What is a County Commissioner?
Do you know where your county tax dollars go? Do you see what the Hudson County government does? If not, you’re not alone. A Hudson County Commissioner is a legislator overseeing a budget of more than $600 million, but when politicians are owned by political party bosses and big corporate donors, they’re afraid to address homelessness, have cleaner air, and safer streets for everyone. We need a County Commissioner with the political courage to address urgent issues:
- We live in one of the most expensive communities in the country
- With a mental health and homelessness crisis in our hands
- At the second county with the highest childhood asthma caused by traffic fumes
- While suffering major heatwaves due to climate change
- And a county government that has profiteered off of immigrant family separation.
We need real representation. That’s why Ron Bautista is running for County Commissioner, so our government can serve everyday people, not the politicians.
Easy Budget, Accountable Government
Safer Streets for Kids, Safer Streets for All
When 79-year-old Margaret “Peggy” McGeary (Hoboken) was hit and killed by a truck at Paterson Plank Road, next to a park, County Commissioner Anthony Romano’s answer was to ignore the science that could have prevented this tragedy. This happens too often: just for comparison purposes, in 2021 there were 27 homicides and 26 victims of traffic unsafety in Hudson County. Peggy McGeary’s death, and many other injuries at roads managed by the county government, could have been prevented; our elected officials just choose not to. Together, we can have a government that listens to the engineers; we can have an elected official with the political will to make it happen. That’s why Ron Bautista is committed to make county-wide street design safe for ALL users, for people of all ages and abilities.
Social Services to Prevent the Criminalization of Communities
Together we can end cycles of violence by providing social support to survivors of crime and investing in social services for our communities.
- Avoid Unnecessary Police Interventions: There are many cases where a police officer is not the right choice, for example homelessness should be addressed with housing first, as well as the intervention of social workers and mental health professionals.
- Address Homelessness: A housing first approach often is the key to raising peoples quality of life which encourages when possible a higher level of functioning. Building supportive housing is a way to encourage supportive housing non-profits to develop this type of housing with support staff on site.
- Mental-health crisis response programs: Train and send EMS, mental health professionals and social workers to respond to mental health incidents.
- Expand Programs Helping with Food Insecurity: Ending hunger in a healthy and equitable way is a proven way to build stronger, safer communities with dignity.
Fair Rents & Free Legal Representation for Tenants
We will strengthen the enforcement of rent control laws and allow you to see the legal price you should be paying for your home. Ron is also committed to county-wide right to counsel, so that tenants can know the their rights and get the legal representation they need.
The rising cost of rent affects the majority of people living in Hoboken and Jersey City. Properties in Hoboken covered under rent control laws include:
- Any residential property built that’s older than 30 years
- Any property with less than four rental units regardless of when it was built
- Any post-1987 building that didn’t file a rent control exemption.
You have the right to only be charged a specific legal rent price, and together we will make sure you know how much that is.
Fight for 100% Renewable Energy by 2030
When Ron first heard of NJ Transit’s plan for a fossil-fuel power plant, only 3 miles from Jersey City and Hoboken, he thought about his toddler. Ron had his first asthma attack when he was 4 years old, which means his daughter is at high risk, and just like so many of our neighbors who have heart or breathing issues, the power plant would have serious health effects in many of us. That’s why Ron Bautista is running for County Commissioner, so together we can fight to fund renewable energy in the county, not fossil fuel power plants.
Clean energy goes beyond protecting public health and fighting climate change. When we change the way we buy energy – specifically, the sources generating that power — we can also save money, thanks to the power of bulk purchasing. Through community choice aggregation (CCA), municipalities or counties may bulk purchase electricity on behalf of their residents, providing 100 percent clean renewable sources of electricity by the year 2030 – or sooner.
A Hudson County for People of All Incomes
The COVID-19 pandemic has widened a massive crack in our Hudson County Society. We live in one of the most expensive communities in the country, and whether you’re a a young professional or a retiree, being able to afford to live here is a major issue. That’s why Ron Bautista is running for County Commissioner, to fight for a Community Land Trust that will build more nonprofit apartment units so that people of all incomes can afford to live here. As a County, we already have designated a portion of that budget that consistenly funds parks; now, we need representatives with the political courage to use the same method to fund more homes for all incomes.
Increase Green, Planted Areas by 2030
Heatwaves are getting tougher and more dangearous every summer. That’s why Ron’s committed to push for increasing to 50% fully porous, planted areas by 2030.
• Expanding our green areas will help lower surface and air temperatures, and absorb rainwater to address floodings.
• Rooftop gardening will reduce temperatures of the roof surface and the surrounding air.
Address Mental Health Crisis
If there’s something we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is that health impacts the lives of everyone in the community. Solidarity is not charity; when we look out for one another we can all grow. We see it in the mental health crisis we currently live in, and we’re committed to ending the stigma by putting it front and center.
- Mental Health for All: Together with Hudson County Community College, lead the training and support of friends and family members in the community so they can deliver basic interventions for mental health problems. Using the SUNDAR approach, we can empower ordinary people to be aware of signs, provide mental health support and know how to connect with the assistance of a professional.
- Prevent overdoses: Expand Hudson County Narcan/Naloxone access with free distribution sites and pharmacy programs that make it easier to get free Narcan/Naloxone to the public. Poor people, older people, and folks with limited resources are often not able to access online Narcan/Naloxone distribution programs. Having known fixed and potentially street outreach sites are necessary to reducing drug use-related poisonings (overdose) in Hudson county.
- Reduce Harm: We need a harm reduction center in Hudson County, they often offer homeless services, case management services, free HIV & AIDS patient services, and medication for opioid use disorder. In addition to direct services, outreach programs can take syringes off our streets
Equity and Inclusion for People with Disabilities
Disabled people make up an estimated 20% of the population in Hudson County, and yet local municipal and county governments do not have specific offices or committees dedicated to ensuring their rights are upheld in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This lack of representation and consideration has led to a low quality of life for disabled people here in Hudson County. Together, we can start by making our streets and sidewalks ADA
compliant, strengthening the local Heightened Independence and Progress programs, and providing government virtual/online content that is accessible.
Disability is an identity which disproportionally effects Black, Indigenous, and people of color and low-income households, and intersects with issues such as pollution, gentrification, aging, healthcare and police violence. Addressing access, awareness and safety for the disabled community means also fortifying the other policies. Disability must be a part of the general discourse in our polices; that’s the true path to equity and inclusion.
Public Safety - Accountability and Transparency
Ron Bautista makes transparency and accountability a priority, and it starts with not taking campaign contributions from police unions or law enforcement organizations. He understands that public safety is a commitment to also work on the prevention of crime by addressing racial, economic and social inequalities, while improving law enforcement transparency across Hudson County.
- Demilitarize Police Departments: If community policing is based on building trust and care for the community, our county budget should reflect a culture where we treat people as human beings and not as the enemy.
- Establish an Independent Civilian Complaint Review Board: We need accountability through community oversight. We will work to establish a Civilian Complaint Review Board with investigatory and oversight power, and secure a seat at the table for representatives of social and racial justice organizations.
Never Allow County Profiteering from Immigrant Family Separation
Ron Bautista was an undocumented immigrant for his first 11 years living in Hoboken. Now a US citizen, he knows his origins and for years he has stood up to the injustices of the system. Current Commissioner Anthony Romano voted to renew the ICE contract multiple times, even after 9 hours of public comments asking him not to. Ron is committed to keep the county government away from profiteering from the County Jail, and from criminalizing immigrant families. Here’s a testimonial from Irene Astudillo, a woman impacted by the contract with ICE: “I’m a first-generation immigrant and bilingual special needs teacher. Two years ago, my uncle Edisson Barros was taken by ICE agents and sent to the Hudson County Jail as an immigrant detainee. My uncle was facing deportation, it was a struggle to speak with him, and we would listen to him talk about the poor nutrition and non-existent medical assistance at the facility. Ron Bautista fought with us so that my uncle’s immigration case would be heard, and he helped fight for the human rights of all immigrant detainees at the County Jail. Together with other activists, they were able to get more visits, better nutrition programs, and better medical assistance for all detainees. I know first-hand that Ron Bautista understands the value of keeping families together and protecting the rights and well-being of all immigrants.”