Gusciora, perez trade jabs at trenton business forum electricity and magnetism review


Perez has received some union support, most recently from the United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local #9, after he changed his mind. The labor unions were upset that Gusciora had protested the plan that could impact hundreds of jobs.

“What we’re responsible for doing is creating a safe environment where people want to walk, people want to stretch their legs,” Perez said, noting when he worked in Washington, D.C., employees went for long walks during their lunch break because it was safe. “It’s not because where you place things. I did go down and testify at the Statehouse against the buildings because what I was interested in was how was it going to benefit the workers of this city. But realistically once I knew that there was not much that we were able to do, I said, ‘OK, enough said. Leave them alone. Let’s move on to the next stage.’”

At a December legislative hearing about the proposal, Perez said, “If you build in the way and form that it’s being presented today, it’s being done in unison for state workers only. We don’t get any benefit. It sounds good … but how far does it go really and how much does it impact the true residents of this city?”

“What makes this election so exciting is that it’s a real rejection of career politicians,” said Perez, a retired Army officer who’s held several supervisor roles in the federal government at various agencies. “I think the assemblyman is correct when he says he has great legislative experience. Maybe, he should have ran for city council because what we need in this seat for the mayor is an executive, someone who’s really managed people before … We have to leave career politicians back where they belong, back in the 19th century.”

Gusciora described his relationships with Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver and Treasurer Liz Muoio, both of whom he served with in the legislature, as a way to move the city forward and become a partner with the state. He also said he was one of the first politicians to endorse Gov. Murphy.

“In the heyday, we had as many as 400 officers,” said Gusciora, a former Trenton municipal prosecutor who currently holds that position in Lawrence and Princeton. “I’m a great believer in community policing. I believe if we were able to hire to get the staff levels back up, we can have police back in the neighborhoods and instill confidence that the places are safe.”

“The likelihood of us hiring 100 new police officers right now is probably zero because you’re going to have to get a lot of money in order to do that and, as you know, we don’t have that money,” Perez said. “I would look at the 290-police force and come up with a way to properly deploy them strategically so that they could do more with less.”

“In order to do that, I have to create the conditions or environment where City Hall now becomes an urban center of excellence, where we have professional staff members,” Perez said. “When we do that, we will create the conditions that’s going to allow private industry to have confidence and want to invest in our city. We can dream all we want to, but if we can’t provide the basic services, no one is going to want to invest in our city.”

“Believe it or not, I owned a home on George Washington’s Union Farm,” Perez said of when he lived in Alexandria, Va. “What we found interesting was that every time we went to Mount Vernon, they were making money off of the history of Trenton. I’m talking about busloads of people going in to hear the history of Trenton. Why isn’t the city of Trenton capitalizing on our own history? We’re not being creative enough.”

“We don’t invest enough into the historical aspects of this city,” the longtime 15th district assemblyman said. “We can recreate the fires that George Washington lit and then escaped to the Battle of Princeton. We really need to capitalize on the fact that Trenton is a historic town. It’s a crime that Eagle Tavern isn’t reopened.”

“Because we have so many potholes and the influx of 20,000 state workers every day into the city, they should adopt West State Street,” Gusciora said, noting the state must make payments in lieu of taxes. “The county should adopt South Broad Street and tell them to fill those potholes.”

“If we create a fee-for-service revenue stream for the city in the inspections office and get everyone that’s involved in that process together, then there will be businesses that would rather do that than allow their investments to sit for quite a while,” Perez said, calling the current process a “nightmare.”