Our Revolution New Jersey Endorses Charlie Kratovil For Mayor

Charlie Kratovil, the independent New Brunswick Mayoral candidate, has secured the endorsement of the New Jersey Chapter of Our Revolution, the progressive political organization launched following the Presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders.

“Our Revolution NJ is proud to endorse Charlie Kratovil for Mayor of New Brunswick. He has the progressive vision and commitment the Hub City needs,” said Catherine Hunt of Our Revolution New Jersey.

Our Revolution supports a new generation of progressive leaders, empowering millions to fight for progressive change, elevate the political consciousness, and reclaim democracy for working people.

Charlie, who already received the backing of the organization’s Rutgers University chapter this September, expressed his gratitude for the statewide endorsement.

“It’s an honor to be endorsed by Our Revolution New Jersey.  My plans for New Brunswick are all about giving power to the people of our city,” said Kratovil.  “We are on the frontlines, working together to make change and build a strong movement committed to fighting against inequality.”

Charlie’s campaign is focused on giving residents the clean streets, clean air, clean water, and clean government that they deserve. Charlie is also the only candidate in the race with a plan to raise wages for the lowest-paid city workers, many of whom earn far less than $15 per hour.

Part-Time Mayor Dodges Debate Requests From Challenger Charlie Kratovil

For more than three months, New Brunswick Mayoral candidate Charlie Kratovil has been requesting a debate with his opponent, the 27-year incumbent Mayor Jim Cahill.

But with less than three weeks until the November 6 election, Cahill’s team has not responded to these requests.

Instead, the Mayor’s campaign ignored five consecutive written requests to arrange debates, which have been sent by Charlie’s campaign manager every Wednesday since September 19.

“The people of New Brunswick deserve a full-time Mayor who will put the people and their needs first,” said Kratovil.  “They also deserve to hear from both candidates in a series of debates.”

“Clearly, my opponent is too busy splitting his time between public service, representing his other clients, and campaigning for the first time in almost a decade,” continued Kratovil.

Charlie is the first opponent to challenge Cahill since 2010.  In contrast to the incumbent, who also works for the local government of Milltown and runs a private law firm on the side, Charlie has promised to work full-time as Mayor, without holding any side jobs or business interests.

When Charlie announced his candidacy in June, the seven-term incumbent told reporters that the campaign “will be a discussion of ideas on how we can continue to improve the quality of life for New Brunswick residents.”  But since then, Cahill has failed to lay out a platform of his own.

By contrast, Charlie’s website Charlie4Change.com includes a comprehensive issue-based platform and the videos and full text of the speeches he has given on the campaign trail.

“If my opponent truly wants a discussion of ideas, he should agree to debate me so that we can both discuss our ideas to address the Parking Authority’s $390 million dollar debt, improve our failing water infrastructure, and end the unfortunate corruption that his administration has brought us,” said Kratovil.

Kratovil Calls on Hypocritical Incumbent to Raise Worker Wages

In light of the New Brunswick Mayor’s newfound support for a $15 minimum wage, Mayoral Candidate Charlie Kratovil is calling on the incumbent to introduce an ordinance to increase wages for the dozens of city workers who earn far less for their public service.

On October 11, seven-term Mayor Jim Cahill seemed to back state legislation that would establish a $15 per hour minimum wage for all workers, without any exceptions or carve-outs, even though his own administration still pays some workers $8.60 per hour.

“My opponent has had 27 years to raise wages for the workers who serve our city, but he’s still paying some of them the state’s bare minimum wage: just $8.60 per hour,” said Kratovil.  “Nevertheless, I welcome him to the fight for $15 and encourage him to put his words into action by raising the wages that he directly controls.”

On Labor Day, Charlie rolled out his own detailed plan to raise wages for about 175 of the lowest-paid city workers on Labor Day.  Charlie’s plan would lead to all city workers earning at least $15 per hour by January 2021.

By contrast, Mayor James Cahill’s administration currently pays about 75 city workers $10 or less for each hour that they serve the public, including employees of the city’s Recreation Department, Youth Services System, and the New Brunswick Free Public Library.

Two days after Charlie laid out his plan, the Mayor’s administration announced it would give raises to about 50 crossing guards, bringing the starting hourly pay rate from $12.50 to $13.50.

Those raises will take effect on October 22, leaving about 140 city workers earning less than $15 per hour.

“I sincerely hope that my opponent’s administration will do the right thing and introduce additional legislation to raise the wages of the other workers whose pay rates remain in stark contrast to his professed support for a higher minimum wage,” said Kratovil.

The current administration has also spread disinformation about Charlie’s plan, making an unsubstantiated claim that “several individuals” would somehow earn less under the plan.

“Under your increase there are several individuals who will end up making less than what they would get under the current administration,” one employee of the Mayor’s Office wrote to Kratovil in an online exchange in the “New Jersey Resistance” Facebook group.

It’s not the first time that the incumbent Mayor’s machine has spread inaccurate information about what Charlie stands for.  The same employee previously implied that Charlie wants to downgrade the city’s career Fire Department to volunteer status, a baseless claim that the official declined to retract.

“The truth is that I am the only candidate in this race who has pledged to take a concrete action to support the fight for $15,” said Kratovil.  “The Mayor’s team should spend more time developing a platform of their own and less time trying to mislead the public about my positions.”

Mayoral Candidate Charlie Kratovil Announces Plan for Parking Relief

On Monday, October 8, Charlie will lay out his vision to tackle both the crippling parking problem, and the New Brunswick Parking Authority’s $390 million debt.

Charlie has been listening to residents and business owners about their parking concerns: the shortage of spaces, the expensive rates, the frequent tickets, the confusing rules, and the lack of solutions to any of these problems.

“For the past seventy years, New Brunswick has had a parking authority that has actually perpetuated its parking problem.  I have a comprehensive plan to relieve this problem by abolishing the NBPA and transitioning to a 21st-century model,” said Kratovil.

Charlie’s proposal follows in the footsteps of other New Jersey communities like Jersey City, Montclair, and Bloomfield.

By dissolving their parking authority, Jersey City saved taxpayers approximately $850,000 per year in redundant management and healthcare costs and helped bring more accountability to an important sector of their local government.

Dissolving the NBPA will enable New Brunswick to establish a more accountable government entity, the New Brunswick Department of Transportation (NBDOT), one that will have a more comprehensive approach to improving the parking situation, access to public transportation, pedestrian and cyclist safety, taxi service, and road repairs.

With this new approach, the city government will be able to strategically invest in properties to provide off-street resident parking in the neighborhoods where the demand outstrips supply.

“Parking affects all of our businesses and institutions, but it also affects all of our neighborhoods. As the candidate who will put our residents and their needs first, I am committed to addressing the parking problem in a way that prioritizes resident parking,” said Kratovil.

Charlie’s plan to dissolve the NBPA will also give the city greater control over their $390 million debt.  This is debt that the administration of Charlie’s opponent has agreed to guarantee in its entirety, putting taxpayers on the hook.

“The NBPA’s out-of-control debt is perhaps the most important issue for taxpayers in this election,” said Kratovil.  “The next Mayor must make it a priority to tackle this problem in a way that protects our people and ensures the next generation is not saddled with major liabilities or undesirable assets.”

All are welcome to attend.

WHO:  New Brunswick Mayor Candidate Charlie Kratovil

WHAT:  Announcement of Charlie’s Parking Relief Plan

WHEN:  Monday, October 8 at 3:00 pm

WHERE:  Corner of Somerset and Plum Streets in New Brunswick

Charlie Kratovil Supports Pay Raise for City Crossing Guards

Thanks to the advocacy of New Brunswick Mayoral Candidate Charlie Kratovil, the city’s crossing guards are set to receive pay raise at tonight’s City Council meeting.

Charlie has been standing up for the approximately 50 crossing guards working in the Hub City, who protect children’s safety on their way to and from school everyday.

“Crossing guards have an important and dangerous job,” said Kratovil.  “I’ve been proud to work alongside community advocate Danielle Moore in pushing the City Council to give these hard-working people a well-deserved raise.”

On Labor Day, Kratovil announced his plans to raise the wages of New Brunswick’s lowest-paid municipal employees over the next three years.  The plan called for most crossing guards to receive a $2.50 per hour raise, by bringing the starting pay rate to $15 per hour.

“These raises will help to combat poverty and runaway inequality, improve the city’s ability to recruit and retain quality staff, and show solidarity with campaigns to raise the minimum wage for all workers,” said Kratovil.

Only two days after Kratovil announced his plans, the city government decided to give the crossing guards a raise, eventually introducing ordinance O-091805, which provides for raises of $1 or $1.25 per hour effective October 22.

Kratovil recognizes that this is a victory for the people of New Brunswick and promises to make additional changes that will foster the health and growth of our city.

“For our city run smoothly, all city workers need to earn a living wage.  New Jersey is an expensive state to live in, and our city is no exception,” said Kratovil.  “I pledge that I will do everything I can to advance the cause of working people here in New Brunswick – not just our city workers, but all working people.”

Mayor Candidate Charlie Kratovil Announces Community Advisory Team

 

Charlie Kratovil, the New Brunswick Mayoral Candidate, is proud to introduce the initial group of community leaders that will serve as his advisors for the remainder of the campaign.

On Sunday, September 23, Charlie met with his Community Advisory Team at the Lazos Community Center to discuss the major issues facing the city.

“This team is a key part of out grassroots effort to make this city a better place to live and work.  It is certainly a tremendous contribution to my campaign that this diverse and committed team of people brings over 200 years of experience living in New Brunswick,” said Kratovil.  “Each advisory member will be reaching out in their wards to ask for input and ideas from residents.”

At the closing of their first meeting, Kratovil said,  “What will make this city strong is our people. I look forward to working with my Community Advisory Team and am grateful for their commitment.”

The initial group of advisors includes representatives of each of the city’s five wards:

Nancy Scalzone has lived in New Brunswick’s First Ward for over 35 years, and is affiliated with a local animal rescue.  She has been active in proposing humane solutions to help control the feral and stray cat population.

“We need a change and I feel Charlie is more connected to the needs of our citizens,” said Scalzone.  “He will be a full time Mayor!”

Brandon Espana is a Rutgers University student who was born and raised in New Brunswick.  He lives in the Second Ward, works as a tutor for local high school students, and interns at Lazos America Unida, a local Mexican-American community organization.

“Charlie’s a genuine person who is putting the people of New Brunswick above anything else,” said Espana.  “He’s not running for personal gain but to improve the city we all call home. Charlie represents much needed change.”

Corpus Guante is a homeowner in the Second Ward, where he has lived for 11 years.  He is a laborer and a father of three children.

“I’ve known Charlie to be a tenacious worker who’s done a great job defending our community with his voice of alertness and his punctuality with objectives in New Brunswick,” said Guante.

Jad Kaado is a lifelong New Brunswick resident who works as a part-time lecturer and adjunct professor at Rutgers University.  He lives in the Second Ward and serves as literary curator for the non-profit arts organization coLAB.

“Charlie embodies the change that New Brunswick needs and also deserves,” said Kaado.

Ariel Pina has lived in New Brunswick for 19 years and is currently a resident of Cook campus of Rutgers University in the city’s Second Ward.  He serves as the Treasurer of RU Progressive, and the Treasurer for Charlie’s campaign.

“I think we need a Mayor that looks out for the children and families of New Brunswick,” said Pina.  “The current administration has been prioritizing real estate developers over the needs of minority communities.”

Thomas Peoples is lifelong New Brunswick resident who has been a homeowner in the Fourth Ward since 1996.  He is a former Democratic Committeeman and Vice President and the former President of the Lincoln Gardens Crime Watch.

“New Brunswick needs a Mayor who is going into our neighborhoods and talking with residents, addressing their concerns, and attending government meetings like the City Council and Board of Education to stay in touch with what’s going on in the city,” said Peoples.  “I support Charlie Kratovil for Mayor because he does these things right now.”

Pastor Pedro Showell has been a resident of New Brunswick for more than 50 years and currently lives in the Fifth Ward.  He founded Iron Sharpens Iron Worldwide Deliverance Ministries, Inc., a non-profit organization devoted to helping young people build strong character and realize their full potential as responsible citizens and leaders.

“I believe Charlie is going to make significant changes to the city,” said Showell.

Lindy Stork has lived in New Brunswick for 45 years and owns a home in the Sixth Ward.  She served for over 30 years as a bilingual kindergarten teacher in New Brunswick’s public schools.

“I have always thought we should have more of a choice in terms of candidates who more closely reflect my personal views on a variety of issues, and now that person is Charlie,” said Stork.

Note: There is no longer a Third Ward in New Brunswick.

 

Charlie Kratovil Presents New Brunswick Transportation Plan

Charlie Kratovil, the editor of New Brunswick Today, will speak tonight at the Second Ward Neighborhood Block Club meeting about the New Brunswick transportation system of today and what the future can deliver for the residents, workers, and visitors to the city.

After studying the current transportation resources and community needs, Kratovil developed a plan to enhance the existing bus services offered, and to make them more consistent, reliable, and user-friendly.

Seeing the need for a solution, Kratovil developed a detailed plan to help the residents of New Brunswick get around via mass transit, particularly those without access to a vehicle.

“Our city needs a transportation system that will support our residents, students, businesses, hospitals, and visitors,” said Kratovil.  “By modernizing our fragmented public transportation systems, we will make it easier for the people of New Brunswick to connect with more economic and educational opportunities, and allow the city to grow without exacerbating parking problems and traffic congestion.”

Kratovil’s presentation will cover how we can enhance the various bus systems serving New Brunswick, improving the quality and consistency of service, as well as simplifying and centralizing access to the information about these systems.

Tonight’s meeting is open to the public.

WHAT:  Second Ward Neighborhood Block Club

WHEN:  Monday, September 24, at 7:00 pm

WHERE: Quaker Meeting House, 109 Nichol Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Mayor Candidate Charlie Kratovil Endorsed by RU Progressive

Charlie Kratovil, the candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick, secured the unanimous endorsement of RU Progressive, the leading progressive student organization in New Jersey.

“We are proud to endorse Charlie Kratovil for Mayor of New Brunswick. It’s time to elect someone who truly knows the struggles of the average New Brunswick citizen,” said Adeel Ahmed, one of the founders of the organization and its current co-President.

RU Progressive was founded in 2015 as Rutgers For Bernie, and it was recently recognized as Rutgers University’s official campus chapter of Our Revolution, the progressive political organization launched following the Presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders.

Charlie expressed his gratitude for the endorsement, and hopes that more organizations will follow suit by endorsing his progressive campaign for change.

“I was honored to receive the endorsement of RU Progressive,” said Kratovil.  “This should make it clear that our campaign is by far the most progressive one in this race.”

“I am hopeful that this will be the first of several major endorsements coming our way over the next few weeks,” said Kratovil.

Charlie’s campaign is focused on giving residents the clean streets, clean air, clean water, and clean government that they deserve.  Earlier this month, Charlie laid out his plans to raise wages for the lowest-paid city workers during his first three years in office.

Organizations interested in endorsing the campaign can contact our Endorsements Coordinator at [email protected].

Charlie Promises to End New Brunswick’s “Cover-Up Culture”

Charlie Kratovil, the award-winning journalist running for Mayor of New Brunswick, has made a name for himself investigating problems with the drinking water in his city.  Now, his latest scoop has him concerned for public school children and outraged at Board of Education officials.

According to a report released yesterday, excessive levels of lead were found in water samples taken from four different city schools in late June and early July: Paul Robeson Community School, McKinley Community School, New Brunswick Middle School and New Brunswick High School.  One reading was as high as 1110 parts per billion, or 74 times the legal limit for lead contamination, but the results were not shared with the public until yesterday.

“This information should have been shared with the public immediately,” said Kratovil.  “It was wrong to keep this disturbing report under wraps for over a month, and it is disingenuous to pretend that these results were anything other than cause for serious concern.”

This morning, Charlie published an article outlining and analyzing the results and putting them in the context of several misleading statements made by a school district official at the August 21 Board of Education meeting, which was captured on video by New Brunswick Today.

At that meeting, Charlie unsuccessfully requested the results of the district’s annual water testing, only to be told they were “very good” and “really good” by Frank LoDolce, the district’s head of facilities.  Even as the results were finally released yesterday, Superintendent Aubrey Johnson described them as “extremely favorable.”

LoDolce had promised those results would be published on the district website prior to the start of the school year, but the district missed that deadline by a full week.

It wasn’t until yesterday during his weekly appearance on WCTC’s “The Tommy G Show” that Charlie first learned the results had finally been posted online.  Their release came after an article in New Brunswick Today pointed out the missed deadline, and Charlie filed an OPRA request seeking a copy of the report.

What was depicted in the results was far from “very good” or “really good.”  In fact, these were the worst lead testing results received by the district in recent years, with 29 different water sources, almost 9% of those tested, found to exceed the action limit for lead.

“New Brunswick’s parents, students, faculty and staff deserve much better than this. Simply put, they deserve the truth,” said Kratovil, who won two awards from the NJ Society of Professional Journalists for his coverage of “Watergate,” a scandal that saw a longtime city worker admit to public corruption for failing to notify authorities about problems with the city’s drinking water.

“When I’m elected, I will put an end to this cover-up culture once and for all.  Under my leadership, the New Brunswick Water Utility will conduct regular testing of the drinking water in all school facilities and promptly release the results to the public without delay.”

While some of the problems at the tainted faucets may have been rectified prior to a second round of testing, Charlie believes the district still owes the public a thorough explanation of what actions they’ve taken to address the problems.  He also wants the district to offer blood tests for students who may have been exposed to extremely high levels of lead.

Thus far, officials have given no details of any remediation efforts undertaken and have not specified if any water sources were taken out of service.  At least two locations, one at the Robeson School and one at NBMS, showed excessive lead levels in both rounds of testing.  Additionally, two individual test results from NBHS appear to be missing from the report on the second round of testing without explanation.

Charlie is encouraging anyone who shares his concerns to attend the New Brunswick Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, September 18 at 7pm in the auditorium of NBHS, located at 1000 Somerset Street.

 

Charlie Kratovil to Celebrate Labor Day by Announcing Plan to Raise Wages

WHO: Charlie Kratovil
WHAT: Announcement of Plan to Raise Wages
WHEN: Monday, September 3 @ 1PM
WHERE: Outside the Rutgers Public Safety Building (intersection of Commercial Avenue and George Street)

As of July 1, New Brunswick’s city government employed nearly 150 workers at wages of less than $15 per hour. Tomorrow, as we celebrate Labor Day, mayoral candidate Charlie Kratovil will announce his plans to raise their wages in an effort to combat runaway inequality, improve the city’s ability to recruit and retain quality staff, and show solidarity with campaigns to raise the minimum wage for all workers.

Charlie has been a longtime advocate for and supporter of the labor movement, and an ally in the “Fight for $15.” He intends to make New Brunswick’s government a leader when it comes to supporting working people and their families.

Earlier this year, Charlie successfully advocated against the proposed privatization of the New Brunswick’s 9-1-1 dispatchers, and suggested that the city government instead partner with Rutgers University to keep this critical function in the public sector. The city ultimately took Charlie’s advice, the dispatchers became Rutgers employees, and as of August 30, the city’s 9-1-1 calls are now being fielded at the state-of-the-art Rutgers facility located on Commercial Avenue.