Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Christie Mum on Aid to Paterson

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Christie Mum on Aid to Paterson

Article excerpt

A day after taking Paterson officials to task for poor fiscal management and vowing to deny any increase in state aid to fight a surge in gun violence, Governor Christie offered no plan to block funds the city is expected to seek as soon as Friday.

When asked if the governor planned to hold up the city's application for transitional aid, Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts referred questions to the state agency that monitors city finances and allocates the funds, which account for about 9 percent of the municipal budget.

The governor on Monday rebuked the City Council for a draft resolution asking him to declare a state of emergency in the city to combat rampant criminal violence and simultaneously allocate additional aid to help the city tamp it down.

On Tuesday night, the council voted 6-2 to defeat the resolution. Council opponents characterized the resolution as a non-starter considering Christie's intent to reduce transitional aid and as a deterrent to businesses interested in locating in the city.

Council President Anthony Davis, who sponsored the measure, said the level of violence has become a public health crisis, and that additional police support is needed in crime "hot spots," where residents "cannot help themselves."

Davis, who joined Councilwoman Ruby Cotton in supporting the measure, cast his vote last, after it was clear that the resolution would be defeated. Afterward, he suggested that his colleagues would bear responsibility for the next shooting.

"The next time an individual gets shot, just remember this vote," he said.

Davis and Councilman Andre Sayegh used the spotlight to call on Christie to hold a town hall-style meeting in Paterson to discuss crime. It's important that Christie helps the council establish "a state of urgency" around the issue, Sayegh said.

"Christie needs to make an appearance in Paterson and have a town hall -- to hear from him directly," he said. …

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