8% Tax Hike in West New York!
Rafael Román Martel
In a local Democratic meeting held on June 9, 2008, West New York Mayor Sal Vega announced a new tax hike for West New York residents of 8%. He also committed himself to oust the current Assemblyman from the seat in order to place one of his associates. One year ago, Sal, commonly known as Sal “Chemical” Vega, swore that he would place himself in the middle of Bergenline Avenue to stop the Cuban Parade from passing through West New York. This year he marched on with a wooden face (cara de palo) before the astonished eyes of Hudson County residents with a Colombian hat, surrounded by mafiosi-looking Cubans whose loyalty to “Chemical” Sal is strengthened by their high-paying jobs at the expense of the hard-working people of West New York. Just before a Democratic convention and presidential election, “Chemical” declared his commitment to “win elections” in Hudson County, and proclaimed as his “good friend and political ally” Nicholas Sacco, the mayor of North Bergen.
Sal “Chemical” Vega”, notorious for abusing his power and going after his political rivals with malice and total disregard for the consequences of his destructive actions.
It’s public record that some of Vega’s closest allies have donated thousands to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Vega was one of Hillary’s more fervent and ignored supporters. Vega’s words have woken up the hard-working people of West New York. The Latin community has worked very hard to keep their homes and live in dignity in this town where the Cuban community is very strong. Now they’ll have to pay 8% more in Taxes and face a budget deficit that will raise their taxes even more while Vega’s cronies earn six figure salaries at the expense of the residents of the town, many of whom are still unaware of the tax hike that will hit them like a thunderbolt in a matter of days.
While neighboring Union City and adjacent cities flourish, West New York has fallen into its worst period. In less than two years in power Vega has mismanaged the city budget, placing his cronies in executive paying jobs and taking care of HIS business. He has conducted the dirtiest campaign in Hudson County history against Union City populist Mayor Brian Stack. He has denied a permit for his own people to celebrate their heritage. To put this into perspective, just imagine a Puerto Rican denying a permit to the Boricuas for the Puerto Rican Day Parade. Or an Irishman denying the Irish in New York a St. Patrick’s Day. Or a Jew prohibiting Jews to celebrate Hanukkah.
Swastica on the bus stop at 60 Street and Bergenline Avenue, a block from City Hall
Huge potholes that have never been seen in West New York, swastika signs in Bus Stops and other spots around the city, dirty streets and higher crime: that’s what Sal Vega has brought to West New York. Now he promotes the division of the Democratic Party in Hudson County and his own countryman nickname him “El Químico” or “Botella Sal” in the streets of this great city next to the Big Apple.
Vega has the distinction of being surrounded by thugs who have been photographed with him looking at people with menacing faces similar to Fidel Castro’s killers or Fulgencio Batista’s executioners. A once promising politician, Vega has awakened the rage of people in the streets of West New York. He alienated his core. He has betrayed the man who placed him in power, Congressman Albio Sires. He embraces arrogance and incompetence. He’s destroying West New York. And himself.
I met a young and vibrant politician named Sal Vega years ago. He was cordial and charismatic then. I learned that he was from my hometown: Cárdenas. I felt proud. I have no idea what turns a up-and-coming politician into a shadow of what he might have been. It must be a dark and powerful influence. There is no other explanation for Sal Vega’s fall into the bottom of the political toilet.
The citizens of West New York are the ones that have the democratic responsibility to close this sad chapter in its history that is ruining their city and their lives.