JERSEY CITY – Amy ain’t leaving.
Amy DeGise, the councilwoman who earned notoriety last month when her vehicle struck a biker and she kept on driving, is not resigning.
Nor is she explaining – at least now – why she left the scene and did not report the crash to police for six hours. DeGise said at the end of a 4-hour-plus public hearing Wednesday night, “There is a court process … that needs to be respected.”
DeGise did comment about “thousands” of disgusting social media posts about her, including those, “saying I should be raped, saying I should be killed.”
But as for the actual incident, she said she will not talk about the case until the legal process is complete.
“And in the meantime, I’m not resigning,” DeGise said, expressing her commitment and love for the city and saying her ordeal is making her stronger.
With that, a few dozen of her supporters in a jam-packed council chamber rose and applauded. Those cheering, however, were in the minority.
Calls for her resignation by two other council members, but not the mayor, came quickly after the July 19 incident in which biker Andrew Black was struck. Black was knocked to the ground, but was not seriously injured.
A rally was held demanding her resignation and a petition signed by thousands urging the same soon popped up.
A few minutes before the meeting’s start at 6 p.m., a large crowd was milling outside the door of the council chamber, an ornate and historic setting that features wall photos of former mayors, most notably the legendary Frank Hague.
The city hall staff seemed prepared for whatever. Barricades were placed around the building and hallways, presumably to keep an angry and animated crowd in place.
Some 151 people had signed up to address the council, and probably at least 100 of them did. Most spoke about DeGise and a majority wanted her to leave office – immediately.
They made a number of related points, including the fact that DeGise drove away and “left a human being on the street.” That disrespect for law, or for that matter, common decency, means she must forfeit her office. For the record, she was charged with leaving the scene and failing to report an accident. Her case will be heard in Essex County.
But many speakers raised a larger point; the power and “corruption” of the Hudson County Democratic Organization. (HCDO).
Since the accident, news reports have revealed that DeGise, who is a former HCDO chair, has had a number of traffic-related woes, among them failing to pay parking tickets and letting her vehicle registration lapse.
There also is video of her telling a Hoboken police officer during a parking dispute that she was going to call the mayor’s office.
Such behavior really is the sign of a person trying to use her “clout” to get favors beyond the reach of mere mortals. And that is what many clearly had in mind when they condemned the mayor and a majority of council members for not seeking DeGise’s resignation. No one on the council commented on those speaking.
Amy DeGise is the daughter of Tom DeGise, the Hudson County executive. While one certainly understands the instinct of a father to support his daughter, the elder DeGise’s contribution to this case hardly seems thought out.
In a Facebook post cited by news outlets, Tom DeGise calls the Jersey Journal, which is covering the case, “an attack dog for the radical left.”
As was mentioned Wednesday night, are those who deplore hit and run accidents members of the “radical left?” Many in the crowd laughed when this was brought up.
Still, Amy DeGise did have some supporters. There were some who praised her work in helping the needy and her support for many charitable causes. Others objected to the “mob mentality” against her; one speaker said it amounted to “domestic terrorism.”
And it was also pointed out that according to the video, the biker ran a red light.
It’s not as if all of DeGise’s critics overlook this. However, they point out that hitting a person and leaving the scene is a far more serious offense than ignoring a red light.
And it is not, as one DeGise supporter tried to say, a “technicality.”