Nellie Pou’s War Room: Sayegh and Mendez Get Tangled Up at Mayoral Debate

PATERSON – It got ugly today, or at least more intense, as apparent front-runners Alex Mendez and Andre Sayegh attacked each other during the question and answer portion of the City Hall mayoral debate.

“You’re soft on crime and not fit to be mayor,” Sayegh told Mendez. “When are you going to stop lying to the people about a record you don’t own? I introduced the school uniform policy. You asked how I got it done and I advised you accordingly. You were late and showed up for the free food.”

Mendez slapped at Sayegh in response, pointing out that developers have donated “big money” to his rival’s campaign.


An incredulous Sayegh counterattacked hard, noting how Mendez has not filed any ELEC reports, an attack former Deputy Mayor Pedro Rodriguez would similarly level moments later.

“You are receiving dark and dirty money,” Sayegh told Mendez. “I demand you disclose your donors. It’s not fair to individuals like ourselves. I’ve never voted on anything involving Charles Florio, who has never had a project in the 6th Ward. There are a lot of signs out there and we don’t know where your money’s coming from. What do you have to hide, Alex Mendez?”

Rodriguez followed up on that argument, also noting the Mendez signs blanketing the city, even as nothing appears in Mendez’s ELEC report.

Moments later, with Business Administrator (and Senator) Nellie Pou roaming the second floor, just below where the candidates debated, Rodriguez zapped Sayegh with a question.

Would Sayegh be firing Pou as BA if he wins?

“I’m not appointing you as business administrator when I’m elected mayor,” said Sayegh, dispelling a circulating quid pro quo rumor, caused by the perception of Rodriguez’s candidacy sawing into Mendez’s base.

Sayegh wouldn’t talk about Pou’s future.

“I’m not going to take a position on this today, but I will examine it very carefully,” the 6th Ward Councilman said.

There were other clashes, with most of the five candidates’ summoned questions going to either Mendez or Sayegh’s, the perceived front-runners.

“I’m not like you,” Sayegh slapped at Ward 3 Councilman Bill McKoy. “I’m not an automatic yes like you [on the budget]. You consistently vote yes on tax raises.”


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