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Re: Councilman gets ethics questions on the ballot
#1
Newbie
Newbie


Pay-to-Play Reform a Step Closer

Jersey City is another step closer to Pay-to-Play Reform now that Councilman Steven Fulop has successfully led the petition signature drive. The proposed Contractor Pay-to-Play Reform Ordinance will now be sent directly to the Jersey City Municipal Council which will vote whether or not to introduce it for a second reading. If the council does not introduce the ordinance, it will be placed on the November 4th ballot as a public referendum and the public will decide.

This proposed ?state of the art? ordinance was written by Civic JC with the assistance of Citizen?s Campaign, NJ Appleseed and the Hoboken-based citizens? group People for Open Government. We believe that this reform ordinance is a giant step forward in not only reducing conflicts of interest in awarding city contracts, but also in moving forward ethics reform in Jersey City and ultimately, reducing the costs passed on to taxpayers.

Back in June 2006, our first efforts at advancing pay-to-play reform fell on deaf ears. Now, a little over two years later, a reform ordinance has successfully moved forward thanks to a lone Council member?s steadfast advocacy, the thousands of Jersey City voters (who signed the petitions), and the ongoing (and growing) support from numerous candidates for Mayor and Council in next May?s municipal election.

Civic JC welcomes the endorsement of this initiative by both our elected officials and those candidates planning to run for office in the 2009 municipal election. We extend to all an invitation to meet and discuss the Contracting Pay-to-Play Reform Ordinance and other reform initiatives. Working together for meaningful reform will make Jersey City municipal government more accessible, responsive and accountable to the residents.

Valerio Luccio
President, Civic JC

Posted on: 2008/7/25 19:18
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Re: Citizens' Campaign rates political health of JC
#2
Newbie
Newbie


to clarify, the deficiency is - "no local ban on political fundraising in government offices"

Quote:

Civic groups rate political health of Jersey City
Saturday, February 23, 2008
By KEN THORBOURNE
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

....... included no local ban on political fundraising for government officers.....



for more information and to view the study see - JERSEY CITY CITIZENS? RIGHTS & RESPONSIBILITIES SURVEY

Dan

Posted on: 2008/2/23 15:08
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Support Redevelopment Pay to Play Reform
#3
Newbie
Newbie


Councilman Steven Fulop, Ward E has announced that he will introduce a Redevelopment Pay to Play Reform ordinance at the January 10, 2006 meeting of the City Council.

The proposed ordinance, endorsed and supported by Civic JC would ban political contributions to local candidates and political parties from developers and their professionals.

New Jersey law grants local officials tremendous authority to make permanent and long reaching decisions in the redevelopment process including the taking of private land through eminent domain, irrevocably changing the use and zoning of land, and awarding tax abatements and other financial incentives. Redevelopment agreements have a profound impact on the quality of life of Jersey City citizens and the financial future of the city. It is critical that this powerful process be protected from the undue influence of political and campaign contributions. We hope to sever the link between redevelopment agreements and political contributions.

Please contact and express your support for the Redevelopment Pay to Play Reform ordinance. We ask that you contact your ward councilperson, the three at large council members and Mayor Healy by email and / or fax. We have provided below, both email and fax numbers along with a sample message that can be cut and pasted into an email to send.

Thank you for your time, effort and concern.

Mayor Jerramiah Healy: MayorHealy@jcnj.org, Fax: (201) 547-4288

Council President Mariano Vega: mariano@jcnj.org
Councilman at Large Peter Brennan: brennanp@jcnj.org
Councilwoman at Large Willie Flood: floodw@jcnj.org

Ward A Councilman Michael Sottolano: sottolanom@jcnj.org
Ward B Councilwoman Mary Spinello: spinellom@jcnj.org
Ward C Councilman Steve Lipski: lipskis@jcnj.org
Ward D Councilman William Gaughan: bgaughan@hudsoncountynj.org
Ward E Councilman Steve Fulop: fulops@jcnj.org
Ward F Councilwoman Viola Richardson: richardsonv@jcnj.org

Sample correspondence:

Dear [ ] :

I support the Redevelopment Pay to Play Reform ordinance being put forth by Councilman Steven Fulop and endorsed by Civic JC.

While redevelopment can bring about positive changes in our city, there is a tremendous potential for abuse, corruption and conflict of interest throughout the process.

The proposed ordinance bans political contributions to local candidates and political parties by developers seeking redevelopment agreements. The main purpose of the law is to protect the integrity of the redevelopment process which is powerful and an irrevocable.

Please introduce and approve the Redevelopment Pay to Play Reform ordinance.

[Add additional comments]

Name
Address
Phone number

Posted on: 2007/1/4 0:37

Edited by CivicJC on 2007/1/4 0:57:53
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
#4
Newbie
Newbie


Support Redevelopment Pay to Play Reform

Councilman Steven Fulop, Ward E has announced that he will introduce a Redevelopment Pay to Play Reform ordinance at the January 10, 2006 meeting of the City Council.

The proposed ordinance, endorsed and supported by Civic JC would ban political contributions to local candidates and political parties from developers and their professionals.

New Jersey law grants local officials tremendous authority to make permanent and long reaching decisions in the redevelopment process including the taking of private land through eminent domain, irrevocably changing the use and zoning of land, and awarding tax abatements and other financial incentives. Redevelopment agreements have a profound impact on the quality of life of Jersey City citizens and the financial future of the city. It is critical that this powerful process be protected from the undue influence of political and campaign contributions. We hope to sever the link between redevelopment agreements and political contributions.

Please contact and express your support for the Redevelopment Pay to Play Reform ordinance. We ask that you contact your ward councilperson, the three at large council members and Mayor Healy by email and / or fax. We have provided below, both email and fax numbers along with a sample message that can be cut and pasted into an email to send.

Thank you for your time, effort and concern.

Mayor Jerramiah Healy: MayorHealy@jcnj.org, Fax: (201) 547-4288

Council President Mariano Vega: mariano@jcnj.org
Councilman at Large Peter Brennan: brennanp@jcnj.org
Councilwoman at Large Willie Flood: floodw@jcnj.org

Ward A Councilman Michael Sottolano: sottolanom@jcnj.org
Ward B Councilwoman Mary Spinello: spinellom@jcnj.org
Ward C Councilman Steve Lipski: lipskis@jcnj.org
Ward D Councilman William Gaughan: bgaughan@hudsoncountynj.org
Ward E Councilman Steve Fulop: fulops@jcnj.org
Ward F Councilwoman Viola Richardson: richardsonv@jcnj.org

Sample correspondence:

Dear [ ] :

I support the Redevelopment Pay to Play Reform ordinance being put forth by Councilman Steven Fulop and endorsed by Civic JC.

While redevelopment can bring about positive changes in our city, there is a tremendous potential for abuse, corruption and conflict of interest throughout the process.

The proposed ordinance bans political contributions to local candidates and political parties by developers seeking redevelopment agreements. The main purpose of the law is to protect the integrity of the redevelopment process which is powerful and an irrevocable.

Please introduce and approve the Redevelopment Pay to Play Reform ordinance.

[Add additional comments]

Name
Address
Phone number

Posted on: 2007/1/4 0:35

Edited by CivicJC on 2007/1/4 0:55:11
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Re: NYT Op-Ed on apathy
#5
Newbie
Newbie


Yes there is something we can do about it. Below is our unpublished response to Ms. Stapinskis's OpEd. Later this week, we will post some more information on what you and others can do that will take very little effort.

Dan

Quote:

pazman wrote:
I guess it's a good idea stop corruption in the state, but what can we really do about it?

Nothing ever changes anyway.



December 11, 2006

Dear Editor,

Helene Stapinski?s OP-ED, ?Shrugging All the Way? certainly describes the depressing performance of Jersey City (and Hudson County) municipal governments and elected officials who, as she says, refuse to tell right from wrong. Public apathy is displayed in dismal voter turnouts that allow the current political system to continue through the manipulation of voter blocs.

Where we believe she falls short is that there are people ?yelling at council meetings and writing letters and demanding change? and there have been protests and rallies demanding change. Over the past few years, there have been rallies for crime issues, artists live and work district, historic preservation, open space and parks. The rallies generally have resulted in elected officials showing support and voting yes, only to reverse themselves later or impede the very issues and projects they allege to support.

Civic JC believes that it is not the changing cast of political characters, but the political infrastructure that needs to be changed. We are working to address the lack of accountability, openness, transparency, checks and balances and enforceable rules; conflicts of interest and the influence of campaign finance. We have proposed a model Redevelopment Pay-to-Play ordinance in an effort to remove campaign contributions from influencing the redevelopment process in Jersey City which currently sees elected officials taking campaign contributions from the very same developers and their professionals that apply for irrevocable rezoning and property tax abatement agreements. We have proposed adding the state?s statute on public official conflict of interest to every municipal body and board and we have proposed a model Open Appointments ordinance to open up the process of appointing citizens to municipal boards.

Daniel Levin, president
Civic JC
www.civicjc.org


Civic JC is a non-partisan, community-based initiative, designed to promote good government practices and a comprehensive, positive vision for the future of Jersey City as a ?World Class City?. Civic JC is web based at www.civicjc.org.

Posted on: 2007/1/2 17:09
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Press Release - Apply State Conflict of Interest Statute to Municipal Boards
#6
Newbie
Newbie


Civic JC
PO Box 248
Jersey City, NJ 07303-0248

Contact:

Daniel Levin, president, dlevin@civicjc.org

Andrew Hubsch, vice president, ahubsch@civicjc.org


Press Release

November 28, 2006

CIVIC JC ASKS ETHICS BOARD TO APPLY STATE CONFLICT
OF INTEREST STATUTE TO ALL MUNICIPAL BOARDS


Jersey City, NJ - Civic JC has submitted a two part request to the Jersey City Ethical Standards Board.

The first part of the request is for the Ethical Standards Board to determine if a specific vote of the Planning Board violated N.J.S.A. 40A:9-22 N.J.S.A 40A:9-22.5(d) which states:

?No local government officer or employee shall act in his official capacity in any matter where he, a member of his immediate family, or a business organization in which he has an interest, has a direct or indirect financial or personal involvement that might reasonably be expected to impair his objectivity or independence of judgment?

The second part of the related request is for the Ethical Standards Board to clearly determine whether the entire statute provision cited is applicable to all sitting city board members, and have an appropriate amendment added to all local board rules, which parallels the state statute for the purpose of clarity.

Daniel Levin, Civic JC president said, ?we must implement enforceable rules to prevent conflicts of interests that could distort municipal board decisions that especially in the case of the Planning Board are irrevocable and involve billions of dollars in development.?

Civic JC is a non-partisan, community-based initiative, designed to promote a comprehensive, positive vision for the future of Jersey City as a ?World Class City? and promote good government practices.

Civic JC's request to the Ethical Standards Board may be viewed here - civicjc.org

Posted on: 2006/11/29 15:07
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Tale of Two Warehouses....
#7
Newbie
Newbie


This is a tale of two warehouses.

The Jersey City administration is promoting a misguided plan to build a vast new warehouse on the west side, while it surrenders the 111 First Street warehouse in the Power House Arts district to rapacious development. The result is that a throwback industrial zone is being created on the Hackensack River where is does not belong, while the invaluable historic warehouse district on the Hudson River, with its potential for generating tourist dollars and jobs is being dismembered. The proposed AMB warehouse on the PJP site is a vivid example of "the wrong place at the wrong time." The abandonment of the PAD is exhibit A for the mind-boggling failure of vision that characterizes this administration.

The Power House Arts District should be the center city "destination" that Jersey City lacks, and needs desperately. It should be the place where people come to find art and entertainment and will also discover a sense of the unique history and the character of this place. This vision requires protecting the majestic warehouse buildings there, nurturing the core community already living there and working to make the dream a reality. This course is charted very clearly in a detailed report by the prestigious Urban Land Institute; a report commissioned, paid for and repeatedly approved by the same politicians who are now abandoning it. It calls for a reuse of historic industrial buildings that has been at the heart of the urban renaissance in Minneapolis, Lowell, Albany and dozens of other cities.

That is the vision. The reality is that our city government is rubber stamping the march of developers from the Hudson River to the historic districts. Their plan for PAD is to tear down the historic buildings and erect high rise towers surrounded by sterile concrete "empty space." In 2004, Paul Goldberger, architecture critic for the New Yorker magazine called Newport "a dreary assemblage" and "an incoherent splatter of buildings." This is what will replace the irreplaceable. With the ink barely dry on the settlement with New Gold Equities to build towers up to 60 stories high at the 111/110 First Street sites, another 40 story tower is now proposed for the nearby Manischewitz property. The city promised no "domino effect", but the dominoes are already falling. Jersey City's best shot at greatness is being squandered.

Over to the Westside. A huge tract of undeveloped land under the Pulaski Skyway is about to be developed. The Westside also has a waterfront, on the Hackensack River, which like the Hudson is a natural magnet for residential and small business development. The site known as PJP and adjacent sites should include residential and small business development suitable to a twenty-first century urban environment. It should be anchored by a river walkway and significant adjacent open space. There is a pressing need for active recreation fields, and this is the place for it.

The city's plan is to put a vast high cube warehouse there which will bring some jobs, but few for the local unskilled workers who need them most. It will also bring nightmare big truck traffic headaches. It's a vision for city planning half a century behind the times.

Also, troubling is the division among citizens on the rezoning of the PJP site that emerged at the August Council meeting. Some groups support the City's plan citing jobs and tax revenue; however most citizens living near the site prefer residential, small business and recreational use. CIVIC JC opposes the AMB high cube warehouse proposal. The promise of jobs appears to be a largely empty one. Tax revenues and jobs would also come from more appropriate development. Citizens need to get together and seek common ground and the right direction, because our government is leading us in the wrong one.

www.CivicJC.org

Posted on: 2006/9/26 17:45
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Re: Redevelopment Pay-to-Play Ordinance
#8
Newbie
Newbie


There is a disclosure requirement for professionals whose services are utiized by developer/redevelopers in the application processes.

Key Components:

* Prohibits contributions to local elected officials, the municipal political parties, and county political parties from developers from the time notice is given (or 1 year prior, whichever is shorter) through the completion of the redevelopment project.

* Requires that developers and their professionals disclose all political contributions.

* Individuals who break the law, or try to circumvent it are banned from receiving redevelopment agreements for 4 years.

Daniel Levin, president
Civic JC

Posted on: 2006/6/18 13:55
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Redevelopment Pay-to-Play Ordinance
#9
Newbie
Newbie


Civic JC
PO Box 248
Jersey City, NJ 07303-0248
www.civicjc.org



for Immediate Release

June 15, 2006

Contact: Daniel Levin, president, 201.792-3386, dlevin@civicjc.org
Andrew Hubsch, vice president, 201.432.7615, ahubsch@civicjc.org


CIVIC JC AND JERSEY CITY CITIZENS URGE THE JERSEY CITY MUNICIPAL COUNCIL ON PASSAGE OF REDEVELOPMENT PAY-TO-PLAY REFORM ORDINANCE

Jersey City, NJ ? Civic JC and Jersey City citizens presented a model redevelopment pay-to-play ordinance to the Jersey City Municipal Council at Wednesday evening?s council meeting, June 14, 2006.

Andrew Hubsch, vice president for Civic JC, said, ?The ordinance that we are presenting to the Council tonight will allow Jersey City to ensure that major redevelopment decisions are solely based on the public?s interest, and not as a reward to deep-pocketed campaign contributors and politically-connected players. For too long, our good city has labored under a cloud, and constituents have questioned if campaign dollars dictate the political agenda. Finally, upon adoption of this important ordinance, Jersey City municipal government will declare freedom from even the appearance of conflicting interests, re-affirming that the ballot box is the only proper instrument for influencing government.?

Daniel Levin, Civic JC president said, ?Protecting the integrity of the Jersey City?s redevelopment plans from the undue influence of large campaign contributors is essential to protecting the quality of life of Jersey City?s citizens and the financial future of the city.?

The proposed ordinance would ban contributions from developers who wish to do redevelopment within Jersey City from one year prior to the negotiations through the completion of the redevelopment agreement.

This model law was development by a team of top legal experts, and is advanced by the Citizens? Campaign. Across the state, members of the The Citizens? Campaign are presenting legislations similar to this in their hometowns. The City of Asbury Park was the first municipality to adopt this ordinance. Similar ordinances have also passed in Belmar, Hightstown, Hamilton, West Windsor, and the County of Mercer.

Civic JC is a non-partisan, community-based initiative, designed to promote a comprehensive, positive vision for the future of Jersey City as a ?World Class City?. Through the www.CivicJC.org informational portal, Civic JC provides information and policy initiatives designed to make Jersey City a world class place to live, work and visit. Civic JC expects to concentrate on efforts that will improve the transparency of decision making of Jersey City municipal government.

Posted on: 2006/6/15 4:07
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Re: Civic JC - June e-Newsletter
#10
Newbie
Newbie


Civic JC will be making a presentation during the open speaking portion of the City Council meeting on Wednesday, June 14th, City Hall.

Please come out and support efforts to make Jersey City government open and transparent.

Posted on: 2006/6/14 4:58
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Civic JC - June e-Newsletter
#11
Newbie
Newbie


Civic JC e-Newsletter
Volume 1 issue 1
June 2006

Civic JC has announced its incorporation as a new, non-partisan, community-based initiative, designed to promote a comprehensive, positive vision for the future of Jersey City as a ?World Class City?.

Established as a 501(c)(4), non-profit, Civic JC expects to complement and support existing Jersey City community organizations by actively engaging in lobbying and advocacy initiatives consistent with its mission statement.

Through the establishment of a www.CivicJC.org informational portal, we hope that Civic JC will become recognized as an objective and recognized community resource for information and policy initiatives designed to make Jersey City a world class place to live, work and visit. Civic JC expects to concentrate on efforts regarding issues affecting Jersey City residents and to improve the transparency of decision making of Jersey City municipal government.

One of the initial initiatives of Civic JC is the establishment of our ?e-Rights?-

e ? Rights

The people of Jersey City have the right to get all information about city government directly from the city?s website. The website must be user-friendly, scrupulously maintained, and updated to provide current and accurate information. All city forms must be available and printable from the website, and the website must allow citizens to conduct all appropriate business on line. Our e-rights fall into three areas:

1. Information

All city ordinances and descriptions of city agencies, including location and hours, policies, and rules should be online. All municipal board, commission, and Council agendas and minutes, as well as reports, fees, audits, budgets and planning studies should be posted in a timely manner. All permit applications, forms, and their instructions should be available for easy downloading. All public notices, currently published in newspapers, should also be posted and indexed online. The municipal website should fully comply with Sunshine Laws.

2. Services

The city?s website should provide a clear, well-organized index and guide to citizens requiring city services. Online inquiries and business initiated by citizens should receive a timely, pertinent response.

3. Access

City e-information should be easy to find and well-organized. All municipal forms should be available as fill-in PDF forms with ?document rights.? Citizens should be able to file forms electronically and receive confirmations online.


Open Space and Recreation

As you may be aware, an open and space and recreation consulting firm, T&M Associates is currently drafting an open space master plan for Jersey City which is scheduled to be completed in mid-July. Civic JC will be submitting our own plan for consideration by the consultant featuring targeted recommendations on how best to meet out many open space needs. Our board members have been attending all of the public meetings held by T&M, and are getting input from as many relevant citizens? organizations as possible. We anticipate making our plan available for review by subscribers in mid-June. If you have ideas to contribute to this effort, please contact Peter Delman at pdelman@pingry.org.

Please encourage your friends and neighbors to subscribe as well. The success of this organization is dependent on reaching a broad base of interested citizens.


Daniel Levin
CivicJC
www.civicjc.org

Posted on: 2006/6/11 21:24
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