Candidate Statements

TAPinto Series: In Their Words. Zellie Thomas on Economic Development

"Paterson has to be part of the technology revolution," and cannot build by looking to retail. On council Zellie Thomas would help build a mentality that "we value Paterson." Credits: Steve Lenox

TAPinto Paterson has invited all candidates for Mayor and City Council to offer statements on several key issues related to the future of Paterson. These submissions will be run in their entirety and not edited in any way.

Following is community activist, teacher, entrepreneur and council hopeful, Zellie Thonas’ views on economic development.


Economic inequality is growing - the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer.

Sign Up for E-News

26% of all Paterson residents are below the national poverty level. Research shows that poverty is a strong driver for violent offending amongst young people. In order to decrease violent crime, we need to increase the amount of living wage jobs, and ensuring our most at risk residents have access to them.

When done correctly, economic development might bring our community more jobs, a larger tax base, and greater prosperity. Families might enjoy better goods and public services.  Children might enjoy better schools and better funded recreation. Yet, when economic development only benefits a few and not the majority the wealth gap increases and our city suffers.

In order to create the safe and thriving community that we all deserve to live in, policies for economic development must place the people of Paterson in the center. The path to prosperity must not be so narrow that only some can access, but must be widened so that everyone has the access to resources to sustain themselves.

Our policies must be reflective of our values and commitment to the people of Paterson.


-Including Community Benefit Agreements as part of the economic development process ensures that new growth serves the needs of local residents, not just the needs of developers.

-Implementing a Performance-Based Incentives Program. A company does not get a tax credit or other negotiated benefit until it hits targets, such as creating a certain number of jobs, that have been specified in a negotiated agreement.

-Repurposing vacant city property to establish business incubators and innovation hubs throughout the city.

-Exploring opportunities to provide incentives and resources for local residents to create cooperatives, or employee owned businesses.


We build strong communities when we help to build strong people. Strong, progressive leadership moves us towards an inclusive society. Strong, progressive leadership will move our city forward, and not just some of us, but all of us.



Receive news about all of the candidates, as well as everything else happening in Paterson, by signing up for TAPinto Paterson daily e-news updates.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


‘We Must Not Be Enemies’

May 9, 2018

Dear Editor

I want to take opportunity to congratulate Mayor Elect Andre Sayegh on his awesome election night victory and for running a campaign to unite all Patersonians. His message of “One Paterson” resonated with the electorate. I believe that Paterson's best days are ahead. He will govern the city the same way he campaigned, always putting Paterson and ...

Adopt A Pet

May 20, 2018

This little cutie is the last “good” reminder of a bitter winter. The family, mom included, were rescued during a nasty blizzard. They adapted quickly to being safe inside and are now ready to find their new homes and their new families. Hailey is quite the player and is all about kitten energy. Born in late February of 2018, this beautiful grey and white girl enjoys wrestling with ...

Five Former Salesmen For Morris County Clinical Lab Sentenced For Bribing Doctors In $100 Million Test Referral Scheme

NEWARK, N.J. – Five individuals were sentenced today for bribing doctors in exchange for test referrals as part of a long-running and elaborate scheme operated by Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services LLC (BLS), of Parsippany, New Jersey, its president and numerous associates, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Doug Hurley, 38, of Hillsborough, New Jersey, and Kevin Kerekes, 52, of ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.


Q. When did you join TAPinto.net?

I joined TAPinto.net in September, ...

Passaic County CASA Recognizes Volunteer Child Advocates at Annual Event

May 11, 2018

WAYNE, NJ- More than 50 staff members, volunteers, and board members from Passaic County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) celebrated the impact of CASA volunteers at the organization's Volunteer Appreciation Brunch on April 28, 2018, at Laurelwood Arboretum in Wayne. This annual event recognizes Passaic County CASA volunteer advocates and the difference they make in the lives of ...

PayPal CEO says Rutgers grads need to "Help Repair the World"

May 14, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Dan Schulman, president and CEO of PayPal, called on the Class of 2018 to take a stand for social justice as they graduate during a time of unprecedented technological and social change.

He talked about the decision at PayPal to rescind plans to build a global operations center in North Carolina following legislation many considered discriminatory against the ...

Murphy Signs Legislation Championed by Paterson Senator Nellie Pou to Give DREAMers In-state Financial Aid

NEWARK, NJ - Legislation co-sponsored by Paterson's Senator Nellie Pou (D-35) allowing students to apply for state financial aid assistance, joining nine other states nationally to make both tuition and financial aid available to DREAMers, was signed into law on Wednesday by Governor Phil Murphy.

The DREAM Act was a bill created by Congress to allow undocumented immigrants ...

Brownie Troop Donates Cookies to Paterson Military Food Pantry. Joint Effort by Great Falls Rotary and Passaic County Board of Realtors Continues to Thrive

May 19, 2018

Today was such a momentous day in the life of a Rotarian/Realtor and the perfect example of community service and partnerships.

Roger Fields, a fellow realtor and current President of the VFW post in Butler and his wife Joan, when approached by Brownie Troop 96521 Butler-Bloomingdale Service Unit regarding the donation of Girl Scouts cookies immediately provided them with my contact ...