More than two months after forming an exploratory committee, former public safety director Glenn Brown on Friday announced his candidacy for the 2018 mayoral race.
Brown made the announcement at a fundraiser at the Elks Lodge on Ellison Street. He joins four other declared candidates: incumbent mayor Jose “Joey” Torres, former school board members Chauncey Brown, Pedro Rodriguez, and councilman Alex Mendez. There are many more undeclared candidates.
When asked for the amount of money raised at the $20 per ticket fundraiser, Brown said he broke even. “It was more about getting the word out and getting people involved in the campaign. We got a lot of people who signed up to work for the campaign,” he said.
Brown saw the event as a success and said the event was attended by “every day, working” Patersonians. He estimated approximately 150 people attended the event.
Council president Ruby Cotton and councilman Michael Jackson both attended the fundraiser. Jackson is thinking about running for mayor in next year’s race. Jackson said he saw about 100 people at the event.
Cotton said the event attracted “quite a lot of people.” She reckoned over 100. “I went out of friendship,” she said. She has known Brown for decades, she said. Neither Brown nor Cotton saw the council president’s attendance as formal support for the former public safety director’s candidacy.
“I definitely wanted to hear Mr. Brown’s platform,” said Jackson. He heard little of Brown’s platform or his plans for the city. “He didn’t really talk about the issues.”
Brown has been reluctant to share his plans for the city for fear other candidates will pilfer his ideas and proposals. “The big issue is the crime,” he said citing the 17 homicides in 2017 so far. The city had 19 homicides for the entirety of 2016.
When asked what’s his plan to tackle crime, he replied: “If I tell you that then some of my opponents will know what my plan is,” he said. “I’m not going to announce my plan a year in advance of election day.”
“That sounds like a Donald Trump response,” remarked longtime councilman William McKoy. He is also considering a run for mayor. “They can’t copy your past accomplishments. What have you done that will give the public the confidence that you have the capacity and capability to do the job as mayor?”
Brown served as public safety director from 2006 to 2014. He is presently employed as the director of security by the Passaic County Community College. He secured the $90,000 job after failing to get himself on the Paterson Public School District payroll. He has been working for the college since January 2016, according to public records. He also collects a $100,000 pension after retiring from his chief of detectives post from the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office.
“I don’t see any significant accomplishment that he has achieved during that period of time,” remarked McKoy speaking of his tenure as public safety director in Paterson.
“Every candidate should have a plan,” added Rodriguez. “If you go to my website I already have a plan.” He plans to unveil further details as the election approaches, he said.
Rodriguez said people often volunteer for candidates based on their plans. He said the sooner plans are shared the better it is to drum up support from residents.
Rodriguez welcomed Brown’s candidacy.
“I wish he and all other candidates well, for ultimately, we all want the same thing, which is to see our city prosper,” said school board member Manny Martinez, who has formed an exploratory committee to decide whether to run for mayor.
Brown is among almost a dozen people running for next year’s election to succeed the indicted incumbent mayor. Torres has been charged with theft and other corruption charges for allegedly using public works employees to renovate a warehouse leased by his daughter and nephew.
Former mayor Jeffery Jones and councilman Andre Sayegh are other possible candidates for next year’s race.
The election is in May 2018.
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Correction (July 10, 2017): A previous version of this report erroneously stated the announcement was at the Masonic Lodge when in fact it was at the Elks Lodge on Ellison Street.