Paterson Top Stories

The Christie Visit: Scenes From a 4th Ward Church

1826a7353ad2c084558e_christie_paterson2.JPG
1826a7353ad2c084558e_christie_paterson2.JPG

 

PATERSON, NJ – For more than two years, Patersonians have been clamoring for Gov. Chris Christie to hold one of his town-hall style meetings in New Jersey’s third most populous city. They complained that the Republican governor seemed to favor holding the sessions in suburban towns. Some even suggested that Christie was avoiding Paterson because he knew he would get a hostile reception.

Well, for the most part, there was nothing hostile about the way Paterson treated the governor. His 100-minute event at St. Luke’s Baptist Church turned out to be rather sedate. Protests promised by some city groups never materialized. The give-and-take between the governor and the audience of more than 500 people was rather cordial.

Sign Up for E-News

Christie himself said the meeting had been “sleepy” until one heckler persisted in calling out for the governor to “fix the public schools.’’ Christie pretty much thanked the man – Mike Henry – for livening things up.

One heckler? That’s nothing compared to what happens at some city council meetings.

Mayor Tells City Council to Hit the Road

When news spread that Christie would be coming to Paterson, members of the City Council decided it would be a good idea to take a municipal van from City Hall to the event at St. Luke’s Baptist Church on Carroll Street.

“We wanted to show a united front and come in together,’’ said Council President Anthony Davis. “Plus it would minimize the parking situation.’’

But Mayor Jeffrey Jones told the council the city couldn’t spare one of its vans. “Eleven o’clock is in the middle of our workday,’’ he said. “We’re short-staffed no matter how you look at it. I couldn’t do it.’’

“Besides, St. Luke is just down the street,’’ Jones added. “It isn’t that far.’’

Davis said he “was extremely disappointed” by the mayor’s decision.

But the council president did not give up on his idea of having the council members arrive at the event together. He contacted a friend who runs a private jitney service in the city, the council president said. The friend was willing to provide a van for the council member’s trip. The van was free, Davis said, adding that he tipped the driver.

No Vouchers For Paterson

Christie used his Paterson meeting as an opportunity to criticize Assembly Speaker Shelia Oliver of Essex County for blocking a bill that would provide parents whose children attend failing urban schools with vouchers they could use for private education.

The bill, he said, would give kids in cities like Paterson a chance to get the type of education they need to succeed. “This isn’t about saving money,’’ Christie said. “This is about expanding opportunity.’’

Christie asserted that urban political leaders and teachers union representatives were standing in the way of an initiative designed to help inner city kids. He made note that “a Republican governor from the suburbs” was championing their cause.

What the governor didn’t say is that Paterson is not among the seven cities that would be included in the four-year pilot program under the proposed Opportunity Scholarship Act. They are Asbury Park, Camden, Elizabeth, Lakewood, Newark, Passaic and Trenton.

The Ghost of Paterson’s Mayor of the Past

In response to one Patersonian’s question regarding local government corruption, Christie dusted off some of his old credentials.

He reminded the overflow crowd at St. Luke’s Baptist Church that prior to becoming governor he had been United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey in Newark.

“We’re going to be aggressive about corruption wherever we find it,’’ Christie told the crowd, drawing applause. “We won’t tolerate it from anybody.’’

More people applauded when Christie asserted that he helped convict about 130 government officials in New Jersey while he was U.S. Attorney.

Then Christie provided one more fact. The first of those convicted officials, he pointed out, was Paterson’s own former mayor, Martin Barnes. But this time, only a handful of people among the crowd of 500 clapped for the governor.

Christie ran into a Paterson fact-of-life. Barnes, who died several months ago, remains popular in this city despite Christie’s success in convicting him.

A Few More Words on the Heckler

In his opening remarks, Christie made it clear that he was accustomed to folks trying to make a name for themselves by taking on the governor at Town Hall meetings, which are widely covered by the media.

And that’s exactly what happened for Henry, the Paterson heckler whose name appeared in news accounts all over the state.

Most media reports described Henry as a minister. That’s what one side of his business card says. It describes him as a deacon of the Everlasting Life Ministry.

But the other side of his business card provided some additional information about Henry’s vocation. It said he also has a catering business and a travel service.

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Paterson

‘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 ...

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

May 18, 2018

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 ...

Pascrell Signs Bipartisan Discharge Petition to Force a Vote to Protect Dreamers

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) signed a bipartisan discharge petition to force a long-overdue vote on the House Floor to protect America’s Dreamers.

“Thanks to a cruel act by Donald Trump and inaction by this Republican Congress, Dreamers have been living under a cloud of fear and uncertainty,” said Rep. Pascrell.  “I ...

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 ...