Growing Bayonne needs a leadership change | Jersey Journal recommendation

With a growing population, plenty of room for new developments and a rich history of multi-generational families and a deep love for the city, Bayonne should ooze out with bold ideas and enthusiasm for the future.

Under Mayor Jimmy Davis, however, progress over the past eight years has come through market forces rather than strong vision at City Hall.

The danger in this is illustrated by Davis’ own election-time “pause” in development, which he said is intended to give city leaders a chance to see what’s being built relative to the city’s needs and where in the city necessary.

Unfortunately, Davis and his hand-picked guides should have been doing just that all along — being proactive instead of reactive.

Such reactionary style is typical of Davis, and Bayonne deserved better.

When asked about the enduring problem of empty storefronts on Broadway — a situation that has allowed him to set up several campaign headquarters along the once-thriving thoroughfare — Davis gave two unsatisfactory answers in an interview with Hudson Media Group last week. For one, he said he’s added 10,000 more residents, so business will now follow. And second, he conveniently blamed COVID-19 on a decades-old problem.

When asked about the installation of electric vehicle charging stations for electric vehicles, he seemed surprised and said no one had reached out to ask him about it. Contrast his stance to that of mayors in neighboring communities, who have proactively installed them to think ahead and seek to encourage efforts to combat climate change.

The list goes on.

Also worth noting are the things Davis promised that are still hanging or being tossed aside — a ferry to New York, a pedestrian bridge over Route 440, a downtown amphitheater.

The situation with the Bayonne Medical Center is still tense. The windmill is still broken. The redevelopment of the former Military Ocean Terminal is a hodgepodge. Flooding remains a major problem with no obvious solutions in sight.

We know these are not easy problems to solve. But Davis had his chance and fell short.

It’s time for a new leader at Bayonne City Hall.

Of the two challengers, Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski and doctor/lawyer Mitchell Brown, The Jersey Journal believes Ashe-Nadrowski is the better choice.

As Council President, Ashe-Nadrowski is already well acquainted with the city’s problems and has proven to be a solid leader.

Most importantly, while Davis has retreated into a decision-making bubble with little or no explanation to the public or the press on important matters, Ashe-Nadrowski has been open and approachable, and as mayor promises to solicit more community input into the planning stages of development.

Ashe-Nadrowski is clearly a more proactive personality than Davis. We trust that as mayor she would be open to and seek out new ideas and then invite others to contribute. We believe she would surround herself with a diverse group of qualified leaders to help address the many major issues facing the city, including the need for labor/affordable housing.

At the same time, Ashe-Nadrowski’s campaign has also focused on kitchen counter issues – issues with the garbage and water contracts, required efficiency at City Hall when someone calls with a question or problem, street maintenance – that need to be addressed.

These are all things voters should be aware of when casting their ballots either by mail, early voting tomorrow through Sunday, or on Election Day, Tuesday.

Mayor Davis has had eight years to prove he can lead Bayonne in an exciting direction and he has failed to seize the moment. However, we commend him and his administration for their handling of COVID vaccination and testing.

what dr As for Brown, the Journal commends him, as we did for his unsuccessful bid in 2018, for running and bringing strong ideas to the campaign. We encourage him to be a visible and public voice on important issues, particularly the future of Bayonne Medical Center.

Ashe-Nadrowski is best equipped to take off – a theme of her campaign.

To help her, the Journal encourages voters to give her a strong team by voting either of her two candidates for the general council — Board of Education Trustee Jodi Casais or Police Athletic League director Kim “KT” Torello — along with the First Ward candidate Julie Sanchez Lynch, owner of the Arctic Cryotherapy business in Bayonne, and George Vinc, Second Ward candidate, Manager of Century 21 Viewpoint.

For the second vacancy, we encourage voters to vote for retired law enforcement officer Loyad Booker from Davis’ list. Booker would be the first black councilor to be elected in Bayonne.

In the third division, Ashe-Nadrowski has a strong comrade in Education Council President Maria Valado, who is also a public school teacher. But we can’t fire Davis’ running mate, Gary LaPelusa, the incumbent, who has served his constituents well.

Send letters to the editor and guest columns for The Jersey Journal to [email protected].

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