Guest Opinion: Development Audit is ‘Woefully Incomplete’

The recently issued Jersey City Development Practices and Procedures Report is woefully incomplete and does not provide the safeguards necessary to protect the people of Jersey City from blatant political manipulation and corruption. To take a serious step towards responsible development and accountability, the city should immediately adopt the state’s strict Conflict of Interest law and allow for it to be independently enforced.

Jersey City has moved forward: the adoption of Redevelopment Pay to Play Reform was a meaningful move towards limiting the financial influence redevelopers can have over elected officials, and once a concrete compliance procedure is established I have no doubt that it will be effective. However, other conflicts of interest among our elected officials still exist, and must be addressed.

Our city must show its good faith in fighting conflicts of interest and corruption from within its own municipal council. The One Jersey City coalition calls — for the fifth time — for councilman Mariano Vega, Jr. to resign. Mr. Vega, now federally indicted, can no longer be trusted to make decisions on the public’s behalf. It is far past time for Mayor Healy and the Municipal Council to take a firm stand against corruption and use the power of their offices to demand that Mr. Vega step down. Our city has plenty of qualified candidates, like Dan Levin and Rolando Lavarro, willing to serve in the interim who are not suspected of selling their votes to developers. It is ethically wrong to let Mariano Vega remain in office, and we’ve had enough. It’s time for you to do what you promised when you were elected: to represent your constituents — and we want Mr. Vega gone.

Our city must break with “business as usual” and take firm actions against corruption: institute the state Conflict of Interest Law, enforce Redevelopment Pay to Play, and demand the long overdue resignation of Mariano Vega. Only then will we have restored confidence in Jersey City government.

the past chair of One Jersey City, and was a 2009 candidate for an At-Large City Council seat.