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An Array of Topics Discussed At the 2/23/15 Caucus and 2/25/15

PerthAmboyCityCouncilCouncil Meeting Clarification Needed

PERTH AMBOY – 2/23/15 Caucus Meeting. It happened again. During the public portion, City Resident and Former Housing Authority Commissioner Pedro Perez came to ask the City Attorney a legal question. Perez wanted to know if it was unlawful to delete or edit a tape of a meeting. He stated that he was a Vietnam Veteran. “I did not see the Meeting (2/9/15 Caucus) when it was shown on PA-TV, but I heard there was a glitch. During that meeting when I was talking during the public portion, that part was deleted from the broadcast shown on TV. This was very disrespectful to me.”

Councilman Joel Pabon acknowledged that Mr. Perez had reached out to him. “I talked to someone in charge of showing the meetings on Channel 34 and they told me that a glitch had occurred when Mr. Perez was speaking. The tape was restored, and the full content will be shown when it’s rebroadcast.”

Resident Alan Silber said, “I’ll look at the PA-TV schedule to see when meetings will be shown and sometimes they are not broadcast. I suggest you (the Council) call the Board of Education to see why this is happening. I also read Ms. Nanton’s letter in the newspaper (the rules of decorum), but she should have shown samples. Which is worse – people who talk about someone who did something illegal or something illegal that the person did? It was offensive to people who come here to pay taxes when you appoint someone to be a judge who did something illegal.”

Perth Amboy Resident Leslie Dominguez-Rodriguez wanted to know if the City website has been updated. “The last time I looked, Kenny Gonzalez was still listed as Councilman and the 1/2/15 Reorganization Meeting was listed. It is not offensive unless someone curses or threatens someone during a meeting.  The City Attorney and Business Administrators are paid by the taxpayers. Because of politics I was not reappointed to the Zoning Board of Adjustment. I just want you to know that Mr. Farber (who was appointed as an alternate to that Board) missed the first meeting. You also put a municipal employee on that Board and you’re causing more black eyes by doing so. You (the Council) should lead by example.”

Resident David Caba was concerned about the ordinance pertaining to the Police Chaplains. He OPRA’d the application form and was surprised about the requirements for the position. “As a matter of fact the requirements are very easy. How come there isn’t anything on the application asking about criminal background checks? What about those who were chaplains that want to renew? They’re supposed to fill out a renewal form every year. This ordinance is not being followed.”

Resident Stanley Sierakowski asked the City Attorney, “What is the proper procedure to OPRA information on properties that are being sold or donated? Can I get correspondence that is sent between owner of the property and the City?”

City Attorney Mark Blunda said, “Once your request is made and is filled out, you can return it to the Clerk’s Office. They’ll distribute it to the appropriate departments that will have all the documentation requested on the form by the applicant on the form.”

Former Councilman Ken Balut agreed that portions of public meeting tapes being deleted has been happening more often now. Balut, too was concerned about ordinances not being followed. He brought up the case of a bar at 417 Fayette Street. “Ms. Barrick (Business Administrator) said that there would be no leniency at this bar, but even after she made that statement that bar is still making a lot of noise.”

At a previous meeting Balut had asked the Council, City Attorney and B.A. if Ben Ruiz (Ex- Police Chief) was still receiving his salary and health benefits after he was suspended.

Blunda said, “A person who is on indefinite suspension can get their vacation and personal time that was accumulated pay. If a person on short suspension, they can receive health benefits, but for long term, you cannot receive your pension contribution if you’re not working during that time.”

Another sticking point with Balut was about the Landings: “I feel the Landings Residents get punished unfairly and the developer, Kushner who served time in Federal Prison has nothing done to him. Studies are always done about what amenities are needed in the City and parks are mentioned all the time, but you are forgetting about all the illegal housing. You (the Council) are too concerned about stopping people from talking at meetings. You’re following the Vas and Vitale playbook.” At this point he handed a printout of a town in New Jersey that has an anti-corruption ordinance placed on their books.

Business Administrator Jillian Barrick answered Balut’s questions about the Landings Property: “Code Enforcement violations pertaining to Landings would be issued to the Condo Association. It’s up to the residents to voice their concerns to Kushner.”

Addressing Balut’s concerns about illegal housing, Barrick stated, “Code Enforcement has issued several violations in the last couple of months and a lot of these problems have been alleviated.”

Resident Angel Leon had a suggestion about how the gum issue problem could be solved. He noticed that the gum-buster machines haven’t been seen for a while. “They were only in use for a short period of time before that program went down. Let the store owners take care of the gum on their property. They can use the services of power-washers which can do the job.”

Department of Public Works Director Frank Dann said, “We found the two gum-buster machines that were out of service. We have the generators needed to put them back together. In the meantime we obtained two steam cleaners at a government surplus auction to help alleviate the gum problem.”

Ramon Soto from Brace Avenue who has been a resident of Perth Amboy for 47 years could not believe he received a summons for parking in his own driveway.

Acting Chief Cattano came up to speak because he was familiar with this particular case. “The vehicle was parked on the sidewalk while it was running, which he could have also received a summons for but he did not. Mr. Soto should go to court and plead not guilty. Nothing could be done because the ticket is already in the system.”

Resident Cathy DePow gave kudos to the Department of Public Works whom she thinks is doing a great job. “We need to handout warnings and tickets to violators who litter.” She was happy to report that Vopak sold property to Kinder-Morgan. She also made a suggestion to the Council, “Sometimes agenda items should be tabled until you have all the facts. In some cases all the facts may not be represented properly.”

DPW Director Frank Dann addressed concerns about the gazebo at Caledonia/Duarte Park. “There was a lot of vandalism done to that gazebo near the Duarte Monument location. The gazebo will be put back but located in a different spot. The foundation will be more structurally sound.”

Councilman Fernando Gonzalez wasn’t present at either meeting.

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Perth Amboy Calendar

MON. Jan 22
• City Council, Caucus,
4:30 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

WED. Jan 24
• City Council, Regular,
7 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

THURS. Jan 25
• Historic Preservation Commission
7 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

MON. Jan 29
• Special Public Meeting, RE: Discussion of Rezoning Ordinance
6 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

 

Stay informed! Attend public meetings. All are welcome!

South Amboy Calendar

WED. Jan. 31
• City Council, Regular,
7 p.m.
City Hall, N. Broadway

WED. Feb. 7
• City Council, Business,
6 p.m.
City Hall, N. Broadway

Stay informed! Attend public meetings. All are welcome!