Recently a local paper ran an article about Jersey City Ward E Councilman Steve Fulop’s two ballot initiatives (“Way Short, Fulop Told” 7/31/08). The article stated that Fulop submitted what he had been told by the city was the requisite number of signatures for both referenda. One would limit contractors, developers and other vendors who have received no-bid contracts from the city from contributing to local political campaigns during a specified time. The second initiative would prevent council members from collecting salaries if they held other public positions.
Fulop submitted the amount of signatures he’d been told by the city he needed, but somehow the rules were changed at the last moment, and he found himself with 10 days to rectify the situation.
These referenda are about nothing less than accountability and establishing principles of good governance. When rules are changed in the 11th hour, what it effectively does is to thwart the process of bringing principled governance to the city. Further, the City of Jersey City is preventing voters from playing their part in the governing process – a dangerous path to walk.