Dear Editor:

Thumbs down to Paterson’s 2nd Ward City Councilman Shahin Khalique for his recent actions in garnering support for his re-election in May.  In a Covid-19 world with Federal, State and City Executive Orders restricting residents from venturing outside unnecessarily in an effort to “decrease the spread” or “lessen the curve”, Councilman Khalique has deemed it okay, I guess, to solicit votes door-to-door in his ward, under the guise of performing a service to his constituents.

Yesterday afternoon two men rang the doorbell of my 87-year-old mother.  She was surprised that someone would be at her door these days, when even neighbors are only calling on the phone or waving from the safety of their porches. Nonetheless, she opened the door, but wisely kept the locked storm door closed only to find two strangers with gloves on but NO MASKS wanting to hand her some paper pamphlets and trying to speak to her.  She abruptly and sternly told them through the closed door that they had no business being out and about and knocking on people’s doors and to leave at once.  They did and left the paraphernalia on the porch chair.  Turns out the paraphernalia was a plastic bag containing a postcard from Khalique with his photo advising residents to “Stay Home” but if you must go out here’s something to use to be safe.

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Certainly no one could argue the good will gesture and merit of giving a surgical mask and a pair of gloves to residents who could certainly put them to good use—certainly more useful these days than a more traditional calendar magnet.  But one could certainly question HOW and WHY they were distributed this way.  Hand delivering these door-to-door is exactly contrary to what he and Paterson officials are encouraging residents to do—which is stay home, be safe, and stop the spread.! If this truly was a magnanimous act on the part of Councilman Khalique, I believe he would have found better ways to distribute these community information packets.  At the very least they could have been dropped at the homes WITHOUT knocking on doors and ringing bells and WITHOUT the expectation to speak to the resident.

My anger because of this incident is very personal.  My mother is part of the most vulnerable population of this virus based on her age and medical condition of Diabetes and COPD.  I am thankful that she was smart enough not to open the door and speak to these men who could have unknowingly spread the virus to her. Others might not have been and may not be. They are at risk. We are all at risk.

Frankly, I am appalled that Councilman Khalique would allow this to occur in the community he represents and claims to be concerned about.  At best his actions can be viewed as simply mis-guided or inappropriate, at worst they can be considered dangerously, contributing to the spread and very self-serving!  Either way, this must stop!  I hope others will take heed and be mindful how they proceed with their campaigns for election.

Joyce Corbo

2nd Ward Paterson Resident