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City Web site provides link to Schundler

Originally appeared in The Jersey Journal

By David Danzig
Journal staff writer

07/21/01

The campaign of Republican Gubernatorial candidate Bret Schundler is getting a boost from an unexpected source: Jersey City's official Web site.

The boost comes from a banner, which some suspect may have been slipped into the site just before Schundler, the former Jersey City mayor, handed the keys to City Hall over to Glenn Cunningham, his successor, on July 1.

The multi-colored banner, which is about one-half inch thick and appears at the top of a page that details the history of Liberty State Park, says, "wanna stop paying Parkway tolls?" In an instant, it changes messages. "Vote. Schundler 2001," it reads. Those who click on the flashing message are taken to the would-be governor's official site, Bret2001.com.

The banner is not the only link on the city's site, www.cityofjerseycity.com.

A myriad of Jersey City-based businesses, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations can be accessed through the city's site. None of the organizations that have links through the city's site are billed for the service.

But a number of local activists are angry, nonetheless. They point out that the site is meant to serve the community's needs, not the former mayor's.

"We are paying for his ad," said Yvonne Balcer, a longtime city activist who has butted heads with the former mayor before. "The money necessary to put that up came out of our pockets, not his. And that's wrong."

Cunningham has ordered the Schundler link eradicated.

"That's coming down, without a doubt," city spokesman John Mercer said this week. "It is simply inappropriate to have any sort of link to a political campaign on our official site."

When told of the city's plans to take the banner down, a spokesman for the Schundler campaign simply shrugged his shoulders.

"We don't have anything to do with the Web site," said Bill Guhl, speaking on Schundler's behalf. "He does not really care what they do with it. So I guess they can do whatever they want."

Guhl added that he was not sure how or when the banner was posted in the first place.

The banner is not likely to be the only change made to the city's somewhat outdated Web site. References to Schundler as the mayor still litter the site almost a month after Cunningham took over.

A major facelift is in order, according to Mercer.

But his plans have been slowed somewhat since the webmaster who worked on the site recently resigned.

"Eventually I envision a system where people could pay their parking tickets on line," said Mercer. "But that's down the road. Now we just want to provide information to constituents in an orderly and easy-to-find manner."

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