The needler in the haystack.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Will Christie sign housing bill, sealing Jerry's legacy?


Plainfield Assemblyman Jerry Green.
Will housing bill become capstone of longtime legislator's career?

Will Gov. Chris Christie sign Plainfield Assemblyman Jerry Green's career-capping affordable housing legislation (S1/A3447, see here)?

That is the only question remaining now that both the Senate and Assembly have approved the third revision of the bill, now known as S1, a nod to the legislative clout of Union County Sen. Ray Lesniak.

I reported back in October (see here) on the status of the bills (at that time there were two, Jerry's and Lesniak's), pointing out that Jerry had publicly taken on Lesniak over both his ramrod style and in reaching out to all the various constituencies involved.

Jerry took the higher road, in the eyes of many, irking an easily vexed Gov. Christie.

Particularly objectionable to Christie was any sort of developer fees, which Jerry's proposal included in a phased-in fashion designed to build up a reserve that would help poorer communities to carry out rehabbing of existing housing in lieu of new affordable housing construction.

That appears to have disappeared in the final version of the bill, with a much weaker and more restricted 1.5% fee covering only those projects that would not provide for ANY low- or moderate-income housing. (See Jerry's blog post here, citing the Ledger story on the bill's passage.)

As it now stands, 71 poorer communities would be completely exempted from affordable housing obligations. Would that mean that parts of some towns like Plainfield would grow increasingly seedier for want of rehabbing funds? We would have to see how that plays out.

No one will weep over the disappearance of COAH, but a whole lot of compromisin' has gone into the journey to this horizon -- consider that the original 27-page bill ballooned to 107 pages in its final iteration. Such is sausage-making and New Jersey is hardly unique in this regard.

If Christie DOES sign the bill, will Jerry's name be on it and will he be in the photo next to the governor, or will he be crowded out of the picture by Lesniak?

As Jerry has to be contemplating the end of a long legislative career, it's all about respect.

Will Jerry finally get some?


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

And why should Jerry be "contemplating the end of a long legislative career"? More achievements to come, I'm sure.

Rob said...

Jerry will get what he has put out there.
I am guessing that ought to be quite a scary thought for Jerry.