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Westwood Resident Seeks to Repeal Bergen Blue Laws

Rosemary Shashoua has started the group "Modernize Bergen County" to allow stores to open on Sundays.

One Westwood resident is fed up with Bergen County's "blue laws" and is working to have the "old fashioned" rules appealed.

"All I want is more revenue for the state and more jobs," Rosemary Shashoua said.

Shashoua has found some like-minded county residents and started a new group called "Modernize Bergen County" with the goal of repealing the blue laws, the rules which prohibit the sale of items like clothing, furniture and appliances on Sundays.

Shashoua said she was inspired to start the group after Hurricane Sandy, when Gov. Chris Christie temporarily suspended county blue laws to aid recovery from the storm.

"Nobody had any clothing and nobody had anything to fix up their houses," Shashoua said, referring to residents displaced by the storm. "They weren't there to open up the jewelry store."

Repealing the laws could also have benefits beyond times immediately after storms, Shashoua said. Having stores open an extra day could create additonal jobs and bring in more money from shoppers.

Not everyone agrees. When the governor temporarily suspended the laws after the storm, Paramus officials objected to the change, taking the decision to court.

"The Blue Laws are absolutely essential to keeping Paramus livable and I will never stop fighting to make sure they are always here to protect our quality of life," Paramus Mayor Richard LaBarbiera said after a judge upheld the suspension.

Still, Shashoua is confident others will side with her. She and Modernize Bergen County plan to obtain 10,000 signatures for a petition to get a referendum on the ballot either this year or next year, and have already been in contact with some county malls, officials and chambers of commerce about the plan.

Bergen County has a long tradition with blue laws. The current law originated in the 1950s after the Garden State Plaza was built and became a popular destination for shoppers. The blue laws have been challenged twice: once in 1980 and again in 1993. The plans to repeal the laws were defeated 192,394 to 157,648 in 1980 and 185,821 to 105,040 in 1993.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Jim Leggate at Jim.Leggate@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Lisa Dee June 06, 2013 at 06:34 AM
The demographics of 2013 in Bergen County gives the repeal an overwhelming advantage if given a vote. If anyone is under the illusion that the make-up of our county has not changed in twenty years you are not getting around much.
Rosemary July 04, 2013 at 04:18 PM
Hi, everyone, I enjoy the bad things you say about me they make me chuckle. They also make me realize that you can make all the people happy all of the time (Lincoln). I'm not here to make people happy, I'm here as a civic activist. Keep posting comments I read them all. If you want to go further get in touch with me at rozette@yahoo.com Keep cool enjoy yourselves and don't forget to vote.
Rosemary July 04, 2013 at 04:19 PM
If you want a copy of the petition to sign it. You must be a registered voter in Bergen County. Please e-mail at rozette@yahoo.com. It's that simple I will gladly send you either by e-mail or at times by snail mail. Whatever works, I'm very flexible.
rex merrins July 04, 2013 at 05:17 PM
Rosemary, I agree with you o this whole blue law thing. Bergen county residents are full of it how many cars are in palisades malls lots on sundays from new jersey. What makes Paramus so special that they think they are the only town in the world with traffic and malls. Are the other counties in new jersey complaing or new york we live with it. I tell you if they would open sunday they would see a difference on saturdays. I work six days and i wish paramus was open so i can go i like Garden State Plaza. I even wish i could go to kmart and i cant in westwood.Paramus residents stop your whining and complaing you keep letting Garden State expand Paramus Park add a movie theatre aand a new shop ctr being built on route 4. If Paramus would do TEST TO SEE DURING THIS YEARS HOLIDAY SEASON BETWEEN THANKSGIVING AND CHRISTMAS TO SEE IF THERE WOULD BE A DIFFERENCE. iN nOV AND dec.
K. July 04, 2013 at 11:11 PM
Rosemary, just move the heck out of Bergen County and quit your moaning. You should not live here if you don't like the rules that are in place. They are not hurting anyone. I'm sorry you have nothing to do but be a pain in everyone's arse. You need to shop so badly 24/7 then move to New York City or Las Vegas. Have a great day!

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