Group pushes ordinance on pay-to-play

Group pushes ordinance on pay-to-play
Monday, January 08, 2007 Jersey Journal

HOBOKEN - A non-partisan civic group is pushing for the city to adopt an ordinance that would extend pay-to-play prohibitions to developers.

The proposal is very similar to a proposal made last week by Jersey City Councilman Steve Fulop for his city.

Both ordinances would essentially bar developers from contributing to local politicians once the city decides to study an area for redevelopment, until a developer is chosen and the project is complete.

"We're not an anti-development group," said Eric S. Kurta, president of the Hoboken-based People for Open Government. "We are just curious about the city's intentions when it comes to areas in need of redevelopment."

He added that when a city announces a redevelopment study, it has become "a mechanism for raising campaign funds as much as it is for rehabilitating under-utilized sites."

Fulop wants the City Council to adopt his proposal in the next few weeks. The members of People for Open Government are hoping someone from the Hoboken City Council will introduce a similar ordinance, but if not, volunteers from the organization are collecting petition signatures of registered Hoboken voters. Kurta said the group needs 1,079 valid petition signatures to get the proposal on the May ballot. If passed, the measure would be in place for three years, he said.

In 2004, the group successfully passed a "pay-to-play" ordinance banning political contributions from vendors competing for city contracts.

Hoboken Mayor David Roberts didn't return phone calls to comment.

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