Nelly Celi tried unsuccessfully to get on the ballot. She submitted the needed signatures, but had too many invalid petitions. She was undeterred and ventured on running a write-in campaign to try her luck at winning one of the three available at-large council seats.
“Write in campaign can be challenging, but we are speaking with people on how to vote a write in candidate,” said Celi. She has been showing people how to write-in her name by enlarging a sample ballot to provide step-by-step instruction. “We have a step by step card that we are sharing with supporters that will assist them when voting.”
Celi appears serious in her effort to run a write-in campaign. She held a gathering for her supporters at the Taskin Bakery last week to share her platform.
Some of her ideas include:
- Creating a tourism office to encourage more visitors to the city
- A grant writer to find funds for projects
- Waste reduction plans from every municipal department.
Celi criticized the current council for failing to put Paterson first. Other candidates have also attacked the current council. There’s only one incumbent, Maritza Davila, who has a mixed record, running in the race.
Councilman Kenneth Morris is leaving the council while Alex Mendez is running for mayor. Mendez will be out of a seat if he loses on Tuesday.
Celi’s write-in campaign, depending on its success, presents a significant challenge for Davila. Both women will be fighting for Peruvian votes. Celi has support in the Peruvian community. She was instrumental getting a portion of Mill, Market, Main, and Cianci Streets designated as Peru Square in 2016. When a ceremony was held to put up the physical sign, her group was excluded from the event by Davila.
Celi said she has worked on planning and budgets while serving on the Paterson Library Board.
“The library now has a renovated bathroom by the Assembly Room, a renovated Teens Center and a fresh look for the Assembly Room; working with the board and director we were able to make these necessary improvements,” she said.
Celi has served on the Paterson Habitat for Humanity’s Board and the Paterson Planning Board.
“Serving on the Planning Board I advocated for residents of Paterson, questioning and demanding that the projects meet the needs of the people and assure that the projects are safe, energy efficient, make sense for not now but for the future,” said Celi. “I and other colleagues advocated for safe exits at HARP Academy on Colt Street.”
Celi has lived in Paterson for 35 years.