UPDATED: North Bergen Housing Authority, Wainstein in court battle over Election Day campaigning

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The Third Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals ruled against the North Bergen Housing Authority on Friday, meaning that Wainstein and 10 campaign workers are allowed inside NHBA buildings between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Election Day, for now.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

North Bergen mayoral hopeful Larry Wainstein won a preliminary injunction yesterday that would allow him and 10 workers to campaign at housing authority buildings on Election Day, but the final outcome remains uncertain as the ruling has already been appealed.

“Ordered that from the day Plaintiff provides Defendant with the list of Designated Campaign Workers through May 14, 2019, and only between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.,” United States District Judge Esther Salas ruled yesterday.

Specifically, the order granted Wainstein and 10 campaign workers access to the NBHA buildings located at 5828 Meadowview Ave., 3131 Grand Ave., 6121 Grand Ave. and 6800 Colombia Ave.

“Plaintiff has been denied and continues to be denied his First Amendment right to distribute information … Moreover, if plaintiff loses his campaign because of not being able to reach voters in the building, that injury would be one ‘which could not be redressed by legal or an equitable remedy following a trial,'” the ruling says.

However, attorney Stephen Edelstein, of Weiner Law Group LLP, has already filed an appeal with the Third Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals, claiming that “the NBHA has historically regulated canvassing, politicking and soliciting on its properties.”

He further argues that keeping keeping candidates out of the NBHA is essential for controlling the safety, security and well-being of tenants is essential, as well for controlling crime and potential fraud.

Edelstein also asserts that the NBHA passed a resolution on March 21st, two days after Wainstein filed the suit, that calls for all people and organizations allowed inside are “content neutral.”

” … The NBHA does not allow the posting of political signs or distribution of political literature of any kind in all common areas, offices, or community rooms in any NBHA properties,” the resolution says.

The only area where the two sides seem to agree is that political campaigning is allowed on the public property outside of the NBHA buildings.

The appellate court has no legal obligation to rule before the May 14th municipal elections, but it is highly likely that they will.

On that date, Wainstein squares off with Mayor Nick Sacco in a rematch from 2015.

 

 

1 COMMENT

  1. It is ridiculous to say politicking is not allowed in public residential buildings, when everyone knows these politicians do PLENTY of politicking inside senior buildings. I know this for a fact! Furthermore, it is absolutely your first amendment right to distribute information to residents of any building, because how else are you to reach them? Waiting outside? So it’s one rule for some people and another rule for others?

    I’m glad someone is fighting for this. This is unheard of in other states.

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