Personal Mayoral Statements
WE ARE ALL PASSAIC
Dear City of Passaic residents,
As your Mayor, especially in a non-partisan city, I look to represent all of our resident Democrats, Republicans, Unaffiliated, Green, Libertarian, and everyone in between, and I wanted to share this message with you. One of my biggest concerns over this year’s election has been the divisive rhetoric I have seen not just all over social media but on television and in person. I wanted to share this message directly from me to all of our residents: if you have or will vote for our President Donald J. Trump or our former Vice President Joe Biden because you believe in their leadership and believe the one you choose or chose is better for our country then that is your right and I respect you as a person! You are a vital and important part of our community. Your opinion and position are important and your voice should be heard. You have a right to your views and to express them; your party affiliation or specific political views are your personal choice, our city belongs to all! We are not a Republican Passaic, we are not a Democratic Passaic, we are not a Passaic of any one party, we are a Passaic for ALL! We are not a Nation of any one party, we are a Nation for ALL. No matter what the results end up being, know that the strength of our city, of our community, is in our unity, not our uniformity but again our unity. We don’t all have to agree; in fact, sometimes it’s fun to go at each other and even throw some jabs as long as when that final bell rings and the scorecards are read we can all agree the fight in the ring is over and we can all continue to be civil with each other. Just as it would not be right for two boxers to continue the fight in the aisle and again in the dressing room, then in the lot, the streets, and so on; you get it. I know sometimes it may come across as a bit corny but I do genuinely believe that we are an amazing community and our differences and diversity of beliefs, culture, thoughts, practices, and race make us richer as a city. However, if we can hold on tight to those things that we have in common, our shared desire for a better city, county, state, and nation, our hopes for our families, for neighbors, for ourselves, then we can and will get through any and every challenge ahead.
Thank you and God bless you.
Mayor Hector C. Lora
Thank you, PSE&G
I’m Mayor Hector Lora of Passaic and I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to speak in support of PSE&G’s much-needed proposal on Electric Vehicles.
As one of the densest cities in New Jersey and one that is literally surrounded by major thoroughfares, this proceeding holds great importance for Passaic. Transportation is the greatest source of carbon emissions in New Jersey yet our state’s transition to cleaner-running electric cars has faltered.
That means we’re missing out on all the benefits EV’s can deliver, including improvements in public health. Switching to EVs would mean fewer premature deaths, asthma attacks, and lost workdays, and save New Jersey close to $2 billion in public health benefits annually, according to the American Lung Association.
And my city, with a school population of 15,000 students, would see even greater improvements in air quality through electric school buses. We also envision electric commuter shuttles linking a new bus terminal on Main Avenue with the NJ Transit train stations in Garfield and Passaic.
Still, many people in my community and across the state are reluctant to switch to EV’s out of range anxiety, the fear that there won’t be enough EV charging stations for day-to-day fill-ups, or longer trips. Private companies have been reluctant to install charging stations in a region with so few EV’s, while consumers are reluctant to buy EV’s until more charging stations are built.
PSE&G’s plan to deploy nearly 40,000 chargers will solve that by jump-starting the EV charging market, paving the way for private companies to follow. With existing designated opportunity zones, urban enterprise zones, and active participation in the Neighborhood Preservation Program, the city is primed for major investments in electric vehicle charging facilities that could accompany other private and public capital investments.
And perhaps the best part is that PSE&G is committed to underserved markets that might not deliver the returns private companies seek. That means public charging stations in all communities, along with charging equipment at multifamily buildings, businesses, fleet facilities, municipal facilities, retail establishments, and hotels/motels, and fast chargers along with corridor locations like the Parkway and Turnpike.
I recently formed a Passaic Youth Council made up of young leaders from all over our city and from different schools and grades. Among the top issues that come consistently are environmental concerns regarding climate change, green initiatives, and clean energy. We often discuss statements made by our elected officials expressing support for our environment, declarations, meetings, plans, and platforms. However, our young people and upcoming generation are not interested in more promises for tomorrow which end up stalled over endless debates over whether or not the challenges facing our environment are worth acting on now. Transportation is the greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants in New Jersey and the U.S. directly and adversely impacts the health of those that live in our state, our Nation, our world as well as our planet itself. Our youth, those leaders coming up fast behind us, those we intend to charge with leading our nation into the future want to see tangible evidence of our commitment to our planet, our children, and our future. For decades those in and with power made decisions motivated by a desire for the benefits of the day with no regard for tomorrow. It is now up to us to make what should be obvious decisions today for the sake of all of our tomorrow.
Our City of Passaic is on the move with major new investments on Main Avenue, Market Street, and throughout the city. A major symbol of the rebirth of our city is our award-winning restoration and occupancy of the People’s Bank Building on Main Avenue, the tallest building in Passaic County. PSE&G’s EV proposal would complement those efforts specifically in this area and help New Jersey become a clean energy leader, to the benefit of all.
Mayor Hector C. Lora
MAYOR HECTOR C. LORA:
On Freedom of Speech and Telemundo Article
In regards to the article of a business owner stating that they would charge 10 dollars to anyone who did not speak English, I don’t support the message of the sign regarding the idea of charging people more money for not speaking English, but I do believe that private businesses and individuals have a right to express their views.
Evelyn Beatrice Hall stated that “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” and I agree with that. If people don’t like a business, they should not support it. Just like during the Civil Rights Movement buses were forced to change their policies not because people screamed and yelled but rather because they withheld their dollars, we need to stop being a society that insults and attacks everyone we don’t agree with all for the sake of tolerance or because we feel offended.
If we don’t like a business we should choose not to support with our pockets. I am concerned that we have become such a hypersensitive culture that we expect to go through life never offended by anyone or anything. That is not the real world. We have a right to safety, we have a right to freedom, we have rights to health, to education, to the protection of the law, and much more, but we do not have “A Right to not be Offended Ever.” We live in a world where one mistake, one frustrated slip of the tongue, one post, one story, could ruin your career, your business, your lifetime, or your reputation. If someone messes up in the past or present and there is a backlash, it seems that even if the issue is resolved or an apology is given, it is not enough. People want to see others ruined for being or thinking differently or more so for expressing those views. How is that better than the initial offense?
Heck, there are some that devote themselves to look back twenty years to see what some reporter, actor, personality or public figure said or did in their youth in order to destroy them by judging them by the standards of today. We live in a social media-driven culture where expressing your views can lead to threats, and in some cases, actual harm to you, your business, or your family.
So I stated the business owner has a right to his views and the community has a right to not support him or to express their opposition to those views, but what I worried about was an escalation of wanting him to shut down and what that could mean in today’s culture.
In regards to the articles and reports regarding the option of either speaking English or paying $10, I believe that there is a reasonable expectation for people to learn to speak and understand English in America. That it is a process, but that is the story of every immigrant everywhere. If I moved to Russia, Poland, India, Japan, France, Columbia, Dominican Republic, etc outside of the tourist areas I wouldn’t expect mom and pop shops to know my language or the languages of every other culture; I would be expected to have learned how to communicate in the language of that country. The reason why we offer so many opportunities for learning English for free programs in our communities is to encourage learning to speak English. Wanting people in America to speak English in and of itself is not bigoted and definitely not racist. Again, if I moved to France, I would be expected to learn some French.
So though I don’t agree with the sign because the idea that anyone would be charged more for not, speaking English is off-putting to state the least. I also can’t expect every business owner to hire translators for all languages because that cost would then result in raising prices for everyone. This business owner stated no one was charged and he had no intention of charging an actual fee but he wanted to express his frustration with his sign.
For his generation that is his platform, that is his physical page instead of a social media platform or page used by others. Everyone has a right to disagree with him but as a society, we should be careful not to overreact to everything we read because by those standards everyone that posts on their walls including those insulting and calling names should and could be “canceled.” It isn’t freedom of speech only for my views or the ones I agree with, it’s freedom of speech for all. Of course, there are consequences for your speech but if we are not careful we will continue turning the tolerant movement into a movement of “we will not tolerate anyone that is intolerant of anything we tolerate, we only tolerate the tolerant everyone else; beware!”
The reporters shared that I empathized with Mr. Dave Feinberg, and in a real sense, I do; just not necessarily how people may think. To clarify, I don’t empathize with the sign stating people should be charged extra for not speaking English, but I do empathize with every individual that feels like their views or opinions cannot be shared because others will be offended. I empathize with those who see the double standards and hypocrisy of a culture that will insult you online, defame you, attack your business and write whatever they want about you because they all defend their freedom of speech but are bent on punishing you for exercising your own right to express your views. I understand the frustration and even the idea that it would cost more money to hire translators or money is lost as customers leave because he had a 10-minute exchange that could have been resolved in one minute and that could be passed on to the customer. Or perhaps he could’ve expressed his frustration in a much more inclusive way such as by stating, “it is important to learn and understand English in America. I encourage all to take advantage of all of the Free ESL classes offered in our area. Just like you would want to learn French in France, Spanish in Mexico, Or in Russia, India, etc.” However, he didn’t, he put up this sign. My original text stands as my views along with this one together because without a comprehensive response it all gets lost in translation, and we as a nation, especially in such divisive times where we seem to be at each other’s throats, never finding common ground, we ALL desperately need to be a bit more open, show a bit more grace, grow a thicker skin, and remember to take the LOG out of our own eyes before going after the speck in others. I understand a voice of reason isn’t the most popular today. It is not exciting or sensational, but it is in my opinion what is needed.
Mayor Hector C. Lora