Categorized | Editorial, Local Perspectives

EDITORIAL: Would the Ward System be Better?

What is your opinion?

Thomas Francis C. Peter B., Orlando P., Barbara S., Robert S., Tracy J. are probably recognizable names because they often write letters to the editors. People who approach me and tell me they are concerned about the problems that are going on in the City. When I tell those individuals to write a letter to the editor about their concerns they promise me they will and guess what – I’m still waiting!

One of the individuals who promised me a letter and hadn’t got around to it has a concern about the voting process in Perth Amboy so I told him that I will write an editorial about what I think about the voting process and the things that need to be changed.

This individual was saying that the way the Council is made up right now does not represent the Citizens of Perth Amboy with two of the members living in the Spa Springs Section and three of them living in the High Street and Waterfront area.

This individual has brought it up at the Council Meetings that the system of voting in Perth Amboy needs to change and perhaps Perth Amboy should have a ward system (similar to that of South Amboy). Each Councilperson lives in a particular section of town and then you have a Councilperson-at-large who represents the whole town. The main problem that Perth Amboy may have with the ward system is that fact that you have to have individuals who are motivated to represent their section of town. Remember the system we have right now is open to anyone who can gather enough legitimate signatures on a petition to be handed in, verified by the City Clerk and can be placed on the ballot. Even when an individual who wants to run for office turns in his/her petitions, if he/she does not have enough valid signatures when the cutoff date is over, if that individual has a big enough filing, there is an outside possibility that he/she can be elected to office by write-in votes.

As you could see in the last couple of years a very small percentage of people who were registered to vote actually voted. Therefore that very small minority of people chose who was going to represent the people of Perth Amboy on the Council.

In my eyes, I don’t know if doing a ward system in Perth Amboy would actually work. If those individuals that live in the other sections of town are not motivated to seek office, then you can’t force them to do so.

Others might say that the ones that get elected have the big political party money backing them. That doesn’t leave much room for the little guy. I remember when the late Richard Piatkowksi was running for Assemblyman and he basically ran on a shoestring budget and he almost beat a candidate who was backed by powerful political bosses.

While the other candidates were having fundraisers at popular restaurants I can recall Richard having a small fundraiser that was funded by a political ally. I also remember at the Perth Amboy Council Meeting where Councilman Fernando Gonzalez told this individual what he can do to get this change implemented. The best way to go about it was to get a petition drawn up asking for this to be done.

—C.M.

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Perth Amboy Calendar

WED. Sept. 27
• City Council, Regular,
7 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

THURS. Sept. 28
• Historic Preservation Commission,
7 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

MON. Oct. 10
• City Council, Caucus,
4:30 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

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South Amboy Calendar

WED. Oct. 4
• City Council, Business,
6 p.m.
City Hall, N. Broadway

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