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* Local Papers Silent On Harrison Meeting


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Despite important agenda items and a large crowd at the Harrison Mayor and Council meeting, both the Observer and the Kearny Journal (a subsidiary of the Jersey Journal) failed to report on the meeting.

A reporter from the Observer and the Kearny Journal were present at the meeting. Both reporters had their note pads out taking notes. What happened to the stories? Last week's Mayor and Council meeting was a monumental meeting with a record number of citizens coming out to a town meeting. Their message no more tax increases. The citizens were also protesting the high salaries of various town employees most notably Councilman James Doran who has landed a $200,000+ job as Superintendent of Harrison's school district.

The Observer and the Kearny Journal have an obligation to cover the news. The lack of coverage is a disservice to the residents of Harrison. If the reporters for the Observer and Kearny Journal are not going to write articles on the meeting why bother attending.

At the meeting, the Mayor and Council voted to approve the installation of surveillance video cameras to be installed along Harrison Avenue and Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. The cost $75,000.00 Harrison's Police Chief Derek Kearns stated that the cameras will help police combat crime but not replace police officers. There was an interesting emphasis on "not replace police officers". A good basis for a short story on the passage of the resolution leading to a discussion of whether Harrison's Police Department is adequately manned. There also could be a comparison between Harrison's proposed system and East Newark's existing surveillance camera system.

In addition, the Mayor and Council voted to purchase a van for the Department of Public Works at a cost of over $16,000. Councilmembers Steve and Marie McCormick voted against the purchase. The van is scheduled to replace the van that transports parking meter quarters to Jersey City. Councilman Steve McCormick voiced, once again, the need to bring accountability to the collection of parking meters. Councilman McCormick restated his proposal that at a minimum a centralized parking station be installed to insure that parking meter quarters are not diverted. Several towns and cities have installed these meters. Both Kearny and Newark have implemented these meters. Mayor Raymond McDonough has opposed a centralized parking station opting instead for individual meters. Centralized meters have accounting safeguards to insure that all monies deposited are accounted for. Individual meters do not have the accounting safeguards. There has been no restitution paid to the town by former Department of Public Works Superintendent for the reported $100,000 in quarters he stole from town parking meters. Councilman Steve McCormick stated that he still did not know who determined the amount of $100,000 as the Town Treasurer Beth Higgins had denied providing that amount to the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office.

There was also an introduction of an Ordinance to change once again a Financial Agreement with the entities that compose the Harrison Commons project.

I urge all the citizens of Harrison to come out to Mayor and Council meetings. I applaud those who came out to the last meeting. It was unexpected but uplifting to those of us who have been attending meetings for sometime now. I also urge you to watch prior council meetings available on Joe Wood's website www.HarrisonMeetings.com to educate yourself on the issues previously discussed. A handful of citizens have been attending council meetings trying to keep the Mayor and Council honest. Join us.

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