Candidates make their cases for office

Three women are challenging incumbents for their seats on the township council From left are Yasmin Jones, Yasmina King and Danouchka Desir.

IRVINGTON — A candidates night was held last week for those seeking election to the township council in the May 14 municipal election.

There are four seats open – one for each ward – and a total of seven people seeking those seats. All of the positions are four year terms. Polls are scheduled to be open for 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

In the North Ward, Yasmin Jones is challenging incumbent Orlander Glen Vick; in the South Ward, Danouchka Desir is challenging incumbent Jamillah Z. Beasley; in the East Ward, Yasmina King is challenging incumbent October Hudley and Vern Cox is running unopposed in the West Ward.

The candidates night was arranged by Elouise McDaniel, who has served as president of the Irvington Block Association Coalition, run for mayor in 2018 and been involved in a dispute with the township over Open Public Records Act requests.

None of the incumbents participated in the event held in a meeting room in 50 Union Ave. in Irvington. McDaniel said she personally delivered invitations to the town hall offices of each incumbent.

Jones is an accountant, who has lived in Irvington for two years. King is the director and owner of Kings Kids Academy and has lived in Irvington for 31 years while Desir is a business owner who has lived in Irvington for 14 years.

A dozen people were in attendance and many asked questions and raised concerns pertaining to unresponsiveness from the town to problems including litter and rats, the
school system underperforming, a lack of transparency in township government and that the council meetings are still virtual rather than in person.

“They’re doing the Zoom for their benefit,” Jones said. “They understand the younger people don’t have time for the meetings and the older people” are not going to have an easy time getting onto Zoom.

Jones said you shouldn’t have to fight city hall to get help with issues in the township. City hall should be helping residents. She cited as an example rat problems, saying she can pay to have her home exterminated but if neighbors don’t and trash is left in the streets, the problem won’t go away.

“It’s time for a change but everything is monopolized,” Jones said. “I’m invested in my community and I want to be a voice in my community.”

Desir, who said she was born in Haiti into a family that took education very seriously, said she would like to see better educated people involved in the township government and on the school board. She said her ward looks worse than Port-au-Prince in Haiti.

“Accountability and credibility, those are my biggest issues,” Desir said. “There are a lot of things going on and it’s going to take time to fix them.”

King said that taxes in the township were too high and the township needs to cut unneeded expenses.

“I’d like to have a sit down with the mayor and build a plan for change,” she said.

Among those in attendance was Kathleen Witcher, president of the Irvington chapter of the NAACP. Witcher spoke to the candidates and told them she was proud they were taking the time to run for office.

“I just want to encourage you to keep going,” she said.