Paterson's New Mayor on Crime, Schools and the Economy
Steve Adubato sits down with Paterson Mayor, Andre Sayegh, to discuss his priorities as a new Mayor including reducing crime and increasing safety, gaining local control of schools and driving economic development.
"We are pleased to be joined by the Mayor of the great city of Paterson, Andre Sayegh. Good to see you Mayor. Thank you Steve, and I liked the way you emphasized "great" when you were announcing that in Paterson. Is it...? Come on! First of all, you're walking around with a pen that says, "I love Paterson!" Make the case, why is it a great city? Well, we're the home of the Great Falls, we've got great food, and I believe we have a great future. Think about our history. We're the first planned industrial city in the country, founded by Alexander Hamilton. I very often say, it's where Hamilton set the stage. A little play on the Broadway musical that's... Sure. ...popularized the first Secretary of the Treasury, and I feel like because we have the diversity, we have our history, and we have the geography. We're not too far out from New York City. We can leverage those assets, and ultimately make Paterson great. Paterson's got 72 ethnic groups? We do. You are in fact... You've done your homework. You are the first Arab? I am. As a mayor? I am. Why is that significant? Well, immigrants came to Paterson looking for work. Like I stated before, we are a hub for industry. Unfortunately we have lost a lot of that, but my mother came from Syria, Aleppo, which was hard hit by the war. That's right. My father is Lebanese, hard hit by another war in a different decade. So... hard-working immigrants. Just wanted both of... well, I have a brother, and wanted the two of us to excel in education and ultimately become responsible American citizens. Above everything, productive. What's the biggest...? And by the way... let me put it this way, is crime the number one issue in town? Public safety is, because if you want a stronger city, you have to have a safer city. And we've been able to reduce crime through public policy. We implemented the commercial curfew ordinance, which regulates hours of operation for establishments that are in Paterson's hot spots. Yeah. And we've reduced crime by over 70% in those areas. There's 18 different sections of the city that fall under the jurisdiction of this legislation. Does it...? Is it hard to bring in economic development? Bring in people who put their money into Paterson, while in fact they're going, "Hey, wait a minute!" Yeah. "This looks dangerous!" Yes. Yeah. So other areas have happened. Newark's happening. Yup. Jersey City's happened. Paterson is about to happen. There is a tremendous level of interest from investors. We meet with big-time real estate developers almost every day, my economic development director and I, and we're promoting the fact..."