Meet the candidates – Part four Remaining profiles of City Council at-large candidates

There are nine days left before the Jersey City municipal election on May 10. Thirty-two candidates are running for political office.

The three mayoral candidates are profiled in an article at right. The rest of the candidates are running for the nine seats on the City Council.

The council is made up of six ward council seats, each of which serves a part of the city, and three at-large seats.

There is a $24,500 annual salary for the City Council president and $22,500 for the other eight members of the council.

This week’s issue of the Jersey City Reporter features the last two in a series of articles profiling the candidates.

See for other profiles.

There are only four candidates running for the at-large seats – Omar Barbour, Peter Brennan, Willie Flood and Mariano Vega – with the last three all running on Healy’s “Team Healy 2005” election ticket.

In the previous edition, candidates from Ward A, B, C, D, E and F were profiled in the Jersey City Reporter.

City Council at-large candidates Omar Barbour – ‘Advancing Jersey City’s Golden Future’

Barbour has resided in Jersey City for more than 35 years. A product of the California and New York school systems, Barbour worked on New York City’s Madison Avenue in management. In 1984, Barbour founded AEI, a real estate development firm specializing in construction contracting, and operated Salon Hardware and Home Center on Martin Luther King Drive. In 1987, he spearheaded the creation of the Martin Luther King Drive Redevelopment Plan that helped bring about a transformation of the area known as the “Hub” on MLK Drive. For the past 10 years, Barbour has been executive director of the Martin Luther King Neighborhood Development Corporation. Why are you running for City Council?

“During the past two decades, I have worked hard to make a difference in the lives of the residents in my community. As executive director of the Martin Luther King Neighborhood Development Corporation, I have been able to accomplish many of the goals necessary to make the community whole. However, in my dealings with City Hall, I often felt like a voice crying out in the wilderness. I also came to see that until all of Jersey City is safe and sound and happy, none of us will be. As an independent candidate running for councilperson at-large, the voice of the people will be heard.” What will you do if elected to the City Council?

“The late Councilman Morris Pesin had a vision. It became Liberty State Park. Where others saw a swamp, he saw what has become a national treasure. I would hope to emulate his foresight and dedication as a people’s councilman. My vision is a coalition for a golden future for Jersey City. It’s a coalition of citizens, elected officials and corporations to build a more prosperous and healthy place to live and work, ward after ward after ward.” Peter Brennan – ‘Team Healy 2005’

Born and raised in Jersey City, Brennan is currently serving councilman at-large, having taken over the seat from Healy in November after Healy stepped down when elected as mayor. Brennan previously served as Ward A city councilman after he was elected in 2001. He served previously as the executive vice president of Brennan’s Transportation and Warehousing Company. Brennan is a former deputy mayor of Jersey City and is currently vice chair of the Hudson County Democratic Organization. Why are you running for City Council?

“Born and raised in Jersey City, I respect my hometown and the people that live here. I feel running for another four-year term, there is so much I can still do for Jersey City. I feel I still have the drive and intensity to carry out the changes to move our city in a positive direction.” What will you do if elected to the City Council?

“My goal is to continue to work towards the improvement of the quality of life that reflects the dynamic diversity of people in this city, whether it is to reduce crime, make our neighborhoods safe, or building new affordable housing. In this next term, the councilmen would like to talk to our congressmen and senators and get some federal funding for a new senior building. I have been getting calls about the rising rents, and they can’t afford to live in their own homes. One of my other goals in the next four years is building new schools for our children to get a safe and good education.” Willie Flood – ‘Team Healy 2005’

Flood is a native of Alabama who has lived in Jersey City since 1963. She ran for mayor in last year’s special election and in the 1992 special mayoral election. Flood also served as city councilwoman-at-large from 1981 to 1989. Previously, she worked as a teacher in the Jersey City public school system for 16 years, and most recently was a member of the Jersey City Board of Education until her term ended earlier this year. She was also an aide to late Mayor Glenn D. Cunningham until his death in May 2004. Flood had not returned her two interview questions as of press time. Mariano Vega – ‘Team Healy 2005’

Vega is a native of Puerto Rico who has lived in Jersey City for over 50 years. A graduate of Montclair State College, Vega has served as a Jersey City councilman since 1993. He also works as the director of Hudson County Department of Public Resources, where he oversees the county’s Divisions of Planning, Buildings and Grounds, Parks, Roads and Bridges, and Engineering. Vega has also served previously as the Chief of Hudson County’s Division of Social Services and director of Jersey City’s Division of Welfare. He lives with his family in Downtown Jersey City. Why are you running for City Council?

“I am running to provide leadership and experience and complete my legislative agenda.” What will you do if elected to the City Council?

“Increase community policing and build a new West District Police and Fire Station. Create more senior affordable housing. Encourage more community development with communities of faith. Expand and strengthen the Urban Enterprise Zone. Establish an Open Space Trust Fund and build more parks. Build the Sixth Street Embankment Park. Create a Share Tree Commission. Create more dog runs. Build the Hackensack Greenway along the river. Complete the East Coast Greenway through Jersey City. Expand recreation programs for youth. Establish an artist-in-residency with the Jersey City Museum. Complete the Powerhouse Arts District.”


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