The embattled Jersey City councilwoman who was caught on video in an obvious hit-and-run listened to almost 5 hours of public remark calling on her to resign Wednesday evening. Then, she spoke.
“I am not resigning,” Amy DeGise stated. “I remain committed to this position on the council.”
DeGise is the daughter of Thomas DeGise, who’s each the Hudson County government and a frontrunner within the Democratic political machine. She works at a county highschool, was elected to run the social gathering’s county committee for the previous a number of years (earlier than lately stepping down amid a power-sharing deal amongst political factions), and was elected to the town council on the slate of Mayor Steven Fulop.
On the morning of July nineteenth, she was caught on surveillance video as her black SUV slammed right into a bicyclist who had run a crimson mild. Within the video, DeGise by no means stops; her car drives out of view with out showing to decelerate. She arrived at police headquarters to report the crash six hours later and was charged with leaving the scene and with “action in case of an accident” – a technical time period for a hit-and-run.
She has by no means publicly apologized to her constituents or the bike owner.
“July 19th and the weeks that have followed have been some of the most difficult, traumatic times of my life,” DeGise stated from the council’s dais, the place plexiglass shields put in within the pandemic coincidentally created a barrier between the governing physique and the overcapacity crowd. “I am grateful that no one was seriously injured and I feel horrible about that situation.”
However she stated the court docket course of should be allowed to play out after which went on to complain about how she’s been handled.
About 100 people spoke on the assembly, and all however a handful requested that she resign. Essentially the most emotional second of the evening got here when Kenneth Bandes of Households for Secure Streets held up a photograph of his daughter, who was run over and killed by a bus on the age of 19.
He responded to a remark made by Thomas DeGise, who has criticized the complaints and press protection about his daughter.
“The councilmember’s father seems to think that those who care about traffic safety are radicals,” Bandes stated. “My only radical agenda tonight is only to protect others from the heartache we experienced. The councilmember should step down and stay off the road.”
Many audio system instructed the council that they had misplaced belief in DeGise, and that an individual who would break the legislation shouldn’t be ready to make legal guidelines for the citizenry. DeGise’s case has not but gone to court docket. The case has been moved from Hudson County, the place she’s so politically linked, to Essex County, one other Democratic stronghold.
“Her behavior shows a disregard for human life,” Molly Sales space, a longtime Jersey City resident who defined she had by no means spoken at a council assembly earlier than, stated. “Apparently it needs to be said: Valuing human life is a necessary qualification of public officials.”
Within the time because the crash, regional information shops have dug up a sequence of embarrassing incidents from DeGise’s previous. She’s racked up dozens of parking tickets since 2005, and 9 had been nonetheless unpaid as of early this month, the Jersey Journal reported. That’s a part of a sample of suspensions, crashes and court docket no-shows, in accordance to the paper. Her automobile was towed from a no-standing zone in Hoboken in 2019, however not earlier than she tried to persuade a cop to depart her with only a ticket, and instructed him that she was a councilwoman, in accordance to physique digital camera footage revealed by Hudson County View. One Jersey Journal report discovered she’d left a $3,000 animal hospital invoice unpaid till a court docket garnished her wages. The paper additionally reported she lived in an reasonably priced housing complicated regardless of making about $200,000 a 12 months (although that wouldn’t be a violation if she’s paid market charges for the unit).
With DeGise refusing to step down, Jersey City voters solely have one choice for eradicating her — a signature petition, which would wish 25% of registered voters who reside within the district to set off a recall election. And since DeGise is an at-large councilmember, her “district” is the complete metropolis. It’s estimated they would wish 42,523 signatures, in accordance to an evaluation by New Jersey Monitor. That’s virtually as many people who voted there within the final gubernatorial election.