City Council Votes Down Crime Emergency Resolution
Tuesday, September 25, 2012 • 11:24pm
PATERSON, NJ – In a 6-2 vote played out in front of several television news cameras, the City Council Tuesday night rejected a controversial proposal to declare a state of emergency over Paterson’s public safety problem.
“The next time an individual gets shot, just remember this vote,’’ said Council President Anthony Davis, who pushed for the declaration.
Other council members acknowledged that the city suffers from too many shootings and other crimes, but they said they doubted the declaration would achieve its goal of getting additional state and federal funding for municipal law enforcement efforts. Moreover, several argued that the emergency declaration would further damage Paterson’s already bad reputation.
“I agree with the spirit of the resolution,’’ said Councilman Kenneth McDaniel. “I don’t think this particular tool is going to yield the desired result.”
“This is our city and it’s a shame we have to bring all these cameras in on a negative tone,’’ said Councilman Rigo Rodriguez.
McDaniel, Rodriguez, William McKoy, Kenneth Morris, Andre Sayegh and Julio Tavarez voted against the state of emergency proposal. Councilwoman Ruby Cotton and Davis voted in favor of it.
“This resolution isn’t about Anthony Davis,’’ the council president said. “It’s not about the mayor or the administration. It’s about the people who call me at three o’clock in the morning, at four o’clock in the morning, at five o’clock in the morning, asking for something to be done.’’
“I love Paterson and I love the children that are dying,’’ Davis added.
Davis said he had met with representatives from other New Jersey cities who agreed they needed more help from Trenton. But Gov. Chris Christie said on Monday that he would not support sending Paterson more money and accused city officials of mismanaging the funds they already were getting.
The state of emergency resolution prompted more than 10 city residents to speak during the public portion of Tuesday night’s meeting.
“The city of Paterson needs help. We need more police officers here. We need their presence,’’ said Tanya Gray, a resident of the 2nd Ward. “People are losing their children. People are getting mugged. People are getting shot.’’
Two activists, Lydia Robles and Sylvia Farrar, urged officials to impose a curfew to curtail Paterson’s crime problem.
“For now, Marshal Law,’’ said Farrar. “Shut it down.’’