Former longtime councilman Aslon Goow threw his hat in the ring for one of the three available at-large council seats this week.
“The city needs a watchdog,” said Goow, a once outspoken councilman from the 2nd Ward, who railed against corruption over the years.
Goow represented the 2nd Ward for three terms or 12 years. He lost his seat to upstart ex-councilman Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman in 2012. He tried to regain his seat after ousting Akhtaruzzaman through a court case without success. He gave another shot in 2016 with the same outcome.
Goow ran twice – in 2002 and 2014 — for mayor without success.
“It gave me a little time to look at things in a different perspective,” said Goow. He was urged to run for an at-large seat by residents and business owners, he said.
Goow has a loyal base of supporters in the 2nd Ward. He views the dozen or so candidates running for the three open seats as low-caliber.
“The people that are running, in my opinion, do not bring any knowledge or experience that will benefit the city,” said Goow, 58.
Some of his opponents in the at-large race reacted to his announcement.
“Best of luck to him. I wish him well,” said former school board member Lilisa Mimms. She declined to comment on Goow’s criticism of the candidates running in the race.
The former councilman excluded ex-councilman Kenneth McDaniel from his opprobrium.
“I have no problems,” said Akhtaruzzaman. “We became friends. We talk. I wish him good luck.”
The former longtime councilman renewed his call to combat corruption in the municipal government.
“Time and time again, our elected officials in Paterson let us down. We just saw another mayor go down on corruption charges. Enough is enough – we need to take our city back,” said Goow.
Goow and disgraced mayor Jose “Joey” Torres were bitter enemies. Goow exposed the almost $74,000 in questionable severance pay the former mayor took prior to leaving office in 2010.
Torres was later cleared of any wrongdoing by the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office. Goow suspected other similar corruption within Torres’ administration. He was unsurprised when video emerged of Torres using public works employees to renovate his family’s leased warehouse.
Torres is serving five years in state prison.
While serving on the council, Goow opposed tax increases, he said. He also took a hands-on approach to crime patrolling the streets himself.
Goow also took credit for restoring Pennington Park.
There is talk the former councilman is eying the public works director’s post in a possible Andre Sayegh administration, according to insiders. Sayegh and Goow are friends.
“I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on my record of public service and my tenure in office, but I keep thinking of the progress we have yet to make. A tough job requires a strong leader, and I still believe that Paterson can be a safer and more prosperous city for everyone, in every ward,” said Goow.