It emerged earlier in the month that Jeffery Jones, the mayor of Paterson, and Erik Lowe, chairman of the Paterson Municipal Utilities Authority, are setting out for a jaunt to India for eight days. After the press picked up the story Mr Jones was pressed for more information about the trip – he couldn’t provide much.
Airplane ticket cost for the excursion will be $4,156, and paid for by the Paterson Municipal Utilities Authority. Lodging will not cost anything because it will be provided by the hosts in India. Meals will be paid for by the travelers out of their own pockets. Mr Jones intends to pay for some of the costs out of his campaign money.
After an 18-hour flight Messrs Jones and Lowe will land in Surat City or Mumbai; the mayor intends to visit these two places because they are large silk producing towns. It is unclear how or why that matters unless Mr Jones wishes to open up labor intensive silk mills that pull the soul out of the laborer. During his speech yesterday he said, “Surat City is almost a mirror of Paterson – they are the silk manufacturer of India.”
Mr Jones also joked of culture shock during the same speech he said, “Yesterday, I got two shots, one in each arm, hepatitis and something else — audience member shouts malaria — and I got malaria pills. So obviously I’m already experiencing culture shock, and I haven’t left yet.”
Both travelers say that they are visiting India to bring home economic opportunities. Mr Lowes is focusing on learning about renewable energy sources like solar and wind projects during his trip; Mr Jones hopes to attract investors who will come in and possibly open up factories or take over one of the large abandoned buildings and make something out of it.
But, these are vague concepts, for both have little idea who they will be meeting once they are in Mumbai – they hide under the excuse of security: Mr Jones says he wishes to return home safely, implying that sharing details will risk his life. And when asked one about the detail they refer to the other. Maybe the eight day trip will be so lucrative that they want it to be a surprise for Patersonians.
If spending $4,000 brings in millions of dollars’ worth of investments to the city the trip will be worth it; however, the naysayers may be right and the trip might amount to nothing, if judged based on precedent. Mr Jones sets out for India tomorrow.