For much of the past six months Paterson’s focus has been on the races for mayor and council, and rightly so. The elected officials that serve the nearly 150,000 residents of our city have an enormous responsibility, their actions dictating not just success of our community, but the way our City is perceived.
The election is now behind us, and we congratulate all who took part in the incredible exercise of democracy, and most especially, the four candidates that emerged successfully from the race and will be sworn in on July 1.
However, winning the election, taking the oath of office, getting comfortable at their desks or on the dais that adorns City Council Chambers is only the beginning. Each, along with their colleagues, will need to develop and execute a path forward that makes sure that their campaign promises, which all boiled down to making Paterson better, truly come to fruition.
None of them will be able to do it alone, and indeed, even with the legislative and executive powers that have been imparted to them, the local government cannot be the only driver in efforts to ensure that our City’s best days are ahead.
That’s where the Creative Paterson “Call to Collaboration” comes into play. To be held over two days in late June, this gathering, set to be the largest meeting of local stakeholders in the City’s history, will make a significant impact on furthering a collective and ambitious mission of setting Paterson on a path to becoming a “21st century model city."
The event doesn’t just have collaboration in its title. Its collective impact will be evident in the format, style, agenda, and anticipated deliverables during the time we spend together. We will seek solutions to the greatest challenges facing our city, collaboratively.
There is no limit on the number of issues we can discuss, and, therefore, no limit on the solutions we can develop, together.
In one of his many post election interviews Mayor Elect Andre Sayegh declared that “this is Paterson’s time,” and we agree. In fact those same words are highlighted on our invitation. Now it’s up to all of us to make collective vision a reality.
Inge Spungen and Michael Powell are members of the Creative Paterson Host Committee