Fulop, who turns 30 this Wednesday, said he created the survey to do what he called a "performance review" of city government, a gesture that could be informed by his experience in the business sector working for the New York City-based financial firm Citigroup.
"Politicians don't do this and they should do this," said Fulop. "You work for the people and the residents are the ones who know best what's happening in their city."
But the 25,000 residents don't all live in Ward E, which includes the downtown area of the city near the waterfront.
Mayor Jerramiah Healy said Tuesday that a card was sent to his wife Maureen and to his son Patrick.
"This is just Fulop getting ready for a run at the mayor's office in 2009," mused Healy.
He went on to say that he did not fill out the survey since it was not addressed to him.
Overhearing Healy was longtime friend and local radio host Pat O' Melia, who said he not gotten a card but would fill one out live on his weekly radio show.
"The mayor should be doing this," said O'Melia. "He should be sending the survey. It shouldn't be a councilman from Ward E."
City Councilman Steve Lipski, a rival of Fulop's who represents Ward C, did not receive a survey but he was not impressed upon hearing about it.
"[Fulop] does not want to see what I am going to write," said Lipski. "I also don't need a survey to know what to do."
Lipski lives in the St. John's Apartments on St. Paul's Ave. His ward spans from Journal Square to part of the Heights.Moving on up
Fulop, who will turn 30 this coming Wednesday, first ran for office in 2004 as a candidate for the 13th U.S. District Congressional seat, running against former Congressman and now U.S. Senator Robert Menendez. Fulop, who was backed by late Mayor Glenn D. Cunningham, lost handily to Menendez. However, that election set the stage for Fulop's run for City Council in 2005 when he pulled off an upset victory over incumbent E. Junior Maldonado.
In over a year, as one of the youngest councilmen in the city's history, Fulop has made a name for himself as a reformer and a thorn in Healy's political backside. This has led some to wonder if the recent survey was Fulop's excuse to glean potential voters should he decide to run for higher office such as mayor or City Council-at-large.
Fulop carried out a similar survey during his City Council run in 2005.
But Fulop denied any other motives besides just doing his job.
"People may not believe this, but I really enjoy my job," said Fulop. "Working on Wall Street, you don't always see the tangible results that you get from being a councilman helping people."
Fulop continued, "I think from an organization and a public service standpoint, it is important that this survey was carried out since people are paying high taxes and they want the best service." Surveying the land
Fulop said last week that he is learning a lot from the responses to the cards.
He said he has picked up new responses almost every day at the U.S. Post Office on Montgomery Street.
"People took it very seriously and gave thoughtful responses," said Fulop.
The first section of the survey lists 13 issues. Respondents were asked to name three as those most needing "to be addressed in order to move the city forward."
The next section asked people to rate 10 city departments and services in five different categories.
The final section asked what is the one city service or department they want to see improved.
"Here's one," Fulop said, looking at a response. "High crime rate, paving, and employment. Here's another, and she writes taxes, abatements, and more historic preservation."
Fulop also found that the Police Department got mostly positive marks while the Jersey City Parking Authority rated lowest.
"It shows that people feel the police department is running better under Chief [Thomas] Comey than his predecessor," said Fulop.
Fulop said the cards were sent out as a random sampling and the names came from a mailing list.
Discussions on the survey's creation, according to Fulop, went back at least two months. Fulop said he wanted to put together a plan to address the various issues that affect residents throughout the city.
Fulop said it will be several months before he puts together a concrete plan, as he is gathering data with the help of his assistant Tracy La'Bad and some volunteers.
"I will create a map to show what needs improvement," said Fulop. "I hope to show this map, these results of the survey to the City Council." Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org