The Nov. 8 election is about more than just the president
by Al Sullivan
Reporter staff writer
Nov 06, 2016
Jersey City residents will go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 8, to vote on a number of key races, include the election of a president, and contests for the House of Representatives, county sheriff, county register, school board members and the council member representing Ward B. The Board of Education election is the most prominent local race, with three slates and two independents running to fill three open seats for three-year terms.
Voters will also consider four significant referendum questions: moving the municipal elections from May to November starting in 2017, whether or not a special tax should be established for funding open space acquisition in Jersey City, whether or not to allow casino gambling outside of Atlantic City, and whether to legally dedicate an increase in the gas tax to fund transportation infrastructure improvements.
Democratic candidate for president Hillary Rodham Clinton is opposed by Republican Donald J. Trump, Green Party nominee Jill Stein, and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, as well as Gloria La Riva, Lyson Kennedy, Darrell Castle, Rocky Roque De La Fuente, and Monica Moorehead.
In the 8th Congressional District, Democratic incumbent Rep. Albio Sires is being challenged by Republican Agha Khan and independents Dan Delaney and Pablo Olivera. In Hudson County, the district covers all or parts of Jersey City, Hoboken, Guttenberg, Weehawken, West New York, Bayonne, and North Bergen.
In the 9th Congressional District Democratic Incumbent Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. is being challenged by Republican Hector L. Castillo and independents Jeff Boss and Diego Rivera. Except for Secaucus, the district is largely in Bergen County.
In the 10th Congressional District, encompassing parts of Bayonne and Jersey City, Democratic incumbent Rep. Donald M. Payne Jr. is being challenged by Republican David H. Pinckney and independents Aaron Walter Fraser and Joanne Miller.
For sheriff, Democratic incumbent Frank Schillari is being challenged by Republican Mark Borchert.
For council register, Diane Coleman and Republican Omar Salgado oppose each other.
Board of education candidates
In the Board of Education election, Education Matters, which has been indorsed by the local teachers union as well as Mayor Steven Fulop and the fire and police unions, is opposed by Jersey City United, a group that is seen as offspring of the once powerful Parents for Progress, and a strong supporter of the current superintendent of schools.
The Education Matters slate is made up of Sudhan Thomas, former Board of Education Trustee Angel Valentin, and Gina Verdibello. The Jersey City United slate includes Asmaa Abdalla, Luis Felipe Fernandez, and Matthew Schapiro, a founding member of Parents for Progress.
A third ticket, Fix it Now, is made up of two former Jersey City school students, Mussab Ali and Kimberly Goycochea.
Two independents are also running: Natalia Ioffe and Mark Rowan.
Special election for Ward B Council
Three candidates are running to represent Ward B on the City Council in a special election on Nov. 8, the candidates are the present councilman, John Hallanan, business owner LeKendrick Shaw, and Lincoln High School Vice Principal Chris Gadsden.
Four questions to be decided
Perhaps most relevant is the question of whether municipal elections should be moved from May to November.
Supporters of the measure believe the city will save money and the move will bring out more voters. They also argue that power local interests will have less say over who is elected.
Opponents claim that municipal elections will get lost in the middle of a gubernatorial race, and that the ballot will be so crowded with board of education, state government and federal government names that it will become confusing to voters.
In 2015, voters narrowly supported a non-binding referendum, but the results around the city showed poorer neighborhoods sharply opposed the change. So this year voters will be asked to approve a new binding referendum.
Also relevant to Jersey City is the question whether or not the state should allow gambling to be expanded outside Atlantic City. If approved, the measure could enable a casino to be built in Jersey City. Opponents believe this would be detrimental to Atlantic City. Those supporting the move, however, say big gambling interested from outside the state are behind the opposition. They said by expanding gambling, the state can help bolster existing gambling operations in Atlantic City and provide needed revenue for education and senior programs throughout the state.
Another statewide question would add three additional cents to the state gasoline tax which would be dedicated to help fund the transportation trust fund. This comes on top of a 23 cent increase in gasoline tax that was just approved by the state legislature.
In yet another question, Jersey City is asking voters to approve an additional tax of two cents on every $100 of asessed property value to establish a Municipal Open Space, Recreational and History Property Trust Fund, similar to one that already exists with Hudson County. The revenue would be used to help upgrade parks and other facilities throughout the city.
Al Sullivan may be reached at [email protected]