Fulop Picks up the Tempo, Throws a Trenton-Aimed Elbow

JERSEY CITY – Steve Fulop wants to be bold.

“What I’d like to see is more bold action,” the mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate said Tuesday morning.

He was talking about Trenton.

The official reason for Fulop’s event was to highlight his views on public safety and criminal justice.

But he also touched on broader subjects.

The mayor and candidate is periodically releasing comprehensive positions. Before today’s release on public safety, Fulop presented positions on transportation and housing.

Not all candidates do this. Steve Sweeney, who also is running for governor, announced his intentions in a video a few weeks ago, but as of now, there has not been much else.

Detailed presentations are nice, but do people pay attention? After all, the election is not until 2025.

“There is a part of the voter base that does care,” Fulop said.  His point is that those interested – or involved in any way with such things as housing, transportation, and now, public safety – are going to pay heed to what a man running for governor has to say about them.

But there’s more.

Fulop says he’s not running for governor just to sit in the seat; he wants to do things.

That got him talking about how in some ways, New Jersey, notwithstanding its staunch Democratic ways, has not been bold.

Talking about recent history, Fulop said it wasn’t the Legislature and governor who instituted gay marriage and legalized marijuana. That was the courts and the voters respectively.

Moreover, he said New Jersey lagged behind other states in raising the minimum wage and introducing paid family leave.

If he becomes governor, he said constructive change will come from Trenton.

His housing plan, for instance, calls for doubling the amount of affordable homes in the state.

As for public safety, given the fact he’s a mayor of the state’s second largest city, Fulop has a record here. And it’s one he’s happy to talk about.

He said on Monday that crime is dropping across the board in his city.

Compared to last year, homicides in 2023 are down from 12 to 10 and shootings are down from 52 to 47. Also, car thefts dropped from 738 to 629 and burglaries from 828 to 725.

“This year, we had the lowest number of homicides Jersey City has ever seen since records have been kept.  For the first time, Jersey City ranks lower than New York City for homicide rates.  Additionally, the data shows we have the lowest homicide rate of the top 100 cities east of Texas,” the mayor said Monday.

He said crime is very much a local issue and that the state must empower departments to do what’s necessary. He said in Jersey City, he appointed a civilian police director, mandated de-escalation training for all officers and improved interaction between police and the community through the use of body cameras and opening up police training to “clergy and community leaders.”

Statewide, Fulop’s plan calls for “reforming” bail reform. He says individuals should not stay in jail on minor charges because they are indigent. However, he says “persistent repeat offenders have become more brazen,” adding that more judges to more quickly handle their cases should be a priority. New Jersey has a chronic shortage of judges.

He also talks about sentencing alternatives to incarceration, which he said has worked well in Jersey City and bolstering resources of the Public Defender’s office. And he wants to raise the age for buying a firearm in the state from 18 to 21.

Crime is always a tough political topic; public perception can hurt.

By just about any statistical measure, the violent crime rate in New Jersey is among the lowest in the nation. However, as Fulop says in his presentation. stats are meaningless if people feel there is crime in their neighborhood.

He said changing that perception takes a “lot of time (and) you need a consistent dedication to some of the principles we outlined here.”

 

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5 responses to “Fulop Picks up the Tempo, Throws a Trenton-Aimed Elbow”

  1. 2 contradictory quotes: “data shows we have the lowest homicide rate” and “stats are meaningless”. So, which perspective do you have as a candidate? From what little I have heard about Fulop, there is a pattern of “negging” New Jerseyans, inflating problems in a bid to say, “Only I can fix it!”

  2. Mayor Fulop’s housing plan sounds very self-serving to me. Jersey City is EXEMPT from the state’s mandated affordable housing quotas, so calling for a doubling of the amount of affordable homes in New Jersey will have no effect on him or his current constituents.

    In fact, Jersey City is one of about 50 New Jersey municipalities, representing over 30% of the state population, who are similarly exempt from affordable housing. Unlike most of affordable housing law, these Urban Aid Municipality exemptions are not regulated by the courts but are enshrined in New Jersey state law. Since all three branches of the state government are controlled by the Democratic Party, it should come as no surprise that 95% of the exempted municipalities are governed by Democrats. For example, about 90% of all of Hudson and Essex counties are exempt, including affluent towns such as Jersey City, Hoboken, and Montclair.

    Exempted municipalities contribute heavily to the number of affordable housing units needed at the state and regional level. However, since they are under no obligation to actually build affordable housing units, their obligation must be absorbed by the remaining 70% of the state. On average, affordable housing quotas for non-exempt towns are inflated by over 30% because of Urban Aid Municipality exemptions. So, while Fulop’s generous affordable housing plan will have no effect on his city or on the statewide Democratic base, it will have a tremendous impact on the remaining municipalities in the state who are not exempt.

    Fulop’s housing plan obviously awakened a hot button issue for me, i.e. the existence of state sanctioned affordable housing exemptions. I believe that an Insider NJ investigative report on this issue would be of great interest to your readership, especially to the 70% of New Jersey residents who are not exempt.

  3. The people don’t want “big and bold’. That’s why thousands of residents are fleeing the state. FL,TX,TN,AZ,NC and SC don’t do big and bold. That’s why Jersyans are leaving. Lower taxes, state mandates (shopping bags) and right to work are some of the reasons. Brandon tried bold with (build back better) Congress said no. We don’t want it either.

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