Judge clears way for ward system question on New Brunswick’s fall ballot

In a victory for local activists, New Brunswick residents will get to vote on a citywide referendum for ward-based City Council electionson November 3,thanks to adecision issuedtoday by Superior Court Judge James P. Hurley.

Hurleyruled that New Brunswick city government acted improperly when it rejected petitions presented lastOctober by Empower Our Neighborhoods (EON).

The decision representeda big victory for EON.

After getting rejected and filing suit last year,the groupcirculated a new petition calling for a referendum on wards in November of 2009, which the city again declined, citing an action of the City Council for an alternative ballot question.

In a release prepared by EON activist Charles Kratovilsaid thattoday Hurleydismissed that rationale, pointing out that the prior litigation had determined the Council’s ordinance to be illegal.

“It’s fairly apparent by now that the city’s objections were politically motivated,” said EON member Martha Guarnieri.“The law requires a public vote on a legitimate petition, no matter what the government thinks of it content.We’re very glad Judge Hurley has affirmed the people’s right to determine their own form of government and look forward to another exciting campaign for change in our City.”

Judge clears way for ward system question on New Brunswick’s fall ballot