Did you miss these stories over the weekend?
Should Jersey City dedicate a portion of local property taxes to support local arts? This is the question facing the City Council as arts activists showed up en masse on Wednesday to lobby the city for a share of Gold Coast development revenue. Wearing red t-shirts bearing a percentage sign as their logo, Christine Goodman, former director of Art House Productions, led an army of artists into City Hall in what amounted to a pro-arts rally, seeking to get their piece of the economic pie. Government funding of the arts, while common in Europe, is controversial in the United States, partly because art is often more political here and partly because critics of subsidies believe the funds are needed for other bread-and-butter issues such as the schools, redevelopment of infrastructure, and a number of issues involving the poor, crime, and housing. The artists are proposing a surcharge on restaurant bills of about half a percent and a 1 percent surcharge on new development, which is burgeoning in the city. These amounts, according to Goodman, would be a dedicated subsidy for the arts and could also include a possible hotel tax. Click here for more.The Fund for a Better Waterfront, a Hoboken-based nonprofit activist group that has protected the waterfront from overdevelopment, launched an online petition two weeks ago to urge the city to buy private land on the north waterfront for a park. The land is currently owned by Union Dry Dock & Repair Co, a longstanding tugboat and barge repair company. However, the business owner says they are not looking for a buyer right now, although they have entertained bids before and may again. Currently, the land is one of the last undeveloped pieces of the state-mandated Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. In 1984, the state ruled that anyone developing on the river from Bayonne to Fort Lee had to add to a pedestrian path for 18.5 miles. Almost all of the Hoboken portion has been completed during redevelopment, but Dry Dock was there long before the ruling. Click here for more. × In the final stretch of the 34th annual NJ Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run June 9, Jersey City Sergeant Kevin Kot quickly rounded a corner onto Communipaw Avenue, dropped to one knee, and presented the torch to wife Anna Kot, a Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office sergeant. The gesture was complete with dramatic flower petals and a large rose he’d hidden in his shorts. They then continued running into Kearny and Newark, simultaneously holding the torch. “This is the third year that I’ve passed the torch to her,” Kot said, after the Hudson County officers handed the item to Essex County officers to continue the run. “Just trying to keep it interesting.” The run began earlier that day in North Bergen’s Braddock Park and wound through Guttenberg and Union City before heading to Jersey City Heights. Then, officers aimed for the Shawn Carson and Robert Ngyuen Memorial Bridge into Kearny, and later entered Newark. The event totaled around 13 miles. The run raises money to benefit the New Jersey Special Olympics, a series of competitions for disabled children and adults, held annually. The games took place that same weekend; the torch was part of the opening ceremony at The College of New Jersey. Click here for more.