The big “issue” right now, apparently is ‘Chico,’ – not the man, but the name.
Ward B City Council candidate Gerald – or is that Jerry? – Meyers has petitioned Hudson County Superior Court to force the city clerk to drop the nickname “Chico” from the May ballot. His petition to the court is dated March 22.
Fellow Ward B candidate Khemraj Ramchal has long been known by the nickname Chico, even though it is not part of his legal name.
Meyers is the Ward B candidate on Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy’s slate; Ramchal – or is it Chico? – is the Ward B candidate for Steven Fulop, a Healy rival who is also running for mayor.
Jersey City Clerk Robert Byrne is charged with putting together the official ballot for the municipal election, to be held on May 14. Ramchal has requested that he be listed on the ballot as Khemraj “Chico” Ramchal, a request that Byrne is currently prepared to grant.
A sample ballot put together last week when ballot positions for the candidates were determined listed Ramchal with his nickname.
Meyers believes that the inclusion of nicknames on a ballot violates state law and that Byrne would be overstepping his authority if he grants Ramchal’s request. Meyers is asking the court to force Byrne to leave the nickname “Chico” off the ballot.
“The clerk is without authority to allow the use of anything other than the use of a candidate’s given name to appear on the ballot,” an attorney for Meyers states in a civil complaint to the court. “The clerk’s action in this matter, including the use of the nickname ‘Chico’ with Mr. Ramchal’s name on the ballot, is in violation of New Jersey law.”
Members of the Healy camp have previously noted that Mayor Healy is generally known as “Jerry,” but will be listed by his government name, “Jerramiah,” on the ballot. Similarly, Meyers also goes by “Jerry,” but will be listed under the name his parents gave him when he was born: Gerald. Why, they have asked, should Khemraj be treated any differently?
Ramchal and the Fulop camp have said the attempt to drop his nickname from the ballot amounts to nothing more than an attempt to confuse voters and diminish his numbers at the poll. Some corners of the city’s West Indian community, Ramchal said recently, are particularly offended by the Chico flap. Ramchal hails from Guyana. – E. Assata Wright