Your story on MontclairLocal.news July 28 titled “Who’s the ‘liar?’ Vote Montclair, attorney trade barbs over nixed petition on fall elections” offers an entertaining look at some of the administrative details surrounding Township Attorney Ira Karasick’s blocking of Vote Montclair’s petition, which sought to prompt a referendum asking voters if Montclair should move our local elections from May to November.
But it, and other stories on the election reform issue in the Local, have failed to answer, or even to ask, the key substantive questions: Who in town benefits most from continuing a system in which turnout in some years is below 10%? Which of our council members and other key local political figures and organizations have publicly supported a change that would likely see a big jump in turnout, as well as a significant savings to the township budget, and which won’t? Who is fighting behind the scenes to make sure it doesn’t happen? Why, in short, is Montclair one of just a handful of more than 500 municipalities in the state that still holds its local elections at a time guaranteed to result in so few of its citizens voting?
Meanwhile, as for the juicy question posed by the headline, readers can decide whether Karasick or I (or perhaps both of us) are liars. But on the question of the township attorney’s approach to communications and ethics, it should be noted that the New Jersey Supreme Court has already ruled on it, in 2001 officially reprimanding Karasick for misconduct involving communications with a client, and for “failure to cooperate with the ethics authorities.” The question of why Montclair would employ as its top legal officer someone with this background might also make a good story someday.
Norwood Avenue, Montclair
Editor’s note: In the matter referenced above, the state Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Review Board determined in 2001 Karasick had not communicate the basis for his legal fee to a client until 23 months after he was retained, and did not respond to messages over a 19-month period seeking an update on the case, with the exception of one phone call. The board also found Karasick hadn’t responded to a District Ethics Committee complaint on the matter.
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