I am thirty-three years old, married, and have a son and daughter, ages four and one. I grew up in Clifton, New Jersey, and am a proud product of its public schools.
I first came to Jersey City in 2006, after Saint Peter's University (then College) invited me to a basketball game where I saw Keydren Clark play. I fell in love with the school's and the city's diversity and intimate small-town feel. I studied political science at Saint Peter's, and obtained my juris doctor at Seton Hall University School of Law.
Currently, I am an attorney licensed in New York and New Jersey, and have been in private practice since 2013. I am also a licensed real estate broker and instructor. I focus my practice on general civil litigation, with a heavy concentration in landlord-tenant law. I also serve as the Union City Tenants’ Advocacy Attorney, where I have represented thousands of tenants facing eviction.
What attracted me most to Jersey City was how it reshaped itself and adapted in the twenty-first century, while maintaining its old world character and charm. After the rioting, protests, and culture wars that ensued in the 1960's and 1970's, many people abandoned cities for the suburbs. That did not happen in Jersey City to the extent it happened in Newark, Paterson, etc. Sadly, today there is a hollowing out of the city's core, not due to racial and political divisions, but to vast socio-economic disparities.
By and large, the real estate development the city has seen is geared only toward the rich, chasing Jersey City's working class out of the community with skyrocketing rents, property taxes, and home prices.
This is how communities fall apart, resulting in two juxtaposed worlds: rich and poor, and nothing in between. Two societies of people with nothing in common, living vastly different lifestyles only blocks away from each other, whose children never cross paths because they attend different schools. This is not a community, and we must fight to keep the one we have before it's too late.
Does your vote count?
My principal goal is not to win an election; it is to raise civic consciousness in my community, with my neighbors.Would you believe that a Jersey City council candidate needs only about 2,000 votes to win? And that only three candidates are running in a ward of about 20,000 registered voters? The reason is that the vast majority of us simply do not pay attention.
I would happier to get more people registered to vote than votes, and for everyone to talk to one other person about this election.
That's how democracy works, it requires that we participate. If we can become more conscious of our government, of our own power to rule ourselves, we can have a government that is responsive to the people, that acts out of principle and not expediency, that tells us the truth, and is based on merit.
While there are many issues I care about, something happened in my neighborhood that forced me to enter the race.
Three years ago, a woman was assaulted by her ex-boyfriend outside her home on Summit Avenue, a few blocks away from Pershing Field.
She had a restraining order against him, and he was texting her that day that he was inside her house waiting for her. A police officer arrived, and despite the text messages, he insisted the woman show him the restraining order, which was inside the house.
She retrieved the restraining order unharmed. The officer then asked her for identification, which was also inside. She reminded the officer of the ex-boyfriend’s threats, but he insisted, refusing to accompany her into the house.
This time, the ex-boyfriend assaulted the woman, and escaped on foot. The woman was seriously injured, and later sued the police officer.
The city council passed a resolution appropriating $30,000 for his legal defense. I have written the Jersey City Police Department about any disciplinary action taken against the officer, but have not received a response.
When I read about this, I felt I could not continue raising my children in this city without telling people about it.
We, as a community, cannot let this happen again. We need to promote police officers who do their job, regardless of whose niece or nephew or cousin they are, and punish the ones who don’t instead of funding their legal defense.