People for Open Government petitions

2/15/2007 Update:

A message from Eric Kurta:

Hello all,

Our pay-to-play petitions have passed muster and will come before the Hoboken City Council Wednesday February 21. I’m hoping to see many of you there – if a proposed 11 am bar opening on the day of the St. Patrick’s day parade can bring out 50 or so, I’d like to think that something as insignificant as pay-to-play reform could bring out at least a dozen concerned citizens. I’d like to meet with the POG board members, as well as anyone else that’s interested, in the week before the meeting to discuss our approach when we appear before the council. If you’d like to attend, please let me know which days are good or not good for you. I’d like to meet sometime between next Wednesday (14th) and the Tuesday before the meeting (20th). I’ll try to pick an evening (or weekend afternoon) when as many of us can get together as possible.

Thanks again for all your efforts – you were wonderful to work with!

Eric S. Kurta

Click to download a copy of the PDF from the City Clerk.

pog petition letter city clerk hoboken - People for Open Government petitions

1/13/2007 Update:

POG is very close to their signature goal and needs one last good push to accomplish what they’ve set out to do. They’ll be out in front of Garden of Eden on Washington Street between 2nd and 3rd from 10am-6pm both Saturday and Sunday and at the Goldhawk (936 Park) Monday from 6-9pm.

If you haven’t done so already, stop by, find out what they’re supporting and sign the petition if you agree with them!

1/5/2007 Update:

This Saturday and Sunday between 10am – 6pm, they’ll be set up on Washington St. between 2nd and 4th (either by Garden of Eden or Panera Bread).

With the temperatures reaching close to 70 degrees tomorrow, POG hopes that many local voters will be out exploring Hoboken. They need about 1000 more signatures to meet the requirements, and have two weeks left to do it.

Please stop by and show your support!

petition - People for Open Government petitionsPlease read below to find out more about two important petitions the People for Open Government (POG) is collecting signatures for. If approved, or voted in this May, these ordinances will hopefully help put an end to suspicious back-end deals and contributions that sway things in Hoboken. They’ll be across from City Hall today at 5pm.

Here’s what Eric Kurta, President of the POG has to say:

I’m pleased to announce that People for Open Government (POG) will begin to collect signatures for two petitions to be presented to the Hoboken City Council on January 18th. Both petitions may be adopted as law by the City Council or, should the Council decline, be placed on the ballot in the upcoming May 2007 election.

  • The newly “clarified” Public Contracting Reform Ordinance will strengthen the ordinance that POG successfully passed into law via citizen initiative in the November 2004 election. The updated ordinance will further act to control the amounts of money that certain business entities, negotiating for or doing business with the City, may contribute to local candidates, committees, and political parties.
  • The new Redevelopment “Pay-to-Play” Reform Ordinance will attempt to prohibit contributions, as above, from developers who enter into negotiations or agreements with the City to engage in redevelopment activities.

In 2004, POG submitted four ordinances to the City Council for consideration. Three were adopted by the Council into law:

  • The Electronic Access Ordinance, which requires the city to make public notices, agendas, and records available in electronic form in the City Clerk’s office as well as on the Hoboken City website.
  • The Competitive Negotiations for Professional Services Contracts Ordinance, which requires that the city award all contracts or agreements to outside consultants for the provision of professional services on the basis of competitive negotiation.
  • The Developer Contribution Disclosure Statement Ordinance required developers before the City Zoning or Planning boards, or taking part in redevelopment processes, to disclose contributions made to city officers and political candidates.
  • The City Council declined to adopt the Public Contracting Reform Ordinance, and sent it to the public ballot, where it passed by a 9 to 1 margin.

The two new ordinances will help ensure that certain business entities and developers do not have undue influence on the public officers with whom they negotiate and do business. We hope that by doing so will result in improved city services, restraint on city spending, a more balanced playing field for candidates who desire to run for local office, and a means for residents who desire more park and open space to counter the influence of favored developers.

If you would like to add your signature to the petitions, get involved in collecting signatures, or just would like some additional information or to wish us well, please feel free to contact me. Barring any fatal flaws with the ordinances as currently written that would require additional rewrites, I’ll be kicking things off tomorrow (Thursday) at 5pm across from City Hall. If you can, please stop by. I’ll have petitions and fact sheets for those that would like to help circulate petitions. I hope that anyone who is concerned about the current parks and open space situation, proposed redevelopment zones, or the upcoming school board and City Council elections, will get involved. We’ll need 1400 signatures, so the more help we can get, the better.

I look forward to seeing all of you,

Eric S. Kurta
President, POG

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Kudos to City Hall mainstay Jimmy Farina for managing to put out an imperfect but clearly literate document on City Letterhead!

I am taking his example and cc’ing “Mayor Roberts” on all my correspondence. Anyone have his Mantiloking address? I hear its the best place to reach him….


POG will be meeting at 7pm tonight (Thursday) at 107 Monroe (Vance). It will just be a quick get-together to discuss our approach at next week’s council meeting. If you can make it to the council meeting – that’s 7pm Wednesday, Feb 21, in City Hall – we’d appreciate the show of support.


Hey, congratulations on this… Keep us posted when the meeting is, I’d like to take part in this… I guess every person helps.


Our petition drive was a success! We collected 1416 signatures for the Public Contracting Reform Ordinance, and 1386 for the Redevelopment Pay-to-Play Reform Ordinance. 1074 signatures were needed for each petition to get the ordinances on the ballot in May’s City Council election.

We also registered 116 new Hoboken voters.

The petitions were submitted to the city clerk’s office on Thursday, January 18. The city clerk has 20 days to certify the signatures. If a sufficient number of signatures are deemed valid, the city clerk presents the City Council with the two ordinances. The City Council has 20 days to either accept the ordinances, in which case they become law immediately, or to decline, which sends the ordinances to the ballot for Hoboken voters to decide.

The ordinances will come before the Council on either February 7 or 21. What happens then is anybody’s guess at this point. I’ll be sure to post more information as it becomes available.



People for Open Government will be collecting signatures yet again, this time at the Shipyard ferry (North Hoboken) Wednesday and Thursday mornings between 7:30 and 9:00am. It’s early in the day and definitely will be cold, so there will be no hurt feelings on our part if you say “Just tell me where to sign, dammit!”

Many thanks in advance!