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Paterson votes down state of emergency proposal

September 27, 2012 2:51:00 PM PDT
Paterson's City Council voted down a resolution calling on Gov. Chris Christie to declare a state of emergency to deal with street crime.

"Resolution number 33 fails."

Just like that, Paterson's City Council voted down the resolution, putting off a request to the state for more money to fight crime in a city that some say is under siege.

Backers of Tuesday's vote were hoping it would free up financial aid to pay for additional police officers and social programs.

Christie says Paterson isn't getting money from the state until the city is managed better.

Kejo Taylor's son celebrated his 3rd birthday Friday, September 14th, the night, his 21-year-old cousin Dennis 'Noodie' Taylor was shot dead in a drive by shooting.

"He was a good kid in the wrong place at the wrong time," Taylor said.

Tragedies like that have City Council President Anthony Davis looking for new answers to his city's violence problems.

"I'm tired of waking up to gunshots, tired of going to shooting scenes," Davis said.

Davis went to the corner where Taylor was killed. There is no motive and no suspects. It's where neighbors say the city has to shift in a new direction.

"We need stuff for kids, jobs, housing," said Jerome Anthony, a Paterson resident.

"We need more people to help," said James McNeil, a Paterson resident.

Davis said calling a state of emergency, may be the needed step to, for one, get more state money, to pay for more services, as he says, 17 other cities are trying to do.

"More police presence, more community centers to get kids off the street," Davis said.

The police issue is huge ever since 125 officers were laid off in one cost-cutting sweep.

Paterson was once 496 officers strong, it's now down to 339.

But Governor Christie has no plans to send extra money, suggesting the city spend better.

Mayor Jeffrey Jones and three of his staff came under fire last year, after they were paid about $20,000 in overtime for Hurricane Irene.

Regardless, families will tell you, there's a violence crisis that needs to end.

"It's like young men dying, like they get mad if you step on their new shoes, it's crazy!" a resident said.

Paterson currently receives $21 million from the state.

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