PATERSON, NJ - Longtime Paterson resident  Donald Lynch believes the city needs strong leadership. “That’s not what we’re getting,” he said during his allotted three minutes at Monday’s special meeting of the Paterson City Council.

Lynch was the only member of the public to speak at the hastily scheduled mid-afternoon session. 

The meeting, held in the wake of two deaths over the weekend, one of a 43-year-old delivery driver on Friday, and the second of a 13-year-old boy, was almost immediately moved into executive session to allow for top police brass to share their plans for a stepped up response to the recent spate of violence without press or the public in attendance.
 
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As the meeting entered its second hour First Ward Councilman Mike Jackson departed, offering that “nothing” was being accomplished when asked by TAPinto Paterson.



“They are talking about data, about doing studies,” Jackson shared. “Studies won’t prevent a 13-year-old from being murdered.”

 
While the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office conformed the boy’s death the cause, according to a statement, is still under investigation.



Criticizing what he sees as an overemphasis on projects that “have no impact on Paterson’s most distressed areas,” Jackson suggested that too much attention is being placed on “things that just don’t matter.”

Until efforts are made to improve the situations of residents on “the other side of the tracks,” he concluded, “Paterson will remain the same.”

 
Offering a more positive review of the nearly three hour meeting was Council President Maritza Davila who referred to the proceedings as “productive.” While stopping short of offering any details as she didn’t want to interrupt future operations Davila promised it would be “aggressive.”
 
Seemingly echoing Sayegh’s call for unity Davila said that the issue of violence isn’t going to be solved by anyone alone.
 
“This is about the community as a whole,” she said. “We have to come together, that’s our priority.”
 

In a prepared statement released filling the meeting Mayor André Sayegh said that the Paterson Police Department “will continue to devote special attention and resources to some of the most troubled sections of our city, methodically working to investigate crimes, get guns off the streets, and arrest the perpetrators.” Local police, he added, will continue to partner with federal, state, and county law enforcement agencies bring safety to neighborhoods across Paterson.

 

“We will also continue to work with all of our community partners, including the Paterson Public Schools and the faith-based community, to come together to support the friends and families traumatized by violence in our community,” Sayegh said.

 

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