The group I mention in a previous article, Empower our Neighborhoods, ran a campaign to change New Brunswick’s form of government from at-large to a ward based system. The group was looking to give administrative power to residents from each section of the city, rather than have a 5 person at-large council which represent the city as a whole and does not require the elected officials to live in a certain area of town. I attempted to interview the city officials but they refused – I was only able to film one side of the campaign.
The campaign results were 49% yes votes; 51% no votes. After the election, former city council member Joseph Egan, also New Jersey Assemblyman, submitted a bill that would not allow residents to petition a change in the form of their city government for at least 10 years after it has been publicly voted on, known as the “Referendum Kill-Bill”. The previous length of time was four years. The administration has had everything to themselves the last hundred years, the city is run by the same families. Is major downtown development a facade? The federal government has made a number of corruption-related arrests in New Brunswick in the last 30 years, especially the last 5 years. The residents want their city back, and the students of Rutgers don’t feel welcome staying after graduation.