The first would prevent local elected officials and government employees from collecting more than one taxpayer-financed salary. Right now, most of the City Council's nine members also work full-time for county government.
The second would make it illegal for any entity that does business with the city, such as a contractor who provides professional services like accounting or engineering, to make a political contribution to a local candidate for a one-year period after conducting business with the city.
Both referenda derive from ordinances that were previously voted down by the City Council in 2007. Fulop decided to take them to a public vote intead.
Fulop said last week he is moving forward with the effort, which started last October, as volunteers have been gathering signatures across the city to get the matters on the ballot.
There have been approximately 2,000 signatures collected for each of the two referenda.
Fulop must collect a number of signatures equal to 15 percent of the total voter turnout from the 2007 November general election in Jersey City, which would mean more than 2,000.
He must turn in the petitions to the city clerk's office by mid-July so they can be checked. The council also will have the option of passing his proposals into law again.
"Some people are gathering signatures door to door, some via the PATH, some entering in a database, and some cross checking versus the voter rolls," Fulop said last week. "We currently have a good cross section of every ward in the city."Getting on the ballot
Volunteers working on Fulop's petition drive are carrying packets that contain the following: directions about what they must do when securing signatures on a petition, a voter registration application, and separate petitions for each referendum.
Before anyone signs a petition, that person has to sign a voter registration form, unless they are already registered in Jersey City. This is because only signatures from local registered voters are valid for referendum petitions. In the past, petitions have been struck down because a number of signatures were ruled to be invalid.
Those voter registration forms will be turned in to the Hudson County Board of Elections Office before the petitions are submitted to Jersey City's City Clerk Robert Byrne.
Fulop hopes to see the signatures submitted to the city clerk's office in mid-July. Then, they will be submitted in front of the City Council at a future council meeting so the ordinances can be considered again by the council.
If the ordinances are rejected or not acted upon within a 20-day period, both referenda will be on the ballot in November (provided the signatures check out).
Carrying out much of the signature-gathering have been two grassroots groups: Civic JC and Partnership for a Better JC. The latter is a nonprofit, community-based organization formed by Fulop with a Web site (www.betterjc.com) that explains the referenda. Helping in the effort
Aaron Morrill is a 10-year resident of Jersey City. A businessman and attorney, he sits on the board of Partnership for a Better JC.
In 2006, Morrill along with fellow residents and community activists Dan Levin and Andrew Hubsch, presented the City Council with an earlier version of one of the referenda, banning contributions from contractors. But their version sought only to ban contributions from developers who wanted to redevelop in Jersey City.
In any case, there was no action by the council on their proposed ordinance.
Morrill was one of a number of attorneys who worked with Fulop to draft the two current referenda, and has been going out collecting signatures on petitions as well as speaking at community meetings about the referendum effort. Morrill said the referendum process has been "bittersweet."
"It's frustrating that we've gotten so little support from the City Council," Morrill said.
The council has stated various reasons for their opposition, ranging from Fulop not discussing the legislation before presenting it to the council, to him allegedly using it as a platform for a possible run for mayor next year.
Morrill continued, "However, I think it helps to establish a council member as someone who is in favor of transparent government." Comments on this story can be sent to email@example.com.