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Re: Support Redevelopment Pay-to-Play Reform - 9/9, City Hall, on agenda, public discussion, up for vote
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The first video was filmed on 09-09-09



The next three videos are the Council and Caucus meetings from January 2007, the first time the Pay to Play ordinance was introduced and defeated.






Posted on: 2009/9/11 2:32
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Re: Support Redevelopment Pay-to-Play Reform - 9/9, City Hall, on agenda, public discussion, up for
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Jersey City's redeveloper anti pay-to-play ordinance has passed 8-0-1 with councilwoman Willie Flood abstaining. Amy Sara Clark


The vote came after more than an hour of public comment in which many people said the the council shouldn't pass several amendments that were added to the ordinance at last night's City Council caucus meeting.

The original ordinance barred developers from making campaign contributions while negotiating to be named the "designated" redeveloper for a project. Developers who violate the ordinance would be disqualified from engaging in redevelopment agreements in Jersey City for four years.

But several council members thought the ordinance was too vague concerning the period that developers would be barred from contributing.

To address that problem, last night the caucus changed the ordinance to say that developers could not give donations during the three months before applying to be a redeveloper for a particular site.

The council also removed a clause that specified that citizens could sue redevelopers and candidates who violate the ordinance to compel them to comply.

Last night several pro-pay-to-play activists said they were ok with the changes, but apparently they had a change of heart, because tonight more than a half dozen people asked the council to vote down the amendments during the public portion of the meeting.

"I think it's clear that there's overwhelming opposition to watering down pay-to-play," said Aaron Morrill, a founding member of the good government group CivicJC. "Any money from developers that taints the city is bad. Do not amend this. Keep it the way the ordinance was originally drafted, Vote for reform, I beg of you."

But many people also said that whether they passed the amendments or not, the council should approve the ordinance tonight.

Read all of the public comments on The Jersey Journal's twitter page.

The mayor also issued a statement supporting the ordinance.

In the end, the council approved the amendments 8-0-1, with Flood abstaining and then passed the ordinance by the same margin.

Flood said she agreed that the ordinance "is step in the right direction" but said she needed more time to look into the ordinance further.

After ordinance sponsor Councilman Steve Fulop cast the deciding vote, he said, the legislation is not perfect but it's a step. "This city now ranks as the largest city in the state to have any sort of legislation like this," he said.

After the vote, Dan Levin, who ran for mayor last spring and is a founder of CivicJC, praised the vote, pointing out that the council "deserved credit for taking the bold step" of passing the ordinance, especially considering that it would impede their own ability to fund raise during the next election.

"I'm very pleased that the council came together," he said. "While I would have liked to have not seen the amendments, I think it's a substantive step in in moving the city ahead."

Posted on: 2009/9/10 5:12
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Re: Support Redevelopment Pay-to-Play Reform - 9/9, City Hall, on agenda, public discussion, up for
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Done!

thanks to all who came out to support redevelopment p2p reform!

Posted on: 2009/9/10 3:32
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Re: Support Redevelopment Pay-to-Play Reform - 9/9, City Hall, on agenda, public discussion, up for vote
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Hopefully there will be a large turnout tomorrow night at the council meeting - and at the rally in front of City Hall at 5:30 before the meeting. Council members need to be held accountable for whatever votes they cast tomorrow (up, down or table) and the best way to do that is to be there and be heard.

Posted on: 2009/9/9 0:12
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Support Redevelopment Pay-to-Play Reform - 9/9, City Hall, on agenda, public discussion, up for vote
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City Hall
280 Grove St.
Wednesday, September 9th, 6pm
Redevelopment Pay-to-Play Reform

Jersey City is experiencing a redevelopment boom of historic proportions that will shape our city for generations. New Jersey law grants local officials tremendous authority to make far-reaching decisions in the redevelopment process - including the taking of private land through eminent domain, changing the use and zoning of land, and awarding tax abatements and other financial incentives to re-developers. Such extraordinary powers should be exercised free from undue influence by contributors to campaigns and political organizations.

A proposed Redevelopment Pay-to-Play Reform Ordinance, drafted by Civic JC and Citizens’ Campaign, proposed by Councilman Fulop and unanimously introduced by the municipal council is on the Wednesday, September 9th council agenda for second reading, public hearing and possible vote.

This ordinance would ban contributions, during a sensitive negotiation period, from developers who wish to do redevelopment within Jersey City. The ban would last from one year prior to negotiations through the completion of the redevelopment agreement.

When it becomes law, the Redevelopment Ordinance will further expand ethics reform in Jersey City. It will help keep the public interest central to redevelopment decisions, and remove conflicts of interest, or the appearance of conflicts, from decision-makers.

Posted on: 2009/9/8 19:25
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
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Both Mayor Healy in comments to the Jersey Journal and his 2007 State of the City Address and Council President Vega in the Jersey Journal and at the 1/23/07 city council meeting - in opposing the proposed redevelopment pay to play reform ordinance, countered with supporting "Developer Disclosure" to improve transparency.

Developer Disclosure requires developers/redevelopers to disclose and list their campaign contributions in applications (developer designations, redevelopment plan ammendments, tax abatement applications).

More than a year later neither the Mayor or Council President has moved forward on their suggestion.

Now we have the contentious proposed Toll Bros ammendments to PAD with no disclosure of campaign contributions made.

Yes, one can refer to and research elec reports, however, it is common for Jersey City elected officals to be late (very late) on their filings.

While their are two public intiatives underway, maybe it is time for a large group to attend the next city council meeting and express continued displease about the progress of p2p reform and the lack of follow up on the counter proposal.

To sign up to speak at the April 9th meeting - call the office of the City Clerk at (201) 547-5150 either on April 7th or April 8th, in advance of the meeting.

Posted on: 2008/3/28 18:57
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
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After reading Councilwoman Mary Spinello's comments on objecting to the bridge loan to be prepared to acquire the Embankment, I recalled her very vocal opposition to this initiative.

What I did not note at the time - her father, John Spinello is a commissioner on the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency.

Posted on: 2007/3/14 20:15
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
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The developers First Amendment rights or ability to participate in the democratic process (as stated in Mayor Healy's pay to play response letter in the most recent Hudson Reporter) should not be maintained as mutually exclusive to the residents and citizens rights to representation by their elected officials.
The First Amendment guarantees free speech, not free action. When a contribution is made to a local representative in conjunction with a decision affecting the civic concern, the influence and appearance of conflicting interest must be acknowledged.
The lack of even the acknowledgement of the appearance of impropriety by the majority of the City Council is a mute witness to the political expediences routinely granted outside interests at the expense of the citizens of Jersey City.
To those who voted the ordinance down , Thee do protest too little!

Posted on: 2007/2/8 22:53
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Healy and Pay to Play - Earl Morgan
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Their dollars buy nothing? Yeah, right
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Earl Morgan

I t's finally out in the open.

Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy last month reduced the issue of awarding lucrative tax abatements to well-heeled real estate developers to its essential element - providing election campaign contributions to local politicians.

For years, Jersey City elected officials claimed their support for these tax breaks to fat cat developers is a way to provide desperately needed ratables to help the city keep residents' property taxes in check.

But Healy laid out the real reason in a recent letter to The Jersey Journal.

The letter was in response to a proposed ordinance by Councilman Steve Fulop that would bar campaign donations from companies that are in negotiations with the city for development projects. Healy said Fulop's measure "would give disproportionate advantage to the wealthy that have the means to finance their own campaigns."

So, there it is. An admission that local pols can't do without the developers' campaign funds.

And what about the other stated purpose, keeping property taxes in check?

Well, a year ago, Jersey City property owners - those of us without abatements - were hit with a 17 percent increase in municipal taxes. Adding insult to injury, the county tacked on an additional 9 percent increase.

These eye-popping tax hikes prompted one observer of the political scene to remark, "I don't know how much more of this prosperity we can stand."

Meanwhile, despite its vaunted building boom, Jersey City has the highest poverty level in Hudson County.

During his election campaign, Healy seemed to say he was no friend of tax abatements, particularly for waterfront projects. But since then he's reversed himself, saying abatements - including one for the LeFrak Organization's Shore Club development in Newport - are good for the city.

Soon after receiving that abatement, the developer's attorney, the Rev. Francis Schiller, sponsored a campaign bash for the mayor at the posh Liberty House Restaurant.

In his letter, Healy said: "Contributions to this mayor's campaign or the City Council members' campaigns has never been a criterion for the designation of developers or for the awarding of any professional service contracts."

If any of you readers believed that, there's a guy selling stock in a Bayonne platinum mine who wants to meet you.


© 2007 The Jersey Journal
© 2007 NJ.com All Rights Reserved.

Posted on: 2007/2/6 14:29
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
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Quote:

Gary wrote:
I will remember every one of the sleazy seven, and I predict that every one will get the extended vacation he/she deserves in 2009! It's time to take back our city.


I share the sentiments, but I think it is harder to get voters in the other wards upset about the overdevelopment that is happening downtown.

Posted on: 2007/1/30 4:26
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
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One of the several absurd arguments offered by the "sleazy seven" who declined to introduce this overdue ordinance boils down to, "The money isn't really for us. We turn a lot of it over to worthy community groups who really need it."

Anyone recall reading Junior Maldonado's campaign finance filings from the 2005 election cycle? (Tris McCall posted them on his site at the time.) The reports provided a textbook example of how a city councilperson can collect big bucks from "the development community" and then redistribute some of the cash to little leagues and the like. It's just a slightly more palatable version of the game that's been going on in Hudson County for a century. "Let me, Joe Councilman, take care of you. Just remember me on election day."

I will remember every one of the sleazy seven, and I predict that every one will get the extended vacation he/she deserves in 2009! It's time to take back our city.

Posted on: 2007/1/30 4:06
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
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Jc,very pretty protester.nice pictures.I love the look on Spinellos face while Fulop is talking.

Anybody want to guess what she is thinking.

Posted on: 2007/1/29 14:04
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
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Posted on: 2007/1/28 21:46
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
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City Council votes down reform ordinance
More than 200 come out for meeting

Ricardo Kaulessar - Hudson Reporter - Jan 23

Over 200 people packed into the City Council Chambers Wednesday night to watch a vote on a proposal to ban political contributions from developers who hope to do business with the city.

The ordinance, proposed by Councilman Steven Fulop, would not allow developers to contribute to city officials' campaigns if they want to enter a redevelopment agreement within the next year. If a developer is found to have violated the ordinance, the penalty is disqualification for four years from being designated as a developer by the agency.

The vote was 6-2 against the ordinance. City councilmen Michael Sottolano, Peter Brennan, Bill Gaughan, Mary Spinello, Willie Flood, and Steve Lipski voted against it. City Councilwoman Viola Richardson voted with Fulop, and there was an abstention from City Council President Mariano Vega.

The ordinance was meant to deal with the issue of "pay to play," the practice where people contribute to public officials in hopes of getting contracts. The correlation may be difficult to prove, but can be curtailed if there are laws in place to cut contributions.

Fulop's reform ordinance had won the enthusiasm of many of those in the audience on Wednesday, who felt it would help stem the influence of developers upon city government. But Fulop's colleagues on the council were anything but enthusiastic.

They took issue with how Fulop for reasons related to the wording of the ordinance and his motives.

"In my own personal opinion, if you feel that that the developers contributed to any fundraising that I've had or will have in the immediate future affects my vote, that's for the voters to tell me to move on," said Sottolano.

However, this issue may not be over. Mayor Jerramiah Healy had mentioned in a recent letter sent to local newspapers that he was planning to draft an ordinance requiring developers to disclose their contributions, while he wouldn't ban them.

Challenging Fulop's motives

Advertisement

There were clues ahead of the council meeting Wednesday that the matter might be voted down. In a letter to the editor that has been published in local newspapers, Lipski cited Fulop's ordinance as "self-serving" since he did not make an effort to consult with his colleagues on the City Council when putting it together. Lipski also said that Fulop did not consult with the director of the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency, Robert Antonicello.

"To raise this matter to the extent Councilman Fulop has without himself having fully researched it is not only irresponsible but also unscrupulous, in that it fosters those same negative perceptions he is trying to rid about our city," said Lipski in the letter.

Vega also took Fulop to task, saying that his "reform" would allow for only those making a large income to run for office.

Other council members had chided for using the ordinance as a platform for future political aspirations such as a run for Mayor in 2009.

Fulop slammed back during Monday's council caucus and said that there were 14 other NJ municipalities that had adopted a similar ordinance to what he was proposing.

But what may have even more damning to Fulop's pursuit was a legal opinion issued by the city's Law Department that the Redevelopment Agency is a "separate and independent entity ... It is not legally subordinate to the municipal council. Its powers are derived directly from state law."

However, Fulop received a legal opinion from a Metuchen law firm rebutting the Law Department's stance.

Some of the rancor continued from Monday's meeting to Wednesday, but this time Fulop had a cheering gallery.

Roused up for reform

Supporters of the ordinance held signs saying "Do the Right Thing" and "Stop Pay to Play."

Fulop acknowledged the audience early in the meeting saying the "numbers that showed up today speaks volumes."

Then he went on to defend the ordinance again, saying that it was not "outlandish and out-of-balance" and that the four-year penalty "would go a long way to sending a message as far as Jersey City being a standard as far as ethics reform."

Richardson said before she voted for introduction there were items in the ordinance that could be "tweaked" but said she had "no problem with how I vote."

Since this was an ordinance being introduced on a first reading in the City Council, the public couldn't comment directly on the ordinance but could speak later in the meeting in a general public speaking session.

Dan Levin, one of the founders of the local good government group Civic JC, had come in front of the City Council last year proposing a similar ordinance.

"It's time to make a clean break with the past and to state loud and clearly that Jersey City has changed, that it will no longer be known as a backwater of patronage and back room deals," said Levin.

Many left after the ordinance upset. One of the attendees, Hugh Hales-Tooke, made his feelings known after the meeting in an e-mail to this newspaper.

"Stopping 'pay to play' would have been a step towards reducing corruption in city government," he said. "It's just the same old corrupt Hudson County politics, only in the current era, it is funded by developer dollars."

Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at rkaulessar@hudsonreporter.com

Posted on: 2007/1/28 19:54
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
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Posted on: 2007/1/27 17:44
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
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Althea-
The block grants have nothing to do with the contributions that they mentioned or the municipal government budget. The city's role is only to distribute the funding

Steve

Posted on: 2007/1/27 17:43
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
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Hey, I think I see my hair in that picture!

As for Lipski, he voted a straight no on the ordinance because he knew this was a super heated issue and every council person was on edge. He told us later he didn\'t want to fuel the fire by explaining his no. I thought a simple no was the best response he could have given.

He went out of his way to talk to me after the council meeting. To be fair, I wasn\'t very nice to him, because I was tired and snippy. He took it in stride and explained that his no was not meant to be a no to an ordinance like this, but that he feels he hasn’t had enough time to digest this and talk to other government bodies and agencies. He said he was willing to work with us.

Do I believe him? Is he sincere? It’s irrelevant. The point is that I will hold him to his word or vote at the next election accordingly.

As to whether having people present has any effect on the council, I do believe it has a huge effect. I watched the other votes on ordinances and resolutions, at this meeting and others. When there is a strong community presence the council tends to vote in the community\'s favor. When there is barely a presence, council people will usually verbalize that and either abstain or vote the motion down. This seems to be doubly so at Planning Board meetings.

However, this ordinance seems to feel like a specific attack on each council member and seeing the room packed with Fulop\'s ward probably added to that. I’m sorry that they feel so attacked. They can\'t possibly think this will go away though.

What is strange is that right after the voting of the ordinances came the pleas from various organizations for block grants (groveling for money). So when Sottolano said that he saw a lot of us with our \"pet\" projects that we would be asking him money for, I thought that was odd... since the grant hearings were going to be held at the same meeting. Was that planned?

Posted on: 2007/1/27 17:25
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
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Important votes/decisions by the council are decided well in advance, like pro wrestling matches. It is rare when they change their intentions based on what they hear, or bend to pressure from the public, but it does happen, so for that reason you still have to try. Mariano Vega played it safe and abstained, gave a response meant to assuage the audience. Steve Lipski, at least to me, seemed to be very uncomfortable, waiting the clock to run out - for the ordinance supporters would leave. He was twiddling his pen, waiting for all this to go away. When he voted no, he did not give the audience the courtesy of explaining why he voted against the ordinance.
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...except that having a crowd of supporters at the meeting didn't really seem to have an effect, did it? The only vote that matters is on election day.

Posted on: 2007/1/27 15:57
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
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I'm not sure if everyone is aware, but councilmen have insider knowledge of properties that come up from time to time that are left to the city because taxes haven't be paid for numerous years by deceased owners.
Also land that is leased to businesses that go out of business for whatever reason, and vacant land is availabe that could be sold or redeveloped at a rental price that would make you laugh.

Donations to councilmen would / could get this sort of information. A bit like insider trading for a fee!

Posted on: 2007/1/27 1:23
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
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So several of the council people and Councilman Sottolano, specifically, mentioned how much money developers contribute to the many "pet" projects "we" have. How is this tied into campaign contributions? Why would this be changed by the Pay-to-Play reform ordinance?

I really am trying to understand this. Is it that by not allowing the Developers to contribute what they want, to whom they want, when they want, would make them bitter and they wouldn't donate to other causes? OR are the elected council memebers saying that the money that goes into their campaign accounts is also used for doling out to projects?

Does anyone know what is really being said here?

Althea

Posted on: 2007/1/27 1:06
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
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by Mouse on 2007/1/26 12:44:36

Count me in. Especially interested in working on a ballot initiative.

Any idea how many signatures we will need to get it on the next ballot?

-M


What I think would be great is to get an even or close to even number of signatures from each ward or even area for a ballot iniatives.

The only thing that worries me about ballot iniatives is who writes them. I remember a state one back in Christie Whittman's term as governor about repairing the roads. It sounded great and it was overwhelmingly voted in, but it neglected to mention that to allocate the funds for raod repairs the money would be taken from education, which was already hurting. So i'm always wary of these things.

I'm also interested in being a liaison between my neighborhood association and CivicJC... or if this initiative wants to take on a life of its own rather than coming from anyone group or person, then a committee can be formed.

I think CivicJC already serves that focal point though, so I would be more than happy to be a representative from my area, either Ward C (working along side my councilman Lipski) or simply representing my small neighborhood, a fraction of Ward C.

I think if we really had so many groups from various areas, it would ease the burden on any one group and really show the council that this isn't just about attacking them, it's about a new form of voter participation and transparent government.

During the meeting on Wednesday night there was a very active group from the Lincoln Park area to argue for the historic preservation of their area. They were more than interested in being involved in this issue as well.

Jus a thought.

Althea

Posted on: 2007/1/26 18:51
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
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First, thank you everyone here on jclist for reading the information about this initiative and especially for coming out to the council meeting to show support. I would peg the number around 200-250 people, others can affirm.

The result was disappointing, but certainly not surprising.

We did not ask nor expect everyone who came out - to stay to the end of the meeting. I do have to mention that "Althea", who is 8 eight months pregnant with her 3rd child and her husband stayed to end (12 midnight) to not only speak as Ward C residents, but also to discuss further with their council member.

Yes, Civic JC sees the road on this issue leading to a public referendum. We need to do some home work and will be looking to work with groups and individuals to take on what will be a tremendously challenging and daunting project. It does not necessary need to be our organization taking the lead, it can be Councilman Fulop or others. However, we will not let the initial rejection of the ordinance deter our goals.

For those interested in getting involved now, please contact me at dlevin@civicjc.org

Since, the public could not speak on the first reading of the Redevelopment Pay to Play ordinance until the Open Speaking portion of the meeting, I will post below, the comments that I made on behalf of Civic JC to the city council:

------------------------------------------------------------------

Both at the state and municipal level we’ve seen a growing movement in NJ supporting pay to play laws.

In Washington DC and across the river in NY, we’ve seen ethics take center stage.

Jersey City is the first municipality in NJ to reject this ordinance at first reading.

It’s time for Jersey City to join this movement. It’s time to make a clean break with the past and to state loud and clearly that JC has changed, that it will no longer be known as a backwater of patronage and back room deals. That it embraces the future with clean, transparent government.

We at Civic JC wholeheartedly support Councilman Fulop’s proposed Redevelopment Pay to Play Reform ordinance which bars certain campaign contributions by developers.

Jersey City is experiencing a redevelopment boom of historic proportions. Redevelopment decisions made today will impact the quality of life for Jersey City residents and the financial future of the city for generations.

Specifically this ordinance is needed because -

The Mayor

1) Influences redevelopment through appointing planning board commissioners and the Director of HEDC.

2) Signs off on the plans/ordinances and tax abatements.

The City Council

1) Negotiates and approves redevelopment plans many which are crafted for a specific developer and plans that have been written by a developer or their consultants.

2) Negotiates and approves changes or amendments to redevelopment plans that can increase height and density or reduce public benefits that can result in financial windfalls for developers.

3) Negotiates and approves tax abatement agreements and other financial incentives.

By any reasonable standard, it is a conflict of interest for the mayor or city council members to accept campaign contributions from developers participating in the redevelopment process. We now need to make it illegal.

Why the arguments opposing this proposed ordinance are not valid-

The mayor and Council President have argued that the inability to take money from developers will put candidates of modest financial means at a disadvantage when running against well-heeled self-funded candidates. We ask you to reject this argument. Using one’s own money cannot be equated with using the money of a developer with millions of dollars riding on your decisions and the mayor’s decisions as office-holder.

The mayor also says that developers should not be excluded from the political process. We agree. Let them come here and before all political bodies and influence office holders with the power of their plans, not with the power of money.

Many of you have stated over and over that you believe that the money does not influence your decisions and that you vote your conscience. However, we challenge that it is not possible for redevelopment decisions to made be based on thorough study, law, rational planning and best practices when this type of conflict of interest exists.

Government must not only be clean. It must appear to be clean as well.
-----------------------------------

Posted on: 2007/1/26 17:16
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
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Fulop, Richardson are lonely yes votes; pay-to-play ban fails
Friday, January 26, 2007
By KEN THORBOURNE
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

Over the hoots and jeers of the audience in the council chambers, the Jersey City City Council shot down a developer pay-to-play ban proposed by Councilman Steve Fulop.

"Jersey City would still be a railroad yard" if it weren't for developers, said Ward A Councilman Michael Sottolano, one of six council members to vote against the ban.

Before casting his "nay" vote, Councilman-at-large Peter Brennan defended the integrity of Hudson County and his colleagues.

"We're from Hudson County . and people bring up the word 'C,' corruption," Brennan said. "I believe we are all honest and not corrupt politicians."

The proposal would have barred campaign donations from a developer to municipal officials while the developer is negotiating with city officials to be named the "designated" builder for a project.

According to the Citizens' Campaign, the group that worked with Fulop to draft the measure, 14 other municipalities have adopted this ban. Jersey City is the first municipality to reject it at a first reading.

Joining Sottolano and Brennan in voting against the proposal were Bill Gaughan, Mary Spinello, Willie Flood and Steve Lipski. City Council President Mariano Vega abstained, and Ward F Councilwoman Viola Richardson was the sole council colleague to vote with Fulop.

Dozens of supporters of the measure crammed the council chambers, many of toting signs displaying a photocopy of a front page of The Jersey Journal showing Fulop on one side, and "Stop Pay to Play" printed on the other.

At various points in the meeting, audience members booed and hissed.

"You work for us," one man barked at Brennan. Another man yelled "It's over," an apparent threat to boot from office those who voted against the ban.

Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy opposed the measure on the grounds it would deprive developers of their right to give money to who they want, when they want.

A downcast Fulop said after the vote that he and other supporters of the measure might try to get in on the ballot through a public referendum, which would involve collecting enough signatures of registered voters to qualify.

"I think the public sees it for what it is," Fulop said about the vote. "They (the council members) can either be part of change or get overrun by it."

Posted on: 2007/1/26 14:43
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
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The Jersey City Council Chambers is a less than ideal setting for filming due to poor lighting and audio. If enough of you think that videos such as this one of key issues concerning Jersey City, NJ are valuable I will consider investing in better video equipment.

This video was filmed on Wednesday January 24,2007 at the Council meeting and features the first reading of the Pay To Play Reform ordiance which was defeated.

Turn the volume on your computer to maximum...


Posted on: 2007/1/26 3:08
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
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First off, my comment to you was simple. I think you are all over the place claiming different things at different points. I definitely don\'t understand your points, but they are written so well that it is hard not to want to understand them.

My observations are meant totally as subjective, biased, what not... not measured at all...and I fully anticipate them to be picked apart. Hopefully by many, like your self, that do have a lot to add. I mean that honestly, not sarcastically. At this point I can\'t tell if they are the ravings of a lunatic, but I did try to write them sincerely as my observations and nothing factual. How do council people stay sane? HOW???

But I thought maybe I was adding another angle. One that hasn’t been stated here yet, especially my take on the whole “grand standing” idea. But please do back up what you say with facts where you can. Ie. Stating that the first notice of this was a press release when in fact this has been out there for a long time and easily proven.

Actually the whole bring up DanL thing is interesting since he is one of Fulop\'s biggest and harshest critics... he\'s just fair about it.

Yes, yes, yes, I love that you are playing devil\'s advocate. That\'s exactly what I\'m looking for and truly appreciate. But, you make my head spin. You are back and forth and not willing to back up anything with fact despite being continually called on it. One moment you claim you have only been complimenting, the next you are insulting someone. For god’s sake, just insult them and call it that.

For example, the statements below:

“I can\'t help but think this outcome wasn\'t entirely unforeseen by Councilman Fulop. And that the objective wasn\'t as much to pass the proposed ordinance, but to martyr himself and deposit the PR from this into the campaign bank.”

Not an insult? Just an insight… very gracefully put. Because the other council people were really listening to what people were asking for... oh, i\'m sorry, i forgot... they had no idea. They only found out about this in the headlines.

“i\'d also give Fulop some credit if he had engaged the corporation counsel\'s office in drafting and introducing legislation, and worked with the council in a spirit of co-operation. I think this could have been handled much more gracefully, but Fulop came out swinging. “

You are saying he didn’t… oh then it must be fact… and even the Council admitting that they were contacted and all knew about this issue way ahead of time… must be a cover up, right? Corporate Counsel was oh so willing to work on this ordinance even though the Council and Mayor were dead set against it... of again... i forgot that they haven\'t known about this since June otherwise they would have greeted it with open arms? Ok, call me the optimist!


“You\'re right, Ethan: Fulop made the council people look bad. Congratulations to him for achieving his objective. Had his objective been to actually reform the practice of pay-to-play in this town, and had he conducted his bahavior surrounding this ordinance in accord with genuinely trying to achieve that objective, maybe the outcome would have been different. we\'ll never know. but you can bet your ass this \'defeat\' will be at the center of the Fulop Mayoral campaign.”

Definitely fact, has all the basis of rationality… I’m not judging, not me!!! But i know Fulop\'s main objective was to make everyone look bad while shedding a beautiful angelic light upon himself. All you people are ass kissers if you can’t see the truth. Saying he is disingenuous is not an insult right? It\'s a compliment!

“sad as it may be, politicians are guilty until proven innocent in my book. i grew up in this town, and i\'ve witnessed enough in my lifetime. and i distrust local, home-grown politicians just as much as i do the nouveau transplanted ones. I\'m an equal opportunity skeptic.”

So what you are saying is that you are a fair minded person? Willing to give people a chance?


“That\'s not a criticism, it\'s a compliment, and people who react to it as criticism don\'t understand politics.”

My bad!

“I would feel a lot better about the \'cleansing\' if it hadn\'t started with a press release and a divisive call-to-arms. If it\'s doomed to end up DOA, why not let your opponents be the first ones to dirty their hands.

Politics is politics, but sometimes, I think the high road is the smarter, and maybe even more strategic, road to take.”

That’s right… the facts are in… we made up all that other stuff about CivicJC just to throw them off the track of Fulop’s really mission: WORLD DOMINANCE [Imagine the maniacal laughter… tee hee hee] Good thing I paid off my council person to agree that he did know about this before hand….. dirty, conniving, non-high road taking politicians…


Ok, so your complimenting might be a little strong. Could I ask you a favor, stick to pure criticism and insults?

Now get back to work playing devil\'s advocate and telling me exactly where the holes in my argument are!

And for the record, I thought you were female too... i have no idea where I got that impression or why, but I consider it a compliment. Just strange. Do I come off as a woman or a man or does the fact that my handle is my true name and a female name at that take any guess work out of it?

Althea

Posted on: 2007/1/25 22:00
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
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Quote:

Althea wrote:

And OH MY GOD, Nondowntown! You are all over the place, I appreciate all of your posts, but you’re playing a game of, “Try to pin me down as I say everything and nothing at the same time!” You’re driving me batty! I’m not going down that rabbit hole!


I appreciate your posts, Althea. I think you're misunderstanding where I'm coming from, but I'm not exactly understanding how. Please elaborate on this 'game' i'm playing. Because your measured analysis of the council meeting process, IMHO, seems equally susceptible to an accusation of equivocation.

All I've tried to say in my various posts on various threads about the Fulop phenomena is BEWARE. I've never suggested he does a bad job for his constitutents, or that he is fundamentally bad for this City (nor have i suggested that he's fundamentally 'good' for it either - the jury is still out on that one). But when the level of discourse about any politician is as one-sided as it is on here about Fulop ("hail the conquering hero!"), or on the NWA for that matter (crazy people think Fulop is evil; therefore he must be doing something right!), my spider-sense starts tingling. When people stop considering opposite sides, or write off contrary accusations against 'their guy' without giving themselves a moment to play devil's advocate and work out the countering scenario in their heads, people get conned. 9 times out of 10. Is Fulop the 1? Maybe he is, maybe he isn't. But determine that for yourself, not because Dan Levin or BrightMoment told you to.

ErinMaiden said it well in this or another thread - do your own research, form your own opinion, and don't simply sign off any elected official just because the very vocal consensus thinks he's all puppies and daiseys.



P.S. - the above is in no way a swipe at DanL or BM, they were examples that came to mind of outspoken community activists. There is absolutely nothing wrong with campaigning within a community around an issue you believe in, and i take no issue with their work.

Posted on: 2007/1/25 20:52
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
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whaa!

Posted on: 2007/1/25 20:33
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
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The constitutionality of the ordinance or legal challenges. Yes, there is always a possibility. I'd like to see what a lawyer specializing in constitutional law might have to say.

Maybe Alan Sommerson (sp?) might join the fray? Give his opinion?

I'm still looking at what the civil liberties take on this might be, but it looks like the "time, place, manner" ducks are all in a row.

I believe there was a case out there, but it got shot down quite quickly. It may have been at the federal level and I will try and get more details.

Althea

Posted on: 2007/1/25 20:23
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
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Part 2

What I observed last night was a huge showing of residents of Jersey City. I was in awe. People who have dropped off the scene for years are now seeing more political action from their neighbors than ever and have become inspired and active again.

I don’t like it when people speak out of turn and I get annoyed at people booing at these meetings, but last night I ended up really booing and screaming, “way to insult us!” I thought the actions of the council in general was despicable. However, by staying longer I feel that I got to see how the individual council people dealt with various situations and felt very differently about them.

Brennan, however, will never get my vote. He was extremely mean, claiming that the crowd doesn’t understand how the council works. He was way out of line making a personal attack and then stating something along the lines of, I see many of you out there, who have your pet projects. You all ask us for money and it comes from the developers.

My question is, why not eliminate the middle man then if that’s your logic…

I didn’t appreciate his attack on the audience and I hope you keep this in mind the next time a vote comes up.

While this ordinance was voted down pretty harshly, you have to keep in mind that these people feel very personally attacked, whether you decide they deserve it our not. They sit there and take a lot of abuse every two weeks. Some of the attacks could be handled much better, some are right out crazy. I don’t appreciate being yelled at like that and I find myself thinking, “I don’t think I could be bribed enough to take that kind of abuse.”

Now there are personalities at play on the council, obviously. Fulop is going to be very aggressive because he has an aggressive agenda and his constituents are very aggressive. From the point of view of the rest of the council, the room was packed with Ward E people. This is why I made a point of staying and I was rewarded with a positive response from my councilman.

What is needed, now that the door is open, is more residents from other wards to show that this is a widespread need and not a personal attack on individuals. The way I saw the council operate last night is that if they did not see enough people show for a certain resolution and they didn’t feel that they could vote in good conscience either way, they abstained. I saw Councilman Sottolano do this and explain why. I saw many others really speak out for their own residents. I like this and while there are much needed changes that are going to be difficult to get, these people want recognition for their hard work and they want to see their own constituents showing up… or in the case of at-large-council, a wide range of constituents.

This is a truly grassroots effort and while Fulop deserves a lot of credit for pushing open a door rusted shut, this is still an issue of the people, championed by the people. I think consensus building can begin now and we can continue to push for reform. We just need to start reaching out to other areas of JC.

I was impressed as well with Sottolano, Richardson, and Vega’s conduct for the rest of the meeting. They treated me with kindness and respect. But I learned one really, REALLY important lesson:

Don’t, I repeat don’t, mess with the City Clerk. This is the person that runs the meetings and keeps the Council in line. His name is Robert Byrne and my back straightened every time he spoke. He’s extremely well respected, does his job with excellence… just don’t tick him off… he will dish your crap right back.

Dan, the JCList webmaster, Dan Levin CIVICJC, and Andrew Hubsch CIVICJC … there until the end with me. Nice job.

As a final note, Council woman Richardson made sure I understood that anyone could come back at any meeting and speak on this issue to the council as long as they sign up to speak at the City Clerk’s office in advance. This particularly meeting was long because they were listening to petitions for block grants, whatever those are. So if you feel like you still want to be heard, go back to another, much shorter meeting. Be respectful and state your opinion for or against.

Althea

Posted on: 2007/1/25 20:14
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Re: Developer Pay-to-Play Press Release- Steven Fulop
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Part One

I was there last night and I don't mean just for the vote. I left at midnight. In the end there were 5 of us left standing, 2 from Ward C and 3 from Ward E. I feel like hell today, to be honest. Neighborhood meetings and council meetings and planning meetings… it makes me want to put ice picks through my eyes! Seriously,

And OH MY GOD, Nondowntown! You are all over the place, I appreciate all of your posts, but you’re playing a game of, “Try to pin me down as I say everything and nothing at the same time!” You’re driving me batty! I’m not going down that rabbit hole!

I’m going to be short tempered and concise, because 6 ½ hours of sitting at this council meeting last night will do this to a person. I got home at 1 am and then got to eat dinner. So I would like to offer my observations of the meeting, but would like to start first by addressing one issue that is driving me nuts.

Ah Grand Standing! Oh ah, such an easy phrase that you’d be hard pressed to find one that could cut down a conversation faster. I’m not friends with Fulop, I have only come to know him recently, and I am not in his ward. I have not tried to delve into the “whys” of Fulop. I’m interested in the merits of the issues instead.

I’m a resident of Ward C. However, I run and moderate lists for two Jersey City organizations, the Hilltop Neighborhood Association and the Jersey City Family Alliance. Both groups are growing exponentially and both have a lot of individuals placing strong demands for change and facts. In my search for information I have often found myself asking Councilman Fulop for advice, help, information, and to get my back. These he has done willingly and expediently even sitting through long and boring planning board meetings. Many times he offers the information I need because I’m not sure what I should be asking for. I AM IMPRESSED. And it’s not a love fest and I’m not a sycophant. No one in there right mind would consider me a particularly affectionate person. But if he’s going to make my life ten times easier by being so forth coming with help and information, then by golly, I will have his back.

But I’ll vote based on the merits of the issues and I don’t think anyone would ask me to do otherwise.

Now the grand standing… hhhmmm… yeah, I hear that a lot from both people that look at it either as a negative thing and a positive thing. Don’t much care for it. To be honest, this is what I have seen and you can see the long and very visible road that has led to this point for yourself. Civic JC, an organization that I have no involvement with, has been strongly pushing for any council person to listen to the need for this ordinance. Coming from the side of a lot of people asking me for advice, my opinion, the “facts”, etc. I personally feel that there was this big gapping hole, where many residents of downtown were asking for this and getting no support. You have councilman Fulop, who sees this need to be filled and not only sees himself with the ability to help it to fruition, it’s his job. I would be pretty damn upset if he were my councilman and ignored this issue that a large group of residents brought to him. BACK IN JUNE!!!! Do you think he simply pulled this out of his ass? You say grandstanding and I say taking the bull by the horns because most of us don’t have the time or are too lazy to do it ourselves.

Just because you weren’t paying attention doesn’t mean the road doesn’t exist. You’ll see a long documented trail that even the other council people admitted to last night.

Secondly, this whole notion of “grand standing” brings up the notion of this being a big headlights one time deal. This is just the beginning, an introduction that the rest of the council ignored until now. Well guess what, they aren’t ignoring it now. My councilman, Lipski, Ward C voted a flat out no with no excuses. This is fine, he has a problem with the ordinance as it stands. But he made sure that his constituents there knew that this does not mean he isn’t listening now and going to pursue this issue.

Now a huge crowd came to watch last night in a show of support for either Fulop, the ordinance, or both. The majority left right after the vote. A friend told me this was absolutely essential, because it showed the council exactly how many people were there for this particular issue. It had a huge impact and was definitely heartening to see.

So personal attacks aside… motives aside… no matter how you feel about this ordinance, your fair turn to speak will come if you so choose to exercise that right.

[to be continued]

Posted on: 2007/1/25 19:31
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