Two Councilmen Try to Oust Goow

Council President Aslon Goow


PATERSON, NJ - Two of his colleagues attempted to oust Aslon Goow Sr. from the the presidency of the City Council Tuesday night, but their efforts were sidetracked by municipal code requirements.
Councilman Rigo Rodriguez, who was arrested last December by the Attorney General's office in a pending voter fraud case, called Goow a "liability" and made a motion to remove him from the council presidency. Rodriguez' proposal was seconded by Councilman Julio Tavarez, but the matter never came up for a vote.
After a 30-minute recess, Paterson Corporation Counsel Paul Forsman said the city code required that seven days of public notice be given before a vote is taken to remove the council president from that post. Also, Forsman said, 24-hour notice is required before a vote is taken to suspend the council presidency. It was not clear Tuesday night whether or when Rordriguez and Tavarez would seek Goow's ouster again.

For about two months, a group of city residents have waged a relentless campaign against Goow, sending speaker after speaker to the microphone to criticize his conduct as council president.
The anti-Goow campaign stems from a city council meeting about two months ago in which the council president chastised Paterson Public Works Director Christopher Coke for making a gesture as officials discussed a resolution  to reduce the salaries of Mayor Jeffrey Jones and several of his cabinet members, including Coke. Goow then ordered a police officer to remove a Coke-supporter, Casey Melvin, from the council chambers when Melvin repeatedly blurted out from the audience a demand that Goow apologize to Coke.
Since then, Melvin and his allies have made Goow their target. They have put together "Goow Gone Wild" videos on YouTube, circulated a petition calling for his ouster and held a banner at Tuesday night's council meeting proclaiming, "Goow Must Go.'' At every council meeting, at least a half dozen of them have spoken against Goow during the public portion.
"It's about time you grew up,'' Goow said to one of the speakers Tuesday night.
"What about you? What standards are you being held to?'' said Melvin, during his three minutes of speaking time during Tuesday's meeting. "You don't think you're doing anything wrong.''
"You choose to come down here and orchestrate your little show so the public can watch you,'' Goow said, referring to the fact that regular city council meetings are televised on the local cable channel.
Zatiti Moody, an administrator in the Paterson Public School district, said Goow had a "Klan-like mentality.'' Several other speakers in Melvin's contingent made similar statements, arguing that Goow was prejudiced against blacks and Puerto Ricans.
"I have African-Americans in my family,'' Goow responded. "All my grandchildren are Puerto Rican.''
In recent meetings, the campaign against Goow has consumed more city council time than any other single issue. In fact, Tavarez on Tuesday night asked that his resolution requesting federal and state authorities investigate city technology director Kenneth Sumter be put on hold because so many people had signed up to speak during the meeting's public portion.
Goow's term as city council president ends on June 30 and after that the council will vote whether to keep him in the position or pick someone else for it. 

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