Hidden Agenda? 3 thoughts on Jersey City Together & Bayfront after City Hall protest

Here’s one thought on Bayfront – even if Mayor Steven Fulop “wants to make developers who don’t know how to do affordable housing happy,” Jersey City Together should identify developers that do know how to (and will be “happy” to do so).

The Bayfront Site and Pastor Jessica Lambert (PHOTOS: Jersey Digs, Hudson County View)

First and foremost, as I’ve previously stated, I’m tired of the BS.

Some of that BS includes the fraudulent and/or misguided activism surrounding gentrification in Jersey City – especially the boondoggle otherwise known as Bayfront.

Unfortunately, like corruption within the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office and Jersey City Police Department, the BS has gone completely unchallenged by The Jersey Journal/NJ.com.

For a change of pace that can only be found on Real Jersey City, I’m going to challenge the aforementioned BS – starting with three simple thoughts on Jersey City Together, the “religious non-profit” trying to dictate development on Bayfront:

1. Class Warfare against vested Jersey City residents

“Now we all don’t really know what is going on in the mayor’s head, but it seems to me that he is afraid. Maybe he’s afraid because he doesn’t want to anger the neighbors next door in a gated community,” exclaimed Pastor Jessica Lambert, of St. Lutheran’s Church, per Hudson County View.

Unfortunately, Pastor Lambert, and Jersey City Together lead organizer Frank McMillan, have decided that the best way to “fight gentrification” and promote “affordable housing” is to demonize a community of vested residents – specifically Society Hill homeowners.

As Mayor Steven Fulop noted on Facebook, Society Hill is “a community of working people to which many teachers, police officers, and fire fighters live.” The only good thing about Lambert’s vitriol is that it exposed Jersey City Together for what they truly are – demagogues abusing their tax-exempt pulpits.

Of note, the comments were made at a protest regarding Request for Proposals (RFP) for the first phase of the Bayfront project – which will border Society Hill. The drama is apparently over a 20% requirement, rather than 35%, for “affordable housing” at the site.

2. Hidden Agenda?

While Lambert’s first hypothetical was certainly shameless, it’s the “progressive” pastor’s second quote that should have raised eyebrows (or at least a question from the so-called press).

“Maybe he’s afraid because he wants to make developers who don’t know how to do affordable housing happy. Maybe he’s afraid simply because he lacks the political courage to do what he knows is right,” Lambert said.

First off, it takes a lot of political courage to stand up to a holier-than-thou, organized mob like Jersey City Together (which the mayor hasn’t done). Second, even if Fulop “wants to make developers who don’t know how to do affordable housing happy,” Lambert should’ve identified developers that do know how to (and will be “happy” to do so).

Seriously, who exactly are these mythical developers? Is it Jersey City Together themselves? Or better yet, Jersey City Together as a non-profit partner working with a New York City builder like Monadnock Development?

I’m specifically asking about Monadnock because that’s exactly who Jersey City Together’s sister organization, East Brooklyn Congregations, worked with on the Nehemiah Spring Creek development. Check out the snippet below from The Real Deal for some insight:

3. What is “affordable housing” to Jersey City Together?

Given that Jersey City Together has either lacked the ability or transparency to properly explain how they’d like to see the area developed, it’s impossible to know what exactly their real vision for “affordable housing” is.

To paraphrase Jerry McGuire, show me the numbers!

Furthermore, according to sources aware of Jersey City Together’s lobbying effort, the non-profit has showcased the Nehemiah project as a potential model for Bayfront, and their protests are an attempt to “bully” city officials into making them the lead developer of the site.

Regardless, would a Nehemiah-like development even come close to addressing the affordability crisis in Jersey City’s housing market? It certainly didn’t in New York City.

Which goes back to a theme presented at the beginning of this piece. Even if Jersey City Together isn’t engaging in fraudulent activism to profit New York developers, too many well-intentioned activists are still misguided in their efforts to combat gentrification that’s displacing long-time residents.

Simply put, it’s time people stop thinking of affordable housing as a subsidized unit of housing, and start thinking of affordable housing as a marketplace. Once that change in thinking occurs, it will become clear that the “affordable housing” farce being pushed by both Jersey City Together and Fulop is actually a big tool of gentrification.

Like the mayor said, he has “tremendous respect for JC Together and view them as a partner.” That’s why I suspect the protest outside City Hall was more political theater than anything, as both are intimately connected to at least one major financial interest accelerating hyper-gentrification in Jersey City…

3 comments

  • So I’m confused about your silly article attacking Jersey City Together. There wasn’t any checks & balances for Flip-Flop Fulop until JCT was organized. Everyone was just going along to get along. What exactly have you done to help Jersey City residents build more affordable housing?

    • Daryn – Appreciate the comment. Like I alluded to in the beginning of this piece, I’ve been too focused on fighting corruption within the Jersey City Police Department and Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office – the type of corruption Jersey City Together’s leadership hasn’t challenged because they’re “going along to get along.”

      While I was documenting injustice, Jersey City Together was being honored at “Justice for All” events with two organizations linked to $1.3 million in donations to Fulop’s Super Pac. Nevertheless, to answer your question – I’ve done nothing because I’m not a housing developer, is Jersey City Together? That’s one of the big questions this silly article is trying to answer. Anyhow, moving forward, I’ll try to bring checks & balances to both “Flip-Flop Fulop” & Jersey City Together, plus a plan to make housing affordable (not build more affordable housing).

  • Pingback: Could Jersey City Finally Get an Affordable Housing Ordinance? | Jersey Digs

Leave a Reply