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Web site shut to erase plug for Schundler

'Overzealous' supporter blamed

Originally appeared in the Bergen Record on Sunday, July 22, 2001

By KAREN MAHABIR
Staff Writer

Internet surfers trying to learn about Jersey City were out of luck Saturday as the city's Web site was inaccessible amid reports it featured an endorsement for former Mayor Bret Schundler's gubernatorial campaign.

Mayor Glenn Cunningham, who succeeded Schundler in that job only weeks ago, said a banner ad reportedly naming Schundler was likely added to the site by "an overzealous supporter." Cunningham was quick to say the candidate is not to blame.

"I don't think Schundler would have known about this, and he wouldn't have approved it," said Cunningham, a Democrat, in a telephone interview Saturday. He called the banner "improper."

A spokesman for Schundler, a Republican, said "we have nothing to do with the Web site."

Attempts by The Record to log onto the site, thecityofjerseycity.com failed repeatedly Saturday.

According to Saturday's edition of The Jersey Journal, a flashing multi-colored banner previously appeared at the top of one of the Jersey City site's pages, reading "Vote. Schundler 2001." It provided a link to the candidate's official campaign site, the paper reported.

City information technicians have been working on the site, which may explain why it wasn't accessible Saturday, said Bill Ayala, Cunningham's chief of staff.

Cunningham said the Police Department's Special Investigations Unit was searching for the former city employee responsible for creating the site and who holds its codes. Once that person is found, Cunningham said, everything should be in order.

Cunningham said he expects the site to be restored within a few days.

Once the site is back up and running, Cunningham plans to make it more informative, as well as more convenient for the city's residents.

"I'd like to see people be able to interact more with city business . . . tell us where the potholes are, and even pay bills on the site," said Cunningham. "I want it to be a tool for the community, not just the administration."

Staff Writer Karen Mahabir's e-mail address is mahabir@northjersey.com


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