Bergen Pay to Play Reform Under Attack TONITE

I got this email from Bergen Grassroots.  I found it disturbing to say the least.

Fellow Grassrooter,

Tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct. 3, the Freeholders will meet in the Administrative Building in Hackensack, to consider repealing the pay-to-play reform we succeeded in getting enacted just nine months ago in December. This ordinance will be the subject of a public hearing and then considered for enactment by the Freeholders.

We must assume that the four Freeholders that voted to introduce this replacement legislation will now proceed to vote to enact it.This is a dreadful consequence for Bergen's voters and taxpayers; the reform ordinance has been so successful that both parties can't wait to repeal it. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30pm and there is an immediate period when the public may speak on any topic. The ordinance's public hearing will take place much later, at the end of the agenda. At that time, public input is limited to the subject of the ordinance.

We urge you to turn out for this Freeholder meeting to express your opposition to this action, which would restore "business as usual" for the Freeholders and their contractors.

As someone who fought long and hard for years against Pay To Play - which is equivalent to Citizens United on a local scale - I am appalled these spineless folks at the County level would so quickly revert to their old ways.

The thing is - the stakes are so much higher now.  We have national companies trying to put new fracked gas pipelines across Northern NJ which they just consider a speedbump on the road to exporting that gas to Asia at four times the price it would get here in the US. We are sitting ducks if we remove the Pay To Play ordinance now.  

For the past few years, even though political campaigns have less cash, towns have been somewhat freed of the corporate vultures and their money influencing local elections while creating expensive construction boondoggles for engineering companies.  

The Bergen County Freeholders want to bring all that bad stuff back here simply because their campaigns need the money.

Here's a thought.  How about they try to win elections on IDEAS and RESULTS for the residents of Bergen County, rather than using money given to them by vultures who want something in return?

If you want to grill the Candidates on this issue - you can do so tomorrow.  Here is the rest of Paul's email:

Thursday, Oct. 4, we will present a candidate's forum for the two Freeholder seats up this year. Our regular September meeting fell on a holiday, so we moved the meeting to Oct. 4th. As is standard practice, we will meet at the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County, 687 Larch Avenue, Teaneck NJ at 7:30pm. There you'll have an opportunity to see and listen to three candidates for two Freeholder seats. Tracy Silna Zur of Franklin Lakes and Steve Tanelli of Lyndhurst are the Democratic candidates. Incumbent Ron Hermansen of Mahwah and Margaret "Peg" Watkins of River Edge are the Republicans.

Thanks for all you do,


Here is the article by Charlie Stile about the changes which may gut the law:

If you can, please show up. I know there are political junkies out there focused on the debate tonite, but this is critical. We need to show up and remind these guys why they passed that law in the first place.  

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