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Hoboken Resident: Petition Fraud is an outrage

Actual photo taken by Mr. Paulson.  The petition states “We demand the repeal of Ordinance…”  On Saturday, the City Council will vote on that request.

Signature Hustle

On Thursday August 11th my friend and I were
walking down 1st street and were approached by two young men wanting us to sign
a petition. That morning, word had come that the Port Authority might raise
Path fares to $2.75 and the news cycle was saturated with discussion about the
pending hikes. The two young men who had come towards us seemed earnest,
telling my friend and I that they were circulating a petition to stop the fare
hike. With little hesitation I volunteered my signature. I found it puzzling
however that they didn’t need my street address – just a name and a signature
please.
They also asked my friend visiting from Queens to sign as
well, insisting that her signature would count. I signed quickly, finding the
plea unobjectionable. As I prepared to go I checked myself, thinking it prudent
to take a closer look at the petition that I had so precipitously signed.
The document said nothing about Path hikes, nothing about
tolls, nothing at all about what these young men were talking about. It was
something entirely different; a petition about changing election dates in Hoboken.
I scratched out my signature and demanded an explanation. In spite of the
evidence on the page these young men insisted the petition was ‘related’ to the
Path hike. There was nothing, not one word in that petition that had anything
to do with the pending hikes. I told these young men that they were being
completely dishonest. They were, and were also completely unembarrassed about
it.
It is possible that the petition these young men presented
us was a legitimate one but they framed it at something completely different.
After all, not many Hobokenites relish a Path hike. The document they were
asking us to sign was not at all what they claimed it to be; they outright lied
about its contents. It was total dissimulation, a pathetic ruse, albeit an
effective one. This is no way to get things done. This abuse of the citizenry’s
good faith ought to be censured. At the very least it ought to be recognized
and reprimanded for the shameful practice that it is. I suspect more than a few
people coming home lent their signatures to what they thought was a protest
against Path and Toll hikes.
Outrage is an appropriate reaction.
Paul Paulson
Hoboken Resident
Talking Ed Note: Mr. Paulson submitted this letter originally to the Hudson Reporter and received no response last month.  He and his wife are Hoboken residents.

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