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2012: The Election

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New Jersey was once known as the most reliably Republican state in the Northeast. For 40 years, it voted Republican in all but one of the most consequential election in history: Lyndon Johnson 44 state landslide in 1964. As the national parties leaned more to the right, New Jersey state voters began to become more Democratic friendly: this was seen in the Bill Clinton 1992 Election. Since that time and all other elections, New Jersey has voted Democratic. New Jersey known now as the most reliable safe blue Democratic state, has more electoral votes per square mile than any state except Rhode Island. According to the 2010 Census Reapportionment, New Jersey will lose one electoral vote, giving it 14 for the 2012, 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.

Councilman Andre Sayegh and Democratic Delegate Georgia Daniel in collaboration with Organizing for America and other Obama supporters held a “Moving Forward Rally “ to encourage Paterson voters to come out and vote, not only for Barack Obama but vote for the entire Democratic ticket on Election Day. “Let’s get out and vote” shouting Mrs. Daniel, as the crowd was lead into the auditorium for some voters information and a meet & greet with Congressman Bill Pascrell, (seeking another term) Hector Lora, Rhonda Cotroneo, and John Bartlett (three Democratic candidates seeking a seat on the board of Chosen Freeholders.)

As the event moved forward Democratic Chairman John Currie provided insightful information on the rights of a voter. Mr. Currie stated” People vote for change and in 2008 they understood and voted for Barack Obama.” Mr. Currie introduced the three candidates to an eager crowd fired up for this election. While each candidate briefly qualified, the crowd began to cheer.

Candidates In Review (DEMOCRATS)


Hector C. Lora – Graduate of Seton Hall - Liberty Univ. College of St. Elizabeth. Serving as City of Passaic Councilman since July 2011. Hector works as a dept director for the St. Mary’s Hospital in Passaic. He is married and has 3 children. Mr. Lora’s mes sage to the community is “let’s share ideas to make our county a better place to live.” Councilman Lora also finds time to donate to the Boys and Girls Club and other non-profits that can change the local communities.







Ronda C. Cotroneo - Graduate of the School of Law at Wake Forest and Seton Hall Univ. She currently works as an adjunct
professor teaching Family Law at Farleigh Dickinson Univ. Rhonda has served as past president of the Passaic County Bar Association. She also volunteers her professional skills in representing victims of domestic abuse. She is a mother, wife and daughter; long time resident the town of Ringwood of Passaic county and is very much eager to serve as Freeholder.






John Bartlett – Graduate of Brown University and Howard Law School.He also volunteers his time to help non-profi ts, businesses, struggling families and Residents with legal matters. John is a chairman of Passaic County Parks. He is a husband, father, and son and lives in the town of Wayne, NJ. John believes that he can make a difference at the county level.

Now for a flash look at the now seated REPUBLICANS:

Freeholder Michael Marott a is a 24-year employee of the Passaic Valley Water Commission. Mike currently serves as manager of construction and maintenance. He is a former Shop Steward and Executive Committ ee Member of CWA Local # 1032. Married to the former Denise Yodice of Totowa, Mike and Denise have three children. Mike is a lifelong
resident of Passaic County.






Freeholder Edward O’Connell has resided in Wanaque for 37-years, and in 1993 he founded Ed O’Connell Construction. That same year, Ed became a member of the Wanaque Fire Department. Ed was appointed to the Wanaque Council in 2001, and he has served as Chairman of various committees. Mr. O’Connell has also served as a member of the Wanaque Board of Adjustment. He is married to Terri and they have one daughter and one son.







Freeholder Deborah Ciambrone has lived in Passaic County since 1967 and currently resides in Wayne. Debbie holds a bachelors Degree from Stonehill College and a Masters Degree in Social Science from William Paterson University. A school teacher with the Bloomingdale school district for 38 years, Ms. Ciambrone served as a delegate to the NJEA Delegate Assembly. Nominated for the Governor’s Recognition Award in 2008 and 2009, Debbie served as President of the Bloomingdale Teachers Association since 2000. Ms. Ciambrone was named twice to the prestigious Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. She has retired after 41 years of teaching. Married for 36 years, she has one daughter.

Network Hosts Second Annual Community Leadership Institute

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NJ cities work together to reinvigorate communities

DCA Building
in Trenton, NJ

TRENTON – The Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey (the Network) will host a session for nearly 100 city officials and community leaders from 17 municipalities across the state this week. The Community Leadership Institute (CLI), in its second year, brings together experts and practitioners to explore strategies, policies, and systems to help acquire and repurpose problem properties and incorporate them into thriving communities.

“We are offering a second year of the Institute because last year provided such a boost for cities and CDCs in addressing these issues,” said Diane Sterner, executive director of the Network. “With the state’s economy still ailing, and record rates of foreclosures continuing to burden these cities, we are continuing the CLI to help municipal officials and state leaders take action. We are highlighting methods and resources that are available to empower municipalities, residents and community organizations to transform dilapidated areas into vibrant one.”

Attending the CLI will be municipal officials and community developers from: Elizabeth, Newark, Jersey City, Millville, East Orange, Irvington, Camden, Perth Amboy, Paterson, Asbury Park, Bridgeton, Plainfield, Trenton, Orange, New Brunswick, Roselle and Hillside. Over the span of two days, participants will take part in an agenda that includes strategies for getting private owners to fix up their properties, taking control and addressing neglected properties, creative funding options, and partnering with community members on neighborhood-specific strategies.

“Municipalities have a huge challenge not only improving our communities but simply maintaining them given the state of the economy,” said (QUOTE LOCAL OFFICIAL). “We need to be creative and learn from experts and our peers who have found successful ways to address their revitalization and problem properties challenges. The CLI is a great forum to gain new tools to improve our neighborhoods and downtowns over the long term.”

Efforts from the first CLI have resulted in the introduction of legislation that goes to the heart of the CLI’s mission of transforming vacant and abandoned properties. Currently awaiting action in the NJ General Assembly is a bill that would expedite the mortgage foreclosure process for vacant properties and also one that would allow for the purchase of vacant foreclosed properties to convert into affordable ones. There is also a bill that would allow NJ towns to designate redevelopment entities and non-profits to act as a land bank on behalf of municipalities. Land banks allow communities to acquire and maintain vacant and abandoned properties so they can be redeveloped or reprogrammed for long term community benefit.

To learn more about vacant property challenges and creative, constructive strategies to address the issue, please visit the Center for Community Progress’ website at www.communityprogress. net. To learn more about the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, visit



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On September 6, 2012, at a Press Conference in Newark, I stood with State Senator Ron Rice, Chris Irving, President of the Paterson Board of Education, Commissioners Chrystal Cleaves and Manny Martinez of the Paterson School Board and many others, where we are seeking the intervention of federal regulators to look into the State’s refusal to follow the process, outlined in State law, to return the school districts in Paterson, Newark and Jersey City to local control.

Paterson has been under State control since 1991 and for the 20 plus years, we have been unable to determine our own destiny when it comes to public education, and now, even though Paterson and the other districts have met performance guidelines, the State still refuses to grant local control back to the residents. In the words of State Senator Ron Rice, “This is the epitome of taxation without representation, as local residents are required to pay property taxes to fund the school system, yet have no voice as to the direction of the school system.” We are hopeful that federal officials will review the situation, and put pressure on the State to follow the letter of the law and give a voice back to the people in Paterson, as well as Newark and Jersey City.

Under the QSAC (Quality Single Accountability Continuum) law, for those who do not know, QSAC is a statutorily mandated system of school district performance assessment. It is New Jersey’s system of education accountability, its set of standards for measuring how well our local school officials manage our tax dollars and educate our children, and its yardstick for determining the appropriate level of state oversight of local district governance and administration.

This means that school districts in New Jersey must meet certain performance benchmarks, or face intervention from the State. Of the 563 school districts which are evaluated through the QSAC process, 456 districts are considered “high performing” districts, meaning they do not require additional State oversight. The remaining 107 school districts do not meet the performance threshold, and face State intervention, whether it is the placement of a special monitor, the development of a district-wide improvement plan, or, in the case of Paterson, total control from the State. While Paterson, under State control has shown improvements in meeting benchmarks, the State Department of Education has not taken any steps to return our district to local control, as it is required to do under the QSAC legislation.

QSAC provides for the evaluation of school district in “five key components of school district effectiveness.” The key components are: (1) instruction and program (2) personnel (3) fiscal management (4) operations management, and (5) governance.

Paterson has made substantial progress in the governance component in obtaining 88% in the 2010 final review, and maintaining the score of 88% in the 2011 Cycle II of the QSAC district performance review, thus showing Paterson’s readiness to regain local control.

Yes, graduation rates are extremely important, and test scores are an important measure of academic achievement, but Paterson needs support and resources, not control, because state takeover has not improved Paterson schools.

Over the next several months, please look for updated information on this topic, as we meet with our Federal Legislators to bring quality of Education, back to the Paterson Public Schools.

191 Market Street – Paterson, NJ
(973) 925-7061 – Office
(973) 925-7068 – Fax
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Paterson City Council Voting Issues

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Paterson City Council Voting Issues

The stage is now set for the 57th quadrennial United States Presidential Election, to be held on November 6, 2012. President Barack Obama will be sharing the Presidential ticket with 11 other Democratic and Republican candidates all vowing for the chance to become the 45th President of the U.S. Also on that date, Paterson is set for a “Special Election” to fill the vacant 2nd Ward seat. Aslon Goow and President Barack Obama share a common goal. The goal is to get re-elected back into office.

On Sept 12, 2012 four months after May’s 2012 Election which declared Mohammed Aktaruzzaman the winner of the 2nd Ward, defeated but still determine, Goow challenged the validity of Mohammed Aktaruzzaman's residence during the election. It was then determined by a judge that Aktaruzzaman was ineligible to run for office because his voter’s registration address was invalid for Paterson, records indicated he was residing in Totowa at the time. Prevailing in the case, Goow threw his hat back into the ring to seek another 4year term for the 2nd Ward council seat.

Since that time Goow has been planning another run at the 2nd Ward Council seat. This past week, a community fund-raising event was held at “The Grill, “to re-introduce a candidate determined to make a difference within the city of Paterson. In attendance was change West Paterson to Keith Kazmark, Georgia Daniels, Michael DeMarco (Goow’s Attorney)a host of dignitaries, Clergies, Imam’s from the local Mosque’s, and most of all, concern residents of the 2nd Ward determine to put Goow back in the seat. The event proved favorably for Goow as the out pour of support was overwhelming. Goow addressed the crowd with sentiments of concerns about the increasing rise in crime, however it was noted for the past 12 years under his leadership, the 2nd Ward is still a ward with the highest quality of life rating in the city of Paterson. Goow has become a visible force and a strong voice for justice. Sylvia Farrar so eloquently stated” With Goow at least you know what you’re getting. You are getting a dedicated man who cares about the community.” “In closing, has Goow gone wild again? Of course Goow is wild about the 2nd Ward. The grand opening to his head quarters will be held on October 6, at 330 Chamberlain Ave. This is a free event and all are welcome.

“I realize this election has brought forth many new opponents some of which represent the growing numbers of diverse cultures within the 2nd Ward that are instrumental in helping the 2nd Ward move forward. I never once took any of this for granted. Now unlike my many other opponent’s, I represent a multicultural community of people regardless of race, creed, or religion: the bottom line is I see the constituents as people. People who want to live in a clean and safe environment.”(Goow). In spite of the recent charges made by a local organization charging

Goow with discrimination and racism, those in attendance disputed the remarks. A minister in the 4th ward, commented ‘How is it that the Brother’s organization has so much energy to address discrimination, when children are dying all around them and they have not established any program that attempts to diminish this problem of self-hate. We need them on the streets working to save our children. We need to focus on the real issues, and I don’t see this to be one.”

By Sarah Billie


Republicans ask for Votes of Equality

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Republicans say that they promised taxpayers to fight against the uncontrolled spending by the Democrats and they have kept that promise. Since their election in 2009, they have stopped the unnecessary borrowing by the democrats as well as worked to stop unnecessary spending. They are asking for your support to re-elect them to the Freeholder Board so they can continue to work for you, the taxpayer. How affective have the Republicans been in hitting the bottom line that is seen at the household level? The taxpayers of Passaic County, especially those who live in Paterson are having a difficult time believing in government. Failing school systems, high unemployment, increased taxation, along with high levels of crime and incarcerations; these are the immediate concerns of the public in which these candidates will be held accountable for making change.

For the most part of it, Passaic County is over-whelmed with Democratic officials holding the purse strings of taxpayers. Can we blame these same officials for the downfall of our local governments? The real picture of tragedy may be drawn at the top level of government where the hammered is lowered on little government.

Freeholders Ciambrone, Marotta and O’Connell came to the Freeholder Board with a background of working for others. Deborah retired in June after being a teacher for 41 years. During that time, she was active in her local teachers’ association as well as working on the county and state level. Presently, she works part time for NJEA as a consultant, representing members and providing teacher training. Michael is a former shop steward and Executive Board Member of CWA Local 1032.

He is honored to be a Silver Card Holder of the Passaic County PBA conference. Currently, he is a member of the Knights of Columbus #5846. Ed has been a volunteer fireman since 1993.He has been a member of the Passaic County Chiefs Association since 2006 and was recently made an

Honorary Silver Card Holder by the State PBA. O’Connell is a member of the Passaic County Citizens Emergency Response Team. During flooding and storms in our County, he actively supported our fi rst responders. As a long time educator, Freeholder Ciambrone greatly values education and as a member of the Board of Estimates for both PCTI and PCCC, she has worked with their administrations to insure they remain quality institutions. Additionally, she supported the expansion of the PCCC campus in Wanaque which will increase college attendance.

Freeholder Marotta has served on the Public Works Committee for three years. As manager of the Construction and Maintenance Department for the Passaic Valley Water Commission, he has saved millions of taxpayer dollars on projects and cost overruns. He has brought this expertise to the Public Works Committee and has worked to improve the County’s bid process in an effort to prevent unnecessary change orders which increase the cost to taxpayers for road and building projects.

Before being elected freeholder, Ed O’Connell served as a councilman in Wanaque for 9 years. He brought to the Freeholder Board valuable experience and knowledge in government. While councilman, he worked on shared services saving the town’s taxpayers.He also has experience in negotiations, road projects, building and grounds and the water department.

Freeholders Ciambrone, Marotta, and O’Connell are proud of what they have been able to accomplish. However, there is more that needs to be done. Th ey feel if they are not re-elected, the Board will be in the hands of all Democrats and their reckless spending practices. Should Passaic County have a balance of governmental parties? Only the voters will be able to decide that.


Taking Action for All Communities

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Taking Action for All Communities

Haledon, N.J. – On October 6th, 2012 The World Organization for Positive Action enjoyed games, music, raffles and door prizes for all ages at the Haledon Fire Company for the World Organization for Positive Action’s 6th Annual Tricky Tray Party.

The World Organization for Positive Action, or WOPA, was founded in 2006 and is committed to providing food, medical supplies and services to people around the world. The organization strives to provide services that contribute to the strengthening of families. 100% of the money raised during the 6th Annual Tricky Tray will be donated to help alleviate the living conditions of needy people around the world.

This year, 20% of proceeds will be donated directly to the people in need in New Jersey via Breast Intentions ( Fifteen year-old cousins Michael Ruane and Erika Rech, both of Middletown, NJ, founded Breast Intentions in 2006. The organization raises money to provide financial support to women and their families who are battling breast cancer. Breast Intentions has donated money to pay for prosthetics, wigs, electric bills, mortgage payments, Christmas gift s, food, and more, to the families of New Jersey women who are struggling.

Colorado Shooting Rampage Reignites Gun Control Debate

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Colorado Shooting Rampage Reignites Gun Control Debate

Courtesy Of NJ BlueNow

Gun violence in America is not an unusual occurrence. However, there are certain incidents of gun violence that make your blood run cold. Such was the case with the shooting rampage in Aurora, Colorado during a screening of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. Accused gunman James Holmes burst into a crowded theater, dressed in tactical gear, hurling canisters of gas and shooting anyone in his path. When the dust sett led 12 people were dead and nearly 60 other people were wounded. Law enforcement officers arrested him in the parking lot of the movie theater without any further shots being fired. To make matters worse, Holmes informed officers that he had booby trapped his apartment with explosives.

Camden NJ Set to Lay-Off Entire Police Force

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Camden NJ Set to Lay-Off Entire Police Force Staff Notes Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd announced Tuesday that she would begin dismantling the city’s police department by the end of the month to make way for a new county-run force, putting a definitive timeline on a plan that has been under negotiation for nearly two years. Mayor Dana Redd stated at the closing of last year that Camden’s nearly $27 million budget deficit precipitated the first round of layoff s, as she was unable to secure the $8 million required to keep the municipal workers’ jobs.

A state-required layoff plan is being drawn up, and Camden’s roughly 270 officers could serve their last day on the job by the end of the year, putting city and county officials on a tight schedule to get the new force up and running. Less than half of existing officers would be allowed to join what is being called the Camden Metro Police Division, projected to number close to 400 officers. Camden, N.J., consistently ranked among the 10 most dangerous cities in the U.S., is losing its police department in an attempt to shave millions of dollars from its budget. The city is not becoming a completely lawless land. It will be under the jurisdiction of a new, non-union division of the Camden County Police. In 2008, Camden had 2,333 violent crimes per 100,000 people – more than five times the national average – according to a report from the Courier Post.

P.O.P. With Larry Hamm in Paterson

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P.O.P. With Larry Hamm in Paterson

Larry Ham, chairman for the Newark based “People’s Organization for Progress” was invited by the P.O.W.E.R. Coalition of Paterson, an organization dedicated to making political and social change, Bilal Hakeem introduced the guest speaker, Mr. Larry Hamm in early August to speak at a symposium, presenting historical events of change in Passaic County. He discussed the rotting of society that occurs when there is no movement of change by the people. His speech was mostly directed at the youths