues/faqs/15-small-business/76-earned-sick-leave
Increased Parking: To date we’ve passed two ordinances expanding residential parking in downtown in Zone 1 and Zone 4. In August, we also began conversations with the Parking Authority to find creative ways to improve the parking situation downtown. These ideas will continue to be developed over the coming months, and we plan to roll out a set of public recommendations at the beginning of 2014.
Enhancing community connection with the police: I’ve been working closely with Captain Sollitti on public safety issues and we both welcome any feedback that you may have as it relates to public safety. In addition to the monthly public police captain meeting, we had our first public safety meeting in August and will conduct a second meeting in November. If you’d like to attend these meetings and/or receive alerts about downtown from the police department, please send an email to east@NJJCPS.ORG.
Strengthen Education: Two years ago, I served on a citizens committee that interviewed, vetted and endorsed candidates who would run for Board of Education. It was energizing to be part of this grassroots group of parents and educators, which represented a major change from the backroom politics of Jersey City’s past. This past spring, another group of parents, activists and educators undertook a search for Board of Education candidates. Their choices represent a wonderful cross-section of parents from across the city, all of whom are engaged in the work of changing our city for the better. I encourage you to read their bios http://www.jerseycitycandidatesforexcellence.com/#!about_us/csgz and to join me in voting on on November 5th for:
- Jessica Rosero Daye – Ballot Position 1I
- Micheline Amy – Ballot Position 3I
- Carol Lester – Ballot Position 6J
- Ellen Simon – Ballot Position 1P
Access to Information on Flood Insurance Mapping: Although preliminary FEMA flood maps were released in June, we can expect two more sets of map recommendations before their final adoptions; as a result, flood insurance rates will not change until 2015. My goal is to help residents gain both information and a clear voice when FEMA opens their window for community flood map feedback early 2014. In the meantime, I’m working with the Mayor’s Office to lower existing insurance rates by next summer. I’d also like to let you know that FEMA recently announced a significant extension of their deadline for Sandy survivors to file critical paperwork for flood insurance.
Development at Bright and Varick: I know many people are concerned with development that is occurring at the corner of Bright and Varick. Please read my comments to the community regarding the history of this project and what I believe can be done moving forward.
To achieve all of the above and more, I’ll need to connect with you both inside City Hall and on your own doorstep. I’d like to introduce some key new staff members who will help me do this.
The Council Office: Helping You Connect With Us
To help me respond to your needs as quickly as possible, I’ve hired Sarah Ligon as my new Council Aide. Sarah is a downtown resident who comes to us with a background in volunteering (Americorps, MADRE) and writing (as an instructor at Rutgers University and in developing tests for the SAT.) Her extensive experience in policy research, as well as people and office management, made her an ideal candidate for my council office — I’m happy to have her on board. (I’d also like to take a minute to thank Stephanie Daniels and Althea Bernheim, who interviewed over 20 people before recommending six they thought would be right for the job).
Council Office Goals:
- Maintain Responsiveness: We will continue to be responsive to answering your questions and gathering your input, responding to your calls and emails within 24 hours.
- Improve Service: Sarah and I will develop solutions that improve our responsiveness to you and begin working with the Mayor’s Administration to make service improvements to Ward E.
- Fully Staff the Council Office: Because the aide position is only funded part time, Sarah has developed a growing volunteer and internship program with local universities and the larger community to ensure that the council office is staffed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Sarah will also be working closely with the newly revamped Mayor’s Resident Response Center to help you find solutions to your needs.
The Community Outreach Team: Helping Us Connect With You
I also want to reach beyond City Hall, proactively, to seek out new ideas about what’s going on in your area. Darden Moorefield will be leading my community outreach effort. Darden is a resident and small business owner who has lived in Paulus Hook for almost 15 years. After he began volunteering for my campaign, Darden’s incredible ability to organize and motivate people was immediately obvious; I’m thrilled that he wants to continue to volunteer for me now that the election has passed.
Community Outreach Goals:
- Develop a Community Outreach Plan. Darden will work with me to build a full plan for community outreach. That will include plans for my office to maintain contact with neighborhood & block association boards, the artistic community, the small business community, low income and senior residents. Our plan will include both “online” and “offline” ways of reaching people.
- Develop Participation from the Community. As important it is for my office to reach out to the community, it’s also important for you to get involved. We will be organizing teams of residents who want to do just that – volunteer to work with hands-on initiatives that improve your own neighborhood. We’d love to have you work with us — to volunteer, please firstname.lastname@example.org with your interests and availability.
I hope to see you all out and about for Halloween this evening in Jersey City. I’ll be easily recognizable as Pippi Longstocking, so please reach out and say hello!
Yours in service,