City asks for discrimination suits to be dismissed
City officials responded to recent reports concerning a lawsuit filed several years ago alleging discrimination in the Bayonne Department of Works, a suit filed against the city by 10 permanent and seasonal workers.
The suit claims that supervisors used the “N word” toward workers filing the suit, that these workers were given demeaning jobs if they complained, and that white workers were often given priority for permanent jobs over workers of color.
In a statement issued by the city, officials denied wrong doing, and noted that the suit’s allegations were made prior to the current administration taking office in November 2008.
“Mayor Mark Smith’s administration maintains a strict non-discrimination policy,” the city statement said. “The City of Bayonne generally maintains a policy of not commenting on pending litigation as the proper forum for litigating matters is the courts. Those parties that attempt to try their matters in the press generally lack sufficient proof to sustain their allegations. In this matter, it is important to note that a motion to dismiss the case for lack of sufficient evidence is pending before the court. This motion is presented to the court after the plaintiffs had all the legal opportunity to gather whatever evidence may exist to support their claim. The plaintiffs’ claims concern allegations that supposedly occurred more than three years ago, prior to the Smith administration taking office.”
The workers are seeking damages for lost earnings, an injunction against the alleged discriminatory behavior, and punitive damages.
Bank bill passes state senate
A bill co-sponsored by state Senator Sandra Bolden Cunningham to encourage banks to invest in previously underserved areas passed the state Senate last week and will go to the governor to be signed into law. The bill came about when Bank of America closed one of its Jersey City branches last year. The bill would provide incentives to banks in local low-income areas.
Sires co-sponsors bill to prevent foreclosures
Rep. Albio Sires said that he has co-sponsored legislation to stop the continuing foreclosures across the United States. The Housing Opportunity and Mortgage Equity (HOME) Act, H.R. 363, would allow as many as 30 million homeowners with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to refinance at the current interest rates for up to 40 years at a fixed rate. Refinancing would allow homeowners to take advantage of the current historically low market interest rates and significantly lower their monthly mortgage payments, resulting in fewer foreclosures and helping to stabilize the housing market and the economy. H.R. 363 was introduced by Congressman Dennis Cardoza (D-CA) on Jan. 20.
“This bill will assist homeowners who are struggling to make mortgage payments and help halt the steady stream of devastating foreclosures that are hitting our communities across the country,” said Congressman Sires. “I am proud to support this large scale solution.”
The HOME Act would allow all Americans with a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac backed mortgage to refinance, regardless of whether their loan is in default or current. These long-term, fixed rate mortgages would reduce the number of defaults and foreclosures and stabilize housing prices to healthy levels. Additionally, these opportunities would come at little or no cost to American taxpayers, as the fees for refinancing would be rolled into the new mortgages, and penalties would be waived. The HOME Act is supported by lead economists such as Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi.
“The recovery and health of our housing market is crucial to a strong American economic recovery,” said Sires. “By lowering monthly payments, the HOME Act both offers a solution to those homeowners struggling to make house payments and frees up hundreds of dollars for other homeowners to spend each month into our economy.”
The bill is pending before the House Committee on Financial Services.
Dublin named vice chair of NJAC
Jersey City Freeholder Jeff Dublin was named vice chairman of the New Jersey Association of Counties this week. NJAC serves as an advocacy group for county governments and their taxpayers, promotes federal and state legislative initiatives that advance county interests, fosters cooperation and coordination among New Jersey’s 21 counties, and aids county officials in providing efficient and effective service to their constituencies.
Locally shot film to preview at Frank Family Theatres in Bayonne
The film, “Blaming George Romero,” will have a special preview screening at Frank Family Theatres in Bayonne on Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. Tickets are open to the public for $15 a person. The feature length film was shot throughout Bayonne and sections of Jersey City, using many local actors.