After more than 13 years of public service, Kearny Councilman Albino Cardoso is preparing to resume life as a private citizen.
That will happen Dec. 31, when he completes his term of office as First Ward representative on the town governing body. Cardoso opted not to seek re-election and his replacement will be newcomer and fellow Democrat George Zapata.
“I feel very humble and thankful for the confidence my neighbors in the First Ward have given me for all the years they have elected me to office,” Cardoso said.
After having struggled with some health-related issues for the past couple of years, however, Cardoso said that at age 68, he’s had to slow down and decided that he “should take a little more time for myself. But I will continue to give my support to the mayor and the council in ways they feel I can help.”
In that context, he said, “I am willing and ready to do anything in my power but in a lower profile.”
With his newfound leisure time, Cardoso figures to spend more time visiting his native Portugal and, in particular, reconnecting with family and friends in his hometown, Fornos de Algodres, while continuing to keep up ties to his adopted Kearny where he’s spent nearly half a century.
And he’s proud to look back at a legacy of achievements “we accomplished together on the council and with the support of the mayor, for the entire town and for the First Ward especially.”
“The major thing,” Cardoso said, is “how Kearny has grown as old factories and empty lots have given way to new apartments and stores. It makes a big difference for the future of Kearny. All the new development generates more revenue and has helped keep our (municipal) taxes stable the last six years.”
Granting tax abatements led to the construction of hundreds of new apartments along Passaic Avenue, Cardoso said. “PILOTs (Payments in Lieu of Taxation)
Pilots help us. Without it, we may not have had so much development. You always have to compromise. But things evolve. Whatever was good 10 years ago doesn’t mean the same thing applies now so probably no more 30-year abatements but probably something less.”
“I’d like to see the rest of Passaic Avenue (at the south end of town) redevelopment finished,” Cardoso said. “My hope is the developer and town reach an agreement (on a PILOT and other issues). Litigation only makes us spend much money and nobody wins.”
Other milestones Cardoso mentioned include the repaving of many First Ward streets, refurbishing playgrounds and creation of a new Miglin Park play area at Johnston and Sheridan avenues, construction of a fieldhouse at Veterans’ Field and reconfiguring the parking lot behind the American Legion and VFW posts off Belgrove Drive to accommodate overnight resident parking.
“We also used UEZ (Urban Enterprise Zone) funds to negotiate a deal to acquire land for overnight resident parking on Kearny Avenue by Duke Street,” he noted.
And First Ward residents recall how Cardoso fought six years to overcome cumbersome state regulations to get a traffic light installed at Kearny and Wilson avenues, a difficult intersection for motorists to navigate.
But topping his list is the installation of 4-way-stop signs at various heavily-trafficked intersections along Highland Avenue at Bergen, Wilson, Woodland and Afton; plus Maple and Afton; Chestnut and Hoyt; and Devon and Woodlawn. “These all help slow down traffic and make our streets safer,” he said.
He’s also proud of the installation of a monument in Riverbank Park calling attention to the civic contributions made by members of Kearny’s native Portuguese population.
Among Cardoso’s many fans is Second Ward Councilman Peter Santana, who recalled how after he was named to replace the late Councilman Jonathan Giordano in 2017, it was Cardoso who “reached out to me and offered to be there for me anytime I needed help. He really led me through the ropes…. He was always thinking of the residents and sometimes he’d go after department heads but only with the thought that residents should be treated better. People are especially proud of his fight for 4-way stops and, in particular, how he was after our engineer to push the county to get a sign on Bergen Avenue which is under the county’s jurisdiction.”
Cardoso, who retired recently as maintenance supervisor at R.P. Baking (the former Pechter’s Bakery) in Harrison, sat for several years as a member of Kearny’s Board of Adjustment. He was also a commissioner on the Kearny Urban Enterprise Zone Board, was the council’s liaison for the Municipal Court, chaired the Buildings and Grounds Committee and served on virtually all council committees.
He continues as a parishioner of at St. Cecelia Church, Kearny.
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.