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Blue Laws Ballot Question Faces Doubts

Clerk says anti-Blue Laws effort is short by thousands of needed signatures

Rosemary Shashoua collected signatures in Teaneck. / File photo
Rosemary Shashoua collected signatures in Teaneck. / File photo

The Bergen County Clerk’s Office says a group that announced last month it collected enough signatures to get a referendum to overturn the Blue Laws is actually thousands of signatures away from the amount required for a ballot question.

Modernize Bergen County, which opposes the county’s Sunday shopping restrictions, said it had met the 2,500 required signatures for the November ballot. Clerk John Hogan, however, told northjersey.com Thursday that the group in fact needed 55,000 signatures.

Conflicting reports have emerged over how many signatures are needed, with differing numbers reportedly coming from officials, statutes and the group’s attorney.

"We think we're on firm legal grounds,” Hogan said in the report. “If anyone challenges that, of course, the judge will have the final say.”

Rosemary Shashoua, of Westwood, and fellow Modernize Bergen County members have been holding signature drives around the area with the belief they needed a minimum of 2,500 names for a ballot question.

Previous referendums to repeal the laws were defeated 192,394 to 157,648 in 1980 and 185,821 to 105,040 in 1993.

paul smith September 07, 2013 at 02:55 PM
Edge, looks like you nailed it...section e below... while that's unfair to the folks that put in the effort it looks like 10% of registered voters is the requirement based on its failure the previous time... C.40A:64-2 Referendum prohibiting Sunday sales in county. 15. a. Section 14 of P.L.1999, c.90 (C.40A:64-1) prohibiting Sunday sales shall not become operative in any county unless the voters of the county have determined by referendum held pursuant to this section or its predecessor that Sunday sales shall not be permitted in the county. b. A public question as to whether Sunday sales shall be permitted in a county shall be submitted to the voters of the county at a general election if a petition signed by not less than 2,500 registered voters of the county requesting that the question be submitted is filed with the county clerk prior to the 45th day preceding the general election. c. There shall be printed on each official ballot to be used at such election, the following: If you favor the proposition printed below make a cross (X), plus (+) or check () in the square opposite the word "Yes." If you are opposed thereto make a cross (X), plus (+) or check () in the square opposite the word "No." YES. Shall Sunday sales be permitted in this county? NO. In any municipality in which voting machines are used, the question shall be placed upon the official ballots to be used upon the voting machines without the instructions and shall be voted upon by the use of such machines. d. If at the election at which the question is submitted, the majority of all the votes cast are cast against the question, the provisions of section 14 of P.L.1999, c.90 (C.40A:64-1) shall be operative in the county on the first Sunday after the election. If a majority of votes is cast in favor of the question, the provisions of this act shall remain inoperative in the county. e. In a county in which there has been a referendum on Sunday sales provided in this section, a public question as to whether Sunday sales shall be permitted shall be submitted again to the voters of the county if three years has elapsed since the last referendum on the subject and a petition signed by at least 10% of the registered voters of the county requesting that the question again be submitted is filed with the county clerk. The election shall be held at the next general election after the 45th day following the date of the filing of the petition in the same manner as provided in subsection c.
Phil Brooks September 07, 2013 at 03:13 PM
Edge, NICE JOB! So, 2,500 would be correct if this was the first go-around for this amendment but 55,000 if it failed previously. // I guess the intent of this statute is to prevent a small minority from repeatedly bringing the same thing up for a vote every three years. To an extent, even the 55,000 represents a small minority of those who actually voted, for or against, in either referendum. But at least it requires an effort to get that many signatures.
es September 07, 2013 at 07:08 PM
There is also a provision for a ballot to be brought to the municipality in the same manner, but I am not clear on whether the county overrides the municipality. If the ballot can be brought to Teaneck, which was the impetus for this group's action, why try to force it on the entire county?
paul smith September 07, 2013 at 08:28 PM
haven't heard from delgado....I'm sure there's an evil republicrat thing here somewhere that he or she will enlighten us with :)
Rae Ann Jandris September 08, 2013 at 11:33 AM
Bergen County is unique in many respects. As a lifelong resident, I've seen many changes over the years that some families were optimistic about. These families eventually became comfortable with these decisions. Given a choice, I'd prefer to shop locally where our purchases will benefit our small shops, our towns and our county. We are living in the 21st century with computers, cell phones, modern conveniences that we had to adjust to. Let's move ahead to shop locally in our neighborhood . Residents will adjust in time. Where can I sign this petition? VOTE YES FOR BERGEN COUNTY SHOPPING.
RB September 08, 2013 at 12:23 PM
Ok, 54,999 more to go.
Daniel Rosen September 08, 2013 at 03:55 PM
does this mean that in 1993 there were 55,000 signatures to get it on the ballot again?
delgado September 08, 2013 at 08:48 PM
Look, it was always 55,000, that is what even the County Clerk stated in the Bergen Record. How could no one catch that. Stated clearly in the paper. Also its crazzzzyy to have only 2,500 signatures for a County of 1 million people. That means nearly every wacko can get anything on the ballot..... sort of whats happening here. Also they law even clearly states no sore loser law, where you cant put it on the ballot every single year until you get you way. The bigger OUTRAGE is Republican Bergen Exe. Donovan, actually told the PRESS and the Group,,, go get 2,500 signatures. Its quoted in even in the Donovan loving Bergen Record. Both sides, the Blue Law-quality of life supporters and the Anti-Blue Law American Dream Strip Mall lovers Must be totally outraged that the Bergen County leader just outright lied... Why would she just lie you say?!?!?! Easy, she is a classic "So sue me" type, who will attempt to use this "sympathy for the Rosemary and the silent people" who failed to follow the law and now want to be treated differently. So why is Donovan willing to be such a jerk about this??!! Cause is all about the money for herself and crew, you see Donovans top advisor, is the main lobbyist for the Canadian owned American Dream Triple 5 shopping mall and this lobbyist Alam Marcus will make a ton of money if he gets to change the Blue laws, cause his client will make more money as well as the Lehman Bros investors of American Dream.
delgado September 08, 2013 at 08:54 PM
Q: But Delagado, isn't this just crazy Internet Conspiracy stuff? A: Nope. This is the real intention of changing the Blue laws, so investors can make money. If Rosemary and crew were genuine, then the should have done it under the Democrats, or even 5 years ago, but nope, in fact it wasnt even an issue. But now that American Dream has Alan Marcus and his puppet is Donovan (she was found with underage girls and drugs in her home) this becomes a HUGE issue. Its so clear, its so obvious, the bigger scam is the $600,000,000 in Bergen County bond money that Donovan is giving to these scammers also.
frazeyp@gmail.com September 09, 2013 at 08:14 AM
I also thought that their numbers were low. Most states require 100,000 + for a ballot initiative. THis is valid signatures. We don't know if all theirs are valid, probably not. Once someone moves, they're not valid. Either way, I am voting NO. Because there is one day a week where you have far less stress in driving. I hope this crazy group goes away now.
peter festa September 09, 2013 at 10:49 AM
if it is short I am willing to put my name on it right now. I believe our BEGEN money is filling passaic county's pockets so why not keep that money here where it is needed for tax relief. SO PUT MY NAME DOWN NOW AND I KNOW THERE ARE THPOUSANDS WHO THINK LIKE I DO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Phil Brooks September 09, 2013 at 10:50 AM
Frazey, The numbers aren't low and Delgado (above) is talking out of his ass and only because he's always looking under every rock for a conspiracy. // According to the laws, thoughtfully posted here by Edge and Paul Smith, it's 2,500 to get an issue on the ballot the FIRST time and 10% of all eligible voters in the last election every SUCCEEDING time. In addition, the same issue can only be re-visited every three years, thus preventing the same issues from appearing on the ballot year after year. // You think the numbers are low because this was a COUNTY referendum only and not a state one. As there were apparently 550,000 people eligible to vote in Bergen County last November, then 10%, or 55,000, signatures are needed to get it on the ballot this time as this would be the third time this issue would be on the ballot. Make sense (I hope)?
Edge September 09, 2013 at 11:52 AM
In the future, hopefully there can be a more informed and rational discussion of the actual issue rather than one about the procedures or requirements for ballot access.
DD September 09, 2013 at 01:24 PM
Learning about the procedures is far more interesting than hearing opinions on whether someone wants the blue laws or doesn't. "I like being able to drive around my county just one day a week." "I want to shop for clothes on Sunday." Not interesting.
Phil Brooks September 09, 2013 at 02:30 PM
Uncle Festa, So, how come you held down the exclamation point key and resorted to shouting (all caps)? Do you think that helped your argument? // And you "believe" that our BEGEN (sic) money is filling Passaic's pockets? Is that only a belief? Do you have any facts, such as Garden State is the third most profitable mall in this country (fact) and, unlike the last vote in 1993, merchants aren't making a lot of noise and backing this referendum (also a fact)? No, obviously you don't. You just "believe." // People like you scare me. Why? Because you make ill-informed statements and decisions where facts are nowhere to be found.
delgado September 09, 2013 at 07:30 PM
Again, the only reason everyone has their panties in a wad on the Blue Laws is the Bergen Republican Lobbyist (under investigation by FBI for BCC contracts) Alan Marcus other top client Canadian American Dream Strip Mall and now the BCIA want to give them $600Million dollars. There are even willing to bend the rules to get their Blue Laws referendum on the ballot. The number is 55,000 for any referendum, this county law subersedes the 1950's blue law ordiance. It cant be overuled 'cause Donovan wants to do it...end of story
paul smith September 09, 2013 at 09:30 PM
Evil conspiracies aside, it's simple.... the FIRST referendum required 2500 signatures as has been detailed ad nauseum above... to reintroduce the petition again after a period of 3 years requires signatures equivalent to 10% of the voters in the previous election, which translates to about 55,000 voters, as also detailed ad nauseum above. If they got the info from Donovan she was wrong and she has to answer for it. The petitioners should have went thru the regs on the public domain like we did. It sucks if they were mislead but it is what it is. Hope that untwists your panties.
John Santaella September 09, 2013 at 11:22 PM
Enough already. Whether it's 2500 or 250,000 let's get the signatures and get this question on the ballot. It will be voted down again and then let's let it rest. But let's remember, this referendum is not about shopping but about selling. The person's leading this just want to sell and make more money.
Esther Sandrof September 10, 2013 at 06:22 PM
The town of Teaneck wants out of the Blue Laws because a serious chunk of our population can't shop on Saturdays due to religious prohibitions. As a result our shopping districts are dying. Shouldn't each town have the option to decide for itself whether to prohibit shopping on Sundays?
Tom Abbott September 10, 2013 at 07:45 PM
Q: But Delagado, isn't this just crazy Internet Conspiracy stuff? No, it's just crazy Delgado conspiracy stuff!
Phil Brooks September 10, 2013 at 07:54 PM
Esther, I'm in Glen Rock and our downtown is dying--at least a quarter empty--and, for almost everyone, there is no such religious prohibition. // So, it has nothing to do with the lack of Sunday shopping. // What it does have to do with are the malls and big box stores, leaving many downtowns with service-oriented businesses--hair/nail joints, food (and most of that cheap stuff like pizza, bagels, sandwiches and coffee), banks, cleaners, drug stores and maybe a liquor store. And that many downtowns are heading in that direction was only a matter of time.
John Santaella September 10, 2013 at 10:55 PM
Ridgewood is right next door to Glen Rock and it's not dying? The signs above the stores are colorful and inviting. Hmmmm...
Francis Lehane September 11, 2013 at 07:11 AM
Tom Abbott another senile Donovan apologist
delgado September 11, 2013 at 09:17 PM
This issue NEVER came up in the past 20 years,,, only now that Donovan (and her lobbyist Alan Marcus) are to make millions in fees for, they create this fake histeria.
Tom Abbott September 11, 2013 at 09:51 PM
This issue has come up repeatedly in the last 20 years, but apparently not in the fantasy world where delgado lives.
es September 12, 2013 at 11:57 AM
What some people don't realize about Teaneck is that the orthodox Sabbath observing population has increased, while the generally less observant populations have decreased, thus the issue becomes acute. Still, the economy has much more to do with Teaneck's particluar plight than Sunday laws. Why do you suppose Ridgewood restaurants aren't jam-packed for three seatings every Saturday night? Are you better off today than you were in 2006? This petition could be brought to the town, rather than to the county.
Tom Abbott September 12, 2013 at 03:05 PM
State law does not allow the petition to be brought to the town. State law only allows for a referendum on the county level to remove the blue laws.
es September 12, 2013 at 08:58 PM
Section: 40A:64-4: Municipality may prohibit Sunday sales by referendum 17. In a county that has approved Sunday sales by referendum, any municipality in that county which voted to prohibit Sunday sales at that referendum may by municipal referendum and pursuant to R.S.40:45-3 submit to the voters of the municipality for their approval the question of whether Sunday sales shall be permitted in that municipality.
es September 12, 2013 at 09:02 PM
I assume that section allows for individual towns to opt-out and is not a one-time use it or lose it event.
Phil Brooks September 12, 2013 at 09:51 PM
ES, Not sure what your point is. // A town can opt for its own Blue Law in a county where Sunday shopping is legal. It doesn't work the other way around where the county is "Blue" and a municipality wishes to opt out. // It's a one way street.

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