In a letter to the editor, Jersey City resident Barbara Camacho, an attorney, took exception to a Star-Ledger editorial that blasted critics of the Mayor Steven Fulop administration for trying to keep the 2017 municipal elections in May – instead of allowing them to be moved to November.
Newspaper editorials have always had an “I know best” quality to them. But when a newspaper attacks private citizens engaged in civic activity as “dissidents” engaged in “political subterfuge” it should raise more than just eyebrows. Citizens have a right to contest ordinances under the Faulkner Act.
That is the people’s check on the power of the Legislature.
Without contacting any member of the committee, the editorial makes the claim that our strong belief that Jersey City elections deserve their own Election Day can’t be what is really driving us.
It implies others, like two former mayors, a State Senator, the drafters of Jersey City’s Charter, and the 4,715 people who voted “no” on the referendum do not believe that combining Jersey City’s elections with partisan races for Governor and State Legislature will be a distraction from the focus we put on local issues once every four years.
I voted for Mayor Fulop, but I do not have to support this change to our electoral process just because it may interfere with Mayor Fulop’s “career arc.”
Exercising our right to challenge an ordinance is not “wrest[ing] control” of the electoral process. It is our statutory right to gather the necessary signatures to require a binding election where voters make an informed decision.
A far reaching campaign of deliberate misinformation to voters has sullied the results of this non binding referendum.
Vote by mail ballots were mailed to voters containing improper language advocating for a Yes vote that was later deemed unlawful by a judge.
Mayor Fulop blamed a staffer for sending multiple emails to thousands of voters that falsely claimed that the City would save $400,000 annually, even though local elections happen once every four years (not to mention that there is a likelihood that conflating so many elections will require the purchase of new voting machines at taxpayer expense).
Finally, while many of us suspected that the mayor sought to remove runoff elections, he refused to answer this question until the day after the election when he announced that this was part of his plan.
We are activists – we do not stomp our feet. We crack open law books and grassroots organize.
Attorney at Law