EAST ORANGE, NJ — It’s election season again and PBA Local 16 of the East Orange Police Department will host it Mayoral Candidates Night Forum on Wednesday, May 17, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Peaceful Zion Baptist Church on Rhode Island Avenue, for the three candidates running in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, June 6.
“The first one is May 17 at 213 Rhode Island Ave. in Peaceful Zion Baptist Church,” said PBA Local 16 President Sgt. Elaine Settle on Tuesday, May 9. “The debate will be sponsored by East Orange PBA Local 16. Retired Lt. Bilal Hall will be the moderator.”
According to Settle, anyone who believes police officers shouldn’t organize mayoral forums or that they are forbidden to do so because they enforce the laws that elected officials are supposed to uphold should think again.
“The PBA knows how important it is for people to feel a part of any process that will affect them,” Settle said. “The debate is just one forum where people can meet, participate and have a chance to interact with their future leaders.”
Settle said all three registered mayoral candidates are invited to the PBA forum: City Council Chairman and 3rd Ward Councilman Ted Green, John Thompson Jr. and Kenwyn S. Williams. Green is making his first run for mayor at the top of the Green Team in 2017 ticket, which includes incumbents 1st Ward Councilman Chris James, 2nd Ward Councilman Romal Bullock, 4th Ward Councilwoman Tyshammie Cooper and 5th Ward Councilwoman Alicia Holman, as well as East Orange Board of Education President Bergson Leneus, who is running to fill Green’s soon-to-be-vacant seat.
Thompson and Williams are running against Green on their own tickets. The Green Team in 2017 has already been endorsed by Leroy Jones, chairman of both the East Orange and Essex County Democratic committees.
“The election is on June 6 ; polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.,” said Brown on Monday, April 3. “We will have members of council running from 1st Ward through the 5th Ward and the seat of mayor.”
Thompson said he is running against Green and the other “Line A Democrats” because the city needs a change for the better. He said the only way to accomplish that is to “vote your conscience and not your habits.”
“As I start my journey on finding ways to keep my promise of reducing taxes for our community, I found a staggering difference between the 2012 budget and the 2016 budget,” Thompson said in a letter to the Record-Transcript on Thursday, March 16. “Now to some people, that may not seem like a lot, but to a community like ours, this matters. Increasing salaries in the midst of a recession is outright ethically wrong and narrow-minded.”
Thompson accused Green, Jones and the East Orange Democratic Committee of “taking advantage” of the East Orange community “when cost of living continues to rise and taxes keep going up.”
Green has also raised concerns about rising taxes, city finances and fiscal accountability, and management on Lester Taylor’s watch as mayor. Green said this is why he and the majority of his council colleagues voted not to accept the Calendar Year 2017 City Budget Taylor introduced at the council’s regular meeting on Monday, March 13, although it contained a 0.5 percent tax decrease.
On Monday, March 27, Taylor reintroduced his fourth and final $140 million budget, which also contained a 0.5 percent tax decrease, to the City Council, which accepted it. The governing body is currently reviewing and revising it.
Williams has yet to give a statement on the record to the Record-Transcript, but he will get his chance to address potential voters at the forum Wednesday, May 17.