Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Quality-of-Life Issues Pivotal, 6th Ward Candidates Agree

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Quality-of-Life Issues Pivotal, 6th Ward Candidates Agree

Article excerpt

Editor's note: This is part of an ongoing series of stories on the policy positions of candidates in Paterson's May elections for the six ward seats on the City Council.

PATERSON -- Mayor Joey Torres has made an open endorsement in just one of the six ward races for the City Council. That's the 6th, where he is backing challenger Al Abdelaziz against two-term incumbent Andre Sayegh.

Sayegh finished second to Torres in the 2014 mayoral election and has criticized many of Torres' actions in the past two years. Sayegh teaches at Passaic County Community College.

Abdelaziz, meanwhile, has asserted that he would be "his own man" and not a puppet of the mayor. Abdelaziz is athletic director for the Passaic school district.

Both candidates said that addressing quality-of-life issues would be a priority if they win the May 10 election.

Paterson Press: What should the city's strategy be for dealing with quality-of-life issues such as vagrancy, prostitution, panhandling and noise violations? Would you reallocate resources from other city enforcement efforts? Or advocate an increase in spending on enforcement?

Abdelaziz: Quality-of-life issues require more than just shutting down establishments and allocating money. It requires a multi- approach strategy that includes all community stakeholders -- government, law enforcement, businesses and communities.

First, we need to enforce existing laws, codes and fines (including increasing fines for loud music so violators will understand the consequences) to deter these activities. In the 6th Ward, I am advocating for a police substation for increased police presence.

Second, I will advocate for a multi-level quality-of-life program with the police director, prosecutor, and sheriff to tackle problems on an everyday basis.

Third, I will partner with late-night businesses that want to operate after midnight to hire security guards and off-duty officers to assist in keeping their blocks safe, especially in hot spots. …

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