Meeting with Chris Gadsen

Yesterday, there was a raid on a corner bodega down the street from me. This is after last week’s craziness, so people in my neighborhood are definitely on edge.

This afternoon, I got to meet with our councilman, Chris Gadsen. He and I (and his friend who – ack – I forgot his name! I wasn’t expecting this to be a blog post, so I was unprepared to take notes) walked up and down West Side Ave between Duncan and Gautier, talking to business owners about what they’re seeing. Chris offered last night to come and walk the block with me, as a member of the community concerned about this block.

There’s that saying that all politics is local. In Jersey City, I swear it’s hyper-super-local. Like, if something isn’t happening to you in front of your face, you don’t think it’s an issue – you don’t even know it exists. There could be a major problem occurring three or four blocks from where you live and it’s like you’d never even know it. In NYC, you might have a half hour on TV devoted to just local news, just within the city, bringing the issues of disparate neighborhoods right into your living room. We don’t have that kind of intense, breaking news media coverage. So it’s especially important for us to get elected officials out – in person – to see what we’re dealing with, first hand. They’re not going to really get it any other way.

In this visit, I felt like Chris got it. He immediately identified a problem that many of us have been talking about for some time – the poor street lighting. Fixing that alone would be an immense help. Yes, we need foot patrols and police to pay attention, but we also need something as basic as lighting, which will be a huge deterrent to crime.

Anyway, here we are talking to the liquor store owner:

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It was a good start! There are many things in flux in the neighborhood right now, so it’s hard to say where it’s all going to go. But I was pleased with this visit, and with what I heard.

Lastly, we ran into Caitlin Mota, clearly Chris’ favorite Jersey Journal reporter (love you, Terrence! but I’m pretty sure Chris said this!) who gave him a hard time for his beloved Cowboys losing the game last night. I took the liberty of superimposing a tiny crown on her head because, well, she is the winner in this case:

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