Newark mayor’s race: Ferry Street diary – fish market worker’s slice of election reality: public safety first

NEWARK – Florencio Pereira came to the United States from his native Portuguese town of Torres Vedras 28 years ago. Now 59 years old, he has mastered the art form of cutting, cleaning and preparing fish, if not the challenge of mastering the English language.

Yet Pereira clearly communicated to the issue that most concerns him when he goes to his Ironbound polling station to vote on May 13: public safety.

“We need better conditions to live in, security-wise,” said Pereira, a fishmonger at Popular Fish Market on Ferry Street, in Portuguese as his answers were translated to by a co-worker. “There’s a lot of trouble now when you walk outside at night. It’s been that way for the last seven years.”

Pereira said that he plans to vote for Newark mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries, a former state Assistant Attorney General, instead of his rival, South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka. 

Pereira also said that he plans to remain in the Ironbound, a neighborhood in a city with an ethos that he believes makes staying around worth it.

“Newark is a good place to work if you want to work hard,” Pereira said. “It’s a very industrial place, there’s a lot of business. You’ve got everything in Newark. You’ve just got to feel safe.”