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www.betterjc.org referendum press release - Steven Fulop/Civic JC
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For immediate release

November 22, 2007
Contact:
Steven Fulop
Daniel Levin



BETTER JC, INC. AND CIVIC JC LAUNCH HISTORIC CITYWIDE BALLOT INITIATIVE


(JERSEY CITY) - On Monday morning, Better JC Inc, a community organization founded by Councilman Fulop, and CivicJC, a community group focused on good government in Jersey City, will begin collecting signatures for two proposed ballot initiatives that Jersey City residents will vote on in November 2008. The first initiative promotes a Contract Pay to Play Reform Ordinance and the second initiative modifies Jersey City?s Municipal Employment Salary Ordinance to prevent municipal council members who already receive a public salary from receiving additional pay from Jersey City.

Better JC and Civic JC along with 150 volunteers in all wards throughout the city, will begin visiting homes and businesses to collect signatures. This Monday morning a handful of volunteers began handing out literature at the PATH station to morning commuters in order to create awareness.

According to Better JC founder, Councilman Steven Fulop "The momentum for this ballot initiative throughout the city is unbelievable. We already have 150 volunteers. Now more then ever, Jersey City residents see the value of having a local government that is held to a higher standard and is accountable to them. For too long our elected officials have been taking advantage of the system by collecting multiple public paychecks and pocketing contributions from people that deal directly with the city in contracts," said Fulop. "Getting people to understand the concept of a ballot initiative is often a difficult task but the website and literature we designed explains everything clearly. " added Fulop.

Daniel Levin, founder and President of Civic JC said "It's not difficult to convince people that we need an open, transparent and honest local government. The challenge is getting enough signatures get these referendums on the ballot in November next year. Judging by the enthusiasm I've seen today and the amount of volunteers scouring the city, I'm certain that we will achieve our goal."

* * * * * * *
Partnership for a Better Jersey City was founded by Councilman Steven Fulop in September of this year with the purpose of organizing two ballot initiatives in Jersey City. It launched its website at www.betterjc.org. This website explains the ballot questions and the reasons behind this huge grassroots effort. The site is also collecting donations (maximum donation $20) from residents, community activists or people interested in government reform in Jersey City.

Civic JC, a non-partisan community initiative was founded in 2005 with the purpose of promoting good government in Jersey City. Civic JC is a long time proponent of pay-to-play legislation in Jersey City. Said Levin, ?We?re pleased to be teaming up with Councilman Fulop and Better Jersey City on these important initiatives.? Information concerning this and other important issues facing Jersey City can be found at www.civicjc.org

Posted on: 2007/11/24 18:57
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Re: www.betterjc.org referendum press release - Steven Fulop/Civic JC
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Two additional points,

1) many of the signature packets have already been dropped off to people who volunteered to help, however if you signed up and did not receive your packet yet we will likely have it to you over the next few days.

2) Please check out the website at www.betterjc.org and get involved as we can use your help!

Sincerely
Steven Fulop

Posted on: 2007/11/24 19:05
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Re: www.betterjc.org referendum press release - Steven Fulop/Civic JC
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Councilman, I seen your people out there on Monday. I wish you luck with the referendum but somehow I feel that the old school politicians that you are seeking to make give up one of their jobs are NOT going to go easily.

But in any event good luck, it takes a lot of guts to do what your doing in a political enviroment such as we have.

Posted on: 2007/11/24 20:57
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Re: www.betterjc.org referendum press release - Steven Fulop/Civic JC
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I never received a packet! I want to help!


Gina

Posted on: 2007/11/26 0:45
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Fulop collects signatures for ethics rules
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REFORM SIGN-UP
Fulop collects signatures for ethics rules

Tuesday, November 27, 2007
By KEN THORBOURNE
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

Downtown Jersey City Councilman Steve Fulop kicked off petition drives this weekend to place two ethics reform initiatives on the ballot a year from now.

The initiatives are scaled-back versions of proposals Fulop made to the City Council that were voted down.

The "pay-to-play" ordinance would limit campaign contributions vendors can make to local campaigns once they've begun pursuing a contract until the vendor is either rejected by the city or until the contract has expired.

The proposal would limit the maximum contribution amounts to $300 per candidate per calendar year or $500 per calendar year to a joint candidate committee for mayor or council.

State law allows contributions of up to $2,600 for a primary, another $2,600 for a general election, and $7,200 to county committees.

Fulop said the proposal would also eliminate "bundling," the practice of one contributor raising cash by persuading colleagues or family members to contribute to a candidate. The ordinance would bar more than one member of a family or a company from giving the maximum contribution.

The second initiative would bar people on the public payroll from collecting salaries as City Council members. Council members earn between $22,000 and $30,000 a year, based on seniority. Six of the current nine council members collect another government paycheck. Fulop is a trader with Citigroup in New York.

Earlier this year, Fulop sought to ban entirely those already on the public payroll from serving on the council, but he watered down the initiative, he said, in order to make it more legally sound.

His previous pay-to-play proposal would have prohibited any contributions by vendors.

"The momentum for this ballot initiative throughout the city is unbelievable," said Fulop, who yesterday morning was standing in light rain in front of the Grove Street PATH station with about 10 volunteers wearing shirts advertising BetterJC.org, the nonprofit he founded to campaign for the initiatives.

The response from City Hall was decidedly chilly.

"Being a City Council member is a part-time job with a gross pay before taxes of under $30,000 a year," said Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy. "Obviously, the council people have to supplement their salaries if they want to live in today's society."

Healy called the proposed pay-to-play measure "a labyrinthine legislative scheme which is going to be very difficult for any candidate or contributor to negotiate."

Heights Councilman Bill Gaughan, who doubles as chief of staff for Hudson County Executive Thomas DeGise, said Fulop had once again "blind-sided" his colleagues.

"He puts his colleagues in a difficult position because he never clues us in," Gaughan said.

For the initiatives to qualify for the November 2008 ballot, Fulop must collect 1,500 signatures of registered Jersey City voters for each initiative.

Assuming sufficient signatures are collected, the council gets a chance to decide if it wants to adopt the initiatives, said City Clerk Robert Byrne. If the council rejects the measures, they will be placed on the ballot for a vote.

Posted on: 2007/11/27 7:32
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Re: www.betterjc.org referendum press release - Steven Fulop/Civic JC
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--------------------------------------------------

Wednesday, November 28, 2007
By KEN THORBOURNE
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

Additional details emerged yesterday about the "pay-to-play" initiative being pushed by Jersey City Councilman Steve Fulop, who is collecting signatures to try to get it on the ballot in November 2008.

The initiative would bar contractors under certain circumstances from making political contributions to local elected officials or county committees.

The initiative, according to Fulop, would prohibit the city from awarding a no-bid contract to any vendor who made a campaign contribution to a local elected official within a year of the contract's start date.

The ordinance would also bar campaign contributions from contractors vying for work in an open bidding process to elected officials during the time the contractor first expresses interest in seeking the contract to the time the contract is awarded.

Once awarded, the contractor - along with his spouse, business partners, and children living at home - would be limited to contributing $300 per calendar year to candidates or candidate committees for mayor or the governing body, or $500 per calendar year to any joint candidates committee for mayor or governing body.

State law permits contributions up to $2,600 per election (counting primary and general contests as two different elections) and $7,200 to county committees.

Based upon interviews with Fulop earlier this week, The Jersey Journal reported yesterday that the ordinance would not prohibit contributions entirely under any circumstance but would merely limit them; in another interview yesterday, Fulop clarified the terms of the ordinance.

Fulop has to collect 1,500 valid signatures of registered Jersey City voters for each initiative to place them on the ballot, officials said.

Posted on: 2007/11/28 15:39

Edited by StevenFulop on 2007/11/28 16:33:23
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Re: www.betterjc.org referendum press release - Steven Fulop/Civic JC
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If political candidates are not permitted to raise money from the people and businesses that get no bid city contracts, zoning approvals and tax abatements, who can they raise money from?

Well, just about EVERYONE else.

See the Mayor?s response to this reform initiative in today?s Jersey Journal -

Quote:
Point I made wasn't in story

Friday, November 30, 2007

Letters to the Editor
The Jersey Journal

I would like to point out how The Jersey Journal likes to pick and choose what it reports. When asked for a comment on Steve Fulop's proposed "pay-to-play" ballot initiative, my comment to the newspaper was the following:

"This is a labrynthian legislative scheme which is going to be very difficult for any candidate or contributor to negotiate. More importantly, it creates a situation where the only people allowed on the playing field of elected office are going to be those who are independently wealthy enough to finance their own campaign, thus locking out probably 99 percent of the population in Jersey City."

I do not believe it was accidental that the crux of my position, that this initiative would lock out most of the Jersey City population from being able to finance a campaign to run for elected office, was missing from the story that ran in Tuesday's paper.

I felt I owed the readers of this newspaper the courtesy of knowing exactly how their mayor feels on this issue. In the future, I hope The Jersey Journal will give its readers the same respect. It is what they deserve.

JERRAMIAH T. HEALY MAYOR OF JERSEY CITY


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

Posted on: 2007/11/30 17:01
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Re: www.betterjc.org referendum press release - Steven Fulop/Civic JC
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Quote:

Mayor wrote:

More importantly, it creates a situation where the only people allowed on the playing field of elected office are going to be those who are independently wealthy enough to finance their own campaign, thus locking out probably 99 percent of the population in Jersey City.

Hell, yes! Let other people get rich too. :)

... as if these guys are really poor...
I can only imagine a scenario in which I am dropping of the PATH, close to midnight, and with me there are the other slaves of Manhattan and Newark, and the councilmen, hardly standing up for the Bergen Avenue bus to come...
... or another one in which the old guy who begs in front of his house on Fairmount is replaced by his represantative in the council...

It was hard, but the mayor was able to top the hypocrisy of the concilman. One guy, because he's rich, pretends he doesn't need money (in fact he just has a higher price now), but these other ones, because their source of undeserved* income is going to drain, pretend they are poor.

*if they are paid for the importance of their job or or to stay away from corruption, they are underpaid
but I think it is commonly accepted they are paid for their effort, and they don't work harder than a Shoprite cashier

Posted on: 2007/11/30 20:28
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Re: www.betterjc.org referendum press release - Steven Fulop/Civic JC
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Healy hides behind the idea of this law hurting the little guy who has a hard time raising money but the current system does the exact same thing.Only the incumbent is allowed to draw from the well of developer money.Any developer who gives to an outsider would be shut down by the city.

Healys theme of "don't lie,don't cheat,don't steel"is broken every day.(see Willie Flood story)Why should we believe he is being sincere now.

Posted on: 2007/12/1 13:12
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Re: www.betterjc.org referendum press release - Steven Fulop/Civic JC
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Healy's for sale. There's no surprise he's squirming about the prospect of more transparent campaign financing (the only supportive quotes on him in any of the articles I read last summer about his drunk and disorderly arrest came from developers - think that one through).

What is worth noting is that he's paying some serious attention to these referendums - this cabal of corrupt City Hall parasites (the Floods, the remaining municipal judges, et al) are not going down without a fight - if you want change (sorry to nag), please go to:

www.betterjc.org

and volunteer...

Posted on: 2007/12/1 18:39
"Someday a book will be written on how this city can be broke in the midst of all this development." ---Brewster
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Re: www.betterjc.org referendum press release - Steven Fulop/Civic JC
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Quote:

scooter wrote:
Healy's for sale. There's no surprise he's squirming about the prospect of more transparent campaign financing (the only supportive quotes on him in any of the articles I read last summer about his drunk and disorderly arrest came from developers - think that one through).

What is worth noting is that he's paying some serious attention to these referendums - this cabal of corrupt City Hall parasites (the Floods, the remaining municipal judges, et al) are not going down without a fight - if you want change (sorry to nag), please go to:

www.betterjc.org

and volunteer...


I could not agree with you more!!

Gina

Posted on: 2007/12/2 2:39
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Citizen's Right of Action Affirmed
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see article below, the pols keeping opposing, but the "citizen's right of action" to enforce pay to play laws has been affirmed. This right is included in the Contract Pay to Play Reform ordinance that Councilman Fulop and Civic JC are proposing and working to place on the November 2008 ballot by pettition.

----------

Reverse Gallipoli ruling that KO'd pay-to-play suit
Thursday, January 10, 2008
By PAUL KOEPP
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

A Hoboken watchdog group has the right to sue the city in an effort to enforce a municipal "pay-to-play" ordinance, a state appeals court said yesterday.

The court slapped down a prior decision by Hudson County Assignment Judge Maurice J. Gallipoli, who ruled in April 2006 that People for Open Government had no legal standing to bring a lawsuit - filed just before the June 2005 municipal runoff election - challenging what it saw as a failure to enforce the ordinance.

A three-judge panel of the Appellate Division of Superior Court said yesterday it disagreed and sent the matter back to the lower court.

"The individual plaintiffs in this case of great public interest have sufficient private interest to confer standing to prosecute this suit," the panel ruled.

POG claims in the lawsuit that a slate led by Hoboken Mayor David Roberts collected more than $1 million in campaign contributions from businesses that had no-bid professional contracts with the city, in violation of the "Hoboken Public Contracting Reform Ordinance," which voters approved by a 9-to-1 margin in a 2004 ballot initiative.

Gallipoli had reasoned that the only people who should be able to sue were unsuccessful candidates or vendors who believed they had missed out on a contract because of another company's contributions.

An attorney for POG, Renee Steinhagen, executive director of the New Jersey Appleseed Public Interest Law Center in Newark, said yesterday's appellate ruling lends support to groups across the state who have pushed local pay-to-play laws.

"We thought it was pretty outrageous that the very people who tried to get the ordinance passed and tried to enforce it were denied standing," Steinhagen said. "The trial court decided to evade the hard political and legal issues raised in the lawsuit."

Gallipoli declined to comment yesterday.

Stephen Edelstein, an attorney representing the city, said the appellate ruling was simply a procedural one that takes the lawsuit "back to square one."

"We still have many arguments to make that the lawsuit should be dismissed on the merits," he said.

Reverse Gallipoli ruling that KO'd pay-to-play suit

Posted on: 2008/1/10 15:10
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