PATERSON, N.J. - While many Paterson officials were glued to Superbowl pregame shows, marching up the Great Falls for the interfaith march, or simply enjoying the day off, Director of Community Improvements Dave Gilmore was hard at work saving the city he loves.
Saturday it came to the attention of Gilmore thanks to his Facebook page "Let's Save Paterson" that a commercial truck, hauling a large commercial dumpster container full of debris and garbage, was parked at 200 Godwin Street. Gee Grier a local photographer activist, and Tommy Kellam an advocate for the homeless and feeding the less fortunate in the city, first alerted Gilmore to the offense.
Gilmore went down to the scene on Sunday with political activist Ernest Rucker, and with the help of the mayor's aide Omar Rodriguez and Police Director Jerry Speziale was able to ticket and tow the truck. Gilmore says he is "rooted in empowerment issues for the disadvantaged" and Paterson residents felt their many complaints about this company and their trucks were going unanswered.
Bella Carting, the company to which the truck is owned, is no stranger to fines for violating city ordinances. More recently toward the end of last year Gilmore and Councilwoman Ruby Cotton were able to get the city to fine Bella Carting for a similar offense near Summer Street and Keen Street. Bella Carting was fined $5000 for that offense, and that was after a reduction.
Gilmore is a former Executive Director of Housing and Neighborhood Development in Connecticut that moved back to Paterson before the 2014 mayoral election. Seeing the state of the city he loved, that his father worked so hard to improve, Gilmore sprung into action and ran a campaign for mayor.
Although that year featured many candidates Gilmore did not engage in the mudslinging and photo opportunities that most candidates take part in. He started the Facebook group "Let's Save Paterson" and got to work on the grass roots issues such as garbage clean up, habitual offenders of local ordinances, illegally parked commercial vehicles, and documented them on his page. He encouraged the community to engage, bring things to his attention, and tried to give hope to the residents and property owners that felt like many of the ordinances put in place to protect, were simply not being enforced.
Mayor Jose "Joey" Torres, who ended up winning that election cycle, took notice of Gilmore and his drive to clean the city up. Torres then brought in Gilmore to head up the community improvements department, and more recently recognized the great job he is doing with a pay increase.
Gilmore says his inspiration for his work comes from his Father Louis Gilmore. "Everything I am and the success my siblings have enjoyed are directly attributed to the challenges and standards set by my parents, particularly my dad" said Dave.
Louis had a great business career which included being a certified real estate agent in three states, an appraiser for the state of N.J. Department of Transportation, N.J. State Condemnation Commissioner, Commissioner then Chairman of the Board of Adjustments for the City of Paterson, and a member/board of director for the Paterson Boys Club, St. Joseph's Hospital, NAACP, Elks, and Silver Lake camp to name a few.
Louis was also a member of U.N.I.T.E.D., United Neighborhood for Industrial Training and Economic Development, which was comprised of Paterson YMCA, Men's club, and business leaders. They helped to rebuild run down buildings and were credited with bringing the FHA to poorer areas of Paterson so that neighborhoods could be rebuilt and residents could more easily purchase a home.
Dave Gilmore says of his duty to Paterson "I just want to be in the mix of providing change for the better".