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Fernando Gonzalez In; Sergio Diaz Concedes

Former City Council Candidate Miguel Nunez (Far Left) Community Activist Alan Silber (Far Right) along with others surround Fernando Gonzalez (3rd From Right) who they supported in the   May 12, 2015 Special Election where Gonzalez won the last seat on the City Council.

Former City Council Candidate Miguel Nunez (Far Left) Community Activist Alan Silber (Far Right) along with others surround Fernando Gonzalez (3rd From Right) who they supported in the May 12, 2015 Special Election where Gonzalez won the last seat on the City Council.

Some City Employees, Residents and Some Supporters of                                         Fernando Gonzalez  attend the 5/13/15 Council Meeting *Photos by Carolyn Maxwell

Some City Employees, Residents and Some Supporters of Fernando Gonzalez attend the 5/13/15 Council Meeting
*Photos by Carolyn Maxwell

PERTH AMBOY – 5/12/15 Special Election Results: 

Fernando Gonzalez:

Machine – 1273

Vote-By-Mail – 215

Provisionals – 40

Total 1528

Sergio Diaz:

Machine – 1298

Vote-By -Mail – 78

Provisionals – 30

Total 1406

Fernando Gonzalez is the victor by 122 votes.

Click here to read statements from both candidates on the election.

Fernando Gonzalez will again be seated as a Councilman. On  3/25/15 he was removed based on the ruling of Superior Court Judge Heidi Currier calling for a new election between Fernando Gonzalez and Sergio Diaz. This ruling was based on  what Currier determined was election fraud. This fraud did not involve either candidate.

At the 5/13/15 Council Meeting Fernando Gonzalez was still seated in the audience pending a new swearing in date.Fernando Gonzalez’ family and some of his supporters were in attendance and extended their well wishes and concerns about how the campaigns were conducted.

Residents came forward to speak about problems that have been lingering for a long time and new ones that have arisen.

Market Street Resident Gudelio Gonzalez Jr. came up to speak. You could plainly see that he was severely handicapped. He said he was a diabetic and had several operations because of diabetes plus other injuries. “Parking is very hard where I live. I was turned down for a handicap parking space. I have to pay for a cab to go to my doctor’s appointments and it’s especially hard in the winter time. Although I have a handicapped placard, I still get tickets. There is a church nearby and when they have services, they take up all the parking spaces on the street and surrounding streets.”

B.A. Jillian Barrick addressed Gonzalez’ situation. “We cannot remove the parking meter in front of his house to put a handicap spot in that area.”

City Attorney Mark Blunda, “We would have to amend the ordinance for that area.”

Barrick made a suggestion, “We can get you a residential sticker so you can park at a meter all day long and not get a ticket.”

Council President Lisa Nanton said, “In the meantime, we should get him a residential sticker.” B.A. Barrick agreed.

Resident David Caba said, “The election is over. You guys (the Council) lied to us and the people of the City. We want our refund back from this election.” He cited the Mayor, Senator Vitale, the Courts and all the politicians that were involved. He even called out the Mayor’s husband stating, “He’s worse than Joe Vas. We’re tired of outsiders controlling our town. The end is near.”

A  resident of Hidden Village came up to speak. She wanted to congratulate the citizens who voted yesterday (May 12, 2015). “We pay our taxes, but we never see police officers in our area. We need to use our tax money more wisely. Fernando Gonzalez is the only one who we see even when there is no election. We need to see you (the Council) every day, not just at election day.”

Resident Stanley Sierakowski voiced concerns about a large amount of Veteran Poll Workers being replaced. “A lot of them were Senior Citizens who are not political like I am. Frankel (Daniel E. Frankel, Commissioner of Registration of Middlesex County Board of Elections) did not answer emails or phone calls until after the May 12, 2015 election was over. A lot of the poll workers who worked that day came from out-of-town and are politically connected. By Frankel allowing this, it hurt the Seniors who rely on poll money to help with expenses.”

A State Street Resident stated, “In last month and half   things were said about Fernando Gonzalez in reference to fraud charges. This said more about the people who accused him of this than Fernando himself. You didn’t care about wasting this money. There are good people, but a few rotten apples spoil everyone. I didn’t get up for the Pledge of Allegiance because some of the people said the Pledge are hypocrites.”

Resident Cathy DePow agreed with the people from Bricktown Commons (High Street) about their parking issues. She was also concerned abut the quality of life, especially the loud noise situation. “We need to take action.”

Resident Steve Nascimento who is also on the Planning Board came up to speak, “The Planning Board Attorney said I had to recuse himself from discussions on Harbortown and could not even be in the audience during these discussions. There is a walkway promenade on the premises that is 8 feet below street level. The public offering said that pools and a water park would be a part of our amenities. Instead, we got a parking lot. There were stockpiles of concrete with steel pipes sticking out and children are playing on them.”
Councilman Fernando Irizarry told Nascimento, “We need to have Code Enforcement look into this.”

Resident Alan Silber came up to speak. He said, “Vitale said the election is over and we should move on. He (Vitale) and his money should move on. To the Freeholders, County Clerk and Mrs. Nanton: you owe Fernando Gonzalez an apology. You knew a lot of the people who were straw donors. What happened to the poll clerks was terrible.”
Businesswoman Virginia Lugo was sympathetic to the plight of  Gudelio Gonzalez Jr. of Market Street. “This gentleman who is diabetic and handicapped should be helped.”

Fernando Gonzalez’ son, Daniel came up to speak. He talked about the Harbortown Walkway and agreed with the assessment that Steve Nascimento gave on the situation. He gave congratulations to Perth Amboy, “It’s not about Fernando. It’s about the people. I can’t begrudge politicians for participation, but not to circumstance the votes. Trial Courts often get it wrong. That’s why we have higher courts. The way things were done was disgusting. A motion was made by Fernando Gonzalez to recuse Scotland & McManimon (A lawfirm that has contracts with the City and Sergio Diaz’ lawyer). It was a blatant pay-to-play. Being his (Fernando Gonzalez) son and campaign manager, it was disgusting because you all love Perth Amboy, but some are not loving it in the right way. Let’s stop letting outsiders control us.”

Resident Arthur Brewer from Convery Boulevard was very concerned about the traffic situation near the Sayre Avenue Bridge. “The hours between 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. are terrible and that’s the time when most traffic accidents occur.” He then turned his attention to the quality of life, especially near the Richardson School. He talked about the Remington Hotel (on the intersection of Smith and Bertrand Avenue) “The police have been called to that establishment several times because of the drug activity taking place during the day and evening hours. Move those people somewhere else.”

Israel Varela who owns a business near the Remington Hotel spoke, “I’ve been complaining about this for 10 years. I’ve had police sit in my office looking at all the illegal activity going on at this hotel. This hotel has been getting money from the State because of the type of residents living there. My life and my family’s  life have been put in danger because of this. There is a house on Bertrand Avenue that allows all sorts of illegal activities to go on. I’m inviting the Council to come to see for themselves. All you hear is the foul language. Some police are doing a fine job, but they still need your (the Council’s) help.”

A Police Captain came up from the audience to talk about the situation at the Remington Hotel. “We need the public’s help to do our job. An anti-crime unit is assigned to the Remington Hotel. We even have keys to the hotel, but we don’t have the manpower to monitor the problem 24 hours. We utilize unmarked police cars. We’ve had many sting operations  there. We are very aware of the situation. The owner of the hotel has built into the tenants’ contract a waiver that they have to sign giving the owner permission to throw them out if they violate the lease.”

Councilman Fernando Irizarry said, “Maybe we can have more patrols during school hours and school dismissal times. I don’t think the State subsidizes the Remington Hotel.”

The Police Captain said, “There are problems occurring when it comes to activities involving children who get into trouble. If parents don’t discipline their children, we can take them in, but if they’re under age and the parents come and get them, there’s not much that we can do.”

Reinaldo Aviles was not happy about the Waterfront, calling it “Disgusting, especially when comparing it to waterfronts in other towns. We allow developers to come here and do whatever they want. Can you blame them? I want to congratulate Fernando, even though I don’t always agree with him. It’s good to have a dissenting voice that asks questions that others won’t. You need to look at ordinances when it comes to meters and mixed use areas where handicapped residents may live.”

Resident Angel Leon was concerned about the conditions in the City Parks, “Especially with the summertime programs coming up.” He wanted to know if there will be any exterminations going on. He was assured that the parks should be sprayed to protect against mosquito infestations.

Leon also wanted to commend those who are doing the powerwashing on Smith Street.

Fernando Gonzalez’ daughter was very emotional when talking about her father when she came up to speak. “I want to address the language that was used against my father. It was mean and ugly. You have rejected my father and he deserves better.”

Resident Jesus Varela said, “It’s not just the Remington Hotel that’s had drug issues, but there is also another establishment on Madison Avenue across from the Cathedral that is experiencing the same thing.” Then he went on to talk about the election. Looking at the Council he said, “I would like to prosecute you, too. You are all liars. You will get nowhere here. The man won (Gonzalez)! You violated all the laws.” Then addressing Councilman Joel Pabon, “We thought you were going to be the next mayor.”

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