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Re: Only two major donors among 39 'designated developers'
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Group pushes ordinance on pay-to-play
Monday, January 08, 2007
By KEN THORBOURNE
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

HOBOKEN - A non-partisan civic group is pushing for the city to adopt an ordinance that would extend pay-to-play prohibitions to developers.

The proposal is very similar to a proposal made last week by Jersey City Councilman Steve Fulop for his city.

Both ordinances would essentially bar developers from contributing to local politicians once the city decides to study an area for redevelopment, until a developer is chosen and the project is complete.

"We're not an anti-development group," said Eric S. Kurta, president of the Hoboken-based People for Open Government. "We are just curious about the city's intentions when it comes to areas in need of redevelopment."

He added that when a city announces a redevelopment study, it has become "a mechanism for raising campaign funds as much as it is for rehabilitating under-utilized sites."

Fulop wants the City Council to adopt his proposal in the next few weeks. The members of People for Open Government are hoping someone from the Hoboken City Council will introduce a similar ordinance, but if not, volunteers from the organization are collecting petition signatures of registered Hoboken voters. Kurta said the group needs 1,079 valid petition signatures to get the proposal on the May ballot. If passed, the measure would be in place for three years, he said.

In 2004, the group successfully passed a "pay-to-play" ordinance banning political contributions from vendors competing for city contracts.

Hoboken Mayor David Roberts didn't return phone calls to comment.

Posted on: 2007/1/8 14:18
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Re: Only two major donors among 39 'designated developers'
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There are many ways around being listed as an individual major donor - which amount is that anyway, because corruption can be small-time, too.

Posted on: 2007/1/6 16:18
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Re: Only two major donors among 39 'designated developers'
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Amen.

Posted on: 2007/1/5 4:57
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Re: Only two major donors among 39 'designated developers'
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The article does not define "major" and implies that these major donors contributed to the county party which if it then flows to local candidates is referred to as "wheeling" which the proposed ordinance would ban.

In the main article on this initiative, a developer is quoted as contributing to all of our city council members. Now, I might consider this developer a "major donor".

Where the articles came up a little short, is in describing the huge financial benefits that developers can be granted in the redevelopment process, ie. tax abatements. If every councilmember receives a campaign contribution from a developer do you think these councilmembers should then be able to vote on granting the developer tax incentives?

GP, please support his ordinance and send, email, call or fax, your council person, the three at large council members and Mayor Healy.

Posted on: 2007/1/4 21:41
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Re: Only two major donors among 39 'designated developers'
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Hi Steve

Can you set the record straight?

Best,
GrovePath

Posted on: 2007/1/4 20:37
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Re: Only two major donors among 39 'designated developers'
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Grovepath-
Thanks for posting these articles. I will reach out to the Jersey Journal as this particular sidebar article is not close to accurate

Thanks again
Steve

Posted on: 2007/1/4 14:27
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Only two major donors among 39 'designated developers'
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Only two major donors among 39 'designated developers'

Jersey Journal - Jan 04

Jersey City has 39 "designated developers," according to Jersey City Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Robert Antonicello.

The agency's seven-member board - all of whom are appointed by the mayor - designates developers to build on land the city has deemed an "area in need of redevelopment."

Normally, there's no bidding process involved, and owning the property gives you a leg up on the competition, Antonicello said.

A check last night of the state's Election Law Enforcement Commission records revealed no glaring connection between campaign contributions and becoming a "designated developer."

ELEC records show, for example, that Lowell Harwood - managing partner of the firm chosen to build a mixed-use two-tower project in Journal Square - actually makes most of his contributions to Republicans. Those donations don't go very far in Democrat-controlled Hudson County.

But two Hudson heavy hitters do make frequent contributions to the party in power in Hudson County: The Lefrak Organization, which is behind much of the development on the Jersey City waterfront, and Metrovest Equities, the Manhattan firm rehabbing the old Jersey City Medical Center.

JOURNAL STAFF

Posted on: 2007/1/4 7:42
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