In a HudsonTV Exclusive!
Hackensack’s city government recently allegedly tried to hide the existence of records showing a controversial recent mailing to taxpayers was sent only to registered voters. Now, Hackensack’s high powered publicists admit the mailer went out only to registered voters, and only to one voter per residence, potentially bypassing thousands of City residents who may be newcomers or not registered to vote or in a multiple unit structure.
A sample portion of the mailing list, obtained by HudsonTV, shows the list provided detailed personal information on voters from addresses to voting behavior and which elections voters cast votes in, ethnic information, religion codes and even codes for whether a voter was a homeowner.
These records were obtained after some City resistance to turn over records requested by Richard Salkin. The records are public documents which are required by law to be disclosed under New Jersey’s public records laws, according to lawyers familiar with the state law.
One may assume a taxpayer funded mailer would, and should, go to all residents. If voter data is used for a mailer, such practices risk missing out on any residents who may be in different households at the same address, or residents who have recently moved, as well as residents who for whatever reason are not registered to vote.
Political opponents have been charging that the voter-targeted mailer is just one more sign it was really intended to promote the incumbent Mayor, John Labrosse, who’s up for reelection in the City’s upcoming election on Tuesday, May 9th.
Other circumstantial evidence indicating a possible political motive behind the mailer was the fact the mailer was produced by the City’s public relations firm, which suspended its contract with the City on the eve of Labrosse and his council slate announcing their campaign, before then taking over PR duties for their campaign.
Mayor Labrosse and Deputy Mayor Canestrino have tried to “spin” their way out of this since the last council meeting but a paper trail which they tried to hide tells a very different story, said Caseen Gaines, spokesperson for Hackensack United for Progress.
The Hackensack United for Progress campaign also sent a letter to the Bergen County Prosecutor and Attorney General’s Office asking for an investigation into this matter.
Phil Swibinski of the Secaucus PR firm Vision Media Marketing, the firm which designed and sent out the mailer, wrote in a press release this morning that sending taxpayer-funded mailers to the public using a voter list was “legal.”
The Hackensack United for Progress campaign sent a letter hammering Swibinkski’s admissions by stating: “the Labrosse/Canestrino Team confessed to lying to Hackensack taxpayers about the targeted recipients of their recent taxpayer-funded campaign mailing.” Labrosse has said the controversial mailing was sent to “taxpayers,” while Swibinski said it went to “residents.”
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