Candidate Charlie Kratovil: “We cannot and will not be priced out of the city we love!”
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On Wednesday June 29, the New Brunswick Housing Authority (NBHA) held a meeting to discuss the potential development of the former SEARS site off Route 1.
Members of the community came out to voice their opposition to the development, and many were personally invited by mayoral candidate Charlie Kratovil. People from every background joined the meeting with a very clear message—Don’t gentrify our city—and the people won.
Kratovil went to work to mobilize the community to speak at the NBHA meeting, and the community showed up in force. Kratovil started the public comment section with a reminder of the Housing Authority’s stated mission, saying: “Prices are spiraling out of control right now. We need you to live up to your mission, that mission is to ‘assist eligible families by providing decent and affordable housing as they move to achieve self sufficiency.’ This project goes against your mission, please vote no.”
Of all the public comments, not one was in favor of the development except for Ed Russo, the CEO of the company behind the development.
Kratovil’s efforts to spread awareness of Wednesday’s meeting paid off: the NBHA Board ended up not approving the developer. Similar to the April 29 vote, where the developer was rejected by a vote of 1-0-3, the motion on Wednesday failed with 2 yes votes, 1 no vote, and 2 abstentions.
In response to the victory, Kratovil sent an email out to his supporters, many of whom joined him at the meeting, saying: “From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who joined us last night and spoke out against the most extreme gentrification proposal our city has ever seen… We cannot and will not be priced out of the city we love!“
“By coming together and speaking truth to power, we stopped the Mayor’s extreme scheme and dealt a blow to an out-of-touch developer who wants to gentrify our city,” Kratovil wrote. “I cannot emphasize how rare it is for the people to defeat such powerful forces. It’s only because we got organized, united behind a cause, and took collective action.”