Montclair Property Owners Association Could Get List of Resident Email Addresses, Cell Phone Numbers

Montclair, NJ – Montclair Property Owners Association (MPOA) wants your email address and cell number.

MPOA, who as a group are seeking to get a question on the ballot to repeal the rent control ordinance that was passed on April 8 during a state of emergency, is asking Montclair township to turn over its list of resident email addresses and cell phone numbers.

Residents who don’t want their information shared can opt out at https://www.montclairnjusa.org/news/headlines/sign_up_for_alerts_and_e-newsletter, says Katya Wowk, communications director for the township. If residents need additional assistance, they can send an email to info@montclairnjusa.org

MPOA’s Committee of Petitioners argued that due to social distancing restrictions during the pandemic it is impossible to circulate petition materials normally needed to secure petition signatures to put the question on the ballot for a public vote. The municipality sought to block the use of its contact list, which it uses for similar public-purpose notifications, and are expected to appeal a decision by Judge Jeffrey Beacham on August 25 to turn over the list.

“Montclair government’s attempt to withhold information that it regularly shares with everyone from its recreation department to candidates for office is further proof that it does not believe that this rent control ordinance can survive scrutiny,” says Charles X. Gormally, attorney for the Committee of Petitioners.

“Many residents are surprised to hear that the Council decided to adopt rent control in Montclair and the opportunity to connect directly to them will allow us to educate them as to the problems with rent control generally and this ordinance specifically,” says Ron Simoncini, executive director of the Montclair Property Owners Association, which supports the Committee of Petitioners. “We are confident that we will obtain the necessary number of signatures to place the matter on the ballot and that even supporters of rent control will reject this Ordinance.”

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10 COMMENTS

  1. “Montclair government’s attempt to withhold information that it regularly shares with everyone from its recreation department to candidates for office is further proof that it does not believe that this rent control ordinance can survive scrutiny,” says Charles X. Gormally, attorney for the Committee of Petitioners.

    I really hope this attorney is lying that the Township has been freely sharing information outside the Alert system…and to candidates, too. Do you think it is too late for me to reach out to the candidates to opt-out form their lists? Or did they pass along the list to someone else? I guess this would be the Democratic Party’s version of ‘it is what it is’.

  2. FYI, Aside from unsubscribing from each of the 3 alerts subscriptions, your underlying Swift911 account remains active. Note that the account’s User Name is your email address or telephone number.

    I have no idea what happens if you can successfully unsubscribed from Swift911 totally. I should probably ask the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

    Where is the ACLU when you need them?

  3. I’m just thankful I left all my household members unprotected. I didn’t list all my household members, their contact info and relationship to me. So, they missed out on these very important Township emergencies, but at least their information was no given out to marketers.

  4. Frank, municipal mailing lists are subject to OPRA. I wish they weren’t, and I litigated a case to try to protect residents’ privacy when I was in the Attorney General’s Office. We lost. Maybe Montclair will get a better decision out of the Appellate Division, but I doubt it, and then taxpayers are just going to owe the MPOA a larger attorneys’ fee. (Another feature of OPRA is that successful requesters can force taxpayers to pay their attorneys’ fees, but of course the reverse isn’t true when government successfully protects against disclosure.)

  5. Yes, mailing lists are public.

    Did your case involve email addresses and only mobile phone numbers?

    It would be nice if Montclair had a GDPR policy for its residents.

  6. Residents should understand the Township and Montclair’s contractors, and their sub-contractors are not bound to disclose how information is distributed.

    Clearly, the use of 911 in the product name is intentionally misleading. Further, they are collecting data on minors.

    Bottom line is the consumer is responsible to do their own due diligence for themselves and their dependents.

    Thank you for clarifying.

  7. I didn’t sign up with Montclair. I signed up with Swift911. Swift911 has a contract to process messages from the Township to customers of Swift911.

    I disagree it falls under OPRA. The property owners should have sued Swift911 (and lost obviously)

  8. May I please have the complete list of all the cell phone numbers of the members of the MPOA so I may annoy them at the most inconvenient times?

  9. An annoyance? Just wait until we have an elected school board! 40 people running each election, every year…all having OPRA’d cell & email lists from the Swift911 system, through the Township.

    Can’t blame the Township…we all freely gave out our information. Without coercion. So we would know that recycling collection was being cancelled due to high winds.

Comments are closed.