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‘Paterson Will Rise from The Ashes,’ Says Sayegh in His State of The City Address

Mayor Andre Sayegh presented his third State of the City address, a 47-minute speech in which he highlighted his administration’s recent accomplishments, just over two months before Election Day.

Sayegh didn’t announce any major new programs or projects during his speech to dozens of invited visitors at City Hall, instead citing topics he’d previously discussed at dozens of news conferences over the past few years:

  • Infrastructure, housing, and parks: According to the mayor, his administration invested $800 million in Paterson, spent $6 million on park upgrades, opened four affordable housing buildings with 500 new units, and provided financial counseling to the city’s needy families.
  • Public safety: According to Sayegh, Paterson police have confiscated 419 street firearms in the last two years, and shootings have decreased from 2020 to 2021. However, the mayor failed to note that Paterson has had back-to-back years of record homicides, as part of a nationwide increase in violent crime.
  • COVID-19: Speaking on the epidemic, the mayor stated that 617 city citizens have died as a result of COVID-19, and he explained Paterson’s anti-virus procedures. He mentioned the large percentage of Paterson people who had received vaccines, but he didn’t include his oft-stated claim of a 100% vaccination rate, which has been mocked by his political opponents and local citizens.
  • The mayor closed his remarks by mentioning a fire that raged through 28 Paterson blocks in 1902, destroying 400 businesses. He stated that the city has always persevered and will continue to do so in the future.
  • As cheers greeted the completion of Sayegh’s address, he declared, “Paterson will emerge from the ashes of the pandemic.”
  • City Council President Maritza Davila, who was formerly a vocal critic of Sayegh but has now forged a close working relationship with him, was among those in attendance. Davila, who is standing for reelection this year, praised the mayor’s emphasis on collaboration with the council during his speech.

“There wasn’t much ‘I.'” “The speech was more ‘we,’ ‘we,’ ‘we,” Davila added. “He was giving credit to everyone, which is what a leader is supposed to do.”

A Paterson campaign staffer has been charged with election fraud.

Alex Mendez’s Range Rover was purchased with a stolen title, according to the Paterson City Council.

Not everyone who Sayegh congratulated in his address appreciated the mayor’s recognition.

Sayegh began his speech by discussing his collaboration with 5th Ward Councilman Luis Velez on a park playground and the Armory project, which has only recently begun building despite Sayegh’s groundbreaking 18 months ago.

Of the mayor’s three mentions in the address, Velez remarked, “I don’t approve of that message.”

Velez, who is running against Sayegh in the May election, added, “I’m a little annoyed.”

Sayegh stated he was merely attempting to “give credit where credit is due” when asked about Velez’s complaint.

Another re-election candidate, Lilisa Mimms, declined to comment on Sayegh’s speech, claiming she didn’t hear the whole thing. In the 2018 election, Mimms sponsored Sayegh, but the two have subsequently split ways.

The tone of Sayegh’s speech was different from his previous two State of the City addresses:

  • In January 2021, he spoke about Paterson’s efforts to survive the pandemic in an uncharacteristically sad tone.
  • Sayegh appeared to try to temper expectations in September 2019 by stating that he was “mayor, not a magician.”
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