Jose Torres

The Political Passion of Paterson: Goow campaigns in the 4th, Pascrell to vote for Sayegh, Torres backers party at Makao

The Political Passion of Paterson: Goow campaigns in the 4th, Pascrell to vote for Sayegh, Torres backers party at Makao

PATERSON – That most pagan rite of NJ politics rages on the day before Easter here, on the day before the death of Paterson boxing legend Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, on eight square miles packed with 52 ethnic groups all seeking representation three and a half weeks until Election Day.

In that 1.5-mile concentration known locally as “the hood,” the mood is grim among seniors crammed in high rises afraid of going outside because of gunplay that has left people dead and bullet holes in aluminum siding on the nearby scraggly homes of their neighbors.

A 95-year old woman shows a picture she keeps of former NBA player Tim Thomas, a treasure to her, because the Paterson native once visited the building, but that was a long time ago, she says.

 “The workforce system is a mess and nihilism among Paterson youth is the highest I've seen,” says a woman, speaking on condition of anonymity, who rose out of this city of 150,000, the state’s third largest, and made her own way into the world beyond its borders.

In a mayoral election season, one man becomes the natural focal point of blame.

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Fulop v. Sweeney: Paterson Mayoral contest a staging area to curry favor with Currie

Fulop v. Sweeney: Paterson Mayoral contest a staging area to curry favor with Currie

PATERSON – Gearing up for a possible 2017 showdown for governor, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) and Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop both want to be loved by Passaic County Democratic Chairman John Currie, who also serves as chair of the Democratic State Committee.

So when it comes to winning one race, at least, the two men are united.

To that end, and to enhance their standing in the statewide political stratosphere, Fulop and Sweeney donated money to the Paterson mayoral campaign of Andre Sayegh, who has Currie’s and the County Democratic Party’s backing in the closely watched May 13th mayoral election.

Sources close to Sayegh say the money is less about Currie and more about a chance for players beyond the borders of the SIlk City to get the attention of a rising North Jersey party star.

As Fulop and Sweeney play a statewide chess match using candidates as opposing pieces in an effort to gain clout for a future head-to-head, the rivals’ support for the same candidate in Paterson represents a departure from Newark.

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East Side Neighborhood Association hosts packed Paterson Mayor's Forum

East Side Neighborhood Association hosts packed Paterson Mayor's Forum

PATERSON – On the eastern end of Market Street stands a restaurant amid the clinging remnants of industry and a city’s trampled history, where inside under chandeliers in front of a crowd of 100 people, seven candidates for mayor made the case for why he or she can best revive the state’s third largest city.

Cliques and preferred rivalries have developed along this jagged campaign trail, leaving the two women in the contest to share the conclusion that men have fairly uniformly contributed to the city’s ruin.

“I like her,” Maria Teresa Feliciano said following the concluding remarks of her fellow competitor, Health and Human Services Director Donna Nelson Ivy, who threw up an arm in solidarity.

Cleaving to his message that the last 12 years have been a disaster, Council President Andre Sayegh attempted to simultaneously detonate both incumbent Mayor Jeff Jones and former Mayor  Jose “Joey” Torres.

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Paterson '14: Going, Going, Goow

Paterson '14: Going, Going, Goow

It once constituted a favorite Paterson parlor game: who would get shouted down first if then-Council President Aslon Goow ever went to Trenton as an assemblyman: Goow or the similarly voluble and volatile Gov. Chris Christie.

It was Lee Van Cleef-look-alike Goow, after all, who aggressively engaged in any number of exchanges with residents from his throne of power on the local governing body; who once sent a challenger scurrying from City Hall wishing he had never attempted to criticize the councilman in a public forum; who gave chase to a burglar behind the wheel of his own car; and who rose out of his seat in the audience during the 2010 Tea Party election and poured forth a stream of epithets at the debate moderator.

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9) later picked Goow out of a tent crowd and dropped into a fighter’s stance in recognition of the counciilman’s efforts.

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Girgenti: 'I am committed to running next year'

Girgenti: 'I am committed to running next year'

State Sen. John Girgenti (D-Hawthorne) acknowledged an anti-incumbent atmosphere that contributed to a majority of his county committee people losing last Tuesday to a slate organized by marriage equality activist Jeff Gardner.

But Girgenti, who will formally relinquish his local party chairmanship at a reorganization meeting tonight to Gardner, made no apologies for opposing last year's marriage equality bill, which sparked the younger man's challenge and last Tuesday's local upset.

"Look at the make up of the 35th District," Girgenti told "I talked to pastors in Paterson, and leaders among Hispanics - they were both opposed to it. We have a strong Moslim population. Opposed. Everyone I talked to was against it. I've gotten praise everywhere I've gone for voting the way I did.

"I'm not an arch conservative," the senator added. "I've had the support of labor and of progressive groups. I'm a moderate. I support civil unions. I voted for medical marijuana. I voted for what I believe."

Against the backdrop of legislative redistricting, he hears murmurings out there now of a challenge to his senate seat, but the senator insists he doesn't intend to go anywhere.

"I don't consider it a major setback," Girgenti said of the loss of party control in his hometown. "I am committed to running next year."

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Local party guard change in Hawthorne tonight underscores unsettling terrain for Girgenti

Local party guard change in Hawthorne tonight underscores unsettling terrain for Girgenti
State Sen. John Girgenti (D-Hawthorne)

The steady din of progressive BlackBerry buzzing headed into nearly its first full week after marriage equality activist Jeff Gardner's local take-down of state Sen. John Girgenti (D-Hawthorne) in a 19-7 victory for control of the Democratic Party in Hawthorne.

At issue is whether Girgenti - with a chunk taken out of him last Tuesday - will receive a primary next year, and names like Assemblywoman Nellie Pou and lame duck Mayor Jose "Joey" Torres are already circulating with attendant question marks.

"It's the nature of politics for one generation to succeed the one previous," said Gardner, who said he personally has undertaken no communications with Pou or Torres as potential challengers to Girgenti, who voted "no" last year on marriage equality, prompting Gardner to mobilize. 

Since his defeat last week, outgoing Democratic Party Chairman Girgenti sent a terse communique to his conqueror noting the time and place of tonight's reorganization meeting in Hawthrone.

Gardner wouldn't speculate about follow-up assaults on Girgenti's senate seat.

"The 2011 elections are so far in the future," said the incoming Hawthorne Democratic Party chairman. "And of course, there's still redistricting to consider. Hawthorne may not even be in the 35th District, which means I wouldn't be in the 35th. It's always premature to talk about endorsements."

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Key Latino political infrastructure sustains hit in Paterson

Key Latino political infrastructure sustains hit in Paterson
Paterson Mayor Joey Torres was defeated in his bid for re-election to a third term on Tuesday

PATERSON - Latinos suffered two significant losses Tuesday night in New Jersey’s third largest city. With the defeat of two-term Mayor Jose "Joey" Torres, there are no Latino mayors in the state’s ten largest cities.

The second was that of At-Large Councilman Rigo Rodriguez, once a rising star and potentially a 2010 mayoral candidate until he helped forge a Dominican-Puerto Rican alliance with Torres in this election cycle. Many believed the alliance would be strong enough to carry both men in a city that is over 50% Latino.

But as Council President Jeffrey Jones defeated Torres on Tuesday and Councilman Ken Morris, Jr. also returned to power, the governing body also picked up Benjie Wimberly and Kenneth McDaniels, a net gain of one African-American councilman, as Jones moves from the legislative to the executive.

The loss of Rodriguez by 25 votes leaves Paterson with one Latino on the governing body, one who is known not for party building so much as fiery independence.

Renegade Ward Five Councilman Julio Tavarez left fellow Dominican elected officials statewide wondering last week what his punishment should be for backing Ward 6 Councilman Andre Sayegh for mayor over Torres. 

After their swearing in this summer, Paterson will have a total of six African Americans on the council, two Arab Americans and one Latino in a power shift that stunned Latinos across city lines in Newark's North Ward Tuesday night.  

Torres's fall and the Latino shakeup in Paterson on Tuesday sent a shock wave through North Jersey Democratic circles this week, already harmed by Joe Ferriero's crackup in Bergen County and an organizational mudslide in Hudson County.

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Torres crushes field with fundraising

Torres crushes field with fundraising
Paterson Mayor Jose "Joey" Torres

Running for a third term in office, Paterson Mayor Jose "Joey" Torres this week reported $848,610 raised and a closing balance of $102,004, according to the state Election Law Enforcement Commission.

Torres faces two challengers: Council President Jeffrey Jones, and Ward 6 Councilman Andre Sayegh.

Sayegh reported raising $28,380. He has $12,855 on-hand.

As of this morning, Jones had not filed this quarter's ELEC report.

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DOPOR (Dominican Political Representation) Endorses Jose "Joey" Torres for Mayor of the City of Paterson

DOPOR - Torres 2010: DOPOR Endorsement of Jose "Joey" Torres.DOPOR - Torres 2010: DOPOR Endorsement of Jose "Joey" Torres.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: April 23, 2014

Colorado politicians invite Christie to experience 'Rocky Mountain High'Colorado politicians slapped back at Gov. Chris Christie after he questioned their Rocky Mountain quality of life under the rule of legalized marijuana.“Whether it’s hiking season or snow season, we invite Gov. Christie to experience Colorado’s quality of life anytime,"  Sen....


How the City of Paterson became a city in crisis

By HAYTHAM YOUNES As the May 13th election for Paterson officials nears, I've noticed a lot of candidates running using slogans and empty promises as if they weren't around watching Paterson get to where it's at today. I think it's important that... Read More >


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(Absecon Island, NJ) --With his shocking win in last year's election, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian emerged as one of the most intriguing figures in the New Jersey political... more »
When it comes to profiling Christie, facts are for wussies (4/10/14) - As the national media stories on our Guv pile up, expect more blunders about the Garden State.... more »
This week I begin a series called Dispatches from Somewhere Else. Based on my on-going experiences as an everyman in New Jersey politics, these Dispatches review the hollowness of... more »

Quote of the Day

Quote of the day

“The good news of tonight is that these problems are fixable.” - Gov. Chris Christie



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